Mother’s Day and Dysfunctional Mother Daughter RelationshipBy
Each Mothers day I am more aware of my freedom and farther away from the oppression that I used to be under. As I get farther away from the domination, I remember things that I am not so reluctant to remember and I am willing and able to talk about them with more freedom and way less fear. I know what I was so afraid of and why It was so hard for me to admit out loud how dysfunctional our mother daughter relationship really was and how hurt that I was by your actions and reactions.
I remember that one time that Dad gave us kids money to go to the store and buy you a gift for mothers day. We walked to the department store by ourselves; we were just kids; we didn’t have a clue what we were doing. I don’t know why I remember this so clearly, I guess it was traumatic for me. I remember how hard it was for us three kids to figure out what to get you. We were totally lost! We looked at so many things, deciding and debating over all of them. I don’t know why we settled on that set of new dishes. We had to carry them all that way home. They were so heavy but we were pretty excited that we had done this by ourselves. And we had done it for you. I felt proud of myself.
I’m still sorry about that day Mom. It took a long time for me to realize that it wasn’t MY fault and that it wasn’t my failure, and although today I know that you felt justified in your reaction, you never realized how much damage it did. We were just little kids Mom. We were just trying to make you happy.
I still remember how you opened the gift, and your face fell. I remember my stomach lurched. I felt a bit of fear. And you were angry. You looked at Dad; I sort of knew that you were mad that he didn’t take us shopping to get you a proper gift, or maybe I just know that now. You told him to take the dishes back to the store. And you were mad at us. You didn’t even acknowledge us, or our efforts. You started to cry and you left the room. I felt like a worm. What were we thinking buying you dishes?!! I still feel the shame of getting you the wrong gift. I should have known better. I was the GIRL. I should have thought of something better. You were devastated ~ as though the fact that we picked that gift proved that we didn’t love you and that it proved that we really were useless children. I wanted to crawl into the floor. The whole day was wrecked. You cried all day and you and Dad fought. I am not sure what you fought about; maybe about how stupid I was to have brought home that set of dishes for mother’s day. As a child, self blame had become a way of life.
And now I am a Mother. I have always worried that my reaction to a gift might leave that kind of scar on one of my kids. It has caused me a lot of anxiety around opening gifts. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, I have this fear of having the wrong reaction when I open a gift; what if I don’t like it? What if they can tell that I don’t like it? I hate that I think about my reaction so much that I don’t actually have a spontaneous reaction. This continues to be something that I am working on.
I have never had one mother’s day (since before I was a mother, or since I became a mother) that I didn’t remember that disastrous mother’s day from my childhood.
I suspect that you feel justified about the fact that we don’t have a mother daughter relationship anymore. I suspect that you wish that I was different and that you believe that this is my entire fault. You always blamed me for everything. I know that in your mind I am the one that hurt you. But that is not my problem anymore because I know the truth. I was the child. It was not up to me to restore your value.
I remember when you “predicted” that this would happen; you said that your biggest fear was that I would use the kids as a weapon against you and that I would one day “take them away from you”. I realize that this was another typical manipulation statement so that I would think twice about standing up to you. To make me second guess my emerging thoughts about how strange our relationship really was.
But in the end you are the one that walked away from them. Well I guess it doesn’t matter does it? I knew in my heart from the time that they were born, that the day would come when you would try to poison their minds against me, because that is your way. That is the way that you survived; by knocking everyone else down. All the gossiping and stirring up trouble, twisting stories just enough or leaving out the whole story to change it into something more dramatic. Always dividing all other relationships so that you would be seen as the most important one. I don’t miss that and I am relieved that my children don’t have to be a part of it.
I do not have a mother anymore, and you do not have a daughter. It seems so very sad and even ODD and yet… it seems honest and even right somehow too. It seems like a fitting end to a very emotionally unhealthy and dysfunctional mother daughter relationship; as though truth, freedom, wholeness and recovery were born out of this whole thing. I am so thankful that something amazing came out of the pain. I came out of that pain. I found the real me. I emerged out of the dysfunction and I discovered who I really am. I am not at all who you always said that I was.
P.S. Do you ever think of me? Do you wonder how I am? Do you wish that things were different between us? I just can’t help but let my mind wonder in that direction once in a while. Especially now at this time of year when it is “mothers day”. Sometimes when I am alone in the dark, when I feel really discarded and really vulnerable and even a little bit all alone, I pretend that you are being forbidden to contact me. I tell myself that your controlling husband won’t let you make this right with me; that he won’t let you be my mother. I know that is just a silly fantasy, like a wish and a grieving process all in one because I know that you have a choice but yet it is so hard for me to believe and to accept that you don’t want to have a relationship with me unless it is on your terms and it is still painful to know that I was that disposable and that forgettable just because I said “no more mistreatment”.
And I know that is not really about me……
and I still want to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day
Your only Daughter,
Happy Mother’s day to everyone here; in a way we all have to become our own mothers and fathers in order to heal that pain of dysfunctional parents, to set in place our misplaced self esteem and value. Please share whatever you wish. Hugs! Darlene
Related Post ~ please read my new post on the Survivor Manual Site ~ Survivors, Mother’s Day and Mixed Emotions
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