Coming to Terms with a Fractured Parent Relationship
As long as I can remember, my mother and I have had a rocky relationship. We would have long stretches of times without any fights, and then out of nowhere, a fight would erupt and we’d go weeks or months without speaking to each other. Most of this occurred whenever I was in high school, but our problems never completely went away.
For many years, I kept my mother at an emotional distance. I learned from an early age that she would use my vulnerabilities as ammo during arguments, so I held a lot from her. I kept romantic relationships from her, skimmed over friendships, and summarized my life so that it remained vague and void of emotion.
The last handful of months, I decided to slowly let my mom in again. We hadn’t fought for a while, and were talking more frequently. I began to open up more. I shared the story of the toxic relationship that I was in for a few years, one she was unaware of completely. I told her stories of my friends, shared my doubts about my job. It felt incredibly nice to share my life with her, and was something I hadn’t desired in a while.
Last weekend, I was visiting home and a fight between my mother and I began out of nowhere. It didn’t take long for it to become intense, and before I knew it, she was verbally abusing me and using harmful words like she used to do in the past. I saw her old self form in front of me, leaving the mom that I had grown closer to these past few months in the dust.
In a previous article, I mentioned that I had begun therapy a bit over a year ago because of an abusive relationship I was in. My therapist helped me realize that I continually went back to my boyfriend because of my past with my mother. Both of them would shower me with love, just to take it all away in an instant with incredibly hurtful words and immense verbal abuse. With both of them, I experienced an on-off again relationship that left me vulnerable and constantly feeling unloved and unworthy.
My therapist and I have worked in the past on setting boundaries between my mother and I. When I began getting closer to her the last couple of months, my therapist was kind but did warn that I should tread lightly and keep up my boundaries if possible. I will be the first to admit that I ignored her warning, since being open and close to my mom was too difficult to resist. After this experience, I learned the hard way that my therapist was correct and I am now accepting the fact that to improve my mental health and stability, I need to keep my mom at a distance, both physically and emotionally.
Currently, we are not speaking to each other and most likely, will not for a while. I am using this time away to educate myself on what I have been through. I have purchased some books on the topic of abusive mothers, and began journaling daily about my feelings. It has been difficult, but I find that these coping methods make me feel better and hopefully will aid in my journey of healing.
How is your relationship with your parents? Do you experience any disconnect with family members? Feel free to share below.