If you would have told me even a couple years ago I would be sitting in a class called Motherless Daughters I would not believe you. I would not have ever considered myself to be a “Motherless Daughter.” I knew I had difficulties in my relationship with my mom through the years, but I would not have called myself “motherless.” From the outside looking in on my family growing up most people would be jealous to have a mom like mine. Some of my friends were. My mother was very involved in my life always. She took me everywhere, was PTA president, worked at the schools, was my girl scout leader, went to all my dance practices and recitals, was always buying me things, was at my house helping when both of my sons were born, and is a very involved grandmother even today. I always felt confused and like something was wrong with me because I felt like I wanted to get away from my mom, it felt like I wanted to crawl into a shell and hide around her, I did not REALLY feel loved by her, and I always felt I had this deep mom brokenness in my heart ever since I can remember. My Senior year in high school I struggled with major anxiety and depression that no one knew about because I felt I had to stay happy and take care of everyone’s feelings, including my mom’s, and not my own. I also struggled with a secret addiction to cutting and tried to commit suicide. I just always thought it was my fault that I struggled inside.
This year I took a boundaries class at the Eve Center to learn to deal with boundary issues I knew that I had with my mom, and through that process things were stirred up when we went through a list of ways that big boundaries can be crossed. I could check off every single one and some of them were painful to look at. Also in this process I came to realize there was a name for what I dealt with with my mother, she was/is a narcissist. I started reading about this and my whole life and the secret brokenness I felt all started to finally make sense. I finally felt like I wasn’t the crazy one after all. Although my mother was very involved in my life- she was OVERLY involved to the point of extreme smothering, not allowing me to have my own identity, always into my privacy, critiquing/questioning everything I did, exploiting any information about me given to her, and crossed physical and emotional boundaries constantly. This is tricky for most people to understand this being considered mother loss. Most people think of mother loss as being because of death or neglect. However, my mother seemed so attentive. The reason it was a loss was because all of my mother’s attention was about HER needs. It was not about my needs. She demanded hugs and attention for herself to fill her emotionally. For example, when I was in the hospital my Senior year my mother said “How could you do this to me?” and proceeded to make all kinds of drama to feed her own emotional needs instead of taking care of my feelings. Also, because of her intensity and strong emotions and her exploiting of anything in my life, I soon realized I had to stuff my own emotions deep down. Although finding an answer to what I had dealt with was relieving, I also felt very alone and had a lot of emotions that I never allowed myself to feel before that I now had on the surface.
A friend of mine who was in my boundaries class told me about the Motherless Daughter’s ministry and thought it might be a good fit for me. I avoided checking it out for a while, but God gave me some very specific nudges and so I obeyed. I was seeking to find people who could “get it.” I wasn’t sure if I could find that because I was nervous it would be a group of women who’s mothers were deceased and who were sad because they loved their mother and missed her so much. I did not feel that way about my mom. I felt like I always wanted to get away from her, so I wasn’t sure if I could find what I needed in this ministry – but I was wrong. God hand-picked a very special class that I got to participate in this fall. All of our mothers were living so we could really relate. I FINALLY felt like there were people who understood and got it. I felt heard, listened to, and cared about. I was able to put some words to feelings I did not even know that I had. There truly is something connecting about women who have had this hole in their lives. You just “get each other” very quickly. Also in this class I learned that my mom would also be considered a “motherless daughter” herself since her mother passed away in her young twenties. Although this does not fix the pain I felt, it helps me to make sense of the fact that she was trying to use me to fill that hole she had in her. It is my hope that by working through the many painful feelings that in the future I will be able to bring awareness and healing to other daughters who have mothers like mine, especially the smothering type since it is uncommon for these daughters to realize it is not their fault. Although this journey has not been easy, I am so thankful for the empathy for others it has given me, and the way it has brought me into relationships with people I never would have connected with before. I also am thankful for how God has shown up through the years and brought many amazing spiritual mothers into my life at just the right times with exactly what I have needed. I cannot wait for God to allow me to do this for other motherless daughters.