The Complex and Fragile Relationship of Mother and Daughter – Pt. II

You can read Part I here.

I love my mother but Mother’s Day is a complicated holiday for me. I have so many feelings about her and us and us back then and us right now….We didn’t always have the best relationship. I don’t think we were ever close when I was a kid, not since the day I was born, and as an adult, even though things are better, I can’t forget the way that made me feel growing up.

I moved out/was kicked out just after my 17th birthday. Admittedly I had been a pretty (read:very) bad teenager but I don’t think that was entirely my fault. I was young and I had grown up in a broken and chaotic environment and I didn’t know how to cope with any of it. I was fucked up.

My mother didn’t know how to deal with a daughter who just wouldn’t do as she was told. Well, not beyond hitting me and that eventually stopped working. So she thought it best that since I didn’t want to be there and I imagine she no longer wanted me there, that I ought to go. I was shocked but I agreed and I packed up whatever I could carry and I left.

Looking back now I’m not sure how I felt about it. I want to say I missed my mother but it’s not like we ever got along anyway. It’s not like I was missing out on her hugs and motherly advice. To be honest moving out only meant she couldn’t yell at me anymore. I was lost without my mother but I had never really had her in the first place. Not that I can remember anyway.

It wasn’t until a couple of years after moving out that I began to feel real anger at my mother. Before that I had just been sad. Sad that I couldn’t be the daughter she wanted and sad the I had messed things up so much. I thought my mother hated me and I assumed she regretted ever giving birth to me. I mean, what else could explain the lack of hugs and “I love yous”? Why didn’t my mom ask me about myself? Why didn’t she do fun things with me? Why did she yell at me so much?

She must have hated me….

After moving out I lived with two cousins and their mother, my aunt. She wasn’t the best example of a mother either but she was genuinely interested in how I was doing and where my life was headed. Maybe my own mother had been too but she hadn’t let me know in a nice way at all. She only seemed concerned with me after I had already made the wrong choices.

A little after I moved out my mother moved to Missouri with my step-dad and my siblings. That is when I got mad. She hadn’t really been there for me but now she was leaving the state? Now I was really on my own. Now I started to think about how alone I had felt my whole life. Now I thought about what a mother is supposed to be. Now I thought about how the actions of the adults in my life had made me who I was and I had been the one to receive the punishment. Now I thought about my mother’s role in my current situation.

My heart became hard and I figured if my family didn’t want me I didn’t want them, and I set out to make my own family. My cousins became like sisters to me and I had met my lovely girlfriend and I felt like that was all I needed.

Me and my mother still talked every once in awhile, and slowly, without me really noticing, something changed. She visited me here and I went to visit her there and then she moved back and she wanted to see me. I don’t know how or why but while my feelings about her hadn’t changed we acted like none of it had ever happened. I was willing to pretend, I was happy to be a part of the family again….or maybe for the first time.

One day, me and my sister were joking about our rough upbringing in front of our mother and she loudly blurted out that she was sorry. She said she did her best but that she didn’t have a clue how to raise us. She said she was sorry. In that moment I forgave my mother. I don’t excuse what happened to me but it happened and there wasn’t much that could have been done. Most of the events of my childhood were effects from causes that occurred before my birth. I don’t think my parents ever had a chance.

I love my mother and I forgive her for not being the loving mother I so desperately needed, the mother she didn’t know how to be. Today we are close. We talk at least once a week and many times more often than that. We laugh together and I think she might even be proud of the woman I have become. That has meant a lot to me, but there will always be that little part of me, that girl-child Lisa, who wishes things could have been different, who wishes her mother had shown her love.

So this mother’s day I want to thank my mother. I thank her for keeping me alive and I thank her for teaching me that people aren’t perfect, not even mothers. I also want to thank her for not denying the fact that she made mistakes as a mother, that goes long way in both my ability to forgive and to heal. And I want to thank her for being here for me now. Despite our past I am happy to have her in my life now and I hope that our relationship will continue to grow.

Despite our past, I do love my mother.


I want to say very quickly that these are my views and feelings of my past from my own perspective and not intended to hurt anyone. I love my family very much and only want to be honest about my experience. 

The image is of me and my mother when I was a baby.


9 Replies to “The Complex and Fragile Relationship of Mother and Daughter – Pt. II”

  1. I think real love is when we can love someone, warts and all. When we can spontaneously forgive without forgetting, but be willing and eager to have that person still be a part of our lives. I’m sorry for what your childhood lacked, and I’m glad you had a chance to be part of a loving family with your cousins and aunts, and that now you and your mom are able to heal and have a good relationship going forward. I don’t think that the PERFECT mommy-daughter relationship exists, any more than I believe it of fathers and sons. At least not in childhood. We parents – most of us – just do the best we can. We beat ourselves up for falling short of what our own parents were for us; we swear never to be like our own parents. Sometimes we do both in the same breath. I only wish my kids had a mother as good as mine. :) But I’m so very glad they’re a part of my life.


    1. Thank you. I feel like my love for my mother is deeper now that I truly understand that she did the best she could in a really tough situation. I realized that I couldn’t say that in her same circumstances I could’ve done much better. Both my parents wanted to be better than their own were to them and I think they accomplished that. If I ever have kids I hope to be better too, but that does not mean I will be perfect either.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And that understanding – that you can try your best and be a flawed human being and screw up royally from time to time, and still have a child who turns out to be reasonably healthy, happy, and good to those around them – that’s majorly comforting in the darkest hours of motherhood. Consider it a gift from your parents to you. The unrealistic expectations you might’ve had, had you truly believed your parents walked on water, would leave you eternally certain you were an utter failure at all that matters in life.


    1. Lol no it was not easy and I am still afraid it wasn’t the right thing to do. I felt it was important to share it though because there are other’s like me who have complicated feelings about their parents. I want people like me to be able to speak out on Mother’s (and Father’s) Day too :)

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m glad you wrote your stories and how wonderful that you can start knowing your mother now that you are both adults. It sounds like you had it rough, but it sounds like your whole family struggled and having your first kid at 18… As you get older I’m guessing your empathy for adult situations is growing. It doesn’t sound like your mom was evil (mine was), just over-whelmed. Nicely, poignantly written (both parts).


    1. Thank you. I read your post as well and I think it’s important for us all to be honest about our who our mothers are/were. I’ll probably do another post on the reasons why I believe that but I’ll just say it’s important. Mother’s day (and Father’s Day for that matter) can be hard for people who are from broken or less than ideal families. We should have our say too and then we can choose whether to love our parents after facing the honest assessment of their parenting and how that has affected us. Thanks again!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What a wonderful story – your mother said sorry, and you forgave her.
    Some mothers can’t face up to their flaws and mistakes and refuse to accept they were wrong, and many children can’t forgive. I think it’s important we all recognise that no one is perfect.
    Your reflective nature has allowed you to grow and become a better person than someone who held onto anger, and that’s quite an achievement. Well done.


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