Sunday, 27 July 2014

An Emotionally Absent Mother (and other dysfunction)

My depression basically stems from a crummy set of parents and questionable step-parents contributing to a crummy upbringing. My mother was by-far the worst culprit. 

I simply cannot remember a time when I felt like my mum cared about me, I never remember her saying she loved me, or impromptu cuddles or feeling comfortable enough to share my thoughts and feelings. 

My mother is selfish, she is sociopathic, she is a compulsive liar, hypochondriac and an exaggerator. These words sometimes feel too strong to use when I say them aloud to other people, but I hate her. 

The negative impact that she has had on my personality and self esteem is so far reaching into every part of my life:

I was never good enough - I was a fairly clever kid, I wanted to be a Doctor and I could have been if I had the right sort if support. I helped to care for 5 younger brothers and sisters every day. From the age of 11 I was being left alone with them during the day and my mum frequently encouraged me to stay off school to help her. Yet, whatever I did, it was never enough, i had too much responsibility, too young and only received criticism in return. 

My body image and feelings about sex are not something I feel comfortable discussing with anyone - she deferred the chat about the 'birds and the bees' to my dad. Needless to say, that was way more awkward than it needed to be. I'll leave it at that. 

I'm not an affectionate person, hugs to say hello really scare me, even with my dad or my siblings. Can't stand hugs. A lack of affection can be pinpointed, but also a huge lack of trust. My mother always lied, so that's obvious, but it was more than that, I just knew that she wasn't a nice person, so I never told her about the boys I liked, or even spoke to her about my periods starting when I was 11. I was 11 and intelligent enough to get through it alone, without *her* input.  I've learned very well to be my affectionate self with MrB (it's taken years, and we broke up when we were 17 over my inability to be an affectionate person - no eye contact, couldn't say 'I love you'). Luckily, MrB is the one person who I know, knows me and likes me (hell, he loves me!). So I can trust him. 

Anyway, the affection and trust are interlinked so they mean that I assume everyone hates me, even my friends. I'm very insecure and so I struggle to make friends because of my own perceptions and assumptions. I become introverted and nervous in new situations with people, which to some extent is normal, It's natural. However, I do it to the point if being aloof, then I say silly things that perhaps sound overly pretentious, or dismissive, when I mean them nicely. *foot in mouth*. I'm a nice person, There are 4 people in the world who I know like me, MrB, his mum, E and N. Two of them are adults from a lovely family, whom I have spent 15 years getting to know. If they like me, then I'm likeable. I need to worry less

Mum used to lie a lot and get me to lie for her - she would steal my step-dad's guitars, even staging 2 burglaries. The police were involved and everything. She hid bills and I was always checking how many bills she had hidden. I recall a gas bill for over £3000. A 14 year old should not feel like they need to know what's going on - but I needed to. Bailiffs came around, my stepdad had no idea. How he had no idea and continued to trust her, exasperates me. 

My attitude to money used to be incredibly careless and I now spend mindfully - with the occasional splurge, but almost always within my means. That makes me proud. 

She had 6 children when she really couldn't cope with 3. We were a very poor family of 8 by the time I was 15. Living off a wage of 20k in 1996, my dad paid maintenance which definitely covered the food we ate, and we never went hungry. We didn't have biscuits or even yogurts, but we always ate 3 meals a day. The house was spotless, vacuumed daily. We eat well, but the house is far from immaculate. Perhaps if she had spent the time cuddling us, instead of immersing herself in house work, me and my lovely brothers and sisters would be much happier. Ok, so my hours could be cleaner, but I have recognised that I can only manage 2 children, emotionally, physically, psychologically and financially. I've been sterilised because of all of these factors - I'm proud to not want to make her mistakes. 

I am becoming her opposite both because she brought me up to be a feminist who didn't need to rely on a partner for income but also because I've had to learn *not* to be a liar, not to be a childish exaggerator, how to show affection. This takes work, and I should be proud of myself. 

No wonder I'm depressed, her evil seeped deep down within me during my formative years, and I have basically had to teach myself how to be a nice, kind human being. I'm really hopeful that I can continue un-learning these unhelpful aspects of myself and shatter the negative core beliefs so that the next 32 years can be happy and depression-free (see, I'm paying attention in CBT) .

Thanks for reading this complicated story! 


  1. Thanks for sharing your very honest and open post. You'd be surprised at how many people feel the same. Many issues we have in adult life stem from our childhood. I won't go in to my stuff but I will say I think we are the mould breakers. My mum however is amazing I'm blessed and I know that. She went through an awful time when I was young so I sort of got forgotten about. I found clubbing as my release and made friends and family through that. It's like everyone congregates over a weekend a from sombre backgrounds to let our hair down and have fun and be happy. I guess if you don't have that where do you find like minded people? Twitter helps I think. Even if you don't like actual hugs, I'm sending you a virtual one! So neeer!! Ha ha!!! From what I read you are a great mum and have such a wonderful vision. Xxxx

    1. Thank you! Yes, I find that dancing in clubs and live music really helps as a release - sadly, my best dancing buddy is MrB, so we're stuffed for a while.

      Yes, we're mould breakers, beating bad stuff and teaching ourselves new and better ways.x

  2. Thank you for being so open in this post. I have similar feelings towards my own mum. My depression, anxiety and lack of confidence all stems from her. She is the reason I had no child hood, she exposed me to things that I should never have been exposed to. My deepest fear is that I will somehow end up like her, it is somehow that constantly worried me when I was pregnant. Although I know it is a silly irrational fear because it will never happen, I could never be like her.

    You are fabulous, you are a wonderful mum. Xxx


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