Some daughters want to grow up and be like their mothers, I wanted to be the opposite.
It would be nasty to say my mom was not a good mother, she does love me in her own way and she did okay but she lacked one basic thing I needed the most. She was not affectionate; I mean she rarely hugged or kissed me. I can count the times we kissed or hugged. We don’t even hug and kiss on birthdays. Maybe she was like this because that was the way she was brought up, her parents or her siblings were not emotionally close.
Now I am a very affectionate person, I like displaying my affection and since I did not get such affection from her in my childhood I yearned for such love and affection. I always want people to like me, hence I go out of the way to be nice to someone and when I don’t get the same affection from them I get upset (I’m working on it for a few years now and I have made progress)
Mom also lacked empathy. She’s self-absorbed. Even the most mundane argument would flip around and be about her. Mom also does not like sharing her stuff, at home we used to keep our stuff separate even food. I could not use her cutlery.
As a teenager, all this left me frustrated, angry and guilty as all I got was rude insults, profanity, body shaming and taunts. I was always in constant fear about her mood, as her mood would keep changing in different situations, I never knew how she would react. Sometimes the pain in my chest would be so overwhelming that I had to cut myself to divert the pain. This continued throughout my teenage years (I did not have a boyfriend until I was 18) and stopped only when I got a boyfriend as I found solace in him.
I so wanted to her to understand me, I wanted to be hugged and cuddled and kissed, that I had bad thoughts about her (wanting her to be dead), then later when I was calm I would be ashamed and guilty about these thoughts.
I was raw and torn when we used to argue with each other because she knew how to guilt me. I didn’t know how to handle her, even if I asked people to speak to her it would blow out of proportion. I tried to leave her and go away and lived with my grandma for a few years until my grandma passed away and I had to go back and live with my mom. (In India kids still live with their parents till they marry. The majority of them continue living after marriage too. The joint family system still prevails here, however at least in the cities one sees a lot of nuclear families too.)
Things have got a little better, she is still the same neurotic person but a few years ago she was hospitalised, she was diagnosed with an oesophageal motility disorder, it’s not a life-threatening but it left her shaken as she assumed she was invincible. Since that episode, she has mellowed down a bit. I maintain the peace at home by doing the things that don’t offend her much. I still don’t discuss a lot of stuff with her but I can definitely say that our relationship has improved a lot.