1. Piankhy
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    Piankhy Member

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    A Mother Who Hates Her Child

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Piankhy, Jan 30, 2012.

    That's the type of relationship that the MC has with his mother. The fact that they don't get along is crucial to the plot of my story. What I can't figure out on my own, is what does it take for a mother to stop loving her own child? When does one simply stop caring for their own children and leaves them to fend for themselves? So far, the only reason I've had is that the MC's younger brother is the opposite of him. Stays out trouble and always gets good grades. However, I just don't think that it's enough. If possible, I'd like one specific event to be the turning point for when their relationship goes downhill. But as I've said, I can't think of that one event because I don't understand why parents' can dislike their children.

    Can any of you think of an event that would cause a mother to suddenly stop liking her teenage child? Or a few key events? If anybody has any personal experience that would relate to this, that also would be helpful.
     
  2. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    It would depend on the mother. Is she supposed to be somewhat sympathetic or is she just a mean person? Maybe the child caused her to have to give up a career? Survived some catastrophe that killed somebody else she loved? Endless possibilities. She's your character. What would cause her to stop loving her own child? And did she stop loving him/her, or just never start?
     
  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are so many situations that can cause a mother to reject the child, but most of the time it involves significant emotional immaturity. Also, a mother who doesn't love the child is very unlikely to have stopped loving them - she has more likely never loved them in the first place. However, there is a huge stigma surrounding the concept of a "bad parent" so most mothers would deny to themselves and others that they have attachment issues with their own child. They'd be more likely to blame the child for their own lack of emotional response to them, which makes this dynamic very complicated.

    Sometimes, people also get mentally ill to such a degree that for various reasons they become unable to offer the support their child needs.
    However, there are certain personalities that are more likely to put their emotional needs before the needs of their child, and there are various ways in which the child suffers due to neglect or bad treatment from a parent. There is an excellent book on this called "Toxic parents" you might want to check it out.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's a longish thread on this you should find and look over, as the whole subject is discussed at great length there... it'll be a lot quicker than waiting for answers here...
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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  6. UrbanBanshee
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    UrbanBanshee Member

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    One reason for a mother to start to hate her daughter is jealousy. For being young and 'free,' perhaps having a better childhood then she had, or just because of the things that 'make life easy' for us now. Cell phones, internet, etc. The mother may feel that her life is being taken away from her because she is forced to be a 'mother.' Maybe the MC is better at something then her mother was?

    You ask for a specific thing to set it off, but that sort of thing doesn't happen overnight. There will always be underlying issues even if a specific event pushed it too far. Maybe she never wanted a daughter and the son is the only one she ever really wanted, a child from an affair maybe that is a constant reminder that she might be found out?

    To figure out a tipping point I'd find out what is the most important thing to the mother, and have the daughter 'ruin' it somehow. An extreme example would be the MC and her brother ending up in an accident together, maybe the MC fault a little, and the son dies. The mother could end up completely blaming the death on the MC especially if it had already been shown the mother didn't care for her daughter.

    Hope those ideas are at least a little helpful. :)
     
  7. Piankhy
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    Piankhy Member

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    That thread and your statements helped me out a bunch.

    Here's what I've come up with. The MC is a child that she never wanted to have. His father was a very abusive and violent person to her, to the point where he hurt her mentally as well. So when she sees the MC display violent or rebellious tendacies, she's reminded of her hellish times with the MC's father all over again. Not to mention the fact that he looks just like him. Intially she tries to force herself to love him, and honestly belives she does for a time. However, when she has her second child and he turns out to be very good natured and obident, she slowly starts to show him more love than the MC. This in turn causes the MC to rebel even more, trying to gain more of her attention. It creates the opposite effect on the mother though, and the she starts to resent him instead.

    Does this make sense? Or should I aim for something more dramatic or less dramatic?
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sadly enough, it does make sense, since it does happen in real life... it would be quite easy to go over the top with it, though, so you'd better watch out that you don't turn drama into melodrama...
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Lots of people secretly resent their kids, but put on a nice face to the rest of the world so they won't get smacked with the "bad parent" label. Many people had kids because they envisioned the "kodak moments" (watching school plays, kicking a ball across the yard together, getting ready for prom, mom-and-daughter nights out etc, or even just because they want a baby to cuddle), without thinking through realistically how parenthood would impact their life. Or, they never wanted a kid in the first place, but faced so much pressure from their family, friends or partner that they just gave in. Then they realized, "crap, I'm stuck in this for the next 18 years."

    It happens. Luckily my parents were not this way, but it does happen, which is why I'm extremely iffy about ever having kids. There's loads of secret confessions and such on the internet about parents who are like this. Your MC's mother could be one of them. It doesn't have to be a huge drastic incident, although it can.

    Bottom line: parenthood is hard, and many people jump into it without being ready, then wish they hadn't.
     
