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How to Open Yourself to Love When You Didn’t Grow Up with It

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“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha

I was always someone that craved love and attention. This is not to say that I accepted love willingly—quite the opposite, in fact.

If someone decided to like or even love me they would have to pass through a path of obstacles, being pushed pulled and tested at every corner. Only then, upon arrival at the finish line, would they gain my acceptance.

As you can imagine, this eliminated a number of potential friends and partners, and I often found myself lonely and disappointed.

The root of my inability to accept love easily stems back to my childhood.

My mother was unable to connect with me. She got pregnant during the height of her modeling career. After she gave birth, her career dried up. She resented the attention that a baby attracted, and, in addition to this, she was highly addicted to narcotics.

Growing up with my mother telling me that she felt no love and was ashamed of me made me desperate to be the perfect daughter. I would go to any length to prove myself worthy, even taking drugs with her as a way of connecting.

When I was 15 years old, she upped and left with no goodbye—leaving me with my stepdad and an overwhelming sense of failure.

If my own mother could not love me, how and why would anyone else?

After my mother left, I disguised my pain through drugs and control. Drugs provided an instant, closely-bonded social network. I tried to take control through self-harm. My life continued like this for 10 years. I hated myself, and I was terrified of letting anyone in.

Throughout these years, I did several stints in rehabilitation centers, where nurses and psychiatrists worked hard on me.

I would almost give in and build connections with these people; however, when the time came to leave these institutions, I would find myself alone all over again.

I was desperate for a loving relationship and a career. My battles were hindering me from achieving either.

Luckily, I had a fantastic education under my belt, through a childhood spent at top boarding schools. It was just a matter of escaping this vicious cycle that I had spent the majority of my life spinning around in.

I had stopped the drugs but was addicted to self-pity. Therapy had taught me that I needed to let go and learn to trust. This sounds quite easy now, but back then the very idea was not only terrifying but also impossible.

A  Time for Change

I always dreaded birthdays and holidays. On my 25th birthday I woke up with an annual feeling of dread.

I went to the store to buy some cigarettes and the lady at the counter asked me for some identification. I handed it over and she said to me “It’s your birthday today. You look so young. Your mother should be very proud of you.”

It was such a flippant statement, but for some reason it struck a chord. After all my years of therapy, these words from a stranger hit home. I can’t really explain it, but I felt a whole hoard of emotions: anger, regret, understanding, and, finally, relief.

I felt that, yes, my mother should be proud of me—and I felt sorry for her that she was unable to feel that way.

I wanted to have a chance at life, to meet someone and have my own children that I could love and be proud of. I realized then that this would only happen if I stopped treating myself the same way my mother did.

Considering how long and hard it was to reach this point, turning my life around was surprisingly easy. The hardest point was the realization.

If you’d like to treat yourself better than your parents did and open up to love, I recommend:

Write Through your Feelings and Fears

I didn’t want to cause myself any more harm; I wanted to connect and understand how I worked instead. Writing things down served as a great release.

Go out and get a journal with the exclusive intention of putting your emotions into words. Try and pinpoint when and what makes you feel good or sad.

By putting everything on paper, you can then reference your emotions, look into your behavioral patterns, and recognize what made you feel a certain way and how you dealt with it.

Keeping a journal keeps you connected to yourself so you can make real changes that last.

Risk Trusting Other People

Instead of testing people in my life, I let go and granted people access. I decided that even if someone let me down, I could handle it.

Moving circles helped. I got back in touch with people I liked growing up, and I was surprised to find that a number of them were happy to reconnect with me.

This was a difficult step, as rejection is way out of my comfort zone. However, I put myself on the line and trusted my instincts to contact these people. As I started to feel more connected and less alone, I realized this paid off.

I also decided to be open with new people that came into my life. I didn’t scare them off at the first encounter, but as relationships began to develop, I would explain how my past affected me, and how I’d chosen to move on and be happy.

Almost everyone I opened up to was completely supportive. Openness became a two-way street. I learned that most people had experienced their own struggles. Our confessions strengthened these new relationships.

I also learned that not everyone is someone I can open up to—but the more I do it, the better instincts I have about who to let into my life.

Taking risks with people is essential for happiness. After all, it is better to have experienced at least some loving friendships than to sit alone, fearing heartache.

Let Go of the Old Stories

I have let go of my mother. I realized that I was heading up a similar path to her, and this taught me to feel compassion for her. I have released all the negativity that I held towards her, and now I just hope that one day she can learn to love herself.

In order to let go, I needed to understand my mother. Because we were barely in contact, I had little information to go on. I collected everything I knew about her, from her childhood, her time with my dad, and the time she spent with me.

With all this information I recognized that she was a troubled woman who was unable to make real human connections. I sensed that she must have been suffering with some kind of depression or illness.

By looking at her in this way, I could see that her leaving had nothing to do with me. If she hadn’t had me and had given birth to another daughter, it would have been the same outcome.

Once I realized that our unhealthy non-relationship wasn’t my fault, I was able to stop blaming her and hanging onto the victim story.

Once you stop telling the story, it has less power over you.

Love Yourself

In the past, I tried to hurt and hide from myself, and all this did was make me lose myself further. By braving up and removing all the escape methods, I have found my raw being.

Vulnerability is not a negative state. It is how we start our path. I have just started mine slightly later than most.

By loving myself, I allow others to love me. I love myself because I am still here, and I can see my life changing around me. When I have moments of insecurity, I read through my journals, speak to friends, or throw myself into tasks I enjoy, like baking.

Since changing my outlook, I have started working and have formed a number of great friendships. I have even got in touch with my mother and told her that I have forgiven her. I don’t think we will ever have a relationship, but I am alright with that.

The important thing is that I have finally opened myself up to other loving relationships.

Have you?

