NPFP Guest Post: I’m Breaking Up With You: A Letter to My Mother

Welcome to RMB’s Naked Pictures of Faceless People, a series of guest posts from diverse anonymous bloggers. (Read more about NPFP’s origins.) These are the posts that are jumping to get out of us, but for whatever reason — safety, embarrassment, conflict of interest, protection of loved ones’ reputations or feelings, or so on — we don’t or won’t or can’t post at our own blogs. Anyone, whether blogger or reader only, is welcome to submit or discuss a potential post by emailing me at arwyn at raisingmyboychick dot com.

I’m Breaking Up With You: A Letter to My Mother

It must be nice living in your shoes. So sure that nothing is wrong with you, that you have time to go to therapy for other people’s “problems”. That’s really something. I hope that I am not the only lucky recipient of your “help” — you could help everyone in the world with their problems since apparently you have none. It’s really giving of you to spend your time, money and “concern” helping other people. Surly that could be spent elsewhere… like, I dunno…on therapy for you. Because fuck knows you need it.

How about next time you go to see your “professional person” you go for you? I do not need you and your “professional person” figuring out what is wrong with me or what I need to do to fix it. I have myself under control. Just because my journey is not the same path you would take does not mean that my work is unsuccessful.

If anyone is having a harder time in life than you or getting more attention or sympathy than you, you have to create made-up drama so you are once again the center of attention. If anyone is happier than you and really working hard at moving forward in their life, then you have to do whatever you can to attempt to make them miserable (just like you?). This is your game. You have done this to me for as long as I can remember. I am no longer going to be a participant in your game.

I told you I was working on forgiveness towards you. But that answer wasn’t good enough for you. You want an answer that will make you feel good. It is not my job to make you feel good; it is my job to find my own fulfillment. Just as that is your own job.

I will no longer be to blame for your feelings. If you are feeling that you are “sliding backwards” then you need to look within yourself. I live thousands of miles away from you and keep limited contact with you; you can not blame me for your feelings. I will not take responsibility for how you feel.

I will not allow you to use my spouse, my children, or anyone else that is dear to me as a tool for your manipulation. You no longer have permission to attempt to emotionally manipulate me. You had that power for 38 years. Today I take it back. If you attempt to manipulate me or anyone close to me, you will be ignored.

You make a lot of assumptions. You assume that I have forgiven everyone but you; you know nothing about those situations. Assumption does not make something a fact. It is unwise to make decisions based on assumptions. Hopefully you can learn this one day.

Just because I forgive myself for any misperceptions from my past, and I realize that you did the best that you could. That does not wipe away the past. Especially not when current behaviors mimic past behavior. I accept that is who and what you are. But I have to do what is best for me and my family, and part of that is setting boundaries based on my needs not your wants.

The truth is I will never be able to make you happy. You have to find that within yourself. I will never be able to give you what you want in a relationship. There is no fantasy world, there is only what is, and that isn’t going to make you happy. Maybe one day you can learn to love and accept me for me. Maybe you’ll be able to accept what I am able to give. And maybe one day you will stop trying to fix me. There is nothing wrong with me. Until you can find acceptance for me, I don’t see how we can ever have a meaningful relationship. Until you can claim ownership for your own feelings, behaviors, and misperceptions, I do not see how we can move forward. All I can do is work on myself. I have no expectations for you.

You have said we need to “cut ties” so that I can work on our relationship. Last time I checked a relationship involved two people. I can only do my own work. So this is fine if it is what you need to do. However, do NOT forget it was you who set this in motion — you will not be blaming me for this one.



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18 Responses to NPFP Guest Post: I’m Breaking Up With You: A Letter to My Mother

  1. *hugs* to you if you want them. This is a very difficult choice to have to make, but bravo for doing it.

    My husband had such a mother, and cut her off completely about eight years ago. He’s gotten so much flak for it from people who seem to think that a blood tie should trump any amount of abuse. The hardest part is standing firm on those periodic occasions years later when she tries to renew contact, claims she’s changed, claims so many things that will likely be true right up until she changes her mind. As you said, it’s not about her, it’s about protecting yourself and your family.

    • I feel for your husband. This is the hardest thing ever. As sad as it is, I wish my parents were divorced. Since they are not I am having to cut ties with everyone in the family. It’s extremely difficult and sad. Sadness is overwhelming. I never felt such a loneliness as I feel now, but I don’t see any other options. I only hope that your husband didn’t have to go through the same sort of situation.

