Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nothing To Hurt

Dear Aunt Babz,

I am having a problem with my mother. She treats my sisters son better than my daughters. Let me start from the beginning . My mom and I haven't been close like a mother and daughter should be. She chose her husband and children that she had with him over me, he kicked me out when I was 16 and she did nothing about it. She didn't say no don't go she just basically thought maybe that her life would be better if I was gone( they got divorced 2 years ago). I married at 17 and am still married to the same person I am now 33 years old. We have 3 girls ages 13, 14 yrs and an 11 month old baby. I always wanted my daughters to have the relationship that I never had with my mom, but it's not possible cause my sister had a baby boy two years ago and they lived with her up until a week ago, but let me go back .

When my daughter was born I went over there with my husband my mom barely held her she just kept holding my sisters son and ignored my baby even my husband who is NOT a jealous person at all said 'All your mom cares about is your sisters son she didn't even look at our baby I'm never coming back here again!!' I was so hurt, but I did go back to visit and it's the same thing when ever my daughter does something new she says'well Luis does that all the time' or if she says a new word 'Luis says that all the time' and I'm thinking in my head so what he is a year older he should be doing it that!!! I am not mad at the the little boy I love him it's not his fault his grandmother is so damn ignorant!!! I have have spoken to my mom about this problem and how I feel about her doing this to no avail she makes excuses about how I'm a good mother and my sister isn't so she feels bad for my nephew and that she loves all the kids the same but that is bull she must think I'm an idiot! Even my older girls know that she loves her grandson more cause they have told me 'grandma loves Luis more than us and I have tried to play it off and said no it just seems that way, she loves you guys all the same! I am so sick and tired of being hurt! This situation has me really depressed. My sister left this weekend she moved to another state and took her son, so I took my baby girl over to try to cheer my mother up cause her precious grandson is gone and she barely even looked at her. She was just moping around all depressed like a zombie. That was the final straw I never had a dad and now I'm about to lose my mom cause I wanna cut all ties with her, but I need some advice first. Do you think I am over reacting?? Should I stop talking to my mom? Please help this is ruining my life I am crying all the time cause I feel torn over the decision Please help me!! Thank you
Dear Karina,

It sounds like there is a lot more to this story then what you have written, but I will try my best with what you have given.

I know that you feel you need to cut ties with your mother, but I am sure that you would be very depressed if you do this. Cutting your mother off will no doubt make this worse for you, not better. So I do not think that this is the answer. Why do I feel that? Because if you wanted to cut ties with her; you would have done that a long time ago. And if you were going to ever feel hurt, it would be from this. Especially if anything bad happened to your mother (like if she died). You would feel perpetually guilty and depressed.

It sounds like your mother wants nothing more then to have a family and have people be dependant on her. And unfortunately that want is so strong that it makes her bitter and rude at times to others who aren’t needy of her. She wants to be the one people come home too and needs… but she doesn’t realize that her behavior does nothing but the opposite.

She is the type of person who will nurture and baby the crap out of someone who is codependent because then she feels needed. It is apparent with your sister and her baby that this is the case. But the bad part about being like this, is that your mother sounds like she is codependent and she doesn’t know it yet. I am not a doctor, so I can’t diagnose a person. But to me, with other people I know who have been diagnosed as codependent; this is what your mother sounds like.

I am going to steal from Wikipedia this citation, because it is the best summarization that I could find (it’s short and to the point).

Codependence (or codependency) is a popular psychology concept popularized by Twelve-Step program advocates. A "codependent" is loosely defined as someone who exhibits too much, and often inappropriate, caring for persons who depend on him or her. A "codependent" is one side of a relationship between mutually needy people. The dependent, or obviously needy party(s) may have emotional, physical, financial difficulties, or addictions they seemingly are unable to surmount. The "codependent" party exhibits behavior which controls, makes excuses for, pities, and takes other actions to perpetuate the obviously needy party's condition, because of their desire to be needed and fear of doing anything that would change the relationship.

Does that sound familiar now?

See, I know that your mother cares and I know that you do too. It’s just hard to see when there is an issue.

So now what do I think is the best resolve? I honestly don’t know. You can try just going over and talking to your mother. She might snap out of her funk. You can try taking your mom to get some help, telling her that she seems really lonely and sad since your sister departure and could benefit from an open ear might be the way to go with that.

But you are not over reacting. I have to say this because no matter the case with your mother, it is not fair to you. Sickness or not, it is not fair for a child to feel shunned by her parent. And if anyone gets that, it’s me. For years my father favored my brother (and still does) but I decided to let that be their thing. I decided that it wasn’t going to hurt me anymore, because I don’t need to be favored. I know that I am doing the best I can with my own family, and I know that my child will not feel like that.

So maybe that is what you need to do. Take the ability for your mother to hurt you away from her. She can’t hurt you if there is nothing to hurt. Do you need her favoritism or validation or consent? No. You don’t. You are doing what you can for your daughters AND you are still trying to preserve some kind of relationship with your mother. That is mighty big of you. You keep trying and you love your family despite it’s flaws. Own that. It is what makes you who you are. And there is nothing wrong with it.

If you are feeling like you can’t do that, and you can’t help your mother, then distance yourself a bit. And maybe see a councilor yourself. It sounds like there are more issues here then you have written (like I said above) and that you could also benefit from a non-partial persons opinion. But I really do think that cutting your mom out of your life would be a mistake. I think that a choice like that can kill a person, and you do care.

I hope that you can resolve some of your hurt. And I hope that your mother one day realizes the hurt she has caused and does well by you. Take care of yourself and your family.


Aunt Babz Said...

Girlfriend, I went through the same thing. Be the Matriarch of your family. Live by example and show your children a true sense of family. Break the chain. Don't stay up even thinking about this, not one more night. Your hurt and pain is only yours, they do not feel it. Your anger about this will consume you. Pray for her, pray for a difference. Let go and let God. Give it to her and let it go.Be that Matriarch, remember this.

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