My mother isn’t coming to my wedding - A Guest Post

I know, I know, I don't 'do' guest posts. But sometimes I break the rules, for a mate or even an internet friend who asks nicely and who can't share something on their own blog. So here is a post. A pretty emotional one, not by me. Comments would be appreciated - play nice


My mother isn’t coming to my wedding. 

I think in my very worst moments, the times that emotionally I have been turned inside out, all self inflicted bruises and cuts hanging out, I have hated myself with such a passion that it has been quite easy for me to believe anybody I had touched, come in to contact with or had ever even spoken to, felt exactly the same way about me too.

And that any disagreement I had with anybody, resulting in any sort of negative emotion was always my fault.

I should have acted differently.

I shouldn’t have been so selfish.

I shouldn’t have been expecting care.

My self-esteem by this point was solely based on what I assumed others thought of me.

In therapy I learnt that a lot of this lack of self-esteem came from the feeling that my own mother doesn’t love me.

If my own mother doesn’t love me I really must be a disgusting parasite of a human being.

I have never openly admitted that this is what I believed, because of course, who can easily admit this?

Instead of even admitting this to myself, I would try and be a better person in the vain hope she would react by being the mother I always wanted.

But she never did.

Never has.

And it has always been my fault.  

If only I hadn’t been a difficult teenager, if only I had chosen to grow up with her and not my dad, if only I hadn’t caused their divorce, if only my brother hadn’t died and I had, then I would make her happy…

When I was 22 I got drunk, the next day at my aunt’s house, I lay down on the sofa and fell asleep. I awoke briefly to feel her putting a blanket over me and kissing my head.

She thought I remained asleep, but instead I cried at the way she had made me feel with that simple gesture, she didn’t know I was witnessing.

Cared for.

Something I had never experienced before, in it’s truest form.

‘Trying to care for you,’ my therapist explained a few weeks ago ‘is like throwing an egg at a glass window.’

‘How can you possibly know and feel comfortable with care, if it is not something you have ever experienced?’ I slammed back at him passionately.

And in that moment, I saw what he had done.

I was finally admitting that perhaps it wasn’t my fault, that perhaps I had deserved care.

Perhaps these were her issues not mine.

When she would hurt me, or ignore my successes (having never openly admitted to reading my blog) or put me down with her one liners (you were up for three awards but you only won the little one right?) there have been too many to recount them all, I would blame myself, and agree with her and apologise in a vain attempt to please her.

I am sorry I am not a good enough person, daughter, mother.

It never worked, not really.

I could never be forgiven.

She loves being a grandma though, adores him, loves him, hugs him, treats him as her own, would do anything for him… I have to watch this and be happy for her and him.

I am happy for him even though every time she hold her arms out to him, I feel like I am being stabbed by rejection repeatedly.

So she can show love.

Just not to me.

It is my fault.  

And off we go again… searching for acceptance…  

Occasionally I would get up the courage to react and say the things I wanted to say, but I always regret my decision, as she stands firm and I wither under her distancing punishment.

I thought I was winning.

I thought I had dealt with this in therapy.

I set boundaries.

We were building a stable relationship.

My self esteem was becoming more about what I thought of myself.

And then the phone call.  

‘I am not attending your wedding.’

I cried in to the dark of the night, I cried because I felt guilty, and ashamed over what an awful person I was to be putting her through something that she didn’t deserve.

She shouldn’t have to travel, to not be in the limelight, to be in a room with my friends… She must feel awful, how could I do this to her?

I cried until I was wrung out with the grief of the relationship we had just started to build again, that was now lost.

I cried until I could barely breath and I felt my heart was going to stop beating because I missed her, I miss what could have been, what I deserved to have had.

I did not cry because I was hurt, because this was my doing.

And then at 3am, staring at the ceiling, a learned thought process from therapy miraculously tiptoed in to the corner of my brain, my brain filled to the brim with shame.

‘What are you putting her through?’ It said.

‘You are a parasite because you should never have put her in a position of. What?!?!?!’

And then another timid little thought joined it and held it’s hand and whispered ‘what if?’

‘What if this isn’t your fault?’

‘What if this is her choice and you are and have always been good enough?’

What if you are just the victim and you have been laying here for hours crying for her and she is sleeping soundly with no anguish.

‘Who is crying for you?’

