Monday, July 24, 2017

A Mother's Love Denied

Early on I realized my brother was my mother's favorite, but since we lived with my grandparents the relationship between my baba and me greatly compensated for any maternal caring that was lacking. When I left home to attend an all-girls high school, again not having any type of bond with my mother wasn't a high priority.  

Years later when I became a mother myself, I began to realize how much the emotional neglect I experienced in childhood had damaged my ability to love. Thoughts of why my own mother never hugged or kissed me crept into my psyche; Was it the way I looked? What I said? How I acted? 
I started to think about any conversations we might have had that would shed some light on answers to my insecurities. It was then that I realized there had never been a meaningful discussion between my mother and me the whole time I was growing up. How sad!

Fast-forward to 1983 when my mother came to stay with us. Her home was in a declining neighborhood then, and unsafe to be an elderly woman living alone. Before offering to take her in, I talked with my brother, wanting to know if he would be willing to extend her the same kindness. He adamantly refused saying he could never deal with her on a daily basis. Her favorite, right? 

Mother lived with us for 20 years, yet our personal connection changed little. I worked full-time while she managed the household. When I was home, she busied herself with mundane activities or stayed in her room talking on the phone to her friends. 

If it sounds like I'm putting the total blame on my mother for not trying to develop a bond while living in our home, I'm really not. Certainly I could have made an effort to get closer to her, but truth be told, that ship had sailed a long time ago. I had squelched a desire for my mother's love, and although I would always suffer the pain of not having it, I just didn't care anymore.

Now it's 2017. I'm a mother of three and a grandmother of seven. Admittedly I've not bonded as tightly with my own children as I would have liked, but I have tried. Since they were little, I've made sure to be active in their lives, been present for all their special events, and surrounded them with family and friends throughout their childhood. Since they've become adults, married and being parents themselves, we've become closer perhaps because we're now on the same playing field. As a 'grammy' in the words of one of the seven, "I'm the smartest, bestest grammy ever"! Without much guidance early on, I think I somehow learned to love myself and show love to those most important to me. 

Why am I telling you about the nonexistent connection between my mother and me now? Frequently over the years in ordinary conversations with relatives, friends, or just acquaintances, somebody would remark about their mother's lack of love for them. Occasionally I've heard terrible stories of how a person was abused physically or emotionally or both by the one who should have been their protector. I now realize that there are so many who have lived without that maternal relationship, and I wonder what kind of folks they turned out to be. Are they stronger, more independent, well-adjusted individuals than those who were seeped in their mother's love? Or are they weak, dependent, maladjusted people because of it?

I've decided to do research on this very topic, and eventually plan to put my findings into a book. If you have something to say, please contact me by email: or message me on facebook. Every thing told to me will be confidential, and I will not use anything revealed unless I have your permission to do so.

Realizing how prevalent not feeling love from one's mother is, I believe telling people's stories will be highly beneficial to both the sufferers as well as to those who knowingly or otherwise inflicted such pain. 

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