Dealing with a Disappointing Parent

Dear Edahn,

No one has ever been able to really give me any "great" advice on this matter, so I thought I'd see if you could. When I was six months old, my drunkard of a mother left. I had a very happy childhood nonetheless and because I had an amazing father and grandparents, I never really thought much of not having a mother or cared where she was (prison).

She has tried getting into contact with me several times these last few years and every time I even start to warm up to the idea, she falls off the wagon again. I find her pathetic not because of her addiction, but because of this sudden animosity I feel towards her. I am unsure how to come at peace with her, or how to really accept the fact that I don't have a mother figure to talk to anymore. I have a step mother but she is of no use, and often acts like a child. She can be fine at some points, but most of the time is just concerned with her children.

Any suggestions?

IT SOUNDS TO ME like the problem lies in trying to fill a hole that's already been filled. Let me explain.

Your mother keeps disappointing you. She comes into your life, shows signs of hope, and makes you believe that things might actually get better, and that you'll finally have the mother figure that you were deprived of. So you get excited, drop your guard, and let yourself feel safe with her. You start to depend on her, but ultimately she succumbs to her addiction, and you're left devastated, once again. It's sad.

But from what I'm hearing, you don't need a mother figure. You've already got one, even it your mother figure isn't in the form of a single woman. Think about it. You were raised and loved by your father, your grandparents, your family friends, and your community, and you grew up to be an intelligent, compassionate, emotionally sophisticated person. You were mothered by a network of caring human beings who all played some role in your maturation into the wonderful person you are today. 

When you see your mom, you don't need to get your hopes up that she'll finally play the part of the devoted mother because that part has been filled. She is who she is and that won't change, but that's okay because you're not missing anything. Who knows. Maybe you'll even end up playing that role for your mom.