As I first thought about writing this article, I felt pangs of guilt. I questioned my loyalty to the woman who would raise me and care for me as I grew into a young woman. As I pondered the inborn devotion that was holding me back, I realized that sharing these feelings would not only prove cathartic, but perhaps might be relatable to other daughters and perhaps sons as well.

When I think of my relationship with my mother I think of pain, not physical pain, but emotional pain. Not the kind of emotional pain that can be called abuse, but the kind that causes you to question everything about yourself. The kind of emotional pain that screams, "you're not good enough or smart enough", the kind of emotional pain that creates in you a desperation to be loved. I remember my mother telling me how her mother was cold and how she never told my mother that she loved her, but quickly adding the disclaimer, "but I knew she still loved me". As my mother confided in me I could only wonder how she could not know, that she was in every way, her mother's daughter.

I am always amazed at how after two marriages, a divorce and being widowed, that my mother's approval and love is as important to me now as it was when I was a small child. In many ways I see a parallel to an abused woman. I used to wonder how these women can keep going back to the very person that causes them pain. I have come to see that I share the same pattern in my relationship with my mother. The reality that every communication I have had with my mother results in the pain of rejection does not deter me. Each time I reach out, whether to share a success or a joyful experience I am knocked down. Intellectually, I tell myself that my mother is not aware that constant harsh criticism of a child not matter how old that child may be, is toxic. I tell myself that she does not realize that no matter what your accomplishments and no matter what praise you may receive from others, a mother's approval is really what matters most.

I still find myself fantasizing about a mother who would call me honey or sweetheart, a mother who would hug me and tell me how proud I have made her. I dream about the warmth of a mother's smile and the love felt in her embrace. I tell myself how lucky I am not to have been abused in the way that so many children have. I tell myself how lucky I was to grow up with a roof over my head and food in my stomach and nice clothes on my back. I still struggle to convince myself that my mother loves me and each time I do, I return to the same pain, the same disappointment, the same rejection and the need to be loved by my mother in perpetuity goes on.

Author's Bio: 

I'm a freelance writer from New York City with a background in sociology and mental health. I have a strong interest in politics and publish political commentaries on a regular basis. My primary interest is in the area of self help and self realization. I firmly believe that through constant introspection that we can discover new ways to find happiness and peace.