Mother's day is often a day for celebration - maybe in more of a low-key way in the UK than some - but it's a reminder to appreciate and acknowledge the sacrifices and hard work that went into being a mother and bringing us up.
For some of us, it involves simply sending a card or flowers. It might mean arranging to take over all of the household tasks for the day, cooking a meal at home, or at the other end of the spectrum perhaps a spa day and dinner at a restaurant. Maybe even gifts.
Some of these gifts of time or money will be influenced by society or advertising - but what does the day mean for those of us who don't have the kind of relationship with our mothers that allows for that kind of outward show of affection? What about those of us who have mothers whom we aren't speaking to, have no contact with or where there is animosity due to disagreements, unacceptable behaviour or childhood trauma that is not resolved?
It can be tricky, especially living in a time where the opportunity for constant comparison is available on the Instagrams and Facebooks of the world. We might worry that if we aren't going to great lengths to show our appreciation for our mothers, that they might misinterpret our intentions - or worse - they might expect the same even though we don't actually feel those things towards them.
How does someone write a mother's day card to a parent who emotionally abused them? Or continues to do so and we haven't told anyone about the dysfunction of the relationship? After all, we are meant to love our mothers... aren't we?
It can be hard to remove ourselves from the emotion of a dysfunctional parent/child relationship. It can be hard not to feel the duty to behave in a certain way or say certain things. But when it hurts us to do so, when the incongruence - the disparity between our thoughts and our actions or words - is so great, that alone can be damaging to us. We can come to resent both the other person and ourselves for playing out roles and a relationship which aren't based on reality.
So how do we deal with it?
Sharing can be key to overcoming stigmatised feelings - such as that of actively resenting a parent - be that with a partner, a close friend or a therapist. Often people choose to do so with a therapist because the counsellor is a removed, impartial figure. They have no emotional ties to the parties involved, and crucially are unbiased. Plus there is the comfort and knowledge that anything that is said is confidential and there is no chance of thoughts and feelings being shared with other family members or the person themselves.
If this describes you, and sharing might help you to untangle yourself from the confusion around a difficult parent/child relationship then please do get in touch via www.harleycounselling.com/contact where you can email me to arrange a chat. Or - you can book your free 10-minute telephone consultation with me instantly over at www.harleycounselling.com/bookonline.
Laura is an online talking therapist and writer specialising in working with millennials and the LGBTQI+ community.