Freeing Your Mind from an Emotionally Absent Parent
By Tina Blacksmith

I never had a Hallmark mother-daughter relationship with my mom.  She was an emotionally absent parent.  My whole childhood, she was there in the physical sense.  But emotionally she never showed up.

I get that she was going through shit too.  I really do.  But growing up in an abusive/neglectful environment formed my opinions on what a parent should be.  A parent should get their shit together so they can be there to love and support their child.  Whether that be getting a job, going to therapy, getting clean or sober…it is EVERY parent’s responsibility to step up and fulfil their role.  I have no sympathy for parents who never said “I love you”, and then after their child finally cuts them out, say “What did I do to you?”.

Having an emotionally absent parent hurts

The reality of having an emotionally absent parent hurts…big time.  I think in some ways it contributed to my feelings of inadequacy and just feeling like I didn’t deserve love.  It really messes with you.  It forces you to push people away because there’s the voice that says, “They don’t REALLY love you”.  It messes with your mental health in nearly every way possible.  I blamed myself, mostly unknowingly, for my mom’s actions.  I thought something was wrong with me.

Many survivors rightfully cut their parents out of their life.  I haven’t talked to my dad in around 7 or 8 years.  I haven’t talked to my mom in a few months.  People belittle us for doing this.  “They’re your parents,” they say.  They blame us for hurting our parents.

Relief – then the guilt came

When I unfriended my mom I felt this huge relief.  Then the guilt came.  What if she died after I unfriended her?  So many “what ifs”.  I felt like shit for doing it.  I will say that it is a form of mental torture for you to wait around hoping a parent that was never there for you will change.  So many times I said “I’ll give it another chance”.  NOTHING EVER CHANGED.  I asked her if we could work on a real relationship and she said yes, then asked how the weather was!

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But now I feel peaceful

Now I just feel…peaceful.  I feel this lightness that’s hard to explain.  I know now that I don’t need my mom in my life to realize that I am loved.  I don’t need her to feel special.  I never felt that way growing up, but I can now.  I don’t need her to achieve peace of mind.  Cutting a parent out of your life is hard.  But if they really want to be there, they WILL make an effort to change.

Reproduced with permission, originally posted here

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