Bright Side

Why Daughters Often Feel Unloved by Parents and What They Have to Struggle With in Adulthood

“A mother who doesn’t love her daughter,” is a phrase that might sound sharp to anyone. It seems like this situation might occur only in a dysfunctional family where the parents can hardly make ends meet and can only solve their problems with the help of alcohol. I had quite a good childhood: full family, good school, and no alcohol till 18. But I was sure that my mother didn’t love me. We who were supposed to be the closest people to each other were conversely unbearably distanced. I wanted to be beautiful, but my mother would say, “It doesn’t suit you.” I would try my best but she would say, “You can do it better.”

Today I want to share the story of my childhood with Bright Side readers and show you how ordinary adult actions are perceived by kids. As well as where a kid can get the feeling of being unloved and lonely from.

First, do your homework, then you can play outside.

My mother used to say: “I’m worried about your future.”

While I wanted to enjoy the present moment at the time. My mother was dreaming about her daughter becoming an economist, that’s why while my friends were playing outside or watching TV, I was sitting at my table together with my thick math book. It was extremely hard to concentrate on solving equations because the kids outside were playing tag and my favorite shows were on TV. I was trying to explain that numbers are not my cup of tea, but my parents didn’t hear me. After graduation, I enrolled in college to study to become a translator.

Who’s gonna marry you?

My mother used to say: “You need to take care of your appearance.”

I always heard about my imperfections: crooked teeth (“Don’t smile so widely!”), extra fat on hips (“Aren’t you feeling shameful? You are so young!”), bad posture (“Stay straight!”). While I was growing up, it took me some time to realize that when people gave me compliments, they weren’t necessarily lies or them scoffing at me. I married the first guy who paid attention to me. At that moment, marriage meant success to me because I had met a person who didn’t notice my imperfections and even said, “You are beautiful” from time to time.

You’ll understand everything when you have your own daughter.

My mother used to say: “You are too reserved.”

I envied my friends who could talk to their mothers openly, who could discuss an unfair grade, a boy who they liked, etc. The desire to start a conversation on frank topics was always a mixture of a keen sense of shame together with a cry for help within me. I would dream that my mother would take the first step and that we would become not only a mother and a daughter, but friends as well. But it never happened.

You’ll get into a bad circle of friends.

My mother used to say: “If something happens to you, I won’t be able to get over it.”

My parents rarely let me go anywhere with friends because the world was full of danger and my mother believed that attracting trouble was some kind of unique gift I had. The phrase “you’ll get into a bad circle of friends” sounded less like something scary and more like an inevitable fact from her. In order to avoid all that trouble, my mother used to escort me to school every day, which was located a 15 minute walk away from where we lived. My classmates would always laugh at me and it sharpened the feeling of shame within me even more. I still remember the pulse in my temples, a sharp desire to escape my own body and to go anywhere else, but not where I was at that moment.

Why did you get a “B” again?

My mother used to say: “I wanted you to have everything I didn’t have.”

My mother graduated from school with honors. She couldn’t understand how I kept getting "B"s and why I wasn’t able to do the things that she was able to do perfectly. I had been attending musical classes for 7 years because my mom wanted to play the piano in her childhood but her parents didn’t have enough money to buy one. I kept asking my mom to get me enrolled at a dance studio but she would always say that that was not my cup of tea.

You are a girl.

My mother says: “I was fussing over you.”

I have never felt as helpless as in my childhood. If I lost something, or someone offended me, or I fell down and scraped my knees, or if someone broke my heart, the last thing I would do is tell my mother. I had to keep everything in secret and cope with all the issues myself without bothering her. I was dreaming about support but my mother’s words always worsened the situation. I wanted to hear “Everything’s gonna be alright,” but instead I heard, “It’s all your fault.”

I have grown up and my mother’s phrases have turned into memories. I am sure she wished the best for me, but she didn’t know how to convey it to me in the right way.

The only thing I want now is for my mom to never learn how I saw everything from my perspective. Let my childhood pain and doubts in her motherly love stay an unrevealed secret or a story she heard somewhere but never experienced herself. Let her stay a perfect mother in her own eyes and let me stay a naughty child who has always been surrounded with care, love, and warmth.

Many years have passed and now I have my own daughter. Today is the first time she left for a student party. It’s already 3 a.m. and I can’t fall asleep. What if she gets into a bad group of friends? What if something happens to her? I won’t be able to get over it...

And suddenly my mother’s words came up in my head, “You’ll understand everything when you have your own daughter.”

Now I got it, mom. I understood everything.

Have you ever felt unloved by your parents? Did you talk to them about it? We would be glad to hear from you in the comments!