  2. Thank you for another NPFP post.

  3. I have to write this comment as anonymous since I can never be sure if my mother will read it, and I am not yet at the place where you are. I can fully empathize and could have nearly written your post. I wish you all the luck moving forward from here. I know it won’t be easy. I commend you for taking that journey though.

  4. Recognizing and blocking toxic people from our lives is such a difficult thing to do. I wish you continued strength and success in your effort to create a safe and peaceful place for yourself and your family.

    • I never wanted it to come to this. I was working hard on me – working on myself, being able to forgive her for all the abuse (emotional and physical) that I had to endure from her. I was making good progress. Until her last email. I realized I will never be able to make her happy. No matter what I do or what I am able to give her; it will never be enough. If I could get amnesia and completely forget everything in my life and be her bestest friend then maybe she would be happy. But I doubt it – since no other person can truly make another happy – it has to come from within, right? My heart is broken. I’m waiting for the peace but it’s not coming.

  5. I’m sorry that you have had to go through this. I don’t really have any words of encouragement just hang in there, and follow your heart and head so that you can find happiness. As a mother, I hope to learn from letters like this. I never want my son to have to feel the way you do. I know that may not make you feel better, but my not so eloquent comment means, I’m listening to you & will try to do better. Thanks for sharing your pain and your story with us!

    • I hope daily I am not creating the same circle with my children. I try to be aware but it scares me to death to think that I might be doing the same thing.

      • Anonymous, I’m sorry to hear this. This is sad to read. I hope your broken heart mends. I am sorry for the abuse and mistreatment you suffered.

  6. I completely understand.

    I cut ties with my mother 2.5 years ago and it was both the hardest and best thing I have ever done. I was 7 months pregnant with my second daughter when we quit talking. It’s crazy to think I have two children that she hasn’t even met. But the further from it I get- the more content and secure I become. It’s hard to grow spiritually and emotionally as a wife and mother and woman when you are being constantly treated like a petulant child by a narcissistic mother.
    They need to stay the center of the universe… Either you resign yourself to allow them to stay the center of yours or you move on.

    Big hugs.

    I lost the rest of my family in our separation- I hope that’s not the case for you.

  7. I am leaving an anonymous comment, because I am afraid my own mother could somehow see this otherwise.

    I am not at the point of cutting off contact. But I toy with the idea regularly. As it is, my mother has effectively cut off contact herself in the name of ‘giving me space’ so that I can see the error of my ways, forgive her, and move on to a happy and restored relationship. In spite of the fact that I’ve told her that I was not happy with the state of affairs that existed in my youth, which she remembers so fondly. So there are no phone calls, emails, notes, nothing. Since we don’t live that far apart, I still see her regularly at family events. But she doesn’t contact me at other times.

    The most hurtful part of it, for me, is that as fucked up as our relationship is, she is actually a very good grandmother. My mother has not been abusive, only completely self-centered and passive aggressive. Since she doesn’t direct this at my children, they love her. I know that they are safe with her, even if I don’t really like her. I feel so sad that she doesn’t even make an effort to have a relationship with them, because she’s so caught up in her passive aggressive bullshit towards me. My kids deserve a grandmother, and they are losing out because I don’t say the right things at the right time to make my mother feel good about herself.

    As if I could ever make another person feel good about themselves.

  8. @NotMyRealName

    I really relate to what you write here. My mom and I are close, friends in fact. However she, like your mother, tells herself (and others including me) those fond stories about my upbringing and is highly resistant to my version of events (my bad experiences as a child have forged me a better mother – a fact she admits aloud to, that I am a better parent than she and my father were). It is frustrating and hurtful to hear her spin these yarns which she does to this day.

    Yet I am glad I’ve worked on forgiving her because it has made me a stronger person and it has opened the avenue for grandparent/grandchild relations. Ultimately I am glad for my hard-earned closeness with my mother and glad for the ways she has been able to be a stellar grandmother (really – stellar). This is in large part because since the beginning she has deferred to my authority on the kids. She has learned to be a much better grandmother by virtue of my parenting and my discussions with her (parenting strategies are a passionate subject of mine) and my requirements for her behavior. Just so you dont’ t hink I’m some control freak, the things she used to do were spank them and call them (semi-humorously) “little shits”, tell them not to cry when they cried, stuff like that. She has come so very far and her journey to Better Grandma has healed a bit between us although much hurt remains (at least on my part).

