Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dear Mom: GOODBYE


[image:dangerouscreation.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Tranquility2.jpg]

I had a beautifully disturbing realization this past week: I couldn’t remember the last time I talked to my mother. I really couldn’t. This realization was even more delicious because I was pretty sure that I hadn’t even THOUGHT about her for what seemed like several months. Not for a single second.

And why should I? Over the years this woman has been emotionally manipulative. She has hurled insults. She has literally THROWN things at people. She has belittled everyone that ever cared about her. And she has done it with an insatiable, uncontrolled rage. But I guess regular readers already know that.

LET ME BE CLEAR
Let me be clear about this. My mother is not a two-dimensional monster. I understand and respect the reasons why she acts the way she does. In fact, I actually love and admire her greatly. You guys have no idea what she has been through. She is one of the most courageous and intelligent people I know.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t care anymore. I really don’t. I’m tired of feeling sorry for someone who is often only interested in making me miserable. I’m over trying to reach out to a person who is so emotionally damaged that they are incapable of sharing love. I’m sick of being yelled at. I’m done being the adult.

GOODBYE
I’ve decided to simplify my life once again. I’m basically not talking to my mother again. Ever.

I can’t express how happy this makes me feel. The happiness is reinforced by knowing that I am not doing this out of some sort of hurtful need to spite the woman who gave birth to me. I am simply doing something that will bring peace and tranquility to my life.

And yes, I’m aware that there are some practical impediments to this decision (family gatherings, calls initiated by her, etc…) but believe me, I’ve thought about them and they can all be overcome.

DISTANCE CAN BRING YOU PEACE
The bottom line is that sometimes distance may be your only option. If you are fortunate, you may be able to use that distance to find simple, peaceful understanding. Not only for yourself, but for those you love.

Tonight I feel completely free.

46 comments:

Beckie said...

I'm so grateful to you for sharing your life, your relationship with your mother. I have recently cut ties with my father, but I'm still struggling with my feelings for him. I don't want to talk to him again, but I can't help thinking about him.
This is such a touchy subject with most people, because they generally say you just haven't tired hard enough, or you're being selfish. So again, I thank you for sharing your journey and I hope the best for you.

WyldeSage said...

I once cut ties with a cousin of mine for 3 years because I had gotten divorced and he was best friends with my ex and started being rude to me. We recently had a family member pass, so I decided to bury the hatchet and let it go, but we have yet to actually sit down and talk things out. I have done what you have done with friends that are emotionally toxic, and it is very freeing and less stressful to just get them out of your life..we dont need that kind of stress. It sucks that its your mom, but we dont choose how people are, they just are who they are.

hoboknitter said...

jack, it's not always easy, but it is simple. we have to "divorce" the toxic people from our lives sometimes, in order to keep peace where it matters most....in our hearts. good for you.

Jerry Critter said...

Feelings and reality are often two very different things.

VS Earl said...

Perhaps your misogynistic tendencies will dissipate a bit as a result of letting go of your mother.

Jack said...

Beckie,

I think the one thing that has kept me same about all of this is knowing that I have to have respect for myself. No one, and I mean NO ONE is entitled to yell at me. It's pretty easy to convey an opinion without being demeaning. The second a voice is raised unnecessarily I am out.

Respect is so basic. It's the bare minimum. Without it we have nothing to talk about it.

@WyldeSage,
Yep, see above. You don't choose your family. Sometimes those people who are toxic are right at home.

@hoboknitter,
Absolutely. That is exactly how I feel.

Heather's Moving Castle said...

I've had to do the same thing in my life with some family members who I was once close to, but were toxic to me as I grew up and realized they were manipulators and drama starters. Kudos to you and I wish you luck! I changed my phone number and when they ask if they will see me again I never give a straight answer. I also live many states away from them. Yes that helps.

Heather's Moving Castle said...

P.S. They can only reach me via snail mail and if I want to answer back via later, I am vague about my life and visits near them.

Christine said...

I'm so glad for you! And what a timely post...

I recently had to do the same thing with my brother, who has an anger issue and yelled at me over a trivial issue (in front of our mother and his wife!) the last time we were together.

I released ties with several other toxic people as well, realizing that I don't HAVE to keep trying to have close relationships with these people. That realization was so freeing!

Yes, ideally it would be nice to have close relationships with them, but I realized that they would just continue to hurt me. I might have fewer friends now, but at least I'm happier!

Penny Lane said...

I think that sharing something like that takes a bit of courage. The fact remains that at the end of the day she is your mother. She does not sound like the most pleasant person, so I can understand why you have chosen to cut her out of your life, and I hope it makes you happy.

But remember that you can always go back.

Nancy said...

