“Not All Mothers are Loving and Kind” is the title of a blog post I wrote in 2013. To this date, my inbox is flush with emails from children of unloving mothers. I’ve received over a thousand emails. I get hundreds of emails each year [still!], from all over the world. The pain, frustration, confusion, anger, despair, even desperation the victim-writers feel (and live every day) is palpable in their letters to me.
Many write just to vent; others, to seek help…though they are now adults. Some are married husbands or wives. They write for themselves, their spouses, or for their entire family dynamic.
Many have children of their own. Those writers are trying to understand how a mother could be so hateful toward them, and also to express how hard they work to make sure they don’t pass on the hateful energies onto their children. Most handle that well (“I would never do to my child what my mother did to me/us.”). Others feel they are in a struggle to love…because they were not loved by their mother. Some don’t know how to give what they never had or experienced.
Those who have or had loving mothers as we see on TV and as we read about in Hallmark greeting cards may not relate to the pain children of unloving mothers experience. And if, by chance, that offspring actually turned out “okay, nice, good, kind, loving,” etc., some may conclude “well, your mother couldn’t have been that bad! You turned out all right!”
What is not recognized is that many have turned out “okay,” and are wonderful friends, spouses and parents in spite of the trauma to their lives. Many had the mental strength to stay focused on what a mother’s love was supposed to be; on what their own strengths are; and hopefully had others around to encourage and bolster their spirits. And yes, many have done well. Have succeeded. Are sweet, kind, loving, etc. But that doesn’t negate the trauma one had to overcome and push through to come out on the winning side.
Each year when Mother’s Day approaches, and TV shows have glowing “How great is your Mom” stories and segments, what do children of unloving mothers feel, or do?
I have pitched to some networks to please address—on air; allow a segment—the pain that those of (yes, us) experience, and have gone through, not only at Mother’s Day, but throughout our lives. But for those who can’t relate, they don’t see the need for that topic.
In my “Not All Mothers” post (link below), I mentioned that I was going to write a book about the topic. Alas, I have yet to do that. To my readers, I apologize. I developed an extended writer’s block. (I wonder, too, if I just didn’t want to revisit, and relive, some of the unbelievable energies exacted upon me by my “mother”). But with the tons of emails I still get, I realize that I must write. This is my new entry into that topic; and this summer, I will prepare that book proposal. That, and five others strewn about my home office. [I hate clutter, so, it’s time.]
For now, what do children of unloving mothers do…not only to get through the next few days, and Mother’s Day glee, but going forward in their lives? Consider these points:
If your mother was less than loving; and was in fact, evil, unloving, jealous, destructive to you and your siblings…
- Facts matter. Be sure you are clear that “discipline” or “being strict” is different from being unloving and destructive.
- Surround yourself with those who love you. It may not be your “mother”; that’s okay. But is there a close friend who knows your story? A sweetheart? Your spouse? Your kids (that you love and they know it)? Surround yourself with them. Share laughter, joys; recall great memories, and make new ones.
- Don’t succumb to the pressure to contact the person who has been toxic to your life. On my blog here at PsychCentral, I wrote a post about Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas. I find him to be a “toxic” parent. Perhaps your “mother” was, or is, toxic. You don’t need to further subject yourself to their toxicity. Give yourself permission to separate from their energies on your life and spirit. You don’t have to make that call. It’s okay. In medicine, we have a “pearl of wisdom”: “Sometimes amputation is necessary to save life.” That pertains not only to amputating a gangrenous leg, but also to amputation (cutting off) someone from your life if they are draining life from you.
- Get psychological help if needed.
- When death of that mother comes, allow yourself to breathe and feel the freedom you so need and deserve. Say to yourself (even out loud): “It is OVER!” Granted, it might actually take some time before you realize that. In my case, it took nearly six months to realize when the phone rang late at night in 2007 that It can’t be her. She’s dead. It’s a friend calling. Relax.
Again, this is a reentry to this difficult topic. More will come. Feel free to share your experiences. And also to visit these links for past articles mentioned above.
Hang in there. You are not alone. I have thousands of emails from around the world to prove it. God bless.
“Not All Mothers are Loving and Kind” : 2013, Psychology Today: http://bit.ly/17vsMLQ
“Is Meghan Markle’s Father a ‘Toxic’ Parent?” : 2018; PsychCentral: http://bit.ly/2w5KAAn
For healing “pearls of wisdom” see: First Do No Harm : An eBook: http://amzn.to/YWSXqa
Copyright © 2019 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved. Please share this post on your social network pages, with author credit and link to this page. Bitly: http://bit.ly/2PVHBEj Tw: @DrMelodyMcCloud (Photo: Dr. Melody T. McCloud)