More threads by hlef2b


Hello. I'm new. I've been feeling really down lately. I keep thinking about my childhood. I'm so lonely. My mom left when I was nine. I still see her a couple times a year, but it's different. I feel motherless. My dreams are consumed by wonderful, loving mothers. I think about it all the time. Is there an actual word for this other than abandonment? I think about having a mother all the time. I'm 19 now. I'm getting too old for this. I don't need a mom now. But I want one. My childhood was less than wonderful, but I feel bad for thinking so. Sigh, I'm just a teenage girl who wants a mother figure in her life more than anything. Is that healthy?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I'd say it's pretty common and definitely understandable for abandoned and abused children, hlef2b. What was your life with her like before she left? Why did she leave?


When my mother was still there, it was chaotic to say the least. She gets angry easily. My father and her would fight all the time. Yell, cuss, and hit each other. They've pushed each other down the stairs. My mom once took a bat and destroyed his office. She was too emotionally wound up in her own problems to notice me I think. My father just hybernated in his office or room most the time. He still does. She became a drug addict. She slept all time, and sometimes wouldn't wake up. She always had strage people at our house. Once a drug dealer came to our house to get money, and my mom had us hide around the house. It was scary. She would yell at me a lot. I mean, she could be nice, but it didn't last long. There are so many bipolar women in my family. I wonder if she could be. One time she slapped me across the face for no reason. I think she felt bad though. I don't know. She would disappear for a night or two occasionally. She had an affair with a much younger guy and brought me to meet him. That was very awkward and damaging. Bascially, I just remember her screaming all the time. She would punch at and beat on my dad a lot. Apparently he pushed her down the stairs once, and she miscarried. I just remember her pushing him down the stairs. After she left, it was peaceful at least. My dad was extra nice to me. I was so sad though. I felt like I had no mom at all. I had to tell everyone she left. My dad still retreats to his bedroom or office. He had a drug problem as well, but not as severe. My mom was in hospitals for her drug problem 4 times that I can think of. After she left, she started drugs again, only worse. She dated way younger men, and now she is married to someone only 4 years older than me, and has 2 kids. Is this enough? Do you need more?


What you might do is look into some support groups in your area. Sometimes, just finding a good friend who's a little older can put someone in your life that can answer your need for a mother figure. I serve this purpose to a number of younger friends. It's rewarding for me, and I hope it is just as rewarding to them. :eek:)


Welcome helef2b!

Boy, you have been through a lot. I can only imagine how you may crave having the mom you always wanted. I want to add to ThatLady's thought, you know, ThatLady :~} about finding some older women to connect with.

Are you spiritual at all? Do you follow or practice any kind of faith? The benefits of adding spirituality in some form, if not, could be two fold. Spending time with women in groups is beneficial and there are many groups of women in various faiths. Reaping the benefits of some form of spirituality is also healing. Every form of spiritual group has gatherings of some kind.

I have enjoyed meditation groups and weekend retreats. Very relaxing and lots of mom figures to connect with. A quilting bee is something that I enjoyed with the elders of a country church I attended. I was definitely the youngest and learned some quilting skills as well as the joy of listening to stories of farm life that were shared. They also shared tips of living, better known as wisdom. Churches have many activites such as a strawberry suppers you could volunteer for.

Volunteering in places where more women may be doing the same, such as with seniors or young children. My daughter enjoyed singing in the choir at univerisity and when she no longer attended she joined a community choir. I didn't know there were so many kinds of choirs out there. They are not all religious choirs. Storytelling groups are fun to attend. You don't have to be the storyteller just listen and be thoroughly entertained. You might even end up being a storyteller after all.

Maybe you could start a support group for moms without daughters and daughters without moms. That would certainly be a fun group. Imagine all the things the group could do!?

Heres a mom hug for you



I'm new to this forum and this is my first post, but I was interested in this thread because I have also had a problem with a lack of mothering and abandonment.

My mother suffered from depression and a lot of physical illness. she was in and out of hospital and when she was home, she was often withdrawn and didnt communicate. She died when I was 12. My dad had a problem controlling his temper. We had a belt that adorned the wall of our living room and he used to beat us severely and sometimes for doing very little (like talking when he was watching TV) and yet he would ignore the big things, like stealing. When I had marks on my face, I was kept at home, or when I had injuries from him, like on one occasion he dislocated my shoulder and another time he twisted my arm so badly I couldnt move it. I was taken to a doctor but told what to say. I dont feel that my difficulties today are related to my dad's violence. I just feel dead towards him. I walked away from his funeral when I was 16 like I was walking away from a strangers, but I loved my mum, I felt like I was close to her, but she wasnt close to me and my entire childhood seemed to be trying to please her. When she was well on occasion she was really nice - never demonstrative but I remember her smiling and I needed a mother. Still do!

Shortly after my mum died, my dad within months remarried and my step mother didnt want to be saddled with his 12 year old daughter. I spent a couple of years knowing I wasnt wanted in that house and I felt like a visitor ther. I always had behaviour problems but got into a lot of trouble with my behaviour at school at this time culminating in my walking out of school when I was 14 and a half. I was then told to move out from my step mothers house and my father and her moved 250 miles away. So when I was nearly 15, I lived in our old house with my sister who is a couple of years older. Neither of us coped all that well, and thinking back, I'm amased we survived as well as we did. I married at 19 someone who drank a lot - I married because I needed a family and to feel secure - wrong reasons I know!

