When I was growing up I didn’t have a great relationship with my mom. OK, that is actually a bit of an understatement—our relationship was turbulent, at best. However, I believed that I knew better, that I would be able to avoid doing the things that she did to hurt me when I had kids. I would be a better mother, because I had a good example of what not to do. The rest was easy as pie, right?
I am a grown woman now and though our relationship has improved somewhat—which comes from not living together and the fact that I have the first grandkids—we are not close. I have tried. I have done everything I can think of, and would be willing to give anything to believe that she loved me. Part of that has to do with the fact that I want my girls to see an example of a good mother and daughter relationship. I feel false telling them that family is important, that we have to love one another when my relationship with my mother does not line up with those values. I have always felt like they will see that and decide that their relationships with me are optional as a result.
Maybe that is just paranoia, but I feel it all the same.
And then there is always the fear that I will duplicate the behavior my mother used with me—verbal and physical abuse—on my girls. It began when I was two (my dad confirmed my age) and sad as it is to say, it hit me the other day that my oldest will be four and I have not hit her inappropriately (we do spank) or said something irreversibly cruel. Sure, I have said things like, “You are driving me up the wall!” or the like, and while I feel a bit sheepish admitting it hopefully things aren’t too far gone yet.
My biggest fear is that because neither my husband, J, nor I have good relationships with our mothers that we’re doomed to relive the past that our children will decide to follow us and our example even if neither of us is happy about the way things are. Anyone else ever felt like this? Can my past determine my future?