I Don’t Talk to My Toxic Mother

It's true. I don't talk to my toxic mother. I have a lot of mothers in my life, but in general, I hate Mother's Day. I hate talking about Mother's Day. It leaves me with sadness.

I Don’t Talk to My Toxic Mother

It’s true. I don’t talk to my toxic mother. I have a lot of mothers in my life, but in general, I hate Mother’s Day. I hate talking about Mother’s Day. It leaves me with sadness. I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about it on my blog before. I’m only talking about it now because I know some of you can relate. I’m also talking about it so that if you’re like me, and you’re not talking to someone, you know you’re not alone.

I don’t have a relationship with my mother. I broke it off several years ago when I realized she was toxic. Our relationship wasn’t healthy and wasn’t adding anything positive to my life. Worse, it was making me miserable.

So I ended all contact. It was hard. I cried and agonized over whether it was the right thing to do. My brother told me I should forgive her for what she’s done because she’s our mother. However, I simply don’t believe that because someone is blood, you should forgive them over and over. Family is more than blood. (yes, I threw in a Supernatural reference. Bobby’s filled with wisdom.)

I have mothers that I love. My mother-in-law is a great woman and I enjoy spending time with her. She’s always been wonderful. I’m not gonna lie, I’m envious of the relationship that she and my husband have. She was an amazing mother for him while he was growing up. She supported him no matter what decisions he made and always offered him helpful advice.

My stepmother and grandmother have both been prominent figures in my life. They both helped to raise me. They provided me with guidance and are also wonderful people. I enjoy the time that I spend with both of them.

That said, when Mother’s Day rolls around, I feel cheated. I wonder what did I do that my mother never loved me the way she loved my brother. Growing up I felt like my mother didn’t really love me, that I was an inconvenience to her. That it was my fault for her not finishing high school because she got pregnant so young (I think she later got her GED). I felt like she really used me as a way to get my father to marry her.

Some of the other things she said, things like ‘You’ll never be as pretty or as thin as I am,’ stuck with me for years. I remember her yelling at me and my brother one time that he was an accident, that she’d gotten pregnant on the pill with him. All I could think is, why would you tell your child that? That’s horrible.

Last year, when I decided to do a Gilmore Girls marathon, I was bitter. I couldn’t help but think about how that could have been me and my mother. I felt cheated out of a real relationship with my birth mother. But time and time again, she chose other people over me and my brother. We were an afterthought, a nuisance.

Rather than sit on these feelings, I talked with my therapist. I learned that my mother had narcissistic tendencies and that there was nothing I could do to make things right.  I had no self-esteem for years because of the criticisms and judgments she laid on me. I had to fight to build myself up, to love myself.

If you have a toxic mother (or father), you’re not alone. It’s ok to stop talking to them. You don’t owe them or anyone else an explanation for why you decide to cut someone out of your life.

Family is more than the people you’re born to. Family can be who you choose to make them. I don’t think being related to someone by blood means that they’re going to be better for you than someone who isn’t related by blood.

The people I consider my chosen family, who aren’t related by blood, matter to me. They understand why I don’t talk to my toxic mother. They’re a great support network who understand what it’s like to have someone gaslight you. They make the sadness and pain easier to bear. And I’ve finally accepted, it’s ok to hate Mother’s Day.


  1. There’s already a plethora of comments on this post, but still going to say I’m proud of you for cutting contact. I know how hard it can be. I’m still in contact with my parents but it’s very low. Both are toxic in their own ways, one for being raised in a toxic environment and the other for the same as your mother.

    I think talking about things like this will make it easier for others to identify and accept that family isn’t always as loving as you want. Some people are toxic, and some of those people might be family.

    XO Steph


    1. I also cut off contact with my parents. It was no small task over the years but I just couldn’t go on like that. It has been a journey. I’m so glad I came across all these comments. I don’t have brothers or sisters. So in a very light sort of way I consider those of you who have traveled the path back to self love and care my sister’s and brothers.

      1. I’m an only child. Mother’s Day as well as my mother’s birthday, have been the most dreaded days in my calendar, from one year to the next. I never know the mood of my mother when I will call her; it can go from normal to hysterics and I have learned and developed through the years coping mechanisms to deal with her toxic behavior. She is definitely a narcissist, and blind to her faults and selfishness. As an only child, the emotional blackmail from my father that still continues to this day (I’m 47), and is exhausting as he tries to force me to have a relationship with my mother to soothe his own consciousness (because it makes him feel like he “raised me right” or something twisted like that). I’m at the point where I physically want to put a distance between my mother and myself so it will make obligatory visits not possible every couple of weeks, my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health is suffering is at its worst right now. It’s a catharsis just to right this out.

  2. You’ve shared some stories with me about this and I didn’t hold back my shock. I couldn’t register a mother doing the things you said. I kept thinking how brave you really are and just don’t see how hugely brave you are.

