When people see horrible mothers on TV or online, mothers who beat or starve their little ones, they are very justifiably angry. When a grown up complains about unreasonable behavior of their mother, it somehow calls forth a wave of indignation, “How can you?” “A mother is sacred!” The society demands that grown-ups love their parents unconditionally, even if they cause material harm to their children. Are these demands reasonable? Do adults need to love their parents unconditionally?
On the news and in various talk shows we often see misfit mothers who torture their children. One mother throws her six-month-old baby to the floor. Another locks her toddler in a house for a week with no food. A third treats her child with enemas and starves him, which takes him to the hospital emaciated. The fourth puts her children in an orphanage so they wouldn’t get in her way of having fun.
There are mothers who may not necessarily be misfit, but still harm their children – they don’t treat them when they are sick, don’t help them grow, and turn their daughters into free housekeepers and nannies for the younger ones. They bring maladapted step-fathers and boyfriends to the house. They don’t take their children anywhere because they have no time or are too lazy.
There are mothers with mental disabilities who simply don’t realize that they are harming their children. According to their frame of reference, it is absolutely normal to take their children into the woods and raise them there in a mud hut with no shots or medicine, putting ribwort and chili pepper on their scrapes and wounds.
Cruel treatment of children is punishable by law and calls forth unequivocal condemnation by society: the mother is horrible; she should be deprived of parental rights, sterilized and torn apart.
The thought that this might be just a strange form of maternal love does not even cross anyone’s mind; that this is how the woman loves her child, just as much and in a way that she can.
No one blames the child: it’s their own fault; they shouldn’t have cried at night and should have gone potty properly. The little villain dared ask for candy instead of falling to his knees in front of mommy and thanking her for giving birth to him.
However, as soon as an adult complains about lack of love from the parents, they are guaranteed a vat of hog-wash from that same society.
Instead of sympathy all they get is rebukes and catchwords: “Mothers are sacred,” “We don’t choose our parents,” “They gave you as much love as they could.” A grown-up, underloved child is required to display wisdom and unconditional love towards their parents.
The word “mother” has absolutely unfoundedly become a symbol of infallibility, unconditional love and unquestioned authority in our society. Complaints about mother are absolutely taboo, even if the mother really behaves unreasonably and causes specific measurable harm to the child. The complainer is requested to turn off their brain and turn on the biological program of love for their parents. Those who complain feel guilty too, after all, mom gave them life, how dare they not to love her.
I have two pieces of news for you – a good one and a bad one.
I’ll start with the bad one: all negative feelings about your parents, such as guilt, rage, anger, and grievance, block an enormous amount of your energy. Even the closed and buried memories are a heavy stone around the neck of your subconscious that prevents you from being happy.
The good news is that you can get rid of them in five simple steps.
1. Stop blaming yourself for not loving your mother. Unconditional love and affection for the parents are only important when you are little. It is part of the biological program on which the baby’s survival depends.
In the wild, unconditional love ends when the young one becomes independent. The mother wolf easily forgets her grown-up cubs and a year later will not even recognize the young wolf. She has completed her biological program, she gave him birth and raised him; now he can live his own life.
As far as an adult human is concerned, to survive he or she must distance themselves from another adult who aggressively attacks them and causes them suffering, even if this other adult is their parent. You do not have to love a person who does not like you. You should not try to change or adjust them – it is impossible.
2. The dependence on each other between children and parents is artificially maintained for decades in a human society. If this connection only brings you negative feelings – break it. Start thinking of your parents as of separate people. Accept the fact that they are not higher beings possessed of global wisdom, but regular people. They may not be very intelligent, may be narrow-minded and infantile, they may be undergoing age-related changes. Don’t waste your energy trying to reform them. It is just like trying to stop the rain coming down from the sky. Treat your parents’ behavior as you would a nature event.
3. Get rid of your complaints against your parents, the world and yourself. Love is not handed out to the parents upon discharge from the maternity ward together with a prettily packaged baby and a bouquet of flowers.
If your parents are not quite as perfect and caring as they are in an advertising video – you simply were not lucky. It does not mean that you are a bad person – you simply did not win the lottery of parental love. It happens. After all, you don’t blame yourself for not being born into a family of hereditary millionaires, do you?
4. If you do not live up to your parents’ expectations, it is not your fault. Even if you have achieved all your dreams, you might still not be good enough for your parents. For example, you mother may have dreamed of you becoming an accountant and instead, you have opened a flower shop or are now planning events. You have a large foreign-language online school, but your mom is upset that you have no experience working in a factory, like your father and grandfather before you. You are a famous image-maker, but when you come to visit your mom, she sighs, “You’re 32 and you’re still not married. I told you to get hitched with the neighbor’s Jerry; I’d be babysitting grandkids right now. I feel left out.”
Your parents’ picture of a perfect world may differ from yours – there is nothing wrong with that.
5. Be grateful to your mom and dad that they gave you birth and raised you. They have completed their biological function – they gave you life. It’s not worthwhile reproaching either them or yourself that you don’t have a warm and close relationship, trying to earn their respect and acceptance and squeezing out of yourself love for people who don’t like you.
You are not the mammoth baby in a children’s cartoon, who is following his mom on an iceberg and singing a touching song “Oh, mommy hear me! Oh, mommy come!” You are an adult person and you do not have to dedicate your life to loving those who do not love you.