childhood emotional neglect

For Those Who Don't Celebrate Mother's Day

Dear brave soul,

You feel the mixture of sadness, anger, guilt, and dread that comes this time of year. It starts with the ads: flowers, brunches, treats, and presents. The pressure is on with so many ways to cherish your mother.  Someone asks you about your plans with your mother for Mother’s Day. It feels awkward and embarrassing to share that you’re not doing anything with your mother. The shame starts to swirl within you. You wonder if there is something wrong with you for not talking to your Mom. You start to feel the impending day quickly approach. A day where everyone is busy and you’re stuck wondering what to do with yourself. You’re stuck oscillating between wondering if you’re really the one to blame for not having this relationship, or if this is how you can stay safe and sane.

Many others don’t understand the pain that you have experienced in the decision to not have your mother in your life. For you, it is a choice of safety and survival, and not one of spite. Your mother may have been painfully cruel and abusive, and remaining in contact with her could cause psychological and even physical harm. Our “get over it” culture is toxic. You are not expected to sacrifice your feelings for others. It’s not your job to sooth other’s discomforts about your completely healthy decision. Anyone who is uncomfortable with your decision needs to look within and ask themselves why they would ignore your pain and suffering. Your energy should be focused on your healing and wellbeing.

If you are someone who does not spend Mother’s Day with your mother because you have made the decision to heal, you are doing the right thing. You are making the decision to do something your mother never did for you by showing yourself love. Setting the healthy emotional boundaries you need to honor yourself is an act of courage. Not many others will understand it, but this is an act of self-love. The universe bows to you, honoring your healing and your unique path. Keep walking that path and you will meet others who will walk with you. The longer you walk this path the more the pain will seem like a dream because you have woken up—woken up to the wonderful, tender, and compassionate person that you have always been but never noticed.

This Mother’s Day, take the opportunity to nurture yourself in the ways you have always needed. Make a list of ways you would like to practice loving yourself more. Maybe you decide to replace your criticizing self-talk with gentle encouragement. Maybe you cook yourself a delicious and healthy meal. Maybe you take a walk and notice the beauty of the world through your five senses. Loving and treasuring yourself is a practice, and in this practice you share this love and generosity with others (even if it isn’t immediately obvious). The universe has many ways of saying “I love you” if we can pause and take a moment to notice.

If you know someone who is no-contact with their mother…

If you have someone in your life who has chosen to not have a relationship with their mother—honor that. Validate that they are wise, dedicated to their truth, and doing the right thing. Not only do they have to deal with the recovery from abuse, but also recover from the societal stigma of excluding that person from their life. It is harmful to live in a culture that puts more value on self-sacrifice than self-love. This value causes depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship problems, substance abuse, and suicide. If their experience with their mother makes you uncomfortable, take a moment to be compassionate toward that discomfort—maybe this is a way you can get a glimpse into this person’s painful experience and respect it. 

 

If you have a painful relationship with your mother, therapy can be an opportunity to develop love toward yourself, feel positive, and gain confidence. To go from surviving to thriving call today for a free consultation at (248) 291-7322 or email me for therapy and counseling in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Overcoming Childhood Emotional Neglect: The Path to Resiliency

Overcoming Childhood Emotional Neglect: The Path to Resiliency

If you have experienced emotional neglect, therapy can be an opportunity to nurture yourself in ways that were not provided to you in childhood or in current relationships. You can develop a positive sense of self, confidence, and know you are worthy of love and belonging. Just because these skills were not given to you in adolescence does not mean that you cannot develop them in adulthood with the help of a trusted professional.