  10. MegTheLedge
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    MegTheLedge Member

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    Uh. I'm pretty sure my mom resents me. She's treated me like an adult since I was born, and whenever I need to be a stupid teen, she takes it as disobedience rather than what it is, just pent up angst. I started to write to get rid of the angst, but then she took that away from me because I "was ignoring her." Now everytime I pick up a damn pen, she's over my shoulder like a hawk making sure that what I'm writing isn't recreational. I don't think she loves me. I think she loves who she wants me to be, and quite frankly, that's not going to happen.

    What's worse is, I'm not even sure what she wants me to be. But whatever it is, I'm obviously not doing it.
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    She doesn't let you write? I'm sorry you're dealing with that, and it's extremely dysfunctional. Perhaps family therapy would help here. Or, if you are in school, you could talk to a guidance counselor and get him/her to talk to your mom - she might listen more seriously if it's coming from a fellow adult.

    If you need a shoulder, you can PM or VM me.

    :(
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    talk to your school counselor asap, meg... or the school nurse, or a teacher you like and can trust... or someone at your church/temple/mosque/whatever that you'd feel comforable talking to... this doesn't sound like a healthy situation at all... you need some support... and it sounds like your mom needs some help, as well...

    mallory...
    though i can applaud your wanting to help, i would very strongly advise you to not put this girl in a possibly even worse situation by encouraging her to correspond with a total stranger without her mother's permission to do so... since she's a minor, you'd be putting both her and yourself in a very risky personal and legal situation...

    love and hugs to you both, maia
     
  13. Piankhy
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    Piankhy Member

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    Thanks for the advice, I'll definetly keep this in mind for my development of the MC's mother. I won't make her in the way that the reader will hate her though. More like they disagree with her behavior but can understand where she's coming from. After all, no one is perfect.

    I had a friend who went through a similar thing when he was growing up. His parents were super strict and never let him do "fun" stuff. However, they did it because they were trying to mold him into a successful person(which is he now). I'm not sure if its the same for your situation but I will tell you to just hang in there. The best way to find out why she is doing the things she do is to talk to her one and one. Lol that's what adults do and if she wants to treat you like a adult, give her a taste of her own medicine. But that's just my opinion and I'm not a model of good behavior. Good luck and I'll pray that your situation gets better:)
     
  14. MegTheLedge
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    MegTheLedge Member

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    Thanks everyone for the concern. I have adults that I can talk to, mostly my best friend's mom.

    I'm gonna stop hijacking the thread now. :)
     
  15. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    what if the child is the result of the mom being raped. and when she looks at her son she see the eyes of her rapist, or something less cliche ...
     
  16. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    My fiance has that sort of situation with her mother. But the issue is not so much one of love I think.
    Her mother is just extremely immature and is all about instant gratification. The result of this is that she puts herself before any of her kids.
    (We're currently trying to help out her younger sister who's just hit high school and isn't getting any support from her mother.)

    My fiance's mother is a drug addict and an alcoholic. She got pregnant for the first time at 18 (with my fiance) has now had 4 children and I believe 5 abortions.
    She probably has a number of mental illnesses such as chronic depression and bipolar. But more than anything, she's simply never thought of anyone but herself.

    At 18, when she got pregnant, she was married. Her husband's name is on her daughter's birth certificate even though he's not the father. (She didn't want to be judged for cheating on him.) As I understand it, they pretty much immediately broke up and she stayed with the father. She had another child to this man, then started cheating on him, and had another child. After this, they broke up and she got married. She had his child. (And didn't want her at all.)
    She's always latched onto a man to help her through life so she doesn't have to do anything. She's never had a job.
    Her latest husband died and she replaced him with her eldest son. (In terms of support, financially and emotionally, not sexually.)

    All through this time, my fiance has had to raise her brothers so that her mother and boyfriends didn't have to. She's had to cook, clean and provide for the family, so that the mother didn't have to.

    Unfortunately, this is all true. The problem is, when told from a teenagers perspective it sounds (to people who haven't gone through it) to be exagerated and probably overly dramatic. I know that's how I felt when I first started going out with her.
    Told from the mother's perspective, it's a complete fabrication. She believes she's an excellent mother who never does wrong by her children. She also believes that the crappy life she's had is a result of the universe being out to get her. (When obviously it's been the stupid choices that she's made.)

    The reason I'm telling you all of this is because in this case, it was just who the mother was, not some event that triggered it. I'm sure she loves her children in her way, but they don't come first.

    From what you've written it seems like the mother you're using would be the type who would TRY to do the best thing for their child, so I'd be cautious about having there be too much "My mummy doesn't love me." stuff, it will probably come across as teenage anxty. (Except for the people who've gone through it.)
     
  17. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    Makes sense to me. Maybe at some point the kid does something that pushes the mother over the edge -- kicks the family cat, or tells some teacher at school his mom is abusing him so he can get taken away, or something -- and the mother snaps. Says, "You were a mistake," or something.
     
  18. Piankhy
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    Piankhy Member

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    I actually considered that scenario. However, the MC I'm using for this story is one of my favorites and I'm too attached to him to make him the son of some sick rapist.

