I wish I felt the same way about my mom as others do.

Mothers are the champions in our world. They’re painted as the heroes of the family. They’re our backbones. They’re our cheerleaders. They’re our teachers.

Most children describe their moms as their rocks. They can't imagine where they would be without their mothers.  Most kids can’t fathom a life without their moms.

In a perfect world, I wish mine didn’t exist. This is where the friction begins.

Today, May 13th, 2018, is the day where we honor and recognize our matriarchs. It’s Mother’s Day. It’s the day where airwaves and social media will be flooded with images of gratitude and thoughtful messages of the women who gave us life.

It’s a day I struggle with every year. I can’t seem to find anything about my mother that I want to celebrate. 

I scoff and roll my eyes as I look for a card and a gift for my mother. Everything seems so disingenuous to me.

I find the most generic card with minimal praise and throw a few dollars in it to keep her happy, at least,  for the moment.

This is where the conflict intensifies.

I don’t see my mom as the world does nor how other people think I should. To bluntly, I don’t love my mom. Others berate me saying I should. It’s annoying and stressful. When I think of my mom, I think of pain. Others insist that she loves me. I see her “love” as a disguise for misplaced hate and unhealed internal heartache.

This is the problem that exists.

Mother-daughter relationships are iconic in our culture. Perhaps, some may suggest they’re sacred.

The society paints a picture of what a mother-daughter bond should look like. It’s one that simply doesn’t exist for my mom and me. She knows. I know. It pains her. What she doesn’t believe, it pains me too.

I pride myself being able to figure things out. I’m a great problem solver. I can’t seem to resolve this continuous strain in this relationship with my mother. It frustrates me. Honestly, I’ve subconsciously given up.

How can a child harbor so much hate for the woman who gave her life?

Her presence, to be more precise, her words and actions haven’t been the most life-giving.

I remember vividly when  I found out I was going to finally live my dream of being a reporter. I walked into her apartment. I told her the exciting news. She asked what I was going to do with my hair. No congratulations. No good job. I immediately turned around and began to walk out.

I recall the moments while riding in the back seat of her car, she telling me no man would want a woman like me. She told me this numerous times over the years noting my hair, my smell, and personality as the factors. These words stab me in the heart with each failed relationship I have with a man.

I have all the times she looked me at in disgust and walked away because my appearance wasn’t up to her standards etched in the back of my brain.

I’ve lost count of all the ugly screaming matches we’ve had and her threatening to kill herself because she thinks no one loves her. She would suggest she would do us all a favor by ending her life. These fights often ignited whenever I tried to get her to see her a perspective other than her own. I avoid these conversations now.

Some of my deepest insecurities are echoes of my mother’s voice. Some of my darkest memories have my mother’s face on them.

There has been friction in our relationship as I long as I can remember. It became greater when she separated from my abusive father.

Since then, it appears she’s been vying for my love and validation, but it wasn’t until I got older I realized this competition began way before I came into the picture.

My mom has endured great abuse and trauma her whole life. I tried to view her through that lens. Hurt people, hurt people, right? I hoped this realization would soften my heart and release more grace in dealing with her. It did temporarily. Repeat offenses shifted my gaze and grew my rage instead. I see a trauma-stricken woman void of hope and no desire to move from that dark place. So, her trauma spills over to her children through her interactions with them. I am at capacity. I’m overfilling with hurt.   I don’t want to be inflicted anymore or have it transcend into further generations. I’m tired of her excuses. Mine as well. So, I distance myself.  The physical distance has created an internal one too.

This is where guilt sets in.

I want nothing to do with my mom. I am happiest when I am separated from her.  However, I don’t want her to stay trapped in her mental and spiritual hell forever. How exhausting is to live a life absent of hope, love, and peace?

I haven’t been the perfect daughter. I haven’t been the best representative of Christ. I lack grace. I’m void of mercy. I’m incapable of forgiveness. I’m guilty of a hardened heart…maybe a blackened soul. I expect more from the woman who gave me life. I refuse to lower the standard and meet her where she is. I’m angry.  It seems as the roles have reversed.  I am the mother, she’s the child. I feel burdened that I have to clean up a mess that I didn’t create.

I want to make it clear my feelings toward my mother don’t negate her sacrifice or labor in raising us alone. She did her best. She did all she can do with the resources given to her.

These actions don’t excuse her behavior and neglect to change it.

I think there’s a guilt that follows her that she couldn’t provide to her children as she wished or how we wanted. I feel she now holds her children in debt to repay her for these actions.  It's a debt that seems impossible to repay. There’s a not enough gratitude, love, validation, and achievement that can pay it.  I'm spiritually and psychologically bankrupt in my attempt to repay her. We’re always in debt to her. We always fall short in some way. I feel it shouldn’t be this way. Weren’t those acts labors of love? Isn’t that what mothers are supposed to do and expect nothing in return?

Am I wrong?

My relationship with mom is a tough one to navigate. It’s a complicated one to explain. As I get older, It’s harder one to rationalize to keep going. I thought these issues would subside or get better after my father’s death. They didn’t.

I literally don’t know what to do about my mom or how I feel about her. I’ve been to counseling. I pray. I can’t find a way to mend it. I don’t know how to have it resurrected and new life breathed into our fractured bond. I honestly don’t think it can be repaired or revived. I hoped for this for years.

I refuse to sugarcoat my relationship with my mom. There’s truth in pain. There’s healing in acknowledging the truth. May comfort come soon. Perhaps, reconciliation will follow. I pray peace precedes it all.

So, on this Mother’s day, I proclaim I got mommy issues. Maybe, you do too.

This is Love Transformed.


Author's Note: I struggled to write this post. I was afraid. I’ve started and stopped it many times over the past few years. I didn’t know where to begin. I got frustrated trying to organize my thoughts while fighting through tears. I didn’t know what to share. More importantly, I was afraid of backlash. I feared what my family, friends, and mom would say.  I dreaded what they would think.  Would I retain the label as the ungrateful, cold daughter? There are two sides to every story and truth is somewhere in between. I worried if this narrative would be rich of self-pity and victimization.

The world is sin-ridden and broken. People are too. Relationships feel the brunt of that. To heal pain, one must recognize it. Ignoring gaping wounds don’t heal them. My relationship with my mother is a painful one. Truth isn’t always pristine or comfortable. Perfect lives, in this case, relationships only exist in fairytales and fictitious storylines. One’s truth shouldn’t be silenced because of how others may perceive it. Truth can be the voice that sheds light, illuminates the path of darkness and despair and sparks courage for healing and hope. It can also be the roadmap to restoration and reconciliation. There’s often some pain in truth.

 

Published by Marlenia Jewell