There seems to be a lack of discussion in the world around women who are disowned or cut off from their mothers. The only literature I can find is surrounding the death of a parent and, this is so so different…
I have a mom. She is alive and well. She doesn’t live far from me — about a six hour drive north.
From the time I was born until I was around 11 or 12 we got along fine. We fought, like most mothers and daughters fight, but I loved her and she loved me, and I felt like I could count on her for support and advice.
When I became a teenager it all changed — she didn’t get my life choices, and I didn’t quite get her either. So I moved out at 16, right before my parents got divorced. Although, once I was on my own and taking care of myself, my mom and I still didn’t always get along, but it things between us were alright, and we were friends.
Then, when I was graduating from community college, I explained that I wanted to invite both her and my dad. Even though they had not talked since they got divorced, I thought she would be okay with it. She was not. I will absolutely never forget the moment she said to me “If you invite him to your graduation I will never speak to you again.”
I mulled it over and talked to my therapist about it and decided to invite my dad. My graduation was great, and I had almost everyone I loved around me, and celebrating. Sadly, my mom didn’t attend, but I figured she would get over it, and we would talk soon.
Father's Day is this weekend and that can always be a complicated time for a lot of us. But here's a tale of divergent personalities... Read more
That was seven years ago, and we haven’t really talked since. She has told other family members that she considers me to be “dead,” and that she wishes I could just forget she ever existed.
Today, I am married to an epic dude and pregnant. The “mom stuff,” as I call it, comes up frequently, but I can talk about it without crying and without feeling a whole lot of regret. I have lots of mom figures in my life — from aunts, to mothers-in-law, to older female friends — but being pregnant has brought up a lot of the sadness and anxiety around this again.
I get questions like, “I know you don’t talk to your mom, but are you going to tell her about this? You probably should.” And from people that I don’t know that say, “Your mom and dad must be so excited! Is this their first grandchild?”
I also worry that my lack of a mom, and my anxiety and sadness around this, will affect me as a mom.
So now that you know my life story, I have a million questions for anyone who has been disowned by, or lost, any parental figure in this way…
- Are you in a similar situation? Can you tell me/other readers your story?
- Do you have kids? How has your parentlessness affected you in your parenting?
- How do you cope with the conversations other people have with you about their moms, and the questions they ask about your own?
- Have you read books, articles, blogs, etc. that have helped you through this?
- Does it get better? If this happened to you a long time ago, is it something that you eventually moved past?
- How does your partner deal with this? Did they ever meet your parent? Is it tough to talk to them about it if they have both parents?
- What do you tell your kids about your absentee parent?
I wanted to relay my story in hopes of finding other people in similar situations who can share their own. It comforts me to meet other strong and loving people who are missing a parent too, and I hope it does the same for you.
Comments on Mothering without a mom: I worry that my mom abandoning me will negatively affect me as a mom
I don’t have much to contribute, but thank you for posting this. I’m looking forward to reading other reader’s responses. My mom was abusive growing up and I was the one who cut HER out, for my own mental health. But I’ve struggled with guilt over this for a long time. I thankfully have a great mother-in-law, but I also fear the idea of becoming a parent. I’m personally more concerned of becoming like her, but I’m interested to read what others have to say.
My mother was abusive as well, but died shortly after my 20th birthday. It is difficult to parent differently than you were raised. I think I’m mostly doing better. I just try to do better on a day by day basis.
I’m not yet a parent but I struggle with similar concerns. I no longer have a relationship with my father because he refused to come to my wedding due to his religious beliefs (he’s a Jehovah’s Witness), so he wouldn’t attend if I invited my uncle who left the religion. I felt that him supporting me should have been more important, but it wasn’t. This was when I decided to remove him from my life after years of abuse. Our relationship was mending after I became an adult, but that particular incident was my breaking point. My relationship with my mother is also not the best. She abandoned my sister and I when she left my dad. She didn’t reenter our lives until a few years later. I call her mom, but I don’t have that type of relationship with her. I’m really the mother. She listens to my advice.
