There's a book that might give you some comfort and insight. The title is Mean Mothers. It's about this kind of relationship, exactly, and how it effects our own mothering.
When your kids reach the age you were... - Page 2
River Tam - I have that book. I was going to suggest it too.
You can read the first chapter here:
And for those who might need help with father abandonment there's a book for that too. It's called Longing For Dad: Father Loss and It's Impact.
My mother divorced my dad when I was 2. He had a severe drinking problem. But my mother was no angel, she had a severe narcissistic/control problem that led her to abuse and neglect me and my sisters too. My dad tried to stay in our lives...up until I was 11, when my mother moved us 1100 miles away. He made a few attempts to keep in contact, but soon (so I thought) abandoned us. Turned out my mother kept him from speaking to us. Never telling us he called, telling him we didn't want to speak with him.
I found this out many years later. 10 years ago, before I became pregnant with my daughters I found him again. He was sober 5 years then...still is sober now. We were able to repair the damage done by my mother.
I saw my dad and stepmother this year...after a 29 year absence in my life. He met his granddaughters for the first time. It was a wonderful journey. I'm so glad we went and it ended up being a great family vacation too.
My mother had other abusive/severely neglectful behaviors. She was not addicted, she was just verbally and psychologically abusive and self-centered. She cared more about money than about her children or either one of her husbands. She remarried when I was 5, and my step-father also had a drinking problem. Needless to say, there was a lot more abuse that second go-round.
I have since reconciled with my mother too, and I'm not currently abused or neglected from either parent...but I STILL deal with the trauma - because I ended up marrying someone with a drinking and communication problem, who is the way he is because of the abuse he saw his father gave his mother. So yeah, some of the same patterns of behavior were repeated unconsciously. There is something called a "compulsion to repeat" - we repeat the abusive patterns encountered in childhood, trying to make the outcome different this time around. My husband tended to shut down and/or run away to drink when faced with conflict with me. When he over-drank, he'd get mean or we'd fight and we had problems from that.
Needless to say, husband and I have had many more numerous problems ever since the kids came and after 15 years, we've nearly reached our breaking point.
Husband is FINALLY willing to work on himself while I continue to work on me.
Husband's reading How to be An Adult in Relationship by David Richo...and I'm reading his other book, How to Be an Adult: A Handbook for Psychological and Spiritual Integration, because while survived the abusive/neglectful home and apparent abandonment by my father, I still need more healing to do.
Hmm ... I read the first few paragraphs in the link the PP gave and it doesn't seem to apply. Is it about parental abandonment? Neither of my parents were mean. My memories of my father are wonderful, and my mother is an inspiration to me to this day -- she was and is an astonishingly great mom.
Well I know this is a really old thread. But I wanted to reply because the fact that reading it has me in tears is making me think maybe I'm not quite as fine as I thought I was.
My little DS just turned one and this first year of parenthood has really made me think of my mother a lot. The thing is when she was around she was (I'm told) an incredible mother. Totally AP, responsive and loving, breastfeeding me until 3. We then moved out of the country and away from my dad (great dad btw). After 4 years of custody fighting my dad convinced my mom to move back to the states.
Once back she pretty quickly fell in with a super freaky fundamentalist cult with documented child abuse. Almost immediately on our return I went to live with my dad. He told my mom she could be a part of my ice on the condition she leave this dangerous group. I guess she declined because I didn't see her for 7 years thereafter. We finally reunited when I was 14. We were both very different people than the last time we were just close loving mother and daughter. I was your typical midy surly and aloof early teen. She was pretty physically ill and still devoted to her kooky religion. our relationship was mostly a few visits a year which felt more like an obligation to me. Then when I was 19 she was deported back to her country of origin and shortly thereafter died from her illness.
My feelings are a jumble of regret, huge pity, sorrow. But now that I have loved a child I'm starting to also feel a little anger and confusion about how someone can just let a child go after 7 years of very closely bonded parenting. She also essentially sent my younger brother away. She was such a warm and loving parent, why did she suddenly not want to parent any longer. She was a victim of childhood sexual abuse too.
Aargg! Well I've rambled enough. It was cathartic to get all that down. Even if it doesn't get read. If it does then thanks for reading. And thanks to the OP for starting this thread. It's really opened my eyes in many ways.
And these lines help me realize how I'm stuck in the same pattern of withdrawal - not all the time, but there have been a few times when my child needed me and I have been totally withdrawn not knowing why and how I have expected a different outcome this time.
Edited by Shakti77 - 12/6/13 at 3:40am