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Mourning the loss of a parent who's alive...Please help - Page 2

post #21 of 32
Originally Posted by gbailey View Post

Your post really resonated with me. Deeply resonated with me. Thank you! I've spent a great deal of my life being told something was wrong with me for questioning things that were done to me. What you described are my relatives from my mother to sister to aunts and uncles. I've also questioned whether or not something was wrong with me.


You are right, the pain is excruciating. This week I've had everything from chest pains to stomach aches. It's not easy but I can do this. Your post really spoke to me and gave me a jolt of strength I needed today. Thank you.


I think the extended family who no longer speak to you are really missing out. 


I'm really glad I could help you, mama. I was a member of an online support group for adult children of mentally ill parents and it helped so much to know I wasn't the only one who had to amputate my family of origin to save my own life. It's such an incredibly lonely feeling sometimes, but remember that you aren't alone. Your family is who you choose it to be, and anyone who encourages you to stay in an abusive relationship--whether your abuser is a partner, friend, or blood relative--does not have your best interests in mind. You have to look out for yourself even if society frowns on disengaging from abusers who happen to be related to us. Society isn't living your life, raising your children, or experiencing the abuse.

The pain does dull over time. So as much as it hurts now, realize that you just ripped a huge scab off a wound that's been festering for your entire life. Now the sunlight and clean water and fresh air can hit it and you'll slowly begin to heal.

And please feel free to PM me if you ever need to vent to someone who totally gets it. hug.gifhug.gifhug.gif
post #22 of 32

To make a very long story very short; been there, done that. It's hard, and people will say terrible things to you for a long time, but it absolutely does get better.

What helped me was a frank look at my mother's behavior, and realizing that it was horribly wrong. You appear to have done this, congratulations!


The other big point is separating out the idea of your mother and who she is as a person. For instance, I really do miss my mom. Of course, I'll never have the mom I want. I have no interest in any relationship with Jane (not her real name). Jane is a bad person, who just so happened to give birth to me. I've mourned the loss of my mother, but not the loss of Jane. Good riddance to her!

post #23 of 32

I echo the others who have said you need to grieve.


I'm grieving over never having my parents' love. I do still have contact wit them,albeit limited. I's been hard to accept that they will NEVER love me the way I deserve. I don't love my mother the way a child should either. I felt guilty for that for years.


But it is definitely a grieving process. And, it's really hard to finally realize you don't really have a family you can count on. I'm not close to my brother either. It's been pretty deastating to relaize he uses people...he's nice to me when he wants something. The rest of the itme, it's like i don't exist.


i wish i had some great advice for you, but all I can do is sympathize, and tell you it does get easier, at least with the mother issues. I'm still in the early stages of grief with my brother, and my father, well, I don't what to say about that. it's...not good...but  have hope that will get easier too. I have no hope of salvaging any kind of relationship with him.


I do wish I was in a position  to cut my father and brother totally out of my life. The more I limit contact, the easier it is to grieve, and move on.


You don't need to tell your mother your plans. Avoid contact as long as you need to.  




post #24 of 32


Originally Posted by gbailey View Post

Hugs to you mama! I read the book Toxic In Laws this weekend by Susan Forward and I strongly recommend it. We'll be fine as we make the changes we need in our lives in order to be happier, healthier people. It won't be easy but we'll do it!


Originally Posted by beezer75 View Post

As you read in my threading in parenting (about the rude 7 yo and my MIL) I am taking MIL out of my life.  Actually, just the decision alone has been like a huge weight being lifted off.  However, I also need to take my father out since all my feelings that I am not good enough and never will be stem from him.  My constant apology for who I am stems for how he has treated me.   I haven't taken him out yet because of my mom.  I love her and she has choosen him over her own grandchildren and this pains me so much.  But that is her choice and I have to make my choices. 


I will take the idea of grieving like a real death.  thank you. 


I am in the process of making my life my life no apologies, no being what people want me to be, no blinding perfectionism, but a messy organic, heart and joy filled life.  With my heart I will grieve and hopefully the joy will fill it back up again. 


hug.gif Mama.  I'm here with you making the same decisions.  But I really feel it's the better one way to go. 


Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post

Couldn't read this and not respond. So many hugs, mama. Choosing to sever contact with a parent (or in my case, both parents) is an agonizing thing that people who haven't been there will never fully understand. We are wired from birth to love our parents. When they don't love us back, it's absolutely devastating and we can spend years, decades, a whole lifetime trying to make them love us anyway. That early infant programming to love our parents in order to survive dies hard.

Something that might help you to realize is your mother is incapable of loving you the way you deserve to be loved. Her rejection of you is in no way indicative of some inherent flaw you have. You are not defective. You are not broken. You just had the misfortune to be born to a mother who is.

