A Journey Through the Emotionally Absent Mother Class, #1 Pre-EAM

by Kristin Mitchener

Read the first blog in the series: An Introduction to the Emotionally Absent Mother Class Blog Post Series.

My journey through the EAM class wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t talk about myself pre-EAM, the Kristin who was about to take the class. And I don’t mean my whole life history, I literally mean in the moments leading up to the class.

As I type these words, I am just 2 hours out from the very start of the course. Anxiety, fear, doubt, excitement all flutter through my body at varying moments. My heart feels like it’s doing flips and my stomach is all over the place. Thinking about the EAM class, I range from “I’m afraid I won’t be able to emotionally manage coming to the meetings” to being excited about what we were going to do with the supplies we bought. Markers, glue, old magazines – sounds like my kind of jam. But there is that whole “emotionally absent mother” component to the class, the thought of which just triggered my anxiety and the deadly butterflies are back.

I’ve read this book, The Emotionally Absent Mother by Jasmin Lee Cori, about 10 years ago by myself. How I discovered it I can’t say for sure. But I worked through the book on my own, did the exercises, finished most of the book but didn’t complete it. I’m interested to see what new revelations come to light this second time around, what memories are yet to be uncovered, what anger hides inside, what triggers my depression. If I come at it from a place of curiosity and not fear, I see that I’m going to have a very impactful experience. And I’ll be with other emotionally absent daughters, other Kristins. What experiences will we share? Will their experiences make me doubt my own, or will they validate my feelings? I need validation for my sanity. I am experiencing imposter syndrome big time. Wasn’t I just a bratty child who didn’t like how she was disciplined? Wasn’t I? Or was I wounded to the core because my mother did not give me the nurturing I deserved by simply being human? And her human at that.

As the class draws nearer, I have a realization: my mother was the daughter of an EAM. She had little support beneath her. I inhale forgiveness from this clarity. I feel grateful I have not brought children into my painful world. My mother wasn’t ready to be a mother. She once lovingly told me she took fertility drugs because she wanted a baby so bad. “Cashier” was listed as her occupation on my birth certificate – most cashiers can’t afford fertility drugs. Plus she was twenty. TWENTY. Don’t you just look at a penis and get pregnant? My father was 18. I know she had an abortion before I came along so she had the ability to get pregnant. Since my mother lied about fertility drugs, does that mean she lied about wanting me so bad? What made me different? Why did she keep me amidst her chaos? That leads me to only wonder why on earth my mother would tell me that. Maybe she just wanted me to feel wanted. But lying about something so silly, and so serious, is how she chose to do that. Bizarre.

There was a lot of turmoil in my mother’s life. She told me her and my dad fought a lot. One story in particular I remember her telling me when I was around 8 years old. Her and my dad lived together in an apartment. My mother had a guy friend over and my father came home and was enraged. I feel rightfully so. He shattered a bunch of picture frames that were on a shelf. She told me I almost crawled into the glass. But she rescued me. If it wasn’t for her. I take it this wasn’t an isolated incidence. Look at her behavior that I do remember – chaotic, just plain mean, childish. And that was from a woman in her thirties; just think how she behaved when she was in her twenties, when I was much younger. Those are the years which brutally wounded me, during the ages when I couldn’t process her words and actions. Actually, I still have trouble processing her words and actions, and I haven’t spoken to her in over 10 years. I am ten years removed and in so much pain, overflowing with depression and anxiety and shame. I feel such heavy shame, and I don’t even know for what. But overall, generally speaking, I’m a person who walks around and feels ashamed all of the time. I’m a shame. My life’s a shame. Why am I even here? Even amidst my anxiety, I am beyond hopeful this EAM class will help me heal.

One reply on “A Journey Through the Emotionally Absent Mother Class, #1 Pre-EAM”

You are not a shame. Those are your mother’s words. Start saying and thinking positive thoughts. You are a wonderful, smart, and beautiful woman. Believe it.

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