Does your mother build you up, or tear you down?

One positive = many negatives

Am I the only one who has a Negative Nancy for a mother?

I’m tired of feeling depressed and beat down whenever I finish talking to my mother.  People always seem shocked when I say that I don’t miss my mother and I only talk to her once a week or every two.

But every conversation goes the same. I start to tell her something that’s going on in my life, she listens briefly, then starts to tell me what went on with her and who asked for me and then says goodbye.

Just once, when I tell my mom something, I’d like her to be glad for me.  I want the first words that come out of her mouth to be positive ones. Just once.

Case in point, yesterday I told her I’d joined a professional choir, which is a pretty big deal (especially considering that I haven’t sung for the last 12 years).  The first thing she asked was where they were based, and when I told her that they aren’t a church choir, she still wanted to know where they operated from, so I explained that to her. Then she wanted to know what time they practiced and how I got there. Told her that too, including that they practice from 7 to 9 twice a week. Then she wanted to know if I was safe to be traveling at that hour considering the crime, even though it probably wasn’t as bad as Jamaica.  This is regardless of the fact that I had just told her that I got dropped straight home every evening I had practice.

My point is that my mom still hasn’t congratulated me on joining, asked me why I joined (or when) and if I’m enjoying it (or even if I could sing).

This is the same kind of behaviour I experience every time I do something new.

  • Got a job – When will I become permanent?
  • Become permanent – Don’t do anything that will make them want to fire you.
  • Want to go back to school and improve myself – Why are you leaving the good job that you have? Is what you’re going into going to pay you?

I understand that these are all good questions to ask, but when coupled with a persistent lack of positivity to balance the negativity, it gets to the point where I just don’t want to tell my mother anything at all.  Good news, bad news, I just don’t want to share.

My mom lives in Jamaica and I live in Trinidad, for which fact I’m profoundly grateful.  Because I can just imagine what I’d go through if she lived here.  The thing is too, that I can see where she gets it, cause her mom operates the same way.  I pray I don’t pass down the same behaviour to my children.

Now don’t get me wrong, my mom is a good person and she’s done her best over the years. It’s not easy bringing up two children as a single mother (my dad died when I was 5 and my brother was 3). I acknowledge and appreciate everything she’s done for me, and that we love each other.

But I just wish she’d be more positive sometimes, so that I would feel that something I did was worth celebrating (at least in her eyes).

So let me know folks, do you feel better or worse after you talk to your mother?

6 thoughts on “Does your mother build you up, or tear you down?

  1. How sad. My mother passed away six years ago and I miss her every day. But I must confess our relationship was often rather uneven, and I often sensed that she was “judging” me – even when she didn’t say anything. Sometimes I felt we didn’t understand each other very well. With my Dad it was the opposite – we knew each other TOO well! Of course you love each other. But I am wondering – can you steer your conversations towards something lighter – away from “you” altogether perhaps? Talk about something “neutral” – less subjective and more general? Neither good nor bad news? At least for part of the time. I used to do that sometimes. Or at least try… By the way, thanks so much for visiting my blog and please come again soon!

    • I do try to not have conversations about me most of the time because I know how I’ll end up feeling. But every once in a while I do have to tell her what’s going on with me, seeing as how we live in separate countries, and it’s then that I end up feeling crappy. C’est la vie I guess

  2. I get what that’s like to a degree… My mother is not the Negative Nancy…She’s Control-Freak Cathy, I guess…lol. She still tries to tell me how I should dress, pack, clean, eat…even how I should wash my clothes. She has no idea of personal space, identity, autonomy or any of that. She believes that if she makes all the rules and informs all the behaviors, she’ll be able to make harmony in a house…

    • oh yeah my mom still tries to do the controlling thing from afar too. I’ve had to tell her that I know what I’m doing more than once… I mean I’m 33, I can handle my business thank you very much.

  3. Sending you a large hug all the way from New York.

    This is a sad post to read because it was very familiar for me as well. Not only was my mother super-competitive with me for years, my step-mother (only 13 years older, thin, beautiful and also super-competitive) made me feel ugly and stupid quite often. It was grim!

    The stepmother died of cancer five years ago and my mother (I am her only child) has chosen not to speak to me anymore, since May 2011. She is in a nursing home a place six hours’ flying time away from me. So, sad truth? I am by far the happiest and most confident I have ever been in my life. I have a lovely husband, thriving career and dear friends. This week alone was filled with fantastic professional triumphs I wish I could have shared with my mother. It hurts. Luckily, my Dad is alive and healthy so I could tell him.

    Time will show you that many other people will be able to love and admire you.

  4. Sad but I could feel the love with which this is written. I like that you recognised her good point which shows balance. (You are a journalist) I attended a course years ago about living up to one’s potential, but funny enough the only thing I remember from it is this;
    It is alright to acknowledge the pain and disappointment when comes your parents don’t give you the love and acceptance you deserve and expect but remember many of them are from a different cultural plane. They are doing the best they can with what they have.

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