Realizing that it's not you, YOU are not the sole problem, no matter how much the rest of the dysfunctional family bands together and insists that you are (to protect their own delusions about the family's health and character), is a huge first step, one that many people never achieve. In a normal family, when one person is at odds with just about everyone in it, the chances are good that the problem is with that one person. In a toxic abusive family, abusers and their victims close ranks against the one who speaks out and tries to escape the cycle; they do it as a means of preserving their own fantasies and self-image, and because it allows them to easily continue their abuse. After all, if they accept that gbailey was abused by her brother and mother, then that means they have to accept that they stood idly by and let it happen. Worse, they supported abusers and blamed the victim when they should have scorned the abusers and helped the victim! No, it's so much easier to continue blaming gbailey and pretending that the abuse didn't happen, or was deserved, or was no big deal, or will just "blow over" if gbailey will only get over it and stop holding a grudge.

You deserve to be loved and treated with respect, and it sounds like you know this. So that's huge. But getting over the loss of a birth parent--especially one who is still alive--is excruciating and I don't know of any easy answers. I went no-contact with my abusive bioparents almost two years ago, and it still hurts every day. My baby brother stopped speaking to me when I cut them off and continues to ignore my attempts to reach out to him. The entire extended family, save my maternal grandparents and one sister, no longer speak to me. It's like there's a huge sucking hole in my chest and I'm not sure that it will ever fully heal.

But I can tell you that since deciding to let my parents go, I'm happier, stronger, healthier, and more ALIVE than I've ever been. The emotional vampirism, crazymaking, gaslighting (rewriting history to make me doubt my own sanity), abuse, and other dysfunctions are over. I don't live in this haze of fear and self-loathing anymore. My self-destructive habits and self-sabotage have all but vanished. I actually look forward to getting up every morning! There really is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not a train this time. love.gif

I strongly encourage you to find a therapist who specializes in dealing with survivors of child abuse and PTSD. Find someone who will support you on this journey. If your therapist tells you that you need to forgive them to heal, or that you have to stay in contact because "they're faaaaaamily!", run! Find someone else who knows what they're talking about, who understands that no abuse victim should be forced to remain in contact with her abuser even if they happen to share DNA. You don't have to go through this alone.


Your post really resonated with me. Deeply resonated with me. Thank you! I've spent a great deal of my life being told something was wrong with me for questioning things that were done to me. What you described are my relatives from my mother to sister to aunts and uncles. I've also questioned whether or not something was wrong with me.


You are right, the pain is excruciating. This week I've had everything from chest pains to stomach aches. It's not easy but I can do this. Your post really spoke to me and gave me a jolt of strength I needed today. Thank you.


I think the extended family who no longer speak to you are really missing out. 


I don't have a lot to offer.  But one thing I've recently started doing for my own situation is sending myself the same email every day - it reads, "my family (of origin)  is dysfunctional and unpredictable.  I cannot count on them.  I need to make my own family, starting with me.  I can love them from a distance, and pray for healing, but I don't need to base my life on what they are doing or not doing."  I just keep it at the top of my in box and reread it whenever I am feeling upset.


I know it doesn't help a ton, but I have found it useful for me.  The holidays are especially hard.  Good luck to you.

post #25 of 32

You do what you have to to remain sane. that wasn't a very loving thing she did.


Remember your siblings/family may see right through her and know what she spouts is a bunch of hooey. If there's a chance I would go to the shower and openly IGNORE her. Put on a sweet smile and ENJOY yourself no matter what it takes. Take this time to show them what a wonderful and SANE person you are and nothing like what this person is saying.


Weird she didn't send the invites but gets to decide which to take back. Remember the mommy asked you to come and that mommy is the only person who matters! She cared enough to invite and genuinely wants to see you. But if you feel uncomfortable don't go.. it's not the end of the world. I don't know why your psycho brother would be invited to a BABY shower but I might skip it if he was there. I've also made this decision and unfortunatly with all those "gatherings" it makes it not possible to go because of one person and that really sucks for me. But I feel very strongly I am not ready to be near this person in my family. You might be able to ignore you mom and put on a big show about how wonderful you are as is and that you are a sweet and caring person. Show her up. Probably will piss her off big time to look like an ass in front of everyone :P

post #26 of 32

  I could have written the OP. 


In my situation I don't have any feelings of affection or love for my mom. It's really sad to see that in writing but it is true. If she were injured, I'd have no problem just turning my back and walking away.


She has gone too far too often with me and there is no going back.


