Gaining Perspective

Barbara and JamesI grew up with a very complicated relationship with my mother. I love her, but I hate her at the same time. I have spent my entire life trying to gain her approval, yet never fully gaining it.I had an abusive, alcoholic father- and my mother didn’t stop it or take steps to remove me from the situation. In fact, I was told it was my fault for being “mouthy” or, worse, being told that I was “exaggerating.”  I have long since forgiven my father, who has stopped drinking and realized that there aren’t enough words to make it better. My father took the time to apologize to me for everything that happened, and beg my forgiveness. My mother, however, still maintains that I deserved everything  that she doesn’t outright deny happening.  Being raised in this environment left me  feeling as if everything I do isn’t good enough and if I could figure out what I lack and fix it somehow, she’ll accept me and finally approve of me. I’ll be worth her love, finally.

It wasn’t until 3 months ago, when I became a mother myself, that I realized that my mother’s approval (or lack thereof) has deeply shaped who I have become as an adult. I finally realized that my mother has been reflecting her own  insecurities and self-doubt onto me for my whole life.  I refuse to do this to my son- I want him to grow up knowing he is loved no matter what, and that I will do anything in my power to protect him. I have started going to therapy to work through my own issues to make me a better mother, to ensure that I don’t project my issues onto him.