How to Deal with Unsupportive Mother?
May 7, 2011 5:42 AM   Subscribe

How to Deal with Unsupportive Mother?

I'm 26, I've had serious problems getting along with my mom growing up until a few years ago when she mellowed out. She's had a mean streak- judging, unforgiving, dismissive, etc. We had been getting along well to the point it felt like I could really talk to her about myself, relationship stuff, etc. You know, more like friends than mother-daughter. I disclosed to her that I decided to send a closure email to my ex of 7 years who I broke up with last year- this email really helped ME and it was kind and it's okay whatever the outcome because it's what I needed. I felt so good that I wanted to share with her, so I called and she basically responded with...well why would you do that? that was a mistake! he'll never resond. that was a bad idea.

I haven't been this reactively upset in a long time, I'm just sobbing and I hate her right now. She will never change. I actually thought she had learned to be kind and supportive as a mother, but she's still clueless about how to be a good parent. She doesn't deserve to know ANYTHING deep about me or about relationship stuff. She's never understood me, she's always more in line with my brothers and it has always hurt me. I will never talk to her about these topics agian, she has proven herself underserving and that's the LAST TIME I am putting myself in that position for her to shoot me down. Should have known better.

As I start to get out in the dating world again, I thought I'd be kinda talking to my mom about guys I meet etc, maybe that's not normal? I don't know? I would have liked to be able to share a dating story with her now and then but maybe it's for the best if I did not do that? It would have been nice to have her as a support.

And the last thing I want to do (that I already agreed to) is go to her house for mother's day this weekend. Just gotta get through it.
posted by dt2010 to Human Relations (29 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
What you want and what you have in that relationship are two different things. Obviously you can not change who your mother is.

Set the limits you need to set in terms of topics of conversation and time spent with her. If she pushes, brings up off limit topics (relationships, for example), look her in the eye and say "We don't do well with that topic." and move on to something else. Spend time with her when you feel good about it in amounts that are comfortable. It really isn't any more complicated than that.

I would suggest, also, that you seek a solid base of affirmation (wise friends, therapist, whatever works for you) to remind you that you have a right to set these limits and to encourage you as you process through changing how you relate to your mother.

As for Mother's day, just say something came up, you can't make it. You're an adult, you have the right to your own life and you do not need to explain or justify.
posted by tomswift at 5:54 AM on May 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

It sounds like you were initially happy to have a 'friend'-style relationship with her, and then as soon as she acted like a friend, you found out that that wasn't really what you were looking for?

Clearly there's a lot of backstory here, but the amount of anger and sturm und drang is out of line for what sound like a pretty reasonable 'Hey, that sounds like a bad idea to me.' (If you look through relationship + letter questions on here, note how often the 'Sure, write the letter -- then throw it out' idea comes up)

Some people talk to their parents about dating. Some people do not. If you don't enjoy talking to your Mom about boys, if you don't get anything useful out of it -- it's not a required activity, so feel free to limit yourself to other topics.

It sounds like you are looking for unconditional positive regard from your mother -- 'kind and supportive' -- not a friendship, where this sort of honest 'Yeah, I can't believe you did that' comes up from time to time. Make sure your hopes and expectations are clear to your mother because right now it looks like you're trying to make her play a little game she is guaranteed to lose. Be my friend but don't forget you're my mother and what I really want is mothering, not... Yes, you see. If you gave off enough 'I want you to be my friend' signals, she may have thought she was doing what you wanted her to do. For many people, being told when they're doing something they shouldn't IS a significant support.
posted by kmennie at 5:54 AM on May 7, 2011 [31 favorites]

You're 26. You're an adult. She offered you an opinion you didn't agree with, if you're going to hate her every time she does that then why tell her anything? I don't know anyone who regularly shares 'dating stories' with their mother. Go to her house. Be nice. Get on with your own life. Talk about this stuff with your friends and try not to hate them if they're honest with you.
posted by joannemullen at 5:57 AM on May 7, 2011 [17 favorites]

I understand how disappointing it must be but you answered your own question by stating that you are not going to share this kind of information with her anymore. I know it would be nice to have the type of mom you could do that with, but some of us just don't.

