A couple of weeks ago, I asked those who are a part of my email community to share some of the best times/memories of or with their mothers, the worst times/memories, and how they felt after sharing. With their permission, here are their stories.
**Please know that some stories do include abuse so be advised while reading to be mindful of your breath.
1) What is one of the best times you had with your mother?
This question is hard because it’s not that many. I would say the time she drove with me cross country, all the way from Atlanta to Portland, Oregon. It was the first time we’ve been together for that long and didn’t argue. We laughed and it was a nice bonding experience.
2) What is one of the worst times you had with your mother?
I will never forget this day. I told my mom that a family member had molested me and she didn’t believe me, she took his side and told me if i told anybody, I would be ruining the family. For a long time, I resented my mom for this. How she didn’t protect me, how she didn’t believe me. It still hurts me to this day whenever she mentions his name, or I hear them talking on the phone. It’s like she doesn’t even care about how traumatizing that experience was for me. I feel like I can’t go to her about things in fear of her not believing me.
3) How did it feel recalling those memories?
It honestly made me sad, I wish I had a great mother daughter relationship.
ZN | 24 | Atlanta, GA
My mother and I have had a strained and complicated relationship my entire life. I actually have a family video in which she and I are telling each other we hate each other. I was 4.
But like all of life, there are contradictions and nuances intermingled. We have had great times too. For instance, my mother drove me across the city of Las Vegas every single day during my childhood to make sure I was able to attend a good dance and gymnastics studio, after working 12 hour shifts as a nurse. She taught me how to ride and show horses, insisting I know how to handle a creature larger than me with authority. She stood up for me to friends who treated me like garbage in high school (dropped one girl off on the side of the road after she mouthed off to my mom. On the side of the road, girl. Then drove off. Ha!!!.) She sewed by hand every single costume for a performance I had in high school (20 girls, all shapes and sizes). These times make me feel warm inside when I think of them. The make me feel loved and seen by the person who created me.
However she also called me a "lying, thieving, whore" in high school. She broke dishes in our kitchen once when I couldn't figure out how to swallow a pill at the age of 5. She throws childlike fits when she doesn't get her way, and that can sometimes be aimed at me. She ignores me and my children, never asking about their lives when she calls (about twice a year). I visited her in Alaska recently and she spent a large portion of the time I was there talking to my brother on the phone about some girl who broke up with him. I hadn't seen her in years. I don't have a specific event that I can draw up feelings of trauma from because there are so many. So many instances of what feel like betrayal or even straight up hatred toward me. These types of memories give my stomach an empty burning feeling and cause me to stop taking normal breaths. It hurts to imagine that my mother may not actually like me, and to let that really settle in is a very painful practice.
I know now that my mother was not truly cut out to be a mother. She loves us, but she wanted to be free and couldn't be. I can look at her now and have compassion for the young woman who found herself in a marriage and life situation she did not wish herself to be in. What a terrible thing! So, while I am human and will always desire my mother's unconditional love and acceptance, I am also an adult now and can see that lives are complicated things and it's not as easy as Disney movies make it out to be. Love isn't always a straight line and most times love looks like accepting a person AS IS. Period.
I'm not sure if that is what you're looking for and it sure did end up being a novel didn't it?! Anyway, I look forward to seeing what some of your other followers have to say about this topic. It seems like it is somewhat taboo to admit negative things about our mothers but if we don't then we lose that chance to speak life to other women who may have similar experiences and hurt like we do.
Anyway, have a great day!
