Dear Counsellor: Our mom dislikes us
Q: I am saddened that my sister and I do not share a great bond with our mother. We are both adults now and very successful in life, work, and sports. Our mother is extremely self-centred and does not seem to care for us or other members of her family. When we were children, I can remember her being interested in our education and extracurricular activities. She would attend several of our games; however, that became very minimal, and even worse when she and my father separated. We ended up having to move frequently as she was never satisfied with a place to live. She didn't explain her actions but just dragged us wherever she went.
We got to spend time with our dad, who was immensely attentive and was always encouraging. He would express how proud he was of us when we excelled at exams or sports. My father invested time and finances into our activities. It is difficult to understand the reason our mother changed and became so unconcerned with our welfare. Then I wondered if it was because of the challenges she and my dad had. She prefers to live alone.
I grew up being so torn and hurt by this as my sister needed her mother to attend to certain needs. My mother became selfish towards her entire family. It is very painful to see how she behaves whenever she visits her own mother, who is one of the kindest souls you could meet. Sometimes I cry. She treats her friends with respect and would do anything for them. Her siblings informed me that she was treated well as a child, and they are just as confused as I am; therefore, no one is able to understand her behaviour. Please help me to understand my mother's mentality.
A: It is possible that the marriage break-up has affected her badly, and she has changed towards family. She distrusts her husband, and obviously, she does not trust mother or children. Perhaps she was hoping that her family would have been more supportive of her during the marriage breakdown. Perhaps she perceived you and your sister as siding with your father and not her. Something happened because she was not always insensitive to your needs.
It is possible that she is having physical changes to her body that are affecting her. She could be having mental issues.
You should continue to respect your mother and not be so judgemental. Show appreciation for the good times. Tell her you miss those times. Remind her that you do not prefer your father over her but that you love both of them irrespective of their differences. Encourage her to respect and love her mother and tell her it bothers you how she treats her mother and ask her why she does it.
She needs professional counselling. Please encourage her to seek help.