Things my mother never did.

I think I know what’s wrong with me. No, that’s not true. I know I know what’s wrong with me. Or at least, I know one of the things that’s wrong with me. The Big Thing.

I have been putting off writing this, because the act of writing it, of putting it on paper, makes it a real thing. A real thing I can’t run away from, a real thing I’ve got to face. I’ve spent a lot of time over this last year 2014 alone; alone with myself and my thoughts, taking time and space – the likes of which I’d never allowed myself before – to process and to grieve a string of losses and difficult life events. And as 2014 drew to a close and I thought about the ways that I wanted 2015 to be different – and I want it to be different in just about every which way – I kept coming back to one thing: the truth must out.  We are only as sick as our secrets, and until I start telling the truth about the darkness – difficult as it may be – the darkness is going to continue to own me.

Summer 1988

So here goes. For as long as I can remember, I have been living with a tension between two powerful and conflicting emotions: anger and guilt. It wasn’t until the death of my mother two years ago and the subsequent unraveling of my nuclear family that I began to realize how profoundly this tension had been affecting me, how it had affected my entire life.

I am angry. I am angry with my mother. I have been angry with her for a very long time. You see, for most of my life, I was the parent, and she was the child. She was a fragile dove that needed to be protected, and she leaned on me to help her, to fix her, to save her. But I was never very good at it. I am angry with her because she knew that I was ill equipped to give her what she needed, but she insisted upon it anyway. I am angry with her because she set me up for failure.

And you would not believe the guilt that my anger produces, the way that it spins through my stomach like so much fire. The guilt is relentless. I am haunted because I think and feel such awful things about the person I loved more than anyone in this world. I am guilty for admitting these things, for saying them out loud. Guilty for being a horrible, selfish, ungrateful daughter. Guilty for not wanting to grow up to be like my mother, for – in point of fact – being terrified of growing up to be like her. And, most of all, guilty because I let her down when she needed me the most. Guilty because she died on my watch.

Mom frosting cake

Guilt and anger are a potent enough cocktail, but when you mix in grief and regret it’s enough to knock you sideways. And it, that, is what has been keeping me stuck. I never wanted to be like my mother when she was alive, but now that she’s gone, I can’t seem to stop embodying her worst traits. The chronic anxiety, the depression, the self-isolation, the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism, the stubborn refusal to ask for help. My 2014 was a dark year awash with all of these things, and all of them – I can only assume – have been some sort of twisted, semi-conscious attempt on my part to keep her alive.

Please don’t misunderstand me: my mother was wonderful. She was kind and sweet and loving and generous. She was a much better person than I am. But she was always so unhappy. She wanted more from her life than what she got. She gave up on her first dream of becoming a professional tennis player because her parents didn’t support it and she wasn’t strong enough to stand up to them. She was never very happy as the office manager of my father’s law practice, but she was good at it and it gave her the flexibility to raise a young child (me). But I grew up, and dad closed the law firm, and there were still so many things that she wanted to do. She wanted to go back to school and pursue a master’s degree in psychology, she wanted to refine her (already impressive) culinary skills with additional classes, she wanted to volunteer for political campaigns and charitable organizations, she wanted to travel the world. More than anything, I think my mom wanted to feel that she had value. That she could make a contribution that was important, a contribution that other people would notice and appreciate. But she was paralyzed to take that first step. There was always tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. And as the years went by, I watched her put together a life built on deferred dreams, a life where she preferred to look back on the past with fond nostalgia, and a resignation that her best years were already behind her.

But here’s the thing about dreams. They don’t die quietly. Hers certainly didn’t. They tortured her with visions of a life un-lived and she stuffed them down and pushed them aside and put everyone else’s needs before her own and she drank to dull the sharp edges of pain and longing.

Mom Dad Wedding

As she got sicker, the signs that had always been there – that I’d been too deep in denial to acknowledge because, in spite of the very personal resentments I’d harbored toward her, she was still my mother, and therefore, perfect – grew stark and outlined in thick edges. She had always lived with a bit of a disconnect between fantasy and reality (don’t we all?), but that disconnect turned borderline delusional. Her already small frame whittled away to nothing, her eyes turned hollow and vacant, she stopped making sense. I implored her to get help and her only response was to invent a therapist she was ‘seeing’ to get me off her back. (I know this because, well, Google. That, and she was a terrible liar.)

In the end, dying was the most purposeful thing that she’d done in years. She’d made up her mind that life wasn’t worth living anymore. She shunned all help. She shunned me. And she drank until she didn’t hurt anymore. She drank until she disappeared. And when she died, I started disappearing, too.

So here I am, two years after her death, still sitting at the cross streets of anger and guilt, streets intersected by avenues of grief and regret. It’s a four way stop full of monsters, and until now, my foot has been placed firmly on the brake pedal. And so, for this New Year 2015, I made a pact with myself. I’m going to start doing all of the things my mother never did. I’m going to do them actively, defiantly, and on purpose. Things like asking for help. Things like telling my truth, even if it’s uncomfortable or ‘inappropriate.’ Things like pushing myself out of my comfort zone and signing up for big, scary adventures. Things like not putting off my life. I’m going to take her mistakes and self-sabotage and heartache and unfulfilled dreams and use them as a road map to do the opposite, at Every. Single. Turn. And I’ve already started: I’m in the process of shopping for the most amazing therapist ever, I’m nearly two weeks into an thirty-day alcohol and sugar-free detox during which I’m digging in and focusing on my creative work, and soon, I’ll be leaving on a solo trip to Europe. And there are other things too. Things I’m not quite ready to talk about, but that are quietly, actively at work beneath the surface of my life.

Rejecting my mother’s life and her choices in such a cold and calculated fashion makes me feel like a malicious, rebellious child. And maybe that’s what I am. But at this point, after all of the darkness, after all of the self-sabotage and regret, making this choice sort of feels like life or death.  Along the way, I hope that I can finally learn to let go of the anger, and forgive her. I hope that I can finally learn to let go of the guilt, and forgive myself.

It’s worth a shot.

Until next time, friends.



525 thoughts on “Things my mother never did.

  1. Sarah, your writing always moves me, but this one really touched a nervethat needed to be touched.And while the next two words look small and flat, they are vast and deep.Thank you. From: Extra Dry Martini To: Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 9:18 AM Subject: [New post] Things my mother never did. #yiv4505167373 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4505167373 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4505167373 a.yiv4505167373primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4505167373 a.yiv4505167373primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4505167373 a.yiv4505167373primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4505167373 a.yiv4505167373primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4505167373 | Extra Dry Martini posted: “I think I know what’s wrong with me. No, that’s not true. I know I know what’s wrong with me. Or at least, I know one of the things that’s wrong with me. The Big Thing.I have been putting off writing this, because the act of writing it, of putting it ” | |

    • Wow! I read this from beginning to end and have nothing but respect for you unleashing your truth. You’re courageous and even though your mother is not on earth, I know she’s proud of you. I know it took a lot to open up so profoundly where others wouldn’t dare. Believe it or not, you’re not alone. There are plenty of children disconnected from their parents for various reasons and it began in their childhood and carried over into their adulthood. The best thing you can do is exactly what you said. Go straight ahead and not look back. Enjoy your exploration of your mother’s dreams, and embrace the unexpected excitement you might feel during these new experiences; In those moments you’ll know your mother is alongside you in spirit.

  2. Your words always hit home with me. I have a lot of the same issues/feelings with my mother. You always make me think about those and realize I need to make some changes, as well. Thank you for that! It’s been many many years, but I miss the friendship we use to have!

  3. I commend you for writing so honestly and envy you too. I have some similar, some not, issues with my mother and I know I need to work through them with my writing. It just feels like such a betrayal to the woman who birthed me, raised me, did so much for me. I hope this post lifted some weight off you so you can take the next step down this path of really being honest with yourself and finding the peace you deserve.

  4. I had this exact line of thought this morning in the train and it moved me to tears. The anger and guilt. I recently heard a talk by the Dalai Lama where he talked about compassion and he said that every human being is no different from us in one way, that they want happiness and not pain. One way to bring a deep appreciation of this that I found effective is to try and experience what it is like to be this other person. Not developing a sense of pity or kindness through this empathy but just see what it is like to be this other person. What it is actually like. Their happiness, their frustrations, their constraints and more importantly, their guilt and anger. Deepening this awareness of the the other has helped to realize that everyone truly does their best. Or, another way to say it is that they had no other choice. Another way to state the same thing is that their guilt and anger was the same as ours. Guilt and anger are exactly the same no matter in which consciousness they manifest. And in this universality of affliction, we are all the same. This is what truly unites behind the facade of causality, intentions and injustices. The sum total of their lives including their intentions and actions is complete in itself and they could not possibly stand outside of themselves, just as we cannot. If we try to stand outside ourselves, well then there we are, the outside is now the inside because we are there. In this way, every person is locked to their karma, like my mother is and your mother was.

  5. And just like that, you released it. Your courage is astonishing, Sarah. You make me proud every day. It’s easy to feel like you’re an organic part of a parent– that what they think and feel is the same as what you think and feel, and vice versa. But what a revelation to realize that you’re your own person. It also opens a door to forgiving them and forgiving yourself.

  6. Dear Sarah,

    Your post stirred up some old memories, which I need to share with you.

    Ever since I quit drinking (in l985!), I tried to talk Bernie into the same mind-set. He was tempted but he didn’t want to give it up.

    In 1992, my ex-husband Carl and I went to New York City for a month for vacation. Annie tracked me there and confided that she felt desperately about Bernie’s drinking. She had been going to some AA meetings and tried to get him to go too. She told me at that time that she thought she was an alcoholic too. Unfortunately, Bernie wouldn’t hear of it. He didn’t want to give up drinking, so that was the end of it. I tried to talk to Bernie, to tell him how much happier I was but he just put on an angry act. It was too much for Annie, so that was the end of it.

    Unfortunately, by the time AA “took” for Bernie, it was too late. Part of it was pride, I guess. I know he went through 2 “cures” but that was the end of it.

    Both Uncle Jim and I had given up drinking long before that. Please feel free to call or write me about this (619-955-5554).



  7. This really touched me. I wish a few words like “You don’t have to feel bad for being angry or wanting to not repeat the same mistakes as your mother” could be enough but having gone through my own recent awakening about the relationship between my Mom and I, I know it’s not that simple. Beautifully written and I am excited for where this journey takes you. As a mother, I want the absolute best for my child and find myself pleading with my daughter to rise up higher than I have. I’m sure that is what your mother would want, so do not feel guilty for pursuing greater things than she had the capacity to. May she rest in peace.