OP, I hope you can find peace and contentment with your decision.

post #27 of 32



Wow mama. What a courageous place you are in. Even if at times it doesn't feel that way. It takes a lot of guts to be aware of this in the way that you are. 


I don't have any personal advise, but I am curious to hear responses.


My hubby is needing to mourn his dad who is alive but has never been around unless it was good for him.


As a wife to someone who's trying to detach here's what I can say,

make a clean break, find people who can support you with this and help you stay strong when it feels really tempting to fall back into your family's stuff, and breathe deep.

post #28 of 32

I can very much relate to this. I have basically been disowned by my family. It's a long story and I will share, if anyone is interested, but I just wanted to say, first, it's ok to mourn. There is a process in everything that happens in our life.   I went through the anger, rage, sadness, depression, feeling sorry, anger again, etc....for several years. I finally gave myself permission to let go. I thought I was the crazy one, because that is how they made me feel. Others would chastize me for "being so mean" to family members, but what they did to me was ok in their book because they are "family". No so, being related does not mean an automatic pass at making your feel like crap. Period. I have actually forgiven them, because I had to to move on, but I will not forget and it would take an act of God or a higher power to fix things. I realized I need to be healthy for the now, to be present for my hubby and my DS, my work in life, my pets, the life I so love and worked hard for.  I wasn't functioning before and it was afffecting my life on all planes. (((HUGS))) you are not alone nor are you crazy. Find comfort and peace in that. : )

post #29 of 32

Not a lot to add, but wanted to say that you're not alone, OP. I am mourning the loss of family members who are still living (my dad's siblings). I probably will never reconcile with them, which is fine with me because they are very dysfunctional and toxic people. However, the loss of family still hurts. It is a painful process, but I will come out stronger.

post #30 of 32

I don't have much to add to the already very wise things that have been said. But like many, I couldn't read and not reply. I've had to go through this too. I haven't spoken to my mother or seen her in nearly 10 years. Making the decision to "amputate" to save the rest of me was that hardest decision I've ever made. But the day I told her I couldn't be a part of her life anymore was both the worst and the absolute BEST day I've ever had.


I lost that whole side of my family in the deal. They won't talk to me unless it's to tell me how I am awful I am for not "taking care of" my mom. But they all silently accepted my grandfather's alcoholism and other myriad abuse their whole lives, which is kinda what messed mom up in the first place. I want to make a break and live by a different set of rules that doesn't involve passing on abuse through the generations. Call me crazy. ;)


When we grow up we all have to responsible for ourselves. For our impact on the world and those nearest us. Cutting off a toxic parent and grieving that loss is painful. No question. At the same time, you will find over time, as healing begins, that you suddenly have more smiles and more love brewing inside you. Why? You're no longer being sucked dry by an emotional vampire, that's why. You become someone who can give more to the people who you love and who are actually capable of loving you back. Suddenly, you are capable of sowing more happiness and good vibes around you than ever before. That's taking responsibility for your own life and happiness and is a very courageous thing to do.


A million times I want to say to you, nothing about this is your fault. This isn't because of you. I agree with what a previous poster said. I mourn the loss of a mother figure, still to this day I wish that is something I had experienced in my life. But do I actually miss Polly? Oh hell to the no. That woman was 100% toxic.


Stay the course mama. You're amazing and brave.

post #31 of 32
Thread Starter 

I really wanted to give an update  because the responses here have been so positive and helpful! Thank you.


Since my first post, I've read Toxic Parents by Susan Forward and it really helped put the entire situation with  my mother in perspective. I also read a great book called Mean Mother. Over the holidays my mother called me and while it's  become my practice to not answer her calls, I wasn't able to see the caller id and picked up. I am glad I did because any doubts I had about removing her from my life were washed away. I won't even go into details because it's not worth it but the call left me so upset. I refuse to go through that kind of pain. If I thought she would receive it, I'd love to tell her, "I get it. You don't give a sh** about me. You don't love me or even like me.I get it but you don't have to remind me of it every chance you get."


When I look at my DD, I want the best for her. I can't fathom treating her the way my mother has treated me all of my life. It still hurts very deeply that the person who shared her body with me for nearly a year could be so cruel and unloving towards me but I finally realize, she's the one with the problem. I'm only the one with the problem if I continue to be part of her dysfunction. It's a liberating realization.



post #32 of 32
Congratulations, mama! The realization that you can't make someone treat you decently is so, so painful...and so freeing at the same time. Her behavior is not your responsibility and you can't make her be the mother you deserve.

I'm sorry you're going through this but so excited for you too, because now you can really start healing. joy.gif

Keep posting about this as much as you need to! I know that when I was making decisions about how to handle my own toxic family, writing about it and getting feedback helped immensely.

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