I have just about had it with my mother. A little background…
As a child, I was abused, neglected, ridiculed, molested - you name it, my sweet baby sister and I went through it. The courts gave my dad custody but she simply took us to a different state. Our childhood was literally a nightmare. My mom was on every drug there was, an alcoholic, promiscuous (hence our molestations), a stripper, etc. We suffered through alcoholic, abusive stepfathers. Lived in unbelievable surroundings. Several times put into foster care because of the incessant chaos and abuse/neglect.
I chose to go live with my wonderful father at age 13 when I had the chance to get out, and had a great life with him, except when my mom would show up (usually drunk/stoned) and create horrible scenes. She alienated every member of her own family.
Her last husband was stabbed to death and she then had to look after herself, by way of guilting my little sister, who was only 20, to support her. She encouraged my sister to go into stripping, which led to a devastating downward spiral of drugs, etc. for my sister. My sister is still trying to piece her life back together but is emotionally crippled and unable to work (she is now married to a man who takes care of her and their daughter).
At age 50, everyone had abandoned my mom and no one in our family would have anything to do with her, so she pulled herself together and got a job at last.
Now at age 69, she is still poisoning my life and also my sister’s, as well as our children. She encourages our young adult children to be atheistic, to reject all religion, to have sex outside marriage, to experiment with alternative lifestyles, to accept abortion. She ridicules my faith to my children (two of my sons are atheists although they were raised in the Church). She hates me and everything I believe in (I know this because she talks to my sister about me and how stupid I am).
I have put up with this over the last 20 years, trying to be a good Christian and honor my parents, trying to forgive, hoping she would somehow find God and repent. We have never really lived in the same vicinity until our family relocated to my hometown, about 30 miles from her, 6 years ago. Up until then, she was more of a distant problem with no real influence over my life. I was cordial but we rarely communicated.
Now however, we are geographically close, and it is nearly unbearable. She expects to be invited to all family gatherings and pouts when she isn’t. She is easily offended and extremely hard to get along with.
The straw that is breaking my camel’s back is her encouragement of my sons’ atheism and the way she prattles on about abortion, how evil religion is, etc.
At what point do I sever relations with her? Should I have already? I have already tried just trying to get along with her by not saying anything (she knows how I believe) and being kind.
But enough is enough. I cannot take any more.
What do I do now?
I have just about had it with my mother. A little background…
For what may be worth, you have all my sympathy - I really cannot imagine having this kind of conflict with one of my parents, and the idea is incredibly horrific to me.
I think that you are entirely within your rights to tell her that, if she expects to be invited to your family gatherings, she must not insult your beliefs in your presence nor be such a bad influence on your children, and to stop inviting her if she keeps behaving like that.
I do not know all the circumstances, but perhaps - instead of severing relations yourself - you could require standards of behaviour on her, if she wants to keep being a part of your life, and give her the choice between respecting them or stop being around you and yours.
But what does your husband think of the matter?
Your duties towards your children and grandchildren, I think, come before the ones towards your mother: if there truly is a conflict between the two, the latter are the ones that should be stretched.
When I was about 16, my mother started acting out similarly- and it was such a stark difference from the mother I’d known that I had no idea how to handle it. She was married to my stepfather at the time, so they were constantly fighting, and I remember coming home late at night from band competitions and having to clean up blood and broken glass, many times. About 6 years ago my mom had an affair, which led to divorce, and her becoming an alcoholic/promiscuous/drug user. She got so comfortable with it that she would try to discuss her “adventures” with me over the dinner table, and tried to get me and my sister to join her “partying”. When my Dad and Granny passed away within 3 months of each other, my mother chose to drink in stead of being there for us. She was a sloppy, abusive, burden that we didn’t need, but we couldn’t risk losing another parent, and she took advantage of it with demanding behaviors and emotionally abusing (guilting)my little sister and me. What I went through is nothing compared to you, but I see similarity in the way your mother seems to expect her actions and feelings to be accepted and respected, but can’t seem to do that for others.