Photo by JOPHIELsmiles

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About Marie

Marie has a passion for writing, covering a range of topics from personal confessions, bridal sets, relationships, and travel.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • http://www.facebook.com/sarahneanbruceDOTcom Sarah Nean Bruce

    Excellent Article “Marie” & TINY Buddha! I especially identify with this important lesson: “I also learned that not everyone is someone I can open up to—but the more I do it, the better instincts I have about who to let into my life.”~Marie (i’ve only recently learned this too, and i’m in my 40s).i’ve been writing about forgiveness too (with the help of Dr. Fred Luskin’s Book “Forgive For Good”) ~ especially learning the skill of letting go of “old stories” to one self and to others. 
    I would love to read more of your writings Marie; hope you will write more for TINY Buddha. 
    ~ sarah nean bruce
    ps~here are two of my most heartfelt and revelatory articles on forgiveness & letting go… 
    http://sarahneanbruce.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/w-o-w-5-stages-to-forgiving/ http://sarahneanbruce.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/bonus-p-o-v-on-w-o-w-5-stages-of-letting-go-and-forgiving/

  • http://www.facebook.com/effyswild Effy Wild

    This came to me on a day when I most needed to read it. <3

  • Paloma B

    I feel it took a lot of courage to write this, to bear your soul and your piece resonated deeply within me with my ‘artistic’ narcissistic abusive mother and painful childhood.  Many years and painful friendships & relationships later, and after much therapy and reflection, I have developed compassion for her and the courage to be me.  However, now in mid life, making friends is still a long process and I am mustering up the courage to try open myself up to love again after a failed marriage.  The early wounds are deep and facets of the scars show up in new ways as time goes on but each day is a new beginning and I have faith… God Bless you on your journey…

  • Mich

    It could have been my own story, I didn’t take drugs but most of the other things were a mirror to my life and it caused me problem upon problem to be rejected.  I have my own kids and have a problem being “loving” it is a work in progress.  I find it easier with my grandbabies and I don’t know why. Thank you for sharing. 

  • http://twitter.com/HouseOfShakti Lubna Salah

    Thank you so much for sharing this.  You are a brave wonderful soul and have put words to what so many of us suffer from.  We are all looking for love and connection, but we must learn to trust ourselves and love, in spite of our childhoods.

    We must unlearn all our past and learn our way back to love.

    Love and Light,

    Lubna

  • JBird

    Wow.  THANK YOU for this.  My mother never left me, but had (and still has) problems connecting with me.  I had problems with drinking/pills and still am working on loving myself – it’s a constant work in progress.  Always trying to numb the pain – when in fact I should be feeling it and understanding it. 

    Glad I cam across this, I needed to see I’m not the only one.  Bless you!

  • http://www.aquarius-company.com Aquarius Company

    Thank you … such a gift for me – “If she hadn’t had me and had given birth to another daughter, it would have been the same outcome.”  These words have helped me more than I can say today … thank you.  <3

  • Farah Hany

    I really related to this, specially “Turning my life around was surprisingly easy. The hardest point was the realization.”
     Before any major change the idea always seems terrifying, and self-pity feels like a warm comfort spot to stay in, but then come the realization and suddenly you’re free from all the thoughts that had once restricted the way you feel. Loving yourself only seems natural but it takes a lot of bravery to reach this point, & you’re absolutely right, vulnerability is not a negative state, why emotions are such weakness to some is something beyond me. I feel like we should respect what are emotions are trying  to tell us.Much love,Farah x

  • http://profiles.google.com/celinen196 Celine Noel

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Mary. 
    Writing is indeed very therapeutic but it takes even more courage and love to share it with strangers on a website. Though i have a feeling that many readers can relate one way or another, i know i can.
    Thank you! 

  • K. Sommers

    who is this woman? does she have contact details? would love to pick her brain and give her a thankyou. completely inspiring. made my morning. so many thanks x

  • http://www.rebuildyourlifecoach.com Harriet Cabelly

    Beautifully honest and open piece.  Bravo to you for putting it out there. 
    There’s so much to pick up on here.  Two things come to mind initially for me:  we never know how our words or expressions can affect someone, ie. the lady at the counter.  
    And we must choose to be different, to open ourselves up to improvement.  You’ve clearly made the Choice and you are on the hard-working path towards healing and creating a much more satisfying life.  
    You will reap the benefits of goodness.  

  • http://twitter.com/Blackcatno9 Kyrsten Bean

    Thank you for sharing your story, anonymous. It is inspiring and encouraging and holds a lot of truth I have found in my own journeys to date. Keep sharing! I’d love to hear more from you. 

  • http://twitter.com/LiesbethEnkels Liesbeth Enkels

    I really enjoyed reading this post. It’s so healing for me and you can write it in such nice words.
    I love to share with others so I’ll definitly tweet this post.
    Thank you.
    Love, Liesbeth

  • Irene

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. This sentence ’I realized then that this would only happen if I stopped treating myself the same way my mother did.’ really made me realize that I have some ‘work’ to do. God bless you and please keep writing. 

  • http://lookingtobusiness.com Daniel Wood

    Wow Marie,
    That was an incredible story.
    You are a great writer, the story really moved me and I am so happy for you that you have turned your life around.

    That kind words from a stranger saved your life is incredible.
    It is a reminder to us all that we should remember to do the little things when we can.

  • PeaceLoveYoga

    BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE…I relate to this so much. Thank you for sharing your struggles and insight. Love is the only thing that matters in life. When we are open to find it, it makes the life’s journey even more beautiful. We are here to learn from the past not to continue to make the same mistakes. Your strength and courage is inspiring. Thank you.  p.s. The store clerk was a messenger from God :)  Namaste

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1244976648 Katarina Lawrence

    Thank you for sharing your story and your methods. Relating to this and in the middle of healing myself you reassure me that the steps I am taking are worth all the heartache that got me here. 

