Mother is a word, and it is a title, describing so many things. The word mother carries a lot of weight, but it carries even more as a title. When we think of a mother, we think of the woman who gave birth to us, raised us, loved us, was our support, our cheerleader, the person that would always be there for us. To some, this is a person that they never knew, never had, or will never have. To some, this person doesn’t exist. I have a mother. She raised me.
But I no longer have a mother.
She didn’t die. She is alive and well.
But I don’t have a relationship with her. By choice.
I have never been particularly forthcoming about my relationship – or lack thereof – with my mother. If I know you well and we are close, then you probably know a little about why I don’t speak to her or have a relationship with her. Very few know the whole story. But that is because I choose not to live in the past. I haven’t spoken to my mother in 7 years.
I used to be angry, I was hurting for a long time. I had many questions: Why didn’t my mom accept the person that I was? Why didn’t my mom try to get to know the real me? Why did my mom do this or not do that? Why didn’t my mom love me unconditionally?
A mother’s ultimate job is to love their child unconditionally. This means that no matter the person their child becomes, they are to love them no matter what. A mother teaches, and does the best job she can in raising a person.
My mom ruled with an iron fist, it was her way or the highway. She controlled every little aspect of our lives as a family. But I am not one to be controlled. I fought my mom’s control from day one, and I think this is why she didn’t love me. She could not control me and, ultimately, could not deal with this. My mom had a complicated childhood, and she was not shy about saying so. But she lived in the past, and played the victim. No one’s childhood is perfect by any means, and we all have shit that we went through. But she blamed everyone and anyone, and it was always someone else’s fault. I grew up in a home where the floors might as well been littered with egg shells. I could do nothing right in her eyes. She found fault in almost everything I did, and would always accuse me of doing something TO HER. I “pushed her buttons”, as she put it. If I used the wrong vacuum attachment, I was pushing her bottons. If I forgot to wipe some crumbs off the kitchen counter, I pushed her buttons. If I looked at her wrong, I was pushing her buttons. My mom read quite a few “self-help” books by a particular psychologist, and she took these books to a whole new level. Suddenly, we were all screwed up in her eyes. Our “inner children” were “wounded” and we needed to “heal”. These words became her mantra, and it was all we could do to try to deal with it. Suddenly, every little thing we did that was wrong in her eyes was because our inner children were trying to get attention. Every action resulted in her overreaction, and a 3 hour lecture about how WE were messed up and needed help in healing. The older I got, the more I fought this way of thinking. My mom would cry, and tell me that I was hurting HER, breaking HER heart, stressing HER out, making HER angry. She was the victim, and it was always OUR fault. As I became a teenager, the dynamic between us became even more tumultuous. When my little brother ran away one early Saturday morning, it was my fault. When my mom and I fought over the fact that I wore the same pair of jeans twice in a row, she kicked me out of the house because she couldn’t “deal with me”. This became a common occurence after we moved to Utah when I was 14. My mom would make me leave the house. While I was hurting that she wanted nothing to do with me, I was also glad to be away from her. School was a reprieve, and I gladly left the house every day. My mom constantly grounded me, keeping me under her thumb. I had no social life outside of school, so school was it for me. I wasn’t allowed to be involved in anything outside of school and home. My mom screamed and yelled, she slapped me, she destroyed my things in my room, she took everything away from me, all as “punishment”. I was rebellious, I didn’t want to be controlled, and for this, I was punished. I wasn’t a perfect kid, there’s no such thing. But my mom couldn’t figure out how to handle a child that refused to be controlled, and for this, she didn’t love me.
She kicked me out for the last time when I was 17. By the grace of some very loving people, I had a place to live. I was privileged to have some wonderful people in my life that helped me. I had parental figures there to guide me, and give me the love that I had wanted my whole life. They accepted me for who I was, and who I was to become. Because of these peoples’ love, I became the person I am today. I made plenty of mistakes along the way, but these people never stopped loving me and supporting me. I did not call anyone “mom”, but I didn’t need to. Even when my mom came back into my life at the age of 21, I knew that I would never get her love. And when I finally realized this, I cut all ties and moved on with my life. I grieved the loss.
Now that I am a mother, I realize how hard being a mother is. I feel no ill will towards my mother. I look back on the good memories I have of her, and I keep those close to my heart. I realize that nothing is all good or all bad, and that my mother had issues she never dealt with, and that she is who she is. I have accepted that I will never have a relationship with her, and while it still saddens me from time to time, it does not anger me. But it has made me determined to raise my son with as much love as I can give, the unconditional love that every child deserves.