Mother As Place of Attachment

It’s already been eighteen months since I last wrote about what I read in The Emotionally Absent Mother. Still, the book hasn’t just sat there. I struggled to move on from Mother As Source. The next section is titled Mother As Place of Attachment. Somehow, this is a really hard section. I don’t really know why. I mean, yes, part of the reason I struggle to move on in writing about this book, is that I do it publicly and what if my parents read this? Then again, I don’t really care. I’m in groups on Facebook for childhood emotional neglect and emotional abuse survivors too. Though the member list of private groups isn’t available to non-members, I’m pretty sure they know somehow. Honestly, regarding this, I care more about my husband’s opinion than my parents’.

But there’s something specifically about this section that is hard. I’m not even sure what. Maybe it’s just that I don’t have a lot of early memories of my mother. I attribute this to my father being the homemaker and primary caretaker in our household. But fathers can “mother” too.

The first question asked in the section on your mother as place of attachment, is to rate your sense of connectedness to your mother on a scale of 1 to 10. The next question is how your sense of connectedness evolved over the years.

Well, with my mother, I am generally at a 5. I don’t feel she “gets” me, but we do get along okay. Like I said when discussing mother as source, I don’t feel that I’m made of her, but she isn’t from another planet either. Or maybe she’s from Venus. I mean, we’re not constantly disconnected.

Over the years, my sense of connectedness to my mother has stayed the same. I never quite felt like we had a strong bond, but I didn’t feel totally alienated either.

My father is a different story. We had a strong connection, maybe around 8, when I was a child. Now we’re at a 3 at best. Like I said in my mother as source post, as a child, I saw my father as the embodiment of intelligence, success and well what other positive characteristics are there really? When I got to question his having sole ownership of the truth at around age 15, things started to change. Or did things change earlier on? I’m not sure.

Another question is about bodily contact. This is where I get to question whether the schism occurred earlier than age 15. When I was a young child, my father definitely did give both my sister and me lots of opportunities for bodily contact. I remember when my sister and I were little, my father would wrap us in a towel and drag us to our bedroom. He called this “swordfish” and my sister always asked for “sordsish”.

My mother says that, around age 7 or 8, I stopped wanting to sit in my parents’ lap. From then on, bodily contact like hugging or good-night kisses was very ritualistic. I remember around age 11, being forced to read a certain number of pages in Braille if I wanted a good-night kiss. This at the time felt very distressing. I haven’t studied emotional development except in the context of intellectual disability, so I have really no idea whether it’s normal to still want good-night kisses at that age. I guess not.

As a side note, I did initiate physical contact such as hand-holding with practically every adult until I was at least 12. In my psych eval report from age 11, the ed psych notes that I claim not to need a cane but grab her hand immediately anyway. That first bit was no doubt related to my difficult accepting my blindness, but I don’t think the second bit is fully. Even as an adult, I truly crave physical contact and am a bit indiscriminate in who can give it to me. I mean, I am pretty clear that no male staff can provide me with physical comfort (or help me with personal care). With regards to female staff though (and the entire current staff of my home is female), I do accept physical comfort. I honestly don’t know how my husband feels about this.

PoCoLo
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

7 thoughts on “Mother As Place of Attachment

  1. This sounds like this is causing you a lot of anguish. I hope you are seeing a counsellor too? I think we process things from one perspective (our own) but sometimes another view can make us see it from the other persons, and then reprocess it with a different outcome (or at least in a way that is productive to us)? Take care of yourself. We humans are very complex and very fragile. Life is more complicated than we were ever led to believe. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Family relationships can be so complex it is easy to struggle to make sense of them all. Especially when they change. Physical contact is a funny one, I often avoid physical contact now as an adult because I am self conscious about it. I love that my 4 year old constantly wants physical contact, my 6 year old is beginning to draw away from it and its hard for me to know when to make contact with him and when not at the moment. As Lydia says above humans are very complex. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is very interesting to read about other people’s childhood experiences. I guess we all experience different things. I am a very touchy person but I am not sure if this is more a culture thing. I am Latin and we all love to cuddle. I am like that with my girls and they love it too so it could be a cultural background too. I hope writing about it helps you to feel better. Take care of yourself 🙂 x #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, I know some cultures are more touch-oriented than others. Dutch people for example aren’t very touchy I think, though it definitely depends and this idea could be shaped by my own experience. As for writing, it definitely helps.

      Liked by 1 person

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