Two years ago my mother drove down to La (where I live) and we went out to eat and to get our nails/feet done. This was one of my best times with her because she lives almost two hours away and spending time with her is sometimes hard because of our schedules. This time it was just me and her. Gossiping, joking and laughing and really enjoying each other’s company. Best Memory: The memory that makes me happy and feel warm inside is when my mother would show up for my award ceremonies at school and watch me accept my awards. This is special to me because my mother battled with drug addiction for the majority of my childhood so she has a lot of no shows under her belt. But still whenever she remembered and got herself together to be there for me it touched my heart then and still does today. Worst Times: The worst time I’ve had with my mother was when I was 13 years old. I moved back with her after she hit three years clean. We fought constantly. Sometimes physically. She felt I didn’t respect her and she was right, I didn’t respect her because I didn’t know her. I was angry and resentful over her not being there for me consistently like I needed and deserved and because I was young and didn’t really understand what addiction was and how it can overtake someone, we clashed. This is what caused me a lot of pain during that time. Recalling those memories: What’s interesting is I hadn’t thought about my history with my mom until I started doing the work on myself and was trying to figure out why I stayed in dysfunctional relationships. Doing the work led me to the realization that I had abandonment issues stemming from my mother and this was the reason I clung on to whoever I was dealing with no matter how shitty they were to me because being alone was something I could not handle. My mom has been clean now for 15 years. Our relationship has come a LONG way. She is one of my best friends and we talk every single day. Rebuilding our relationship was an uphill battle but we both put in the time and effort to understand where each other was coming from and what we needed from one another. Thank you for allowing me to share :)
A.B. | 26 | Los Angeles, CA
I used to have such a great relationship with my mother. It wasn’t perfect but I knew when I became an adult, teenage angst would subside and we would grow closer.
Well last year (this time last year actually) I finally let go of a Burden that was literally eating me alive. My mother’s husband molested and raped me from ages 12-16 years old and I finally found the courage to tell everyone, her first and foremost. In therapy, I talked about that moment, and even though I was scared, I knew in my heart that my mom would stand by my side and we would get thru this.
But boy was I wrong.
She chose to stay with him. She chose him over her own flesh and blood, even after he admitted to doing it. She blamed me and wished she had aborted me. That was singlehandedly one of the worst experiences I’ve had ever, but especially with my mom. I immediately cut ties with her and haven’t spoken to her since. I was lucky enough to lock up my abuser, the “love of her life”, for the rest of his life. But she still stands by him, lied on the stand for him, and refuses to acknowledge her fault in why our relationship is dead.
We all tell ourselves we want to grow up nothing like our parents. And I am happy to say I am not vindictive, spiteful and hateful like my mother is. But I do see her in me, when I look in the mirror, some of my mannerisms. It’s actually terrifying. I have my own daughter who’s 5 years old. Never in a million years would I chose any man over her, not even her father and especially not an abuser. Now I’m hyper-vigilant af with my daughter but I want to be so loving to her, I never want her to feel like I betrayed her in anyway. I’m not sure yet how this abrupt “death” of my mother will affect me in the long run but I do know I’m in need of some type of counseling just so I can heal and move forward. Clearly my mom is sick and needs her own healing done but she is too far gone and I cannot allow myself to be in her presence unless she gets better.
Thank you for letting me vent, I really needed it.
Lauren | 24 | Cleveland, OH.
I honestly can't remember a time where I was ever truly happy being in my moms presence maybe as a kid but I'am not too sure. I don't feel happy or warm when I am around my mother. One of the worst times that I have had with my mom was when I was a child in elementary school and she was helping me with my homework and I was hesitating to answer a math question because I didn't want to say the wrong answer and she kept asking what the answer was and I was taking forever so she started going off and ended calling me a bitch
Magan | 27 | FL
Hey ma, what an important discussion.
The top things that can be listed as the best times I had with my mother is whenever we laugh together, make food together, pray together and sometimes breath together. A warm memory of my mother at het happiest - when she reunited with her mother in her late 40s, after having had been split with her family during a civil war at 12. The happiest moment was one of the last christmas dinners we had as a whole family (we didn't know it then), but she was dancing and singing for me. Smiling through her eyes.
My teen years were the worst times for our relationship. I felt so misunderstood, I convinced myself she hated me. The most painful memory is feeling unsupported during my then passions. I learned that I did not open up to her or let her into these passions, to begin with. She once asked me what had been bothering me and would not leave until I spoke up - and that question taught me purging is purifying. My communication skills have been peaking since.
Necessary. It felt necessary.
Julieta | 23 | Johannesburg, South Africa
What were your thoughts reading this? Please feel free to share your own stories, if you feel comfortable.