The first time I realized I may not like my mother was when I was a young adult, probably about 22. I don't remember the details of what happened but I decided I didn't like her and I didn't want anything to do with her. Unfortunately for me at the time, I didn't have any money or guts to leave. I stayed in the same house with her and saw her everyday. I also remember other times as a child and teenager when we had spats and I felt I couldn't express myself. I couldn't wait to leave the house after holidays, I also couldnt wait to finally move out. I was always dreaming about a time when I would stop seeing her altogether. After I got married, it seemd our relationship got a little better. I guess it was just the fact that we weren't living together anymore that seemed to help both of us at the time. Because of this up and down feelings about my mum, I had to start researching what this mother-daughter dynamic was about. This brought "motherwound" to my awareness. I explored what it meant to me and my relationship with my mother in my memoir, Naked. That was the beginning of true healing for me.
Last night I was telling my friend how I felt so much love for my mother. It wasn't because of anything she had done, those feelings just arose as I thought about her. I remember the many times I judged her guilty for not being enough. I thought she wasn't kind enough, I thought she instigated division between my siblings and I, I thought she didn't prepare me for the world especially as a woman, I thought she wasn't empathetic toward some of my less than happy experiences. Sometimes, I found myself acting like my mother in situations I said I would never act like her in. Deep down I knew I didn't have any other place to draw from. She raised me so I was going to need to fight to get rid of some of the things I naturally picked up that I judged as "bad." Many times we talked and tried to mend our relationship but I never came to those talks with a willingness to listen, learn, hear or shift ground. I always came like a soldier ready to fight. The last real talk we had in this regard had me foaming at the mouth as my mother watched me quietly. She told me she loved me to which I replied, "stop lying, you have never loved me." I saw shock in her eyes, she said, "this is what you think, no wonder you behave like this toward me." I heard her but I was still spewing hurtful words. I subconsciuosly didin't want to let my guard down. I didn't want to believe she loved me. It was easier to operate from a place where I held on to the belief that she didn't love me. I somehow thought I was protecting my heart by staying in that hurtful place. After a few minutes of silence, she left, never to bring up the talk again. The next day, we were back to behaving like all was well.
The next few weeks that followed were eye opening for me. I was able to see where I was projecting and judging my mother. She isn't perfect, like every other human, but I was stuck somewhere in the past, holding on to pain in the guise of protecting my heart. It didn't help that I was living with her and my son sees her as his favourite person. I had to come clean to myself. I had been holding on to pain for so long I had forgotten how to love her, or even accept her love, however it showed up. Somewhere in there, I was also judging myself as a terrible mother and that didn't allow me explore all I was capable of in raising my babies. As I started to open up to the possibility that it was me creating this reality all along, I started to see her and by extension myself and my babies. I had come full circle. I saw that I am my mother and my mother is me. I am my daughter and my daughter is me. My daughter is my mother and my mother is her. The thing that connected us was far beyond blood. It was the oneness beyond form. In holding on to pain, I was shutting my mother, myself and my daughter out. Releasing the pain wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be. It was one real conversation with a friend who was willing to hold space for me while I explored what this mother-daughter relationship was about.
In the end, I realized that my mother loves me, she always has. The next few days that followed I remembered times she did things for me that I inteprete as good, kind and loving. In the past, all I could see were the things I judged as bad. I had programmed myself to stay with those things so I could justify why I thought she didn't love me. I realised she had always looked out for me, always been here for me, always provided for me, even when I didn't or couldn't appreciate. It was clear that her doing and being here for me was never based on my reciprocating or appreciating the same, it was based on her decision to do and be. If I cannot remember anything else she has taught me, this is enough. If I were to calculate how long it took me to get here, I'd say my whole life so far. On the other hand, I know all is exactly as it should be, I got here when I needed to get here after understanding all the lessons that came with my journey to here.
We may not be best friends, but I love my mother and I know now that she loves me too. This is a great lesson and realization and I am feeling all types of gratitude.