As painful as this is for you, as much as I’d like to help you understand your mother, I can’t. I’d need to have an in-depth talk with your mom in order to do any kind of reasonable analysis. My guess is that she wouldn’t tolerate such a talk.
What I can do is respond to you. There is still an abandoned little girl inside of you who desperately wants her mommy. It’s totally understandable. She left you. Then in a way, your dad “left” you by becoming drug-involved. Then you went back to a mother who can’t or won’t “mother.” Most kids in situations like these think that if only they could figure out what to do, their mom would love them. It’s just too scary to acknowledge that maybe the mom they depend on really isn’t interested. So the kids hold on to the hope and keep going back and going back and going back to their mother, hoping that this time it will be different. But since the person they are returning to is incapable of connecting emotionally, the kids always end up hurt and disappointed.
For reasons you and I (and maybe even she) will never understand, your mother isn’t able to connect with her daughter. It’s time you accepted that. Nothing you do is going to make a difference. Your mother is who she is and is unwilling to either acknowledge that she has a problem or make changes. Going back to her is like going back to a door you know is locked when you don’t have a key.
There is a solution to your pain, though. Your “family” is only as small as you make it. You need to look for older women friends who can give you the support, advice, and even love, that your mother isn’t able to give you. Your kids need honorary “aunties” who will witness their growth, spoil them a little, and show them that you are a person who is loved and respected. Expand your notion of family so you can bring more people into the embrace of your own family. Get involved with the ladies in your church. Seek out a book club or womens’ club or hobby group. Friendships can span the generations.
It’s unfortunate you are living with your mother. I hope you will keep working on getting financially stable so that you can get a place of your own. Living with her is a daily, even hourly, reminder of all that you missed. It’s not healthy for either of you – or your children. In the meantime, be polite and appreciative for what your mother can give you (a roof over your head may be all she can do but that’s actually a lot). And stop shaming her and disappointing yourself with requests and demands for an emotional involvement she can’t provide. You’ll both be happier.
I wish you well.
Updated: October 2018