“Is it okay not to love your own mother?”

Every Thursday at It does not rotate, Mardi Noir, psychologist and psychoanalyst, answers your questions. Whatever your questions, in your relationship with others, the world or yourself, write to [email protected]all your emails will be read.

Dear Black Tuesday,

For a year, I did not speak to my mother. After years of trying to adjust to his behavior (which I considered toxic), I finally decided to cut ties. I realized that it didn’t affect me more than that; on the contrary, I was relieved. I don’t think I feel love for him, just empathy. Is it right not to love your own mother? How can I accept my loved ones?


Dear Salome,

I don’t know how old you are, but for me, I remember growing up in a cultural environment sprinkled with “There is nothing sweeter than a mother”, a painful and utterly false statement. Even in homes where things are more or less fine, to say of a mother that she is sweet is somehow to have shit in your eyes.

Or it’s an insidious and twisted way of reminding moms to have a minute or two of sweetness in the day to go along with this slogan taken from a Soupline advertisement, if my memory serves me right. Yes, a fabric softener is gentle, that’s what we’re asking for here. A mother is not a fabric softener. And I think it would be a shame to make us believe otherwise.

Worse, I imagine children in front of the TV, with a mother very far from incarnated tenderness, staring at the screen and wondering why the hell their mother is so weird, mean, absent. where is dad He gets drunk, he’s gone, he’s dead, he rebuilds his life, he knocks, he stares into space.

Another phrase I hear a lot in my life: “A mother is important, we only have one”. A phrase as hollow as this. There are already two moms (lucky them! It’s ok, I’m kidding). But above all what guilt is behind it all! Mothers think they are important – they are, but calm down, it is possible to dose. And children, small or old, pull this maternal weight like a burden. So we still seek to satisfy the mother of the obscene age, the disease of culture and individual anger.

Our children claim their grandparents, we still can’t deny them their grandmother? That’s great! Of which, there is a recent episode of the podcast Transfer which I highly recommend.

There is no miracle recipe

My mother said to me one day (yes I still talk to her, this is my choice, believe me it has been analyzed, triturated, dissected for a long time) this sentence full of common sense : “We are a bit stupid when we are someone else’s child (even when we are old), we spontaneously tell ourselves that we can trust, when no, not necessarily.”

I grew up with a mother who spoke very little to her own mother. My mother, about him, said: “She’s not my mother, she’s a lady in my family and I do the minimum to take care of her.” A bit like the empathy you mentioned. There is no love but an awareness that things are wrong. My mother didn’t completely cut ties, for her own reasons, but it could have happened.

We do what we can with those around us that we did not choose. To return to the sentence I quoted above, even those that we do not choose can be the object of a choice: I also chose to love my parents as an adult, but I weighed the pros and cons, it was not without difficulties, without turbulent moments, without cries, without tears. It’s just that, something is playing.

When we consider that no longer possible, we cut. According to what you wrote to me, you took it as an act. The choices we make always have a forced component, there are drawbacks, in your case it seems socially unacceptable.

I don’t have a miracle recipe to offer you so that your loved ones will understand your decision. If it’s the siblings who keep seeing your mom, I understand that the situation is delicate, it’s a balancing act that probably needs to be done somewhere else than a Slate answer.

As for friends, husband or wife, what will people say, that they go to lunch with their mother, because it seems that we are only one and she is very important! More seriously, discuss it, try to make people understand that this link is deeply subjective and it cannot succumb to platitudes.

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