If your mother was physically or sexually abusing you everyone would agree to walk away from such a toxic situation. So why should anyone put up with verbal or emotional abuse? The scars are not obvious but they leave an emotional toll on our soul.

This life is meant to live with as much happiness and joy as we can possibly find. I respect you for realizing that the next phase of your life should be without your soul being torn to a million little pieces. You deserve better than that, Jack

Nancy

MarkWilliamson said...

Good for you.

Life is too short to be mistreated, especially by those whom providence has linked us by DNA.

Anonymous said...

it's not the person who gave birth to you that matters.....it is the kindest, most loving, and compassionate people that matter.

yes, mothers(other family members) are capable of all of the above, but if not....sorry....they lose.

it's great to second chances, but when is "enough is enough"?

ny

Bon vivant said...

I agree with 99% of what you stated. But "Ever." means you don't think she could change for the better, or you either, for that matter.

Dot said...

My husbands mother seems to be just like yours. I swear years ago my husband spoke the same words verbatim. Of six children, he is the only one who did what you have done.. completely severed ALL ties with her almost 25 years ago when he was 26 years old after one of her many "episodes". Of her six children he is the only one who is not spent time in jail, is not on welfare,does not have 6 different children from multiple drug addicts, is not a drug addict,is financial stable, and has been in a normal relationship for 26 years that has produce two beautiful well adjusted and educate children..none of this would have happened in his life is he did not do just what you have done. I come from a very well rounded family and this was hard for me to understand at first, but it just had to be done. Some people (family member or not) are so negative and screwed up that there is nothing you can do to help them.. they just keep dragging you down and down until you are no better than them and a emotional wreak Good luck and don't ever look back... I don't think you will regret your decision.

Anonymous said...

you're nothing more than a narcissistic little baby. grow up.

Anonymous said...

I cut off ties with my father years ago and have never regretted it. I just realized how monstrously selfish and manipulative he was, and cut him loose. "Toxic" is the perfect word for some parents.

Kristiana said...

So my 2 cents are,
if this is the experience that you are choosing for yourself then it most certainly is what you need, perhaps even may be what she needs and together you guys are partaking a change that requires both people but seems like a one faceted decision. Anyhow, this is what you realize now and letting go usually brings a change in your surroundings because of the change in you. So keep on and change is the flow of life, so cutting off communication with your mom at this point makes room for more of yourself. (I don't find it selfish as selfishness is ego.. to me anyways)

Anonymous said...

Jack, you're so dramatic.

The last few days in my discomfited sleep I found myself wondering about you out of the blue. And I said to myself "I really should check the man's weblog to see what has become of him" I don't know what''s up with that.

But I'm glad I checked, and am glad you are evidently doing well.

Get those issues out brother, and keep on working on...

You'll probably talk with your mom again.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, some of the best people in my life have done a lot of the raising of the voice, and a few have even hit me (adult authority figures from my family when I was a child--my family is one that believes in corporal punishment). The hitting has not happened since my late teens, where it was occurring, and regardless, these people and I get along fine now.

The cool part is I know they're going to be honest with me. If they're angry, I will know it. If they're happy, I will know that too. They don't act one way and feel another. You wouldn't think so given my history with some of them, but I actually can trust them.

On the other hand, some of the nastiest, most evil people I have ever known have been people who've responded to a situation like yours with statements like the following:

"She does not sound like the most pleasant person, so I can understand why you have chosen to cut her out of your life, and I hope it makes you happy."

Right. We're only supposed to keep people in our lives if they match the decor.

"This life is meant to live with as much happiness and joy as we can possibly find."

Even if it means we have to step on people's faces to get there.

"it's not the person who gave birth to you that matters..."

Especially when you were hatched by a reptile breeder.

I've had to cut off toxic people in my life. I have never been happy about it and never pretended I was doing it out of any sense of enlightenment. Did not expect applause unless I busted a random troll on a blog or my Facebook or whatever. (Doesn't happen very often anymore, thank goodness.) Because it diminishes me when I must cut off someone who means a lot to me.

When you stop asking for applause when stuff like this comes up, maybe some of us will stop wondering what her side of the story is. One of the time-honored traits of a sociopath is remaining calm and rational-seeming while playing head games with someone who obligingly goes crazy at your treatment of them. Just goes to show you can't judge a book by its cover.

Helene said...

Adolescent.

Bobbi Fisher said...

Clearly you needed to do what you did for your own soul. I just hope that some day you will discover something beautiful about your mother and will be able to tell her what that is. My mother is almost 101 and has always been the light in my life. As I look upon her fading days, I am aware of the power of parent/child relationships.

Ms Hen said...

I disowned my whole family decades ago; I made the conscious decision to do so; .. which mean that I did not even see the nice ones anymore. I had to cut all contacts when I disowned my abusive parents.

