when it matters most, she won’t be there

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my mother

There is a certain feeling I carry with me. I guess it would be safe to say it’s been there the majority of my life. I don’t share it with others because I’ve always felt that it’s something I need to hide. Maybe a part of me didn’t want to believe it was true. Maybe a part of me wanted to believe it was one of those things where I could just say ‘don’t be so daft, it’s all in your head’. Maybe the soul-crushing shame of it made it impossible to share with anyone.

Last Wednesday, at my session just before the Easter break, T suggested that I should think about writing a letter to my mother explaining how her current behaviours and comments make me feel. He said I could either read it to her, or just leave it for her to read whenever she wanted–the way to tell her would be up to me. I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. I wasn’t sure it was something I would be able to do. I didn’t want her to feel bad. I didn’t want her to feel like I was blaming her for the problems in my life. I didn’t want her to be mad at me.

I thought about it some more and in the end I decided I would try to talk to her but I would go about it in a less direct way. Instead of telling her that the things she says and does makes things harder and makes me feel bad, I would just tell her how I was feeling in general. I thought it would be better if I left it all about me. I thought that maybe she would be understanding, or at least try to be, if she knew how I was feeling.

So, last Thursday I sat her down and told her that I was feeling really overwhelmed with life lately. I told her that some days, it’s really hard to just keep moving forward and I explained that there are times I wish I was no longer here. She sat there, listened and then responded:

Well, if you decide to go and have a breakdown don’t think I’m sticking around for it. I’m not taking care of things. I’ll be outta here. 

Then she walked away.

It felt like a giant lead ball was swinging over my head threatening to crash down on me and if I were to walk out of the house at that very moment and kill myself, it would just be a giant inconvenience for her.

Her response only confirmed the feeling that I never talk about–that I have always been, and will always be, too much for my mother. I am too much for her and the minute things get hard she will leave me to deal with it on my own.

It’s an awful feeling when the one person who should be there for you unconditionally isn’t. What I’ve learned from my mother is that it is not okay to have needs. When my own neediness gets in the way, I fall back into old patterns, wanting to please her and end up hurt all over again. My own hopefulness gets in the way. I get all hopeful that my mother will suddenly change and treat me well and, even though I know that’s nothing more than wishful thinking, I get sucked in anyway. I end up feeling as devastated at 42 as I did when I was a small child.

The weekend was hard. I felt very alone. I messaged T about what she said and he said it was hard to comprehend. I asked him if he was going to leave too and he responded ‘I suppose you think everyone will leave’.

‘Of course I think everyone will leave’, I wanted to scream at him. The tiny voice in my head constantly whispers, ‘be careful, because what happens once can happen again’. If my own mother, the person who’s supposed to love me, doesn’t, why should anyone else? If she won’t stick around when things gets hard, what reason would anyone else have to stay either?

The conversation with my mother only confirmed that what I’ve been carrying around for so many years is true.

When it matters most, she won’t be there. 

13 thoughts on “when it matters most, she won’t be there

  1. I am so sorry! That sounds so incredibly painful. It’s so hard to have to go through life with that feeling of being too much and too needy or too sensitive. And, it is so hard to have that nagging thought in the back of your head that if your own mother leaves, then what is to stop anyone else from leaving. I just want to say, I get it, in my own way. And you’re definitely not alone.

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  2. I’m so sorry Kerry. As your T says, this is so hard to comprehend. I felt so sad and disappointed for you reading this post.

    It’s like being the mothered motherless, when our mothers are unable to provide for even basic emotional needs. It goes against biology and it hurts so so much.

    I’m sure your T has said this already but please know it’s not because you’re too much, not at all. It’s because for some reason inherent to her, your Mum hasn’t been able to be enough. I know this is still hugely horribly painful, but it’s not your fault.

    Sending strength to you across the seas ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • it sucks. I feel like I have a lot of decisions to make right now. It’s so hard putting myself before others, but I think I need to figure out a way to do it. Living this way is not helping with anything else. uggggghhhh!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You do need to put yourself first, which I know is so hard. Last summer I had to make the decision to cut my mum off completely, which was and is so painful for everyone involved but I could see no other way forward. It has given me space to process things in therapy and means I’m not having to split so much because when with her I had to pretend all was fine and it made it hard to get to the feelings and the reality of how not fine it all was xx


    • thanks Ashley. It’s hard. I try to remember when things weren’t so difficult and sometimes I wonder if they always were but I was just so good at not ‘being here’ that I kind of lived my life none-the-wiser. I think sometimes once you start to notice things, that’s when the struggle really begins.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have a similar relationship with my father. I have had to detach completely from him and have been estranged for 16 years. I do see him on occasion, niece and nephew birthdays but we do not speak. We say hello, he will criticize me, I say “fuck you” in my head and we go our separate ways. You can cut the toxic ties to her. It will never get better if she is ignorant of her role in your pain. It wasn;t easy but has been the best thing I have ever done for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

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