What causes a mother to not want to be around, be involved, or demonstrate love and interest in her child? I wanted to know the answer.
I wanted to know why my own mom couldn’t care less about my heart and life. There’s something about the question though that seems like it directs the pain inward- As if love can be earned. What I really wanted to know was: what did I have to do to be worthy of my mother’s love? Part of me didn’t want to accept that her issues weren’t mine to own… Because that would mean there’s nothing I could do to fix it.
While visiting a friend and her family recently, one of the children sitting near me abruptly looked over and said, “my Grandma has never hugged me.” She’s five years old. I looked at her Grandma, thinking she must have been kidding. Who doesn’t cuddle with their grandchild and shower them with snuggles of affection? But then she nodded her head in agreement. It was true.
I know this little girl’s grandmother well- and there is no denying how much love she holds for her granddaughter. Knowing this, it made it difficult for me to reconcile in my head why she wouldn’t want to hug and hold her.
No matter what angle the issue of emotional absence is viewed from, I believe the answer is this: Any wound we don’t confront within ourselves, we manifest forward. Likewise, the wound of another that we take on and internalize as being about us, we also manifest forward.
- What am I pouring forward in my own life?
- Am I allowing the wounds of my emotionally absent mother to choke out my present day relationships?
- Am I holding onto that pain so that there’s no room to open my arms and love on those who God sends?
- Am I participating in that cycle or have I been willing to do the work to break it in my own life?
All of these questions poured into my heart. As someone who has had the blessing of participating in both classes (The Emotionally Absent Mother and Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers), I’m reminded of a common theme in both— the surrendering of expectations. For me, walking through this looked much like jumping into a river, a deep dive forward allowing What’s behind to wash off, so that what lays ahead can take its place. Surrender is a heart-wrenching choice. It’s also an intensely beautiful one that opens the door to receiving something even greater.
The Emotionally Present Love Of God
One of the words in the Bible used to describe God’s love is the Hebrew word “Ahav.” The picture this word paints is that of parental love. Latching on to that level of truth, the truth that we have a Heavenly Father whose love for His children is a gentle, nurturing, completely present, fierce love, means accepting what is. What was. What wasn’t. And in all of it saying, “Abba, Your love is enough.” I woke up this morning and those were the words on my tongue. Not only is He enough to fill the holes, but I also am enough. Every one of us, regardless of the kind of mother we were given, is worthy of love and deserving of good things. And sometimes I think we just need to remind ourselves of that.