    I was raised by a woman that weighed over 325 lbs. That, in itself, comes with lots of challenges. However, she would tell me and my siblings that having us children was the reason she was fat. I was young enough to believe it. It probably factors into why I never had children. I wouldn’t want them to feel guilty for being born. It took years to let that one go and know it was on her, not me.

  3. We live in the era of Donald Trump. He is a failed human being. His wealth and title as President are meaningless because he has completely botched every chance he had to be a good man.

    How does this connect to the original post?

    I imagine that many of our mothers and fathers are from the same generation as Trump. Boomers. Narcissistic. Obnoxious. Loud. Vexing. Toxic. Greedy.

    My mother is 68. As I write this, she, my father and I are sitting in their living room watching Zodiac. The only reason I am here is that my pipes froze in my house and there is no water flowing. My wife and daughter are abroad.

    Our generation has had to endure the Boomers toxic shit for the entirety of our 40+ years on Earth.

    All we can do is wait for these disgusting people to die off. Are all Boomers horrible? No. Of course not. But the ones who suck the hardest, fattest cocks all seem to share Trumpian characteristics.

    My own mother drains a gallon of wine per night. She shushes people when they talk while TV is on. She belittles my father. But her friends? She has a bunch of rich friends, women in their 60s, who are these elderly Barbie doll types. They cluck like hens, discussing the most inane topics. She NEVER treats them the way she treats my father and I.

    I think she may pickle her liver. If I showed you a photo progression from her 30s to now, you would think that you are looking at a genetic mutation. Her skin has salllowed. Her eyes took on an odd green tinge. Her sentences are illogical sometimes. I consulted a doctor and he mentioned it MIGHT be the wine. MIGHT?! Please, doc. Did you go to Acme Medical School with Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner? Of course it’s the damn wine.

    My wife and I have offered my father safe haven in our home. There is a very good chance that she will die first because of the alcohol abuse. He will need help. He has been a gem of a Dad so I would do anything for him. He once drove my car from Boston to Austin TX because I needed it for school. My mother spent her days yelling and then making me sandwiches and apologizing, as if preparing food clears away years of meanness.

    I saw a therapist for a long time because of her. A decade or more. She was in therapy too. Docs said to stop drinking. She said GFY.

    She teaches school…. 6th grade English in a swanky town. She makes good money b/c she’s done the job for 30 years. At this point, everyone she works with is an idiot or a liar or a jerk except for the one lady 15 years younger than herself who is also a major drinker.

    I am writing this just for catharsis. Every fiber of by being wants to scream at her, but a superior, loud-mouthed drunken bully asshole wouldn’t respond to that.

    Her own mother is 93. Somehow she is clinging to this life. To illustrate her level of cuntery, I will relate a story: my wife and I had just moved back to Boston. My wife had just finished her phd. I had to quit my job and get a new one. One day, while visiting my grandmother and aunt who lives with her b/c she has Downs Syndrome, we are having coffee. My wife had just got a great job so our bases were covered while I searched for work. During the convo, spontaneously my grandmother says: “If he doesnt find work soon, are you going to divorce him?”

    I had never wanted to punch a 90 year old woman under 5 feet tall who weighs 100 lbs before. I weigh 295 and bench press 265. A blow from me would have killed her. Avoiding murder charges was my main motivation for not cracking her one. I really, really, really wanted to do it.

    There are some aunts in the picture with equally sunny dispositions. Seriously 2nd class citizens. Anger, frustration, and loudness is all they know.

    My father and I have coffee and muse about how bitch grandmother will be dead soon. She will be leaving over $800,000 to my aunt with downs syndrome. The myriad of reasons that outline precisely why that is insane are far too many to enumerate here. She also sold property on Cape Cod the whole family enjoyed. Didn’t even offer anyone a chance to take it over. She wanted the money. Which of course is her legal right, but still a shitty move.

    You might be saying “Oh… poor little rich boy… wah wah wah.” And maybe you’re right. However, for those of us men with toxic mothers, aunts, wives or sisters, our pain is the same: natural human instinct is to look upon women as nurturers. When they act like drunken sailors, it’s hard to swallow.

    When I feel this way, I try and remember what a dear friend of mine once said: she made you tough. You weren’t babied. True. I have 3 degrees (all merit scholarships), speak 3 languages fluently, have a nice home, loving family and daughter. I have a company I built with zero money invested by anyone. The company was valued at $3M for sale recently. My mother made me tough as hell, sure. You could say she’s one of the people who made me who I am.

    Yet, there will always be a wistful sadness inside me. It is hard and confusing to look upon the woman who birthed you as she destroys herself with cheap wine, trying all the while to find reasons to love her and ways to forgive.

    The last thing my doctor said before I resigned from therapy was that I will have a chance to create a warm nurturing relationship within the bounds of my own family – healthy love between husband wife and daughter. And that is happening and I thank God each day that doc was right.

    Mother wounds are not a joke. I am successful now at 40, but my mother wound almost derailed my life at one point the pain was so deep.

    So, to all you mothers out there: there are better things to be than a jerk. You can teach your kids to be resilient and tough without ripping their heart in two. In fact, you should. The world doesn’t need any more angry, drunk, loud-mouthed, ignorant women raising kids with mother wounds. If you find yourself in that category, do the world a favor and clean up your act before it’s too late.

    Pain is like gas in a container. It fills up all sides evenly and leaves a residue that may be impossible to clean up.

    Best Wishes.

  4. I have a narcissistic mother too. She doted on my dad like he was a god, but treated her children (just me, I’m an only child) like an encumbrance. The thing is, I’m just like my dad – I look, walk, talk, and think like him. I never need to be introduced to anyone as his daughter, nor does he ever need to be introduced as my dad – people can tell immediately. My mom responds to him with admiration and reverence, while responding to the same qualities in me with jealousy and hostility. She has mean-girl tendencies and doesn’t hesitate to direct them toward me. Whenever she and my dad had marital problems, she would tell me that I was the source of all of the problems in our family. Imagine being 8-years-old and being told by your mother that your parents might be divorcing, and it’s YOUR fault.

    I always knew her behavior was unhealthy and her parenting skills were less than top-notch, but I always thought of it as being insignificant and common. I thought, “there are worse parents out there.” I don’t interact with her very much these days, so I never feel the need to formally cut her out of my life – but reading this post made me realize that I shouldn’t feel so guilty when she asks me to go on a cruise with her or spend leisure time with her, and I say “no”. I always say no. At the same time, I do try to remember that she’s a human being, and when she really needs something, I oblige. It’s a balancing act.

  5. Hi there. Just read your web. I am from Indonesia, and i am feeling exactly like you do. My mother lokes to take control of my marriage, and hated me for being married in a young age (23). She never want to hear my opinion and always act she is the most experienced one. Couldnt speak to her nicely, cause everytime i do it she would get furious and eventually curse me for being an ungrateful child

  6. I’ve read your story and I can totally relate to the pain and hardships that you went through as a result of being with a toxic person. (I have a toxic ex-husband). The most loving thing anyone can do for a toxic person is give them a gift of negative consequences that’s done out of love, not bitterness and resentment towards them. Going no-contact (or minimal if there’s gonna be a need to co-parent) is a wise and pnecessary step to protect oneself from further abuse. What made my recovery difficult is a foolish advice, given by well-meaning people, to forgive and forget because the abuser is a family member and a father to my children. In other words, continue to have a relationship with him where he’ll treat me like a slave and an emotional punching bag because somehow that’s the wise and noble thing to do. Most of all, my children will have a father and an intact family. I knew that this was a foolish and dangerous and dangerous advice, but I didn’t have any ammo to fight back, until I found Leslie Vernick. She grew up with an abusive mother and now works as a counselor with woman in toxic relationships. She gave me tools to grow stronger, clear my head from all the crazy making done by my ex and his allies and significantly minimize the impact of past and future damage done by my ex. Also, the videos of Melanie Tonya Evans have been the break that I needed to gain true freedom from the power of a narcissist. I cannot recommend Leslie and MTE enough to anyone involved in a relationship with any toxic person, not just an ex spouse. Anyway, I learned that true forgiveness means that I come to terms with the fact that the toxic person in my life is damaged beyond repair, stop expecting him/her to come to their senses, ask for forgiveness and become the good person that they should be. While I will put strong boundaries to protect myself from further abuse, I will not let myself be overcome by the evil that was done to me. The evil person in my life is not an accurate representation of all the people in this world, so I will not shut down myself from developing relationships with others. I hope this helps and thank you for bringing this issue to light.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story and your advice. The whole ‘forgive so your kids have two parents thing’ is dangerous. I’m glad you got yourself out of that situation.

  7. I understand this post completely and everyone deserves to be treated with love and respect…I don’t speak to my Dad because he is a toxic individual nor do allow him near my child!! Hugs to you on the Mother’s Day Wkd and great to know you surround yourself with people that care!


  8. Courtney, you are very brave to write this, and give a voice to so many of us. You know I suffered much the same from my own narcissistic mother, who is jealous of and hates anything female that she can’t bully, use, or feel superior to. I could tell when I was 11 years old that I was no longer her daughter, but another woman. She told me outright many, many times that she hated me and that having children ruined her life because no man would marry her and raise another man’s kids. Worse were the constant digs: “When I was your age, I was much thinner, ” “You need to get a boyfriend. I had lots of boyfriends in high school,” “(Little brother and problem child) is so smart. He’s way smarter than you. You just work harder and that’s why people think you’re the smart one,” etc. When my wedding pictures arrived, she grabbed my album out of my hands, turned straight to the solo shots of me and said, “Oh. I thought these were going to be really pretty, but they’re not.” Can you imagine?! I stopped talking to her about 5 years ago, and I wish I’d done it 35 years sooner. I wish I could say I had other positive mother figures in my life, but I didn’t. Mother’s and Father’s Day always leave me with conflicting feelings: Anger and regret that my parents hated me, but favored my brothers, based solely on our genders. Having my own children, and having Mothers and Father’s Day be about my and husbands relationships with them, brings me indescribable joy. We can’t choose our parents, but we can choose to live our own lives and make our own happiness without feeling guilty. You can bet people like our mothers never feel any guilt.

