In my last post “A Mother Daughter Relationship~ From Broken to Whole” I began a series on how my Mom’s belief system impacted me. Today, I welcome my Mom, Debbie, as she describes her dreams for our relationship and her belief system as a young mother.
By Debbie Dippel
When considering Carla and my relationship, I think it may be helpful to look back at the relationship between myself and my Mom and the impact that my upbringing had on my belief system.
I was the youngest of 6 children. My mother was widowed when she was 38 and I was 6 years old. She re-married shortly after and that marriage ended in divorce. She had a difficult life and very poor health. At a young age I felt like her caretaker. She didn’t have the energy to invest in my life. I was given free reign, never had a curfew and wasn’t questioned much about my comings and goings. I pitied my mother and carried a sense of guilt when I left her alone. I had fears that I would become like her, especially regarding her illness. Her fears were passed on to me, the fear of being alone and single very intensely. There were positive interactions between us as well. I always knew I could talk with her and share my fears. She would listen. She once answered my question regarding my feelings of guilt with, “You are a child. You should be carefree.” Those words lifted my guilt and I came away relieved. This caused me to realize how much impact words can have on a child. She died 2 months after I was married. I loved my mother but her illness, emotional and physical, prevented us from having a healthy relationship. I would have liked to know her the way she was created to be as a healthy and emotionally whole person.
I had a strong desire to be married, have children and be in a happy and stable family. I had opinions on how children should be raised which I learned from my older siblings. I believed that as long as my children were raised properly, with love and discipline, everything would work out well. I wanted my daughter and me to be close, and enjoy each other’s company. I wanted her to be happy, well behaved, popular, have a good self esteem and know that she was loved. I didn’t want her to struggle with the same fears that I did. I wanted her to be a Christian and belong to a church where she felt a sense of belonging. I wanted her to have a good relationship with her Dad and brother. I envisioned her doing well in school, graduating, having friends, learning music, getting married and having a family. The main goal I envisioned for her was that she find a good man to marry. Therefore, I worried over her appearance. I watched her weight, encouraged her to wear makeup and do her hair, and socialize as much as possible.
I saw myself as being her confidante, role model, and encourager. I always looked down the road and thought that whatever actions I took now would affect her as an adult. I also believed that my husband and I needed to be a loving couple who modeled real love to their children. But this was not something I could do on my own.