How Do You Handle Mothers Day?

Wishful ThinkingMother’s Day

For many, Mother’s Day is a time to remember and reflect on fond memories of values and lessons learned from our mothers.  The day is filled with loving cards, brunches, flowers, gifts and family time. The media floods the airways with commercials depicting tender moments between a mother and child. This is a day to honor mother.

Roughly 30 percent of the population is survivors of child abuse.  They will not have these tender feelings.  Many have just the opposite of the memories in the media.  Once again we will be faced with trying to forget painful memories of abuse endured.

Survivors long for a loving and tender relationship with their own mother, even while knowing that their relationship may never be that way. This makes it especially painful for the survivor on this day.

They may remember those moments when they made a special project at school, brought it home proudly and like me, It was tossed into the fireplace and burned.  Naively children persist in the vision of going home and presenting their gift to their mother and getting a hug.

Their dreams get shattered

The abuse goes on.

They, we, I persist in the hope that Mom will come through and love me.

Mother’s Day can stir all those conflicting feelings and memories up.  .

Do I send a card?  Do I send flowers?  Should I send a gift?  Is there anything I can send that will make this better?

Choosing a card!  Oh My!   I read the cards of how the mother was so emotionally supportive.  Not that one.

I read the cards with happy childhood memories.  Not that one either.

My mother has been proud of me once in my adult life, maybe in my whole life!  I graduated from college at 52 years old.  She didn’t tell me, but I found out she bragged about it to her club friends.  She told me she loved me once when I was in my 40’s.  Those are the words that I would cling to then, and still do.

I wanted her to be proud of me. I wanted her to gently caress my hair as we talked and giggled. I longed for her love.

Some years I send only a card.  Some years I send flowers.  This year I had my picture taken for the first time in years and had it framed.  I planned to send it to her as a Mother’s Day gift.   Today is Tuesday.  The card I finally picked out, which is nice but didn’t feel like a lie, is still in the big envelope with the framed photo.

I haven’t mailed it.  She will probably get it a month from now when I have decided it’s OK to mail.  When I do mail it I hope that I never hear what she has done with it.  I would like to think that it goes on the wall or the shelf in her living room but it is far more likely that it will end up in a box somewhere.

We have every right to protect themselves from any further abusive remarks or actions. I guess this is how I do it.  I buy a card every year; mail it late, call at the last minute all in what is an effort to protect myself.

I hope you all allowed yourself to be pampered on this day. If you are not a mother, pamper yourself anyway. Spend time taking care of yourself. Treat yourself to a manicure or massage. Splurge on yourself, for you certainly deserve it!

11 thoughts on “How Do You Handle Mothers Day?

  1. I have clients whose mothers have partaken in (or ignored the actuality of) their daughter’s sexual abuse by their dads. I have encouraged these clients to focus on Mother’s Day especially on the feminine aspects of God …. the hen covering her chicks with her feathers, an eagle teaching her babies to fly, being known while in the womb of God …. and to bless others around them who have ‘mothered’ them. They can forgive their mothers, but if there is no remorse, then there can be no trust and therefore no reconciliation. Therefore, no calls, cards or communication, ever again.

    • My mother hurt me in everyway you could imagine. As many of us do, I still crave her approval. While it is easy to agree with you to cut her off, the choice is not so simple. Not so simple for many of us. I don’t trust my mother and she frustrates me. She is still capable of hurting my feelings. She can still even anger me from 3,000 miles away. I will never see her again. But I talk to her 4-5 times a year on the phone when I am ready. I move forward with the full knowledge that she will never give me what my heart yearns for. That is a choice I make. Not hers. So many of us know that we “should” end the communication altogether and when we are ready maybe we will. Many, and I know this to be true, do as I do. It is an abbreviated relationship. There is a consequence for all things, even a door being quietly shut and locked. The things a survivor can feel guilty abut are endless. Things done or said in the heat of the moment, even while in therapy, even if the therapist would want it and approves of it, have consequences.