Acceptance of who your mom is in reality as opposed to how you wish she was in a perfect world will make the pain and disappointment diminish significantly. I know this from first hand experience and wish I could say it totally goes away... but there is always a lingering disappointment. But it does get a lot better.
posted by murrey at 5:57 AM on May 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

I don't have a friend relationship with my mom. If it's something that is important to me then I absolutely don't tell her about it. This also extends to taking her to places I really like when she visits because she will find something she hates about it and then I'll hear her voice in my head whenever I go back. It sucks not to have that closeness but when you accept what "is" and stop hoping for what will never be then you'll find peace with it.
posted by dawkins_7 at 6:03 AM on May 7, 2011 [7 favorites]

I'm a mom and a daughter, so I can see both sides here. Just yesterday, my mother gave me unsolicited advice about pest control, my career and how freeing it is to pare down one's possessions - all of which I chose, after an eye roll and a deep breath, to interpret as love and caring rather than criticism. I've learned that if I need to vent and whine I tell her up front, "I'd just like you to listen and not give advice today."

Could you start to gently reframe this relationship by saying to your mother, "It really hurt my feelings the other day when you told me I'd made a mistake in sending the letter" instead of sobbing and hating and thinking about blowing her off on Mother's Day?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:36 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

It doesn't sound like she was trying to be mean, it just sounds like she blurted out her too-honest opinion.

If it happens a lot, you can try talking to her gently about it, warning her ahead of time of the reaction you want to certain news. "I'm happy about this and it's important to me and I want you to be happy for me: I just [news she might not like]!"

Or you can avoid things if you think she might blurt out something upsetting. That doesn't always mean all relationship news. Maybe she supports 99% of the decisions that you make and just thought that this one decision was not the greatest, and maybe you know her well enough to guess in advance what her reaction will be.

Or you can just cope with having different opinions.
posted by anaelith at 6:37 AM on May 7, 2011

I read this as her quickly imagining that you hoped for a response from him and would be hurt if you didn't get one, and feeling hurt on your behalf and responding to that hurt. I can imagine blurting out something like that, in that situation. [Of course, I am not your mom and I don't know her or your history with her].

You might pick up Deb Tannen's book You're Wearing That?. I found it very helpful .... and I shared it with my mom :)
posted by bunderful at 6:53 AM on May 7, 2011

From your description, it doesn't sound like she was trying to be mean.

BUT, as someone who once would have referred to 20 minutes of my mother berating, yelling, and bringing up all of my (many) failings as "She disagreed with me", AND given your response, I'm wondering if there was more to her response than that.

As others have said, this is classic "you can't change the person, you can only change your reaction to the person". It helps to not have any expectations about getting the response you want, but it also requires vigilance; sometimes she'll suck you back in with a response that seems to be exactly what you're looking for and then it's even more painful when she reverts to type.

If you feel you can't cancel on Mother's Day, give yourself an out and tell her you have to be at work earlier than usual or something so you can leave when you can't stand it any more.
posted by camyram at 6:54 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

"I actually thought she had learned to be kind and supportive as a mother, but she's still clueless about how to be a good parent."

I would not expect a good parent to say, "You have done something self-destructive that could leave you open to hurt and/or ridicule; good for you! I completely support you!"

Good parenting comes with unconditional LOVE, but that is not the same thing as unconditional SUPPORT or unconditional APPROVAL, and parents who think it DOES mean unconditional support or approval raise those little monsters whose parents are bailing them out for DUIs at 16 and arguing that they shouldn't be expelled for extreme bullying and making excuses that they really didn't MEAN to do whatever, people just don't understand their little angel ...

Yes, it's different as an adult, they're supposed to bite their tongue more, but when I do something incredibly dumb, I still expect my parents to tell me it's incredibly dumb. Because parents provide guidance and, because of their position as parents, can say things to you other people can't.

Your reaction seems way out of proportion to her action; your expectations for how a parent should be have seem skewed. Have you been to therapy about this yet? You might need to, to gain a sense of perspective and proportionality, as well as work through how to cope with this. It's possible that years of bad parenting have led you to be unable to see what a normal parent/child relationship would look like.

BTW, I actually don't think it's useful to share your entire romantic life with your parent(s). It's a thing it's hard for parents to bite their tongue about because they want the best for you, and a romantic partner is Big Important Thing. It's hard for them to have the same perspective you have on your dating life because they feel so strongly about YOU, and they can't relate to the stories about your partner except through that lens. I've been married almost nine years, my family loves my husband, and I would never tell my parents the specifics of a serious-but-normal fight we had because I wouldn't want to impair his relationship with my family, and they couldn't help being on my side. They'd be madder about it much longer than I would. If we're having a thing, I'll just say something like, "Oh, we're having a disagreement about retirement accounts, it's very frustrating, I'm really aggravated, but we'll sort it out." I'm not going to go into specifics because that's going to end up with my mom (in particular) mad at my husband on my behalf. Dating and romance stories are for your friends.