After 2 years of putting up with the latenight drunk phone calls and walking in on her “adventures”, it started to affect my school, work, and personal relationships. I broke down and told her I couldn’t talk to her and that I didn’t want her in my life because of her lack of respect for her kids and herself. About that time I got a job working in a behavioral health rehab, and I started to learn about mental disorders. It was then that I started to suspect that it was more than just a bad attitude and convinced my mom to see a doctor. She was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and a dissociative disorder. I’m not educated in the field, other than my experiences and classes taken while working there, but what you’re describing sounds a lot like my mother. People with those disorders tend to “sabotage” relationships and see the world in black and white …no middle ground, you’re either with or against them, and either way they are very manipulative.
My limit was 2 years, but I hadn’t been through what you have, so I probably reacted harshly too quickly. I don’t have kids yet, but one of the things I told her was that if she was going to “misbehave” around my kids she would never be allowed to see them. I told her that I wasn’t willing to risk their sanity and safety. She still has her moments, but I think (hope) my putting that pressure on her, and getting the rest of the family on board so she had no “comfort zone” to complain to, helped get her to the place she is now. She still makes dammaging decisions sometimes, but with therapy and a better chemical balance she’s able to control most impulses.
It sucks, but some parents just need good parenting. I’ve found that being hard-nosed and blunt is the only way my mom has been able to progress. I would have severed ties at this point- if not permanently then at least long enough to set up healthy boundaries with her. You are just as important as she is, and if she is only going to tear you and your family down it’s a mental and health risk that you don’t deserve. You’re a strong person, you survived a life that would have crushed others, and my honest opinion is that you are worth more than the stress she’s putting on you. She’s chosen how she wants to live her life, you don’t have to make the same choice she does.
Whatever you decide to do, you and your family will be in my prayers.
Jesus,our Lords peace be whit You.
I am so sorry for You and your family,it is so sad to hear storys like this. You need strong faith,and I will pray You get it. Meanwhile,and God forgive me and have mercy on me if this is the wrong advice,cut all ties to Your mother,leave her in the hands of God and pray He will take care of her,and He will if You ask whit a open heart and mind.
You have a life of Your own now,and You need to focus on that. This is the only way out,and the healing beging when You can forgive her. You will never forget,but You can forgive. I am my self struggling whit a forgiveness I can’t do,I can’t forgive the woman who poisoned my beloved rottweiler Linda,and tryed to poison my present dog,so go and show that You are better then I am. Forgive her,but cut her off for good. If it is Gods will,she will get things sorted out and will be Your mother again.
May our Heavenly Father give you and all those in a similar situation on this Forum wisdom and resolution in this matter. The question is how does a Christian distance him/herself from the perpetrator permanently, when our own sense of right and wrong (lack of word) interfere with a permanant severance.
I tend to agree with the others that she needs to be told, gently and respectfully, that when she must either respect you and your beliefs when in your home, or else not come.
If I may suggest, do this in a letter.
Write it out carefully and read it over. Wait a day or two and reread it.
In this way you can make sure you say exactly what you wish to say, you can be sure to remove any “negative emotion”, and she can’t interrupt you while you are “saying it”.
Then mail it to her but keep a copy for yourself. In this way you and she know what you wrote and she can’t say that you said what you didn’t say…get that?
The rest would be up to her. She can respond positively or negatively and you can act according to her decision.
Then do - keep her in your prayers…
I’m so sorry for your pain. Have you considered a program (eg. Alanon) to help you work through such horrific emotions and the confusion it must bring to you?. In Alanon you are taught to “detach with love” from those that are poisonous to your soul. As you heal from this you will learn to take care of yourself and in so doing others will see the loving person you are becoming and be naturally attracted to the love. It is in that place that there is some hope that your mom might eventually wake up and go to work on her own issues. You do not have to be her door mat and you do not honor her by maintaining contact that is wrought with oppositional energy.
You are in my prayers.
Please do not take what I am about to say as callous.
I think you should cut all ties with your mum. This is a deeply unhealthy situation. Needy people create a victimhood about themselves. It pulls others within its gravitational field and a co-dependency is established. You need to break this cycle. Naturally you will pray for your mum. But your life and the lives of your kids come first.
