Growing Up With an Emotionally Unavailable Mom – Part One

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Although I’ve lived with mental illness my whole life, I am not a medical professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclaimer here.

I’ve been holding in a lot of my thoughts and feelings for 23 years now. It’s time to release all the pain and anger I’ve been enduring my whole life.

Instead of making this post be 10,000 words long, I’m going to break this into a series. Who knows how many posts will be included, because I have such much to say.

If I can open up and help someone else cope with their pain, then it’s all worth it. Here’s part one of Growing Up With an Emotionally Unavailable Mom:

Growing Up With an Emotionally Unavailable Mom – School Edition

My mom never loved me. At least not in the way a mother is supposed to love her child. She was incredibly selfish, and she only cared when it was convenient for her.

She’s the exact same way today.

Throughout elementary school, I always wondered why my mom never remembered to pick me up after school. Now that I’m older, I know that she just chose to pick me up when she felt like it.

Starting at the very young age of 5 or 6 years old, I would watch every other student get picked up after school besides me. I would wait incessantly at the corner where she was supposed to pick me up. I hardly ever moved from that corner, because I thought my mom wouldn’t be able to find me if I did.

The outside would get more and more quiet as every kid got picked up by their parent. The quieter it got, the more the anxiety built up inside me.

Within about 10 minutes, there would be no more cars or students left waiting outside. It felt like every thing had gone silent, and I could hear my heart pound in my chest. 

Like clockwork, the after school teacher would have to walk all the way to the end of the school grounds to come get me. We would then have to take the long walk back inside to the school’s office.

I knew that phone by heart. I had to press a few buttons before I could make the call to my home phone. My mom would never pick up, so I would leave messages on the answering machine. It was always the same. It was always, “Mommy, can you come get me?”

Then I would wait for what seemed like an eternity more. It would always feel like hours, even though we lived only a few minutes away. I would stare out the window, waiting to see her blue van pull up to the curbside pickup.

She never apologized for being late.

When I was old enough to walk home by myself, a lot of the time the front door would be locked. Since I never had a key, I would ring the doorbell over and over and knock until my hands hurt before my mom would let me in. Sometimes I would even hop the back fence hoping the back door would be unlocked.

I never got an after-school snack. I never got any help with my homework, and I never got asked, “Sweetie, how was your day at school?”

My sisters and I always had to pack our own lunches. We had to eat the breakfast we prepared for ourselves. We picked out our own outfits and made sure we told our mom when it was time for school.

When my older sister was in middle school, I would have to constantly tell my mom it was time to go pick her up. Instead of getting in the car, my mom would just continue to lay down and watch Trading Spaces. I would ask her over and over again, but she would never move.

Was TV really that much more important than her own daughters?


When I was in middle school, I would wait and wait by the wall just praying to be picked up. I didn’t have a phone to call her to remind her to come get me. Eventually, I learned that it would just be better for all of us if I just walked home that mile every day.

I was scared each and every day walking home from school. Sometimes people in cars would honk at me or scream out at me. Some would drive by slow for a block. To this day, I can’t stand walking outside by myself.

Throughout my childhood, I would have so many panic attacks. I would constantly cry and scream. My mom never understood my pain. She would pin me down to the floor or my bed. She would even cover my mouth (and sometimes my nose) until I stopped crying. Stop crying, and I’ll let you go.

When I was eight years old, she went to the store, bought diapers and told me, “If you’re going to act like a baby, you’re going to be treated like a baby.”

I remember being forced to wear them, and I felt so incredibly helpless. I had no idea what I was doing that was so bad.

All these experiences point to me developing incredibly bad anxiety and relationship dependency issues. I have terrible separation anxiety from my boyfriend, and I attribute it all to my mom not being there like she should’ve.

It’s funny how much our environment can shape us. It doesn’t make it easier to cope with our future, but it helps explain why we are the way we are.

*Read parts two and three!

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