Society has a romanticized idea of mother-daughter relationships.
When you think of a mother-daughter relationship, you often picture a little girl playing dress up with her mom or spending Sunday afternoons baking cookies with her mom. As the little girl becomes a young woman, her mom becomes her best friend and they’re inseparable.
These are all valid as some mother-daughter relationships are as fantastic as this, but difficult mother-daughter relationships that are plagued with conflict and a sense of not being loved do exist.
My mother had me when she was 19 . My father was with us while I was still toddler. I know this because of the few pictures I saw in an old photo album that was buried deep in my mother’s “stuff” cupboard.
I learned from family members that my father left my mom for another woman, and since then, she chose to remain unmarried and didn’t have any more kids.
Growing up under her care was a nightmare. She often spent days away from home, leaving me hungry, dirty and alone. When she was home, she would act like I don’t exist, and when I tried to get her attention, she would become verbally and sometimes physically abusive. She eventually left me at my grandmother’s house during the December holidays when I was 6, under the guise that she would fetch me just before school re-opened, but she never came, until I was 12.
Our tumultuous relationship began when I lived with her at the start of my teen years. The abuse worsened, and she often threatened to throw me out into the streets if I failed to obey her rules.
She drank heavily, and I’m surprised that she didn’t end up pregnant because of all the men she dated. Some of them occasionally slept over at our house. It’s a miracle that none of them touched me, because at the rate at which my mother seemed to hate me, she would’ve turned a blind eye to any of them abusing me.
Why did she hate me so much?
She was supposed to love me immensely and protect me. The reward centre of her brain was supposed to light up when she merely stared at me, but that wasn’t the case.
It turns out that I embody her disappointment, failure and pain, which is the failed relationship with my father. She wasn’t prepared care for a child by herself, so I was also the source of her emotional and financial struggle.
Maybe she really did love me and but felt inadequate of motherhood. Perhaps being a single mom and a poor, black woman, constantly fight to prove herself worthy to the world while dealing with the pain of having her family destroyed by a man who refused to love and respect her, added to her frustrations which she then took out on me.
If she took the time to know me, she would know that I’m not a product of a failed relationship, but a fantastic human being that could add joy to her life.
*image from Made In Atlantis.