Musician - both my husband and I had extremely toxic Moms. My husband’s mother was mentally ill all his life - schizoaffective disorder (schizophrenia with bipolar), very smart, very abusive. He knew hunger and beatings and so forth. In and out of mental wards. His alcoholic father tried once to gain custody but showed up in court drunk. And in those days, it took a mighty act of congress to take a child away from a mother, even if she did tend to run naked in the streets, beat her kids, and usually forgot to feed them.
My mother was both physically and emotionally abusive. She is still alive, but we have only minimal ties. My life with her was simply a nightmare.
Both my husband and I had to finally cut off the ties or drown - I think you understand what I mean. To not protect ourselves, emotionally, and to move on and live our own lives such as we could would be to turn our backs on the gift we were given by God, no? My husband needed the prodding of a mental health professional on one final visit to the mental ward on Christmas day with his violent mother. Me? I just finally had it. I had been suicidal through much of my childhood, and I woke up one day and decided that if I was NOT going to go through with the suicide (it scared me, to be frank), then I needed to separate myself from the source of the desire to off myself. I just smashed back my guilt and sorrow and tried to concentrate on the future. Slowly, but slowly I began to deal with the damage this woman did to me. And tried to forgive.
It isn’t easy. It sucks to tell the truth. But both my husband and I were able to find each other, to have our precious son (he has Down syndrome - the only child we were granted by God after many miscarriages), and we treasure every moment of our happiness as a family. I love my husband and son to bursting!
We tell our son over and over that we love him, he is treasured and cherished and God’s greatest gift to us… and then out of earshot, we share that not once, not ever did we hear such words or sentiments from our own parents. We hug each other like crazy - something we never had from our parents. We dance. We play. We just celebrate our family - even while we grieve that we have no grandmas, no grandpas, no other children. Just 3 people - such a tiny little family. But compared to before? Priceless.
God bless you - I can tell you are on a tough path in life. But yes, you are not alone in how you feel. It’s OK. This world is pretty broken. There is great love and beauty nonetheless. Infinite beauty, really.
What an amazing person you are! You went through all of that and you still have yourself together and you are doing so well in your life. If I were to meet you in person, I would put you on a pedastal and just awe you for your strength and integrity. Wow!!!
You should be so proud of yourself! I have no words to describe how I felt when I read your post; tears came to my eyes b/c I can only imagine what pain and suffering you have been through.
I too am a survivor of childhood abuse. I was molested by my father and I was also beaten and rediculed by both parents. My mother is self-absorbed and suffers from depression. She too grew up in foster homes and was badly abused. My mother didn’t know how to be a mother b/c of her childhood, so if you have been a good mother to your children, then I am amazed again!!! You are a wonderful woman!!!
Now, to your mother. Yes she is poinsonous to you and your children. She is self-absorbed, selfish, rude, insensitive and does not take any accountability for her actions.
Honoring your parents does not mean that you have any contact with them (a good priest told me this). Honoring your parents means that you forgive them for what they have done and pray for them that they find God and heal. It does not mean that you have to have any contact with her.
I hope that realizing this gives you a sense of freedom that you are not obligated by God to have a person to person relationship with her. Your relationship with your mother can simply be through prayer to God that she heals.
Did you watch the movie “Precious”? She had a childhood similar to your childhood and she cut all ties with her mother. You should watch that movie if you haven’t already.
You are still healing from your terrible terrible childhood. You still feel an obligation to your mother b/c she makes you feel guilty. You need to stop feeling accountable for her happiness. It does not rely on you. She has only brought sadness and misery to your life and you need to walk away from this negative tug on your life.
Honoring your mother does not mean that you see her or even talk to her. Honoring your mother simply means that you respect her as a person and pray for her healing.
God bless you and I pray to Jesus to help you continue your journey of healing. Only a fellow survivor can truly understand what you are going through. My childhood was not as bad as yours, but I can at least relate to some of it.
There are snippets of advice I agree with in all of the posts, but this one says what I feel as clearly and plainly as it can come.
I pray that you will find the strength to do what you need to do to have some peace in your life, for you surely deserve to live the rest of your life, and your own family’s, free of the influence and poison of your mother. May God bless you and guide you.
Pray as much as you can.
