My mother will always fail me

clarissa pinkola

Imagine your inner child waking up to a message that your soul has ached for. My mother usually sends me a weekly text message. This is the extent of her mothering and our relationship. I haven’t seen her in years nor spoken to her on the phone.

Today, along with her perfunctory message which always end with ‘Love you lots, have a good day’ ( as if she is part of my life or even knows anything about my days).  It’s infuriating because it feels like if I were to text her back and say ‘I am bleeding inside from all the pain and hurt and suffering meted out by that man you sleep with every night, she would text back with the same , ‘love you lots, have a good day’. It’s insane, and any attempt by me to broach the subject of the sexual abuse has been met with silence.

She doesn’t remember anything and I am making a nuisance of myself, that’s how she leaves me feeling. I realise I have always felt her to be a cold white wall that I pound my fists on to be heard,  only to be met with the same consistent iciness. I am the one who does the worrying about her, I even fucking worry that she might be worrying about me.

So getting back to the now…Today, along with her usual message she sent another one a bit later saying ‘Please forgive me’. The little girl in me, unmothered and abandoned for so long, wanted to jump out of her skin into the phone screen. Does this mean she remembers now? Does this mean she acknowledges the abuse now? Has she had enough time now to reflect and she wants to come clean finally?

Hell no! She says it’s got ‘Nothing to do with that’ . The filthy word ‘that’ assigned to the sexual abuse of a five year old child right under her nose. She says that she asks for forgiveness from all her children regularly and that she is sorry she put me in a bad situation. A bad situation indeed! I reply and say that I wish we could talk openly and honestly. I am met with that white wall again. Silence

And then much later she sends a benevolent message telling me that she still does love me and that she hopes God makes it easy for me. Hahaha , aren’t I lucky! So she is asking for forgiveness to save her own soul and make her feel better and it’s got nothing to do with the filthy ‘that’ which really matters. Here I am with a hole, a black hole inside, so hungry for her acknowledgement and acceptance. One of my few actual memories of the actual abuse is me laying on the bed, while she cleans my vaginal sores and I just want her to look me in the eye and say ‘Sorry, please forgive me for not protecting you, I know it happened’. That never happened and it never will. She never looked me in the eye the whole time.

Being in contact with her just hurts me over and over yet I hold on. Why don’t I just let go. I did before and then made contact again because she was ill. I won’t berate myself for this because it is the most natural think in the world, to care about one’s mother, no matter how neglectful they are.

For now, I feel that unmothered ache like a rawness within that I can’t adequately articulate. I look after that ache,

To my beautiful angel,

It did happen

I am sorry

It wasn’t your fault

You are not bad

Nor are you a liar

I see you, I hear you, I am here and I will never abandon you

I will never fail you like she does, I mother you now

7 thoughts on “My mother will always fail me

  1. How do you get to place, the one where you can say those things to yourself? I need that. So badly, she aches for that, the small one who has been living so close to the surface lately. But the words get caught in my throat. I want to say them, she needs to hear them and deserves to hear them, but I can’t get them out. I hate it. I hate that I can’t.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am sorry that you suffer in a similar way.
      I can only say it has taken a long long time, with the help of Counselling and this blog and people who have suffered in similar ways. Maybe you could begin by writing letters that little girl. It sounds like she really wants to be heard.
      Those words will come out, slowly and gently, once your inner child knows that she can trust you and that you have her back. So writing things down or even visualizing her and connecting with her through old photos is a start. Please be gentle with yourself and don’t ‘hate’ any bit of it. Now is the time for deep connection with yourself and loving every bit Imodium you is what is needed. It takes time but it will happen because our psyches are designed for wholeness and integration. We move towards it even when it doesn’t feel like we are healing or growing. I send you warm wishes of healing and connection with tour beautiful inner child .

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for your response. I have done loads and loads of therapy, and i am really well acquainted with my wee one. But when we’re activated, when we are stuck in the cyclones of the past, even as adult me knows it… I haven’t been able to just hold her. It’s life I’m on their side and not gets, although that’s not true.

        So much about your post resonated. My mom sends these sorts of texts to me too, or cards in the mail, and they are fully crazy-making. Little destabilizing bombs that make me wonder if I’m losing my mind. I got a card recently from my dad, with a two line apology for ‘any indecent act’ (!!!!!!) he committed in my childhood. He was one of my abusers. And my mom tended to my infections, like yours did you your sores…and ignored it then, and ignores it now. And i just don’t get it. I don’t get any of it.

        I also have had a traumatic break with my longtime t and so am on my own in the reparenting of my small one. And i just really need to step up, I really need to know i can do it, she needs to hear those things, every single one of those things, and she needs to hear them from me. I am drowning right now in the grief of not getting it in the first place, but also, and worse maybe, in the grief and sorrow of not being able to do these things for her, for us.

        So I’m just going to read those words you said and I’m going to practice them and I’m going to try so so hard. And I’m sorry you know the wordless, raw, silently screaming hurt of all of this, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ohhh I know that hurt so well. It is so hard to bear. Yet I want to say that you are not alone and you are doing really really good work in all the right ways. Your counselling and your realisations, that all takes so much courage so give yourself due credit, When so many other challenges smack us in the face, we feel that distance and disconnect from ourselves but as you say, your little girl needs you the most right now to feel safe and secure through this and you can do this. You are on your side, nobody else’s even if the disconnect may make you feel otherwise. Take care of you and your little one 🙂 surround yourself with people and situations who support you and lift you up.

        Ps. I understand the crazy making so well and yes typing on your phone is not the easiest even at the best of times.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe you could try borrowing the lovely, tender words that Telling Heavy Secrets uses here? Then you don’t have to come up with your own. If you can’t say them, you could copy them onto a piece of paper. You could look at that message and say, “dear wounded little one, I am working to get to the place where I can give you this message.” Baby steps. It is so very hard, I know.
      We’ll all ache for our mothers to provide the comfort and care that was missing. I don’t think that longing will go away even as we learn to give that tenderness to ourselves, but certainly it helps to do that. And if you aren’t ready to do it, that’s okay too. It already helps to tell your child self that you are learning, you are trying, you want to do that for her.


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