How Do I Function Motherless?

Question: Dear Luise: I have lived all my life without a mom. Physically a person was there, for the most part, but a mom… not at all. In reality I have had to in many ways be my mother’s mom. I do not have a dad either. I had a step-father, but that was a nightmare. I am 28 years old now, have a husband of nearly 10 years, and three children. I feel as if I have had to learn to be a person, human being, wife, and a mother all on my own. It is very hard on me, but I think I’ve been doing a damn good job of it. With all the hell that I have had in my life, I still love and care deeply for my family. I still have a commitment to humanity and morality. I believe, strongly, in the basic treatment that every being deserves. With every child, the love… and pain in my heart has grown. I know how I feel about my children. In my mind I hear, “every mom feels this way”, “every mom would give… everything”. It seems so automatic. Yet I know that what my mind tells me is not. When I had my daughter, the pain was multiplied. Much more than I could have imagined. Just knowing… the world I wanted to give her, the love I have for her, never wanting her to be hurt, and wanting to be able to ease any pain she might have. I am very confused. I do not understand how someone can have a child, and then, plop, be an emotional lump. I feel as if it would have been much better for me had she just not been there. I actually envy people whose mothers have passed. It’s like they have a reason for doing without. I don’t. I have had my share in life. Out of everything, the lack of a mother or a reason for that hurts the most. I am aware that it is much too late for a mommy, but still, can she not at least be a “good” person and adult? I already know the answer. No. The real question is, “How do I go on?” I do not know how to deal with the hole that I have. At times (due to the pain, anger, and frustration) I find myself not behaving as the person I want to be. Just as I long for her… and for answers that I will never have… I also long for peace and comfort. If you have any advice to give it would fall on open ears and an open heart. This soul really needs it. Thank you for listening, K.

Answer: Dear K. First I want you to know that I had a mother who never touched me, hugged me or kissed me. She shut me in a dark room for the first four months of my life; only feeding me and changing me. She needed to have a son to please my father after his “putting up” with their already having had two girls. I grew up angry, hurt, rebellious and an underachiever, to name a few of my issues. It took a lot of counseling…a lot…for me to become a functioning and responsible member of society. I tell you that, to let you know that I understand.

I am sure she had her own reasons for what you were subjected to. Your mother didn’t do it out of preference. She was seriously damaged, herself. You said that sometimes don’t behave as the person you want to be. That was true for her and it’s true of all of us.

The next step, as I have said, is counseling. You are living in the past because you can’t help it and it is coloring your life in a way that is very hurtful. My experience is that you never fully recover but you can make great strides in that direction with help.

Honor yourself and take the positive steps needed for healing. You deserve a lot better than what you now have. Blessings, Luise

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