      • Yes, I agree Annie. This has to be the very hardest part of recovery. The first hands to hold you, the one who nursed you at her breast …. to think that one could possibly hurt you in any way is incomprehensible. Please don’t misunderstand my comments; ending contact is always the client’s decision, not mine. However, to realize that what you are holding onto is shame instead of guilt can be be liberating. You were a child; she was the adult. We are not responsible for our past but we are responsible for how we respond to it in the present. You are handling it the way you feel is best for you, but I wonder if the pain and the rejection the “little you” inside feels when that phone is disconnected after each of those calls, is truly the wisest thing. To know you will always be rejected by a narcissist, one who believes she was/is/and always will be right, no matter what you do … that is why the suggestion of turning instead to the maternal image of the Holy Spirit, who will never reject you, provides comfort to the grieving, beautiful daughter of the One that made her and loves so much. Your longing for acceptance and love from your earthly mother will never end, because God desired you to have it, and it was not given to you. That was his will for you. You have every right to grieve and respond in whatever way seems best for you. I grieve for you. Blessings, M

      • The psychological abuse I have received has also been in letters I accidently discovered, and there were many of them to many people. I over-hear phone calls riddled with lies and things are flipped on me, then when I confront her she denies it all and says prove it. I don’t need to prove what I read or heard. What I feel is a knife in my back while saying I love you to my face. After finding those “hate” letters I then reflected over the many years she had been writing them and what was going on; I reflected “oh, I was at her house that Christmas, or, we were out for Thanksgiving dinner. None of them make sense to me as we were laughing and I thought enjoying one another’s company. I saw a psychologist and was told to stay away from her, she will only cause me more harm. She was so right, and soon I will make that decision to stay away if I can, if not, there will only be more suffering on my part and more damage done to me. It has already destroyed what I thought we had, but now it is “nothing” in my heart. I want to be happy, not constantly called names, judged, stabbed in the back to everyone and anyone who she can realy her negativeness to. If I am to be healthy again, I must severe the relationship for good. The things I heard and read were not in the heat of the moment, they were behind my back. You can not take those words back nor can she mend the damage she has done to this entire family. I thank God my grandparents raised me from age 6. I was given so much unconditional love, never a harsh word, negative judgement, insults or sarcasim. I miss the woman who was and is my mother….Grandma!

  2. I can relate. My cards set on the table unopened until that night, then after opening three of them I heard “she is no friend of mine” and they were tossed on the floor. I put a dozen roses by the cards and they went unacknowledged. I gave her a gift that was by the cards and flowers that was not opened until that same night and was told “I don’t like it, you can have it back.” I will not repeat the expression of my love again to feel that pain again. I am sorry for every cruel mother who misses out on LOVE. I hope to become a mother by adoption even at my old age and I will not repeat the cruel words (or physical abuse) that was and is still being carelessly thrown at me since childhood. Even a grown child needs positive support, encouragement, praise and acknowledgement they are loved, not you’re a moron, a slough, stupid, no one cares about you, you don’t have any friends, you put a curse on this family, no one is this family likes you, you’re a worthless citizen, you can’t talk about a book or a movie, I hate you. I don’t think it can get any worse, at least not for me.

    • You are so right. How sad for those mothers that feel so little empathy for their own child(ren).
      Anyone who talks to anyone like this… how sad for everyone.

    • How sad that anyone would think it is ever OK to speak to others this way. I believe it speaks to how little that they think of themselves. I’m sorry this happened to you. It should never happen to anyone.

  3. I hear you. I had a good childhood. My parents were good to me. They divorced when I was 12 but all in all they were good. I was their only child. I do have a step-sister, we were adults when we became sisters, she 40 me 47. She was a friend and my hairdresser about 4 years before our parents married. My mother passed and her step-father passed 17 day of each other. Both were in a nursing home and her mother worked there. My step-father would go to the nursing home every day to visit my mother. They comforted each other than within a year got married. So now Tammie and I are sisters. I learned a lot about Tammie and her childhood. He mother was verbally abusive to her and they did not get along. She ran away from home at 16. Well I remember our first mother’s day after they got married. Tammie and I shopped together to get her mother a card. Boy we read through about 1,000 cards before she picked on that was ok. You are right they all say how wonderful mom was, how she was supportive and loving and kind. But her mother wasn’t that way to her and she said she just couldn’t get a card that told a lie.
    Well I hear you both. I didn’t experience it but I do understand your pain.
    Please keep shouting.
    Your friend Karen

    • The understanding and the conversations are so important. Kudos to you for hanging n there while she searched for that card. I, WE, will keep shouting if you keep listening!

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