Mother/daughter issues

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Mother/daughter issues
Thu, 06-26-2003 - 2:38pm
Hi everyone...

I am new to this board, but God do I need to vent. I know that it is probably politically incorrect to say, but I hate my mother. I have been told my whole life that I should honor my mother and father, but my question is why should I? Why should I show respect to a person who does nothing but critisizes me and tries to control my life. My father died when I was 13 (I am now 28) after a very long, very painful illness. I also have issues with my father. He was sexually abusive to me when I was 12. Something that I still have a very difficult time trying to deal with. My mother is aware of the situation between me and my father, but everytime I have mentioned it, she makes it about her. She thinks I am trying to make her feel guilty. Never once has she taken a moment to understand how it has impacted my life. My mother's new husband also knows and says that my father deserves forgiveness. Who the hell is he to tell me that? He isn't the one that had to suffer years from depression and shame. He isn't the one that has had to rationialize how a father who supposedly loved his daughter could do that to his own flesh and blood.

I feel extremely guilty about hating my mother. She loves me in her own way. She has also helped me out significantly monetarily. She thinks that because she has helped me that it gives her the right to say whatever hurtful or careless thing that comes into her head. She is overweight. By the time I was in my young teens she was telling me to not get fat. Well, ultimately, I did gain weight. Now, she is constantly telling me how beautiful I used to be. Because she has helped me with money she feels she has the right to tell me that I am irresponsible and that I make poor choices. I am the only one of my siblings that has held a job for over three years. I pay my own rent even though both of my olders brothers in their mid to late 30's have lived at home rent-free for months at a time. I came to this town to get a four-year degree, and I did. And yet, my mother thinks that I am a failure. She has accused me of being on drugs (I don't even drink). She is indifferent when I am sick. She ultimately has no maternal instincts at all. As long as I have food and clothing her duty to me is done. She has shown no emotional support or warmth to me whatsoever. I feel that everytime I start to build any semblance of self esteem, I see her and I am back to ground zero. What should I do?

I have tried to distance myself emotionally and physically from her, but how do I get so that her thoughts don't affect my life and self esteem so dramatically? How can I begin to develop positive relationships when I truly doubt that my parents have ever really loved me. In a way, I know that they do love me. But, their love has brought me so much pain. I feel so angry at my mother. I don't want to let go of that anger because then I might take the chance of letting her back into my heart. I don't want to take that chance again. I want to move on and never look back. But, it's my mother. How do I trust someone who constantly hurts me. How can I respect someone who doesn't respect me?

Anyways...Thank you for letting me vent. I do feel somewhat better.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Thu, 06-26-2003 - 4:24pm

You have had a very difficult painful life. I hope things get better. My first reaction after reading this letter is that you need to realize that your parents are not better than you, they do not have all the answers, and they definately are not perfect, so you cannot expect them to behave perfectly. Your father is extremely far from perfect, but I would like to focus on your mother. Try to realize that you are in control of your destiny and try to make steps to make that happen. Your mother cannot control your life because you are in control of your life, my advice is to just let her advice go in one ear and out the other. You can do the same with mine, I don't care. Tell her things like, "I see your point of view," and just stop there, you do not have to explain yourself to your mom. Your mother has absolutely no idea what it is like to go through sexual abuse, so she cannot relate to you about this, but talking about it brings up the betrayal/disgust she went through when she found out. Most people like to live in a state of denial, and you cannot force your mom to snap out of it if she doesn't want to. I recommend therapy in order to deal with this situation. Your stepfather is in an awkward position, and just wants to make your mother happy, which is probably why he said these things.

Maybe therapy can help sort out the feelings you have with your mother, maybe you can be able to love her on some level, which I am sure you already do. If she tells you you aren't pretty anymore I would give some response like, "I am like a fine wine and can only improve with time." I think distancing yourself at least in the short term will help you get her out of your head. Also, try some group activities, like Jazzersize or swimming classes or knitting class or volunteering at a local animal shelter. The busier you are, the more likely her thoughts will stay away. It is hard to build positive friendships and relationships when the relationship that has affected you most (family) wasn't a positive one. Just keep trying, you will eventually find some kindred spirits who you can share time with.

Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 06-26-2003 - 8:54pm
I completely agree with you: how can I respect someone who doesn't respect me.

I'm surprised you haven't gotten yourself into porno or stripteasing in clubs. You have a good head on your shoulder. I think you should cut the apron strings. Since you're more intelligent and 'grown up' than your mom, she doesn't admit that there's a problem. Find new environment, and distance yourself from her husband, too. Those people doesn't know what emotional problem you've been thru. Next time you blow up steam with your mom emphasize: "HOW CAN I RESPECT YOU IF YOU DON'T RESPECT ME!" Good luck with your schooling. For someone who doesn't know how to love her own daughter, because THEY HAVEN'T FOUND REAL LOVE THEMSELVES.

I asked my parents once if they love me and their answer was: I buy you clothes, and you have a home and food. And we send you to the best schools. If we didn't love you, you'd be living in the streets.

I thought: those were their responsibilities, I guess they can't tell the DIFFERENCE. They actually didn't know HOW to be a parent. Not until you have kids of your own. I did learned because I read books, and watch from examples from loving families.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Sat, 06-28-2003 - 2:00pm

I can totally relate to you. The part where you said that food, clothing, etc were a paren't responsibilities and not their love really hit home for me. Shortly after my dad died, my mother lose her job. She won a settlement from it. She went from dead-end job to dead-end job. My grandfather died and was very wealthy, and she inhertited a small fortune. Still, I was always afraid to ask for clothes or whatever because she always made me feel so guilty. She would use that against me if we ever got in an argument. "How can you treat your mother like this when I have given you everything." What she never gave me though was hugs or encouragement. I guess I am starting to learn that I can't depend on my mother for the love and support that I need. That's why I am here, to find an outlet outside my mother. As for becoming a porn star....don't think that I haven't thought about it:)