  • Sylvia

    Wonderful! :)

  • http://www.healthwealthandhappinessblog.com Madeline

    I really relate to this post.  Thank you for sharing your story.  Journaling also helped me look honestly at my life, which made me realize that I needed to get out of a bad marriage.  Like you said, there are patterns there that you have to take a step back to see.  Journaling helps you do that.

  • Robin

    thank you for writing  such a wonderful post. This is almost my story, but for me it took until I was 57 to hear some one say “That was then, This is now” and understand that living in the past was not only non productive, it never changed anything.
    My mother is gone, and she said that she never hurt anyone in her life, and yet speaking to others who knew her and were impacted by her she caused nothing but pain. But “that was then, and this is now” and I live in the now, so I can and do love myself, and yes I am worthy of all the love I receive. 

  • Potter

    Thank you, Marie. You gave us all a gift by sharing your story.

    For me, I appreciated this: “Vulnerability is not a negative state.” I needed the reminder today.

  • Dawn23456

    Thank you for sharing your experience! I can relate to your point about your story having less power over you once you stop telling it. I have found that when i have been hurt, I need to tell my story over and over again until I have made sense of it, and then I can stop. And once I stop, it certainly does have less power over me. This has been a process treat works for me…tell it until I’m done telling it and then it sort of let’s go of me on it’s own. Again, thanks for having the courage to tell your story so honestly so others can learn from it.

  • Dawn23456

    Thank you for sharing your experience! I can relate to your point about your story having less power over you once you stop telling it. I have found that when i have been hurt, I need to tell my story over and over again until I have made sense of it, and then I can stop. And once I stop, it certainly does have less power over me. This has been a process treat works for me…tell it until I’m done telling it and then it sort of let’s go of me on it’s own. Again, thanks for having the courage to tell your story so honestly so others can learn from it.

  • Beth

    Moved me to tears. My Mom had me at 17, and was beautiful, but so vain. She blamed me for “ruining her life” and as a 36 yr old women, I have issues with attaching to people still. After 10 years of therapy, I am ok with me and know I deserve love, but it’s a concept hard to grasp never hearing the words “I love You…and I am loved, I no longer base my life on my Mom’s shortcomings. Thank you for addressing such a sensitive topic. I think Many people have been thru similiar experiences. The damage both my parents did to me as a child, took most of my adult life to mend. We cannot allow anyone to ruin us. We are strong and we can rise above, Love & Light.

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  • http://twitter.com/BeingHarshal_ BeingHarshal

    This is very good article. May this will inspire many in this world!!! God bless you all peoples.

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  • John

    Thank you so much for posting this. Other than the specifics of a faulty parent I am now exactly how you were in the past. In reading your post it felt like I was learning a great deal about my self and how to fix my problems I have with connecting with people. Again, thank you thank you than you.

  • Colette 2203

    What moving and honest story this is. It tells all about Marie and all she has gone through to love herself. It inspires me to read this, and learn from it… If she can change her ways of thinking and start to validate her own worth and love, them so can I. Thank you for this story, peace, love and bliss from my heart to you!

  • anonymous2

    I saved this post as I was a bit fearful to read it.  Sure enough, you know what it feels like to hold no value to your mother.  You have helped so many by speaking out…I wish I had that courage, but still worry about causing hurt to my mother who inflicted her pain all her life.
    I have learned to love from afar, so those thorns don’t stick so deep.  Every sadness, every tear she weeps, she blames on her daughter, me.   Thankfully, by loving myself now, others see that I was always the child left to take the burden of her many troubles…it took many years.  Mothers are always thought of as knowing whats best, many do not know what goes on behind closed doors- I learned long ago to soak up any sunshine that came my way.  I learned to trust my self, but never to love my self for a very long time.  It takes a very strong person to deny their mother, it is in our deepest sense of who we are, to connect with her.  If she finds us unworthy, then that is what we become.
    I do feel now compassion for her, I never forget her birthday or holiday- sending love her way.  But I do not visit for she has a way still, to inflict deep hurt and I no longer accept it.  Thank you so much friend, for speaking your heart, for telling your story.

  • Featheredladybug

    ONE OF MY FAVORITE PICTURES… I TOOK IT OUT BEHIND MY MAMA’S APARTMENT IN BOISE, ID ALMOST 2 YEARS AGO, I WASTHERE FOR HER FIRST ROUND OF CHEMO AND RADIATION! THE BATTLES ALMOST OVER, THE CANCER HAS SPREAD THROUGHOUT HER WHOLE BODY, SHE ONLY HAS A COUPLE MONTHS… MAYBE TO LIVE! I’M RETURNING TO BOISE IN THE NEXT WEEK OR SO TO STAY UNTIL IT’S OVER… I REMEMBER THAT MORNING SO CLEARLY, SKY WAS AMAZING, MAMA AND I WALKED, TALKED AND LAUGHED… IT WAS A GOOD DAY! I DIDN’T SEE THE HEART UNTIL I STARTED ADJUSTING THE CONTRAST, HIGHLIGHTS, COLOR ETC… THER IT WAS “OPEN YOUR HEART AND LET THE SUNSHINE IN” MY HEART OF HOPE FOR MY MAMA! GLAD YOU’RE ENJOYING IT’S BEAUTY!   JOPHIELsmiles

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  • http://www.noranbakrie.com Noran B

    I live with an only mother whom I love the most (I got no other relatives), but she’s still drown in her grieve for losing her last son, my brother — and all these time she thinks I’m her failure because I’m not holding the idea of religion as hers. She’s just human, I’ve tried to explain that I’m also human, but I guess we’re still not there, in the same understanding, yet. I grew up with her blaming and demotivating me. It kills sometimes, to know someone you love the most never think that you are right, or at least, normal. I’m reading this and I feel like it’s my story too. Only, I haven’t reach the points you have reached, the points of loving your truly selves… but you help me reaching there.
    Thank you.

