My Immigrant Mother Became Someone Else In The U.S.

Dear Martha:

Since we came to the United States, my family has changed a lot. My parents separated and my mom, who works really hard for her four kids, has stopped loving us.

She told us she was ashamed that we are her kids, that she doesn’t approve of my older sister’s tattoos and nose and tongue piercings, that my two middle brothers do drugs and drink alcohol, and that she wants me, the youngest at 16 years old, to stay at home because she is sure I am going to go out like my siblings. I am suffering and desperate because I want the mom I had before, who was loving and cared about her children.

— 16 and Desperate

Dear 16 and Desperate:

Actually I understand your pain and the difficulty of what has happened. Not to make excuses for your mom, but it appears that she collapsed as a mother and renounced her motherly responsibility and love. It appears that the system, the customs, and the culture of the United States surprised her and she relinquished her role as a mother. She needs a lot of help to recover and re-connect with her maternal feelings.

But something important is that she is not writing, and so I am going to address you. Look for support in different organizations that there are for youths your age or meet with a social worker or counselor. You are not responsible for the lives of your siblings, but you are responsible for yours. I guarantee that there are many institutions, churches or people that know how to value and support you so that you can remain a person that knows how to endure life’s difficulties and it is here that you can become an emotionally and physically healthy adult. Take care of yourself. “You have the right to be happy.”

— Martha

Martha Sáenz is a life coach and hyponotherapist who lives in Los Angeles. If you have a question for Martha email her at Follow her on Twitter at @marthalifecoach.

[Photo By Rodolfo Nunez]

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