I can also tell you, having three siblings, it's such a freaking emotional rollercoaster for me when they date someone, I get to meet them, and then they break up with them. I liked that person! I didn't like that person! Wait, now that person I liked is mean! They were unfair to my sibling! Ack, I have to unfriend her on facebook! God, that guy was a moron, thank God they broke up! I have to stop getting emotionally invested in their boyfriends and girlfriends! And almost worst of all I have to bite my tongue and not say ANYTHING about it, because how is it remotely helpful for me to be like, "I'm so bummed you dumped Jessica, she was great!"? You go out of your way to be welcoming and friendly to this new person who may or may not end up in your family and then they're just suddenly gone ... I can only imagine how much harder it is for parents. It seriously stresses me out for days and I'm sad for weeks when one of my siblings breaks up. They're over it and I'm still feeling bad for them.

Anyway, tl;dr that last two paragraphs: Share romantic information with your family carefully, and largely on an as-needed basis. "I'm dating this guy, he's an architect, he likes to ski, things are going well" is plenty of information. "Oh, been on a few internet dates lately, nothing really panning out," is plenty of information. Save the deep inner romantic life stuff for friends, unless there's a compelling reason you need family support on this one.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:04 AM on May 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

You're generalizing a lot of her reaction to this situation as representative of who she is, how she behaves, her capability as a parent, as a friend, and the entirety of your history together. Also, some of your reaction and hurt emotions may be borne out of surprise that even though you two have this this 'friend-like' layer to your relationship, you found that she still has a huge amount of power over you and your emotional state. And you might be upset with yourself that you've continued to allow her to have that much influence, even at 26 and despite the new deal.

Don't be angry with yourself for divulging to her. Don't feel like a fool for trusting. Praise yourself for your continued attempts to build new ways to relate to your mother. Forgive yourself for being naive, hopeful, optimistic, sharing, compassionate and forgiving. All of those qualities are in you when you make a step closer to your mother, against all that history of hurt. But also learn from this situation and guard yourself from future misery by setting boundaries with her, but also with yourself (how much you share, and how much power and influence you let her have over your emotional state). It's an ever-changing process. You'll get better at rapid re-calibration. And the relationship you two have will be better for any and all the time and thought and carefulness you continue to invest in it.

But until then, sit with the suck and feel it until it lessens it's hold over you. If you just exhaust yourself of it now, you'll be ready sooner to have a pleasant, peaceful Sunday.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:12 AM on May 7, 2011

If one of my friends had told me that they sent their ex a "closure letter" I would have reacted the same way as your mom. Those kind of letters are the ones you write and then burn, not send.

Maybe the issue here isn't that your mom is terrible but that she said some things that hurt because they were true.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:37 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

The letter I sent was more of a hope you're doing well and have found happiness. There was no hostility at the breakup, it was just that we'd grown apart after 7 years. I fail to understand why this is such a "bad" thing to do. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, and thought it was actually for the better. I don't even care if I do or do not get a response.
posted by dt2010 at 7:56 AM on May 7, 2011

And it was only a few sentences, not a long letter.
posted by dt2010 at 7:58 AM on May 7, 2011

I haven't been this reactively upset in a long time, I'm just sobbing and I hate her right now. She will never change. I actually thought she had learned to be kind and supportive as a mother, but she's still clueless about how to be a good parent. She doesn't deserve to know ANYTHING deep about me or about relationship stuff. She's never understood me, she's always more in line with my brothers and it has always hurt me. I will never talk to her about these topics agian, she has proven herself underserving and that's the LAST TIME I am putting myself in that position for her to shoot me down. Should have known better.

I can see you're very upset but that actually sounds like a childish outburst, not a considered assessment of what went wrong.

