I grew up with my mom and brother. I had a very troubling childhood. I recently found a diary from when I was growing up and started reading through it. It surfaced some very painful memories about what a horrible mother my mom was. my mom and i have grown so far apart, stemming partly from the fact that she hasn’t acknowledged or apologized for what happened (for those things within her control). i feel like this could possibly be resolved if i talked to her about all these painful things, but i also wonder what i may possibly gain by doing anything about it. Has anyone done something like this before with success? Any tips? Or should I just pray that I can forgive her fully and leave well enough alone? Thanks for your prayers and thoughts on this.
One suggestion…burn the diary. I have a strained relationship with my mom and rereading my childhood diaries brought back too many bad memories, so I destroyed them.
Whether or not you and your mother talk about the problems is your decision, but if it is something that will only cause more stress and pain, I’d reconsider.
You need to do a lot of praying before you do anything. I worked with a lady who was going to counseling and was told to confront her parents and she did - well what she “remembered” and what her parents and siblings remembered were complete opposites - it just made the relationships worse. I did not have the best relationship with my mother - my younger brother was her favorite and at 46 he still is. Sometimes it is hard for me to be around her and we have learned what topics to avoid so that helps - I keep remembering: Honor They Father & Mother and I take that to mean both my earthly and heavenly Mother & Father and it helps to ask the heavenly ones for help with the earthly parents. God bless!
I agree with the above and that you should really pray about it. My dh had a terrible abusive childhood. His dad apologized when he was an adult, but his mother never did and just blames it all on the dad, who she divorced when my dh was 14 yr. old. Anyway, when I married him, I found that he had a lot of anger and resentment towards his mother. About two years ago, he tried to talk to his mother, the counselor’s idea, and she went crazy and just could not handle going back in time. She told him that she did the best she could and could not understand why he wanted to talk about it. I even told her that all he is looking for is an apology for the times she did abuse him and she told me that he needed to get over the past and she was not going down that road.
It got so bad that one times she came over to our house and dh kicked her out of our house. I told him that was terrible and reminded him of the commandment to Honor his father and mother. I told him that since his mother did not want to deal with the past, that he had to do it alone and just forgive her. He says he has forgiven her and he really tries to honor her now, even though he never wants to send her a mother’s day card. I sent it for the two of us. His relationship with her now is better, but not the best.
If you could forgive your mother without confronting her on different things, it would be better for the relationship unless you think she would be open for discussion about it all. I will pray that you will be able to know what to do.
I am so sorry to hear of those who suffer at the hands of a parent for I see what damage it has done to my dh. He has a very low self esteem for one. My niece and nephew are not going through it also, but from their dad. They are already hating their dad at such a young age of 7 and 10 yr. old. It is sad that kids have to go through it, but it is the parent God gave us. God intends for us all to be the best parent we can be and if the cycle is not broken, the children grow up and become their parents, though not all the time.
The cycle needs to be broken so I tried real hard with my children not do what had upset me regarding mainly my mother but also my dad - we were very close when I was a little girl but he had difficulty with our relationship as I grew into a woman. My daughter did not have that problem with my husband as her dad is very affectionate and they are close. I am close with all 3 of my children but probably the closest to my oldest son because my dh and oldest are always butting heads. I tried to explain to my children that each generation needs to improve in parenting. I told them we were not perfect but what we did will seem different to each and then they have to say just as I did that I will not do what my parents did. Fortunately, the 2 who have children of their own right now still discipline their children and they are close. Makes me feel good. My kids tell me that if I had been like my mother they would have left home and they have no idea how I lived there for 20 years. They have no idea how much I prayed (or the nights I cried myself to sleep) during those 20 years. Forgiveness and prayer - lots of both. Whatever you do with your mom just remember she is the only one you will have and God put you two together so HE needs to be in the healing even if it is one-sided.
I attended a half day retreat last year on forgiveness and one of the things I learned was that forgiveness and reconciliation of a relationship are different things. It is possible to forgive without being reconciled to your mother.
My father was quite abusive toward me when I was a child. He died when I was 14 so I never had a chance to confront him. I have finally forgiven him, though, and it lifted a huge weight off of me.
My mother is a different story altogether. To this day she denies that any abuse ever occurred, and I have learned from others that she was more physically abusive toward me than my father was. I have attempted to broach the subject with her and her only response was that I always was a difficult child, like everything that happened was my fault. My counselor thinks I should confront her again, but I have decided not to.
