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mother/daughter relationship
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mother/daughter relationship

Not sure if this is the right forum or not but here goes.  My mother is 75 yrs old and she is for the most part a good mother.

The thing is, we never talk abt anything too deep.  She married my father when she was 19 and they had 4 kids.  My father always treated her badly but she stuck by him - like a martyr.  He would cheat and spend money without her knowing.  When she was pregnant with my older brother (her first child) he filed for divorce because he wanted to go back with his girlfriend from college.  After much talk from his family, he went back to my mother - and she took him back!!!  They went on to have 3 more kids and they have been together for over 50 yrs now.   I should be proud of this yet I feel like their marriage is a shame.  I can't be happy for them.  I wish she had left him years ago.

My oldest brother was a problem child - stealing, getting into trouble at school.  When he was 14, my father sent him to live with my grandparents.  When my brother wanted to come back home, my father said no, and told him it would hurt "gramma's feelings if he left".  My mother never fought for her son to come back home - even though he missed his family and wanted to come home.  My mother let my father reject him.  My brother started acting out and was abusive to my grandparents.  Eventually he got into drugs and was sent to prison for drug dealing.  He's a big mess - several children by women we don't even know.  He never graduated high school.

I am her #3 child.  I love her yet I can't quite figure her out.  When I was growing up, she never protected me.  I was molested several times and told her abt it, but she never did anything.  When I was 12, my father started kissing my neck at bedtime (it never progress past that but he definitely crossed some boundaries) and my mother would walk by my room and see him but she never did anything.  At least I think I she saw.  My memory if sort of blurry abt this time in my life.

She never told me abt my period or men.  If I got into fights with another girl, she always blamed me and told me to change so the other girls would like me.    When I went to college, she didn't support me one bit.  I dropped out because I couldn't handle the work and because I am socially inept for college.  She wasn't mean or anything - never called me names or hit me - but also never talked to me abt anything important.

When people meet her, they love her.  She is nice, a great cook and seems so loving.  Yet, I am angry at her for being such a wimp.  I knew if I was to be a mother, I would be like her and I couldn't do that to another child and then live with myself.

For you women who are mothers (I never had children nor do I want them) why would a mother not protect her child or want the best for her?  I am 38 now and feel like my mother is a fake yet I do love her.  I know she has limitations, but I just wonder what is going in her head to not protect her children.  I have a blind spot with her and can't figure this out.  
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I'm not a mother, but I will try respond to your post. It sounds like the cycle of abuse. Your mother probably grew up in an environment very similar to yours. Sometimes when people go through that kind of abuse, unlike you, they stop questioning and give in. They give in to the idea that they deserve to be treated this way. They give in to the idea that children should be treated this way. It's like a permanent state of panic - instead of fighting the trauma, the mind blocks out all pain from it completely so that the person can continue to function. It leaves the person disorientated, disconnected, and unable to use their instincts to guide them.

Hence marrying an abuser and not intervening when their own children are abused. That idea of abuse is probably so blocked in your mother's mind that she can no longer understand how much it's hurting you (even if she's been through it herself!).

I would guess your mother has long lost the ability to connect with her inner voice - the one that points out whenever something bad is happening. I'm sure she does what she understands is right, but her self-esteem is SO low that she never tries to assert her opinion over anyone else - just agrees. That's probably why people like her so much - because she's always kind and goes along with what they say.

Even worse, our society pats people on the back for being like that. Don't whine. Don't complain. Do a good job. Everyone's happy. Your mother has excelled - she didn't raise a fuss about any of this.

I say this only because as a victim of childhood abuse, I remember this message loud and clear: THIS IS NORMAL. My abuser had me absolutely convinced that how he was treating me was no better or worse than how every other parent/grandparent/guardian treated their child. It took me a long time to realize that this abuse is not normal behavior. I still struggle in believing that men are NOT selfish child-raping wife-beating pigs, as naive as that may sound.

But given your history with abuse, you're probably aware of having to work through those feelings yourself. Try assuming that your mother NEVER worked through those feelings. Imagine that any time she ever made progress, it was NEVER reinforced (or worse yet, deconstructed by those around her). She is probably still stuck in child mode, keeping her mouth shut, trying to do what she can to make people happy with her, wanting to be loved. I'm sure I've made WAY too many assumptions here, but I hope it's helpful. Abuse makes me pretty mad (grrrr) and I can only imagine what your mother endured to become the person you describe. I commend your strength in having the courage to face this within yourself and to look to understand her. Good luck!
I agree with Mayflowers.  I think your mom was a victim of abuse and doesn't seem to know how to help herself let alone her children.  Every relationship is different, and it sounds to me that your mother has probably expressed her love to you the best way she knows how.  However, I think you are extremely angry and hurt that she never protected you, nor did try to instill high self worth in you as a person.  You are right and strong to be able to aknowledge your feelings of anger, hurt, and disgust.  Again, I think Mayflowers was right on about the reasons for her behaviors, and I think it has a lot to do with her own past history.

Have you thought about writing all of this hurt and anger down in a letter or journal?  I think you need to get this out somehow, and feel validated.  I would highly reccomend finding a good therapist, and work on this in counseling.  Your anger is not going to go away unless you really take a deep, long, and hard look at your feelings, and figure out how to have a relationship with your mother that makes you feel good about yourself.  Because right now, it doesn't - it brings up a lot of pain for you.
I'm sorry - I meant I agree with slow healer!  Sorry!  I got my names mixed up - need more coffee this morning!!!
It sounds almost as if you were describing MY mother. Slow_healer could not have said it any better: your mother must have shut down her ability to work through emotional trauma for herself and for her children early on. It leaves children feeling abandoned, at least when it comes to situations when they need parental help the most. It is also a generation thing. Girls growing up through the 1930s and forties had no doubt that a wife needs to obey the law of the man in the house and not everyone broke free during the 1970s or later. Those fearful family situations must have created a whole generation of daughters who shied away from marriage and children.
My mother was badly abused as a child, at least she was able to talk about that part one day. Her marriage was abusive as well. At some point though I realized she would not be able to look beyond her own shell. I grew up feeling left to my own devices at an early age, no trusting any family member and feeling sorry for my mother. And I grew up feeling that being a woman and especially being a mother is one scary existence.
However, Romulus - nice choice of name in that constellation, raised by a wolf -
there comes the day that all you can do is to move forward and be the architect of your own life. Leave baggage that you can not change behind and be the first female in your family that refuses fearful relationships. Enjoy the basic love that is between your mother and yourself but don`t dwell on the disappointments. It can only drag you down.
With my mother being a tricky female role model, I always opted for the man`s world, became a construction worker and developed from there. After I had enjoyed doing things my way for a few years and truly had a blast, I slowly opened up to re-visiting the female role in general. In my late thirties I started to feel comfortable with the subject and in my early forties I had my first child. Life feels just great now after coming full circle. It`s never too late to take matters in your own hands and leave resentment behind.
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