In my last post on mother daughter damage I asked how do we learn to love women when our female caregivers have hurt us so badly? But Susan Griffin in her essay Lesbians and Literature writes:
When you come to a relationship between the mother and the daughter, you come to a relationships inevitably about the daughter and her own self. If she cannot accept the love shes felt for her mother she cannot accept that identification, she cannot accept also the love that she’s felt for herself. We get back here to what i think is the central problem with women’s writing: that is self hatred, hatred of the body, hatred of ones own voice, hatred of ones own perceptions
which for me asks a much more immediately important question, how do we love ourselves if our mothers didn’t love us? Or if our mothers love was so distorted by patriarchy that it was unrecognisable to us as love? we are angry at ourselves because our mothers were angry at us, our mothers were angry at us because they were angry at themselves.
and how do we break the cycle? Can we have a healthy feminist community when women have been wounded by each other and do not believe they have each others best interests at heart?
I dream of a feminist utopia where women mother collectively, where motherhood does not send women crazy through isolation and frustration, where mothers can nurture their own creativity and skills that are not directly related to motherhood, where mothers are not afraid that they or their children will be damaged or rejected by society, where women have not been so damaged that they pass that damage down.
But in the meantime we, the daughters, live with our mothers damage, and I don’t know how we live healthily with that, build healthy relationships with that, love ourselves to the bone with that.