Mother Issues. Am I being ungrateful to my mother?

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    Today I was on the phone with a distant female relative of mine, around my mothers age. We barely know each other, but I felt so comfortable talking to her and I shared her my emotional struggles. I deeply enjoyed that conversation and felt so reliefed after it. I told myself  “Diana, you should really call her again and keep in touch with her!”


    And then a thought struck me:


    I found a new possible mother figure!

    And I noticed a pattern playing for the last few years at least: I enjoy talking to older women. I value them a lot. I need them. When I choose female friends I feel attracted to the type of very empathetic, motherly ones. We dont have equal relationship, as I worship them and seek advice and they help me and talk to me (until they get sick of it as they dont love me unconditionally and I was supposed to be just a friend first of all)


    I realised I have possibly be seeking a mother figure to give me advice.


    I find the relationship with my mother strange. And I feel guilty for it as my mother was never abusive as the mothers of a lot of individuals seeking advce online were.

    I dont know where to begin and what exactly the issue is….

    I have no early childhood memories with my mother. I had to check old photos last year to prove myself wrong: a lot of photos of my mom and me exist, she was always there. On the contrary I have a lot of memories of my grandmother. I used to stay often with her and sleepover as a child.

    I think I never really respected my mother. She has a submissive character. She is not stupid, but she lacks motivation and a will to change anything. For her life just passes by. She complains every day since I know here how much she hates her job and how bad paid it is, but she never changed anything. She didnt choose that career, my grandma did it for her. She gives what she earns to my father and my father controlls the finances. She hides the prices of the second hand clothes she buys herself from my father. She never buys herself anything of good quality.

    My family is not poor for the standarts here, but chooses to live in poverty as my father gives a little bit less then 1/3 of the income (equal to my moms sallary) for cigarettes and alcohol. When I comment on it my mother just says something from the sort of  “Let it be, you cant change a grown up man” I think my father is depressed and bored after he retired and I beliave my mom has enough influence over the situation.

    As I was a teenager I shut myself in my room for 4 years and played video games all the time. I was exactly as my father. No drive to live and hiding from problems and boredom in addiction. I dont need to mention that I missed a lot of life and common social skills. My parents didn’t do anything.


    I hated everything, myself mostly. I moved out abroad after graduating high school. My anger gave me wings. I did all the shitty jobs out there, I failed, I got up, failed… I am still dealing with the consequences my isolated, depressed lifestyle had on me, but I am proud of myself for being brave enough to change my life.


    Nowadays I deal with finding myself, my first heartbreaks and etc. I dont find the emotional bond to talk with my mother about my struggles. I never felt comfortable about it and I think I wouldnt value her advice as I dont find her a strong and independable individual herself. And I dont think she understand the world I live in.


    Also my mothers parenting method is to not leave the children do anythig on their own. I saw her taking care of relatives children and not thrusting them for stuff they were definately old enough for and being overprotective. With me she also acted like that. And she is still doing it now. Last time I wanted to do the dishes she said I shouldnt, because they are very dirty and I dont know how to do them. The fact that I am living alone for five years, have been cleaning houses for four years and deal in my current job with pain and death every day is not enough qualification to do the dishes. But when I left home as a teenager I was not able to do anything, as no one found it necessery to teach me.


    Currently she is disappointing me a lot, because I need a mothers advice as I feel lonely and heartbroken and I envy the young adults who have a good relationship with their mothers.

    And then I feel so guilty and ungrateful, because my mother loves me and is a good person after all. She maybe has a low self- esteem and had chosen a lifestyle of minimal fight, that I dont see as a role model. And the fact that she doesnt accept any change and didnt change with a rapidly moving world makes the alien ideas of her daughter hard to understand.

    But the fact that I have no wise adult to talk to on a regular basis disturbs me as an young person. That way I keep simple problems that grow big for myself and that does not lead to anything good. And it is hard to find a mother figure outside.

    I wonder if my thoughts right now are something typicall for teenagers, as I am now probably learning life lessons a functioning adolscent learns a the time I was hiding behind the screen.

    I still feel bad for my mother, because she certainly aslo wishes herself a better bond with her only child and is sad that we are not capable of doing better.

    And maybe I am not so special at all and there are other people over here feeling like that 🙂





    Life Engineer

    Dear Dejana,

    You are not alone in your pain. Unfortunately, there are many people, both young and old, who have never received unconditional love from a parent. Often, it’s been denied by both parents. Of those who did not receive it, many of them wander throughout their lives knowing something is missing, but not really knowing what it is; and therefore, they never find it. But what they do find is much unhappiness and much suffering.

