If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I talk a lot about awareness and acceptance. They are crucial for healing from trauma (https://www.survivingmomblog.com/post/addressing-the-elephant-in-the-room-why-silence-is-not-always-golden), and they are crucial to properly advocate for your child (https://www.survivingmomblog.com/post/surviving-my-child-s-special-needs). My husband was able to get the help he needed to get sober when he closed the door on denial and chose awareness and acceptance (https://www.survivingmomblog.com/post/surviving-addiction). Awareness and acceptance are also necessary components of a healthy marriage (https://www.survivingmomblog.com/post/surviving-marriage-during-a-pandemic).
This post about acceptance is especially hard for me to write because it is about my mother. My mother is many things to me. For a long time, she was the center of my world. I wanted more than anything to get her approval. I believed that somehow she would become the mother I needed if I kept believing and trying.
I knew she did terrible things to me, and as an adult, I realized those things were abusive. Yet, I have fond memories of her too. In some ways, the good memories made it harder to accept the truth. I have memories of her singing songs to me, rubbing my stomach when it hurt, and playing games with her.
When Brielle was born, I was determined to be the mother to her that I never had (https://www.survivingmomblog.com/post/the-survivors-guide-to-parenting). Still, I hoped my mother could be a part of my life and part of my child’s life. After all, she was my mother, and she was Brielle’s grandmother. Although I hated what she had done to me, I loved her.
Several times over the course of my daughter’s life my mother got mad at me, and as a result, would stop talking to my daughter. I warned my mom that this couldn’t happen. My daughter deserved consistency, and it wasn’t healthy to have my mom in and out of my daughter’s life. It was confusing and painful to try to wrap my mind around that when I was a child, and I didn’t want that happening to my daughter. I told my mom that she and I had to be amicable for my daughter’s sake.
Two years ago, my mother and I got into an argument. On that fateful day, she told me she didn’t like me and wanted nothing to do with me. I felt like a knife had been plunged into my heart.
I reminded her that her granddaughter is a child and there was no way she could see my daughter without making some sort of arrangements with me. She refused to communicate with me and sent me an email threatening to sue me for visitation rights. As angry as this made me, it also made me incredibly sad. She would rather take me to court than be cordial with me for the sake of her granddaughter? I knew on a rational level that her behavior was erratic at best but knowing that my mom would go to such lengths to avoid me made me feel like the problem was me. What was wrong with me that my mother could just throw me away?
After decades of wishing upon a star for my mother to love me, I looked at my innocent child and had to face reality. My mother would never be someone I could count on for emotional support. She is incapable of unconditional love. I also knew that if I allowed her in my child’s life, it was inevitable that she would do this to my daughter too.
I knew my mother would eventually contact me (this wasn’t my first rodeo with her), and I made the decision to go no contact with her. I unfriended her on Facebook and removed her from my email and phone contact list. My daughter knew that her grandmother was constantly in and out of her life, and I had to explain to her that that kind of behavior is unacceptable, and I wasn’t going to allow that. One day perhaps I’ll tell my daughter about my horrific childhood, but for now, I want her to know as little as possible. I had my innocence ripped away from me as a child, and I am determined to not have that repeat with my child.
My mother texted me a year ago. She said she missed me and her granddaughter. It took every ounce of strength not to respond.
I’d like to say that I decided to go no contact with my mom because it is what was best for me. Although that is true, the reason I had the courage to do this was because of my daughter. I never wanted her to feel the pain of loving someone who could throw you away without a moment’s hesitation.
I have moments of weakness where I think about the fact that my mother is getting older. I feel a wave of sadness that my mother is now a stranger to me. Guilt absolutely creeps in from time to time, along with grief. I am mourning the loss of the mother I had and the loss of never having the mother I needed.
It is a personal decision to go no contact, and everyone is entitled to decide what is best for them. For those of you that have gone no contact with someone who has brought you tremendous pain and suffering, I hope it brings you some comfort to know that I understand how hard it is to make that choice. I also recognize the bravery and strength it takes to do this.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you when making (and continuing) this choice is to ask yourself if this person is capable of change. The definition of insanity is making the same choice over and over again, expecting a different result. I realized that I was acting insane for being on this endless roller coaster with her, and hoping each time that it could change, that she could change.
It was a hard pill to swallow that I will never have the mother I needed. It took decades of denial for me to get to a place where I was aware and accepted that she cannot be a mother to me in the real sense of the word. Having her in my life would only bring pain to me and to my daughter. I will never allow anyone to do that to my child, even if the perpetrator is my own mother. To give my daughter the childhood that she deserves, I had to close the door on the person who destroyed mine.
I have had to accept a lot of hard truths in my life. Sometimes it took some time for me to get there, and other times I looked awareness and acceptance straight in the eyes. What I’ve learned is that you can’t reach the light at the end of the tunnel unless you are willing to walk through darkness. I never claimed that acceptance and going no contact is easy. However, like Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
I am a native New Yorker, but I currently live in Atlanta with my husband, rambunctious 8-year-old daughter, our 2 cats, and our hyper dog. Writing has always been my outlet. I turned to the power of pen on paper to help cope with the hardships that took place in my childhood, and I have been published in numerous websites.
I believe writing helped me become the person and mother that I am today, and I created a blog (www.survivingmomblog.com) where I write about surviving abuse and the journey of motherhood. My hope is that my words provide support, validation and comfort to others in their own healing journeys.
Feel free to reach out to me! I have a Facebook Group, Surviving Mom Blog: Motherhood and Relationships, and I can be followed on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.