For Daughters Who Long For Affection...
From their mothers...
I do realize mother's day just passed, but I believe this blog is necessary because I believe wholeheartedly that this is a common issue in society today. And, it's a common issue in my #BetweenLoveSeries
How are you and your mother related? You feel like you are nothing alike. As a child you never felt close, never felt like you fit in the family or were wanted. You spent your adolescence angry with her, rebelling against her and fighting with her. As an adult you quickly moved out of the house, made your own way, living by your own rules and your own standards. You’ve told yourself you don’t need her. Your friends are your family.
But then sometimes you talk to your mother on the phone, and at the end, you wish she said, “I love you,” instead of just goodbye.
Back home on holidays, you wish she was proud of you, wish that she bragged about you to the relatives and her friends. You seem to be the child your mother didn’t want. As you walk in her front door, she looks you up and down, judging you with her unfeeling gaze, as you secretly long for her to look in your eyes and smile. When you exchange the obligatory hug, you secretly wish she held you longer. You watch the way she talks to your other siblings. Why doesn’t she talk to you that way? Why does it feel like you two are always at odds? What is so wrong with you that your mother doesn’t like you?
Blinking away tears, you make an awkward joke in an attempt to disguise your feelings. You can’t let anyone see how you are aching inside.
There’s more to this story. You’re wounded. You have been hurt deeply and in those dark moments, you longed for a mother who would comfort you, take care of you, and affirm you. But when you were hurt, she wasn’t there. You were all alone, struggling, while your mother was far away.
Maybe she is the one that hurt you. Maybe she wounded you through a barrage of critical words or through her absence, through abandoning you in times you needed her.
Maybe she was cold and distant. Maybe she was overwhelming, critical, and verbally abusive. Whatever the case, she hurt you. She was supposed to be the one to care for you, and she hurt you.
Sometimes it makes you so angry. It’s not fair! Aren’t mothers supposed to love and accept their children? You are never good enough for her. You have never felt wanted. It feels like there is a hole in your heart that you can’t ever quite fill.
You find yourself looking for mothers in other places – a neighbor, a relative, a lover, a friend. They help fill the hole somewhat, but they’re never enough. No matter how many people you find to fill that hole, and no matter how independent you become, the hole is still there.
Frustrated by your mother’s absence or hypercritical eye, you examine yourself in the mirror to decide whether you are acceptable. You work very hard to accomplish things in your life. You work hard to be independent, attractive, and fascinating. Sometimes overworking yourself in the process. But then, you look in the mirror and are proud of the strong, confident, thriving woman you are.
You keep busy, since the busier you are, the less time you have to feel.
But then again, something triggers a memory. As you walk down the aisle in a supermarket, you overhear a mother's loving words to her daughters who want a specific kind of cereal. Somehow, this little, subtle thing, this sight triggers you and you start crying.
You cry for the mother you wish you had. You cry for the mother you have, who doesn’t seem to want you...
It’s true enough that all daughters of unloving and unattuned mothers have common experiences. The lack of maternal warmth and validation warps their sense of self, makes them lack confidence in or be wary of close emotional connection, and shapes them in ways that are both seen and unseen.
This rings true for both of my main heroines: INDIGO AND AIRIS. Indigo, a product of rape, had already had the odds stacked against her since birth. Her mother knew from the very beginning that she couldn't love her because she held eyes that mirrored her rapist. As a result of it, Indigo went searching for that love and affection from faulty friends like Samira, and an incapable lover, Raheem.
Whereas Airis' mother took her life when Airis was just 11 years old after finding out her husband had been having an affair. Since, Airis struggled with her self-identity and insecurities that later came back to haunt her when she, herself, was experiencing some of the things her own mother dealt with before her untimely death. Airis was so affected by this that she even found it difficult to be happy for others without feeling like, "damn, that should be me! Where the hell is my happy?"
I, myself, have struggled with my own relationship with my mother. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm adopted and love my mother for taking me in and raising me to be the woman I am today. But, in order for me to heal and continue to blossom, I cannot discount the things that have affected me, because my feelings are my own and are valid. It seemed that our relationship is seemingly flipped up and down faster than a light switch coming in and out of a room. I speak a lot about forgiveness because it's something we're taught to do immediately so that we don't block blessings (see the blog about this here). And yes, I've struggled with that because some of the things I felt were done to me by mother were unfair and not right and still conjures up horrible, horrible feelings whenever I think about it...Which is why this theme is so prevalent throughout my series.
One Takeaway I want readers to understand (that I had to come to terms with), especially readers who may have not always had the closest relationship with their mother, or their mother wasn't around in a way they needed, is that:
Having an absent mother is no reflection on your worth. You are immensely valuable baby girl!
The wound may never quite go away, but over time you will learn how to be your own mother, to live with grace and strength while still being authentic to yourself. You’re not a child anymore. Now you are a strong, independent woman. Sometimes you still ache for the mother you yearned for, but then you take a deep breath and find strength in yourself. And if you ever become a mother, you will know how to love your child. In the way, you always wanted to be loved.
It's also important to note that when you start to question some of the ways you behave (perhaps you frequently discount the importance of your own feelings, feel guilty when others are unhappy like Airis and hold yourself back from growing and gaining confidence like Indigo), you will realise that a big step in creating a new story for yourself and getting over not experiencing the affection you needed, is to confront and understand the old one and make room for new experiences.
As always, this is an open and non-judgemental space. If you're in need of venting or can relate to the topic at hand, comment below! Remeber, it's okay and you will grow through this!
I LIFE YOU!
Photo credit: Pinterest (Tash Couture)