Quote Originally Posted by BrainPilot View Post
I won't go into much detail on my own story, other than to say that about 30 years ago, I had a very similar mother to yours: Toxic, manipulative, emotionally parasitic and highly vindictive when she didn't get what she wanted.

When I found it impossible to succeed at anything in my own life while shouldering the emotional baggage from hers, I became unable to serve as her emotional tampon... just once. She immediately turned on me. It was so abrupt, and so over the top vicious that I just retreated from her in a kind of daze. Somewhere in that fog (that same fog that you are in now), I got the idea in my head that I needed a break, and arbitrarily chose 30 days of zero contact. I had business in my own life to take care of, and I needed that time to get it done. I expected to miss her, because I thought (like you) that for all her pathology, she was still my mother. But, that 30 days came and went... and I did not miss her. I decided to give it another 30 days of zero contact, and I got some more business in my own life taken care of successfully.

Somewhere in there, I stumbled onto a book called 'Toxic Parents' by a psychologist named Susan Forward. Setting aside for a minute that it was was written by a woman, I read that book and realized from it clearly how horribly my mother had failed as a parent. I would have been better off with a robot mother, or no mother at all. And as I came to understand how toxic she was (there's not a better word for it), I came to regret having waited as long as I did to abandon her. 8 weeks turned into about 10 years...because my life got continuously better, and I never did miss her. The harsh truth of it was that she had never given me anything to miss. j

The process of her screwing me up, me withdrawing from and ultimately abandoning her happened over a much longer period of time than I may have made it seem here. It was a highly unpleasant, but very necessary time for me. Here are some things that I learned that might help you start sooner than I did, and progress through it faster than I did:

1) You DO NOT OWE a relationship to ANY person! You are free to abandon any relationship, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all, other than that you feel like it. How you feel matters that much. It matters way more than DNA or a shared name. It matter way more than what anyone else thinks or says.

2) All healthy relationships are voluntary. You find yourself with a bad gut feeling from any relationship... some feeling you would not voluntarily agree to feel? That's a sign that you are in it as a result of some non-voluntary reason. Obligation, debt, manipulation, concern about what other family members might think or say... etc. The list of those non-voluntary reasons does not contain any healthy ones that will be beneficial to you. And so, the relationships you have will be based on the merits of each person's behavior, and how you happen to feel about it. When women make decisions based only on how they feel, it's called intuition. When men do it, it's called instinct. Your most reliable instincts are designed for self preservation. You may have been trained to ignore them while your mother and others manipulated you into situations and relationships you would never have volunteered for. That training can be UN-learned. Your instincts are still there. In fact, I believe that you are here to get confirmation that those instincts are correct.

So here I am promising you that they are. And if you have been trained to ignore them so well, for so long that you are having a hard time getting your mind around the idea of just abandoning your mother altogether, then try this: don't abandon her altogether. Don't take that piece of advice.

But try this one: give yourself a break for 30 days, or 60 days, or some distinct period of time that you choose, and that you DO NOT ask permission for FROM ANY OTHER PERSON.

For 30 or 60 days, go zero contact, focus your energy on yourself and things you want to accomplish, and then just see what your gut instincts tell you.

See if you find yourself missing her.

If you don't, repeat for another 30 days... as many times as you feel like it.
I want to piggy-back on this one a bit. Let's say your mom dies sometime during this 30 or 60 day break. Don't feel a shred of guilt, and don't let the fear of such guilt stop you from following the above advice. The unhealthy nature of the relationship is on her, not you. We have an innate tendency to take the responsibility off of women. Don't do it.

Also, a hallmark of such a toxic relationship is when you here dear ol' mom imply you "owe her" because she brought you into this world. Nobody should bare any responsibility for a decision that they had no part in, and that includes conception. She chose to have you. All of it is on her.