  • terry

    Noran,
    Just because your mom doesn’t YET see you in your true and loving light…don’t stop being beautiful as I can tell you are through this comment.  She’ll get there, but until she does- this mama here hears you, don’t let anyone tell you who you are or what you’ll be…be a loving soul and live your life accordingly.  My heart goes out to your mom, losing a child makes the whole world pretty dark for a long, long time. It can really make a person lose sight of all that’s beautiful, even a loving daughter.  Love to you sweetheart.  Take care.

  • Paloma

    OMG – Noran, I’ve been there and it is a very painful and sad place but please believe that many other than your mother can see your inner worth, sensitivity and beauty!  My therapist once said to me “we are born alone and die alone.”  Once I could swallow that I realized that the most important person in the world to love me was the one looking at me in the mirror.  Your mother is in pain, to lose a child, what a nightmare.  No matter the compassion one feels for her, you must be strong and place a healthy boundary around yourself and focus on your needs first.  You are loveable, we all are children of God and deserving of love no matter anything!  Please reach out to those who can help you. Therapy worked for me, prayer does too, reading good books, places like this site…  I pray that you will find happiness, peace and love and heal your wounds.  Life is a treasure and you will feel happier, know this to be true.  God Bless. 

  • Naturepix

    You Rock, thank you so much for your Honesty. Finally someone in this world who I can go… yup she gets it. Thank you. Blessings to you.

  • Miho

    Just a question I hope someone answers me: How to love someone when there are so many beautiful and attractive people in this world?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robin-Jones/740176184 Robin Jones

    This is great and very helpful…Lord knows I have been living in self pity for a long time. My mother could never show love to any of her 5 children and instead worshipped her drinking along with my step father. My father who I briefly met, wanted nothing to do with me for reasons I will never understand. Oh but I had lots of relationships…just with unemotional, unavailable men until I just got tired of being hurt. Now I have met a good, kind, stable man and can’t seem to trust him or let him in. I thought I loved myself, but unconciously I apparently don’t. I’m going to try some of your suggestions…we all deserve happiness…thanks again for sharing.

  • Tinarose29

    This article has helped me soooooooooooooo much x

  • Dena

    Irene, yes the same sentence hit me to.  I read it as I have to stop treating myself the way I have been treated all my life.  

  • Dena

    I was in foster homes until the age of six then adopted by a family where the mother needed to fill a void in her life since all of her children were grown.  My birth father was 16 when I was born he was born in 1951 and I was born in 1966 and my birth mother was 17. I then went into foster homes and the only benefit I brought to them was a paycheck. Then I was adopted into a family where only one person wanted me if you call it that to fill a void.  So by the time I was 18 yrs old the behavior was already imprinted.   I have been struggling a long time with the scares.  The day my son was born was the first day of the life I was meant to live I finally had a chance to show someone I was not that bad after all.  Well when you have a baby it is not until they are at least 16 or 17 that they see you as someone they cannot live without.  So, here I am 45 years old and the first I have ever heard the words ” I love you and and will take care of you no matter what.”  It took a while for that to register and I was like oh my I hope my son did not think I was not grateful for those words. Since my son is now 17 years old he is on a mission to live his own life and I don’t want to hold him back worrying about me.  So I now have come to the realization that I have to find my own security, happiness, and Love.  

    Thank you for those words that gave me inspiration today: I decided that even if someone lets me down, I could handle it.   I let my mother go I realized that I was heading up a similar path to her.  Once I realized that our (my birth mother) unhealthy non-relationship wasn’t my fault, I was able to stop blaming her and hanging on to the victim story.   I have to start treating myself better than I have been treated as a child or have allowed myself to e treated in past. 

    Thanks

  • Jessicafreeman88

    im having alot of turbal just letting my past go every thing how can i help myself figive and forget is what im thanking any advice

  • Jessicafreeman88

    im having alot of turbal just letting my past go every thing how can i help myself figive and forget is what im thanking any advice

  • Dena

    When I started letting go is when I started seeing a therapist.   After all the therapy the one thing that allowed me to let go was when she said “they were adults and you were a child so it is no way your fault” so that was the beginning of the end for me.  I am still struggling but I have come a long way.  It is a process but the key is to start and don’t give up.

  • Bramas

    This is almost my own story.  Writing everything I had heard her say, helped me to understand my mother’s life situation, and so to forgive her inability to connect with me.  I am now working on recovering the deep love I felt for her before I understood the abuse which was meted out to me through no fault of my own,

  • spider

    Same exact situation for my anonymous2.  I honestly still have not forgiven my mother for all of her hurtfulness but I am really trying to.  She was extremely abusive and unbelievably selfish.  Like you said, we have inate compelling feeling inside of us to connect with our mothers, and the fact that I am disconnected from her right now just kills me inside.  But I know if her and I were speaking, that it would just be a one way street, because in her eyes only how SHE feels matters.  I have cut the toxicity out of my life and now just need to learn to let it all go.

  • spider

    JBird, loving ourselves is a continual work in progress.  I also was a drug addict and an alcoholic, also numbing the pain.  Now I have gone sober and I face the pain head on.  It makes it harder.  But once you go head first into it through the eye of the needle, you will come out of it on the other side and feel relieved.  You have to feel it to get past it.  Namaste.

  • spider

    Me too.  Time to start loving ourselves!

