'My mum's shunned me all my life – so why am I the one who feels guilty about it?'

Daily Mirror agony aunt Coleen Nolan helps out a reader who has never felt close to her mum and was left scarred after knowing from an early that she wasn’t liked

Coleen Nolan
‘My dad died a few years ago, so I stopped going home as I only ever went to visit him and my mum wasn’t interested in seeing me anyway’

Dear Coleen,

I have always had a very difficult ­relationship with my mother, who is a challenging person to say the least.

Growing up, she always made it clear I wasn’t her favourite child – that spot went to my younger brother – and it really scarred me.

In fact, I had a lot of therapy in my early thirties – around the time I was having my own children – to deal with the baggage from my childhood.

While I was never close to my mum, thankfully I got on brilliantly with my dad, but I left home as soon as I could and never looked back.

But mum has been suffering on her own due to the pandemic – and now I feel guilty


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Sadly, my dad died a few years ago, so I stopped going home altogether, as I only ever went to visit him and my mum wasn’t interested in seeing me anyway.

The thing is, I’m wrestling with this awful guilt now because Christmas is coming up, she’s ­struggled through the pandemic on her own, she’s not in the best health and she barely knows my kids.

I know I’m judged by people for not visiting her or including her in my family, but she has always been so cold to me – she even told me outright she preferred my brother and found me “hard work”, and she never had my back. I’ve felt rejected all my life.

Have you any advice?

Coleen says

Firstly, you shouldn’t care about what other people think – they don’t know the full story and they didn’t have to grow up being rejected by their mum. They won’t know what it feels like to be in your situation.

It’s very sad all round because your mum has missed out on so much – a good relationship with you and with your children. And, of course, you’ve missed out on having a nurturing mother in your life.

It doesn’t sound to me as if you have anything to feel guilty for and feeling like this is a waste of time.

It became clear to me that my brother was her favourite child – and that scarred me


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If you want to see your mum to try to strike up a more positive relationship and work through things from the past, those are good reasons, but don’t do it out of guilt.

Perhaps what you need to think about is how you’ll feel if your mum gets ill or passes away – would you wish you’d had the opportunity to talk things over with her?

Of course, you could try with your mum and she might reject you again, which I’m sure you’ve thought of and perhaps that’s what’s stopping you from trying.

You don’t mention what your ­relationship with your brother is like, but could it be worth talking things over with him? Particularly because he has a good relationship with her and she’ll listen to him.


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