“‘I can’t do this anymore!’ I screamed at my dad as he arrived in the yard after work. I was storming out of their house in tears. Beyond frustrated. Not sure what to do.
‘What’s going on now…?’ He replied with a tone of frustration.
‘I have done everything and anything I can think of to get her to love me and nothing is working. It doesn’t matter what I do, she will always hate me. She will always reject me. I can’t keep doing this!’
My dad’s reply?
‘Dawn, if you want your mom to love you more, you need to need her.’ He said it so calmly as he walked into their house.
I stood there shocked, with the realization that I would never win. I would never have ‘That Mom‘ and I would never have the relationship with her I had been wanting all of these years.
At the time I was in my mid 20’s, married, successful in many ways, and yet I was still not enough for my Mom.
The real problem with my dad’s request? My mother had been rejecting me from conception. Due to complications from a previous pregnancy she was terrified. She had tried to miscarry me her whole pregnancy. She hated me so much that when I was born she struggled to even touch me or hold me.
I had no idea how to need her. I had spent my entire life fending for myself for so many of my emotional needs, so to change all that now as an adult? Not possible.
As I grieved the relationship I would never have, I realized a few things. While I could not MAKE her love me, I could accept the love that she could give. In the way that she could give it.
Hear me when I say this though… this doesn’t mean I did not have healthy boundaries with her. I did everything to protect my heart in our relationship while she was alive.
How did I do that?
I started to limit the time and energy that she got from me. If I knew I was already grumpy or tired or feeling tender? I didn’t answer the phone. If we went to visit? I stopped going for weeks at a time and went for a shorter visit. I didn’t cut her out, I adjusted our amount of time spent together. This allowed me to value the time we were together but protected me at the same time.
I wrote out my expectations for her. Who I had wanted her to be. Who I had needed her to be. Who I had dreamt of her being. And then I grieved them. I lowered my expectations so much that she started surprising me in a good way.
I armored up. To me, this meant putting on superhero underwear, listening to powerful songs prior to arriving at their house, and picturing a massive basket between us when talking. I pictured all of her words going in there. The good, the bad, the rejection, the vindictive comments, the judgment, the compliments… all of it. I then would visualize myself looking through the basket and taking out what I wanted. The rest? It could go in the garbage.
I also found other women of her age that I could ask advice from, have deep conversations with, and who loved me in the way I needed.
Rejection is horrible. Mother-daughter relationships can be horrible. If this is your experience, then I gently challenge you today to take one step towards healing that relationship. You may never be best friends, but if you work at it, you can see past the hatred and rejection, and see some of her heart. And once you can see some of her heart? You will see that she loved you in the only way she knew how.
You are worthy of healthy love… and you can begin to heal from a toxic mother-daughter relationship.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Dawn Taylor. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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