I’m going to write this as articulately as possible given that I’ve already had my night meds and am winding down. But wanted to get this out before tomorrow. Though it could be tomorrow in some countries.
Our culture emphasizes certain days of the year to focus on certain family members, or festivals ETC and assumes that everyone will have a happy positive association with these days. They fail to notice all the people where these days are anything but happy. For many many people these days are filled with greif, bring up past or current difficult family situations, and many other mixed families.
I will list the types of situations I’m thinking of to prove the point. Consider someone who recently has left their abusive parent’s house and has moved out on their own with safe positive people around. They’re healing and things have ups and downs but they’re going in the right direction. A couple weeks ahead of time they start getting guilt tripped into going to a family gathering where their mother will be there who has caused the person so much pain. They have a lot of mixed feelings. On the one hand who wants to even go near an abuser no matter the severity of the abuse. And considering the person just recently physically set boundaries to feel pulled back is a huge deal. If the person in question were an abusive spouse no one would ever think of pressuring them to go and celibrate this person’s contribution to their life. But it gets even trickier when the person thinks well this woman did give birth to me, and did try in her own way even if it failed miserably to be a mother. And that they wound up so damaged they couldn’t properly raise a child likely through their own abusive childhood. All of these feelings snowball on top of the practical question of whether the person will even go to this gathering.
This goes for so many people with very strained relationships with either parent and especially mothers. Other situations could be a child who recently lost their mother or lost their mother period. While other children are connecting with their moms they feel deep emptiness and it could even trigger more greif that’s unexpected.
Other examples are for anyone who has been adopted. I’m not in this situation but I can imagine the concept of Mother’s Day would bring up feelings about their adoptive mother versus their birth mother and whatever experiences come along with these difficult feelings.
Talking to many friends who deal with mental illness, much of what they go through has been caused or made worse by relationships that caused trauma in their lives. The most foundational relationships are those of our growing up figures. So often this is the mother. So demanding almost that people buy cards and gifts, and go out of their way t to make it a good day for someone who really hurt them is beyond terrible and insensitive. For y friends with mental illness even without childhood abuse, often family doesn’t understand the illness and any stress could make symptoms. If someone has social anxiety just going to the store can be a huge obstacle. Never mind going to a family party where they’re expected to act “normal” where they know they’re being judged.
Instead of assuming someone you know, that you’ve formed a trusting relationship with, will be having a good mother’s day take a minute to check in with them. So that at the person’s pace they can possibly share a little of their mixed feelings to at least be able to get across to one caring person that this will not be a good day for them. It means so much to people being pressured by society to spend time with people that theyare trying so hard to distance themselves from.
I will personally be thinking of my friends who are experiencing this situation as well as anyone else out there having a hard time. All I can say is to try and do what works for you. Try not to let guilt tripping or manipulation disrespect your boundaries and derail your healing if you can. It’s a real battle. Maybe trying to plan in some quiet time for you to just relax and do what works for you could help. A friend had another interesting take on things. For so many people who have grown up in abusive childhoods often they have had to be their own mothers, or mothers to their siblings, or even mothers to their mothers. To use the day to celibrate the strength they have to have gotten through that time, and the powerful nurturing quality within themselves that carried them through to a place where they are now able to start healing.
I hope that people understand where I’m coming from. I’m by no means saying that everyone will have these experiences. And I’m hopefull that there are cases where even with tough issues, both the parent and child can be in a place to be able to enjoy even a few minutes together. That they’ve done the emotional work to get there. And I’m sure many many people will have a genuine good day. To which I’m very happy. So will be thinking of everyone tomorrow and hoping whatever you’re facing you get support external and self- support to get through the day.