My author reading of the book 100 Shortest Ways to You ended, and people were leaving the congress hall. There was only one woman left, sitting at the back, in the corner. “You’re the only person who can understand me,” she said with a special mix in her eyes – fear, shame and pain.
I’m sorry, but it’s going to be a story that nobody wants to read. Everyone pretends that it doesn’t exist. The story of unloved children.
It can’t be the parent!
Whenever the relationship between a mother and a daughter is disturbed and we hear a “public verdict”, it is always the daughter who sits in the dock. Our culture believes that all mothers are caring, that maternity is a matter of instinct, and that all mothers unconditionally love their children.
Therefore, when people don’t know anything about the background of the interrupted relationship, they immediately infer that the daughter was the bad one and that she “cut off” her mother. If the opposite turns out to be the case, the mother is treated with understanding because, after all, parenthood is difficult, and any childhood is complicated. If the mother is the one who became alienated, it is automatically assumed that she exhausted all possible solutions, that she did the best she could, and that she deserves to have understanding and the public on her side.
On the other hand, the daughter, whether she left or was thrown out, is labelled ungrateful by society. People point out that she was fed, clothed, provided with a roof over her head, and given love and support ever since she was small, and that was obviously not enough for her. And that she deserves nothing but condemnation and defamation. Society then often completes her mother’s work.
Mum, how can I find a way to you?
This is a general paradox of interpersonal relationships that I often emphasize in my previous book 250 Laws of Love, namely that a person who doesn’t feel enough love tries to find a better way to reach someone else. Yes, the one who loves always takes steps to the one who doesn’t love.
Unfortunately, unloved daughters’ way is made harder by society itself. Society disagrees with the renewal of the relationship, viewing the daughter’s effort as confession of guilt. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter if it was the daughter who left or was thrown out, or if she is trying or not trying to re-establish the relationship with her mother – she is always the bad one.
And if she unburdens herself to somebody, she is again perceived as ungrateful. This is how she has been treated since her childhood. So how can children point out their parents’ toxic behaviour without sounding disparaging, ungrateful and childish? Is it the duty of unloved daughters to suffer pain, even until the end of their life?
Embarrassment and life in silence
“Why have you been silent for so long?” is the usual first question, which immediately reveals that the woman has been misunderstood. And the woman withdraws at that moment and doesn’t want to talk anymore – she knows that she won’t receive any understanding from such a person.
Unloved children seldom confess the bad things they face at home, which already starts in their childhood. There are two reasons.
First: When they are small, they assume that what happens in their family is the same everywhere. This is a common projection made by children. What they see around them is considered normal. Although they are physically or mentally hurt, beaten, ignored, neglected or scared, their idea is that this is probably the way children should be treated.
Second: When they grow up and are able to recognize better behaviour towards children in other families, their mouths are locked up by shame and the fear that they may be guilty for the way they were treated.
After all, when talking both to strangers and to themselves, mothers justify their actions by shifting their blame onto their child. They say: “I wouldn’t have to punish you if you weren’t so clumsy or careless.” Or: “You only ask stupid questions and I have far better things to do than talk to stupid people.” Or: “If you were better, I wouldn’t have to scream at you.”
That is why shame, deeply entrenched in people, is a forced characteristic and another reason for silence. The fact is that no one wants to actively show their (assumed) shortcomings, of which they are – according to their mother – full.
Looking at the woman sitting in the corner of the lecture hall, it was obvious that the longer you hold your secret inside, the more isolated you become. I know of a real case of two college students who shared a room in halls of residence, in mutual silence, and neither of them thought that the other could have been disowned by her mum. They didn’t communicate on this subject at all, as both were ashamed of it. “Yet we felt good together,” they said. “Because we only interrupted the silence between us with positive words, which was the opposite of the situation at home.”
Why do parents actually do this?
And how to deal with it?
Please, continue to the 2nd page