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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    My mother has cut all communication with me and I feel very depressed

    I have two children who are 7 and 5, I separated from their father 3 years ago. I have found a new partner who I adore and so do my children. He does have 3 children of his own and together we all get along fantastically. The problem is my mother no longer talks to me or visits my children. She maintains a very close relationship with my sister and her children. The problem is I was once adored by my mother and sister and now I am being punished for leaving a marriage and starting a new life. My mother has always had certain expectations of me and I think I have not lived up to these. It has been explained to me that she is controlling but I still find it had to let go, love by a mother is meant to be un-conditional? This is affecting every aspect of my life and I find it very hard to function. How do I move forward?
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    I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    It sounds like a very distressing situation for you. Amazingly you have created a new family where you are experincing some wonderful relationships. Celebrate that! It also sounds to me like your mother has created a dynamic where one is “special” if one conforms according to her wishes and expectations. This is not healthy. As adults we are meant to grow up and leave home and form our own lives according to our own values. If you are not special and do not conform by her rules you are cut off. Families often have patterns of cut offs and of other ways of managing or not managing the challenges expressed by individuals doing their own growing and separating out from the family. In your family you are punished for not upholding the family rules. In all probability your mother did not do her own developmental work and so it is almost impossible for her to tolerate her children doing theirs. It is complex and understandable when you look at your mother's history.  I am not surprised that you find it difficult to let go if not impossible. The mother child bond is our first and foremost attachment. And as you say you once felt adored by your mother and sister. You are experincing a great loss. You can be assisted in coping with this and in functioning and living a happy life. I recommend you have some therapy to do this work. All the best.

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    It sounds like you've paid a very high price for creating the life you want! Your mother perhaps has very particular and traditional beliefs about separation and divorce (that they are not OK) and about what a ‘good woman’ does (maybe she believes that it is a woman's job to make the marriage work, and if she doesn't she has failed or done the wrong thing). It's possible your mother even thinks that the most loving thing she can do for you is show you her disapproval in order to influence your decisions back to the ‘right path’. Hearing your story, I also wonder what your mother's experience of her own marriage has been. Is she happy in her own relationship, or has she trapped herself with the idea that if she's unhappy, or her needs aren't being met, then it's her fault and she just has to work harder at it?
    I am speculating of course - but if this is the case, it would be tremendously confronting to her to see you courageously following your heart and choosing a happy and fulfilling life.
    The reason I would encourage you to have a guess at what would make sense of your mother's behaviour is NOT to dimish how distressing this is for you, but to suggest that even though her response is difficult, and not meeting your needs in any way, it is not that she doesn't love you.
    Understanding where your Mum may be coming from (without having to agree with it in any way) can translate into the possibility of having different conversations with her - for example, you might try letting her know that you appreciate she is trying to show her love and concern for you by expressing her disapproval, but in fact what you need from her is acceptance, even if she does not approve or understand the choices you have made.

  • Pamela Hoy

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist

    Offering both Hypnotherapy and Counselling for my clients is a double opportunity to change unwanted feelings, thoughts, behaviours and reactions. Accessing both the conscious and … View Profile

    I am happy for you that your new relationship and the blending of the families is going well. Enjoy this aspect of your life and the happiness your children are experiencing now.
    Some times consciously or subconsciously parents treat their adult children like they are still a young child in need of their approval and direction.  Often this is brought about by the parent needing to feel they can still control their children. Or they try to force their adult children to live the life they wish they could have had, regardless of what their adult offspring desire for themselves.
    Perhaps if you had become dependent on your mother during the time of seperating from your husband, she may feel abandonded as you have a new partner.
    You can not force your mother to be accepting of your choices, but I wonder how you would feel attempting to talk to her explaining your feelings and thoughts concerning her not communicating with you.(I imagine you have already….. perhaps several times)  If she will not discuss it, could you write her a letter, explaining you miss the relationship you once had and you would like to see her?  Include that she has already raised you, and now is the time for her to relax and enjoy the adult relationship with you without the responsibility.
    Every so often you may like to contact your mother with a phone call, a note, a card or drop into her home. You don`t need to apologise for your choices but simply let her know you love her.
    Try to concentrate on the positives of your decisions and the happiness you have with your immediate family. Possibly write in a journal all the wonderful and pleasurable experiences you have, and read that weeks happenings to assist you recognise the good things in your life. 
    If you feel you are unable to motivate yourself, please consider counselling and/or hypnotherapy to assist you with this challenge. My best wishes for you. 

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