I think all we can do is what’s best for us and our future children.
It might be possible that your mother wasn’t allowed back into your life by your father. I’ve had Jehovah’s Witness relatives and they can be very strict about such things.
I haven’t got long to post a reply but if you want to email me, you are very welcome to -cakeadaykatie at gmail dot com.
My biological mother has lived in the same town as me and made no attempted contact for 32 years. I used to get very upset about it, but I learnt a long time ago that it wouldn’t make an difference and some people just don’t know how their actions are affecting someone else. I recently learnt that she is a truly awful person (a facebook message from her last year stated she wished I had never been born so that she never had to think about me)
I have a child, a nine year old boy, and to be brutely honest I do feel that the lack of a direct mother figure in my life (although I am lucky enough to have a wonderful grandmother who happily fulfilled that role) has had an affect on my ability to mother him. I mean, not in the normal, I feed and clothe him sense, or to bond with him, but the crippling fear that something from my past would have a negative effect on him however hard I tried to overcome it, and I do, daily. I feel like I will never be the mother that I could have been if I had a mother myself and that fear haunts me daily. It’s hard to explain, but I will be coming back to this post to read other peoples comments as I think this is a very brave thing to put out there.
Bear with me, because I am many years into an estrangement myself. I haven’t spoken with my parents since my kids were very young (they’re tweenagers now.) My mom suffers from mental health issues and was an inconsistent parent who gradually became a bad one. The final straw was finding out my dad molested a friend’s child for some time. They are not safe to be around my children and I have no relationship with them now.
Here is what I think: It is important to acknowledge that your mom (and you, and me, and other moms) are whole, flawed people who have made good and bad choices. If you have good memories of things your mom did for you, embrace those, even if it’s hard or sad. Know that that’s how you want your kid to feel and try to emulate those things. It goes for the bad things your mom did, too. Don’t push those memories away either. Embrace the bad things well enough to know that’s never how you want your kid to feel and try to monitor yourself, along with your therapist, to make sure you’re not repeating those patterns.
As time has gone on, I have found the most difficult part of this estrangement is letting go of the fantasy of the kind of parent and grandparent I wish my mom could be or would have been. And maybe a tiny bit of jealousy for the people who have that kind of mom support in their own lives. That, you just deal with.
It sounds like you have a great support system of other mom-figures for yourself and your kid and a supportive partner. That is huge! Parenthood is frought with decisions that cause no shortage of anxiety, and getting lost in that can really steal the joy you feel in having a kid. You are asking all the right questions before your baby is even born. You are absolutely well-equipped to rock this mom thing with a great deal more empathy and experience than a lot of new moms start out with. Congrats on your pregnancy; your baby is really lucky!
I’m in a nearly identical boat. I haven’t spoken to my dad in 4 years since my daughter was 6 months. I’ve seen my mom at my nephew’s birth and at my grandma’s funeral. We both live in different burbs of Portland.
My dad was a prescription drug addict and an over all man child. He was verbally abusive to me my whole childhood. My mom always chose him over us. When I had my daughter and he nearly crashed while driving us to a dr. appt and then screamed at me for being upset I was done with him. Which meant I was basically done with my mom since they are still married and well, he always comes first. In the past 4 years i’ve seen her at my nephew’s birth and when my grandma died. My daughter knows her as my mom but not her grandma. I’ve told my daughter I don’t have a father. When she’s older i’ll explain but for now it’s just easier.
I think it’s made me a better parent. To make a promise to my daughter and myself that she will always come first. I make sure everyday that I try to be the parent I so desperately wish I had.
It does hurt to see other peoples parents being such awesome grandparents. I just remind myself that even though my parents aren’t there she is surrounded by so much love through my husband’s side of the family and friends. We built our own village. That’s what I focus on.
My husband has a hard time understanding. He’d told me to cut ties years ago, it’s more complicated than that. He never forced me to do anything but didn’t understand why i’d let them hurt me over and over. When we had my daughter he did put his foot down and say they couldn’t see her if my dad was still hooked on prescription meds. We had a long conversation and decided I would never let her be hurt by them the way I had been. So she has no relationship with them.