I always had emotional problems throughout my life since I have had phobias, severe depression (that goes and comes back) and difficulty with relationships. The only normal relationship I have had is with my three children, who I love dearly and are three lovely young people (now grown up). I find it difficult to have a "partner" but am ok if I am looking after someone in a relationship. If I give in and let someone care for me, I immediately feel like a small child and get really clingy and dependent. I dont let myself go there! The man I married at 19 is an alcoholic and that lasted for 26 years (I know I should have got out years before).

I react to things sometimes in a very disproportionate way. For instance, I was turned down for a job - now the law of averages says that with 30 people going for the job, the chances are I will be turned down, but when I was turned down I was in despair that they didnt want me, and I felt like I was falling apart. Because I am so afraid of feeling this, I am disinclined to try anything and so experience rejection.

Well here I am today, divorced, in my forties and still struggling with emotional problems - although a lot better. Throughout all this though, I have felt desparate for a mother, to be held and comforted. So much so that I often fantacise about this for hours on end (even at my age!) In these fantasies I am a small child - about 5 I suppose. I kind of feel that I have gone through life almost with an arm missing - there is some big part of me missing inside and I dont know what to do about it. I feel that if someone loved me I would be alright but the logical side of me knows that this sense of love needs to come from within me, but I dont know how to do it.

Anyway that's my story! sorry for this long post, needed to talk! and also, I just wanted to say hello



Hi hlef2b

I can really relate to what you are saying. My desparation for mothering was such that when ever anyone (usual older women) showed me any kindness or support, I would then get obsessively attached to them and need them desparately. This has usually taken the form of teachers and then a therapist who was helping me, a friend at a church I went to etc., It sounds harmless enough, but I would end up ringing these people up for what felt like a "fix" and generally being a nuisance but being unable to help myself. I needed to be the child and although logically I knew the reality. emotionally they were my mother - my need was that great. I woud fantacise about being their child obsessively. fantasies about being comforted and held

Eventually these "relationships" always break down because of my need for them and then it always feels like an agonising bereavement where I really want to die because I cant bear them leaving me.

I have since heard this described as 'obsessive love attachment' I think it is just that although I am an adult now. I need mothering almost as much as I need food or air....maybe you feel this intense need in a similar way??

I dont know quite where to go with it or what to do about this. I am quite embarassed about it and dont think I would ever admit to this problem if this wasnt an anonymous forum


It occurs to me that volunteering some time at a retirement home might answer a lot of needs here...yours, and those of others. You need to feel cherished and mothered. People in nursing homes need to feel valued and worthy of love and respect. Seems to me like you have what they need, and they may well have what you need. Might be worth giving it a try. :eek:)
I've read all situations and to be honest, I have only seen things like this on television, I have been through some tough times, I cant share them yet, cause I have yet to get over them, I think most of these cases sound like what Adler spoke of, due to the lack of a mother figure we're always seeking it in life, and id take ThatLady's advice, I feel i lacked motherly affection also, what i do is act as a motherly figure to others around me, it gives me great saisfaction to see the happiness i bring to others, you can try that and see if it works. And i suggest spiritual help as well, that has helped me more in ways i cannot begin to say.


Hi and thanks for your replies.

I think it odd that people who have lacked this sense of being loved when they were small are naturally giving people. I have seen it in myself and others. I am I believe a very affectionate and giving mother to my own children. I also fostered children for a while a few years back. I do work voluntarily at a homeless charity every so often and feel a sense of wanting to nurture people there. I have an 86 year old neighbour who I also care for and go in and see daily. I have a need to care and 'mother' and I do. It just doesnt ever address the hole I feel inside - not even remotely

Someone said to me once that you will only ever find unconditional love when you learn to 'mother' yourself. I am not sitting back and waiting for an angel to fall out the sky and be a mother. I am realistic about this. I do know that as an adult, you can never expect unconditional love. I can see that a sense of being loved comes from the inside out and not to be got "out there" The trouble is, I have all the theory and one of the practice!

When I look at the mountains I have climbed in emotional recovery over the years - I am hopeful of finding some peace with myself - even if I have my zimmer frame when I achieve it!

Wolf mom

You know what's great? You can choose an older woman to be your Mom. There are plenty of women who would love to mentor and be a mom.

Find something you're interested in or would like to learn about, join a group. Volunteer. Bet you meet a great lady who would be there for you.

There's a great workbook called Mind over Mood. Might help.

19 is a great age to explore life. Please don't get stuck in the past.

I'm 62, and still have abandonment issues, but have learned to recognize them when they come up and am able to move on. You can too.


There's no such thing as the perfect mom. Mothering isn't all that easy, despite all the books and other media available to teach us how. It's a tough job and we're all going to make mistakes, just as our mothers made mistakes. Some people just aren't made to be moms and will never do a good job of it, no matter how many books they read. It's a shame, but it's part of the world we live in.

Whether your mom was a good mom who made mistakes (like the majority), or one of the unfortunate few who just aren't cut out to be mothers, the resulting trauma to you is real. If the trauma is severe, professional help is needed to overcome the damage done. However, for most of us, just giving of ourselves to others...mothering ourselves, and giving of our pent-up love to others, is enough to take us where we want to go. Volunteering at a nursing home, or in a hospital, is one way to do this. It's one of the most inspiring, and healing, things you can do for yourself.
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