The Hail Mary.
Supermarket checkout lines offer a few minutes of alone-time to pray.
Invoke wisdom from The Holy Spirit.
Just keep praying.
Just so you know you’re not nearly alone, … one thing you can do is visit your local library and look up books on toxic parents. You can look that up on the internet and then get the books at the library.
toxic older adults
It’s been written about a lot.
The summary of all the books is that you cannot convert them at all. [Just pray for them.]
To protect yourself, the only strategy that works is “unplugging”.
[You can make sure they have food, clothing and shelter, heat in the winter. And that’s it. You do not owe them yourself (or anyone else) as a punching bag.]
Undoing the damage is difficult. There are a bunch of eye movement therapies that work. EMDR. EMI. and some tapping techniques. Use visualizations to create a peaceful place that you can retreat to. Create your own role models using composites of saintly people, wise people, and heroic people.
Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers, your advice and your words of wisdom.
In my fear of confrontation (which she uses against me), my mom has been on a vicious path the last six months or so in trying to insinuate herself between me and my children. She does this by inviting herself to their homes (they are young married adults) and then bemoaning the fact that I don’t do enough for her, don’t invite her to family gatherings, don’t talk to her enough, etc. She stabs me in the back with my own children! Of course, they don’t know much of my childhood, I have felt that it was unwise to burden them with my miserable past.
In the past, I have hopped to and tried to make her happy when one of my children would call up and mention that Granny was “so hurt” because she wasn’t invited to such-and-such, etc. She begrudgingly accepts my apologies or explanations with no discernible recognition that she made our lives a living hell for years. The only clue that she knows we had a rough time? “Well, I’ll never make Mother of the Year!” True, but shockingly inadequate.
I had a heart-to-heart with my DH this a.m. about the situation. He grew up in a normal loving family so he feels that with family, you forgive, move on, and accept your family for who they are. As I related some instances of the past with him, he was horrified (I have never really liked to dwell on my childhood).
We came to the decision to sever contact with her. This wasn’t an easy decision to make and I feel a little guilty, but I am so tired of being villified and ridiculed and stabbed in the back with vicious gossip and slander. She never passes a chance to make me feel bad about myself with usually a rude comment and a lot of swearing.
I know she will try for a pity party with my kids, and I am not sure how to deal with that. My DH plans on having a talk with them soon.
I feel that this is the best solution for my peace of mind. I just can’t take any more emotional abuse.
God bless you! You have gone through horrible times and risen from the ashes.
People like your mother cannot be trusted. Even if she is not doing and saying the things she does in front of you, any contact she has with your family is likely to be detrimental. Especially if she thinks you are against her, she will probably be determined to get back at you by stepping up her pressure on your kids. Despicable but trust me, I know what I’m talking about…
She tore up her mother card a long time ago. You’ve given her plenty of chances to stop doing what she’s done - and look at the destruction she’s still causing.
Praise God for your father! You are able to have a healthy family because you had one good parent. Embrace your wife’s family if they are healthy and keep your family away from this woman who has never been a mother to you. Explain to your kids what kind of person she is and that she doesn’t want the best in life for them, just that she can bring them down to her level so she feels better about her own choices.
Geographical distance does help. But you can still do it. Be strong for your kids, I know how much damage a relative like this can do. And they don’t care, you are left to clean up the destruction. Do not invite her to anything and ignore her pouting, it has nothing to do with you. Pray for her, and keep your boundaries strong.
I have a feeling that you know exactly what I have been dealing with, as do other posters. You’ve given me much-needed courage and a conviction that I am doing the right thing. God bless you for this post. And God bless each of you for your healing words. You have no idea how very much it means to me.
DH sounds like a great man! I too have not told my DH about my past. Maybe one day, I’ll get the strength that you have and do it.
Have you thought about also telling your adult children about why you feel the way you do? I think it might be a good idea to tell them also. Right now, they do not understand. They are now adults and capable of understanding things that they would not have understood before.
Just a thought.
It is a good idea to break ties with your mother. She is toxic.
[Got timed out.]
Undoing the damage is difficult. There are a bunch of eye movement therapies that work. EMDR. EMI. and some tapping techniques.