It sucks and it’s hard but I can tell you that if anything else it’ll just make you a stronger parent. You know the pain and how much it sucks and you can make sure you are forever their for your children.
My Mother and I were estranged for most of my pregnancy (I’m talking like until 6 days before my daughter was born) I did not contact her to tell her I was pregnant, although a family member decided that she should know. I never felt like I was missing out on a bonding experience or anything mostly because my MIL really was excited about her first grandchild. I made a conscious effort to not parent in the same way that she did just because I never want my daughter to feel the way I had.
On Christmas Eve my mother showed up at a family function and while I was outside talking to my sister and two cousins, she came outside and joined the conversation. She asked me questions about my pregnancy; how I was doing, what name we chose, etc and instead of ignoring her I just plainly answered. She then asked to speak to me in private and while standing in my Aunt’s kitchen asked for me to forgive her. She apologized and stated that she wanted to be in my child’s life. At that moment, I just decided to forgive her and forget the past.
Just four days later I ended up getting pre-eclampsia and being admitted for induction. My mother called me every single day to see how I was doing. I had a csection after being in the hospital for three days and my mom, although late, came to the hospital. Not only did she come, she called the recovery room asking for me and her grandchild, called my SO to find out what was going on, stood in the hallway as I was being wheeled into my room and after two seconds yelled that they were waiting to see the baby and I, and lastly declared to my MIL that she was “going to hold the baby first”. My mom is an embarrassment even on her best behavior but I know that she loves me and even a little more, my daughter.
This is such an important topic and one that haunts me almost daily. I have not seen or spoken to my abusive, neglectful, addicted father in six years. I have a 4 year old and two year old. I am not sure he even knows they exist. This has sometimes resulted in putting a lot of pressure and feedback into my husband’s parenting style because I am so worried, like daily worried, of the kids not having the kind of father I think they need. But I have come to realize it will be a self fulfilling prophecy if I constantly try to control things so I have backed off big time. Hugs to you.
The fact that you are so transparent about your story and your concerns, and reaching out to people like this tells me that you’ll be OK. Because while I had a very supportive mother and can’t really imagine how difficult it must be to navigate without someone like her, still she didn’t live nearby, so it was my local community of mother/friends that really gave me practical advice, example, encouragement, company, and babysitting exchanges (yessss!). It might be up to you to cultivate those kinds of relationships and catalyze that kind of community but it seems you’ve really got it in you!
I had the same type of feelings when I was pregnant with my first child 2 years ago. I actually did find a book that helped me quite a lot. It’s called “Mothering Without a Map: The Search for the Good Mother Within” by Kathryn Black.
The author talks about her own lack of mother and mother figures but also interviews women from all walks of life who were “undermothered” as she puts it due to various circumstances (death, neglect, abuse, absence, disinterest, distraction, etc). She talks to these women about their fears of motherhood, and how they are dealing with it or have dealt with it.
Overall the book was pretty reassuring and I felt a lot better and more confident after I read it, so give it a shot.
Thank you so much for sharing about the book!
Though I’m not on the eve of becoming a parent myself, I also think about the impact that my own problematic relationships with my parents might have on the children I know I want to have. I agree with the earlier comment by Janet: The fact that you’re already so introspective about all this is a dead giveaway that you’re going to be an incredible mom. I like to think that I have a fairly powerful imagination, and it is literally impossible for me to conceive of any scenario in which you don’t become precisely the kind of mom I wish I’d had myself.