You did something that a lot of people would advise against doing (i.e. send the email), it made you feel good, you told your mum, she turns out to be one of the people who would have advised against it if you'd told her before you hitting send. She says so, because she's concerned about you getting hurt as a result of your action. Sounds like a very normal parental reaction to me. It's not her job to congratulate you on doing something that may result in more pain for you. Clearly it would have been more respectful if she'd listened to whatever else you may have told her, like that you didn't expect a response etc and what you hoped to achieve and had taken time to think about her response. But nobody is perfect and she's entitled to have an opinion.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:04 AM on May 7, 2011 [7 favorites]

"I fail to understand why this is such a "bad" thing to do."


"this email really helped ME"

...did it help him? Probably not. Is it possible that it was actually unhelpful, unwanted contact that left him feeling unsettled, perhaps sad? Yes. This is why one generally doesn't actually send those sorts of letters -- they are usually selfish undertakings, and with "it's okay whatever the outcome because it's what I needed" it seems clear that this was that flavour of undertaking. Next time, just write it and throw it away instead of involving the other party.
posted by kmennie at 8:09 AM on May 7, 2011 [8 favorites]

I don't really think whether or not you sent the email (being a good or bad idea) is relevant. You did it, you were happy about it, you shared it with your mother, and then got a response that shook you up bc it wasn't what you were expecting or hoping for. I think some people don't really know what it feels like to have unsupportive parents- it's pretty painful. (many comments are not just out of 'love' and 'i don't want to see you get hurt'. Some parents are hurtful (and/or disinterested) knowingly or unknowingly and it's really hard to accept and get over.) That's why people get therapists and chose friends wisely- so that you do have a source of support. I'm sorry people are saying that you shouldn't have done something and that you're acting childish. I know that's not what you want to read here. But I do think you should get a therapist so you can delineate how you want your relationship(s?) to proceed in the future, and also to provide some non-judgemental support. Good luck! And sunday will be fine...just keep it 'lite' and nice...and leave early.
posted by bquarters at 9:11 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your relationship with your mom sounds a lot like mine.

My mother and I basically never got along until I was in my twenties, and our relationship over the last decade or so has been more friendly than parental. She doesn't really seem to actually want to talk to me most of the time, isn't really supportive of any of my choices, doesn't understand the reality of what my life is like, and tends to give really bad advice.

This can be really fucking disheartening. In a lot of ways I feel like I never really had a mother.

This is sort of empty advice, but my best way of dealing with it is just to acknowledge her shortcomings and the reality of the situation and then try to move forward without having too much regret or jealousy towards my peers' more normal relationships with their parents.

This is not easy to do, and I'm not sure it's the "right" thing to do - maybe it's better to be honest and just say, "I hate you and you will never understand me!" and then never speak to her again. Who knows? But in the interest of having a family, at all, even one that has never and will never meet my needs, this is what I do. Accept and move forward. Accept and move forward. Accept and move forward.

Oh, and I pretty much never tell my mother anything about any relationship, period. I will typically inform her on a need-to-know basis, when things get serious. But going to her with relationship problems, or even just for a shoulder to cry on? No fucking way. I treasure my sanity way too much for that.
posted by Sara C. at 10:18 AM on May 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

did it help him? Probably not. Is it possible that it was actually unhelpful, unwanted contact that left him feeling unsettled, perhaps sad? Yes.

Yeah, but this is not really the advice you want from your mother in this situation. In fact, this is why I don't talk to my mother about relationships. Because she inevitably puts her foot in her mouth, like supporting my partner before me.
posted by Sara C. at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

she's still clueless about how to be a good parent. She doesn't deserve to know ANYTHING deep about me or about relationship stuff. She's never understood me, she's always more in line with my brothers and it has always hurt me. I will never talk to her about these topics agian, she has proven herself underserving

You are the one who sounds downright mean here, not your Mom. Maybe she is more in line with your brothers and sisters because they accept criticism better than you do? Anyway, you say the two of you were sharing like friends--but then when she disagrees with something you did, you decide you want nothing to do with her and she is undeserving of your confidences?! Would you treat a friend that way? You are 26 and out on her own but you come across more like a child throwing a tantrum than a mature adult.

And your Mom can be your friend--mine is!-- but only if you remember she is always going to be a parent first. I love my kids unconditionally. They could never do anything that would make me stop loving them. But if they screw up, or do something misguided, I'm going to tell them so, because part of being a parent is guiding your kids into making smart, healthy choices. If writing that letter helped you get some catharsis, great. But your Mom wasn't wrong, or mean, to tell you that she thought it was a bad idea. She was just being honest, and maybe even trying to protect you from getting hurt again.

