By: Natascha Jones, Guest Blogger
Sometimes I can’t stand to look my mother in the eye. My skin crawls when she finds a reason to be able to put her arm around me or move my hair away from my face. I’m constantly at a tug-of-war with my emotions with her; love, resent, love, resent. I miss her when she’s not here and I’m irritated with her when she is.
I’m sure most daughters have these moments with their mothers but to me it feels like I’m the only one who has such horrible thoughts and family dynamic. My mom came to visit me in LA for the first time since I moved here five years ago. While there were so many moments of happiness and laughter there was so much more frustration; I felt like it was a shame for her to spend all this time and money just to come here and be treated like crap for five days.
I want to have a great relationship with my mother, I want us to feel like we have so much in common but I’m not sure if we can connect after all the contempt I have for her.
How do you forgive a mother who has done so much to “ruin” your childhood and currently is doing nothing to make her life as good as it can be?
There are so many things I wish I could change about my mom; I wish she could keep up with what I’m saying, it’s as if her head is off in the clouds and I have to repeat the same thing three times in order for her to understand what I’m saying. I feel like she’s only ever half listening and she isn’t as sharp and observant as other mothers her age. She uses drinking to fix her problems: her back pain, not being able to sleep, calming her “nerves,” a way to get over the stresses of life. I see this as a major weakness and when she drinks it immediately dilutes the connection and experience we could possibly be having. I’m also a huge believer in self-care – if there is a problem you fix it from the inside out, not the outside in. I exercise my mind, body, and spirit and I feel like my mom does none of these and so there’s always an excuse or a reason why she can’t do something, or doesn’t feel like it, or it’s not possible.
I spend so much of my time avoiding people who don’t live their lives to the fullest and then it turns out my mom is one of them.
So many people have asked me how my mom’s first visit to LA was and instead of going into a 10-minute diatribe about how it was mostly disappointing, I lie and tell them it was great. I do this for two reasons: telling a story over and over just keeps the energy of that situation alive and I want to move past the frustration I’m having and find a resolution. The second reason is that being negative doesn’t do anyone any good, for both the listener and the storyteller, ESPECIALLY when there are such hurt and angry emotions involved.
When a THOUGHT is attached to an EMOTION it becomes a REALITY.
I feel like almost every mother-daughter relationship is tainted with resentment and disappointment and I don’t want to live like that but it is one my biggest struggles to find compassion for my mother. Maybe because I expect so much of her because she is the closest version to me that I have, maybe it’s because I feel like she never stepped up as a parent. I don’t know why but I can’t find it in myself to forgive/overlook her weaknesses and “mistakes.” This causes me guilt because one day when she’s gone I feel like I’ll regret all that time I spent being mad at her. Part of me wishes I could let go of the expectations and accept her the way she is and the other part of me wishes she would make the most of her life so I could then at least have compassion for her shortcomings.
I love my mother. I absolutely do. I want my friends to meet her and I want her to see my world and what I’ve made for myself but I feel like there’s so much more we could experience if I could figure out a way to have compassion for this one person and she could figure out how to live her life to its fullest.
I feel like I’m starting at the bottom with this project. Between the guilt and the resentment I have a lot of mess to clean up. In my spiritual practice they would say to practice unattachment, have compassion and understand you cannot force anyone to change. Oh, and to live in the moment. I feel like communication would also be so important in this situation. Even if my mother doesn’t agree with what I say, compassionately letting her know how I feel would be a heavy weight off of my spiritual core.
I’m not sure how to make this happen besides wanting it and having patience for it and with that I hope we can meet in the middle someday and be on the same page.
Family relationships can be challenging at best. It's important to go easy on yourself when you're doing the hard relationship work!
- How do you approach hard or difficult conversations?
- Not ready to talk? Try writing a letter or email about your feelings. You don't have to send them!
- When was the last time you had a real conversation with the mother-figure in your life?
While she would have to inform you that her “day” job is in esthetics and makeup artistry, Natascha truly spends her days in sunny Venice Beach laughing with her friends, riding her bike, and telling grandiose stories encouraging others to laugh, cry or think. She is passionate about her efforts to live life fully and push her comfort zone, which is why she spills her guts to you and she hopes you’ll still love her.
Image via rockinmama.net