Use visualizations to create a peaceful place that you can retreat to.
Create your own role models using composites of saintly people, wise people, and heroic people.
If you know someone who is, or who appears to be, confident and calm and cool and competent, you can model just that part of them in your mind. They may not consider themselves to be in that category. And some aspects of their lives may not be very nice But you can just pick the good parts and mentally “step into their shoes” or put yourself into their “costume”.
Gradually, you can build up a new, stronger persona or personality for yourself.
One building block at a time.
By taking the bits of strong people and incorporating them into yourself.
You can visualize anyone who appears to have some confident asset.
A sports personality … just adopt the on-field aspect, not their personal life …
Or someone on television who is an absolute expert in some area that you admire. Maybe one of those Iron Chef people. In real life, no so much, … but on television in front of the camera, they are the experts. Full of confidence. What you want is to adopt their attitude of confidence. To transfer the effect to yourself in situations where you need that extra boost of “confidence-energy”.
Pick people who are fun for you, personally … whatever your personal interest may be.
I spent a lot of time in the military and my hero was always a pilot named Chuck Yeager. He had that low key confidence so that no matter how chaotic the moment was, he always displayed low key confidence. In his voice, for example … which is why so many pilots sound so “low key confident” … they mimic his voice. [To the point, that author Thomas Wolfe focused his book, “The Right Stuff” with the a magnificent characterization of Yeager and how his sense of cool, competent, confidence has been and is emulated by pilots everywhere.]
Pick some people who have some characteristic or strength that you admire, real or imaginary, people you have met or only read about, and emulate that bit of essence that sums that part up.
Boil that essence down to a few seconds worth … just one second worth … just an instant … and visualize yourself in that instant … five times.
Then another person’s strength. Again do that exercise.
Select several different situations and mimic them in your mind.
You don’t need to do all of them at once.
Just build up a “library” or “storehouse” of strengths. Over time.
Visualize successful outcomes in tennis, NASCAR, track & field, golf, acrobatics. Sports come to my mind, but you pick your own.
By building up a repertoire of confidence building internal visualizations, you will have some resources to use to protect and defend yourself against attacks.
Keep doing it, because the attacks do wear down your defenses.
Keep building them up.
Use prayer, and the visualizations. Visualize yourself walking with Jesus, remember how strength flowed from Him to the woman who touched the tassel of His cloak.
You are so kind, but seriously, I am nothing special. It is through the mercy of God that I made it through and have had a happy marriage and family life. My poor baby sister hasn’t been as blessed, due to prolonged exposure to our mother. My mom pressured her to have several abortions during her sad 10-year journey of drug addiction, alcoholism, promiscuity, that my mother put her on when she encouraged my sister to go into stripping (so she could “make a lot of money”). My sister struggles every day with depression and incredible regret over her lost babies. I told my mother that my sister has a real problem getting past the abortions and my mother replied that they were necessary and that my sister’s feelings of horrific guilt were just stupid. Unbelievable.
I feel like I have taken a big first step toward emotional healing by cutting all contact with her, but I know I have a rough road ahead. Pray for me.
Can you encourage your sister to go to a post-abortion ministry like Rachel’s vineyard? She may think it will hurt more to think about the abortions, and it might, but she will be able to forgive herself, let God heal her heart, and feel His love again. Your mom (it pains me to even give her that title) just uses people for her own gratification and your sister is a casualty. But there is help for her, please do everything you can to encourage her to contact people who know what she is going through.
Yes, i will pray for you.
I admire that you’ve patiently waited for your Mom’s deliverance and I know of the difficulties that arise between honoring a parent and the need to confront their errors in behavior.
It’s gut wrenching to come face to face with role reversal and to personally acknowledge their lack of respect for you. Where the child has to become the parent.
I want to say, cut her out of your life. I have an anger problem and a short fuse. I would deal poorly with your Mom’s unrepentant and immoral attitude.
I worry for your children and the poisonous influence your Mom presents to them. Would your Mom vindictively call your children behind your back and feed them her philosophy on life?
Makes sense how St. Paul says to “put on the armor of God”. Your children need to have those virtues in place when they are around their Grandmother.