Portrait of happy mother and her daughter cooking in the kitchen

When Your Mother Is Constantly Against You, She Loses You

My mother thought she was always right. When my parents separated and my father moved out of our house, my mom was bitterly angry, resentful and sad. All of it made sense, and I couldn’t fault her for it. The demise of a marriage and a household is truly tragic, and it occurs far too frequently. But, I still have a very hard time forgiving her for her subsequent actions. She simply couldn’t stay strong for me and my younger brother, who were, of course, traumatized and afraid. Often, she would crawl into bed with me in the middle of the night, crying. As an 11-year-old, I was forced to comfort her as she mourned her loss, when it should’ve been the other way around. I came to see our short and infrequent visits with our father as an escape, a refuge from our mother’s depressed and erratic behavior.

I desperately wanted to move in with him instead. If I even mentioned my dad’s name in my mom’s presence, I was reprimanded with cutting words and angry  accusations. She demanded the impossible of me: that I choose her over my other parent. The result, of course, was me picking my dad. She hit me. I hated to abandon my brother, but I had to. She refused to see me or speak to me for nearly two years. I was barely 12, going through all the trials and confusion of adolescence, and my mother abandoned me. Only recently have I fully come to realize how deeply her actions affected and damaged me. It’s nothing short of selfish and dysfunctional to leave your child high and dry when she desperately needs you. I’m 31, and I’m still working through my anger and fear of abandonment. Granted, my brother had still been coming to visit my dad, so she was around. But, she refused to see me or speak to me in that entire time.

There were four years of custody battles, therapy sessions, decisions and reversals. One summer, after a long stretch of visitation, my father showed up to take me and my brother with him, and she completely lost it. It was the last time I visited her or saw her at all, except from a distance. She has attempted to reach out to me over the past several years, but I have no desire to reconcile. After all this time, I’m finally realizing I’m not like her. I’ve been blind to the fact that despite her absence from my life, she still affects everything I do. And now, I’m ready to stop that