    Extremely helpful, thanks for sharing the story. I'm starting to get a good idea of exactly how I want the MC's mother to be.

    Yeah, that's exactly why I said I wanted a breaking point for their relationship. Just so she could pretty much say "I should have aborted you." I'm thinking of a few options right now. One, is that the MC figures out that his stepfather is cheating on his mom, so he does things to intentially break up their relationship without telling the Mom his reason. Another, would be that his younger brother got jumped on the way to school by some guys who didn't like the MC. Because the mother adores his younger brother and sees him as a future success, she would flip out on the MC for bringing harm to the younger brother.
     
  19. Drusilla
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    Drusilla Active Member

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    Piankhy.
    If you want to, you can PM me. I've experienced some of the things that you are writing about. Feel free to PM me and ask me questions.
     
  20. MRice
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    MRice Member

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    I know a person who's mother, from the time they were very young, told everybody that she'd orginally planned on giving the child up for adoption, but the biological father wouldn't sign the papers to consent, so she had to keep the child.

    The child is now 17. They have little relationship with their mother; who they still have to live with; and a host of self-esteem issues. Perhaps there are some grains of idea here. Last year there were some issues with the step-father that brought in childrens services and the police. The relationship from that point on between mother and child was worse, with the child refusing to want to stay with the mother, but having no choice; state laws.

    PM me if you'd like and I'll elaborate, but to do so here would be; in my opinion; in very bad taste.
     
  21. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    Reasons why your MC's mother hates your MC doesn't even have to be your MC's fault. Reasons could pertain to the mother's childhood, flaws, & experiences. Perhaps her experiences made her just a hateful person. Perhaps she was abused and rejected her entire life and that's all she ever really knows. Some people are just selfish. Maybe she didn't want to have kids and resents her children. Maybe she likes the MC's sibling because the MC is little trouble, & God forbid the mother have to put effort into parenting. There are a lot of things you could do with the scenario.
     
  22. Samo
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    Samo Member

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    Hi,

    Here's some food for thought, not sure if you'll find it interesting... Borrowed a lot from McKee -

    I think taking an idea like 'love' and pushing it to its most ultimate negative might make this far more compelling.

    Perhaps MC's mother had a particularly traumatic labour followed by antenatal depression, causing her to hate the child? But then it might be interesting to have her hide her hatred from her other son and husband.

    After all, hatred alone wouldn't be the most absolute antithesis of love - a mother who masks her hatred as love could be a far more dangerous antagonist.

    A talent for Manipulation and a lack of empathy are, after all, traits shared by psychopaths.

    Samo
     
  23. tiae2011
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    tiae2011 New Member

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    I actually think its quite rare for a parent to truly resent their child... I think what tends to be the issue is that they have no concept of how to be a loving parent, or just take their frustrations out on their child. Mothers are essentially genetically engineered to love their child; a hormone is released when the child is born that helps them feel immensely attached to the child in question. Maybe she could have a hormonal imbalance in her brain, but just be undiagnosed? It's a lot more realistic, and not necessarily a cliche either.
     
  24. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    tiae, to say it is rare negates the magnitude of maternal experience. I hate to admit it, but I know, it's not rare and it is a "more often than not" situtation, that I DID resent my newborn daughter. Her labor was intense. My body was battered, I was left unable to care for myself, let alone this creature who wanted to eat every half hour. Who refused to eat a normal sized meal for her age leaving her ravishing long before what all the books said about feeding schedules. I had a husband who, thankfully took care of both of us as my body healed (and by bad, I mean, seek out legal retribution bad for everything done while in labor). I hated when she screamed. I hated that I was tied down to this...*thing*. In spite of desperately wanting children. I resented her and had to fight every urge in me from throwing her against the wall some times. Yes it was post partum, yes it was brought on by medication I was on, but the fact is, many first time moms do not experience "love at first sight". It's not rare. There's suddenly this human who is dependent upon you. It is wrinkled. It doesn't talk. Communication sucks and you struggle to figure out what the needs are of this thing. Society demands we love the slimy alien that emerges from our groin, so we suppress the urge to say "no it's not!" when asked "isn't it wonderful?" It is only as we learn who our infants are that we begin to bond. Only as we discover their likes and dislikes, and study their faces as they feed in blissful milk drunkeness that we begin to love the separated simbiote.

    With subsequent children this phenomenon passes much quicker. We've learned already that the bond will form. There's nothing to fear, there's experience behind our belts and we can trust ourselves to mother the newest addition to the human race. However, it is well documented that many times a woman does not bond right away and that it takes a while for that bond to form.

    Now before you all think I'm some abusive psychopath, I did receive medical help, but I also learned to love. She still, to this day, has a very strong bond with her father, and we struggle to find common ground, but we have grown together and we have discovered that we truly care for one another. I would die to save her life now, and that was not always the case. She's grown into a beautiful young lady with a world of promise ahead of her, and yes...the bond did come. It just doesn't always come and that lack of bonding is what can make fuel for a great story line.
     

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