I can never be good enough for you, Mom

by Jan

Dear Mom, 
I am so hurt and destroyed by your actions, especially in the last few years.

I don’t understand when one of your children tells you how they feel and how destroyed they are that you can be so cold and heartless. I spent my whole life feeling not good enough and never ever being able to make you happy. When I tried so hard. I just wanted you to say one time something was good or “good job” or to feel like I finally did something right.  

Raymond would never do what was asked of him.  However, any time Raymond needs something or is sick still to this day you turn up there to make him food. You call and check on him.

I have been sick since this accident. You know it and you haven’t texted called or even seem to care.  When was the last time you called or texted and asked, “How is your neck or back?” Or, “How was your doctor’s appointment?” I can’t remember when it was that’s how long ago it was. 

When Thomas’s wife is traveling for work you make him meals or tell him to come by for dinner. You call or text and get back to them.  

Me? I’m the daughter you don’t care about. One that can’t ever do anything right. 

I can remember crying myself to sleep all the time as a kid because I wasn’t good enough or I knew you didn’t love me. I can remember in high school feeling like I was stupid because of the comments you made to me.  I came home from college and was sick and exhausted and you would get mad that I didn’t want to ride horses with you but sleep in and take a day off.

So what did I do? I rode so you would be happy.  

The pressure that you put on me to be better than I was at whatever I did was awful. Even when I was an adult I still couldn’t do anything right. I arrange all the family get-togethers. I took you to all the grandkids’ activities while they were all growing up. Raymond and Thomas did nothing. I took you to see a play in New York that you really wanted to see. I drove because you didn’t want to drive or even fly. It was painful and difficult for me to drive with a neck brace after my car accident. After the trip, you told me it was awful going to New York with me. That was crushing and so hurtful after all that planning.  

I took you because you wanted to go so badly.  Neither of my brothers has ever taken you somewhere like that.  I bought you a ticket so you could attend the play you loved.  Meanwhile, Thomas wouldn’t even tell you what hotel they were staying in for Andrea’s graduation. They never invited you to anything.

Apparently, I am the one who doesn’t do anything for you. I am the one who isn’t good enough.

When Dad has to go to the hospital in the middle of the night who goes with you? Me! I stay with you the whole time and only leave when it comes time for work. But my brother? Oh no. You don’t want to have them do it because they are “busy” and have real jobs.  

I will always love you even though I am so hurt by you. My wish is one day I’ll be good enough and you will realize I was your child who cared and tried so hard. I was the one who was telling the truth. I wish you would one day realize your son is a selfish self-centered lying asshole. And that he has been so horrible, mean, and abusive to me. 

I’m sorry I was never good enough for you. 
Your hurt and destroyed daughter

11 thoughts on “I can never be good enough for you, Mom”

  1. You are enough, and you are not alone. I know the feeling, I am never enough for either of my parents. I will always be less, always the ‘mess-up’ child. It’s okay, we don’t need their validation. I know it hurts, it will always hurt. But we will get stronger and better and learn how to deal with it.

  2. My mother was the same way I feel your pain.What ever I did for my mom she did not even care one bit.So you have my sympathy and I hope all goes well for you.

  3. Dear Jan,
    I am so sorry you’re going through this pain, and have been for a very long time it seems. I am sorry you’ve been so deeply hurt by your mother’s failure to approve of you, to appreciate you, and to treat you wih the same respect as she does your brothers.
    I can’t know the “why” behind her failures, but it doesn’t really matter why she’s mean to you. She just is. Sometimes knowing why really doesn’t help at all. Since your goal is can’t be to fix her (ergo she’d then be able to be loving and supportive toward you), your goal needs to be how to take care of You better.
    Realizing you can’t fix her, you can’t change her, you can’t make her do anything is half the battle. She is in charge of her own actions and thoughts, and apparently she’s is not interested in changing.
    You’ve done your part — you’ve told her how her behaviour and words have deeply hurt you over the years. She will either stay the same, or she’ll change. It’s anyones guess which way she’ll go. However, the big deal here is:
    You need to be content no matter WHAT she does or doesn’t do. Your happiness and satisfaction, your self worth cannot be based on someone else treatment of you.
    When you are in that dynamic, you’re giving someone else the power to make or break your soul. Don’t give that power to ANYONE else! Accepting responsibility for your own mental and physical well being is absolutely necessary to becoming a fully functional adult.
    It’s a scary thing, taking responsibility for your own happiness. You must grow to know that you are absolutely worthy of love and belonging, no matter what anyone else says or does.
    That’s called “detaching with love” in Al Anon and Codependents anonymous meetings.
    You can’t get what you need from your mom, but you can learn you don’t really need it from her anyway—it has to come from INSIDE you to be real, and sustaining. And absolutely you can learn to give yourself the gift of acceptance and of truly loving yourself just as you are. That’s what you need. People in the two groups I mentioned will help you find the way; they’ll give you support and concrete steps, and they’ll share their experience , strength, and hope with you when you give them a chance to help you. There’s so much goodness and light and love in the world—Stop trying to get it from a person who will not give it to you.
    Thank you very much for sharing your pain—you’ve helped me remember how to help myself in the process. Hugs to you, and I wish you peace.

