Lost in a Sea of Distrust


The End of a Relationship

“Her mom doesn’t like her.”  

I was not prepared for my daughter’s words as they came from the backseat of the car while I was taking my niece home.  

“Why does your mom not like you?” my niece asked.  

That conversation confirmed this new stage of grief. My own mother doesn’t like me and never will.

Five days earlier had confirmed I would never again have a relationship with her. “Hey, this is your mom. I really need to talk to you, it’s important, thank you.” That voicemail was the first I had heard from my mom in over eight months—through birthdays, holidays, and the changing of years. She had texted once during that time, which solidified that we weren’t able to work things out. During these months I had come to terms that our relationship was at a stalemate, but I hoped someday we could reconcile.

My thoughts ran through a series of assumptions—a family member must be hurt or dead—but she sounded like she does when she is going to scold me. Maybe she was stressed about family. I quickly called her back.

Over the next hour, my worldview would be forever changed. She asked how I was doing, I asked back, and then she launched into a series of accusations: "Did you hurt your daughter? Why was she in the hospital five years ago? Is it true that this happened on this date?" On and on she accused. After eight months of struggling to deal with my mom’s separation, longing for the comfort of a mom that didn’t exist, and my guilt of keeping her separated from the family since I’m her only daughter, this was where she decided to start. By accusing me as a mother and then demanding to see my kids. I was shocked, shaken, and shaking. Questions reeled through my head as she asked these detailed questions.

How does she know my daughter was in the hospital on a specific date? Was that even the right date? Who told her this information? Did I somehow share this information with another family member? No. Did I ever do something wrong for her to be able to hold over me? No. Will she try to take my own kids away from me? Yes. Does she really dislike me enough to accuse me like this? Yes.

After an hour of trying to figure out how to get off the phone with her without provoking her, I hung up the phone and sobbed. That was the end of my relationship. That was it. There was no saving this relationship ever. She has not been, and never will be, a safe person.

Breaking the Mold

I am shattered. Broken. Lost. I have no mother, I never had a real mother, and I never will have a mother.

She had always been lost in a sea of distrust, anger, and anguish. As her only daughter, I tried to be what she longed for. I took the verbal abuse. I empathized with her broken upbringing and excused her lack of mothering. I listened to dysfunctional family relationships. I attended cult churches of her choice, watched her breakdowns, apologized for every wrongdoing. I prayed to be better, to fit her mold of who I should be. As she yelled, accused and disapproved I tried, I prayed, and we were together.

As life changed, I grew. I met my husband and his family. They were Christians, they made mistakes, and God still loved them, and they loved each other—brokenness and all. I am sure I would have seen this as I grew over time in a number of ways, I just happened to encounter this perspective change with them first.

I realized I didn’t have to fit this mold of a person for God to love me (or others to love me) and struggled to understand why I needed to fit this mold for my mom, for her and I to be in harmony. Couldn’t she see who I was and accept me for that? No. And the breakdown started. I would no longer accept her long, accusing talks. No longer accept her view of me. No longer excuse her behavior because of her long-ago broken upbringing. No longer excuse her selfishness and lack of acceptance.

Over many hurtful occurrences we have tried to piece this relationship together, even though I knew the fundamental differences were growing. I would not let this dysfunction continue on for another generation. I would bear the hurt of my childhood and not pass it on to my children. I would not excuse my own behavior. I would let my kids grow up and be messy, make mistakes, and live in a world of grace—something my mom does not comprehend.

She stated in our last conversation that she blames my husband and his family for what went wrong with me. She hopes I will wake up one day and realize the error of my ways and go back to how things were.  

She disagrees with my whole life. She questions my ability to be a mom. She is not safe. 

I mourn the loss of my mom. The mom I never had. The mom I never will have. I mourn being that daughter she wants but will never have. I am shattered.  

My mom doesn’t like me.  

Loss and Fear

I feel alone in this loss. It is so different, so unconventional. I cannot openly grieve to the world because my mother did not die—I am pushing her out.

Judge me. Forget about my struggle.  

I fear my mom will come after me. She doesn’t understand her wrongdoings; I fear for her mental stability.  

On my childrens’ school forms I have to write down my own mother’s name in the “Do Not Let Them Take My Child” section.

Others say they understand, they have family problems, too. But they isolate me even more. You do not understand. You have no idea.

My mother, the sole parent growing up, disagrees with how I live my life completely. My conventional, white-picket-fence of a life. I married my high school sweetheart, had a house and a rental house before age 30, bought a new car, went to college, own my own business, am raising three kids, go to bake sales, church, and kids' activities—and this whole world is not right to her. I am living in opposition to how I was raised, pushing the one who raised me away, and I am all alone without her.

How do I push this to the side, move on? The world feels so dark. How do I trust others, push my business to grow, be an invested mother and wife, when I feel so shattered? When I fear my own mother showing up at my house unexpectedly? When I am debating about moving, just so I can put that fear to bed? When I question whether or not I need to cut out the rest of that side of my family—and even Facebook friends—for fear I will say something that will get back to her?

I fear no one is safe. That if my own mother can betray me so deeply, how can the rest of the world be safe? A world where I don’t have a home base. Where I have no comforting smells of childhood.

How do I be the mother I never had to my own little ones? How do I be a safe person to them when I feel no one is safe?

In a world where I need to reach out to others, so I don’t burn out as a wife and parent, and to grow my business. I am struggling. I don’t want to connect, or reach out.

This is hard.

My mom doesn’t like me.

This post was originally shared on March 21, 2017.

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