Hi, I am very low. I am 42 yrs. old and my father is dying. But the problem I need advice for is my mother can’t stand me, I know I should be used to this; she was no different in my childhood. I go out of my way to earn her love, but am as heartbroken as badly now at 42 yrs. with my own children. Even her tone of voice is ugly when forced to communicate with me. I have lots of things to learn to cope with. I’m ill myself and losing my beloved father, but a setback by mum, is enough to send me into a deep depression. I had a horrific childhood because of her, and I know I can’t change her only the way I react, but never helps, a counselor I used to see told me ‘just because she gave birth to you doesn’t mean she has to like you’. Please can you help me help myself?

A: It can be very hard when the people we need love from the most can’t give it to us. It sounds like you spend your life hoping to get more from your mom than she is able to provide. When the people who were supposed to give us love can’t — or won’t — we need to be able to get it from others. My encouragement is to grieve what you couldn’t get -nor can get from your mom. It is only when we can adequately grieve our childhood needs that we can start to find the love we need from other sources.

It sounds to me like you have other family in your life and I would begin to turn my attention to growing more relationships with others. As you let go of what your mother can’t give it allows you to use your energy to develop friendships and supportive relationships with others.

To make these changes I would strongly recommend you find a support group. Since so your dad is so ill a group that will help with your grieving may be the best place to begin.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral