My Parents

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. Well where I start. Well I believe there is something wrong with my mother. She would never be there for us and mostly just want something out of us. Ever since the fifth grade me and my sisters would have to buy our own clothes we would never ask for money because it would never be given to us. Instead she would get angry and scream at us. We now knew better that if we wanted something we needed to work for it. It was not they did not have the money it’s just that they did not want to give it to us. I recall that when I could not find a place to work (I was under age at the time). I and to ask her for school clothes. My school just switches to uniforms and I couldn’t buy anything to wear because I would not have money. When I asked her if she could but me something to wear she became mad. She knew she had to because I would not be able to go to school. She bought me two overalls and that was it for the entire school year. Yet with my brothers it was or is a different story she buys then what they please and she fully admits that my youngest brother is her favorite.

I recall a time when my mother was arguing with my sisters and me and there was a point in time when she told us the dogs are better than you. Later she would get on us about being late to the house and get really mad and kick us out. So our smart butts camped outside. Then there came a point in time when there was a big argument with my parents and my sisters and she once told me I don’t love you because of your personality. And you should stop going out you prostitute. I was 16 at the time never had a boyfriend in my life. And still a virgin. I didn’t mess around with anyone. I just liked to have fun. She never thought that I would make it to college. She all ways wanted me to work at burger king and become a manger for the rest of my life yet I never worked at a fast food restaurant. Yet she would tell her friends overseas lies saying I was something more than what I was not.

There would be times when she helps people she does not know than us. She once went out to a store and brought complete strangers breakfast and there would be nothing for her daughters to eat. And if we make something all hell will come lose because we didn’t do something right. There would be times when I will hear that she wants to buy land I Nicaragua. But I would ask her if she will let me borrow money for school and she would say no. Yet I hear all this talk of a new house over in another country. There would be times when my mom would like something of ours and say “can I have it”. We would not have the heart to say no. but she would do this often and con us into buying her stuff. She would compare her looks with us. Saying when I was your age I had a lot of boyfriends what happen to you three. They must see you as ugly. There would be times when my parents would go out and just take my brothers and leave me and my sisters behind. I would get mad at my farther because if we want our car fixed by him we would have to pay him. They are now insisting we pay rent. Yet me and my sisters really do fend for ourselves and help ourselves with all most everything we can. There was a time when I was left at the college for all most 3 hours without a ride I waited till 11. Or a bit more. I called my sister that was at home and my parents would not let her come and pick me up. I called then again and my farther said he was sleeping to stop calling. I stayed there till my sister picked me up. I can’t recall a time when my mother said I love you to any one of us three. Yet my dad did say “ yo las quero mucho” which means I love you very much, yet he was extremely drunk( I was 13 my sisters was 12) there is so much more to tell but I feel you may have an idea. I sometimes wonder am I over reacting about the situation. Am I the one that is crazy? Like everything that she has done has affected me and how I am today. But some times for the good and sometimes for the bad. Please help me with this. Ruby.

A. Dear Ruby, to say that you experienced a difficult childhood because of your parents but mostly due to your mother would be an understatement. As you have described her, she was selfish, did not show love towards you or your sister and even said that she did not love you because of your “personality.” She also purposefully said things to hurt or demean both of you, bragged that she was prettier than you when she was your age and suggested that you become a prostitute. Your mother was abusive and simply was a bad parent. This is not a moral judgment about your mother, it is a fact.

What is most evident from your letter is your resiliency. Despite the horrible conditions in which you were raised, for instance, you still managed to make it to college. And by the tone of your letter you seem level-headed and striving towards success. Many people in your situation would have found themselves abusing drugs or alcohol or engaging in some other unhealthy activity as a way to forget their ordeal. Also, having your sister’s company and love was very helpful to you emotionally. She may have served as a “buffer” that cushioned the psychological impact of your mother’s abuse and your father’s neglect.

You mentioned that your mother’s treatment of you has affected you “sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad” but you were not specific about the ways it had influenced you. Without that information it is difficult to give you specific advice.

Generally, I would suggest that you need to focus on the present (here and now) and how you can improve your life and not on the past. Don’t let your past be your prologue. In other words, your mother harmed you as a child and as unfair as it may be, as an adult it will be up to you to not let her ruin your future. It may be difficult to quell the pain and trauma that you may feel as a result of how you were raised but you need to challenge yourself to not let it negatively affect you as an adult. I fully appreciate that this is easier said than done and it may also require the assistance of a skilled therapist.

As I mentioned in response to another person’s question, many people struggle as adults with the mistakes their parents made. Parents do not always mean to make mistakes that damage their children but it can and often does happen.

Your mother may have harmed you as a child but as an adult you have control over your life. Let that idea be empowering to you. Make it your goal to live a psychologically healthy life free of their abuse and torment.

If you’d like to write back and ask more specific questions I’d be happy to answer them. I wish you luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Nov 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). My Parents. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/11/10/my-parents/