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Today is mother's day

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I ended contact with my mother 5 years ago. Some of my friends still ask me if she is ok. I can tell they think I am being unreasonable or harsh in my treatment of her. There's one who keeps saying "she could die". My friends are my chosen family but they don't understand what its like to have grown up the way I did. Sometimes they have difficult situations with their parents and they think its the same thing. Maybe that is partly my fault. One of the first things I learned was how to edit myself. I don't think I have ever divulged, even to myself, the extent of the dysfunction in my home. I wrap them up into smaller packages in my brain where they don't touch each other. Even in therapy I would pick and choose events that were sufficiently bad to cause alarm but not so bad. As if I could still be taken away from my family and put in a home.

some of my friends have lost a parent to death. I don't think they understand. I knew my parents did not want or love me from a young age. Its not a misunderstanding. Its not something that time can fix. People can't wrap their heads around the idea that my parents don't experience the love that usually occurs between parents and children. They think its there and I have misread or misunderstood something. When I have tried telling people the story they start making excuses for them. My parents were married. After 15 yrs they divorced and my father has never spoken to me since then. I was less than 6 years old at the time. I have been in the same room with him. His only expressions were disgust and contempt. I have 3 sisters. We have been to family events like his mother's funeral. He had no curiosity about anything that happened to me. To be frank, if he is now experiencing regret that comes with old age, I have no interest in it. I was repeatedly thrust into situations where he rejected me.

My mother was both physically and emotionally abusive. She used to beat us out of sheer frustration. My older sisters felt that I wasn't beaten enough so they used to beat me too. I wasn't 10 years old the first time I tried to kill myself. My mother told me that if I complained they would take me to a Children's Home where they would sexually abuse me in addition to beating me. I wasn't misbehaving. I was a really obedient child. It didn't matter what I did. I couldn't avoid being beaten. My mother sent me to school. It was a good school. Then she tried to sabotage me in school and I couldn't understand. I started cutting myself by the time I was 12. My mother isolated us from family except for one of her sisters. I didn't have anyone I could turn to. By the time I was 14 my mother fell into deep depression. She wouldn't leave the house or bathe. She would just sit around naked. We couldn't open the doors or windows. I would come home from school and put the dinner on. Clean around her. I don't remember how long that lasted, Could have been between 6 months to a year. Even before that, when she worked I did the household chores because if I didn't she would beat me. Just me. Not my sisters. So I used to clean around my sisters too.

I got a scholarship to go to university. Got away from home and moved to another country. When I got home my family adjusted their story. I was proud to have survived every trap they set for me. If you listen to them they will tell you how they sacrificed and supported my dreams and now I owe them everything. I wish I lived in that reality. 

So today is Mother's Day. Some well meaning person is going to ask me if I am not going to call my mother. Sometimes I lie and say "I just got off the phone with her and she's good". Its been years. I don't think she has the capacity to be the mother who isn't actively trying to crush me. Even if she did, I'm too angry to want it. Too afraid of them to entertain the thought that maybe they won't try to ruin me. My body gets tense whenever anyone sounds optimistic about healing the relationship between my family and I. I've tried setting boundaries with them. They are relentless. I'm not the problem. I haven't felt like killing myself once since I separated from them. That's five years without a suicidal thought. When I stayed in contact with them I had specific plans to kill myself at least once every six months. Any time I got something I wanted they would try to take it away. Being away from them allows me to relax sometimes. Enjoy life a little bit. I'm not going back




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Agree. If you choose to disconnect from difficult family members, that's fine. 

Don't discuss it this much with friends.

If they want to think life is a Hallmark card, fine.

Do whatever you think is best and whatever you and your therapist discuss.

When you discuss family drama with others the down side is a lot of platitudes and them trying to fix it.

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I'm so sorry for your struggles with your parents.  There are so many holidays that are tough for people.  Mother's Day was always tough for me for years when I yearned to be a mother and was judged for still being single with a loudly ticking clock. 

Mother's Day is tough for my friend today who lost her mother a few months ago, and tough for my friend and her family -she is in hospice, terminal cancer, and her 9 year old boy might lose his mama on Mother's Day. 

And then of course there are people like you who for whatever reason under the sun have a living biological mother and have no contact.  It's nobody's business. Is it sad?  Yes, of course it is -it's always sad when people who we think are going to be there for us are not, and yes it's probably worse with immediate family.  It's sad -and also private.  I don't go around asking people what they are going to do with their mothers. 

I love my mother to the moon and back and I've been asked a number of times already if we're planning a trip to my home city to see her now that we're vaccinated.  The assumption being I can't wait to hug her.  Truth - I can't wait for her to see my son but I am strongly connected to her and we talk almost every day and I'm not overeager to get on a plane because I have to hug her.  If she weren't well, different story. 

I write this because I abhor assumptions, especially on MOther's Day.  And it's always sad when the moms have certain expectations of how they will be celebrated and it doesn't happen that way.  I am delighted it is Mother's Day.  To me personally it's not just a hallmark holiday.  But the key is personally.  Personally.  You do you.  Stay in your lane.  Tell the white lie if you need to.  How many of us say "fine" when we are asked how we are but we're not totally fine? It's ok!!  Again I am sorry for your situation.  

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So glad to hear that you've created your own family, regardless of the degree to which they own the capacity to understand your past.

I use the term 'capacity' deliberately, and I believe you can appreciate why.

You are not obligated to teach others acceptance of your choices and your reasons for those. You can say whatever you feel is necessary to move people off of compounding the issue with their ignorance.

I hope you are able to reclaim this day into your own private celebration of Mother Earth or Mother Nature or Motherhood in general without feeling obligated to cater to anyone else's views of the day.

Head high, and enjOy peace. You've earned it.

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OP, you don't owe anyone any explanations about your family, parents, past etc etc.  You have lived it.  You have experienced the toxic dysfunction and abuse. You know exactly what they did and how you were treated.   You have every right to cut them off from your life and live a life away from it all. Time for you to heal.

I wish you well.

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Posted (edited)

I'm sorry, porenn.  I hope your heart heals as time marches on.

My background was rough.  (Wife beater, alcoholic father who punched my mother's teeth out, chronic unemployment, chain smoker) and my mother's upbringing was straight out of a living nightmare from day one.  She wears a lot of battle scars both mentally and physically.  My siblings and I lived a poor, hand-to-mouth, hardscrabble existence.  

Unfortunately, my relationship with my mother is dicey.  Granted, it's loving but it's not easy being her daughter.  I'm always tip toeing on eggshells whether on the phone or in person.  I have to treat her like a nice acquaintance (and same same with my siblings) otherwise there are misunderstandings, distortions and gaslighting all over again.  I keep everyone at arm's length for my own safety and protection.  We're all peaceful, well mannered and respectful toward one another.  I am in control here.  It took me a long time to steer this ship and do whatever works for my own peace of mind.  It's not an idyllic relationship by any means but it works. 

My mother was estranged from her parents.  (It's a long story which would curl your toes.) 

Whether it's family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors or whomever, you have every right to control the relationship or non-relationship in your favor.  Enforcing boundaries always reign supreme. 

You can triumph over your past just as I had done.  My background was far from optimal but I'm able to live a happy life with my husband and sons in suburbia complete with roses and the white picket fence.  It took hard work to achieve this very peaceful, stable, established and settled life.  Even though my beginnings were awful, there is such a thing as a happily ever after. 

I hope you will find solace and comfort knowing you're a survivor and you will make a better life for yourself.

Edited by Cherylyn
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