Why Doesn't My Mother Love Me?

Our most primal and significant relationship starts from inside the womb. Our mother is our first mirror and she determines how we see ourselves and our world.

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Q - I’m feeling really confused and hurt by my mother’s lack of love and care towards me. I’m a single parent of a daughter, aged 4, and I can see the contrast so clearly now I’m a mum myself, and it hurts me so much. My mother chooses to have hardly anything to do with my little girl – which is perhaps a blessing.

I’ve given up trying to please my mother and to not make her feel ashamed or embarrassed by me. I know that I don’t do as well as I could in life because I don’t want her to be envious of me – how mad is that!

All the positive affirmations and mantras I see on social media and in books just don’t sink in – it’s as if I’m blocked from being happy and successful or being seen as any better than her. I don’t want to be unhappy and miserable like she is – yet she causes it!

I’m an only child and so her nastiness is all targeted at me – but I just don’t deserve it. It’s made me have problems with my self-esteem and friendships – as I end up finding people who boss me around or just want to use me.

I make sure I never rock the boat and I know I’m a fake – to make people like me more. I feel sad and pathetic.

People tell me to just put things in the past but I can’t. When I’m with her I feel like an awkward kid again. I want her approval, and to feel that she cares and is interested in me. I want her to make me feel safe and secure, to be kind to me and accept me and my daughter without those disapproving looks and guilt trips whenever I make a mistake (in her eyes).

The silly thing is I do feel guilty for ruining her life and getting in her way.

I want her to be a better grandmother than she is a mother. I feel disloyal and selfish even telling you about her. Am I wasting my time wishing for all of this from her?

A - I feel sadness reading about your emotional wounds. Yes, you may be wasting your time hoping that she will ever be able to heal them for you.

Our most primal and significant relationship starts from inside the womb. Our mother is our first mirror and she determines how we see ourselves and our world.

If that mirror is cracked and dirty because she hasn’t cleaned and repaired it then the reflections will be distorted.

Your mother’s belief system and personality have create the mirror in which you see yourself - a mirror which was probably handed down to her too!

As a young child we have limited cognitive functioning and we can’t separate the truth from a lie. We innocently soak up what we’re bathed in emotionally and believe it to be real and true. We can’t examine it or reject it as false, and it then becomes ingrained within us – and so the unexamined beliefs get passed on.

It takes self-awareness of who we are, and why – and how we affect other people – to give us the incentive to change.

Many people fear and avoid reflecting upon their own shortcomings and weaknesses, and they find it much easier and preferable to see fault in others – even in their own children.

Unless the parent is willing to heal the pain and bad feelings from their own losses, regrets, failures and disappointments, then these toxic feelings percolate and spew out onto those closest to them. Unfortunately a small child has no protection from this poisonous emotional vomit.

It’s particularly hard when we see so many positive examples of kind and loving mothers in social media posts and real-life stories. It can feel like rippling off a scab and exposing our own raw and bleeding wounds again.

A child’s wound caused by a wounded mother who hadn’t healed herself, and instead passed on her poisonous infection to her offspring.

I’m delighted to read that you have ensured that your daughter has a much better experience than you had.

I suspect that as she grows through the natural developmental stages, you will need to face those new triggers and harsh reminders within yourself, and find a sensitive way through them, both for you and your little girl.

Speaking of which, it’s vital that you ‘re-parent your inner child' - the little girl who still lives deep inside you and feels that old and acute emotional pain. She has had a hard time and needs you to show her those things that you’ve been hoping and wishing to get from your mother.

Allow yourself to create a nurturing and protective parent in your own mind – and become that person for yourself. Someone who shows themselves self compassion, generosity and kindness, and someone who loves being more happy and playful.

This will have a knock-on effect to your relationships - and you'll no longer allow people to boss you around or to use you.

Your daughter will reap the benefits of this shift in your perceptions too – and that will make it all the more important for you to continue with it.

As you separate your identity from that of your mother, and detach from her behaviour – both emotionally and psychologically – you will become free and empowered to adopt the little girl inside you who is yearning for your love and kindness.

Become clear about your new identity.

What do you want, need, prefer, believe in, and value?

What are you passionate about?

What will you, and won’t you, tolerate?

It’s time for you to ‘repair the tear’ inside of yourself - and stop wishing that your mother will miraculously change into the mother you’ve always wanted her to be.

As you develop and strengthen the robust and reliable adult part of your psyche, you will find a new and better way to speak with your mother. A way which ensures that you remain in ‘adult mode’ and not regress into a needy, rebellious, or compliant and submissive child.

This ‘assertive you’ will be easier to practice with other people first. ‘Mother’ is the biggest challenge!

I urge you to first create boundaries that serve you well – about what is, and isn’t OK with you.

Please remember that you have nothing to prove to your mother, only to yourself, your inner child and your daughter.

As you trust and like yourself more, you will become more emotionally resilient and robust - and be able to pass these valuable traits onto your daughter.

Ditch the shame and guilt – it doesn’t belong with you. It was never yours. It just got passed on to you when you didn’t know any better than to accept it.

Give yourself permission to become confident, authentic, spontaneous, happy and successful - and refuse to swallow any more of your mother's emotional poison!

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR

www.maxineharley.com Where you’ll find FREE e-booklets and videos to help you to better understand and recover from the difficulties with you're having with your rmother CLICK HERE

You'll also find a FREE e-booklet called Opti-Mum Parenting © - which will help you to feel more competent and confident in your role as a mother, and show you how healing your own emotional wounds enables you to be a better mother to your own child. I call this process 'Care & Repair From The Inside Out' (c)

www.maxineharleymentoring.com - helping women to understand and manage their emotions, boundaries and behaviours - to FEEL better, so they can BE, DO and HAVE better!

www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk - A series of 10 online self-help Psycho-Emotional-Educational workshops to help you to help yourself with a wide range of emotional, psychological and relationship problems.

Maxine Harley