    Suffering – this seems to be where you are at. Not only do you seem to be suffering, but you seem confused, angry and lost. Understandably, so. Somewhere along the way most of us gain this belief or develop this idea that our parents are supposed to love and nurture us. What we don’t realize, something some of us come to learn and understand as an adult, is this is not they way it necessarily happens. It often gives us even greater pain when we believe others our receiving what we are not. Trust me when I say, many of the people who you think are receiving unconditional love, may not be. They are just hiding their pain. For your own emotional health, I recommend you not compare your life to the lives of others. By, not comparing, you will lessen your own suffering.

    Your parents could have been the first to have given you unconditional love. Unfortunately, they missed this opportunity. If you have been angry with them or have blamed or criticize them for failing to give you unconditional love, know you are not alone. Don’t be angry or hate yourself for it. This is what people typically do. But if you want to remove the pain and suffering from your life and find happiness, I recommend you find a way to let go of the anger, the blame or whatever negative emotions you hold. You can’t go back and change the past, and you can’t change your parents, but you can change you.

    To help let go of any negative emotions you feel toward your mother, it may help you to try to understand why your mother was unable to give you the unconditional love you seek. You say you know your mother loves you; and she is a good person. So why do you think she was unable to give you this unconditional love and unable to be the mom you believe she should be? Try to put yourself in her shoes. Try to understand her story. By trying to understand your mother’s story, you may arrive to a place where you can forgive her in your heart (you don’t have to talk to her about it, just feel it in your heart). This is not about letting your mother off the hook as much as it is for your healing process. I repeat it’s about you, and your healing process. Only through forgiveness will you be able to begin to let go of your pain.

    You stated that you know that your mother loves you and she is a good person. Perhaps your mother is being the best mother she knows how to be given her current life conditions. Perhaps she is giving you everything she is capable of giving you right now. I believe your mother loves you and wants so much for you!! Unfortunately, she is unable to give more than she is already giving.

    The people in our lives, our parents included, are not capable of giving us everything we think we need to have. This is why it is important that we develop relationships beyond our parents, siblings and other family members. It’s okay that you are seeking someone as a mother figure…someone who can give you advice…to help you find direction in your life. You need not feel guilty about this. And you don’t necessarily need a mother figure. I suggest you don’t narrow your search like this. Emotional support is a nice thing to have, but we do not need a mother or mother figure for this. It can be a friend or a mentor.

    Since you stated you are living in isolation, finding a few friends with whom you can go and do things (go to the movies, go out to eat) seems like a good idea. And may I suggest when you find someone, be it a mother figure or a friend, don’t smother them with your problems. Enjoy them for who they are and not necessarily for what they can do for you. Learn the lesson you speak of in your opening paragraph. Otherwise, you will continue to chase people off. I don’t think this is what you want. You don’t always need to talk about your problems to heal from them. Sometimes it is best to forget the problem or put it on the back burner, so to speak, and go have fun with friends.

    Now some tough truth from a stranger. As an adult, you must provide yourself with the unconditional love you are lacking and seeking before you can ever expect to receive it from another adult. But how, you may ask. You start loving yourself today…every part of you! Unconditional love is self-acceptance. Self-acceptance means loving every part of you…the good, the bad, the ugly!!! When you feel angry, guilty, or disappointed, accept it for what it is. Try to understand it. Work your way through it. Learn any lesson it has to offer. Then let it go. The same goes when you make a mistake. Accept it. Learn from it. Let it go. Move on. Self-acceptance means you do not judge, criticize or put yourself down. Love you for who you are!!!!!

    Dejana, congratulate yourself for recognizing and attempting to understand your emotional/psychological problem. It is the first step in healing and improving. The fact that you are on a website like TinyBuddha, and are brave enough to share your pain and confusion and seek direction, tells me you are seeking answers. You want to heal. You want to improve. Know the road to change is a journey of self-discovery full of unknowns. Some discoveries will be painful. Some will be joyful. Know all will be temporary, but if you stay with the journey, you will certainly move towards peace, happiness and fulfillment.




    Dear Diana:

    I re-read your April thread as well as this one. This is my understanding of your relationship with your mother and I hope you let me know if I am correct and where I am not correct:

    Your mother was not abusive to you: she did not hit you, did not call you names, did not ridicule you, shame you… she only gave you the clear message that you are not capable of making good choices, not capable of accomplishing tasks such as washing dishes, not finishing tasks you start, etc. Basically, she has let you  know throughout your life that she is… not satisfied with you. You are not up to her standards.

    You realize now and for some time that she is not up to your standards, being submissive, complaining a lot but not making any changes, etc. But before you disapproved of her, she disapproved of you.

    I think that if she approved of you all those years, you would have liked your mother  just as she is, would have turned to her for advice, for comfort.

    Your feedback on what I wrote?


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