How To Tell If Your Mom Doesn’t Love You?

Maternal love is something we all need and deserve. There is no handbook determining how a child should be to be loved by their mother, however, there is no handbook for how to be a mother either. Some women aren’t meant to be mothers, but does that justify them being cold to their kin? Who is to blame in this situation? And is that blame going to sort things out? Not really. Let’s check – How To Tell If Your Mom Doesn’t Love You?

How To Tell If Your Mom Doesn't Love You?

Dr. Richard A Friedman, MD and professor at Weill Cornell Medical College (Psychology) writes in the New York Times – “the assumption that parents are predisposed to love their children unconditionally and protect them from harm is not universal.”

If you have been having doubts about your mother’s affections, then maybe there is some truth to this notion. It is not all in your head. We have tried to provide you with a comprehensive article entailing how and where to start when it comes to this dilemma. It may take a while, and you may have to encounter a few bad memories on the way, so it is better if you have a little time on your hand.

How to Determine That My Mother Does Not Love Me?

I suggest going back to your childhood. Think about it for a while. Try answering the following questions. Remember there are no right answers, these are just for you to gain some clarity.

  1. Was she physically affectionate? Did she hug you often? 
  2. Did she listen to you talk about your day when you came back from school? Did she show interest in your life?
  3. Were you provided with meals at regular times? Or were you told to fend off for yourself?
  4. Were you ever jealous of your friends because of how homely their lives looked? Did you feel an inexplicable longing when you visited them and saw their mothers act the way they did?
  5. Can you point out ways in which you were explicitly told you were loved by your mother?
  6. Did your parents have a good relationship? Were you often a scapegoat for their petty fights? Did they use you to get rid of their annoyance with each other?
  7. Did you often have to fend for yourself, be it about food or regarding your matters?
  8. Did you get overly attached to teachers in school and other maternal figures in your life and strived hard for their acceptance and validation?
  9. Were you always walking on eggshells around your mother because one day she would be gentle but you’d never know when she’d blow a fuse? You’d spend days trying to figure out what was wrong with you which made her feel that way?

Some Tell-Tale Signs That Your Mother Does Not Love You

I, Tonya

A mother who does not love her child harbors other feelings for them. It can stem from her being disappointed about her own life, and other factors. Instead of love, she may treat her child with resentment, ignorance, and even anger. Being unloving doesn’t mean there is a clear lack of positive reinforcement in your life, it also means negative emotions are shaping you up in your childhood. This inevitably affects your relationships and your perception way into adulthood. 

An unloving mother gives way to a toxic mother-child relationship. There is competition, hatred, and things are said which sting you forever. It is hard to break out of this because you only get a mother once, and you feel guilty trying to accuse her of things she has done because we live in a society that makes us value respecting elders more than valuing our self-worth. You keep running in circles and blaming yourself for how things are, even though it is not your fault.

Here are a few more signs which continue to appear even after you grow up. Sometimes they manifest into other things.

  1. She keeps making you feel guilty about trivial things. Did you miss dinner with her? Did you forget to call her one day? Maybe you weren’t even at fault and she has somehow dug an old tale and is not connecting it to the matter at hand.
  2. She has been vocal about how she would have had a better life if you were not born. This includes accusing you of ruining her life and always making you feel guilty about trying to just exist.
  3. She keeps reminiscing about when you were not there in her life. She was overly jealous of you when you were a teenager and had a life full of choices. She would guilt trip you about trying to go out with friends or having interests or wanting to try new things.
  4. She keeps comparing you to other children and keeps saying you are a terrible child even though you constantly try your best to make your relationship with her work. 
  5. She is dismissive of your feelings and life. She has never reacted appropriately and you are always left hoping for more. 
  6. You try to make her recollect a terrible thing she did when you were young and she draws a blank. She pretends it never happened and gaslights you into thinking you made it all up.
  7. You look at little children with their mothers in public and you feel a wistful longing for something you cannot place your finger on. Your mother gave you food, didn’t she? You had a home to go back to, no matter how dysfunctional. Shouldn’t you be grateful and move on? But how to move on? How to accept this absence and lack of love which can never be redeemed?
  8. You talk to other people and they share an anecdote about their childhood and internally you compare it with your own stories. You realize that your lives were vastly different and that yours was the bad one.  
  9. She does not show interest in your life even when you talk to her about it. She doesn’t care if you are struggling. You don’t have someone to talk to when you feel alone.
  10. She is mostly absent when it comes to big events in your life. Or she does not give you the reaction you were hoping for.
  11. She blames you for things that aren’t even your fault. You can feel the resentment in the way she addresses you. 
  12. She keeps guilt-tripping you about inconsequential things. Maybe you missed dinner with her or did not pick up her call. 
  13. She very easily forgets her duty as a mother but when needed, she gives up on her cold personality and makes you feel bad about not acting on your duties as a child. She is selfish and mean-spirited. 

