“Determining not to see your mother again is never a snap decision…To divorce your mother is, by any yardstick, an unpopular and, for most people, unimaginable option. Nevertheless, there are some cases in which divorcing your mother is not simply your only choice—there are times when it may be your healthiest choice. Why continue to see a woman who cannot bear your happiness, and who is imprisoned by her inability to show you any kind of love or affection? You may feel there is nothing left for you to do but build a life for yourself apart from her—to let her, and the relationship, go. ‘Yes, but she’s your mother,’ someone says. That may not be enough for a relationship on any basis. If you are truly free from your past, from your need to blame her, then you are also free not to volunteer any longer for mistreatment.”
Those words spoke to my core. They reflected my truth.
They’re from Victoria Secunda’s book, “When You and Your Mother Can’t Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life.”
It had only been a couple of months since I decided to go no contact from my birth mother when I was led to her book in 2010.
No one advised me to stay away. I didn’t even think it was doable. I never thought I would do it. Divorcing one’s birth family — including and especially one’s birth mother — was unimaginable.
But so was the on-going mistreatments. Rejection and shaming. Passiveness-aggressiveness. Narcissism. Neglect and being dismissed. Lies. Deception. Manipulation and playing victim. Betrayal. Physical, mental, and emotional abuse……
And after enduring those for decades and suffering in silence, I just felt it in my gut that it was the right thing to do. The healthy thing to do. For self-preservation. For my sanity and well-being.
And for the first time, an external source validated my decision. What a treasured gem and helpful resource Victoria’s book has been since!
And today, the 17th of June, on the occasion of Victoria’s first death anniversary, I am honoring her memory and her remarkable contribution by proclaiming how much gratitude I have for “When You and Your Mother Can’t Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life.”
I do not hold the unique position of having chosen no contact with the family.
But I sure have been questioned. Judged. Made to feel wrong. Condemned. In Catholic lingo, I committed a mortal sin — for which I am sure to go to hell! Worse, I’m still alive, but my soul is already burning in hell!!!
I can only hope that people will be more open-minded.
I can only hope that society isn’t quick to judge and learn to accept that when someone chooses to stay away — particularly from one’s family of origin, especially one’s birth mother — there’s got to be a very severe and valid reason, particularly when the one making such a decision is no longer in their teens.
Such a decision isn’t also usually because of a single incident or argument.
Often, it is an accumulation of countless hurtful and unacceptable episodes, almost always stemming from childhood. Early childhood.
Even as early as birth, in my case. For others, while they’re still in the womb!
Of the 7.8 billion human beings on this planet, I do not hold the unique position of having chosen no contact with the family. Thank God, I don’t!
When I was contemplating my decision, though, I thought I was the only one going through such seemingly unique and unbelievable struggles.
In the years that followed my decision, I have found much solace in having known that there are several others like me across the globe.
I’m so grateful that the Universe led me to the organizations, groups, and individuals who provide support and resources for those experiencing family estrangement.
I felt honored — and not misjudged nor shamed.
I felt supported and validated — the very thing that is most needed by and most helpful to someone who has made a most difficult decision of going no contact with their birth family including their birth mother.
Why endure the mistreatments when there is the option to stay away?
If you’re struggling with a difficult relationship with your mother, I invite you to read “When You and Your Mother Can’t Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life.” [I will share other resources in future posts.]
No, I am not advocating to divorce one’s mother [or any other family member, for that matter].
But it IS an option. It can be an option for you to consider. One of those that would help usher the road to recovery and lasting freedom. And as Victoria explains, divorcing one’s mother is “a desperate last resort.”
And if you happen to have a loving and nurturing relationship with your mother, or if you are a loving and nurturing mother to your children, you and your children are quite fortunate and blessed. You are in such an enviable position!
Loving and nurturing mothers are commendable. The world stands to gain so much and needs your tribe who are an embodiment and expression of maternal love and nurturance.
But that could also mean that you may not be able to relate with — or even comprehend — the decision to go no contact with one’s birth mother.
Which I totally understand.
But I invite you to kindly withhold whatever beliefs you may hold about mothers, mothering, and motherhood. Suspend any judgments and invalidating opinions.
And open the door to the reality, one which may not be yours, but is very much a reality nonetheless — that not all mothers are loving and nurturing. Not all mothers are capable of making their children feel loved. They may not be you, but they exist.
Harsh-sounding, but it holds much truthfulness.
And that’s not intended to shame anyone, not even to blame them for the hurts, wounds, and pains.
Believe me. I’ve spent most of my life, more than half — two years shy of five decades to be exact — being wrongfully blamed and despicably shamed. I know how damaging and a disservice blaming and shaming can be.
I only want to make a pronouncement of a painful, less talked about, and unacknowledged reality that there is a tribe of severely wounded daughters who struggle with coming to terms with and accepting the deeply sad fact that there are mothers, our mothers who are not and have not been loving and from whom we did not feel loved and nurtured.
Oh sure, as Victoria writes, our mothers may have done the best they could and in a way they knew how.
But it just wasn’t good enough.
As Victoria wrote which I quoted above, them being our birth mothers is not a good enough reason or basis for the relationship to continue — especially if they have been anything but motherly.