Hi, I can relate. I grew up with parents whose only way of coping with their unhappy marriage was to completely own their children. Think religious cult, without the religion. As soon as I could, I put some distance between me and them, but even that did not work. I thought when I got married first time round they would cease their controlling behaviour. Nope. When I had children – all 4 of them- they didn’t stop either. Horrible things were said to me, but when the kids were very little they were fun grandparents, did everything the little ones wanted, and the kids were unaware of the tensions. The problems only arose when my kids got older and developed their own minds, which I was very keen on supporting. Then my kids were made to choose between their mum and their grandparents. My parents’ behaviour towards me and towards each other slipped more and more often in front of the children. They would undermine my authority and my children would see me give in to avoid conflict. I would have to choose between them, if I talked to one the other would get agressive with me. They were jealous if my children wanted me. I put up with it for as long as the children wanted contact. Things got worse as I divorced and get cancer, none of this made my parents any nicer – I will never forget my father leaning into the car as we were leaving in tears saying “Are you sure you want to live with this mother?” to my young children. The final straw came when they stayed with us and I had to evacuate my oldest – aged 9 – to stay with friends, and I had to give nightly pep talks to my other ones – aged between 4 and 8 – to behave like adults and to be the bigger person so we could get through my parents’ stay. In the end, the children asked me not to ever let them stay at our house again, and they refused to stay over at theirs. I tried to explain this to my parents as honestly as I could to give them a change to turn things around. They did not take that chance. They reacted with anger, and we dropped contact completely. For the children, it has been very hard to understand why their ‘perfect’ grandparents changed so much. I talk about them frankly, and my children always ask about my childhood and I give them honest answers. My father died last year and I had not spoken with him for over a year. I went to his funeral, and hate poured out of my mother towards me. I do my daughter duties, I send christmas and birthday cards, my mother does her duty and sends presents to the kids for their birthdays, and the kids do their duty by writing polite thank you letters back. Once a year, we visit for a meal, and I always make sure there is another adult with me, and we have nothing to say to each other. We have a family WhatsApp chat with her and my sisters and I send photos of the children via this. She hardly ever responds. It is the bare minimum of contact that the children and I can cope with, and it keeps my guilt levels at bay. I analyse her constantly, wondering where the line is between mental illness and malice. But she no longer has any bearings on me as a mother myself, and I am glad of that. I think I have become a better mother as a result, and my relationship with the children has become very honest – we function as an absolute team now. What has helped is the support of my sisters who have similar relationships with my mother, and talking about it with other people who also have chosen not to have contact. I have come to realise that I do not need to feel bitter about this, I have no feelings at all. It is simply a realisation that my mother never had the emotional capacity to love an independent human being (she should have stuck to pets!). I don’t know why this is, but even if I knew why it would not change the situation. All I can do is raise my children in the sure knowledge that I have the capacity to love them as independent beings, and that my children know I have this capacity so they we can gradually move into respectful loving adult-adult relationships, how it should be. Focus on the future you have created, and not the future you may have had or should have had. You can find that strength, your children will help you find it.
This will be a super short reply, on my phone. Just to share my experience and one bit of advice.
Your mom will not magically change because she is a grand-ma.
My mother is manipulative, controlling, passive-agressive and we were estranged ten years no contact by my choice. When I had a baby, I felt like you did.
There was a tentative reunition and a few months where she was very careful and I genuinely believed she had changed. Slowly, the barbs and lies started again. I ignored it, mostly, since it wasn’t as bad as before. Then it got worse but I toughed it out because I wanted my kid to have a granny as I did not (my mom is estranged from her whole family)
Kids grow up though. What my daughter did not recognize as a baby, she realized when she was five. There was one occasion where I left on a fifteen minute errand. My mom got in a fight with my kid and deeply traumatized her by tearing her photo in two and telling her she would never love her, only cousin, because of something stupid like picking up toys.
Kiddo was hurt. She believed her. I had to explain that granny has a sickness in her heart that makes her hurt, and she sometimes tries to feel better by hurting others. I was fuming and SO dissapoointed. I’d accepted I had a crap mom, butnow I had to grieve my kid’s ideal grand-ma too, if that makes sense. I have never left them alone together. We are more and more distant, because when you resist her manipulation, it gets worse.
So hope for the best, be strong, but most of all protect your kid.
