weddings

'On my wedding day, my mum refused to speak to me. We haven't spoken since.'

Everyone argues with their parents or siblings or weird uncle who believes in Chem trails. Even if you don’t argue, you will at least disagree with them on occasion, and that’s normal.

What isn’t normal is having a parent who thrives off your pain. A parent who does not love you the way a parent biologically should. The narcissist parent.  When that parent is your mother and your sole caregiver, the damage can be irreparable and the therapy bills inevitable.

I recently married the love of my life. The kindest, most caring and generous man I’ve ever known. Attributes matched only by his amazing parents. My mother, on the other hand, tried to ruin my wedding over an old suitcase. The only words she spoke to me were, “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Mamamia Confessions: My biggest wedding day regret. Post continues below.

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Yep. That’s it. No congratulations, no compliments on my dress, not even the courtesy of eye contact. To truly understand what happened, we have to go back. Back to a time when I felt worthless, when my self-esteem was non-existent and my need to win my mother’s approval was great.

I grew up without a large family support network. Just my older brother and my mother. My memories of her range from vaguely nice to verbal and physical abuse. The truth is she was an absent, single working parent but chose to spend her free time away from us. We grew up being cared for by the parents of our childhood friends. Fast forward to teen years and this is where things get real.

I got regular choruses of “you look like a beached whale” to “just accept you don’t have the legs for skirts. No one wants to see that.” Cue 15 years of eating disorders and complete self-hatred. How could I love me if my own mother couldn’t love me?

It wasn’t until I left the country 12 years ago and started on my own, away from the weight of her conditional love that I started seeing the truth. It took years and years of lonely Christmases, unanswered emails, nasty comments and a dark period of rock bottom mental health when I realised if something happened to me, no one would care. My mother would not know or care. How could she? She literally hadn’t called me in 12 years.

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On the morning of my wedding, I was excitedly getting ready with three of my closest friends. I had asked my mother twice to get ready with us. I explained it would mean so much to me. I never got a response. I instead received a message asking if I’d remembered to bring an old suitcase back up, as she was flying out the next day. She’d flown to Australia for three weeks and was only spending 72 hours in the same state. I apologised, saying I’d left it home. I offered to loan her my own suitcase, but she flipped. This unforgivable thing I had done had caused her and my stepfather to be “fuming.” I replied that I would ask our friends who were still to arrive to go to my house and collect it. This also wasn’t satisfactory. I decided to put my phone away and not allow her to ruin my mood.

Mamamia Out Loud hosts discuss wedding regrets. Post continues below. 

A few hours later, I arrive at my wedding. Our ceremony was perfect and magical and everything I’d ever hoped for. I turned to look at the front row reserved for immediate family. I saw the proud, beaming faces of my new husband’s parents and siblings. I turned to look on my side and saw no one. No proud smiling mother for me. She instead had sat right at the very back and refused to smile the entire time.

What followed were some awkward family portraits where my husband’s parents were happily posing for pictures while the photographer had to keep asking my mother to “please step closer to the bride”. I would have been humiliated if I wasn’t so busy being unsurprised.

Later at the reception, I noticed she was sitting alone so I went up and asked if she was having a good time. She ignored me. I tried again a little later. This time she delivered one of her best lines to date: “You should be ashamed of yourself.” Even I was shocked. I mumbled something about just wanting her to be nice to me for one day and then walked out before she could see my tears.

She left shortly after and I was quickly surrounded by my real family. The friends who’ve been there through everything. The friends who’ve invited me for Christmas when my mother kicked me out over unwashed dishes. The friends who dried my tears after every heartbreak and who cheered me on after every win. The family I choose.

I write this in my home, staring at the suitcase that symbolises the long-overdue deterioration of my relationship with the woman who birthed me. As for the suitcase, she later gave it to my brother after the wedding and told him he could either use it or throw it out. I think I’m going to keep it. As a symbol of how far I’ve come. From the impressionable girl who felt unloved and unworthy to the self-loving QUEEN I am today. Nothing can break me now.

The author of this post is known to Mamamia but wishes to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. A stock image has been used. 

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