Mental Matters,  Parenting

I’m The Parent I Wish I’d Had

When I tell people I cut my mother out of my life they look at me like I’ve gone mad, they imagine some terrible crime has been committed or that she must be on the drink, or drugs, or both and that I must be protecting my children in some way.

It’s been five years since I last saw her bar the odd glance in the supermarket and it might shock you if I tell you, she’s not an addict, she’s a millionaire, she’s educated and has never so much as smoked a cigarette let alone tried drugs.

She owns several beautiful houses and in her youth dreamed of being a ballet dancer. She’s tall and slim and blonde and if you met her even now at 60 you would call her beautiful.

But that, is actually one reason why I don’t see her anymore.

My mother you see is a narcissist.

I grew up in awe of her! Everyone loved her, her perfect house, her perfect figure, her dancing and her crafts……. the only thing this perfect women didn’t have though, was a perfect daughter…..

I look back now and I wonder, though I have no way of knowing for sure, if she had an eating disorder. Such was her need for perfection. She couldn’t have children, she barely had periods, so she adopted. She adopted two broken little girls that didn’t meet her vision of what children should be.

They didn’t sit right at the table, they didn’t look right or weigh the right amount, they didn’t talk how they should, or possess the talents and interests they should.

Both my sister and I reacted differently to this pressure of perfection, once our father left. My big sibling didn’t last long…… she rebelled and at age 11 was asked to leave. I only saw her twice a year after that. So I set about complying, I did everything I could to earn my mothers love. At 13 she’d had enough of me and shipped me off into the care system, telling them they better take me or she’s dump me at the police station.

My crime?? Embarrassing her by telling people my step father was abusive…. she didn’t want anyone to know such was her shame!!!! Social services didn’t take me away ……and so I was left, for a Police Officer to find with a bin bag of clothes outside the station.

Yet I continued on our weekly visits to try and make her love me! I worked hard at school. Tried not to complain about being in care or the horrible foster parents I had because it made her feel guilty. I got a 1st class degree but it was the wrong subject. I worked but it wasn’t a ‘real job’ because it wasn’t in an office. I lost weight but it was never enough. I had Grandchildren but I didn’t bring them up right or how I should and my pregnant body was gross and my stretch marks were gross and I was too young to have cellulite.

And then she bought me a house ….. only to take it away less than a year later because I wasn’t grateful enough……

So I cut her out, and now?! Now I’m the happiest I have ever been in my life! I no longer feel inadequate, I no longer hear that voice in my head that says I’m ugly and I don’t work hard enough….. and I don’t miss her……

It’s true that the things we say to our children become their inner voice……. so while this may seem shocking it happens more often than you know, glossed over with a veneer of middle class!!

But we can all learn from it as Mothers! For me? I hope my children never feel obligated to me. I hope they always feel free to be who they want to be and I hope they never feel that they have to earn my love!! The love I give them is truly free and without condition…… sometimes you just have to be the parent you wish you had.

photo credit: tonotic.artteam Double exposure photoshop action via photopin (license)
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