  9. Phyrra, my heart aches for you because you are a beautiful soul, inside and out, and I can now greatly appreciate your strength and character even more. I will not tell you cheap words or even try to pretend I can understand your personal struggle, but I want to tell you how incredible it is that you have opened up with your heartache so that you can have a catharsis while helping others in the same situation. I’ve learned that not all we are related to by blood or familial bonds have good intentions for us. This quote resonates with me: “You can meet somebody tomorrow who has better intentions for you than someone you’ve known forever… Time means nothing… Character does.” You inspire me all the time with every post, video, photo, etc. I am so glad I can celebrate your life and talents with you, even though it’s a virtual experience. Much love to you!

  10. OMG these comments all sound so familiar. I, too, was some kind of unwanted obligation in my family, and after my mother died, my (younger) sister stepped right into her shoes offering me the same kind of disapproval I’d gotten from my mother during her life. (My mother actually SAID to me when I was a little girl, “What makes you think you’re so special?” Well, if your own mother doesn’t think you’re pretty special, I think that says a lot, not about me, but about her and her feelings towards me, you know?) I’ve distanced myself from my sister because I don’t feel like I need or want to go through all the hoops necessary to maintain any kind of relationship with her. I could continue the relationship by doing things on her terms and “apologizing” in every way for being me, but really, what kind of a relationship is that? It took a lot of therapy to get “myself” back again. I’m much happier and more well-balanced without that kind of stress and denial of myself in my own life. I’m sorry that we don’t really have much of anything to base a relationship on any more, but at the same time, I’m not willing to make the kinds of chances and sacrifices that an ongoing relationship with her would require. The disapproval and disgust with me that I get from my sister seems to me to be a waste of emotional energy all the way around. So she goes her way and I go mine. It’s too bad, but I don’t really have the power or desire to try to change it at this point. I was never “good enough” and don’t see any signs that I will ever be any “better” at gaining the approval of someone who basically disapproves of me as a human being in the world, so I just give her plenty of space to deal with the things she wants to have in her life. And I manage quite well without all that negativity and disapproval, too. It was harder at first and I questioned myself a lot, but it got easier with time and practice. It took too much energy to engage with her and too much energy to interact with her trying not to engage, so disengaging was the best answer for me.

  11. I remember my first Valentine’s Day with a “boyfriend” that I didn’t get my mother a card and she FLIPPED at how hurt she was. So I made her a homemade card that was over the top that she had on her dresser (because it was so special? To remind me never to forget?) until I stopped talking to her 4 years ago.

    I remember agonizing over Mother’s Day card options and thinking “doesn’t Hallmark make an ‘obligation’ card? None of these ones about loving me no matter what and caring about me seem to fit.”

    Hate all holidays to this day because of the pressure to make it about her every time. Not just Mother’s Day.

  12. I have a question for you. When I have attempted to cut my pare ts out of my life for many of the same reasons stated in your post and the comments, my mom bashed me to anyone who would listen, destroying my reputation and claiming that she was victim. I caved and let her back in mostly because I can’t stand having someone mad or think badly of me. How do I get over this and find peace with cutting your own mother put of your life and your children’s lives?

    1. You can’t stop your parents from doing what they are doing any more than you can stop them from being your parents. Your challenge is to stop yourself from being sucked back in by their manipulative behavior (bashing you to everyone, destroying your reputation, claiming your mother is the victim of you). It’s just their way of trying to get you to engage again, and go through the dance. That might sound cold, but sometimes a relationship on only one party’s terms is not much of a relationship at all.

