Hey, friends! Another short episode this week because next week is the official launch of Kick Anxiety’s Ass. Zomg wtf this is crazy. This episode featured a tough AND really important question. Enjoy!
So, I have a toxic mother. I don’t live with her for 2 years, since my parents broke up (now i’m 20). Since then I tried to stop communication with her several times, but every time gave up to pressure from her and other relatives. I’ll finish my exchange semester soon, and at my home city avoiding her gets more complicated. I’ve actually blocked her in all possible messengers around two months ago (not for the first time). I realise, that it isn’t usually considered an acceptable behaviour, but I just have absolutely no idea what would be the right thing to do. It seems impossible for me to simulate a normal mother-daughter relationship when I know, that I can’t trust her or respect her and she just won’t change. Living with her was hell. Daily tantrums, that lasted hours (no exaggeration). Constant blaming everyone for her problems. Complete indifference for my feelings (I had a period of being too depressed to get out of bed, she didn’t notice it or pretended not to). My 10-years-old brother lives with her and he doesn’t have it better. Actually, he texted me asking, if he is the reason of my fight with mother. He also says that she complains to him about me all the time. I wish I just didn’t care, but I still care way too much and don’t see any reasonable solution for this situation. Thank you for reading.
First off, this is a tough spot to be in and it’s terrible that you need to make decisions like this. I’m a huge advocate of understanding that family is simply circumstance. You didn’t choose them. This is just the situation that you fell into.
Now that you are an adult, you can exercise your choice about which people you are willing to have in your life and which might need to be cut out. You are allowed to have personal boundaries and recognize that you may not be able to live a happy or successful life with this person in it.
In terms of communicating with your brother, I would encourage you to be open about it, but not to burden him with every detail. It’s important to let him know that it’s not his fault and that he is doing a good job.
You have many years ahead of you and you should recognize that someday, you may have some degree of contact with her and reconcile to an extent, but that doesn’t need to happen. It’s also important to note that taking steps to limit contact with your mother does not mean that you don’t care. You might still care deeply and want her to get better AND recognize that there is simply no way for you to live a successful life right now with her in it.
In psychology, there is a concept called “readiness for change”. Your mother appears to be in a stage where she is not yet ready to make a change. Until that is no longer the case, your best option might be to focus on yourself and not spend so much mental energy figuring out what to do about her.