Here's what you do now: you go to your Mom's for Mother's Day, as you promised, but only if you can act like a mature adult and not sulk, complain and make the day all about you and how your Mom hurt your feelings. And then you decide if you want your Mom to be a paren or if you really just want her to agree with you unconditionally all the time.

If you are a mature adult, I think you'll realize that you want someone in your life who both loves you and is honest with you.
posted by misha at 10:40 AM on May 7, 2011 [8 favorites]

At 26, you might want to work on not flipping out because your mom disagrees with you, especially after trying to turn your relationship into more of a friendship. It's not her job to coddle you.

It sounds like you have a confidence issue. Here you are all kinds of pissed that your ma isn't mothering you properly, when all she did was dissagree with one of your actions. She clearly gets under your skin, but the woman is just as human as you. If you don't want her to be your friend, and just want her to "unconditionally support (coddle) you" you just need to tell her so, and then stop telling her things if she can't play that roll for you.

How to deal? I would start with remembering that she is a person with her own opinions, and she isn't going to follow any script that you have in your head. She is probably going to say something you don't agree with. And she is probably going to be offended by some you say eventually.

Next- stop telling her junk that you are sensitive about when you know she pushes your buttons. I have hyper irritating right wing super angry christian uncles. I get upset when they make comments about my "ungodly lifestyle" in the big city. What do i do? i offer no details for them to jump on, and ask pleasant questions about their kids, pets and vacations. Learn the art of polite conversation. Millions of families survive on it.
posted by Blisterlips at 10:58 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wow, I don't quite understand where the other posters are coming from here. I'd be ticked off at a friend who reacted this way.

Yes, it makes great sense that if your mom long judged you and put you down instead of supporting your decisions and encouraging you that this would be undermining and hard on you growing up.

Yes, it makes sense to be very upset if, thinking things had changed, you brought her something very important to you and got cut down instead of supported.

Yes, most friends would start "I'm happy you feel such closure," even if they eventually work their way around to gently sharing concerns on your behalf.

Yes, it is smart for you to moderate what you tell her given what you know about how she react.

I would not, however, take things quite as far as you seem prepared to. If this is one slip up in an upward trend, you might continue to share certain pieces of news in the hopes of advancing the trend. Places where you're too precariously balanced (like this new-found closure) are what you might hold back.

At some point, it might even be worth it to you to do some work with your mom to teach her what's helpful and what's not, and also to learn what is behind these unhelpful things she says (e.g., a desire to protect you; her own past pains), so that you can react to them in the spirit of what is meant.

You sound really angry about this, which makes sense to me if her statement rattled your newly acquired peace about this situation. That said, it might be worth considering that the precariousness that contributed to this is actually your own, so it isn't all her fault.

Also, I wonder what else is behind this reaction, as it does appear (on these facts) to be a bit over the top. Is there a lot of pain in your history with her that you could eventually sort through, so that it doesn't keep being re-awakened?

One next step is going to be getting used to the idea that your mom is not perfect, and maybe even (assuming she's not a universally harmful presence in your life), loving her despite that. It'll involve some forbearance, forgiveness, and communication. You don't need to rush there, but you might start thinking of things as a two-way street if you don't already, such as by asking yourself how you can give her the support she needs, instead of primarily wondering what kind of support you're getting. Mother's Day could be a good start on that, as it's a time for thanking mothers for all the good things that they did for you.
posted by salvia at 11:22 AM on May 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

You don't choose your family as you do your friends. So, accept whatever good your Mother has to give, encourage it, and reject the bad.
posted by theora55 at 12:12 PM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Our parents have been who they are a lot longer than we have been who we are. They're less likely to change their ways than we are. That's just the way it is. However our relationships with our parents change dramatically over our lives and they just don't stop changing when we hit 18 or move out or get a job or whatever. Those changes never fail to change how I see/saw my parents. In general, every time I've thought my mother or father had changed it was me who had actually changed. Figuring that out was an important part in dealing comfortably with people who had brought a lot of misery to my life.

That might be good for you to think about. Especially after "I'm just sobbing and I hate her right now." because that outburst is way out there and... not normal. Sure, we like the people in our lives to be universally supportive, but we all live in the real world, and anyone who's universally supportive is BS-ing you at least part of the time. Getting this freaked and emotional over one misstep is very unusual.