  • Dbitz

    Wow you are so right ,I admire you for trying to think positive my mother also won’t talk to me for the last 5 years, It hurts so bad inside That I do think of suicide. if I didn’t have my 4 kids I think I would not be around right now but the pain is getting worse instead of better every day I am getting more and more depressed anD thoughtsnof suicide are increasing. I just dont know why my mom can’t love me or even acknowledge me

  • shannon obryan

    this really helped!! thank you for posting :) 

  • Bluebutterfly100

    I am very inspired by your courage and strength. Your philosophical approach is, in my opinion, very healthy but is also the harder approach to abandonment. You show that even in the most difficult of circumstances, finding faith in one another, and in our ability to empathise and care about one another, is an over riding facet of human nature. Although I have not suffered the way that you have, like many I have been abandoned in different ways by a couple of people that I loved deeply and my over-riding lesson through it all has been that there are more people that want to be there for you when life is hard, than people who will let you fall – but you need to be open to receiving help and that being able to receive help is all about accepting our own vulnerability. I agree that being able to accept our own vulnerability is actually a  character strength. Best wishes to you and Namaste!

  • nickeaston007

    i agree with Paloma, its takes some courage to write down these feelings, and in some respects i am the same as your as i can`t have any relationships with my parents either. too much damage has already been done time and time again, for me and know that  toxic relationships with parents is never a good thing, have strength and move along. Gob Bless

  • June

    I can’t find another words to describe how much this artikel means to me THANK YOU!

  • Zani

    Thank you so much. I really needed to read this. I am 20 and I am afraid of love. I’ve sabotaged possible relationships and I test everyone who crosses my path. It is a must for me to open up to love; to give and receive love. The time is now. Peace.

  • mary loves mason

    I love this web sight is great……thank you

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much Mary! I run this site. I’m so glad you enjoy it. =)

  • AJ

    May God that is the energy of all bless you!

  • Marie

    “By looking at her in this way, I could see that her leaving had nothing
    to do with me. If she hadn’t had me and had given birth to another
    daughter, it would have been the same outcome.”

    That part really resonated with me. Life changing. Thank you. Turning our burdens into blessings by helping others heal is the silver lining of trauma.

  • Mike Irwin

    It took me a long time and talking to a therapist that I don’t honestly know if I love my mother, she denies calling me a liar since I was a small child. I am willing to forgive her but I’m not there yet. I want her to admit that she said what she did but so far she refuses.

  • Pink

    Your story sounds so similar to my own. I was also raised by a former model who screamed at me that if she hadn’t had me her figure would have remained perfect. I later found out that I was not her first child or her last. She had given them up for adoption and masses of family including my father who left when I was a baby were keeping her secret when they should have been MY family and NOT HERS and told me. They knew how lonely I was and how hard it was to be raised by her.
    I haven’t spoken to my mother in seven years. What I realised it that nothing I could do, could be, could buy for her would never make her love me. Every single day is a struggle and have thought about suicide since I was a very tiny girl. If I thought that counseling would help I would be going. Its difficult for those people who had families and support to ever understand those of us who have never had it. Being labeled with some mental illness because of my mother would put me over the edge.

  • simone

    thank you for this… i feel like im floating about in life. Trying so hard to please those i love , but i cant seem to love myself and i wonder if i even really love anyone. i love them with what i feel love is at this point but maybe i am clueless and going about this false idea which i have managed to convince myself is true. i am constantly letting my partner down, i feel like a child and he feels like a father. granted i didnt get much of a loving guidance, instead it was more of a threat through my childhood, well at least it felt that way. im extremely emotional, i cry for many things. i wish i had the answers, i want all of this self pity and pain to stop. but i dont know how to begin. i dont know what i want nor what i need.. i feel completely lost

  • Jane Doe

    ever since i can remember my mother and father would be fighting with eachother… for years and years and they never got a divorce even thouhg i begged my mother to since she had such a problem with my father. they were so focused on their relationship and my mother just focused on how she was being wronged by my father because he wasnt putting her on a pedestal so she complained and yelled screeches put dents in the wall all my life. she still puts up the victim front and my parents are strict, im 23 now and i cannot find happiness anywhere. i feel let down by everyone, i for some reasonat times hate my self i want to commit suicide at times too. my parents taught me to care for your self mean that u are selfish, so i was never taught this and to this day im struggling, i have 3 other siblings and i dont know how they are managing. they tell me to ignore our parents and have an open heart but i dont know how, all they do is demand from me to act a certain way dress a certain way, and they know nothing about how a i feel. i even mentioned it to my mom one time i was crying and she said i was messed up. i told her i learned it from her and she tole me that i didnt hav an unloving husband like her so i have no reason to feel hurt. my older sister tells me my parents love me they care for me, but i dont beleive hher at all, i think THEY are selfish.. they only want me to be an extension of them selves, i swear my father could care less about us all he does is tell us what to do, i feel so disconnected with him, and every time i talk to my mom shes talking shit about my dad or his family and that is the only people we talk to, at the same time im not allowed to stay out late or have friends and im supposed to be successfull and get married? what the hell? from what example..? i was never taught to stand up for my self hence i was bullied all of highschool and i have the desire for other peoples approval or friendship. i wish i could just live alone, but leaving my family even makes me feel guilty even though all they have done for me is raise me like a chicken. ive had jobs since i was 15 in attempt to take control of my life.. so now i have a wardrobe and a cellphone …with no one to call and no where to wear what i own. ive tried many drugs and i was in abusive relationship where the guy pushed me into a river from up high and laughed. yet i still talk to him? i dont know whats right or wrong i feel insane at times… everyone else seems fine. so i know its all me, im missing something…and after all this time i know its because my parents taught me jack shit acutally they taught me to hate my self and be ashamed of my self. and if they didnt teach me this stuff i dont know who i am supposed to learn from, i dont have $ fora a psychiatrist and no other human being wants to deal with another persons baggage because its not their problem (which i understand completely) and their life is fine. im a mess.