But that’s my experience. You might recieve a completely different reaction from your mother. If you do decide to confront her, just remember that she is responsible for her reactions and comments, not you.
I also had a difficult childhood - being the youngest of 6 and there is 10.5 years difference between myself and the next child, my sister. My advise is to definitely pray about it and perhaps write a letter to your Mom (that you don’t send to her) - that way you can say exactly what you want without the fear of being chastised or “brushed off”. But definitely do something, as she was chosen by God to be your Mom for some reason and once you can make peace, the better you will feel emotionally and spiritually.
:tissues: I lost my Mom 3.5 years ago and I wish I was able to go back in time and make a difference. Good Luck and I will be praying for you…
Chances are she does not even know how much she hurt you. On her deathbed, when I apologized to my Mom for anything I had ever done to hurt her, she never gave any indication at all that she, herself, might have been the source of any pain. (And believe me, she was a doozie!)
This may or may not be resolvable. But expecting her to come around may be expecting too much. Our Lord tells us we MUST forgive. He does not put qualifications on it: IF they ask to be forgiven. If you pray about this, be honest. Tell Our Lord that you are having a deep problem with this. Ask him to give you His heart. He has the heart to forgive even if we cannot. After all: we MUST.
I know what you mean about a parent’s failure to acknowledge or apologize that they treated you poorly. I’m a member of the same club. Some years ago, I tried to talk to my mother about some of this, but she truly doesn’t “get it” and probably never will. So I had to let it go, forgive my parents anyway, and when my pain over the long-term consequences of their actions rears its ugly head, I offer it up for their conversion (they are non-religious, I’m a convert).
Burn that diary, and if you decide to confront your mother, do it prayerfully and be prepared that it might not go well. Good luck and God bless.
I lost my mother some time back. I used to literally hide from her, and now I wish I had just accepted that she was the way she was, and spent more time with her.
I don’t know if I would burn that diary, but I would definitely do a lot of prayer and forgiveness. You can’t make someone behave the way you want her to----you can only change yourself.
My adult life began the day my therapist (yes: therapist) asked me what I wanted in my relationship with my mother. I told her that I wanted the kind of adult-to-adult, mother-to-daughter relationship that other people I knew had, where your mom would be someone to stand by you and guide you through your own adult life, as an adult.
My therapist (who know my mom) just looked at me and said quietly: Maybe you can’t have that.
That was the reality check – the permission, as it were – that I had been unable to give myself. We all deeply desire to love our mothers – and to be loved back. Some of us just “can’t have that.”
Amen—which is why I’m grateful for Mary, Our Mother.
I will share a personal experience with you in hopes that it might help. My mother was verbally abusive as far back as I can remember. I have three younger sisters and she was more tolerant of each one as they came along. The youngest two got along with her fairly well, although it was difficult. My sister next to me and I got the brunt of her anger, and I do believe it was anger. She was left with four little girls when the youngest was 18 months. Anyway, several of us had the benefit of therapy (I highly recommend it), and I realized that what was done was done and there was no undoing it even though my therapist said I should tell mother how I felt. One of my younger sisters, onthe advice of her therapist, did tell mother off (so to speak) and the results were not pleasant. It did not change anything. It made mother feel awful because she could not own any of the things that she was confronted with.
Each of us has to do what is best for us. Pray about it. I did what I thought was the right thing to do and now that Mom is gone, I am not sorry that I did not confront her. It would not have changed a thing and it would have hurt her terribly because she did not see how verbally abusive she had been.
I will pray for guidance for you. I forgave my mother before she died and we had some nice years before she was gone. I hope you have the same.
First of all, I want to say I am sorry for your bad memories and your difficult growing up years. I have had problems with my family, particularly my mom and my brother. I am 42, my bro. is 48 and my mom is almost eighty. You do not mention her age or her health—age is sometimes a deterrant to receptivity in conversations, as in my mom’s case. Even when she was younger, like 20 something yrs ago, she was very PROUD to admit her wrong doing (I know it comes with her parenting style: if I THINK she did something wrong, I must be “imagining things” :eek:It can drive one NUTS :eek:).