‘Accept the hurt and stop now. Enough is enough.’

It was fleeting, but it was there.

My mother isn’t coming to my wedding.

I don’t really know how I am supposed to feel if there is no shame and guilt.

Hurt, I guess.

But surviving.


  1. Anonymous12/11/12

    See now I'm reading what I wrote and thinking Jesus I sound like a right depressing moaning cow, but my head is up my arse! I wish I could just not love her, or not be bothered! But it's like I can't help it each time.

    I blacked out when I was 16 and was rushed to hospital, they rang her cos my dad was working but she couldn't come 'cos shed had a glass of wine..' or when I was sectioned under the mental health act and she rang me to say she was sorry but she wasn't prepared to cancel her holiday for my drama and flew on holiday...

    I should be used to this by now, but why does this kill me more than any of the past? Argh!!!

  2. I can't even begin to imagine hoe you feel because every mother should love their child unconditionally and with every ounce of their being. Like you do for your son. The way she is behaving is not normal and the person who is unloveable is her, not you. She is the one that is damaged (for whatever reason) and is projecting this onto you and attempting to ruin your life and your wedding. What kind of woman does that to their child? What kind of woman doesn't want to attend her daughter's wedding? A heartless and mean one.

    You deserve a mother that loves you, you deserve a mother who is unselfish. You deserve to be happy.

  3. How difficult it must be to come to grips with this dynamic in your life. Some people just can't get outside their own experience of life to think how it will impact others, how hurtful or damaging it might be. I hope you can refocus and enjoy a wonderful wedding day that is not about pleasing others but enjoying yourself and the bond you've forged with your husband.

  4. Anonymous12/11/12

    I'm too afraid google will out me to write what I would really like to write but I think you should listen to that inner voice. I discovered that my mother couldn't really put me first, once and for all, on the darkest day of my life. It hurts, but it is freeing. Let yourself be freed. It's her process, her loss. I'm so sorry.

    Your writing is a warning shot too. My daughters' brother died. I don't think I'm sacrificing their well being and sense of worth to his loss, but it is good to be reminded to check. Thank you.

  5. From an outsider's perspective (and from a mother's) it is clear as day to me that your mother is the one at fault. Seriously.You'll find emotions to fill the gap left by shame and guilt - positive emotions that will make you feel the way you deserve to feel. Your mother has caused you to miss out on so much pleasure but don't let her rob you of any more. She can die bitter, lonely and miserable with her face turned away from the sun (for want of a better term). You don't have to because you are better than that. I hope your wedding is perfect and the sun shines on every day of your marriage.

  6. Anonymous12/11/12

    I can understand most of what you have written and the tears are flowing because I feel the same, I'm lucky to have had some love, maybe not all that I craved as my sibling seemed to get the attention, I spend my life still seeking perfection and the love of others, get so hurt when people I love get hurt but cant speak out.

    Can I play a little devils advocate also, has she spoken to you about why she is the way she is, she has proven she can love by loving your son and maybe she really does love you but feels it's to late to try and show it, so showing your son she can instead, was she loved as a child and thought that she doing the right thing?

    back to you, You do the best thing and show your son what love is and he will return it back to you, TBaM is correct she seems heartless, its your day, your wedding and if she doesn't come her fault, make sure you have the most amazing day and don't change except for the 'blame', your NOT to blame she is, find all the good things in your life and concentrate on those, the negatives will eventually fade and you will learn to cope with them when they try to pop back into your life.

    Good Luck and many virtual hugs

  7. Anonymous12/11/12

    I will not say how I came to this blog...

    I cannot believe that anyone could be this cold, this destructive, this utterly horrible to do this to their own flesh and blood. This is morally reprehensible.

    It's plain to see that she is the one with the problem. She is the control freak who cannot bear to see you happy or you moving on with your life and so due to how their brain is wired sees the only way forward is to be as destructive as is humanly possible. By turning it all back to her she is trying to take control of you and your actions.

    A counsellor once told me that there within communication there are 3 levels


    The parent talks down to the child and the child talks back up to the parent.

    I see this is what she is trying to achieve.

    My first thought was of "F you"

    But I then had a more level-headed thought.

    You send her the invite. You tell her there is a room booked for her. There will be a place laid for her at any meal you have and there will be a seat reserved for her at the ceremony. You also inform any family/friends that this is what will be happening so they know what she is doing. So they know she is the one who has decided to not turn up...