  • Jane Doe

    i have all these dreams about doing great things good things making a difference in the world yet at the same time i cant get over my own mommy and daddy issues i feel like such a failure and i always have. some people see my drive and my passion and they admire it, but i cant hold long relationships with friends even, if they flop on me or forget about me i become so hurt that i no longer even want to associate with them. i know this is going effect all aspects of my life, i dont want to be like my parents, i wanted babies but even now im starting to wonder if i actually want a child or if thats something embedded in my head my them cause thats the only thing they think means success in life. it doesnt help tht me parents are 2 completely differnt people teaching me different things (by acting different ways). i constantly activate and deactivate my social network accounts, i have the lowest self esteem of all time. and im way too old for this i turn 24 in september. my mothers also very social so everyone knows who i am and i behave recklessly by drinking ect and apparently i have a bad rep now which i could care less about but wow…give me a break

    J

  • Jane Doe

    thankgod for the internet or i would have no closure!

  • Kismet2605

    I just read this and hope you are still around. I know you must be suffering terribly and I also lived through the same for many years. All I can say is have strength…and please think about your 4 kids and how much they would suffer if you were no longer in this world. If you take your life because your mother did not love you, you would be inflicting a terrible conscious pain to your children and would leave them scared forever….you will be (and I am sorry to say this) even worse than your mother if you do this. I do not mean to be harsh…I just want you to see how you have to first step up as a mother and then remember the child still within you. Please look for help and even though it is hard try and see how your mother’s acceptance is nothing compared to the love your children give you. You say in your last sentence ‘my mom cant love me or even acknowledge me’…I would say you are doing the same to your children by not even thinking about them but thinking still about how to please your mother and how you want to commit suicide. I send you my best wishes and hope you find help before its too late

  • Krystal Honey

    i know how you feel, except my mother wasn’t a model she was a hooker. My father’s grandma raised me and everyone in my family severely disliked me and wished numerous bad things upon me as a child ( including telling all the kids when i was in middle school what my moms job was). At moments even my father disliked me as much because he believed I was the reason my mother left him. I have come to accept that I AM NOT my mother and the rest of my family has their own issues for disliking a child for no reason (even my dad’s sisters admit it’s not a good reason, but they can’t help how they feel). But at this moment I am in a wonderful relationship with a wonderful loving and caring man and even though I love him with all my heart and soul I have no idea how to show him and I feel like he is getting overly frustrated with me (his childhood was much different, but he was adopted by a very nice family who did show him love). I need help. bittersweet_skittles@yahoo.com

  • loulou23

    I know this was posted some time ago but i just read it and wanted to say thank you. Your realisation that you were treating yourself the way your mother had treated you really spoke to me. I have been in therapy for years. My father was a very rageful person and my mother had schizo-affective disorder. Growing up I was not allowed to have any negative feelings such as anger or sadness and would either be ignored or punished if I showed my feelings. My parents are both dead now and I am only starting to admit that my depression is linked to the pain of loving them both so much even though they were unable accept me. Its a pattern I’ve repeated with boyfriends and friends all my life. I am hoping that one day I will be able to receive love and trust the world.

  • Sharon Z

    Thank you so much for writing this, my parents had me in when they were
    20 and my mom has always resented me and my late brother. She’d often
    refer to us as her ‘mistakes’ and that we should have never been born.
    My late brother was born with polio and was mentally challenged and one
    day my mother told me that he was born that way because she had tried
    her best to self-medicate in order to ‘abort’ her pregnancy after having
    me. The revelation itself wasn’t shocking, it was more the way she said
    it, like very matter-of-factually. And every time since then, I’d feel a
    deep hollow pain whenever I looked at him. He had a terrible painful
    existence. Born without an anus, and had to go through operations to
    create one, it messed up his intestines, so he would go though a lot of
    pain and bouts of constipation all the time. Doctors said he would not
    live pass the age of 5, and he was with us for 20 more years before he
    passed away in his sleep one day. She however, only stayed on till I was
    5 and he was four. She decided she couldn’t live in a shared apartment
    in one small room, and was always resentful for the life she had with
    us. She left to go to the US when I was 6, after the divorce and never
    looked back. She only came back when I was 12 and had no intentions to
    be part of our lives, just mine. She didn’t want to see my brother
    anymore because to her, it would mean having to see my dad. Mind you, my
    father wasn’t perfect, but he did his best, and for all the things I
    never got to share with him (my aunt took me in after my mother left the
    family, she was worried i wouldn’t get the education and care I needed
    and my father already had his hands full with my brother), he still did
    right by my late-brother. He loved him to pieces and would go to hell
    and back for him. For that, I was grateful. My mom on the other hand,
    came home with a vengeance. She tormented me whenever I went over to
    stay with her and my grandmother. She had already remarried and was
    pregnant with her new son. She kept telling me how her new family was
    going to be perfect, and that I was ugly and useless just like my father
    and I would never amount to anything in life, so my only choices were
    to magically become ‘pretty’ or to be extremely smart so that I’ll be
    rich. So she was always on my case when it comes to studies, and I so
    wanted to be her ‘perfect’ daughter that I studied hard to become the
    best. I excelled at school and I was proud of myself but she never was.
    She would always put me down, reminding me of how ugly I was, fat and
    useless and no man would want me. And for so many,many years after that,
    i still deep down believed every word. Long story short, after all the
    physical and mental abuse, one day when I was 17 I got into an argument
    with her husband after he had shoved my grandmother and she fell down a
    flight of stairs, my mother STILL defended her husband saying that it
    was an accident. I stood on their lawn, daring him to come down and push
    me around instead, screaming with hate. She finally told me to leave
    and said to my face “I never want to see you again, my husband told me
    to never allow you in our lives again,So I disown you and your brother,
    so from now on, I don’t have any ties with you or your family..” With
    that, she shut the door, and I left. I never contacted her again, and
    for years later when my brother passed, I was forced to call her and
    tell her to which she replied, ” Hmmm well, it was his time to go…who
    knows, your father might have been the one who poisoned him..” I just
    hung up and I never spoke to her again. They shifted homes a couple of
    times, and although I know where she lives today, I don’t think I would
    do either of us any good to meet. I’m 37 now, married but i have no kids
    (just my fur babies) And it took me a long time to love myself, let
    alone love someone else. I still have problems with trust issues and
    human connections (especially with my in-laws) because I never grew up
    in a family environment so, close knit family gatherings feels weird to
    me, but I’m trying. And although it was a long and painful road since
    those days to get to where I am today, I am so thankful that I can find a
    place that is filled with love with my closest friends and my family,
    especially my husband. So once again, thank you for sharing this with
    us.

