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UPDATE: I have a blog post on Real Life Mama about having a toxic mom and how I am dealing with this situation. Since the holiday season is upon us, you might find yourself in the presence of a toxic family member.
Think long and hard about how you deal with it + how you expose your girls to the toxicity.
I don’t know who needs to hear this but I know that I am not alone + this might just help another mom out there get through it.
Toxic Mom Syndrome
I always knew my mom was a little off. She definitely wasn’t like all of my friends’ moms or my cousins’ moms. When you’re growing up, it’s all you know, so you think it’s normal.
Even as you become an adult, you think that she’s your mom so you’re just supposed to put up with whatever she tosses your way.
You know what?
You don’t have to just take it.
She doesn’t get to say + do whatever she wants just because she is your mom.
In a timely event, I ran across an article, Why It’s Okay to Cut Toxic Family Members Out Of Your Life.
The article talks about the signs of a toxic family member + sadly my mom exhibits all of these traits.T
I Don’t Want To Be A Toxic Mom
The hardest part for me is not the emotional + verbal abuse that I take from her. Nope. I can handle it. I’m an adult (at least I am supposed to be at 43).
The hardest part for me is that I sometimes see myself or hear myself being like her + sadly, the last thing I want in the world is to be like her.
I truly have to make a concerted + conscious effort every day to be nothing like her.
Some days I pass with flying colors + other days I fail miserably. I tell you what I am going to do, however. I’m going to make it my life’s goal to have more days where I pass with flying colors + fewer + fewer days where I fail miserably.
I Put Up With It For My Kids
If it weren’t for my three girls, I wouldn’t have anything to do with her. I know that probably makes me sound like I am the crazy one. I probably am.
I probably should shield them from it all.
When I am wandering through this great big world + I find that I am having a problem with this person + that I am complaining about that person + then silently give another driver the finger because he’s driving like a crazy person, I stop.
I quickly realize that it cannot be everyone else in the world that’s wrong so it has to be me. When you have legal issues, anger issues + just plain old issues with everyone you encounter, it’s not all of them, it’s you.
My mom has legal + personal issues with just about everyone + every transaction she encounters. Her last two jobs, before she retired early, she had lawsuits against.
In an unsurprising twist of fate, she + my dad apparently bought a home recently + had a huge problem with the builder so they were bashing the builder all over Facebook.
When they lived in Florida, they had a problem with their friends that lived across the street so they stopped talking to them.
When they had a house in Tennessee, they had a legal problem with their friends that were also their neighbors so they settled out of court with them, sold their house + moved.
When she goes to a restaurant, there’s almost always a problem with the person taking the order at the counter or waitperson.
When she has to go to the doctor or dentist or [insert professional here], she has a problem with the receptionist, one of the nurses, or the doctor, or [insert a person she encounters].
My Dad Is Collateral Damage
My dad is collateral damage from her behavior. I can empathize because I think, like me, he sort of thinks that this is just the way it is. The sad truth is that it doesn’t have to be.
She spins these tales that are a completely warped sense of reality — from what really happened. He, then goes along with it.
When I respond to her text message, she comprehends it as the exact opposite of what I actually typed — in writing. Then she is on the attack. She calls me names. She says nasty things to me. She starts demanding things.
It’s mind-blowing. I have reached the point that I’ve had enough. I have officially cut them off. While this is one of the saddest things I ever have done in my life, it is also FREEING.
The stress + negativity is gone from my home + my life (at least the stress she was causing). I don’t worry every time I get a text message that it is her on the attack once again. I have also discovered via Facebook groups, Reddit + a myriad of other places + groups that I am definitely not the only one with a toxic mom.
And, neither are you, my mommy friend.
So in some ways, while I wish I were the only one with a toxic mom, I know I’m not. I know that there is at least one other mom out there, reading posts from her friends on how wonderful their mothers are + how they aspire to be half as great as them, that doesn’t feel that way about her mother.
I don’t feel that way either, girl. While I don’t know you, while I’m probably not in the same city as you, I know exactly how you feel + I’m sad for you like I’m sad for myself.
I also know that you don’t have to take it + the best thing for you might be to cut her out of your life. Just know that you’re not alone.
There are others like you in this world.
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