      1. Kelly, you’re absolutely right. I wish I’d been smart enough to realize it when I was younger.

    2. Oh my… my ex husband did exactly what you described once I left him. When abusers lose control over their victims, they engage in full blown character assasination. As a result, I lost all of my friends except my BFF. It was extremely painful to go through life when your good name has been dragged through the mud and your reputation is in ruins, all because you’ve said “enough is enough” to an abuser in your life. At this time, resist the urge to come back to your abuser. The price that you’ll pay is just too high. Instead, weather this time through by acting as your best possible self. Don’t walk around with a guilty and sad face as if you’ve done something wrong. Hold your head high, get involved in your community, extend a helping hand, do something productive and good. If someone does come to you and spill out the slander that your abuser has put in their ears, be calm, polite, and firm. Don’t try to fervently defend yourself (and definitely don’t cry) because it only reinforces the validity of the abuser’s words. As time goes by and people don’t see you unravel, they’ll starts to question the validity of all the things that your abuser said about you. When the abuser sees you thrive, despite their slanderous campaign against you, they will start to panic, unravel and make mistakes. They’ve dropped an atomic bomb on you and they totally bombed (pun intended). I know it sounds just too hard to do right now, especially after you’ve gone through so much abuse with them. But I’ve walked this road (and still do) and I was able to avoid a lot of negative fallout that other people experienced. In fact, I sort of evolved into a hot potato that my abusive ex couldn’t get rid of fast enough. He ended up divorcing me (which is extremely rare for narcs to go). I hope this helps.

  13. Oh my dearest Phyrra, this hurts my heart because I would NEVER wish this kind of hurt for you. Because I know how painful this is. I cut off contact with my parents two years ago. And it hurt like hell.

    Even at age 45 (then) I asked myself the same things…why was I unlovable? I did everything I could but it was never enough. I was never enough. Then through my healing I realized they have Narcissistic Borderline personality disorder and since then, I’ve gained a sense of peace I thought I’d never have, I’m actually happy for the first time in my life.

    I wish I had mothers in my life. Unfortunately my beloved Grandma and mother in law have passed away, and a dear friend who took on a grandmother role died last year.

    It’s been tough on my relationship with my sisters but we are ok. My kids–who were being affected by their actions that caused me to end it–are thriving and don’t miss them. It’s the only way I make it through Mothers and Fathers Day (my FIL is not healthy to be around, sadly).

    I definitely believe family is who you make it. My husband and kids love me for me. And the love I get from my furbabies is priceless.

    Thank you for speaking out. It makes a different to know I am not alone. It’s seen as so unacceptable to not “honor” ones parents, and I’m still healing from the pain (finally ready for therapy!)

    I’m always here for you if you need to talk. This is a club we don’t deserve to be in, but we will be stronger for it. I love you dear!!

  14. I explain to people that I do forgive my mother but when the toxic behavior continues and threatens my sanity and health I need to protect myself and my son.

  15. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us; the comments confirm you are so right, there are many of us who have experienced similar relationships. In my experience, the maternal relationship can really make or break the foundation of a persons self worth. The whole idea that a mother’s love is unconditional, automatic and all encompassing is very wrong which contributes to the “how can anyone love me if my own mother doesn’t?” I’ve spent thousands on trying to find some way to work through the complicated and debilitating feelings of worth due to this myth and expectation. Without getting into the specifics, my relationship with my mom was very complicated, destructive and abusive and I had previously cut her off for 2 yrs then allowed her back for another decade+ then cut her off again 2 yrs ago. I am a better mother, wife and human without her in my life and that hurts but it’s for the best. When she passes I will have to deal with the guilt and likely extended family finger pointing (again) but as far as I’m concerned my energy and focus is on MY immediate family and trying to be better to them than she was to me. We choose & make our families, we’re not stuck with what we’re born into. Group therapy, anyone? LOL

    1. I totally get where you are coming from. Such blogs and stories make my pain ever so less as for years I thought that I was a bad person and thats why my mother never approved of me and said nothing but negative things about me infeont of the whole family and relatives. Thanks to my husbands support I have just started seeing a therapist and that has made a world of a difference. I wish and pray all of us find everlasting peace and happiness in our own family units(our husbands,kids,pets(in my case my adorable siberian cat:))). Love you all for sharing your stories and making me less guilty about hating mothers day:D

  16. I am an only child. sadly my contact with mother ended 9yrs ago as well. we live on different continents now. I didn’t even tell her when I got married. she beat me from when I can remember and verbally abused me as well, told me I was autistic, schizophrenic, sent me to have brain scans at mental hospital when I still went to elementary school etc. I stopped biting my nails when contact ended after biting them my whole life. my father talks to me on the phone only when she doesn’t know. I can’t stay at their house when I visit. it makes me sad because I practically have no relatives I am in contact with, all my grandparents died ages ago too but I know this is the only way we can all live. thank you for sharing <3

  17. Omigawsh I have the same exact issue with Father’s Day! I’d like to think there’s hope for every situation, and it’s difficult. Luckily my Mom was fantastic (she’s been gone almost 11 years). You’ve put it into words so well. Thank you so much for your post! ???

  18. thank you for sharing this. I’m sorry you have had to deal with this. I have never really had a relationship with my father since my parents divorced when I was 5. so Fathers day is always a sore spot for me- and lucky for me it sometimes falls on my birthday, or the day before/after/ etc. so that’s fun. haha. Anyway if you ever wanna talk to anyone, I’m all ears!