  • Juian

    Ive been dealing with this my entire life, I always was depresed but i never knew why.
    After a lot meds and pshychiatric stuff that didnt work i felt other person when i read this. Now that i know my problem ” Lack of love,and fear to love”, I have an idea how i can change my life, this is the first time since i was 10 that i feel happy.
    Thank you Marie ! I own you. ^^

  • Same shoes

    hey jane i feel like we have a lot of similarities I also came from a broken home and was bullied at school as well. Also can’t stay in a long relationship with friends or BF. Time after time god has always been there though!! Also when you become independent of your parents things might start getting better

  • wounded soul

    Me too. I am in my 40′s and still trying to overcome and not give into the dark thoughts.

  • Angelinaballerina

    Loulou I can empathise deeply with you. I found after many years it is more productive to acknowledge the good rather than the bad difficult as this may be. Unfortunately ongoing issues are inate and it is traumatically difficult to form normal healthy relationships. Count the garden by the flowers never by the leaves that fall. I sincerely wish you find inner peace and love that you crave

  • Jen

    Thanks Marie for writing this. It really helped me on a day I needed it the most. I knew something had to be wrong with me, something that stemmed from my childhood, and finding these words today felt like pieces of a puzzle falling closer to where they need to be. I am 47. I definitely have struggles with friendships. I am able to make friends easily, but I never keep them. I either distance myself from them or like I am dealing with now, they end up disliking me. They say I’m fake. I actually sat down and started googling “how is a person a fake friend”. One thing lead to another thought process which lead me to question my childhood. “Growing up in a loveless home, unable to bond with friends”. I found this website. Boom. Here I am. Writing to no one, writing for myself.

    My mother was emotionally neglectful because she was too wrapped up in her own mother. My grandmother was a very demanding woman and suffered from depression as well. She sucked the life out of my mother who spent hours each day on the phone going over the same problems. I suppose my mother had nothing left to give her children. My father was abusive, so basically I lived a very loveless childhood. The first person to tell me they loved me was my boyfriend when I was 18 years. The words “I love you” were never heard in my home. When my grandmother died two years ago, my mother started having panic attacks. She didn’t know what to do with her life. That is when it hit me that the reason I felt so unloved as a child was because my mother was too busy making my grandmother happy.

    I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful and wonderful kids. I have a great life, but I really feel that I am a terrible friend. Female relationships are my weakness, maybe because of the relationship with my mother and not having any sisters to bond with. I do have one friend, thank God for her, who has never given up on me. I will ignore her calls or back out of engagements but she is always there for me. I am sort of friends with my kids friends’ moms and I probably should do a better job getting to know them. I hope through this epiphany I’ve had that I will have a better understanding of what I am about, and maybe like you, expressing this will help too.

  • Dikeledi Ragane

    Thank you it really helped alot and it made me realise that she is not the problem but i’m the problem and really if she had given birth to somebody else it would have been the same,may god bless her.

  • Shweta Mimi

    ur very strong im proud i know you

  • PeaceLove

    I thank you so much for writing this. -_- I don’t have a relationship with my mom… I do all those obstacles thing as well . I’m suffering. Thank you. Now I know what to do.. Bless you.

  • cvhn

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  • Naomie

    I love and needed this. I felt as if I were alone with my sad childhood past but now I’m able to see that other people share similar stories as me.
    All I want to do is share my love and happiness with others (friendly / romantic) but I always held back, in fear that the emotions of my childhood would come rushing back. Everyday is a new chance for me to reach out and connect to people.
    I am now almost 20 years old but I am ready and willing to be open to love.

  • Elijah

    You are very brave. I have been and currently in that type of situation and all you have done and suggested are the exact strategies that I am putting into place. All that you have said you experienced, I am experiencing them right now. For example, if my own mother cannot treat me and love me with such depth and adoration, who can? That used to be my own thought. My grandma is very helpful and supportive including my aunties because they know how she really is. Another way I have been affected is not knowing if the love people have for me and the love they show me is actually real and I have recently literally come to a decision that unless someone passes my test and obstacles, that I will not allow them into my life; just like you have experienced. I have made up my mind that I will physically avoid her because she will always be negative and I have told myself that when the opportunity comes for me to part with her, not speak to her and just ignore and leave her presence AND I don’t take it, THEN I am the cause of my problem. That makes me feel in control of who affects me and who doesn’t. That therefore encourages me to take action to effortlessly avoid her like the plague and move on with my life. Also, it empowers me as being able to decide whether I will let her destroy my mood or whether I will just ignore her. So she will have to eventually do things my way and fix up if she wants to be in my life; if I want her in my life; which I certainly do not.