  8. My mom stayed in a horrible marriage for me, and until today, I feel guilty about it. She deferred her dreams – actually, I don’t even know what they are – and now she lives alone while I try to raise my young family with a remarkable and loving husband and family man, all the while feeling guilty that I’m living a good life while she sacrificed hers for me… It’s a terrible burden to bear.

    Writing, and being vulnerable in our writing, is a great first step to healing, as I’ve learned when my relationship hit a rough patch. But as much as I’d like to process my relationship with her on my blog, I can’t – she reads my posts. I wish you the best, and I hope you will feel liberated from your own burden this year. Someone has to show me how… 🙂

  9. Dear Sarah. Be well. Travel safe. Know you are loved. Thank you for letting me peek into your journey. Melanie / Olympia WA

    • Dear Melanie,

      Thank you for your kind wishes. They are much appreciated. I hope you realize what a bright light you were during such a dark time for my family and I am very grateful for you. Wishing you all the best,


  10. Dear Sarah,
    Only a few years ago I learned the word “lagniappe”. Perhaps you already know it. Lagniappe is that little bit more which is given with a generous spirit, usually to a customer – like the 13th bagel in a baker’s dozen.

    “… and a little bit for the lagniappe” is the custom in New Orleans. The concept intrigues me beyond the obvious gifts of the butcher or the baker.

    If for even a moment I was your lagniappe, then it is nice of you to say so. More importantly, don’t forget to keep your heart open to the lagniappe as you begin anew. It is yours to receive.


  11. Congratulations on taking charge of your life…for taking risks and living! Anxiety never wants to be uncertain or uncomfortable. Living is frequently both, And wonderful and joyous. Have fun!

  12. I hardly ever come to Tumbler but for some reason I felt compelled to tonight. Your story was the first one I read and it touched me in such a significant way. I too just found a therapist to tackle my demons from childhood. It’s not easy, but it’s absolutely freeing once you do. Let go of those things that keep your foot squarly planted on the brakes. Stay strong and thank you for sharing your story.

  13. So much of this could have been me writing about my own troubled relationship with my mother, who also died 2 years ago. The wasted potential and unfulfilled dreams can eat away at you, but I’m trying to honour her memory by moving past the bad stuff and build on the good, which for some reason I could never do during her lifetime. Good luck on your journey and thanks for sharing.

  14. How brave you are! Not only for yourself but for all of us who wish we could say these things out loud. And we can and we should! I am not saying this lightly just because it sounds like a good thing to say, but this was truly so profoundly life changing for me. So thank you! So much. From the very bottom of my heart.

  15. Sharing your truth has liberated not only you but so many others. I heard someone say that you are starting to heal from something when you’re able to talk about it. Like you I can relate to holding things back and pushing it deep down inside because of the pain, agony, guilt, and anger of it all. As a new mother I’m always thinking about the dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship and how my experience as a daughter has impacted me as a woman, wife, mother, friend etc. Like you I too have some things that I need to address with my relationship with my mother and how it has held me back from growing matriculating through life. I’ve decided to share my truth this year also even though it’s quite embarrassing and uncomfortable but it’s much needed.This is a timely post thank you for sharing and continue to share your true as you move forward into 2015 and beyond.

  16. Very touching. This has given me a lot to think about in the way that i approach the pursuit of my own dreams (deferred or otherwise) and perhaps the way that i can relate to my mother’s ambitions too. Thank you.

  17. I smiled when i read your post Sarah, because i understand what you are going through. I had a horrible 2014 for different reasons & i really hoped to start 2015 a new & let go of all the negativity that the last year brought. But im finding it difficult as the same things are still going on so i am trying to focus all my love on my beautiful girls who have dealt with the brunt if my moods over the last year. Im trying to focus on myself & what i want. But it is so hard when that one bad thing in my life consumes me entirely. You drink to take the edges off the pain & so that you just dont feel. The pain, the anger, the frustration, the depression, the anxiety & everything else i relate too. I sometimes wish i could just jump into a big black hole & disappear into oblivion. But i must stay strong for my girls. Hopefully one day i can let go too…..

  18. Great writing. The fact of the matter is, we arent really in control of anything. Leave Life (And Death) in Gods hands and always do what you can to be a good person. Each encounter you have is a chance to share goodness! Cant wait to you see Europe! Over there is beautiful.

  19. Do it for joy because feom her mistake you Learned what not to do. Defiance is a waste of energy except for when you need to get out of the hole in the beginning and you’ve Already done that part.
    I hope you nail the whole bucket list.

  20. You arent cold or malicious for rejecting the depression that took your mom away. Consider yourself healthy to be able to get it out there and off your chest like u have. 💜 It’s all uphill from here.

  21. Wow. Amazing soul and honesty to your writing. I actually wrote a line down to inspire me: “…wanted to make a contribution, but she was paralyzed to take the first step.” It is a terrifying reality to be faced with because of a strangers words. We are generally creatures who want to see and even assist the happiness of others, but we must truly find our happiness before we can. Such a poetic statement that has me challenged and thinking of all the dreams I keep letting go because I am “paralyzed”. Thank you, wonderful positive moments on your adventure!

  22. What a powerful story! Parents oftentimes don’t realize the effect they have on their children – or even if they do realize it, do not have the strength or knowledge to change their behavior. Good for you for taking everything you have been through and purposefully changing course. You got this!

  23. What a great blog. I see myself in your mother. I have so many things I want to do with my life but I find myself putting them off. Thank you for now I’m making myself get up and do these things. I am A Christian and have some things to do for my God! I will now put my faith where my mouth is and get to work!

  24. Was thinking about your post on and off today. Really powerful. From my understanding of adolescent psychology, it’s healthy and vital for young people to be able to express anger/disappointment to their parents — especially their mothers. Sad mothers are really hard, because when you do express anything they don’t welcome, you can be made to feel very “bad” because you’ve “hurt” them. Glad you are finally free to express it. She may never have been able to hear it … but at least you have been able to put it into words and support yourself.

  25. Really glad to hear you are getting support with this and doing all those beneficial but hard to do things like stopping drinking. I think your post showed a high level of insight and that might really help you to move forward 🙂

  26. Wow, what a great post! I can relate to this so very much, it was like you put into words what I have been struggling with for a very long time. Please know you are not alone! I know now that I am not!

  27. I was having a browse on the FreshlyPressed and yours was the first post I clicked on…I think it was the Universe giving me a nudge. Thank you for your brave post. It’s not an easy topic to think about let alone write about and put ‘out there’ for others to read. All the very best for 2015

  28. Beautiful! Lots of similarities in terms of what I experienced with my own mother who passed away 5 years ago… we had truly wonderful mothers!

  29. I vote extending your sobriety for as long as you keep feeling good! It can be extremely hard to get past the first month, which is why having a 30 day end date can stop you from really hitting your stride and not having alcohol be a burden or thought anymore 🙂

  30. I really appreciated this post, it touched a nerve for me too. I too am “a horrible, selfish, ungrateful daughter” and have a mother whom I both detest and love in equal measures. It took me all of my adult life to learn that I am not to blame for her actions and that I can neither help her nor live in her shadow. My circumstances are different but I very much related to your tale. I wish you well and hope you find a way to truly know that it is not your fault. It will free your soul and make you a much happier person x

  31. Wow, I can so relate! I made the same promise to myself to be better than my mother- and to not live in fear! I am about to divorce and see life as a wonderful challenge that awaits- You go girl and keep us posted!! I will be following your blog and am glad I ran across this post. You sound like a very strong woman!!

  32. Your post shows true strength and courage. I was moved from beginning to end and even identified with many parts. I am glad I randomly came across this under Freshly Pressed. I wish you the best and I look forward to reading more from you.

  33. The lesson to draw from this, People- Never hesitate to follow your dreams. There is nothing more refreshing and cheerful than achieving your dreams…

    And if it doesn’t work out- Keep trying…

    If it still doesn’t work out and you’re getting older- Turn to other avenues but still bare in mind your original dream…

    Life is too short.. Make it as flamboyant as possible…



  34. Hi,
    I am new to blogging and this is the first blog I have read and all I can say is I am moved and speechless! Its inspired me to think differently and positively. Thank you very much! Keep sharing and inspiring.

  35. Reblogged this on InGe, Inc. and commented:
    Wow. Holy crap that’s some heavy good stuff right there! Thanks for sharing and so many people will see their own experience within yours. Just knowing we don’t struggle alone is a sliver of peace. A very important sliver.

  36. Your mother’s journey was simply to activate yours…She did what she did in order for you to filter out what you need to clear from your own path in order to stay on course to fulfilling your real life…So Journey on 😊

  37. Hello, this is the first time I’ve ever read your blog and I was truck by th empower of your words and the honesty by which you shared your reality. I wish I could offer something unique in response, but many of your readers have already expressed the awe, respect, sympathy, empathy, and support that this so deserves. I will say this as it is something I am discovering… write, write and then write some more. Expressing my thoughts and emotions through the written word is such a personal journey and for me, offers more therapeutic counseling than I could have ever imagined. Godspeed on your journey and congratulations for the steps you have already taken.

  38. Taking your own life in your own two hands and doing things in life that you decide to do, depicts how strong and determined you are. Bravo! I also think that your mom always knew how strong you have always been! Gluck !

  39. I’m so sorry for you and your mother. Thank you for writing this, it is so true how we hate the ones we love the most. Beautiful post and beautiful photos too! All the best on your ‘new life.’

  40. Guilty feelings have a way of showing up where they don’t belong. Whatever happened during your mother’s lifetime, it certainly seems as if you have been nothing if not loving, supportive and empathetic. Perfect? No, you were never perfect. None of us gets that luxury. But those feelings of guilt don’t seem to legitimately belong to you. I hope you can give those up first, and soon. Best of luck to you!

  41. There’s something cathartic about naming your truth, breathing life into the very thing that chips away at the fullness of living; it becomes more tangible, inviting opportunities to challenge your choices and claim greater ownership of your story. May your words mark a brave beginning to this new chapter of fearless possibility.

  42. I don’t know you or your mother, but this was very moving and there are elements that i think most adult “children” can identify with. I’d like to think your mother would be proud of you for pursuing the things that she herself could not find the strength to pursue.

  43. Hi, I just happened to come across your blog and I couldn’t help but reach out to you. You’re right when you say that guilt and anger are dangerous and even deadly when put together. I know this because I’ve been there too. You’ve done yourself some good by accepting it, because acceptance is always the hardest. Congrats my friend, hope you find the peace you deserve.

  44. Your post moved me to tears. Your courage is just brilliant. I can still feel the anger in every word you wrote, but behind is a huge love for your mother.