Now, I wouldn’t even DREAM of telling my mom that I still struggle in counseling over the problems of abuse. As far as she is concerned, it is ancient history. I don’t know what your mom is like, but if she is anywhere as old and weak-minded as mine, I would just leave it alone. IMO, Talking is GOOD, if BOTH parties get something out of it—if BOTH parties are open to change. You likely won’t get the longed-for and imagined sorrow and apology you deserve. If she has dealt with it by denial, forgive her weakness—it may be so painful for her to see her mistakes.
May the Blessed Mother Guide you in all your ways, Amen. May you heal in the way the Lord will lead you to heal. Amen. May the Gaurdian Angels guide you in your relationship with your mom.
Throw the book away. I refused to read any old journals that re-hash bad memories— I just throw them away. Keep POSITIVE journals of prayer and asking God’s guidance through a problem. Otherwise,those journal are an evil tool for keeping your wounds un-healed.
Yes! Since my father was the main problem, I developed a special devotion to St. Joseph as the gentle, compassionate father-figure which was absent in my life. I only wish I had been brought up Catholic so I might have turned to Mary and Joseph when my earthly parents were failing me. But better late than never!
Hi NickyCW, I don’t have any experience with things like this, so please take what I post with a grain of salt, well, a pound of salt, if you wish.
From what I’ve read, I think you have expressed a desire to resolve these issues with your mother, which I think is a good thing, instead of bottling things up inside.
Please keep in mind, though, that if you wish to speak to your mother regarding this, you’d probably want to make sure that she’s a willing participant in the conversation, meaning that she needs to want to resolve these issues, too; otherwise, you will not get what you seek from her.
So it depends on both you and her. If this is something that really bothers you, then you need to weigh that against the possibility of the fallout from all of this. If you’re willing to take the risk of digging up those old memories and hurts again, in order to come to terms with them, then I think it may be worth it. So, only if you’re ready, and if your mother is ready.
It’s something you may wish to speak to your priest about.
My parents ‘failed me’ in many ways and for a long time I found that very hard to deal with, in a sense my childhood has ‘screwed me up for life’…I’m talking manic depression, severe eating disorders and an inability to maintain more than very superficial relationships (although I’m incredibly blessed to have a wonderful, understanding husband!)…BUT…a year or two before my mom died, I all of a sudden had an insight: my parents HAD loved me, very, very much…they just had so many problems of their own, were so depressed themselves , had had no ‘help’ for their own problems , that considering their circumstances…they’d done the very best they could. Even if that ‘best’ was still neglect, emotional abuse and nowhere near ‘enough’. They had TRIED…That night I dreamt I was talking to my deceased father, and one thing stood out…he said ‘Anna, you were everything to me, I wished I could have been a better father to you’ and I replied ‘I know dad, I love you’…and after that I sat my mom down and said ‘Mom, I understand now-I’m no longer angry, I know you and dad tried your best’…and she cried for hours! She’d felt so guilty all these years, but hid behind the wall of ‘Let’s not talk about the past’.! Those last 2 years of her life we were very close, and now my bedside table has several photos of me and my parents when I was a baby, and I love looking at them…I forgave them, and I managed to see it from THEIR side. Now I’m a mom myself, and when I ‘fail’, I say sorry to my daughters. I want them to know that mommy is NOT perfect, but whatever I do, I do with their best interests at heart! And I love them!
Please, pray for your mom and try to see things in perspective…maybe she really didn’t know any better. And forgive her! For YOUR sake, as well as hers! As the saying goes ‘The past is another country’…move on!
I would personally confront them about it. You have to do this in just such a way. It’s almost like stepping onto a mine field. It helped in my case when the mines started blowing up. There wasn’t too much left after that. And then peace was made.
Everyone’s advice on here has been good advice. I’ll pray for the best for your family.
Your story sounds so much like mine, Anna. Part of what helped me to heal and to forgive them was the realization that they were just poor sinners trying to get through the day, just like the rest of us. Someone once said, “Hurting people hurt people,” and it’s a ripple effect. I know that the scars from my childhood contributed to my hurting others (ex-DH for one), and I know that I must forgive my parents as I pray for God to forgive me for the legacy of pain that I have passed along without even realizing it at the time. I’m just glad that we had time to mend our fences – so many of my friends’ parents have already passed on, and I am blessed to still have both of mine.
I struggle with this too and am interested in all the comments made in this thread. Another question which also bothers me, along the lines of your question, is How do I honor a parent who has treated me this way. . .