Advertisements on TV and the radio go over the top in portraying all mothers as idealized heroic women who did absolutely every single thing right.
Motherhood, however, is far more complex and grittier than those bleached versions of it. It’s a vocation that, when approached right, requires maternal sacrifice, encourages a selfless love from the mother, and fosters virtues in the family.
Motherhood is a special calling to live out the definition of love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury. It does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Some mothers do their best to follow that definition. They can inspire us and present a type of motherhood that adult survivors can learn from to parent their own children.
But then, some children were brought up with a broken version of the above or one that goes in the exact opposite of it.
The maternal love received by some children was impatient, was unkind. It was jealous, it was pompous. It was inflated and rude. It sought its own interest and was quick-tempered. It brooded over injury. It rejoiced over wrongdoing and despaired the truth. It bore nothing, believed nothing, hoped for nothing, and enduring nothing. That twisted version of love failed.
For those adult survivors of emotional child abuse, the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday can be incredibly difficult. So, on this day before the holiday, I offer these three articles from The Invisible Scar archives that cover different approaches to surviving (or ignoring) Mother’s Day.
- How Do You Handle Mother’s Day When Your Mother Was Abusive?
- Four Sanity-Saving Tips for Ignoring Mother’s Day
- You Don’t Owe Your Toxic Mother a Card, Candy, or Quality Time on Mother’s Day
Onward and upward.
Veronica Jarski is the founder and writer of The Invisible Scar, a passion project dedicated to raising awareness of emotional child abuse and its effects on adult survivors. She has extensive editorial experience and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Her work has been featured on myriad online publications. She also is the author of an e-book about waking up to the realization that one had an emotionally abusive childhood.
9 thoughts on “Three Must-Read Posts for Mother’s Day If You’re an Adult Survivor of Emotional Child Abuse”
Thank you. Much needed.
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I had that kind of love from both parents. I also ended up in relationships where I got the same toxic love. Basically, you give them your love and they use your love to manipulate you. They tell you that they love you but their actions tell you the opposite.
In relationships, they threaten to leave you if you try to stand up for yourself. As a child, you weren’t allowed to object to anything. It was called “arguing with your parents” or “answering back”.
I hate what it has turned me into. I’ve gone from social and wanting to be with people to alone and not interested in people. I often feel as though I am just waiting to die.
I worry more about the afterlife (if there is one) than this life. Who is going to be waiting for me? I also worry that the afterlife will be the same as this one – a dog eat dog spirit world where everyone is trying to deceive and control others.
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I echo your comments entirely and only wish information of this nature had been available during earlier times. Now in my mid-sixties with not one of my family relationships surviving my late mother’s meddlesome interventions I am quite alone and am sure like you, have had to cope with a huge burden of loss and sadness.
Those of us who have been on the receiving end of this dreadful twisted affliction not unusually for a lifetime, must always know it was not our fault. I cannot imagine if there is an afterlife that it can be worse than what we have had to endure in this life!
I sincerely hope and trust that we can find peace in this life here and now and also any afterlife too.
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Thank you. I got a call on Monday from my mother angrily asking me not to send her anything, then she hung up. So I won’t. I will work and go to a friend’s birthday party instead.
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Bless you, Veronica. That verse from Corinthians was exactly what I needed today 👍❤
Reblogged this on The Broken Vessel.
Now a grandmother, I still find mothers days awkward. My mother is still alive and I have gone no contact. I find people don’t understand having a mother who has no interest in life outside of her own needs.
I have been limited in what I have shared about the ongoing abuse from my childhood through my adult hood until my baby brother left home (I have always and will always protect my siblings from my mother). This makes Mother’s Day a lonely place, I am awkward with attention on me and find it amazing to have children and a daughter-in-law who want my company.
Your blog gives me hope as I know I am not alone and others share my discomfort as it understands that not all mothers are willing or able to care or provide for their children.
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Thank you, no matter how much time I spend healing I don’t think I will ever be ok with our relationship. Final straw happened five years ago but we maintain contact by email a few times a year. I sent flowers but did not receive an acknowledgement ~ I know she wants a phone call but I just can’t do it. I know she doesn’t care about me or how I am doing, she just wants me to call her ~ for what I don’t know, maybe because that’s what you are supposed to do on Mother’s Day.
I am an adult survivor, and after many years of spiritual therapy, I thought I’d never indulge a bully again. But yesterday found me toying with the idea of appeasing a woman who bullies me at work – because this bully’s daughter is bullying my daughter now! All I wanted was to protect my child and stop the abuse, and the only button that could work was that of appeasement, placation.
By the grace of God, however, I found the strength to resist that fall into old habits of behavior – habits that caused me so much suffering before. I spoke gently but firmly to my child and gave her all the support she needed to turn away from the bullying. I told her things no one told me when I was in this same struggle. I made she knew she was loved by Jesus.
She got through the day. There will be more days like this, but I’ve been there before, and I will continue to be there for my child any time she needs me.
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