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Did my mam hold me back?

Ask the Experts: Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice


Getting counselling is a good step.

Getting counselling is a good step.

Getting counselling is a good step.

Dear Maura: I always thought I had a good relationship with my mother, who died last year, until a friend told me she thought I was always held back by her.

At the time she passed away, I was lost because we did everything together - shopping, outings, holidays. I lived with my dad and mam. I never really got on as well with dad because I always was so close to my mother. I started counselling recently and I've begun to see her in a different light.

I'm 45 and never had a boyfriend. My friends are from school and one from work. We go out maybe once a month. I felt guilty if I planned to do something at the weekend. Mam never said anything, but she did get in a silent mood, that's the best way to describe it.

She liked nothing better if dad was working a late shift and we had a nice dinner and watched a film with all sorts of cake and sweets. I put on so much weight in the last few years she was alive.

What was the point of looking good? I wore black to work and when I went out with the girls it was to the local pub so jeans were fine. I could be a totally different person now only for the way she kept me close to home. The big issue is I can't talk to her about any of this.

Answer: Let me highlight the positive which is you are getting counselling. I can already see the influence this counsellor is having on you as you are able to articulate your feelings clearly. Also, let me say that your mother loved you.

However, she kept you close and didn't cut the umbilical cord because she loved having you in her life. Yes, of course this comes across as selfish, but love is there too and it's important you remember that. This is your insulation against becoming bitter about this experience. Keep talking to help you to und erstand this relationship fully.

I miss my brother after he moved away

Dear Maura: My brother moved away from home just before the first lockdown. Our mum and dad split up a few years ago and I live with dad mostly, although some weekends I go to my mum's.

There was always tension between them when we were growing up. I'm 21 and my brother is 24. I miss him and he keeps making excuses about the virus so as not to come visit.

I really miss being able to talk to someone. Dad is fine but he's not affectionate. I've a few friends, but nobody I can chat to like my brother. He's promised to visit in a few weeks or so. Why is he staying away?

Answer: Maybe he has issues of his own relating to your family. I think that leaving gave him some space from the tension that was there when you were growing up. He could be reluctant to return because of the issues between your parents. Keep in touch with him and tell him how much you are really looking forward to his visit. Explain that he's the only person you feel comfortable talking to. He may not want to open up about certain things.

Reassure him that you just want to see him to have a laugh and to catch up on all his news.

  • Get in touch with our team of top professionals, email your problems to:
  • Dr Angela Brokmann dr.angela@sundayworld.com
  • Maura O’Neill maura.oneill@sundayworld.com
  • All pictures are posed by models

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