Bye, Love You!

// trigger warning //

My mom’s phone calls always ended with “bye, love you!” I’d reply, “lub-boo!” She thought I was being cute & funny, but the real reason I couldn’t get myself to say “love you” was because it didn’t feel genuine. Did I love my mom? I’d ask myself time and time again, never coming to any conclusion.

Did I love my mom? I’d ask myself time and time again, never coming to any conclusion.

How horrible was I for not loving my mother enough? At the same time, the thought of loving her felt…gross. I thought, something must be wrong with me…

  • It felt terrifying to be alone with me mom.
  • If she was physically near me, I would jump or move away.
  • Her hugs scared me.
  • I wanted her to think I was ugly.
  • I couldn’t get myself to laugh & loosen up around her.
  • Whenever she did anything nice for me, I was nothing but cold & irritable.
  • I didn’t want her to bathe me.
  • I didn’t want her to take care of me at night, even though she was a great nurse.
  • The word “mom” creeped the hell out of me.
  • I dreaded her birthdays & Mother’s Day.

For years, we would go through this endless pattern of her trying to give & receive affection, while I would show aversion (mostly involuntarily). She would get mad & ignore me the rest of the week.

Then, she would eventually slip a letter under my door, explaining how she felt under-appreciated & unloved.

Maybe my mom was right… I should have been more loving, yet being more loving wouldn’t mean I loved. I was in a bind. We’d end with me saying some version of, “I’m sorry. I’ll try to…be…nicer.” Then, it would start all over again.

It wasn’t until my mid-20s, when I realized that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. What a mixture of relief and extreme heartbreak it was to finally realize that I had been sexually abused by my mother.

To be continued…