You have two ways of dealing with this:
1) Don't share important things with people who, if they disagree with you, will devastate you.
2) Deal with it. Most 26-year-olds can deal with a single, passing criticism better than this.

You also have several choices regarding Mother's day.
1) Cancel, stay home, throw a pity party. This would be selfish and much more hurtful to your mother than this little event has been to you. If you want to hurt your mother, then this is a good option.
2) Go, act all moody and ticked off and make Mother's Day a real downer for all involved. This is also selfish, but wouldn't hurt your mom as much. Though everyone who sees you will wonder WTF is wrong with you.
3) Go to your mother's and make it a proper Mother's Day by making it about her, not you. Thank her for the things that you appreciate about her. There must be a lot of them since you have gone the BFF-route. You don't tell people that you disrespect the details of your love life. This is of course the best option for all involved, but it sounds l the hardest given where you are right now.
posted by Ookseer at 6:54 PM on May 7, 2011

The way I read the question was that the OP's mother has a history of being critical and judgmental, so she felt safe telling her about something she felt good about; her mother responded by being critical and judgmental. I would be very upset about that, as well. It's not necessary to agree with a daughter's every move, but instantly condemning it when the daughter is happy about it is just mean. A friend might have said something like, "I'm glad it made you feel better; how do you think he'll react to it?" You don't have to necessarily think it was a smart move in order to be non-judgmental and supportive.

I agree with the OP that she shouldn't try to share things like this with her mother; accept that she's not going to be consistently supportive and kind to you and find friends that treat you better than this.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 8:57 PM on May 7, 2011

You can still love and respect your mother without sharing too much with her.

You also will always be "a child" to her. Don't forget this. And going to her home immediately puts you in a submissive position. I prefer to meet in a public space and try to keep the meeting below an hour.

"She will never change."

Yes. And this is why you have to protect yourself.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 6:31 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

As I start to get out in the dating world again, I thought I'd be kinda talking to my mom about guys I meet etc, maybe that's not normal? I don't know? I would have liked to be able to share a dating story with her now and then but maybe it's for the best if I did not do that?

In my experience, mothers and dating stories don't go together. Turn to your girlfriends for this.
posted by uans at 10:14 AM on May 8, 2011

I think I understand where you're coming from and my relationship with mom has been similar, though I'm forty and we have yet to get anywhere near the friends stage. I understand that pain - I have a mental voice that keeps telling me "even your MOM doesn't want to talk to you/support you/spend time with you," and yeah it sucks. It totally doesn't seem like something that should be unreasonable or that you're asking for too much.

I've only been able to find a couple things that make it easier. One - accept your mom's weakness. She is who she is and she is not going to change. Other people have said it but it is 100 percent true. The only person whose actions you can control are your own. And two, find your support system other places. Even though I brush off a lot of my mom's actions it helps me sometimes to talk to people who say "I can't BELIEVE your mom did that horrible thing." It helps remind me that it's not my fault and that I'm not the one who is being irrational.

However, the tantrums don't help. You need to make a conscious choice not to let it upset you - choose your own reaction and your own level of freak out. Take control of it and be the grown up.

If your life was like mine I totally get that this is not just you getting annoyed because she doesn't agree with you. The lack of support and compassion is really upsetting and confusing, especially when you see other people who had childhoods and parents different from yours. It's OK to be upset about it, especially if you're becoming an adult yourself and starting to be able to understand and put into words why this affects you this way.

It took me until I was about your age to figure out that it's not that I was pissed off because my mom never told me that she loved me, it's that I was pissed off because she never acted like she loved me in the way I wanted her to. But accept her as a flawed person, just like you are, and learn that she will never be the perfect mom you always wanted, but consider that maybe she is trying to show you she loves you the only way she knows how to.

Happy Mother's day.
posted by bendy at 3:36 PM on May 8, 2011

I spent 50 years trying to form a warm mother-daughter relationship with my mother; it would be good, then it would slam me to the wall, then it would build up and seem like we were finally friends, then wham! Again and again.

The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to find or make a good friend, maybe an older lady, and get away from the idea that you and your mother will ever be those "great friends" like you see with TV mothers and daughters. You can still get along with her just fine - just keep it at the superficial level and keep the deep stuff to yourself - or share with your older lady friend, if that works for you - it did for me.

I'm sorry for your hurt, but the sooner you step out of this circle, the better your life will be.
posted by aryma at 6:45 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

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