This is pretty similar to my relationship with my mother. After my first miscarriage she told me I would be a horrible mother anyway as I was such an ungrateful daughter. That was the moment I decided to NEVER let her near my children without my close supervision so she can’t hurt them the way she tries to hurt me. I am willing to forgo them having a Nona as my husband’s mother is more than enough of a Baba.
Still, I have a lot of “I wish” tied to thoughts of my mother. It’s hard to realize we can’t force people to be better.
Family is different for everyone but I feel like it’s especially hard when the absent parent is alive. I have not had my father in my life for 10 years. It was very strange at first and I felt guilty at holidays but over the years I’ve gotten past it. People do ask about him once and awhile and my answers kind of depend on the person….if they knew him well I just tell them the truth, we don’t speak. Most people understand even at his best he was toxic and seriously mentally ill. My sister recently cut me off and says I’m dead to her and I’m having a hard time with it…it’s been a year since she came to stay with us. She may be a narcissistic sociopath, she used our credit card without permission, told inflammatory lies to neighbors and tried to blackmail our 90 year old Nana. I’ve cut out toxic mentally ill family members who refuse to get help before. I had to tell Nana I would be forced to do the same with her when she kept asking me to sign a contract saying I would never charge my uncle (her son) with child molesting. It was awful but I really sat the old lady down and said straight up…if you continue to aid this criminal or try to protect him (which my stepdad explained to her meant going against her own family) we will no longer be part of your life. The next day all legal action he was taking against me dissipated and I haven’t heard from him since. Motherhood is emotional and so is pregnancy. I found caring for my children made me face some uncomfortable truths about my own childhood especially all the abuse I suffered or witnessed. Sometimes I was extremely angry at my parents. My mother speaks openly about how she wishes she could do it over and how guilty she feels over our childhood. I feel I have forgiven her and have sympathy for her situation at the time. My babies are 9 and 11 now and I have also made many parenting mistakes over the years. They may not be as scarring as the ones I carry but if each generation produces better parents…eventually everyone will be cool, right? At the very least one of my mission statements as a parent is: I will never react to abuse by passing it on. The cycle of abuse in our family went on for generations but it stops here! I try to be honest with our kids about my father and very frank about some uncles; as in do not speak to that man, he’s dangerous. Sorry to ramble on…I was in an online support group for adult children of narcissist parents for awhile and I think I need to find another support group for what’s going on with my sister now. It was certainly helpful the few years of life without dad. I also found new strength to stay away from my father for my kids…as in this person will hurt them therefor staying away is definitely for the best. I hope some part of this is in some way helpful. At the very least you are not alone. Best wishes and blessed be…Kate
I had been estranged from my mother for 20 years when she died in my early 30’s. When she died I bought a couple of books, two by the same author whose mother had also died, but its possible this book may still be helpful to you: https://www.amazon.com/Motherless-Mothers-Losing-Mother-Shapes/dp/0060532467/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475604370&sr=8-1&keywords=motherless+mothers. I will confess to having left this book on the shelf unread, but thought I would mention it just in case.
For me, being in this situation has undoubtedly made me a better mother. I use the examples in my life as guidelines for what not to do and how not to be, but I find this to also be a double-edged sword. When I am less than a perfect parent (as we all are), the feeling that I have failed to be better than my mother (which couldn’t even be close to being true), at times brings me tremendous guilt. I feel like the pressure to be a perfect parent which is present for everyone is amplified by needing to be better than my own failed parenting. Its hard, but I try to remind myself that I am working hard to be the parent I needed, and that I have already succeeded just by not giving up.
Thank you for sharing your story! I just wanted to let you know it does get better.
My daughter will turn two this December, and I remember that awkward pregnant time where everyone wants to drag your mother into it. Everyone is so concerned with “gramma”… Strangers, family members who know better, even the OBGYN. It sucks. I’m sorry. It will get better…
When my daughter born, I was overwhelmed by how much love I had for her. It was so natural, so complete. I would do anything for her…which brought up all sorts of questions and feeling about why my own mother abused me as a child and then abandoned me at 13. (And yet now she wants to play the doting grandmother to my child).