    You are in fact wrestling the PAC conversation to Adult.. this she will not like. But I think you are stronger then you give yourself credit for!

    And she will not ruin YOUR day!

  8. I really really hope she changes her mind. My Inlaws never came to our wedding and they regretted it the next day. They can't ever take that back now and my hubby was very hurt at the time but like he says, they are the ones that have missed out. You will have an amazing day because you will be surrounded by people you love so much and that love you back so much. You are not at fault at all. You only want your mum at your wedding on one of the happiest days of your life. It's very hard but please don't let this take away from your happiness

  9. You are not at fault. She may be like this because of the loss of a child, but while that can be a reason, it cannot be an excuse. She is the one who should have been working at your relationship, as the parent, as the adult, not leaving the child to try to make something work.

    Now you are a parent, you need to put your happiness and that of you child and husband-to-be first.

    My step-son's mother is like this. Everything is about her. He is about to turn 21. She went on vacation on his 13th, 16th and 18th birthday's stating that she "can't be expected to organise her life around him". She has never had custody of him since he was two, he has lived with my husbands parents. She hated his dad and I marrying, hated me, hated his grandma, because we both showed him love and support, which made her failings as a mother all the more apparent. Of course, this was our fault, his fault, never her fault.

    He has had counselling, even at one point called the police to get her to stay away, as she was making threats about his grandparents. Yet, he always goes back, always tries again, always puts up with more and more punishment because all he wants is a relationship with his mother. Even when she has him unable to sleep, unable to breathe, unable to understand why, all he wants is her love.

    I know, somewhere in that selfish heart, she does love him, just not in the way a mother should, because she loves herself more. That was never his fault, it is the way she is made. Your mother is made that way. Somewhere in there, she loves you, and its not your fault she can't show it, it's not your fault she selfishly cares more about herself, you are who you are 'despite' her, not because of her. You have made it this far, become successful, achieved awards, found love, become a good mother, in the face of adversity and despite her separateness.

    Enjoy your wedding, make sure she is aware she can come if she changes her mind, but this is your day, not hers. She cannot and will not be the centre of things, you will. Do not allow her to hijack your day and make it all about her xxx

  10. My heart goes out to you, and I can go some way towards knowing what you're going through. The only difference is that my mum now "pretends" to love me in order to maintain a relationship with her grandsons - after years of beating me as a child and telling me I was not the lovely daughter she'd always wished for.
    Through counselling I've realised a child gets a sense of their own worth and importance from their parents. It will be hard for you, but you will eventually realise that your feelings count. You matter. You deserve love.
    There are criminals out there who have mothers who love them, whatever they do. What is your crime, that you don't deserve a mother's love?
    Your mum sounds completely toxic and unworthy of you. She seems to have some control over you.
    Whenever someone falls out with me, my gut reaction is "What have I done?"
    Now I'm now getting strong enough to say "I may have some responsibility in this - but it takes two to tango."
    You are a victim only because you act like one. You allow her to get away with this behaviour. That is the part you are playing in this twisted relationship.
    You are getting married and you have a child. So there are two people already who love you unconditionally, and you should gain strength from that.
    Changing others can be difficult/impossible. But if you change your reaction to them, it can cause a shift in the dynamic of your relationship.
    Your mum is used to your tears, your desperate attempts to gain her love and respect. Stop giving her this, and she'll realise her cruelty isn't working.
    I'm not saying it'll turn her into a great mum. She's not and probably never will be.
    But when she doesn't get a reaction from the things she does, she may stop torturing you so much.
    Tell her you'll have a wonderful wedding, surrounded by the people who love you. And she's the one who'll be missing out.
    Go ahead and enjoy this special day.
    Don't waste any more tears on a woman who is cold and bitter and prefers to blame you for all the failures in her life than take responsibility herself.
    It's not surprising she doesn't want to be there. She can't bear to see you happy, or loved or the centre of attention.
    Because it reminds her what she doesn't have. And she wants to punish you for everything that's wrong in her life.

  11. Phew, heartbreaking! And sounds like it is so much bigger than the writer. This mom has a serious story of her own, and my hope is that the author can let go and enjoy her wedding with all of the joy that she deserves. Best wishes!