  19. When I read the email the first time, I thought, “What an odd name for cosmetics”, then clicked on it to read the reviews to go along with the headlines. We too have toxic family and we avoid them now and have for years. Our children and grandchildren do not need to experience toxicity in any form. I’m sorry it is necessary, but I am glad you are able to see what’s best for you. Thank you for sharing so others know they are not alone.

    1. You’re welcome. This was a very difficult topic for me to write about, but I felt like it would help people, too.

  20. Courtney, thank you for sharing this with us. I’ve only been a follower for a short time, and in that short time, I have read and browsed through many posts. However, this one immediately grab my attention because it hit home for me. I can tell you that I found a soul sister in you after the Supernatural reference in your post (love that show).

    1. You’re welcome! Yes, I love Supernatural. I need to make it to a Supernatural convention.

  21. I am so sorry you had to endure such a toxic mother. You have done the best possible thing for yourself by removing her from your life. I have toxic family too and can well understand the need to escape – to be able to breathe without inhaling all their hate and cruelty and selfishness. You are a unique and splendid person and I’m so sorry your mother made you feel like less than what you really are.

    1. It’s so hard because people always say you need to forgive and get over it, but they don’t mention that sometimes the best thing is to move on, too.

      1. I have a hard time with the idea that we are supposed to automatically forgive people when they not only aren’t sorry, but keep on hurting us. We should be allowed to care enough about ourselves to walk away without being judged.

      2. It’s hard to forgive someone for something they keep doing and justifying. At that point you really just have to walk away.

  22. Hi, I can’t tell you how much I can see myself in your words. I’m 40 years old, and I can’t remember one positive or nice thing that my mother ever said to me. Like you, after several attempts, I’ve made the decision of cut any communication with my mother. She lives in Holland and I live in Portugal (that make things easier). At 16, I started to live on my own and rented a place because living with my mother was experience a daily psychological terror. I suffer a lot. Growing up, I often felt lack of self-esteem, I felt I was the unwanted one. And that affected my personality in so many ways. Luckly, I
    turn around my life, and realise that it wasn’t my fault that person is my mother, I shouldn’t live with a person who spreads hate, negativity and tries to control and criticize everyone. The day that my son was born, I made the decision to cut with my mother to protect my child. 14 years have passed, and sometimes I wonder how she is, because I don’t wish her no harm. And I can’t avoid to remenber her sometimes, but I’m at peace with my decision. Today, I understand that after all it wasn’t my fault.

    1. I am in the same situation as you Daniela. My mother lives far from me. She lives in Portugal and I live in Canada. My mother chose to live away from us 32 years ago. I am 51 years old with children of my own and my mother continues to taunt me over the phone, even after all these years. I recently blocked her on my phone and am trying to keep her negativity out of our lives. As an example, I work as a school principal and my mother told me that all I do is go to work every day, that I am stupid and never learned how to make money like she did. She extends this criticism towards my husband who is a kind man. Each time that I got pregnant my mother told me that I was a fool to have a child. My father called me “simplória”. My father worships my mother. I don’t understand how a mother can be so cruel.