They did not mean to be abusive. I have total Forgiveness and have Surrender to that. I'll be 50 next month. I never never never regretted it. I felt it was the ONLY choice I had after the abuse.

If you feel this is your choice you can still change your mind; I never did; even when contacted. It was not a thing I did out of anger. I did not want my children with them either.

Makes sure you do practice forgivenness. I went to Al-anon and ACOA for 3.5 years and recently stopped. I'm at peace even more so.. about the past; and no regrets ever.

Betty Ann

Ms Hen said...

I wrote comment but forgot to hit submit or something.

I just wanted to tell you I disowned my family decades ago; I also forgave them for their abusiveness and mental illnesses.

I never regretted it .. and I'm be 50 next month.

I also did cut off contact with even the nice relatives; because it would have been stressful with that type of balancing act. I never regretted it either.

I'm 100% at Peace because it was for my own emotional integrity and survival. I knew since very young that I could not stay a part of this family.

I do even feel sorry for them;.. they were unconscious and not well. Intelligent.. yes, emotionally intelligence.. zilch.

Anonymous said...

Distance never brings you freedom or peace. If you cannot be at peace with your mother present, then her mere presence is what defines your peace. You are not facing the facts of your relationship and likely not being fully honest with your mother. You must learn to speak openly and honestly, while remaining calm and kind. But be firm. Stop fooling yourself and get over that hump. I don't want to hear about your mother, only your experiment with voluntary simplicity.

Kerry said...

Hey Jack... I haven't followed in a while, and I'm behind on your times. I can totally relate to this, and can appreciate how difficult this decision is. About four years ago I made the same decision about my father. It takes strength to realize that you can't have a relationship with someone that you don't respect.

I wish you luck with this, and with the healing that comes with this decision.

Anonymous said...

don't act worse than your mother...

Jen (emeraldsunshine.org) said...

I made this decision with my own mother nearly six years ago and I haven't regretted it once. I do not feel that just because we share the same genes I should be forced to endure her manipulative and negative lifestyle. Kudos.

Herself @ TheCrunchyMarriage said...

I definitely understand this. My mother is similar; she's been through a lot but has been left without grace or kindness on the other side. She also struggles with mental illness she refuses treatment for. I can value her humanity while distancing myself. It's not as though I can pretend the hurts she has caused never happened or that I can trust they won't again. I just need to be away, with love.

Falls-Down-Laughing said...

I *so* know how you feel - I couldn't even begin to tell you. Happy Freedom to you! Enjoy life more relaxingly out from under that burden (the situation), and may she someday find peace, too ^_^

Cam LaBelle said...

I'm coming from a peripheral place of understanding, friend. My MIL is kindred to what you describe about your mother. My husband finally just broke...packed up our family and relocated us 9 hours away. There is no contact, but that doesn't stop her from continuing her manipulations via mutual channels. It's a sad situation for everyone involved.

Just know that you are not alone. I am glad you have peace in your decision...it can be a long road, but it is completely worth it. Your peace of mind has to be non-negotiable...

Cage Free Family said...

hmmm... did I write that post? ;-)
I cut ties with my mother in the spring of 2009 and I still believe that it is the best thing.

good to see you blogging again, every now and then...

Anonymous said...

It is nice you keep a blog, but why are you sharing your personal life with the World?

truthwalker said...

Goddess! It is so wonderful to hear someone else say "Hey, ya know what, you don't have to tolerate someone's asshatery, because they are family." I don't care enough about my folks to deal with the hassle of unknowing them, and they don't care enough about me to realize the emptiness in my politeness. Everybody wins. And like you, I respect both of them deeply, I'm not not willing to let them speak into my life anymore.

pioneeranomaly said...

Goddess! It is so wonderful to hear someone else say "Hey, ya know what, you don't have to tolerate someone's asshatery, because they are family." I don't care enough about my folks to deal with the hassle of unknowing them, and they don't care enough about me to realize the emptiness in my politeness. Everybody wins. And like you, I respect both of them deeply, I'm not not willing to let them speak into my life anymore.

Sigh said...

What sweet serendipity that I came back to your writing tonight. I was away from writing for awhile and came back recently. It wasn't until tonight that I checked back in on your travels.

Today, I walked away from my own mother and in the process lost my sister. The way you describe your mother and her 'ways' are very similar to my descriptions of my mother and our relationship and the reasons why I gave myself permission to walk away finally today. I am 41 and I too feel free now.

Helene said...

Anonymous on May 18th: I enjoyed reading your very simple question:

"It is nice you keep a blog, but why are you sharing your personal life with the World?"

I do wish you had given yourself a handle. I notice that most of the people who have an ambivalent response to this blog have gone by the unnecessary "Anonymous", creating the illusion that this ambivalence is monolithic, whereas the positive Hallmark Card responses appear to all come from individuals.

