Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aisha Sultan: When Mothers Day Hurts

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aisha Sultan: When Mothers Day Hurts

Article excerpt

It's impossible to escape the day devoted to honoring mothers, but how do you begin to honor a toxic mom?

While the intent of Mother's Day is to show some love for the first person with whom we are wired to bond, it can be a painful day for many. It's an occasion touched with grief for those who lost a mother too young, and for women who struggle with infertility or who have lost a child. But there's another group rarely discussed around the commercial celebration of motherhood: Those who were raised by unloving, abusive or narcissistic mothers.

Across cultures, a mother is synonymous with selfless love, a child's natural protector. In the wild, a mama bear is the ultimate defense. For those who grew up with a loving, protective mother, it's hard to imagine what it's like being raised by someone so broken she leaves lasting scars. Young victims tend to be ashamed of what they have experienced and hide their parent's abuse or neglect.

Rayne Wolfe, author of "Toxic Mom Toolkit: Discovering a Happy Life Despite Toxic Parenting," knows the dread of Mother's Day. The run-up to the holiday can be crushing for those who grew up in an abusive family, she said.

"I was neglected. I was literally not fed. I was exposed to sexual abuse and abused by my mother's second husband," she said. Wolfe remembers trying to wake up her mother, passed out from drinking, as a child when she was hungry.

Her mother would ask to see her hands.

"If my hands weren't shaking, she wouldn't feed me," she said.

Certain holidays can be a trigger point for emotional wreckage Valentine's Day after a breakup, Christmas without a loved one.

But there's an added terribleness when even the premise of the holiday taunts you.

Mother's Day is major commercial event with total spending projected to reach $21.4 billion outpacing Valentine's Day by nearly a couple billion. …

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