    Hope your trip go well and have amazing time along the way, because things like that don’t happen very often 🙂

  45. dear Sarah
    how beautifully you write and with such clarity when it is all obviously very painful, I recognize and identify with much of what you say, wishing you strength and happiness in your own journey 🙂 Liz

  46. Hmmm I didn’t read all of it because it got too emotional for me. Feeling resentment and guilt is probably necessary right now. I hope it will provide you with a springboard to fulfill some of your dreams. I am sure you will. But I hope that one day you will let go of both feelings. That you will develop a deep love and understanding for your mother without repeating her mistakes.
    I know that feeling resentment for my anxious father certainly was one reason that led me to lead a very adventurous life until my 40’s at least. Great experience! But one day overwhelming life circumstances crashed on me creating both anxiety and depression. Today 2,5 years later I fear that my kids will feel resentment towards me, which would certainly be understandable and necessary, but hurtful.
    Well I can only tell you that depression and anxiety are states that tend to recreate themselves. Holes maybe easy to fall into but difficult to climb out of. Although I keep on climbing and have promised myself to always keep on doing that until I get all the way up again. I say this hoping it will contribute to you understanding your mum, as I now start to understand my father.
    Anyway, wish you luck and don’t feel guilty. Warm embrace.

  47. I don’t know but you have inspired me to write about my past experience with my mother. Seeing it in black and white that concept alone is so frightening but you opening up and letting people know your story helps others face their own. so thank you

  48. Beautifully, honest post. Very moving as I, like so many others, have similar issues of guilt, anger and devaluation entrenched in my relationship with my Mom. Good luck on your journey, try not to let that anger rule you.

  49. Wow – thank you – your letter comes at a perfect time to remind me that giving up on a broken relationship is good despite the fact that it took me 26 years to get the courage to do so.

    And me too – i am going on a joirney of discovery – this one will take me to Mexico for a course called Transforming Yesterdays Strategies which is about the strategies we develop throughout our life in relationship to people of our sex and those of the opposite sex. And 2015 for me is about blowing up my sandbox / seems like we are going on similar journeys – of course we are all on that journey whether we admit it or not.

    As i have heard it say “Dont say that i met the soul walking upon my path, for the soul walks upon all paths.

    Walk – and discover – i do have a recommendation of a course that you can do – if you are interested you can get in touch.



  50. You’re living your life freely. And for that, your mum would be proud of you. Doing what she never dared. It’s so hard but try to shake off the guilt. You’re an honest inspiration. Here’s to your 2015.

  51. This was beautifully written. I think there’s an expectation that parents are supposed to be perfect, and if they aren’t, it’s our fault, just like it’s the fault of a parent if a child turns out “wrong.” Of course neither is true, but knowing that isn’t always cathartic. I hope you’re writing was though.

  52. I am pondering how two little girls in the same family…and then throw in a third our age who was always with us, live thru some tough times. All three have different memories of the same events…and all self-medicate differently.

    Moms and daughters have a unique way of loving, hurting, even hating each other.

    Hang tough on your next venture forth. Keep us posted on how it is going. Blessings.

  53. Wow. Very well put, with integrity as a human yet humbled in the sense of your awareness for your feelings towards your mother. Keep those dreams alive and no matter what, don’t ever stop documenting your journey. Good luck!

  54. Wow this was incredibly touching. How brave of you to not only share this, but to have made the decision to seek help. I have been holding back my own difficult post about parent-related guilt for fear of oversharing and making it a “real thing”. This has totally inspired me to go through with it 🙂 Good luck on your journey to forgiveness!

  55. I get this. I’ve been dealing with these feelings when it comes to my mother. We have never seen eye to eye and our relationship was rocky to non existent, and came to a nasty point with my dad’s passing in 2011. She crumbled and i was left to pick up the pieces of our shattered lives and try and rebuild. She grieved in such a way that I could not for a long time. I’m dealing with the guilt and terrible thoughts and the regret. Even the grief still towards my father and sometimes the anger for him dying and leaving me with her. I feel like a horrible person for thinking it, am I the only one who has felt some of these things? How do you forgive yourself?

  56. This is the very first piece of writing I came across when I signed up for wordpress tonight. I signed up with the intention of trying to work through some issues I have been having with learning to parent three small kids, managing PPD and anxiety, and removing alcohol from my toolbox of coping mechanisms. In reading this you offered me a glimpse of who I might become if I hadn’t made the choice to make better choices: which is exactly what I needed. Thank you.

  57. Im new to blogging and i came across your blog… I must say that your story has brought a tear to my eyes… Inspiring read… I hope that i can write and inspire others too… Stay strong x

  58. Dear Sarah –

    I must remember that this is your story, not mine. And, yet, I write to thank you for taking me down my own memory lane. I was born in Burbank, an original Valley Girl, moved to Ventura County at age 8, and returned to LA as a young adult where I lived and drove all over West LA, Culver City, Melrose, Santa Monica, the Getty Museum, Topanga Canyon, Mulholland Drive, Sepulveda Boulevard, the 5, the 405, the 101, Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills, the Greek, Hollywood Bowl, Griffith Park, Palisades Park, sunshine and palm trees, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles Art Museum, Venice Beach, Malibu Beach, Pico and La Cienega my last LA neighborhood where I could not shop from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday but ate the best bagels in the world every Sunday. As a child, I thought the Capitol Records Building was where our country stored all important records (birth, marriage, death) and worried about what we would do when the building became full and we had run out of space… while I also wondered why those important records weren’t stored in the real capitol – Washington DC. I have always been nostalgic for what LA was, although even I didn’t know it when it really was… I loved Los Angeles, even when it was past time for me to leave. As you leave LA, it will not leave you. And, I promise – your heart will hold only the good memories. That I know for sure. Thank you, again, for letting me peek into your journey.


    • Wow! Melanie, I didn’t realize you had such strong ties to Los Angeles. What wonderful memories! I’m not leaving yet – just going on a brief hiatus. Though in truth as much as I love Southern California, the Pacific Northwest has always held my heart and I’ll probably end up back there sooner than later. 🙂

  59. Wow. I went through many of these same things after my mother passed away. I can feel the rumble within you as I read this. Follow that. Best wishes to you on this journey.

  60. Thankyou, your post was insightful and really struck a chord with me, I actually cried, so thanks, you keep it real and help people like me to know they aren’t alone.

  61. Brautiful yet emotional write up.The greatest passion is anger and not love,anger that what ought to be is not.Yes you are angry and rightly so,but rejoice for your departed mother has helped you to find you.Dont forget to live

  62. I lost my mother three years ago. I identify how you feel. There is a strong bond between a mother and daughter. We only have one mother and everyone grieves differently. I was angry too, yet I felt more guilty. I didn’t do enough. I wasn’t enough. I should have done more. Let me explain. My father was an active alcoholic until I was 17. He drank everyday. My mother raised 5 children. I started to drink at 12 and at 17 i slashed my wrists. My father sobered up. I continued to drink. My mother became more nervous. My brother learned be had leukemia. He died. My mother suffered a lot. I got sober at 27. I say this so you see some of the history. Fast forward, my mother is 78 and living with my younger brother who is an active drug addict. She becomes very sick. She perferates her colon. She has not one but two colostomy bags. She has gets a rare acquired hemophilia. She then has a heart attack. It goes from bad to worse. I help as much as I can. Yet I felt guilt because u could have done more. I made mistakes. We all do. Yet… I was in therapy and I was sober in a 12 step program. I realized I must live in the now. Stay in the present. There are four useless emotions: guilt and blame over the past, and worry and projection over the future. I am still in treatment. Find a therapist fast. I started writing a memoir about my mother. She did her best. Writing helps. She made mistakes. She enabled my brother to do drugs because she was fearful of being alone. At the end, he bullied her. He abused her. I called adult protective services twice. I couldn’t help her in many days because he threatened me. He took her out of a rehab against medical advice. It was very sad. Yet she was strong and had faith. We persevered. My faith and my spiritually helped me immensely. I say all this so your see that you are not alone. Mothers make mistakes and they hurt their children. I will not make the mistakes my mom made. I will let my children grow and become independent. My brother still suffers. Stay strong. Keep writing. Good luck. Let is know how you do! P.S. Go to Florence Italy it’s the most beautiful city in the world with the friendliest people. I lived there before my i came back to US when my dad got sick. Good luck and God bless.

      • Thank you. Your story has inspired in many ways. It was very touching. It propelled me to finish the memoir of my mother at all costs. Thank you for responding, I did not know whether this posted, it didn’t show because you have 145 replies!

      • First, let me say I responded late at night from my iphone so pardon the typos. Second, as you see from your avalanche of responces, you’ve touched a chord in many people. When you replied, that I’ve been through much heartache, my first thought was,”But my mother suffered so much more.” Very often parents and/or significant others can take hostages and often begin unhealthy codependent relationships. My mother and my younger brother(the active drug addict) were codependent and very enmeshed. I now see my codependency with my mother, albeit to a lesser degree. Lastly, your post has prompted me to write more here on WordPress about my anger towards her. I am healing and accepting the things I cannot change, and learning from her mistakes and my mistakes. Often some defeats are more triumphant than victories. God bless you. Last, last thing… When you go to Europe, go to Florence. E’ bellissima!

  63. Don’t feel guilty. Live the life you are meant to live. Don’t look back , only look forward. Forward to whatever you choose your life to be. It is your and yours only. Something symbolic you could do. Go to your favorite spot. Take some balloons. Release them into the sky along with your guilt, to never come back to you. Let God guide you through, through all those negative emotions and to the other side where you will find all the forgivrness you will ever need. Let it all go and forgive yourself. Mark a new page, a new beginning and embrace your new life. Now go and enjoy.😍😇

  64. Wow, your writing is so moving, and I was totally engrossed by your story. There is a new film out with Reese Witherspoon called ‘Wild’ which I haven’t seen yet, but your writing reminds me of the plot line. Sometimes through life we follow the same routines, seeing the same landscapes and patterns, and being governed by situations we created for ourselves, which can make us unhappy and lead to methods of psychological escape like drugs and alcohol. I think the mind constantly yearns new things and when it is held back it can be very negative to us. I think by travelling Europe you would be doing the most amazing thing, and your mum would be so happy for you. I wish you a lovely trip 🙂

  65. Thank you for sharing your story. Your words gave me such a visual. The important thing is you have began to reveal the secrets. Once its out freedom will begin to take place. Bitterness, resentment, guilt and shame have to go. Continue to build on those great qualities your mom had, continue to build on what you have learned, continue to be the best You that you can be. As like your mom everyone wants to be valued. So just in case I can help with that you must know YOU have value and purpose. I have to say there is an awesome plan for your life! So live life, love hard, teach others what you know and find the peace and new joy that you truly deserve. There is no greater joy. I dont know your beliefs but as a Christian I know God loves you and He loved your mom. There is no condemnation in Him. So be free to live your life like never before and in the memory of your mom may your new life be just what the doctor ordered. Be blessed. From TT

  66. Well done. You wrote from the heart and it was very powerful. I am rooting for you. You are doing well- no alcohol best move any single person can make in my humble opinion. Follow creative passions- why not!!?? Therapy- brilliant. Learning to understand behaviour patterns that can hinder us in daily living, peace and happiness can only be a good thing for pir lives and that of our children. I was sad to read your mother passed away. Dont stop shopping for someone, it will be pivotal, I am sure. Mothers are not perfect and though it would be great if all asked for help and ooked after themselves better they won’t. Self esteem is huge in this. Very honest. Very inspring. Really feel honoured you shared something so personal.