I think what attracts most people to this blog, regardless of their response, is the previous socioeconomic status of the blog owner. "Voluntary Simplicity" doesn't quite say it all. I don't think the readership would be so numerous had the blog owner first been a garbage collector, and was now on the road. In point, what he abjures is what attracts.

The magnetism is in the "voluntary". It goes without saying that there are many people in this world for whom "simplicity" is not voluntary.

Carolyn McFann said...

I too have had to stop contact with my extremely narcissistic, abusive mother and father. My mother did most of the abuse, my dad sat back and did nothing, spinelessly allowing it all to happen. She blamed and shamed, scapegoated me all the time as a kid. I got therapy and tried everything in my power to make it work out between us. As a middle aged adult, I have decided that she is just too destructive to have contact with anymore. It hurts to say this but it hurts more to be in contact with her (and dad, who has become more angry and unpleasant through the years). You are strong and did this at surely a younger age than I have. Good for you. That takes a lot of strength. I fully understand. The best of luck to you, a kindred spirit and fellow child abuse survivor, Carolyn

Alicia said...

Although you may think you did the right thing by breaking off a toxic relationship, I am not so sure. Who does your mom have to depend on when she can't take care of herself? Government sponsored old folks homes? And if she is alone in struggling with her old age, so will you.How you treat your parents is how you will be treated.

Alicia said...

Although you may feel like you did the right thing by walking away from a toxic relationship, I disagree. Who will take care of your mother when she can't take care of herself? You have to be able to not allow her to get to you, thicken your skin. I suggest you call her weekly and set a timer for 5 minutes. Hi, mom , how are you doing,,, Let her complain and bitch,then tell her,sorry, I have to go, just wanted to say hi. In time, ( months, maybe years)her poison will no longer affect you, and if in the future, she needs you, you can help her without hurting yourself. We will all age and become dependent again, and if we don't take care of our own, we will also be alone and bitter when we become old and weak.What goes around comes around.

Udoka Omenukor said...

I don't know what your relationship with your mother is like, but consider what thoughts might run through your head when she dies. Would you regret PURPOSELY distancing yourself FOREVER when you went to her funeral? Someone who raised you -- when they die, some things come up that you thought wouldn't.

thaikarl said...

my father died nearly a year ago. i really don't care much. 7 years ago he screamed at me "you are not in this family" and since then, i guess i have slowly let it go. i still hung around, enjoyed his company at times, but it was not a big deal when he died.

people aren't toxic. they just are there. just like arsenic sitting in a bottle. it's only toxic when you take them/it in.

saying i'll *never* speak to someone is to me trying to predict the future. you never know what will happen. people who were mean to you can have a change - not counting on it but it happens. there are people i choose to just NOT engage with. i don't answer, don't reply, don't go there.

Anonymous said...

Any man who does not love and accept his mother- no matter what- is not capable of truly loving any woman.
You have the rest of your life to prove if it isn't so.

Joanne Block said...

I stumbled upon your blog a ways back and started reading. My thought..So this is what my life looks like lived with a penis, interesting. I think you missed the mark on voluntary simplicity though.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your courage. When you are an empathetic and giving person it is hard to break away from an emotionally abusive family member. It is hard not to feel guilty for their emotional well being, even when they have no regard for yours.

AdoroTeDevote said...

You know Jack, it may be cliche(most likely because they are almost always true), but time heals all wounds. Even if you keep the smallest contact(once every six month or a year) with your mother, she will never appreciate you without your complete absence. I think this may be the best choice for you at the moment. You may never want to talk to her again at this point, but time has a way of changing, ourselves, others and the world itself.

We always have to look at ourselves though. There have been plenty of times when I wanted others to "figure things out", and it was really me who needed to grow and change. I recommend reading "the story of a soul" by Saint Therese of Lisieux. The "little flower" shows how she learned to love the people who drove her nuts and annoyed her the most.

Also, the prodigal son is a good example of time healing wounds. People can do wrong, but in the end we love them no matter what they do. We can love someone who is addicted to drugs, but that does not mean we want them involved in our lives. Psychological and emotional problems can even be far worse. If someone is negative and spiteful and we are effected by their actions, it can be detrimental for them to be in our lives.

Finally, it may be easy for others to judge you by this action, but i am sure this was a hard decision for you to make. For the most difficult decisions we have in life, usually involve those we love the most. You and your mother both are in my prayers.

I'm praying for you, please pray for me too.

God bless,
Lon

p.s. I know you do this blog to give people a glimpse into your life, but too much self analysis can be detrimental to your growth. We find ourselves only when we forget ourselves.

"Joy comes to those who in a sense forget themselves and become totally aware of the other." - Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta