Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Mother of All Guilt-Trips

There are a lot of awful, uneducated things that we say to each other under the guise of "giving advice" or "sharing an opinion." They're well-intentioned most of the time, I suppose, but it's still very possible to be hurt by a comment someone didn't "mean that way." 

One such comment I received on Mother's Day this year. A friend whose mother passed away scolded me for not calling my mom to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. She said, & I quote "You don't know what I'd give to wish MY mother a Happy Mother's Day."

This is a terrible thing to say for many reasons.
First off - Thanks for the guilt trip, friend. 

But just some background - I've been abused, neglected & hurt by my mother my entire life. I've tried SO many times over the years to fix our relationship. My pride has been swallowed, my heart worn on my sleeve & for years I've tried to earn my mother's approval & affection. There have been so many heartbroken tears cried over my mom. So many nights spent longing for a mother I've never had. My mom is not a loveable woman & she will never show me the compassion I need from her. She does not have my best interest at heart. She does not want to be a part of my life. This has taken me years to realize & accept & still, I struggle with the the fact that my idealized version of a mother-daughter relationship will never exist. 

Years, I've spent, calling, sending cards, praying to God that she'd decide I was worthy of her time, her love. My mother is only interested in me when she has something to gain from it. This realization has often made me wonder what is wrong with me. What is so bad that my own mother doesn't love me? Her neglect has made me insecure & created an intense, never-ending, self-deprecating inner dialect. Basically, she throws me scraps of affection to keep me in the palm of her hand, I eat it up, she walks away when I've served her purpose & I spend weeks hating myself for letting her in, feeling guilty for hating her & hating myself for being so unlovable. It's an unhealthy cycle that has consumed me for years.

Finally cutting ties with my mother has not been easy. I've felt so much guilt & sadness. I've mourned for a relationship that will never be. It's been difficult, but it has been healthy for me. Ending the cycle & escaping from the constant misery has given me insight I hadn't anticipated. I now see that I am worthy of love & SHE is the one missing out.

To my well-intentioned friend: I'm sorry you lost your loving, dedicated, faithful mother. My mother, unfortunately, is not that way. I wish that you could have had more fun, memorable moments with your parent. I know you long for her love, for her advice, for her gentle encouragement. I long for those things too. But, like your mother, my mom cannot give them to me, although she may be very much alive. I've struggled with guilt my entire life & I will not feel guilty about a decision that has been healthy for me. I hope you understand that while having YOUR mom in your life may have been a blessing, my mother hurts me & makes me unhealthy. Maintaining a relationship with her is not what is best for me. You were lucky to have had, even briefly, a mother worth missing. So, this Mother's Day & every Mother' Day I will recognize the women who have been confidants & loving role-models. I will NOT recognize a woman who has failed in her obligations of motherhood. 

To those of you with parents who have chosen not to be part of your life: Know that you are lovable. You are worthy. You are deserving of compassion. Do not measure yourself by your parent's affection. Know that they are missing out on all that you are & all you will become. You will be able to look at yourself in the mirror & say "I am who I am thanks to nobody but me." Do not let anyone make you feel guilty for cutting ties with someone who hurts you. You have the right to eliminate people who hurt you, hinder you or cause you to be unhealthy. 

Stay strong! xoxo

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