  23. I have loathed Morher’s Day since elementary school. I remember telling a teacher that i was making my mother’s day project for father’s day since little to nothing was ever done for father’s day and that was the parent that was and still is supportive of me. My mom’s mom would tell her that she was a mistake. My mom never said that to me, but she stopped being a parent to me when my sister was born. I literally did not matter to her once her new daughter was born. I was like my dad in my academic strengths and surpassed her ability in math by 5th grade. Spelling wasn’t a strength of mine and she never understood. I also think very logically and my mom was more impulsive. Later on she developed physical, emotional, and mental issues. I was forced to care for my little sister (10 years apart) as it wasn’t safe for her to be alone with our mom. I was in 9th grade and had to take multiple busses and walk .5 a mile each way to pick up my 4 yr old sister, drag her and her backpack on top of my heavy pack half a mile back to the bus stop, on another bus to get home where i had to do chores, keep my demanding sister content, make dinner, make sure my sister does her homework, finally do my homework, get my sister ready for bed and put her to bed. In return for all this my mother endlessly ranted about how i wasn’t my sister’s mother and constantly berated for every little thing. I was never paid or given an allowance. I was told this was my family responsibility. It should not have been. No wonder i struggled academically for the first time ever. I was harassed by my mother for years and years afterwards even though i never wanted nor asked to care for my sister. It was my mother’s fault for making bad choices that she continued to make for the rest of her life. After she finally moved out and my parents divorced i was happier but was constantly nitpicked for every little thing. And when I got really sick in 7th grade (so before she started having more issues) she did not come to the hospital to visit me once nor did she join the mandatory parent child classes for when a child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she never read any of the material (my mom was an elementary school teacher who focused on literacy) nor ever bothered to learn anything, she left that up to my dad and me. She was never supportive of me after my sister was born. She focused all her attention on the new child she could mould and latter manipulate. For example, my impressionable baby sister would see my mom steal my clothes and so my sister began to steal my clothes nevermind that my top went to her ankles. My sister would also hit and slap me and then scream and cry to mom that i did that to her and i would get screamed at. This went on for months! And of course mom would cuddle/coddle her afterwards only encouraging her to continue the ruse. So i cut off contact with her for a period of time where i was in high school and again later on. See my mom was extremely charming and incredibly manipulative, she could always easily make people believe anything she wanted and take her side regardless of anything else. When i was in college, she again made bad choices and landed herself in the hospital and her new best friend (whose son i happened to go preschool and religious school with) called and yelled at me because i refused to visit mom in the hospital (she was there for not taking care of herself, it wasn’t because she had pneumonia or anything). I couldn’t believe a virtual stranger had the audacity to call and scream at me for a personal choice I made that did not concern her (i didn’t say that mom never visited me 2when i was diagnosed with a life threatening/changing illness! Fast forward and while i was in the hospital being treated for (a different) life threatening illness when mom died suddenly and unexpectedly. So I now dispise mother’s day for a different reason. I have no contact with anyone from mom’s family. And little contact with ‘family’ on my father’s side. As a child and teenager MMom always told me that I should go to weight watchers and that i wasn’t pretty. While i love my dad he used to tell me that my friends were prettier than i was and so he couldnt understand why they didn’t have date requests implying and stating that he understood why I didn’t. So I do understand. The one woman who was a positive influence on my life died a few months ago and she didn’t tell me she was sick so i never had the chance to say goodbye. So i don’t have positive mother like role models in my life. Annd the woman who i had been close to for over 20 years never listens to me when i tell her that I’m not happy with our friendship. I’ve tried telling her what’s bothering me before but nothing ever changes, i still always come last to her. Like you i believe family are those you choose which can include biological family. I had thought this friend was my sister, but this relationship is extremely one sided and I’m tired of always being the one doing the giving and her taking. I’m trying to step away from that relationship too as i feel miserable and depressed after spending time with her which isn’t healthy. But it is very difficult because i have very few friends which is what happens when you spend your 20s in and out of the hospital. I take classes at a local community college but almost all of my classmates are significantly younger than me and the rest are significantly older. So not really a place to make new friends. I am unable to work. So i have very few opportunities to try to meet new people.

    1. I’m so sorry for what you experienced! I’ve met the majority of my friends online, so maybe that would work for you?

  24. WOW! The tone of this article sounds like us… my sister & I. We know all those feelings, but luckily we (and you) have come to a point where we realize that the toxicity is NOT worth it. That is huge! Congratulations!
    Blood means nothing when it boils down to it- if it did, perhaps things would’ve been different for us from the beginning!
    My sis quit talking to ours years ago, I just stopped a year ago. However, I remember @age 7 her telling me not to call her ‘Mama’, to call her by her name instead. Who does that to a 7 year old? We’ve both been told we should’ve been aborted. Those are just a few small examples from our childhood.
    However, we’ll NOT be defined by our shitty childhood, nor will we repeat the cycle of abuse. I know that we have learned how NOT to treat our children (we’re far from orthodox, but they KNOW they’re loved & wanted & needed).
    Just know that you are NOT alone. There are sooo many of us that identify with your feelings-
    thanX for sharing! Reading that made me feel empowered!
    Thank you, thank you!

    1. “However, we’ll NOT be defined by our shitty childhood, nor will we repeat the cycle of abuse.” So much this!

  25. I have read this so many times today. I was in so much pain when I decided to completely shut my mom and shortly after my brothers. It was very negative and it drained me of any energy. I didn’t want my little family to see the rage they caused at sometimes just the sound of their voice. Thank you so much for sharing Courtney. ?

    1. I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through, but I am glad you found this helpful. It’s really hard to cut someone out, even when you know it’s best for you/

  26. I can’t imagine how painful this was to write but I’m glad to see how you’ve gotten past it. Don’t let it burden you again. You tried but she doesn’t deserve your love let alone your admiration. There are too many people who do love you and that’s what counts.

  27. This no doubt wasn’t easy to publish. I know because I haven’t been able to publish anything like It. Hope you have a good day that day anyway!

  28. This is something a friend of mine lived with for her entire life. We’ve been friends since we were kids so I witnessed some things. Her mother was very damaged, diagnosably so. It was easier for me to say cut off contact than it was for her to do so (obviously). I told her she had to create and enforce boundaries. She finally did when her mother’s behavior began to impact her kids. She feels guilt nonetheless. Abusive people manipulate those around them, they gaslight them. I’m so sorry, Courtney, that you were on the receiving end of that emotional abuse. Therapy is helpful because you hear from a neutral party the truth- not the bizarro reality created by the abuser. And it helps to have that neutral party/professional tell you that protecting yourself is important.
    There are some people who are jackasses, there are some people who have NPD and/or BPD. You can have sympathy for them, for the misery they must feel inside. But sympathy doesn’t mean that person gets to treat you like a doormat.
    I hope each May gets a little easier for you. Nothing can erase what you’ve experienced and just the little you’ve relayed was awful. I can’t imagine how many more things were done and said. But, I’m glad you have loving people in your life. You did the right thing with regards to your mother. I’m sure others have told you this and it’s true – in the end, it’s her loss to not have a compassionate, intelligent, kind person in her life.

