Even as an adult, you can still hear their voice ringing in your head, telling you how you're still doing it wrong or how you're just not enough.
Let's admit it. Not all of us have grown up with kind and loving mothers. Only those few of us who have seen the other side of dark mothering know what it feels like to grow up feeling unloved. To grow up in a house where you feel isolated or misunderstood by your own mother, the woman you're supposed to turn to in times of emotional pain can be damaging in more ways than one. The void that this kind of sadness leaves often lasts for decades into adulthood. The biggest loss we experience as unloved daughters is loss of our innate self-worth and sense of belonging. And when we turn into mothers ourselves, we try harder to ensure our own kids don't go through the same pain.
As an adult, you might still wonder if it was because of something you did or just the way you are that caused your mom to react the way she did. It is important to remind yourself that it was not your fault. Which kind of mothering did you experience?
Growing up with a controlling mother meant that you were always in the shadow of her overpowering personality. She would dictate everything about your life — what you can wear, whom you were "allowed" to meet, where you could go, and how you "should" behave. Whenever you're around her, the tone of her voice would "paralyze you or galvanize you" into doing things for her, according to BetterHelp.
If you were raised by a narcissistic mother, there is a good possibility that she micromanaged your entire life and possibly even convinced you that it's for your own good. Because of this, you may have always felt like your opinions or your thoughts were never important enough to be voiced or fulfilled.
To the world, she might have seemed like a charming woman. Her friends might have loved her dinner sets or other parents might have thought she has everything together. But only you know the reality of being in a house with her. Your needs may have never been heard and she may have made you feel like a failure, especially when her desires are not being met, as pointed out by author, Mark Banschick, for Psychology Today.
A narcissitic mother would constantly remind you of all the things she does for you and use it to emotionally blackmail you, convincing you to do things her way. She wouldn't see anything wrong with saying, "you don’t love me because if you did, you would do what I wanted". And if you're not around to fulfill her every wish, Mark Banschick wrote, "I’m sorry Mom” is never enough with her."
Often, you may have wondered who's the real mother in the house because you ended up being the caretaker or the one took on more than your young shoulders could take on. "There are 'fragile' mothers who also interact in this way, claiming health or other issues. Ironically, these mothers may love their daughters but lack the capacity to act on their feelings," wrote author, Peg Streep.
Growing up with a mother who needed to be taken care of, or "saved" every now and then could have forced you to grow up faster than you had to, making you feel like you have always had to put her needs before your own. In adulthood, this could also translate into your way of expressing love in a relationship, taking care of your partner or always valuing their comfort over your own.
If your mother refused to respect your boundaries, it may have gotten to a point where her life and your life were so entangled that you almost felt suffocated. Peg Streep calls this mother the enmeshed mother, someone who does not "acknowledge any kind of boundary between them, their definition of self, and their children."
When they made your achievements seem like their own, attributing your successes to their parenting, they end up taking away your sense of achievement. Because of this, you may have grown up with a confused sense of self because you never felt like your life was your own.
Never getting the love and approval of your mother can make you feel extremely deprived. "A child who does not receive praise, acknowledgment or acceptance, grows up longing for connections and seeking positive attention," psychotherapist Mayra Mendez told Bustle. "Emotional abuse starves a child of necessary love and affection."
Physically and emotionally, she may have hurt you in more ways than you may have realized. She may have made you believe that you weren't worth being loved and even when you grew up, you may have struggled when people were ready to offer it to you.
"Abusers are 100 percent responsible for their abuse, and only they can stop it,” psychologist Craig Malkin said, according to HuffPost. So, there's absolutely no reason for you to blame yourself. It's never too late to heal from the experiences that you faced when you were young. All you need to do is reach out to someone who can help.