How do you grieve someone who didn't love you?

Three years ago, I lost my beloved Dad - I still struggle with that, but I’m learning to live with it, slowly!

Just a couple of months after dad passed away, my mum was diagnosed with stage 4 secondary breast cancer. My mum and I had never had the best relationship, she was very jealous of my relationship with Dad, and her mum, my Nan.

She always held me at arms length, and would put me down in public, which made me have massive self esteem issues through my life. I kept trying and trying with her, I even moved 350 miles north after dad died to help care for her, and again she rejected me.

Before she died in the middle of May, I was sat reading to her. She looked up and told me she’d never liked or wanted me. She was so well liked and loved by friends and some family, and I have found it incredibly hard listening to their stories of fun and love. I had none of that.
She was a wonderful Grandmother, and mother to my brother. My ex and current sisters in law were idolised by her - I’ve told them both (supposedly in jest) that they were the daughters she always wanted.

Whilst sorting out the house, we found she’d wrapped up little parcels of jewellery she’d put aside for my sister in laws, and other bits and pieces for my brother and his children. She left nothing personal to me. I thought ok, nothing I didn’t really expect. When they Will was read, my brother and the Grandchildren, and daughters in law were left the bulk of the estate, I got a small sum, just to prove to everyone she wasn’t the monster I’d had to deal with. She also made it clear that I wasn’t to have any of my dad’s stuff, although I have been made ‘keeper of the family archive’, so I do have some things. She’s not here, she has no say!

But you know it isn’t about the money and the ‘things’, it’s the fact that I know now that for nearly 57 years, I’ve been emotionally abused. Going through the family archive, she kept lots of stuff from my brother’s childhood - nothing of mine. In all of her possessions I found 12 photos of me (loads in my dad’s effects) as a baby, none as an adult. There were none in the house when I went to visit either, when I asked her about it one day, she said that she’d rarely seen a photo of me she liked.

I am now caught up in the scenario of my son who she adored and who adored her, absolutely heartbroken. Deep down he knows what she was like to me, but at the moment her halo is shining brighter than ever. He was her carer in the end - she wouldn’t let me even suggest something to help her, never mind care for her, so there’s a huge void in his life. My brother and wives live 7 hours away. I am doing my best to support him, but he keeps asking why I haven’t cried. I know the answer… it’s because I’m relieved she’s gone, but I can’t tell him that can I, and I feel guilty for feeling that way :sleepy:

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Bonnie, having just read your post I really don’t know what to say to you. You must be heartbroken and conflicted all at the same time. I can’t even image how you feel being told by the person that is supposed to love, care and protect you that you weren’t wanted or loved. How hurt you must feel and having to put up this false front to the rest of your family while screaming inside.
Does your brother not even suspect that all wasn’t as it should be by not leaving a personal gift or by the wording of the will.
I’m so sorry that you lost your dad and are still very much grieving for him. Your dad and nan must have known or suspected how you mum behaved towards you.
As a mum, as you are I just can’t understand how you would treat your own child in that way, you are right you have been emotionally abused since your were a child.
Your dad obviously loved you very much by the photos he kept in his personal effects and I am so glad you have some of his things.
I don’t think you should feel guilty for the way you feel. I wonder if counseling would help you come to terms with all that has happened in your life.
My heart goes out to you, sending love and a hug.
Debbie X

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Oh @Bonnie11, you poor woman.

I don’t know you, obviously, but wanted to send you a virtual hug after reading your sad story.

I would agree with Debbie - Counselling may help you unpick some of this.
It would also help you to handle your son’s grief with sensitivity while not assisting in the polishing of her halo.

She wasn’t a wonderful Grandmother to your son - she was abusing his Mother - a wonderful Grandmother doesn’t do that.

I can understand you feeling relief - wouldn’t anyone be glad to know that their abuser was no longer in a position to be able to abuse them any more?

Feel no guilt Bonnie.
There’s only 1 guilty one in this scenario- and it isn’t you.

Take care of yourself Bonnie - you deserve better.

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Dear Bonnie. Reading your post it so resonates with me my mother was always telling me I was worthless and would never amount to anything in life always favouring my brother she was also physically abusive to me and hit me a lot and on one occasion pushed me down the stairs I have never been able to understand why she was like this too me I never got the opportunity to ask her why as she died at the age of 47 when I was 21yrs old. What she did too me has affected me and made me doubt myself and never felt I was good enough my brother who she thought the world of and could do no wrong has been an alcoholic and suffers from bipolar . I have made a life for myself and have 4 children and 7 grandkids so I am proud of myself I have been told I should see a Councillor and get all the heartache I feel out but haven’t been brave enough yet. My heart goes out to you if you feel that councilling would help you go for it . Sending you my love and hugs. X

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Hi Bonnie

Everything you said deeply resonates with my experiences of my mother too. She was a difficult woman who, I am coming to accept, made it difficult to love her. It took me a few months to realise I felt relief at her death. This has only come through talking to someone in Bereavement Support - a listening service available locally. It has helped me move forward.

The one thing I am working on at the moment is writing a unsent letter to my mother - detailing the experiences I’ve lived through and acknowledging how it made me feel. And as a Christian I’m working on forgiveness and not holding on to resentment

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