I remember holding my daughter when she was just days old, crying, wondering how I could love her so much and my own mother could love me so little.
I was very surprised about all that surfaced in the first few months post-partum, but I am lucky to have a supportive partner (who also happens to be estranged from his mother) , and a good therapist. I was able to work through my fears (that I would alienate my daughter) and learn to stand my ground with pushy family members. I do not owe my mother access to my child. I owe my child protection from anyone who would bring her harm.
Anyway, I did say it gets better. Almost 2 years in, and:
1. Almost never get questions about my mother anymore. People have learned my boundaries.
2. I’m not sad about it. Angry, yes, but not sad.
3. I am confident in my parenting. It took awhile, but I can finally say I am good at this.
4. Most importantly, I have an amazing daughter! She is an absolute joy and I love her more than anything.
So hang in there, it gets better! All the best to you and your new family!
I think about this often as we are moving from preparation to action with the whole conception thing. My mother is a workaholic, at least that is how it seemed when I was growing up. Much of my time that I can remember before 10 was spent either in my mothers classroom or church. When my mom went to seminary she had a bigger excuse to be in the church all the time. I remember trying very hard to please my mother even through my teenage years. I didn’t really realize how harmful this relationship was until I was in college. My first trip out of the country my mother was 3 hours late picking me up from the airport because of a church function and wouldn’t drive me home but back to the church picnic instead. I was always ranked as well. My mother loved to talk about her successful children I, being born 8 years later, didn’t have much to show. Once a church member complemented me and stated, “If you think she looks good you should see my other daughter.”
I’ve come to realize that my mother is very superficial and often lives in complete denial. She creates worlds and realities for herself that often have nothing to do with what is actually happening. I fear becoming my mother. My Kick-Ass partner is extremely logical and promises to keep me grounded. As I’m preparing for this whole parenting thing (Which I intend to keep a secret until month 6 or I can’t hide it any longer) I’m working to make my relationship with my small person be things I didn’t have. I want to support them inspire of choices I don’t agree with and see them for who they really are. In my super demanding job, I will remember to make them feel important. Knowing that the smallest moment to me may be etched in their memory forever as the day that their mom disappointed them. I also have been thinking about really honest expectations and letting them know early that I will someday disappoint them or hurt them without meaning to because I am human. I also have some amazing aunts and other women in my life to look up to, so that helps.
Does it get better? If this happened to you a long time ago, is it something that you eventually moved past?
My mom left when I was 8 years old, she dropped me and my brother off to school and went home, packed her stuff and moved to Florida, that was 20 years ago. I was lucky that I grew up in the same home as my grandmother so I had a mother figure. I buried any feelings I had about my mother leaving but I still struggle with abandonment issues. Specifically during the years after my grandmas passing.
She has tried to make contact over the years, but I do not respond. When she left I did not have a choice in the matter, she took that choice from me, and now as a grown woman I make the choice to not to accept her in my life.
My parents told me that they didn’t want to talk to me when I left school this past December. I was totally numb.
I’m in therapy now, and it’s helped me realize part of my fear/dislike of having children is because I worry that I will be way that they have been to me. So reading this has made me think a little more and stop avoiding this conversation and I thank you for that.
I wish it wasn’t the way it was, though. I think what has to happen is focusing on your relationship with your child and what you want them to feel and the life you want to give them. But I can’t say. I’m not pregnant and have no kids. But that’s what I’ve been thinking lately.
I’m sorry you are going through this situation right now. I know how hard it is to (partially) grow up with a neglecting-abusive mother, I also know how horrible it feels to be abandoned and be disowned over and over by the very same person who “supposedly” loves you more than anyone ever could. It’s not easy to carry on, especially when we keep focusing on what coulds and woulds if we had a mother as its expected, not only as our own small inner child craves, but too the expectation that society has for mothers in general.
Over a decade ago, while I was entering my third trimester of pregnancy, my feelings got the best of me and found a way to make me feel desperate and crave a relationship with my bio mother. A woman, who had not up to that point in my life acted as such, except maybe a few weeks of my entire life. That does not include terrifying daily beatings, insults, degradation, manipulation, etc of the total 6 years I was under her “care”.
I remember vividly how guilty she always made me feel, to the point that I have literally given hundreds of thousands of my own money without any strings attached, to have also moved 3 continents to maker her happy so she could enjoy my daughter (since she didn’t enjoy me because she abandoned me). I wasn’t healed of her abuse, so I was a “good” daughter and made the decision to move to Europe to be “closer” to her and to this day I profoundly regret it, but I deal with it.
I won’t go into detail here about what came on all these years, suffice to say that I lost myself, my confidence, my career, my partner and almost my daughter because I so desperately wanted to be “closer” to my bio mom. My life with her could easily be a horror film, but it’s my life, my decision and I have to live with it.
I have come on top in a way, but it’s a daily struggle.
Just appreciate what you got right now, think about this; if you have not had her up to now, what on earth makes you think you might have her from now onwards? It’s my experience that ill intentioned people do not change. It’s also my experience that if you focus on your day to day and the life you have built with the woman you are now, you will overcome your mother, not only that but you will be a great mother. Please don’t get me wrong, you and I have our grain lines (just like the wood) and sometime in parenting it does show up, no problem, just pick yourself up, apologize, make amends, and carry on.
Bio moms can be conquered within us if we are able to disengage from them inside of us. Feel free to write me, I’ve been there, I’m still there.
Hello. I just read what you wrote about your situation with your mom. I don’t know if this will help you in any way, but my mom had a similar situation. My mom left her parent’s home as soon as it was legally possible for her to do so. (I think she was 18.) Her mother was abusive – mostly verbally, but sometimes physically to her younger brothers. Her father made his military service a career, so he was rarely home. When he was home, he had a distant, but fair relationship with my mom. Her mother was extremely jealous of the attention my mom got from her father, and it would make her temper just explode! Even though my mom was, of course, female… she wasn’t a threat to her parent’s relationship. But that’s how my grandma saw it. She tends to see things from a twisted viewpoint for some reason. I honestly think she has a mental disorder of some kind. But she CHOOSES to be mean.
Anyway, after mom moved out, she was able to date my dad. Neither one of her parents approved of him, and would have NOTHING to do with him. They discouraged her at every turn… even kept her from going to the airport to greet him the day he came home from Vietnam (in the 60’s). They waiting until they were 21 years old to get married, because back then that was earliest you could get married without a parent’s consent. When she told her parents about her upcoming wedding, her mom told her they would NOT come to her wedding, nor speak to her ever again if she married my dad. Grant, he didn’t have much financially-speaking, but he was a good, honest, and hard-working man who loved my mom dearly. So on her wedding day, true to their words, they never showed up at the church or the reception. About a year later, my mom gave birth to her first child, who is my older sister. My dad knew how much my mom missed her dad, and wished her parents were in her life at SOME approximation. They might not have been the best parents… far from it. But they were the only ones she had, so she wanted to share her new life and all the love she had found within it. Knowing this, my dad called his father-in-law and said, “Your daughter just gave birth to your first grandchild! I think it’s about time you come and pay her a visit! You owe her that much, at least!” then slammed the receiver down. And they came.
Since then, her parents were involved in her life… well, our lives. But only minimal. Pappy would come up for a visit a few times a year, and most of the time grandma would sit outside in the truck with her arms crossed and wait for him to take her back home when he was done visiting. On rare occasions, she would come into our house and be fairly (and amazingly) chipper… dare I say “happy”? But that never meant that she would leave in the same happy spirit. She would find her mean-self again. But I am grateful that my dad made that phone call. Even though I never formed a close bond with my grandma (mom was open and honest about her with us kids, and kept us at a safe distance from her emotionally), I knew her and was formerly respectable around her. That’s just how we were taught to be around her. If she was getting ready to blow up, mom would remove us or her from the room immediately. And that’s just how it went. I got to form a bond with my pappy, for which I am extremely grateful! He was a good man with a good heart. He was very “military” in the way he talked and in the way he held himself. He didn’t quite know how to “be” with kids, but I could always tell that he loved us. He really tried to connect with us in his own way. He paid attention to our interests, and that alone says a lot. He even got me my first computer, and that turned into a career for me. He saw my interest, and he bought something affordable for me to work with, and encouraged me. In his awkward little way, but I somehow understood that was his way of letting me know that he loved ME. We weren’t extremely close, but I’m grateful for the connection that I was able to have with him. He still made a difference in my life as a child. My grandma… not so much.
