This post contains some of the best absent mother quotes.
Absent Mother Quotes
1. “To appreciate the vulnerability of dependency, imagine that you are flying in a plane that has only one pilot—and you realize that the pilot is drunk. Or you’re just going under for surgery, and it dawns on you that the surgeon doesn’t know what she is doing. For the young child with an emotionally absent mother, it’s like discovering the captain of the ship is just a mannequin and not really human.” – Jasmin Lee Cori
2. “This is how the emotionally absent mother feels to a child: like someone who doesn’t really exist. It is a shock, a threat to survival, and therefore a trauma to the child’s nervous system.” – Jasmin Lee Cori
3. “The picture we get of mothers who are emotionally absent is one of a woman who seems not quite fully human. One man said his parents were like statues to him; they didn’t feel like real human beings. Others have spoken of not being able to find a human heart in there and feeling as if Mother was “not real.”” – Jasmin Lee Cori
4. “The emotionally absent mother is not present to provide many of the functions of the Good Mother, but perhaps most important is that her heart is not available to the child. She doesn’t create a real bond with her child. While other types of mothers may do a poor job of providing some of the Good Mother functions such as guidance, encouragement, and protection, some do create a bond.” – Jasmin Lee Cori
5. “The emotionally absent mother has room in her awareness only for the immediate task at hand, and those who are highly stressed may barely be doing that. She may be responsive to outer needs (to some degree) but not to inner feelings and needs.” – Jasmin Lee Cori
Related: Childhood Emotional Neglect Test
6. “The biggest hurdle to receiving affection when you are a child of an absent parent is the issue of trust. Your mother failed to show you the affection you needed, and no matter how hard you tried to elicit affectionate responses, she let you down. So, it can be very hard to open yourself up to accepting the idea that others might care for you. After all, what if you are wrong?”– J.L. Anderson
7. “Society has a great deal of sympathy for children whose mothers were physically absent. When someone has lost their mother by death, divorce or separation, it is natural to assume that person will have problems as they grow into adulthood. People understand this easily and make allowances for it. It is less common for people to understand the significance of having a mother who does not provide the emotional nurture a child needs.” – J.L. Anderson
8. “Researchers have identified two response patterns in infants whose mothers are emotionally absent. One is to turn away from the mother, avoiding contact with her in order to maintain a more pleasant state. Not surprisingly, children with mothers who show little emotional expression more often develop a self-sufficient attachment style. The other pattern, as Stern describes, is “to make extraordinary efforts to charm his mother, to pull her along—to act as an antidepressant to her.” Hardly a job for a baby!” – Jasmin Lee Cori
9. “Regardless of the era, good parenting by a father has always helped make up for the holes left by an emotionally absent mother.” – Jasmin Lee Cori
10. “Mirroring is rare for emotionally absent mothers, leaving children without a positive self-image or clear sense of self and, by default, feeling inadequate on a deep level. Some felt belittled and shamed, although I was trying to exclude mothers who were actively negating.” – Jasmin Lee Cori
11. “Just as there are many reasons behind a mother’s emotional absence, there are many reasons a mother may be physically absent. Absences that are too early or too long or too frequent will of course leave marks. A mother can’t be emotionally present if she’s not physically present at least part of the time.” – Jasmin Lee Cori
12. “I found these emotionally absent mothers singularly unreflective, clueless about any role they may have played in their children’s early or later problems.” – Jasmin Lee Cori
13. “Emotionally absent mothers often leave us feeling absent. People may feel spaced out, disconnected, and less here with this type of mother. You may have found yourself more serious and alone in the imagined scenes with her. Some find themselves angry and want to do something big to get her attention.” – Jasmin Lee Cori
14. “Emotionally absent mothers often expect their children to take care of them in some way.”– J.L. Anderson
15. “Certainly if a mother is emotionally absent, it will be impossible for her to attune to her child’s needs. I am speaking here both of a particular child’s needs and of children’s needs in general.” – Jasmin Lee Cori
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- Portions of this article were adapted from the book The Emotionally Absent Mother, © 2014 by J.L. Anderson. All rights reserved.
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book The Emotionally Absent Mother, © 2010 by Jasmin Lee Cori. All rights reserved.
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