  29. I did the same thing with my grandmother. She’s always been cold because I’m female (no joke), but a few years ago she said a bunch of incredibly nasty shit to me, and I finally said enough. I wish I had broken off with her years ago. I only kept a relationship with her for so long because she was the only grandmother I ever knew…

    1. I’m sorry for what you went through but you showed amazing strength cutting her off!

  30. thanks for sharing this, it is a brave thing to do and important story to be told. Many of us get mothering where we can find it, as you mention- that is so important, too. You are kind, generous and brilliant, so you paying it forward, as in this post, makes a lot of sense to me. May your love and light continue to shine to overcome the darkness of that toxic past relationship.

  31. Oh boy can I relate! My mom died in 2012 but she was certainly toxic. In fact I now carry the guilt of forcing myself and my sweet daughter to be exposed to this on the daily because as horrible as she was we had to care for her through the last years of her life. For the last 12 years she was alive in fact. My daughter and I talk about it fairly often but we’ve both agreed that while it was a really tough time in our lives not having the guilt of leaving her in the care of my also very toxic sister’s care was an almost even trade. I LOVE the Supernatural reference and Bobby was one of my favorites and God I miss him!!! But I very much agree that family does not have to be blood. In fact my sister of heart will be flying in Sunday from Brisbane, Australia and I can’t wait to hug her and spend real time with her again. Thank God for Skype though, huh? lol I won’t write a mini novel to say that I understand where you are coming from and totally agree with Allison (I feel she might be in the ‘caring’ field because she sure did hit the nail on the head!) Your self care is admirable but omg is it ever so normal to grieve that wonderful, caring relationship you should have had. Mother’s day is bittersweet for me because my children make it an amazing day but I too grieve that relationship I should have been able to have with my own Mother.

    1. I’m so sorry you experienced something similar. I think everyone deserves to have a healthy relationship with their mom and for those of us who don’t, it’s sad.

  32. I read your story and its like mine. I don’t feel alone in this world! Exactly the same! It’s my life what you wrote. I don’t talk to her anymore. Several years ago I decided to break the relationship completely. I felt so miserable at first… Everybody telling me :it’s your mother, c’mon!! Now, I can tell everybody with proud in my voice that I don’t talk to my mother anymore. Enough is enough.

    1. You are not alone! Many of us have been through something similar. You’re doing what is best for you.

  33. Oh Courtney, how I can relate. I never cut off contact with my mom, it wasn’t as severe as what you’re describing, but I learned from my mom’s psychiatrist that she had NPD and just knowing that has given me power to undo her damage. I also picked up a really fantastic book, it feels like it was written just for me, it’s called “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” It helps you mourn the mother you wish you had and also to realize that our mothers are incapable of giving what we needed. It sounds dark to say this, but my mom died 5 years ago, and through that I’m finding the ability (at 38 yrs old now!) to finally put this pain behind me. Through all this dysfunction I am not close to my siblings either. I see them once or twice a year, but blood relation doesn’t mean I need a relationship with someone who makes me feel awful. So, I feel your pain on mother’s day. Both because my mom is deceased, but also because she was a narcissist.

  34. It’s one thing to be able to say in your heart to those who helped you come into this life, thank you for giving me life. And it’s another thing to repeatedly expose yourself to heart breaking words and actions. I am all in favor of protecting oneself and doing the work of healing away from people who re-inflict wounds. And many people have to make those choices. And when you receive warmth and support from a tribe of caring people, that has more in common with how many people around the world grow up than the present cultural organization where we are limited to two people. If the immediate parents are not capable, it’s wise and self-caring to build that circle of support as you have done. Grief may still be there for as long as it needs to be. I am not a fan of forcing oneself or anyone into premature forgiveness. If forgiveness arises spontaneously on its own– fine. But too often people sermonize others to forgive. That fails to honor the feelings of the person — and also creates a society where people tolerate abusive behavior without stopping the behavior. Knowing this about you makes me appreciate your self-care and courage in sharing your beauty and your knowledge of beauty with all of us. I would suspect that there are many of us who cultivate that extra self-respect and self-care through beautification– and it’s all good.

    1. Every time my grandmother or my brother told me to forgive, I felt like it was a slap in my face and that they were trying to invalidate my feelings. I didn’t buy their reasonings of ‘she’s your mom, she’s blood, she had a bad childhood, she regrets it,’ etc. I’m sure all those things are true, but I suffered for years and I don’t want to subject myself to it anymore. Thank you for saying you don’t believe in forcing forgiveness.

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