  • Elijah

    I support your inaction of not visiting your mother simply because she will find a way to hurt you. I also have that dilemma & it is also very weird in the eyes of so called ‘perfect ‘ families that a child cannot stand a parent due to that parent’s devilish ways. Even those ‘perfect’ families have the biggest issues, but they are smart about it. Let me tell you something. Stop feeling guilty, I am trying to do the same as I type. The thing is that if you do not feel connection or love for your parent and you are not a screw up by your own standard THEN it is your parent’s fault. Think about it; your parents are supposed to love you first because they knew you before you knew yourself, so if you feel no love for them or there is lack of connection, then they did not love you enough, properly or love you right. After all, we give what we get, therefore, if you feel connection with them it is because they connected to you first because they knew you first. My parent is always trying to make me feel bad for the lack of connection between the both of us when she should be the adult to attempt to fix it. Abusive parents of any kind only act as parents when they choose to be one, they forget it is their responsibility 24/7 until a child moves out or in some cases after a child has moved out. Although we are not perfect ourselves, some people such as parents who should be confidants in everything arrogantly take the piss and emotionally manipulate. AND if you ask people who really knew them about their childhood, you will dicover that they did the worst of the worst and now that they are older, they think they are the shit. So stop feeling guilty.God bless

  • O P

    Thank you for a wonderful post! It is wonderful because I can respect the effort it took for you to share your story. I am still lost with myself, but I now know that I must sort myself out before I can truly have a relationship with other people and hopefully find my way in other areas of my life. I am still seeking the strength to accept my reality and move on in the pursuit of happiness but I think I can at least take one step forward.

  • sanwalker

    I’m Mrs sandra walker from USA, i’m here to witness Dr michael vincent known as DR MIGHTY. He is kind, humble and trustworthy. He helped me to bring my husband back home safely and happily. I and my husband have a misunderstanding, he left me and my children and he started an adulterous life, i apologized but he rejected my apology and send me away. We suffered for 3 years before my friend introduce me to Dr michael and i explain everything to him without hiding anything for him, he helped me with his power to call my husband back home. Right now, i’m glad to tell you that i have a peaceful and blessed family like ever before. Thanks to Dr michael, you can email DR MICHAEL VINCENT(MIGHTY) on this gmail account; mightylovetemple1@gmail.com

  • Jo W

    I felt every word written here and also know firsthand how it feels to grow up without a mother.

  • Howard Paul

    Your story is very moving & I admire your courage. I wish I had that.

  • k

    Thanks for sharing this. Maybe if I keep trying my life can change too.

  • Anonymous

    Wonderfully put! So true…

  • Leesh

    Wow, she didn’t love herself… a lot of women are in some labrinth about self worth through others..particularly men and when children come along they’re looked upon as obstacles instead of miracles to their self destruction. God bless you and I hope/ pray you have the love you always desired.

  • meribast .

    your post reminds me of the picture of the cat lying on a table and a lamp is lying broken on the floor – the caption reads something like “the lamp jumped, I swear! It couldn’t live with its dark thoughts!

  • meribast .

    Thanks for writing that. It certainly speaks to me and my own life experiences, which share many themes even if some of the fine details are different. It makes me more hopeful than before I read it.

  • Brian Salzano

    Since I was a kid, I struggled with my parents lack of empathy. My mom was a cold bitch. I ended up being borderline. I didn’t want to talk to shrinks, but I knew I had issues. I ended up meeting one that helped me but it took along time to trust him. He was the one person I ever met in my life I couldn’t read (a skill you pick one when your environment is uncertain). I distrusted him cause I couldn’t read him, but over time I started to mentally implode. I started to question myself in a way that I never had. It got to the point that I started questioning all of my motives and presumptions about people that I used to take for granted. Then one day while I was talking to him, it clicked. I could feel my unconscious mind reacting to stuff he was saying, and at that moment I realized what my problem was. It was as if my personality was froze in time, and I was completely unaware of it. The reason I’m typing this up is because I know alot of people who have bad experiences with their parents tend to be sensitive and struggle with their emotions or getting over their past; you know I’m talking to you if you’re ever had “flashbacks” out of the blue.

    Anyway, nothing I ever do will replace not having a mother and father who cared about me; but I accept it. I don’t want them to change a thing for me, I am who I am now and it does no good to ask “what if”. A lot of times, bad parents had bad experiences too, but I don’t care about any of that. I think if somebody shows you who they are, believe them.

    Alot of people waste alot of time asking why their parents were assholes. Does it matter ? If they gave a damned, they would have cared and you wouldn’t be asking the question in the first place; the result is the same.

    I’ve met alot of good people in the world; and I appreciate them for giving me the love my family never did. My childhood turned me into a Spartan. I plan on being a good one :)

  • Kyle

    Thanks for writing this. I feel as if you had it worse with your mother, but I relate. My mother grew up with an absent mother and an abusive father and developed her own issues. When she had her own children (my brother and I), she was unable to nurture us, show normal affection, and specifically, tell us she loves us. I have never heard my mom say “I love you.” She has written it in cards, but she has never said it. My dad was the nurturing one, saying I love you every phone call, however, my parents divorced and custody was given to my mom. My mom showed me minuscule amounts of affection when I was younger (and currently) and it unfortunately destroyed my self-esteem and my ability to express my own emotions. Even though I’m mad at her, I can’t blame her, considering her circumstances. She was bound to repeat the pattern. If I have children, I will make sure I show them the affection and attention they require, reassuring them that they are special to me. I know the consequences of that absence of love.

  • mona

    what if your mother never really left you? We had a fight. She said she didn’t love me (anymore). I can honestly say I doubt she ever loved me to begin with. She did her best. She fed me, clothed me. Drank a lot and resented everything I did. I was just like my father, not good enough. My father left when I was five. How do you get past the idea that you are to blame? My brother is greatly loved by my mother, he is mentally disabled and “just like her”. I’m not. How is it possible than, that she could love him, but not me? It has to be my fault. I’m not the easiest person to get along with. Neurotic. I now have a sh*tload of psychological disorders, still getting treated for it. Probably for life. Got any advice? I do love myself btw. But I cannot seem to forgive her.