  67. Hi, I’m Suryeon. I found this writing inadvertently,
    I want to speak about something too, here. About my mother and I -our relationship. You mentioned that you were the parent and your mother was child. I know, you must have felt unhappy for the thing that you had to take that role, which you never can be good at.
    In my relationship with my mother- I am her avatar, or her puppet. she wants me to live a life something she didn’t do it in her past, she doesn’t want to do it herself, she feels that she’s too late. she suggests those things (that she wants to do) to me, because she believes that those are good. Surely good for her, but maybe not good for me. She doesn’t understand that something good for her maybe not good for me. And I even understand why my mother always makes suggestion for me, and not for herself. It’s like a family tradition. My grandmother, who scarified many thing for her children, devoted her life to make her children’s live better than her own. For my mother, all in her life, she knows only one parenting way, one that she received from her mother. I can’t blame her and neither my grandmother. They did their best, surely, what they believe the best. I think your mother is a self-focused person. I don’t think that it’s bad. Those people are very easy to be friends with. I rather want my mother to be like her. I tell my mom and grandma, very often to live their own lives, but the message was never taken. I know, the relationship with parents are always not easy, mostly because they are parents. They are the people who are inviolable to discuss the problem about. And people around you probably didn’t let you to talk your parents. That was the same thing for me. Imagine that your mom, and my mom are not parents. And just people around us. In fact, in life we could have chance to meet such people, couldn’t we? And if they are around us, we would feel very annoyed, naturally. We just can’t use the word “annoying” to mothers, but we were annoyed with them. I really think, you should be sorry only for the lost! Lost of an enthusiastic woman who tired to live her life best as she could! But you will meet again, those enthusiastic women as you live your life. Have no guilt! And DO NOT think that you didn’t offer her your best!
    I wish you to overcome your feelings!

  68. First off, thank you for sharing. Too say I understand would in many ways be disrespectful because no one knows the pain, guilt and several other emotions that go along with situations such as these when it concerns YOUR life. But I understand from my perspective after going through similar situations that it’s not fair to be forced into situations that make you grow up faster than you should. Thanks again for sharing and it is reassuring to know that we are not alone in your experiences.

  69. You are her accomplishment in life, and your success will be hers. Perhaps her passing was her way of granting you permission to be free. Thank you for sharing yourself – I wish you every happiness in your new adventure, and every success in your endeavor.

  70. I just have to say amazing. You are amazing. You are staring *your* truth in the face and dealing with your life, your dreams, your past and your feelings in a direct and unabashed way. If 3 out of 10 people could live their life that way, instead of 1 or 2 out of 10, our world would be so much better. Would be filled with authentic, sturdy, fulfilled people who from a place of compassion and empathy give help, love and encouragement to others without being sucked into the drama of those around them … wow it would be a very different place. I applaud you and can’t wait to see your journey unfold from here!!

  71. I like your motivation. I personally understand your motivation to be different. I’ve learned also that parents can only do but so much for their children. It sounds like your mother dedicated herself to her family. This is a very beautiful thing. My mother had the same ailments, but instead I wanted to live life differently as well. I admire your efforts. Keep up the great work. There is nothing as wonderful as having your own individuality and uniqueness.

  72. Everyone, thank you so much. I am overwhelmed – in a good way – by all of your comments and support. I want to respond to every single person but it would probably take days to do so. Little by little, I’ve been giving myself permission to write more honestly about my family. Not to condemn them but simply to learn how to set myself free from the past and give myself permission to live a life that brings me joy. Both of my parents were flawed – aren’t we all? – but they loved me and I know they would want me to be happy. As I learn to let go of guilt and anger and sorrow and regret, I hope to chronicle a journey here that’s about moving through trauma into joy. I am humbled and grateful and wish you peace on your respective journeys.


  73. I wish my mother was more willing to change because she is a beautiful woman but I have to accept the fact that she is her and I cannot change her because I am NOT her creator. I can change me and your post inspired me to do that. Now I see there’s a difference.

  74. Very well said, Inspiring. I am going to take some of this advice and at 50, I’m going to start to live again. Going to make my plans to do the things I never got to do and might even go back to school. My story is simular to this one and I’m searching to find my answer (this is how I’ve come across this blog, on a life search.) Thank you for your story.

  75. Dear Sarah, this post made me nearly cry. I guess a lot of people can relate to your experiences, including me. Sounds like you have made the steps in writing a new chapter in your life. Good luck with these new ventures and should you make it to Dublin (Ireland) let me know and I show you around.

  76. Thank you, there are so many areas of your post that I relate to wholeheartedly. You seem to have a beautiful spirit and I commend you 100 % for stepping out and doing this for you. Anger and guilt are two things that can be very debilitating to all areas in your life. Just reading about your personal experiences have pushed me a little further in the direction of addressing my own “Things my mother never did” issues. Thank you and may you be blessed throughout your process.

  77. This really resonated with me as i find myself going down the same path as your mother where my dreams have become or seem as though they are becoming mere dreams and everyone else’s dreams and desires seem more important than mine, i just dont know anymore

  78. Reblogged this on Lena The Good and commented:
    This author is not alone! We all dread becoming our parents, and every human (or almost everyone) dies wishing we had done more with our lives. I had to share this because I relate to it, I think my readers will too, and it speaks to my purpose in starting my own blog

  79. I could/can relate to your story from beginning to end except it kinda applies to both my parents. 2014 was definitely a dark year and I am wishing you all the courage, all the stamina and most of all the joy and happiness to realize your present and future dreams and potential.

  80. Reblogged this on Kate Maeve and commented:
    This blog from Extra Dry Martini is truly touching. It grips at every part of your body, mind, and heart. We all have a story that w are keeping to ourselves in some way, one that we are afraid to tell, afraid of what others will think. We wait for a time to share, but sometimes that never comes. What is important, though, is that we act on what that story does for us and our lives. Use it as a spark for change in our own lives. I know that I share a lot with this wonderful women and I hope that I can take some of her words and use them towards my life.

  81. I understand your guilt and anger but moreso I hope you know there are worse ways to think. My dad has a horrible vice that I can’t forgive him for yet. Somedays I don’t even want him to get help because in that process I know there will be a time where everyone sits down, places there feelings out there and forgives each other. I’m not ready for that but I hope one day I can be like you and productively move passed all of hurt.

  82. I knew, how hard you try to move on, i could feel how guilt and anger that burn you…i could feel, the pain of your mom lost her dream… But now, i’m sure that your mom so happy, because she know, that her lovely daughter love her so much… I love the way you move on…wake up from the guilt and angger…
    You know, like your mom, my life was unhappy… Betrayed by my ex husband, lossing my only one daughter, feel like a failure as a child to my parent…. I only wish, that someday i will find my happiness. One thing that i believe in….that the God never leave me…I trust it…
    Good luck for u dear…. I wish u get what you want in 2015.

  83. You are brave and stronger than you know. To share something like this must have been hard. But im sure you felt lighter after you wrote it and i wish you the very best in all you do!

  84. You rock!! Traveling on your own doesn’t mean you’re by yourself. You won’t believe how many solo travelers and world explorers there are. You will love it. Breathe in, breathe out and enjoy the moment 🙂

  85. Absolutely themost moving story I’veread in a long long time. I too had to rebuild, start over and let my anger with my Mom go. I was 57 when I took the journey you are on now. That was 8 years ago, the most amazing 8 years of my life. God Bless you onyou journey. And when there’s no wind, just row harder.

    Good luck

  86. Wow, you have survived a lot! Proud of you for sharing in depth. Expressing those feelings is good for you! Be safe and continue to move forward and through them.

  87. It is amazing how writing your thoughts helps with the healing. You expressed yourself so well. It was very moving. So many of us can relate in one way or another. I understand struggling with anger. I write out my feelings. Sometimes I share, sometimes I just write open letters to myself. I hooe you continue on your quest, bkessings.

  88. I think you’re very brave and I commend you for the choices you are now going to embark. Forgiving is a powerful thing it releases you from a bondage and guilt goes along with it. I pray to God that you find the strength in him to move forward. There is a beautiful life out there waiting for you. God Bless!

  89. While reading your blog I realize that we had similarity about our feelings to our mother.I also had so much pain in my heart since I was a child because of my mom The difference is i had a chance to make ask her all my QUESTIONS because she’s still alive For a long years and present I refuses to tell or talk to her all the questions in my mind..We never get close to each other we never Hang out like other mom and daughter bonding we never tell stories about whAt is going on with me everyday of my life at school or with friends….
    I will write a blog soon about this because you Inspired me not be afraid of what you feel …
    Thank you ..

  90. Yes I believe you will and you are so brave to write this I harbores
    Skmilar feelings for
    Mothet shenis still here I jave made peace with her and myself I told her I forgive her for everything and I have forgiven myself as well for all I put her through as she did me andnits made me the happily married strong joyful peaceful person I am today and God Plays a very important part in my life Ive learned to trust in him so always remember he is always there for you ! Thank you for shatong this I love I saw my mother and I in jere everywhere except my parents divorced when I was 12 so goodnluck Ill pray for you forgive yourself amd her write her a letter you deserve a great life ! You are worthy!

  91. I also read this whole post from beginning to end. It is very teliing. It is also very interesting that many women have those complex relationships with either their mother or their daughter. It’s like reaching for the other side of yourself sideways. It’s like reaching desperately wanting to feel every scintilla of their existence, their choices, their regrets, their sadness, their joy– reaching for it and screwing it up as you reach. Somehow, not quite fitting into the crevices of this thing– this looming, love, evaporating, stinging, enveloping your life. I must say that you have come far. I know that you wish that you had come to this place when she was alive. Now, the melancholy perfumes your air, but it is therapuetic and at least you have come to it. The ability to write provides a cathartic experience that will wash you into a new light of understanding. By the way, forgiveness is the most powerful experience you will have. But its a journey.

  92. So strong, so alive! Inspirational ❤ a good read on your way to Europe – Clarissa Pinkola Estes "Women that run with wolves".

  93. Wow loved reading this! I sometimes worry about my own Mother too. She is wonderful, but sometimes very bitter. She too wishes she had done things, she never admits it, but I can always tell. I just hope you keep doing what makes you happy, that is the most important thing. However, I also hope one day your guilt leaves you permanently, its a horrible thing. Don’t let it drain the life out of you. Best wishes x

  94. So well written. I hope writing this helped you break free a little more. I watched my husband go through this, but while his mom was still alive. I had to tell him it was ok to walk away for a while if that’s what would allow him to heal. It took time and there were bumps and bruises along the way, but he is doing so much better now. I pray you are able to break free, heal and find peace with all the conflicting thoughts and feelings.

  95. Pingback: This week I’ve been reading #16 | Cornflakegirl's Musings

  96. I really enjoyed reading your journey and the journey of your mom when she was with us. You must learn to forgive yourself first before you can forgive others. The greatest thing that can heal you from the guilt, the anger, and the darkness; is knowing Jesus Christ. I don’t know if you believe in a higher power, but Jesus can give you that peace that you are searching for, the guilty emotions of not wanting to be like your mom when you grew up, the guilty emotions of her passing on your watch. I truly understand what you are going through in your life and commend you for having the desire in your heart to share with others. Don’t ever let anger consume you, that’s not the will of God, but the enemy. This is touching others’ lives and for that God is blessing you and healing you whether you know, or understand it or not. I am a person of faith and that will never change; no matter what I am conflicted with, I will always praise God for the good and bad because without the test we go through in life we wouldn’t have a testimony to share with other people, like you are sharing with me and others now. If you had not gone through the mess you wouldn’t have a message for us today. God allowed you to go through these things to make you stronger and for that you are. Don’t ever put off what you can do today for tomorrow, live your life to the fullest, and with no regrets. If you are not a person of faith seek out some type of faith and meditated on it; see where it leads you. I am so proud of you for taking the first step in the thirty-day alcohol and sugar free detox, I will pray for you, keeping you and your family in my prayers. Do all you that you set out to do seek God first and you will NOT fail, he will not let you. I have really enjoyed your story it has inspired me even more to let go of secrets that can destroy the mind “IF” you let it. Thanks

    Fibromyalgia Hasn’t & Will Not Beat Me!!!!!

  97. Don’t feel guilt, feel Free’d from the guilt, been there, not going back on the guilt train, it only leads to destruction if not controlled. The heart and soul, they will take us where we need to be if allowed the chance to do so. So live, live with respect to the good parts of your mother’s life, all the rest no one can change. But in your life, all the good that you do or can do, she will know, and she will know of your love for her at the same time. Just be you, and do everything with the true goodness of life in mind.

  98. I think I am hearing you say that you are going to risk, and practice, being vulnerable. What a difficult task that is. I had no idea until I came across the work of Brene Brown how much I’ve lived in fear of the raw risk and exposure of that. And how liberating it can be.

    I applaud this post and your plans. You will I hope find, as I did on my life’s journey, that in fact you were all along doing the best you could and that in fact you did a good job of that.

    Safe travels.

  99. Your story is so affecting. It made me cry. I wish you all the best for your 2015 you really seem to deserve it. May your strength not leave you anymore!
    You are certainly amazing and nothing should let you feel something else. I also find, it’s a great way to honor your mom, if you are now ready to change your life into a self-determined. Take everthing step by step. Hope you achieve all of your goals.
    Also hope you’ll like it here in europe.
    Come to visit berlin.
    Best wishes,

  100. You have broken this dam of negativity with your courage. The flow that took all of your being to hold back will now propel you to reap the amazing benefits of your journeys. Enjoy the ride. There are places in this piece that show your fine gifts at perspective and phrasing. I a m better for your willingness to share and I appreciate your efforts. -b

  101. I see a very loving little girl .. Your mother was so lucky to have you as daughter. Mums and daughters …its always a sad story ..I see that you try too hard and keep in mind that you are not alone …

  102. Poignant, vulnerable, and brave. Reading your post, I cannot help but think that there are so many of us out here who can recall the difficulties we have had/are having with our own mothers and are so trying to break out of our own guilt and anger. Your chief quality is one of HOPE. Hope for the adventure that awaits you.

  103. Thank you for sharing your words. I connected with many of your sentiments. Best wishes to you during this new year. May it be filled with opportunities and more facing of fears. I’m there with you! Trek on lady!

  104. Just read your post after waking up at 1:28am hoping it was at least 4am, but it wasn’t. Tried to go back to sleep but when that didn’t work I made 3 cups of coffee and found your post on Freshly Pressed. I love Synchronicity! As I am adjusting to some major life changes – I am searching for a way to make sense of the end of a 17 year relationship that was quite flawed, but it was my life. And now things are very different. I am making my way, day by day, and embracing my new path, as well as I can. Your honesty in this post, and the raw emotions you shared are major steps to becoming your new, best self! I am clearing out the ineffective ways of thinking and being and replacing them with mindfulness, kindness, empathy and working on taking responsibility for creating the life I want to live. Sometimes I feel like I am making progress and yet there are more times it seems easier to stay invisible and not take the risks I need to take, to get what I really want in my new life. Baby steps are better than no steps – this is my Mantra! Thank you for sharing such difficult, personal accomplishments.

  105. I had to stop reading nit because your post is not great but because it is great and resonates…. 2014 seems to have been a dark year for many- 2015 eill see a brighter more positive light. Thank you for sharing, be well!

  106. Reblogged this on Luna's Universe and commented:
    2014 – a dark year for many. Perhaps we can take comfort in knowing we are not alone to have lived the dark and faced our shadow selves and all those thi gs inside of us that we dared not allow ourselves to feel and that have eventually given us not choice but to feel them. The hardest thi g we have to do , I think, is accept our fear and anger, disappointment and frustration towards ourselves and towards our parents. Parents are supposed to parent the child and set them up for success but what happens when this is lacking?

  107. I too have mother issues, but my wife intervened and said “move on” It was tough to do. My mother gave me a choice my wife or her. I picked my wife. Today I do not know if she is dead or alive. Does it give me a problem? I have moved on. have I?

  108. I have a complicated relationship with my mother. Take heart in that you are not alone. Finding a good therapist is an amazing first step to healing. I did this almost five years and it was the best decision I’ve made toward reclaiming my life. All the best to you on your journey. 💐

  109. I hope 2015 is a brighter year for you. And it’s fine, you know. If you don’t want to become like your mother. You are a mature lady who can understand the flaws of your mother’s lifestyle. Infact i respect you, for going ahead and challenging yourself. Writing this post must have difficult. But don’t worry. I am sure there is something great in store for you. This is just lesson in a novel.
    Devika 🙂

  110. I am littary out of words. I don’t think you have any idea how brave you are writing this. I envy your ability to find words for your thoughts, my mental illness might have something to do with it, but I could actually feel the sorrow, anger, guilt and frustration in my own body, and your mixed feelings about your mother. As I already said, you are very, very brave, and I wish you good luck and easier going days in this new year!

  111. Wow. You’re incredibly brave to post all of this personal inner turmoil about you and your mother for all to read. With that said, I think that writing is a way of helping people to heal. I wish you all the best of luck to heal in 2015. Do whatever you feel you need to do in order to heel old wounds. And that’s awesome that you’ll be going to Europe alone. Take it all in and get rid of whatever doesn’t serve you. Good luck.

  112. Wow. What powerful words, what a moving recount of how things were for you growing up. By living the life that your mom wanted to, you’re honoring her spirit. For whatever reason, she wasn’t strong enough to pursue her dreams. But you are. Let go of all the weight that you’ve been carrying on your shoulders and allow yourself to fly. And, while you’re in Europe, if you find yourself near Altea, a small village in Spain along the Mediterranean, please look me up!

  113. Hi, I loved your post. There is one thing about our mothers, they do leave us lessons on how to do or not do, life. My mom bought a computer after her first time in hospice to treat herself (I learned from that), and my mom drank (I quit). She died 4 years ago and now I try to be the person I want to be even though my mom was never super supportive. I miss her, and it took awhile for me to say that. Thanks for your post.

  114. Thank you for opening up to us to share your heavy burden you have been carrying for a very long time. This old burden of being a mother to your mother rings very true for me too since I did the same for my mother; she wasn’t an alcoholic but emotionally dependent on me and an abuser, which through the webs of family and loyalty gave me a warped sense that I wasn’t the child.

    Though you may be starting out taking a forceful position of doing the opposite of what she would have done, even though this isn’t your balanced center of where you will eventually be able to go, it is providing you with the push and the energy you need to get onto your healing path!

    Becoming sober is great! You’re already seeing beyond that and lining up therapy and support in your healing and learning about yourself and your soul path!

    As women we internalize so many messages and we lose ourselves and our dreams, so it’s so important to give ourselves permission to follow our joy, for if we don’t we wither and die a little each day inside. The imposed burden of guilt is so crushing and as women we feel that in order to be perceived as a good or nice person we need to live within those narrow confines.

    The burden of guilt… Ladies, we need to all look into the mirror and say gently to ourselves: “I have suffered enough. I don’t need to carry this burden anymore.” Then we need to keep gently reminding ourselves to keep laying it down!

    Guilt is a prison which keeps us on a short chain. By giving ourselves permission to follow our soul’s path and to follow our joy and our dreams we find the inner peace and balance!

    This is within each of us, and we each need to do the soul work to get to where we need to be! The world is changing… It’s now okay to be a whole person and be strong! No longer is it “selfish” to become your best self, but a necessity! Everyone benefits when a person gives themselves permission to follow their joy and everyone suffers when they can’t or won’t.

    Kudos to you and to everyone who takes these steps to move forward! Peace! 😃

    Enjoy your trip, and may you find all you seek!

  115. This was such a daring courageous story to tell.I’m grateful that you shared your story and strength. Family dynamics are often a complicated mess once the people who can give answers are gone. I love how you are honoring the positive parts of your mom’s legacy. I think it’s so important.

  116. Thank you for sharing something so hard for you to share. It is as beautifully written as it is painfully felt. I think your mother would be proud that you are living the life she wished she could have had. I think as parents, you always wish your children to have better lives than you had. She would want happiness for you, and choosing to go after it doesn’t make you a rebelious child. It makes you brave. It makes you strong enough to learn from her mistakes. And I have a theory. I may be wrong, but I’ve learned in my life that I have a really hard time forgiving others until I’ve forgiven myself. You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can do anything for anyone else. Your feelings don’t make you weak, or unforgivable. They make you human. Forgive yourself. I wish you all the best.

  117. Wow, very moving post. I felt like I was reading about my own life. I feel some of those same things (panic and anxiety). I fight them. Hope you are too. Take Care of you!

  118. Thank you for sharing such an amazing post. Although we are strangers, I feel a certain kinship with you. I fear my life would have been the same had my Mom lived past my second birthday. To this day I struggle with remnants of her disorder that killed her and am finally cleansing my life and paving a future that will hopefully hold less hurt, less darkness and less fear. You are in my thoughts, wherever you may be. I wish you much love in your 2015 journey.

  119. Reblogged this on chayseth and commented:
    It’s such a powerful, slightly terrifying feeling when you realize ” The Idol” if you life can be you worst enemy. Our parents, our mothers are hell bent over giving us, “The Child” – ” The Life” . They become the over compensating parent/ teacher. The ones who teaches us how to cheat, still and be greedy. They lead us to believe in order to defeat unhappiness we must over compensate.

    That’s not life nor love, just loathe, constant questioning and fear

  120. This was really touching, no doubt it came from the heart. I’m sure you’ll be able to forgive yourself, you’ve given the first step which is admitting the truth about the way you really felt. Blessings 🙂

  121. Hi Sarah, you are brave. Not only for writing this but for your inner journey and the confrontation with your feelings. Keep on going like this since it is the only way for connecting with life itself. I relate to your storie as well as many of your responders do. During reading this piece of your heart and mind I thought how nice it would to meet you and just talk for a while. Than I read about your trip to Europe. If you visit Utrecht and you fancy a cup of coffee… Kind regards, Brian

  122. Damn. Just… damn.

    You don’t sound like a malicious, rebellious child to me- you sound like an adult who has clarity on the nature of dreams deferred. You sound like you have the most glorious fire under your ass. I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing this.

  123. In africa we rarely share our thoughts about our parents. I however find this so bold and so courageous and so beautiful. I pray you find healing.

  124. you write very well-telling the perspectives of your mom (of her deferred dreams) and of yours (as a daughter watching on). It serves as a timely reminder that what I do for myself, for my own fulfillment and joy is as crucial in my role as a mom as providing for my child’s needs. I hope that as you take action, your feelings of guilt and anger will turn into purpose and happiness.

  125. This article is a great message to all women who feel they need to put everybody else’s needs above there own. Life is too short to live with regrets. Continue with the progress you’re making on yourself.

  126. This really resonates w/ me. Thank you for sharing! I think most of us are haunted or tormented by things, people, choices! I think E. Roosevelt said to do one thing that scares you everyday. We can’t change the lives of those we’ve lost (& let’s face it – time really doesn’t heal all wounds – but we can take their legacy within us & relentlessly chase down our dreams! Keep fighting & thanks for the inspiration!!

  127. Reblogged this on Angry Women Anonymous and commented:
    This blog was so moving, and it really touched the heart of what I truly believe many women struggle with in our life journeys–issues with our mothers. This was real, it was raw, and it was inspiring. We all stand to learn and grow from facing our realities and being brutally honest with ourselves and the people we love. . . even the people we miss. Beautifully done. Absolutely beautiful.

  128. I could’ve written this word for word. This was MY mother. I had a ton of anger and resentment when she was living. In her death, I have regret. Regret for so many things. Primarily that I didn’t understand her, I simply always tried to fix her. She wasn’t ever broken, she was lost in the life that was created on her behalf – not by her. A life that was never how she pictured it. I wish I had been more understanding, but I just didn’t know any better. I believed them when they told me she was broken.

    11 years following her death I’ve found peace and I realize I loved her the best way I knew how and in my heart I know she knows that, too.

    I hope you find your peace.

  129. Your words echo my experience with my mother, except she was a tee-totaler. It goes to show you that alcoholism is symptom, not a reason for unhappiness. My mother was extremely unhappy about her life and herself. She, like your mother, did not possess the courage or the strength to follow her dreams. Like you, I was her crutch, and like you, I felt the incredible burden in my life. I love her with all my heart, but now that she has passed on, I am free to live my own life as I see fit. She, too is free of sorrow and regret–finally happy. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.

  130. Nobody grows up wanting to be their mother, at least you had one, be happy and live your life. There is so little time to wallow in sadness and regret.

  131. thank you for sharing, first, I am sorry for your loss. I have a similar relationship with my mother and i am still struggling with resentment towards her, trying to accept that she is not how a mother should be and that she is trying her best. she has taught me what NOT to do. and i guess watching her life as an example really drives the message home. good luck and I hope you feel better soon. xx

  132. As I’m starting the journey towards motherhood, I can’t help but relate to this. Thank you. I’m lucky enough to still have my mom on this earth, and you reminded me how lucky I am to have her. She is far from perfect, but I don’t know how I would make it through the next nine months without her.

  133. Don’t feel guilty, it is a vicious cycle and you have the power to shift your mindset. I’m happy you’re going to Europe. If you want any tips re European travel don’t hesitate to let me know. I go back and forth between the U.S. and Europe (from Chicago originally). I live in Germany now…just relocated again!

  134. I think it’s a great hing to try to accomplish the things your mother never did because then you would have something to be proud of. I know it’s hard but you have to truly forgive her so that you can do great things without feeling guilty

  135. Hi,

    Very touching and i loved the way you wrote it .Nice to know that you could learn to let go.I think this is the best thing one can do when had so much grief inside.i salute you for taking up the things your mother wanted and deciding to live the life to the fullest which is not as easy as it seems to be.All the very best for future. 🙂

  136. Good for you! I have a mother who always finds the negative before the positive, I vow never to be that person and have realized in life the only one who can make you happy is YOURSELF. So no more guilt or anger…. Live your life, be free!😀

  137. This was almost shocking to read. Not because I do not understand, but that it sounds so much like what I am going through. My mother took her life in March 2014 because of the guilt and loneliness and disconnect from reality she bared. For months I locked myself up in my home, just too numb to interact with anyone. I feel like I am finally beginning to come out of my depression. Slowly but surely. I guess I really just wanted to thank you for sharing your secrets. I felt so alone, like no one would ever understand how I was battling inside myself. Thank you.

    • Dear ngoodiereport,

      Thank you for writing me. I am so sorry for your loss and sorry to hear about the pain you’ve been experiencing. Before I started writing this blog, I felt like I was alone too, and that nobody could possibly understand what I was going through. Once I started writing, I realized that I was not alone. And neither are you. There are so many of us dealing with these private traumas but we’re afraid to shine a light on them because they’re painful, because what will other people think of us, because we don’t know how to begin to open ourselves up and talk about them. With just a little bit of internet research, you will find that there are message boards, support groups, low cost counseling centers and other resources out there for you. There are (sadly) lots of people who can relate to what you’re going through, and connecting with them – whether online, or in person, perhaps through a group therapy setting – will help them as much as it will help you. The numbness and shock and desire to cut yourself off from the outside world you experienced after your mother died is normal, so don’t beat yourself up for that. But now it’s time to start healing. You deserve to feel better and you deserve to be happy. You don’t have to go through this alone anymore.

      Wishing you well,

  138. wow it takes guts to admit it to oneself and it takes even more guts to tell others. I hope you achieve everything you wish for and I hope 2015 is a really good year for you.

  139. Well written! My father was an alcoholic all my life. Life scared him and alcohol helped him dream and shun life away. I made the decision long ago to make his life worth something. His sadness and pain would not be worthless, but will make my life better. I dont drink, i have travelled the world, i have a career and in an amazing relationship because of him. A lesson learnt.

  140. What I got from your amazing post is do the things that will make you a better happier person. Don’t be afraid to take the next step to fulfilling your dreams and plans for a better you. Blame placed upon yourself because of the actions of others will and does hold you back. Your mother didn’t make her dreams a reality, but you need not follow in those footsteps. Take what you’ve learned from your mothers life and make yours a better one. She will be with you as you take your next step in the journey of your life. She will be proud of the person you will become. Knowing that the guilt and anger you feel towards her will disappear. You will embrace your life because of her. Because of her your taking steps to ensure you don’t follow the dark path to self destruction. I applaud you for looking deep into yourself and pulling out the inner you that you know has always been there

  141. This was an amazing post. Admitting the truth can be so difficult and yet so therapeutic.I am so motivated and inspired by reading this, as I can relate to putting on the brakes in life. Thank you for sharing part of yourself to all of us!

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  143. I know a mother would want the best for their child. It’s your decision to do what you will with your life, how you cope will be different from others, however in the end, I hope you live your own life, live out your own dreams, start anew with the past acknowledged for what it was and a determination for living life. You, yourself, needs to define what living is. Then do it. Define it the next year, and then do it again. You will be the one who has to deal with yourself for the rest of your life, so why not make peace with that person!

    Great post. Dare to live adventurously!

  144. Thank you for sharing your emotions so elegantly. I applaud your difficult admissions and your will to heal. I understand your struggle more than I should. 2014 was a similar, what I call a cleansing for me. Your words are still ringing with me. I have found healing in admission of my feelings, my fears. Guilt & anger has only caused deeper despair in my life. The last five years I’ve lost so much because of it. I broke & didn’t want or expect to live this long. I’m finally walking taller and am on my way to healing the hurt I’ve caused. Fortunately, my mother is still alive & I apologize often for my poor behavior. I tell her daily how much I love & appreciate her. We discuss why she is who she is & why I am the way I am. She never gave up on me when everyone emser in my life did. She is the reason I’m still alive and now thriving. Thank you for sharing because I know I’m not alone.

  145. Wow! I can relate to this post in so many ways! I have an estranged relationship with my mother. She has chosen her drinking over me and my family. I have tried to deal with the hurt, disappointment and loss of a mother that I should have had. It is a daily battle. I applaud you for putting this out there! There are so many people that can relate and can empathize with the pain, guilt, depression, anxiety that these situations leave us with. Thank you for writing this as it really touched my heart.

  146. I’m speechless with these words written by a stranger who I relate to oh so well. I am living my life trying to be nothing like my mother in my 40’s. She has also done very little with her time here. Now battling stage 2 breast cancer she is using that as an excuse to give up on the fight which is minor compared to the diagnosis of others. Trying to be nothing like her still leaves me angry because I’ve been neglected and I want to shake sense into her. Watching the process of her giving up is annoying because she has so much to live for but does not see it. I think the anger that me and my son are not enough to remain encouraged is an insult. I love her but….. Thanks for sharing.

  147. Good on you for beeing so brave to not copy your moms life snd choose your own. It’s not easy to get all the energy to do so. Congratulations and all the best for 2015!

  148. I think you just voiced a dark truth that plagues much of our generation. It was a truth I recognized, just reading the title. You are a Warrior of the Light, and I thank you for your courage. It is a beacon for others, helping us to find our own.

  149. This really touched me. My mother is still alive and though our relationship and past is not like your own, I too have this guilt and anger over her. I feel this constant need to please her and feel paralyzed to express my true feelings sometimes. I admire your courage of sharing this heartfelt post. Best of luck to you in 2015. I, too, am trying to make this is a much more positive year. I just wrote my most personal blog ever this morning on anxiety and how I plan to heal myself without medicine. Feel free to give it a read

  150. This really resonated with me. Your mother and mine sound like they could have been twins. I wish you peace on your journey, and understand your mixed emotions. Therapy is a wonderful thing, and it does get better. Thank you for sharing such an honest and vulnerable essay.

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  152. I commend you on having the courage to write this. Not many people would be able to express and subsequently free their truth in this way. A raw yet beautiful piece that has touched many of us.

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  154. You’re wonderful! Writing about it is the greatest therapy of all, I think. It forces our truth onto our mirror (the page). A 12 step program is also a great benefit, this is advice from a 10 year veteran. They’ll also encourage you to write! May you be blessed beyond measure this 2015 and all the years to come! Just remember – “And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, It is because I find some person, place, thing, situation – Some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.” AA Big Book, page 417 – Namastè!

  155. I relate with having this kind of mothering relationship as a young girl toward my own mother [and younger brother and sister]. It’s an insidious trick, in that you can only fail at being a good mother when you’re too young and aren’t having positive mothering traits modeled for you. I get feeling guilty, I hope you can let go.. sounds like you’re taking great strides. Good luck, truly. =)

  156. I love this post. Love it. It’s a post you write thinking “I’m gunna get judged for hating on my family”, but the power to writes it means you do it outta love, so who cares if there is judgement. I wrote a similar piece last year, mainly through frustration and having to voice my thoughts, but not directly at my mother, for fear of it sending her in to another relapse!
    Excellent post 👏

  157. Wow, I relate to that 4 way intersection so well…and hope I can eventually make that same pact with myself that you have. Thank you for inspiring me, and by the number of posts above, clearly so many others…even if some of us can’t act on it yet, it’s a welcome idea to know there’s another possibility. xo

  158. This resonated SO much. Thank you for your courage, vulnerability and honesty. I don’t know if you’ve ever read any of Bethany Webster’s posts, I highly recommend. Through her, I realized that I was not crazy or alone in feeling this same anger and guilt towards my mother. I learned about the ‘mother wound’ through her. It was like opening the door to a horrifying truth I had stuffed inside all my life, a truth that manifested in many dysfunctional ways because I was always too unaware or afraid to face it. I commend you for taking this bold step, for loving yourself enough to live life on your own terms, and for allowing your pain to transform you, not define you. The world needs more real. So thank you for sharing and inspiring.

  159. Thank you for sharing so honestly. I struggle with some of the same thoughts you have raised. Every Mother’s Day I wonder when someone will create a card I could give to my mother. It’s so complex and my mother has been a dangerous person for me. Yet she gave me life. When do I stop trying to repay that debt? When will my life matter to me in the way others seem to take for granted? Not meant as whining, meant as I need to move past the mostly negative things my mother believes about me and be me with no constraints.

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  161. I have just seen your post and just want to wish you patience and consistency in following your path. What you’re going through sounds familiar to me, and a good therapist was of great help. Another thing that helped me was joinin an ACA group. Good luck!

  162. Hi, you can never guess how coincidental it is! I just posted my writing about my struggles with my family of origin, then I found yours, although you had posted it much earlier.
    I wrote it down in Chinese:
    ” there is always a sense of rebellion deep in our heart, which we (consciously or unconsciously) wish to be different
    from our parents.

    There is always a self-created map in our heart, the direction we wish to take is the opposite of where our family of origin is heading, but the unspoken rules and regulations (to travel in our new direction) are always the one we learned in the first 18 years of our life .
    ….. ”

  163. Bless u and myself, and everyone who is struggling. May we eventually have a bigger heart to accept and stay with the ugly sides of our parents, and continue to love them as our parents, , unconditionally.

  164. Wow! I don’t even know how I came across your story, but my sisters and I can relate. I’m so proud of you for growing and changing your life for the better. Live in the moment. I hope you read this because I know the best book you’ll ever read to get you through this: The Snowball Effect, How To Build Positive Momentum In Your Life By Kristin Barton Cuthreill she’s amazing!

  165. Thank you for your incredible honesty. My mother recently attempted suicide and your words made me realize my own feelings. Your insight into your emotions and willingness to accept help is what will make you a successful mother!

  166. You’re making good choices: to live. Make sure you’re not doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. If your choice to live more and do things is because of her (in spite of her) it may never feel like it was your choice.

    Make it more about turning your own life upside down and less about proving something to your deceased mother. (God bless her soul)

  167. That raised goose bumps all over me because it resonated. I only want to wish that she is resting in peace now, and hopefully with no anxiety or desperation. She was very beautiful according to the pictures. I wish her a great after life (if there is one) and wish you a great one now.

  168. I held my breath til the end of your post. It was as if someone had taken a can opener to my head, delved in with a big spoon, and splattered the contents onto the page. My empathy for you is huge. I get it. I felt it. And like you, I’m doing something about it. Good luck, stay strong. Surround yourself with Radiators, not Drains.

  169. I am amazed at how brave you are to put this all into writing. I pray that you’ll be in a much better place in 2015 and that anger and guilt will have less space in your heart. – from one stranger to another but seems to be going through something similar.

  170. Strong words, we have this idea of how a parent should be and the truth is that we sometimes forget they are human beings like us, trying to figure things out. Your words are powerful and I’m sure you will get through it, after all realizing all that is the first step to turn all of it around. Much respect for you, one of the hardest things to do in life is be honest with ourselves. GIGI

    • 14 years back, I was in exactly the same situation – having lost my father to alcohol and depression borne of wasted potential….my father who was more a child than the loving rock support that I needed….and guess I started with the same defiance and you know what….I have ended up exactly where he was – alone, depressed…wasting my potential. Guilt and hatred. lost and relieved…both at the same time on having lost him. I did opposite of all that he did coz I wanted to avoid his fate….and still subconsciously ended up choosing the same mistakes but for different reasons.

      My lesson – I am now trying to let go of my father. I have to start my own life, which is completely my own….

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  172. Does it ever get better? Will I also stop hurting someday? You’re the bravest person I’ve ever seen, for posting this. Everyone says it gets better, and I’m trying to cover it up and pretend it already is, but it’s only working on the outside. Inside, it’s hell for me. Does it ever get better?

    • Oh sweetheart, yes it does. I swear it does. Our emotions and our lives are like weather. No matter how bad the storm, eventually the sun does come back out. But it takes time. And it does not get better by you covering it up or pretending to be OK when you’re not. The only way to heal is to allow yourself to feel all the horrible things you’re feeling – the sorrow, the anger, the grief, the heartbreak. You have to allow it in. There’s a great article in this month’s (January) issue of Oprah magazine by Martha Beck that talks about how pretending to be happy when we’re not is actually really damaging and we have to allow our pain in in order to dissolve it. It’s one of the best things I’ve read in a long time.

      Some days the best you can do is just get through the day, and that is OK. You are doing the best you can. Remind yourself of that, you are doing the best you can. I also really like Cheryl Strayed’s new book “Brave Enough.” I’ve written one of my favorites below. Sending you love.

      “You let time pass. That’s the cure. You survive the days. You float like a rabid ghost through the weeks. You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months. And then one day you find yourself alone on a bench in the sun and you close your eyes and lean your head back and you realize you’re okay.”

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  175. Thank you for writing this. I love your honesty, and I can relate. My mother was mentally ill and she abused alcohol and prescription drugs during my entire childhood. Anyway, thank you for writing this article. It was beautiful, and you help people like me who are sometimes afraid to speak up and just tell the truth. Thanks. You’re wonderful and I wish you all the best in the life you are embracing fully.

  176. Your mother passed, took a good, educated look at her life, and then began to devote herself to helping your heal your wings. You are now healing your wings, you beautiful thing.

  177. This is very touching. I’m very proud of you for being courageous enough to express your thought. I just want to say that your a wonderful person who had gone through so much pressure, you don’t have to be too hard on yourself. Many people would have handled your situation worse, but you were able to put up a fight and remain strong. 🙂
    I hope you all the best.

  178. I have been in your shoes. My mother died 13 years ago and it has taken me years to recover from the complicated feelings of grief, guilt, relief and loss. Don’t be hard on yourself. Forgiveness is so hard in these circumstances but when it comes you have a sense of contentedness.

  179. A difficult post to write. Hopefully it gave you some release. Guilt rears its ugly head in so many areas of life. Be proud of yourself for seeking out help and for living your life to the fullest. Your Mother would be proud to know you’re doing just that. God Bless you!

  180. I’m writing this with my mother in the other room, singing a sweet song into her iPhone. I’m writing this, at risk of defaming my own mother, because what you’ve written was just so powerful. My mom’s wonderful—great, stupid, and wonderful all at once—and I love her to death, but I can’t help but feel the same way you do—or did. Thank you for writing this piece! I really hope you do get to that point where you can forgive yourself.

  181. I am very familiar with this family tragedy and the heartache that alcoholism causes in the drinker and the other members of the family. I am so thankful that I was led into the doors of AA and stayed! In trying to do the opposite of my parents, I became just like them because the outcome was only the flip-side of the same coin: fear, emotional immaturity, and a compulsion to self-destruct via alcohol. I now understand that alcoholism is a true disease and once the obsessive is given life, it never goes away. I have only to look at those who did the same things that I did and still continued to drink to know that there can be no other explanation. A child who grows up in the midst of constant discrepancies is a child who is confused, ignored, and has a closet full of unmet needs with no way to verbalize the hurt. Be gentle, be kind, most of all to yourself, and find a 12-Step support group such as Al-anon; there you will find the love and support to re-parent yourself while learning to help others do the same. I am so thankful for my life today and the experiences that I have been allowed to overcome for they have helped to build many bridges to my fellow humans who, just like me, lost their way and are searching for answers.

  182. The fact that people are still commenting on this piece of exceptional writing is a testament to how it resonates with so many of us. I too have struggled all my life with a dysfunctional mother who is now living deep in dementia. I was 60 years old before I was able to dump the bag of rocks I had been carrying. I hope, during this past year, you have been able to realize that in no way should you feel guilty for the choices your mother made…we are only responsible for our own – and those can be daunting enough. Sending healing thoughts your way this holiday…Donna

  183. Wow, that moved me very deeply. A few years ago my mom lost her mom. My grandma hadnt been the best mom she was battling depression my mom’s whole childhood and there was long lived resentment. But my mom took care of her mom in those last few month while she wasted away from Cancer. After she died my mom shrugged greatly. Her pain and grief of losing not only her mom but the last family member from her childhood since her dad and brother had died years before, it manifested in a physical way and for month she would pass out. Luckily she over came it but she struggled. Thanks for sharing your own struggle.

  184. OMG! You’ve written the post I’ve been considering writing. This could be describing my mother, except thankfully I still have her. But I also have anger, and guilt, and resentment. She lives her life in that past and things that could have been and I feel her pulling me back too. I just lost my husband, not even 6 months ago, and now I find it tough to cater to her whims and plans. I’m struggling to find my own feet, and her emotional needs are not helping me. I’ve been feeling miserable because I think I’ve failed her. Yet, unable to do anything about it. I know she suffers from anxiety and has symptoms of depression as well. But here in India going to a counsellor is taboo. She won’t even consider it. So we are stuck at a dead end. And I know it’s just going downhill. Thanks for writing this. And I hope your plans to take your life in hand turn out well. Wishing you love and luck!

  185. Wow so powerful!!! I love how you tell the story, I hope 2015 has been everything you asked for it to be. Best of luck for 2016

  186. Thank you so much for sharing!! When i was a child i was brought up by my grandparents since i was born and came home from the hospital!! My father is an alcoholic!! i had visits with him growing up and even lived with him for a while as an adult!! I share the same emotions u do when it comes to anger and guilt!! Like ur mother leaned on you father leaned on me ..he has four other children besides me but i am the only one that was speaking to him…I use to beg him to go to AA and i even went and sat down in a few meetings jus so i would no wat to say without making him angry..but that never worked he through out the pamphlets that i was given..i use to blame myself all the time asking myself Why cant i fix him Why cant he jus for one second stop but nothing i did or say would change his mind..and to this day he is still drinkin from sun up to sun down..and after ..Thank you for sharing your story !! You should b proud of who you are because it takes a lot of courage to write down some of what you feel and allow others to read it ….hope u get to take that trip and 2016 brings u lots of luck!!

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  188. This post hit me like a ton of bricks. I am in that crossroad like your mother was many years ago, whether to defer or how much to defer my dreams, wishes, goals to care for my children and finding the right balance between being totally selfish and being a good mother. My children and 4 and 2, I am a work-at-home parent but the work isn’t the work I’d rather be doing. I have SO MANY things I want to do and I am wondering now with great anxiety whether I will ever do them or I will only dreamed that I did them and it’s causing me significant stress and depression. I’ve recently realized this and decided to do a reset button and decided that if I take time for myself, my children will not be severely impacted. This post was a huge wake up call for me. Thank you so much!

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  191. Wow, call me inspired. I personally live a life that is boring and lacking adventure. Reading this made me realize that I need to put myself out there more. How am I going to have adventures when I don’t get out of bed most days? You have truly arisen my soul, thanks.

  192. Love this.. I grew up in a house of drinkers and found myself turning that way to solve my problems. It took a monumental effort to decide that I wasn’t going to replicate that lifestyle. Your post is inspirational and will help to push me to continue carving out a different life for me. Good luck in all your adventures to come! x

  193. “I have been putting off writing this, because the act of writing it, of putting it on paper, makes it a real thing. A real thing I can’t run away from, a real thing I’ve got to face.” So very true.

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  195. I stumbled upon this. Such powerful words. You would of course naturally default to her coping mechanisms because she passed on what she was and who she was and what she knew. You’re correct in doing something different. It’s always good to shake things up every once in a while. Shonda Rhimes recently did something like that and it was life changing for her. It is an opportunity to explore and see who you really are not who you were told you were. You are on the right road to revelation, discovery and healing. Journal about it and how many other people are having or have had experiences similar to your own. There’s healing in all of this~ God Bless

  196. Those love-hate feelings for your mom…The person who is meaningful to you will never disappear. Willingly or not, you’ll live in her world. You see her pain, feel her heart, learn her wishful thoughts… You see through her eyes and get things done for her… Not fulfilling her hollow dreams, you’re just making a relief, for yourself and the person who lived, lives and will live in your deepest heart…

  197. Dear Sarah,
    This really spoke to me. I’ve never been able to forgive my mom for the things she’s done in my childhood and it has prevented me from opening up to a relationship with her to this day. I just started a blog. I want to use it as an outlet to express how I feel and hopefully share my experiences and realizations with those who can relate. I am hoping something I say will touch someone or resonate with them. It would mean a lot to me if you followed my blog, or at least checked it out. I just posted something tonight and I don’t know how great it is in a literary sense, but it helped me tackle some of my inner turmoil. Any advice you could give me on what I wrote (and will write in the future) would be greatly appreciated. You seem wise, and like maybe you would understand me in some way.
    All the best to you, your discoveries and your happiness.

    Clare (I use the cliche, obnoxious user name because I would like to keep myself anonymous) 🙂

  198. Wow. I never thought I would come in contact who felt the same way as I did about my Mom. My mom died 14 years ago. What I called a broken life. Addicted to drugs, trying to take care of others which she lost who she was. Now I’m her only child. I used to tell her to leave her no good for nothing husband. (not my father). I always saw her potential but I guess she never saw what I saw. During the time of her death, right before she died, she cancelled her insurance. That left no money to bury her. So guess who had to come up with $11,000.00? Yes. Me. U talking mad, hurt, dissapointed. I just couldn’t understand why she would do such a thing. I realized that my Mom couldn’t really teach me how to be the best that I could. Because she didnt know herself. So I’m doing the best I can

    • Oh my. I am so sorry for all you’ve been through. You sound like an incredibly strong person and I’m sure you are doing the best you can. It’s so sad when our parents can’t show up for us and be parents and we’re forced to parent ourselves. The heartbreaking truth is that sometimes the best gift they give us is showing us what we don’t want to be. You have been through so much and I hope you are kind to yourself. Wishing you peace in the New Year.

      • Its been along road but I have learned along the way. I’ve learned that I’m not my mother and that I have choices. I’ve learned to prepare my children. . I’ve purchased life insurance. I want to make sure that they never have to go through paying for my burial out of their pockets. I’m just blessed to be able to make those decisions.

  199. So much power in knowing I am/we are not alone. You wrote what I still do not have the strength nor courage to write….even though we’ve walked in the same shoes. Heartbreak so beautifully written. Thank you

  200. Pingback: Things My Mother Never Did | motivateandmoveblog

  201. Amen. I could relate so much on so many of these things. I used to focus on what my mom didn’t teach me because I always felt like the adult and like I was jipped. Well she has taught me how not to live my life and that’s even more empowering.

  202. Thanks for your honesty. I am the mother of two and I am a real alcoholic, that has been sober for 4 years. My son and I are working on repairing our relationship, because he took the brunt of my drunken sloppy behavior. My daughter was born into the worst years of my alcoholism and has taken on the roll of caretaker. I worry and will continue to worry about my kids emotional and mental health. I know the only thing that I can do for them, is to give them a better version of me and show them that if their life gets out of control they has a place to go. For me that place was a 12 step program. I completely respect your truth and I truly hope you find some kind of peace with your past and your Mom.
    Mother and daughter relationships are crazy fucked up jokes from God to test how strong women are.

    • Wow. Thank you so much for writing me. I applaud your honesty and your courage. Congratulations to you on four years of sobriety. None of us are perfect and it sounds like you are doing everything you can to get healthy and repair your relationship with your children and I think that’s wonderful. Good for you. Keep going. As for me, I wrote this post almost a year ago and it was very insightful to take another look at it when WordPress republished it. The words still ring true, but I’m definitely in a better place. Less angry, less hollowed out. We’re all impatient to “feel better,” but healing can’t be rushed. It’s a process that comes about in its own time. I wish you and your family well. Happy New Year!

  203. Thank you for posting this a year ago and it has been sheer luck that I found this in the Discovery list of the blog today. I hope that you had a great year last 2015. I really appreciate this post and the emotions I felt while reading this. Have a great 2016!

  204. Oh!! You!! Its heart wrenching! Its poignant!! Its inspiring!! The way in which you have earnestly and emotionally expressed the tempest of angst and guilt, and hope, has moved me…
    I can imagine what you’ve gone through. What your mother has gone through, bit I cannot feel, or share it. That burden is only for you…
    But, now, I respect you, I hope you.
    Your mother was proud of you then, she will be proud now and in the future.

  205. I was moved to tears reading the story as my mother was depressed, angry, conflicted, distant and vindictive about her dysfunctional family as a child though her father owned a grocery store and shoe store in a small town in South Texas. She worked some odd jobs here and there plus her source of income was playing bingo and she would walk away with at least $350 bucks once a week or so. My mother did love me as her son but when she was upset, coldhearted and moody, I watched my mouth,back,neck and ass as she had a real fiery and brutal temper with an acerbic demeanor to match. My mother died when I was 15 years old (I was in 4th period during my 9th grade year and the principal called me into the hospital) and it crushed me emotionally. There’s never a day I don’t think about my mother and I miss her deeply.

  206. Pingback: Story of renewed hope, and letting go. – Revive yoga fit body&Mind

  207. This is wonderful. I can’t claim to empathise fully with your situation, given that my mom is still alive and actively pursuing her dream of being a Chinese Medical practitioner (after a 6-year hiatus during which she gave birth to and subsequently took care of me). But she does talk about certain regrets sometimes, some of which I reckon she could have avoided had she not had me at such a young age.

    I think my guilt stems partly from this awareness.

    Anyhow, thank you for writing this! I enjoyed reading it. If you have time, do check out my post on taking my mom for granted: Otherwise, I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  208. Pingback: White Butterflies. | Extra Dry Martini

  209. What you are doing is honoring who your mother wanted to be…what she wanted for you; a full life that brings you a sense of fulfillment. If there is an afterlife, she is rejoicing. As an imperfect Mom who had an imperfect Mom I commend you for your courage. Bless you!

  210. Reblogged this on LaneyD's Thoughts of the Day and commented:
    Hey, Extra Dry Martini. I’d love to meet you for one some day. Your bravery in telling this story publicly brings tears to my eyes. It is so hard to take the most influential woman in our lives off the pedestal, especially after she dies, and truly recognize her weaknesses and the impact her weaknesses have had on us. Hope life is going well for you with the unfortunate knowledge you now carry.

  211. When our parent make us the adult it ties us in knots which are held in place with a deadly combination of anger and grief and fear and guilt. Sounds like you are untangling some of those knots as you come to terms with the overwhelming emotions your mother left you to cope with. How wonderful for you both for I believe we do this work for those who have gone before as well as those who come after. Great writing too. Thank you.

  212. Pingback: THE FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF | Bottle + Heels

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