So I guess my mom’s situation was the REVERSE of yours… in a way. It was her mom that she had to keep us distant from, but still managed to find a way to engage us in a relationship with her dad.
I don’t know if this is an option for you or not. It’s definitely a personal choice, and everybody’s situation is different. And like I said, I don’t know if my story would help you or not. But here it is anyway.
I’ll be sending prayers up for you and your family. Just remember, above all else, when it comes down to it, your man and your child are now your immediate family. Once you have your own family, your parents/siblings are no longer your immediate family. That’s just the way it is. So keep your immediate family the priority, be aware, and judge with your gut instinct. Your gut instinct is there for a reason. Use it!
Wow people can be so rude offering unsolicited advice that you should “tell your mom”, I’m sure they think they are being helpful, but they aren’t. They probably are thinking of their own relationships with thier mothers and wishing the same for you through some kind of miraculous baby induced reconciliation. I’m fortunate enough to not have to deal with this particular issue, but can give you some advice on how to deal with unwanted advice (since you actually asked). Be polite but firm and direct. There is nothing wrong with simply saying a firm no. You owe them no explanation, and sometimes a firm no, is all that it takes. Others will continue to push, athe which point you can say ‘thank you for your concern, but this is not open for debate’ – then quickly switch topics to something that else like ‘I’m so glad I do have you in my life, how about we go look at bassinets together?’. I’ve found that any sort of explanations as to why I’m making a decision makes the person feel like it’s okay to engage further, which is what you want to discourage when you’ve already got your mind made up. Hope this helps, it works for me all the time and is quite freeing.
My mother is a mentally, emotionally abusive alcoholic who has managed to alienate herself not just from me, but from the majority of our family. I haven’t spoken to her in 7 years, but get the occasional text around major holidays or my birthday telling me what a terrible daughter I am and that she has “no idea” what she did that was so wrong that would keep her only daughter from speaking to her. She recently moved within 40 minutes of me, and I live less than two miles from my grandmother, whom my mother visits occasionally. The thought of potentially seeing her around town gives me so much anxiety I actually don’t leave my house some days. Even though I know the odds are slim to none that she would be at a family function, my anxiety about her being there gets so bad that I have panic attacks for days before. I have requested that nobody in my family tell her where I live and to the best of my knowledge, they have complied. It’s hard when people ask me about my mother. Around Mother’s Day a coworker asked me what my mother and I were doing for the holiday and I had to awkwardly explain that we don’t have contact with each other. At that point, I usually get a look of pity, or the person presses me for more details as to why. I don’t have kids, but I am getting married in October to a wonderful man that she knows nothing about. It can be tough sometimes, but I know it is for the best.
Your story amazes me! Because it’s almost my story. I actually rent a home right next to my mothers home who I no longer have a relationship with, nor do I want one.
It all stems from her and my fathers divorce.
It’s very difficult to find the words to explain to my 5 year daughter why she can’t walk over to grandmas anymore.
I tell her mommy and Grandma have had a disagreement and Grandma doesn’t want to see mommy anymore. I tell her sometimes people make bad choices but that’s not her fault. And I always tell her I will always be there for her. I will not be my mother. Well, I don’t tell her that last part but I think it everyday. My mother always ran when the going got tough and I always want to be there for her. No matter what choices she makes that I agree or disagree with. And I don’t ever want to involve her in any conflicts I may have with other adults. So many times my mother tried to make me choose between her and my father, it’s disgusting!