What Would You Tell Her?

A while ago, A asked me what I would tell my mother if I had the chance. I didn’t speak. She then asked me a closed ended question (I regret telling her that helped me open up) “do you know what you would tell her?” 


What is it?” 

I couldn’t answer her then, or the next week, but after seeing her this morning, I can answer now.

I can answer now….



Things I wish you knew.

That it hurts me more to have you some of the time, than it ever would have to have you none of the time.

That money doesn’t make up for any of it, and it never will.

That I feel like I have to earn your love, perform for it. Sometimes I feel like a circus freak.

That I’m picking up pieces of my life that were never mine to put back together, and I’m doing it at great expense to myself, and that this healing is painful, and long, and drawn out, and that I can’t erase what was no matter how hard I try.

That I’m hurt. i’m really hurt.

That I know things were hard for you growing up. That I know you’ve been hurt too. But that that isn’t an excuse. 

That I wonder if my life would have been different if you hadn’t had (brother). If that other baby had lived. If I had let him die.

That (brother) and I don’t talk because of you, not because of me.

That I am so afraid to be me because who I was was never good enough for you. You taught me who I am is wrong, that I’m only as good as my grades, or my career, or whatever value I bring to our fucking household, like some sort of prized pony.

That giving me material goods or paying for my wedding does not add to your resume as a mother. And that my accomplishments aren’t yours to claim as some sort of prize or trophy, I wish you got that. I wish you understood I am my own person, I am not an extension of you.

I wish you knew I cried myself to sleep at night still, often, more than I admit, to anyone. And I rub my feet together like I used to, waiting for you, when you never came, in some vain effort to comfort myself.

That it kills me when you call me selfish.

That I wanted to kill myself solely so I would finally deserve that label.

That because you didn’t deal with things, because you didn’t want to do the hard work, I’m left to do work even harder. That sometimes it feels like you love everything more than you love me.

That I wonder if I’m worth anything… every single day. And it affects me, in all parts of my life.

That I’ve made it so far under these circumstances I often wonder at my true, untapped potential.

That I hate the fact that to heal is to truly actually experience all that I’ve tried so long to avoid.

That I have blamed myself for so much for so long.

That I’m not sure I will ever be whole.

That I’m particularly mad and sad that I have no confidence in myself as a mother. That I’m worried I will end up like you despite what my friends tell me, what (husband) tells me. That every time someone says ‘you would be such a good mom’ or ‘i wish you were my mom’, my heart breaks because they don’t know. I want children and I’m so afraid of that. And that’s your fault. I  have dreams where I kill myself while pregnant, so that the baby doesn’t end up with me as a mother.

That I’m so fucking tired of hiding. Of being that perfect little girl and getting nothing in return.

That you’re the reason I couldn’t say no to him. That you’re the reason I froze. That I regret telling you, because it didn’t help anything. That I regret giving you those chances. That I still can’t talk about it and actively avoid the conversation with the one person I do trust in case she reacts like you did. Because, unfortunately for me, you’re the only benchmark I have, you’re the reason I have no understanding of boundaries.

You’re the reason I have to actively try not to hurt myself, even when I have an easy excuse to make existing injuries worse, purposefully, because any pain is better than this emotional pain.

That I’m scared of my brother. Terrified, even.

That I so wish I could tell you all of this.

That I cant listen to the songs you used to sing to me without crying. That I wonder what songs I will sing my children, if I ever have them. I’m so convinced I will fail them.

That trying to navigate our relationship keeps me up at night.

That I believe you have no right to hate my husband. He wrote you the truth and he didn’t sugarcoat it and I agree with him and I wish I never told you otherwise.

That I’m so fucking mad you showed his letter to everyone.

That I hate when I exhibit any trait you have. I look in the mirror and I’m completely disgusted with myself when I glimpse you. That you are the last person I want to become, and simultaneously someone I just want to love me.

That I feel broken.

That it’s confusing. It’s confusing to sometimes be in the middle of a board meeting and feel like I’m 5 because someone said something that’s knocked the breath out of me. That it’s hard to navigate life when every once and a while I feel like I just don’t belong. Like I’m living underwater.

That I watch every single step I take and every move I choose to make is so calculated I can’t relax. I am so afraid to be myself. I’m so incredibly afraid to be myself. And that’s unfair.

That if I let myself remember all the other kids you loved when you couldn’t find time or room to love me… I break. I break for days. And that’s not the only memory that breaks me.

That I blame myself.  And I’m so afraid to have the truth sink in, that it wasn’t me. And I’m leaning towards that truth and I don’t know what that means for us, I really don’t.

That I don’t want to come home for Christmas and sometimes I wish I would never have to see you again but at the same time I wish you were here with me.

That I wish we could have counseling together without you calling it an ambush, and ruining the relationship I have with a therapist.

That I wish you had never left me alone that night. That memory is seared in my brain, and attacks me just when I think things are getting better. That time you distinctly did not choose me because I am not worth it, because I couldn’t keep up with the ever changing rules or find the magic wand.

That I wish just once you chose me over him or better yet that you had enough time and energy for both of us. You blame me for this separation but it comes down to you.

That I’ve built such a shell that it automatically deploys anytime anybody exhibits any desire to get close to me. That I can’t go anywhere without thinking about how other people are behaving. That I never get to shut that off.

That I feel like I’m only worthy of people’s time if I’m distressed or in pain.

That I hate you. But I don’t know if you know how much I love you. That those simultaneous opposing forces make life really hard.

That I’m so tired of doing this alone.

That I know that you did your best, and that above all, hurts the most. Because I feel like – if you did your best – I have no right to any of these feelings.

What hurts the most is that I’ll never get to tell you any of this. And you’ll never be a partner in this process that could be healing for us both. I wish you could be a partner in this process. But our relationship will always be on the sideline for you.

And that even after all of that, even after writing this, and knowing every word is true, I’m left with guilt. Because I’m so conditioned to believe that this was all on me.

That saying this feels like a betrayal.

That I’m sad, and grieving, and experiencing real emotions for what feels like the first time. And that all I want is you, and that I’m never going to get that.

But knowing to get better I have to get through this, without you.

And that breaks my heart the most, Mom. Because when I’m pain, all I want is you, even though this pain comes from the relationship that we have.

Those are the things I wish you knew.


12 thoughts on “What Would You Tell Her?

  1. I think this puts into words what a lot of people, including myself, wish they could say to their mothers. I’m so sorry this is your experience. How so very sad. I understand your sadness and your conflicting hate vs love emotions towards her. What I want to tell you is do not be afraid to be a mother yourself. You are already doing all the hard work that will help you not be her. Even if a child showed up in your arms tomorrow before you felt like you were even ready or before you were “finished” with your work to heal, you will not be her. You just won’t. You know what you didn’t have. Your greatest gift to your confidence should be that now you know what NOT to do. You will be a great mother. You will. Don’t be afraid. Becoming a mother has been one of the most healing things that has ever happened to me…even before I realized it was.

    My motto has always been (quietly telling myself in my head) “when in doubt, do the opposite of mom.” 🙂


  2. Wow that was so incredibly powerful. Just wow. And it was so relatable for me, so thank you for finding words that are helping me to make sense of this mess. You’re not alone and I care so much about you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so extremely powerful and moving. I could feel your pain throughout this post, and it makes me wish that I could take some of that pain away from you. All I can do though is remind you that you’re not alone. You’re so special and valuable. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you twinkle toes. I was okay while writing it, but it was after I was in a bit of a state. The problem is I love her so much, my mom, that it’s hard to allow myself to feel so much anger and sadness and grief too.

      Liked by 1 person

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