    Your kids ‘deserve’ a grandmother as much as any other children – but many people don’t get the family life they ‘deserve’. You cannot blame your mom one-sided for not being a grandmother since it seems she is intuiting your willingness for distance so the decision is somewhat of a joint one (or it seems to be to me on this read- I could be wrong).

    However, I feel your pain. I write this not to tell you to do anything differently than you’re doing. If you cannot for the sake of your health and safety be friends with her, you do not owe this to her or anyone else. You deserve to be safe, validated, and supported. Yes, your children deserve good things, but please know it was not you, but your mother that set these events in motion. Forgiveness and healing cannot come on an outsider’s timeline or for the convenience of plot points to a picturesque life. Nevertheless, I wish forgiveness for you although I have not obtained it fully even myself (yet) and wonder if I never well.

    I hope I have not in any way overstepped or said anything offensive. I just really related to much of what you wrote. I am sorry your mother is treating you so poorly, even in adulthood.

    On another note, I am sad to see (in reading this thread) how hard we are on our mothers. Many of us give our fathers so much more “space” to be human and fucked-up. Because mothers are disproportionately saddled with pressure to give us Everything, food and tit and TLC and the conformity and claustrophobic roles of parenting – they are often personally stifled from a young age, and they often don’t do that well. Some of us forgive our fathers who did jack-shit for us but not our mothers. I am not saying this about any one person in particular in this thread. It’s something I’ve noticed at large and makes me so sad. I hope my children do not turn the searing-hot laser on my own character. I’d like to think I parent them well enough it won’t be me on the “other end” of these painful stories.

    Thank you all who have posted.

    • “Your kids ‘deserve’ a grandmother as much as any other children – but many people don’t get the family life they ‘deserve’.”

      Grandmothers don’t have to be blood related, especially if they’re toxic. Just sayin’.

    • “However she, like your mother, tells herself (and others including me) those fond stories about my upbringing and is highly resistant to my version of events … It is frustrating and hurtful to hear her spin these yarns which she does to this day.”

      This this this THIS.

      My mother was neither abusive nor neglectful, but she was (and is) passive-aggressive and manipulative. She also has an obsessive need to rewrite the narrative of my childhood as being about roses and kittens and pink fluffy clouds of everlasting sweetness, and not about compromises and broken relationships and physical abuse from strangers & relatives and the pain of loving a brother with severe diabilities only to lose him aged 8. In reality of course my childhood was neither exclusively good or exclusively bad, but the fact that in my mother’s narrative, we are NOT ALLOWED to even acknowledge the darkness or speak its name is curiously and persistently painful to me.

  9. I could have written this post, almost verbatim. Excepting that I’m 29, and she has legal custody of my eldest son :(
    My mother decided, the day after my youngest was born, that she didn’t have enough real drama in her life (what with 9 children, one having Asperger’s). So, she decided to create more, on my back. Claiming that I called CPS on her. Claiming that I had my son hide things, keep things secret. Claiming that I had wild, obscene parties, with my son right there.
    I made the mistake of trusting her, because she is my mother. I gave her all of my trust, with that which is closest to my heart, and most precious to me: my son.
    In this situation, he is the one suffering. People that know my family have told me that he looks like a sad, broken little boy…and that, beyond all else, is what breaks my heart. So, I am doing what I can, and have a lawyer, and I am going to get my son back, where he belongs, and out of that toxic environment. Not for me. But, because he deserves to be loved.

  10. I broke up with my mother too. She refuses to accept that sometimes, but I had to do it for my own sanity. I also broke up with my father a decade before that.

    It’s hard coming from damaged parents. But there is so much more to life than carrying their burdens around.

  11. There are a lot of us :/

    Damn. I’m saddened that there are so many of us with toxic mothers. My mother has been trying to take my children away from me since my oldest was in utero. It’s all very subtle so if I try to tell anyone I sound insane. My therapist says she sounds like a textbook narcissistic parent. All this time I thought it was me and if I was just better somehow then it would be better between us. It’s taken me decades to figure out that it’s not me at all.
    I can see her starting on my kids. We need to get out.

  12. Breaking up with my folks is one of the healthiest choices I ever made. But it still hurts like hell sometimes. Take care. It gets easier with time.

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