Some other important things you should remember are –

  • Just because your mother did not overtly express her dislike for you, it does not mean you should make excuses for her. A good mother is not determined by how unbothered she is by you, lack of love and not being expressive about it is also a sign that she was callous. 
  • A good mother need not be self-sacrificing and give up on her dreams to raise her children. Society’s views that a mother has to give up all her roles to be a good mother have somewhat backfired and made women feel guilty about not performing motherhood the way they are supposed to. While this is a deeper problem for some other day, we should be aware of how it ties into this. A good mother can be her person and be loving and caring for her children, without feeling like she is giving up on anything fundamental. 
  • It is never a child’s fault that they are born. You do not have to feel like your birth was a mistake – you had no hand in it. You are not a product of your circumstances, nor are you responsible for how the adults in your life are coping with their issues.
  • Just because she did not physically abuse you, or said things outright doesn’t mean she is off the hook. A mentally absent mother is also an abusive one. Not being there to guide you and help you navigate this world in your vulnerable years will of course affect the way you act like a grown-up, and subsequently affect your relationship with your children, if you have any.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is a book that touches on the topic of how mothers permanently change something in their children. There’s a quote in it – When you are struggling hard to manage your own emotions, it becomes unbearable to have to witness other people’s, to have to try and manage theirs too. When this is put in a mother’s perspective it gets easier to sympathize with her and forgive her for whatever she did, but when it is seen from the lens of the aftereffects of a mother’s actions, it gets agonizingly lonely to imagine a child having to manage life on their own, long after they have grown out of childhood. 

It is understandable to think that your mother had the worse end of the stick and that you perhaps deserved the pain and shame she brought upon you. It is okay to feel sad, and jealous of other people who have a mother who checks on them and laughs with them. 

But how long will you keep beating yourself up for it? When you get rid of the responsibility you have as her extension and look at your situation from a detached perspective and try to find the source where you messed up, you will find that your only fault was to be born; which is not a fault, but a coincidence you were a victim of. 

If the answers are despondent, then there is indeed some truth to your thinking. There can be quite a few reasons why your mother was/is the way she is. An unhappy marriage, mental illness, her issues with her mother, low self-esteem, getting stuck in a life which is not like the one she wanted for herself – there is an abundance of reasons for why women turn out to be bad mothers. It is indeed a tricky situation, who is to be blamed? Patriarchy? A cycle of abuse and pain mothers keep inflicting upon the next generation back to back? Again, this is something that is not for this article, here we are not dealing with generalization but your specific issue. 

Hating your child does not stop there. It is a one-way road that is endless and the only person navigating this dynamic is the mother, because of the power she holds over her child. In the film Moonlight (directed by Barry Jenkins), Chiron struggles with an abusive mother who has issues that cloud her judgment. Years later he tries to reconcile with her when she is away in a care home, and it is a tough conversation, even for a guy like him. Such deep is the wound that she manifests herself in his nightmares.

Some of these may appear trivial on paper but are sure signs that your mother isn’t too fond of you. What should you do now? Here’s are a few suggestions –

  1. Talk to a professional. You cannot afford to get overwhelmed and have this throw you off your regular life. If you feel like it is an earth-shattering revelation (which it is!) and you cannot seem to find a way to cope with it, a professional is a way to go.
  2. Confide in a friend. Make sure it is someone you trust. Sometimes reassurance is all we need.
  3. Confront your mother, but do not overwhelm her, it will backfire. Maybe email her, or call her. Tell her how you feel. Not a lot of us have this privilege though, and even if you can do this, you won’t be getting any solid answers or an apology.
  4. Remember that you are more than a child, just the way any woman is more than a mother. You are here to make your existence a meaningful one for yourself. Decorate your life with people who matter and feelings which don’t have you tossing and turning at night. It is a process, not a journey. There’s no end goal, except to go through this life with as much love as possible.

This is a sensitive topic. An uncaring mother is a burden you have to carry for your lifetime. You have got to remember that it is not your fault. You were born a baby, with no fault of your own. You are your person even now, and if she berates you for how you are, it is a reflection of her sadness. It hurts, not having a mother whom you can confide in and be assured that you will get love from, but it is not the end of the world. With people who actually care for you and proper help whenever you need it, you can make other relationships in your life work. 

It will come back to you in waves. Some days you will feel like you have successfully put it all behind you and on other days the memories will have you feeling gutted while you’re waiting in line with your groceries. All you can do is keep on moving, keep on coping. Take bits of it and fold it and tuck it away inside of you, or if possible, put it as far from you as possible, maybe your childhood bedroom where you will never return the way you used to be.

If you feel guilt settling in about how maybe you are not a nice person, talk to someone who is your friend, and ask them about yourself. We exist outside our heads, and we exist as different versions of ourselves in other people’s lives. Your mother’s version of you was the one that made her feel less guilty about her shortcomings, our loved ones cherish you the way you are and for what you bring to their lives. This is how it goes. As long as you keep choosing kindness over and over, you will be able to put on more layers to yourself which will protect you from our past, this world, and other things you can’t control. 

If your mother chooses to sit with unresolved feelings and not accept her part in giving you pain, you cannot make her do it. You will one day eventually outlive her, and you will be the only one holding the messy spool of unanswered feelings and complaints. It is better to gather yourself, make peace with your past and remind yourself constantly that you will eventually outgrow this. You are going to find people who will not fill the mother-shaped grave in you, but they will help you grow flowers over it. Maybe you are already on your way there. A loving group of people, warm food on the table, a house to unlock and come feel safe in – isn’t that all you need in the end?