I can’t let go of the fact that my mother never loved me

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a homemaker in my 40s, and I’m troubled by my relationship with my mother.

From the time I was young, my mother made me do all the housework and yelled at me whenever she found something I did wrong. I studied hard to win her affection, but she never praised me, which made me suspect I might not even be her actual daughter. In contrast, she doted on my younger brother.

My father was a public employee, so our life was comfortable. I wanted to be a teacher and believed my parents would send me to university. However, my mother bluntly told me she would not use any money for me, but she was willing to do whatever she could for my brother. I’ll never forget the despair I felt that day.

Instead of going to university, I became a public employee after finishing high school. I got married and have lived until today without receiving any help from my parents. I’ve left work because I got sick.

However, my brother went to university as a matter of course. In addition, he’s sent his child to private school from the first grade with the aid of our mother.

I raised my child with much affection, which I wanted my mother to do for me. Now that my child has grown up, I tell myself I should feel fulfilled. At the same time, however, I can’t help but feel empty. I’ve now almost completely cut ties with my mother, but I still want to be loved by her even at my age. Is that strange?

L, Wakayama Prefecture

Dear Ms. L:

I’ve often heard about cases in which parents unreasonably favor certain children while treating the others coldly. It indicates that compatibility matters even in the parent-child relationship. I think parents are obliged to overcome this issue as much as possible to be impartial while raising their children.

When I read your letter, I felt your mother was incredibly unfair to you. I think it’s very rare for parents to discriminate among their children regarding sending them to university when they don’t have any financial reasons for doing so. Her treatment of you seems to be nothing more than bullying. She may have been envious, as you are tactful and smart at anything you do. I also wonder why your father didn’t defend you.

I feel sad to learn you are still yearning for her affection. Nevertheless, I suggest you take all these things as something in the past and look forward, as you have lived only the first half of your life at a time when many of us can live to become centenarians.

In addition, you’ve already found a fine answer on your own. You brought up your child with deep affection while at the same time working as a public servant. You don’t have to have contact with your mother for the time being.

I was also unhappy when I was a child, as my father doted on my elder brother, who was so bright. Now, I’ve almost forgotten my bitterness toward my father as I focused more on living to the utmost.

Keiko Higuchi, critic

(from Nov. 24, 2017, issue)Speech

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