October 30, 2020

Mothers who don’t care


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So many women talk about their relationships with their mothers no matter how old they are. For some, their mother, from whom they have supposedly separated long ago, still occupies a central place in the psyche. She’s too close, she’s too much. She has advice, is nosy, and interferes. The daughter wants time away, she wants boundaries, and fights for her separation from her mother.

For others, the mother still occupies the psyche, but with a wrenching kind of longing; a mother that is biological and even sometimes present, but also a mother who is so self-involved as to be emotionally absent, or literally out of the picture. This kind of mother takes up space and energy as a nagging, missing piece, a ghost ╨ one who never cared. Her image hovers, her memory, or perhaps a dream of how it could have been, should have been, but never is.

Which kind of mother do you have?

Note: I am not talking about psycho mothers who, just like psycho dads, wish to harm their children. I am talking about mothers who, have children, but act like they don’t want their children. You know the type. The ones who love dropping their child off at the “Mother’s Morning Out” so they can “catch their breath.” Or the mothers who live to take their child to ball practice, or some event so that others can “watch” them. The mothers who constantly want to “farm” out their child on some family member or friend. The mothers who always want another child to come over to entertain their child. The mother who abandons her child to another “mom”.

At my local church I see mothers who dump their child off so they can “hear the message.” I see children being dropped off at sports coaching classes with the mothers saying they need time off to shop and do ╥other stuff╙. This is a common mentality today. We are all so busy. Look at the young parents who have to have a “Nanny” for their child because they are working during the day and have to “unwind” at night. To me, it appears what is meant is mothers need time off from mothering, caring, and nurturing their child. A lot of Christian mothers do not have the mind of Christ when it comes to children.

I ask this question. “Are children that awful that mothers need a break? Are they that bothersome that we need someone else to help raise them?”

I can talk from experience. My mother was a dream. A real dream mom. And not the “dream” one you are probably imagining I mean, i.e. the “perfect” mother.

I realise now, 10 years after her death, that I was always trying to get the dream to come true; to have her be warm and huggy, to have her want to know me, to visit me in my house, to know my children. To know me. It never happened. It left a yearning that I played out with men. It left a hole that I tried to fill in many ways.

When I was little (she left me when I was four years old) and once a year appeared in the landscape of my life; I lived with her mother – only to disappear too soon and in a flurry of anger at her own mother, without seeming to notice how hard it was for me.

So many people, men and women, struggle with this kind of emptiness, the burn of anger in the pit of the stomach, the unanswered questions that can’t be asked “why are you like this?”

Mothers who are neglectful, selfish, and abandoning do not set out to do these things. They are a result of her own problems, her own pain, and maybe even mental illness. It is hard for us as her child to see this fully, or to forgive it.

How to help to heal the Uncaring Mother wound:

1. Learn about your mother’s life (how she became the way she is) through talking with relatives, if she won’t talk to you directly, or by sitting down and hashing through history shown in photos and family albums.

2. Find adoptive mothers who will nurture you, and friends who understand your story.

3. Learn to mother yourself through therapy, through having children of your own. They will teach you.

4. Write your story. Tell your story. Having witnesses to your story is a part of healing. Seeing compassion in the eyes of others shows you that you are worthy of it, and deserve it.

5. Learn to forgive. Work on it. Work on being yourself and having a life you like and enjoy.

6. Learn to surround yourself with who you like, people who love and like you, and beauty that makes you feel part of the web of life.

It worked for me and it can work for you, too.



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