Ever since i can remember, I’ve been overweight and my single mother has hated me for it. throughout my childhood she dragged me to numerous doctors to “fix” me, filling my childhood with hundred of different medications and injections. she would buy clothes for me while i was at school that were far too small for me, and when i came home she would tell me to put them on in front of her full length mirror and give me looks of pure disgust when they would bulge my stomach or arms out. grunting and sniffling and asking me if i thought anyone would ever love something who was fat like me. things changed when my sister was born. on the bright side she stopped standing me in front of mirrors, probably because we no longer ever had alone time. however her rage was without measure. i rarely spoke to her for fear of being screamed at. i love my sister dearly. growing up being the unwanted one was difficult however. many times my mother and i would fight, though i would never hurt anyone i mostly just took whatever she threw my way. insults, wishes of my death, the silverware drawer, lamps. i haven’t lived with my mother since i was 14, i moved with my grandparents when i couldn’t bare her hatred anymore. i very rarely speak to her now, once in the last year- however when we speak she acknowledges her “failure as a parent”. i hear she is a meth addict, who just recently stabbed herself in the stomach with a steak knife in drug induced psychosis. i try to contact her to see how she is. i frequently do, she just never answers. when my sister and i speak of her, she tells me my mother refers to me as “the bad child” and calls me “druggie loser” which i don’t understand at all. the problem lies with me though, as no matter how long i’ve been away from her i still cannot find the strength to not hate myself. i know that i’m kind and beautiful in my own way. i know i have a husband who loves me. i know it’s all in my head. but everyday i doubt my husband’s love. everyday i wonder how can anyone love something like me? seeing myself makes me want to cry. i’m unsure how to overcome.
The job of a parent is to produce a physically healthy and mentally healthy young adult. It is easy to create a child but exceedingly difficult to correctly parent that child. The mistake made by many parents is that they believe their job is to do their best to ensure that their child will have the most fun that is possible in childhood. Once again let me reiterate that the job of the parent is well delineated. That job is to produce the healthiest child that is possible so that their child is well-equipped, at age 18, to prosper in life. Each child is different and if you have four children the most condemning thing that you might say is, “I don’t know what happened. I have four kids and I swear to you I raised them all exactly the same way.” Each child is unique, different talents, different liabilities, each with special needs.
Some parents are very good and some are horrendous. Your mother was not only a bad parent, she was your abuser. She hurt you very badly. We don’t know what psychological liabilities drove your mother to abuse you in the manner in which she did and it’s not important. You know that she repeatedly attacked you. You know that you cried for her love and instead received her unending anger and assault.
The question now is what damage was done to you by your mother? She has obviously damaged your psyche, made you feel unlovable and unacceptable. This damage is not permanent and it has not stopped you from finding a loving, caring husband who not only finds you acceptable but finds you to be the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with.
The harm that your mother has done to you has not stopped you from finding and engaging in a loving relationship, but that does not mean that the damage does not exist and is not real. The harm that your mother has done to you is reversible and counseling is that treatment.
My advice to you is find a good therapist and, if the first one is not helping, try a second. If the second isn’t helping, try a third. Not all therapists are created equal. Finding a therapist isn’t like shopping for a loaf of bread. Not all dentists are created equal. They are all qualified to fill a tooth, it’s just that some are much better than others.
I am here to tell you that your problems are not difficult to solve in therapy. If your counseling is not working, blame the therapist and not yourself. Expect the happiness that you deserve and don’t stop until you get it.
I hope I’ve helped. Good luck.
Dr. Kristina Randle