    1. Thank you very much. It is all very true. However, very hard to remember at times. I still wish I could one day be good enough or feel loved by her . It is all very hard to work thru . I’m trying not to let it ruin my happiness.

    2. This sums up my mother and my relationship. She’s 90 and I’ve tried to explain to her the “pain body” to her. Her response…”Yes, you do have that.” The trick with her these days is to keep her safe and happy. When I spend time with her (we take turns, my brothers and I), her comments are ridiculous!
      Anything from “I’m not leaving you any money, you have plenty.” to telling me what to do with my money….
      She’s giving my youngest brother the house and she thinks my oldest brother lassos the moon. My middle brother is a saint because he died young and me, well, I, the girl who was younger than her, prettier than her, more adventurous than her. In other words, her “competition”. I got the paddle all the time for misbehaving but that’s a story for another time.
      Recently she asked me why I went to live with my dad when I was 15 and left her house. “Because you told me to Mom! You dialed the number and handed me the phone and said “Tell dad you want to live with him!” My step dad has passed and mom now has a wonderful care giver who is a gay man. We and he are trying to bring mom up to the 21st century. After all, my middle brother died from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome when he was in his late 20s. Go figure.
      I’ve moved closer to my mom now and have every third weekend with her. I bring her her favorites to eat and we watch Jeopardy and The Wheel now. I have a new man in my life since my husband’s death and for some reason, he’s become her bait now. At 68 I’m handling it but, to be clear, when the lady behind the drink counter sees us together she smiles and says “HIG HER EVERYDAY”, I have to admit, it makes me cringe. ✌️

      1. Deb. Thank you so much for sharing your story and with the detail. What you have done is posted a story that will help other people feel less alone and more connected. It’s story that will help so many as these comments are always read because they represent other people’s journeys.

      2. I’m shocked by how many people have had similar experiences with their mother. I really felt like it was just me . Thanks for sharing .

  4. Dear Jan
    I so totally relate to your story. Oh how long the list would be if I had to tell the daily and hourly crushing experiences I went thru, even in my adulthood. Nothing I ever did made her think positively or show me some affection. I went so far in trying to please her and make her love me that I took crucial life decisions on the wrong basis and unfortunately have to continue paying the price all my life.
    BUT you know what? I am now an emancipated balanced person, have this entire experience behind me and grew to realize that:
    1. She herself had went thru an even tougher childhood. As my mom said once” You cannot give something you never received.”. Not an excuse but made me realize she is a bigger victim who didn’t know any better.
    2. She showed me her worse side coz … well she could trust bring it out on me. As absurd as it may sound, she admitted to me that she knew I was strong enough to bear her offloading of anger (also not an excuse, but made me realize I was always special to her, contrary to my perception)
    3. I discovered she did, actually, love me! I wish I didn’t waste so many tears and nights longing for something she could’ve give: an admission of love.
    4. I also realized my life is my own. Not hers. I grew up and built it away from her, with little contact to keep us “ok”.
    5. I discovered that, not only I was actually good enough, I was too good. She probably was jealous coz she couldn’t achieve what I was capable of. It is sad, I know. But she was also human.
    6. When she passed away, exactly 9 years today, I finally realized how much I learned from her. She made me the strongest and most resilient person. Somehow, thanks to her, I am where I am today. I miss her so much each and every day and keep discovering all the other positive things she brought to my life (another absurd fact that I only discovered when it’s too late).

    I am not trying to justify the bad methods of our mothers. I just wanna tell you:
    YOU ARE GOOD! trust me.
    Even if she’ll never say it, you should know it.
    Please don’t let her harm go deep in your soul. Schield yourself as much as you can.
    Focus on building your self-esteem and life outside her fence. Someday, you look back and it will all seem history far away from your lovely life.

    1. Thanks.
      I wish I could believe that my mom loves me . I feel devestated and destroyed by her actions . I’m getting help starting tomorrow with all this so I’m hopeful I can become stronger and will know how to better live with the feelings of never being good enough.

  5. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH! Look to the one that will give you PEACE that transcends all understanding and you will realize that this is NOT your problem, but your Mother’s.

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