For years me and my brother have been living with abuse from my mother. She’s had a rough life riddled with the most terrible shit and mental illness to go with it.
Recently, we’ve come to the end of our ropes with her. The abuse has affected both of us in our adult lives –manifesting in social anxiety and fear of confrontation.
I want to cut her out of my life, but I don’t know if I should just stop speaking to her forever or write a letter detailing the harm done and why I can no longer have her in my life.
To make the whole thing more difficult, and honestly the reason why we’re still in contact with her at all, she threatens to kill herself whenever anyone confronts her about this behaviour. A part of me is afraid of pushing her over the edge, because we’re all she has left. But, I guess another part of me is wanting to call her bluff.
Is my thinking clear? Am I completely fucked up on the matter? I feel altogether ill-equipped for this situation. While I want to choose inaction, she’s been forcing my hand by harassing me with messages.
Thank you for listening if you have the time. I hope you’re keeping hydrated.
Write the letter, but write it for yourself knowing that you’re not going to send it to your mother. Be brutally honest, don’t edit yourself, and put it all down on paper. It will be a useful exercise in expressing exactly what you wish you could say to her.
Once you’ve written it, set it aside for a while. Come back to it whenever you need to add more thoughts. Feel free to start new drafts. Let it become a living document, a reference for all the negative shit you feel. Give it a while for the message to solidify and become strong.
In the meantime, try not to interact with your mother unless it’s on your terms. Establish firm boundaries and practice enforcing them. Eventually, your goal will be to only have contact when and if you want it. Cutting her out of your life will be a process, so don’t stop speaking to her all at once. Like you said, you aren’t equipped for that yet.
She may be your mother, but you’re the one who makes the rules now. She doesn’t get to force your hand. Don’t give her that power, and don’t let her manipulate you with threats of self harm.
Remember, you can’t choose inaction. All of this will be a deliberate, active choice, so let it be a conscious decision that comes from a place of strength.
3 thoughts on “On cutting her out of your life”
Goddamn you’re good. I appreciate you.
My mother is a classic narcissist and skilled manipulator. She also grew up enduring things that I cannot imagine, a and probably has some mental issues, either inherent or as a result of her childhood. Not that she would ever admit that she had a problem, because she’s a very effective adult. The only way that I managed to be able to deal with her and retain my own sanity was by cutting off all contact altogether. I have never regretted it, not once. It makes me sad that we can’t have a relationship, but I have been so much healthier since I made that decision.
Keep in mind, that if you have other family and your mother has any say over them, she may use them to force you back into contact. I had to cut off several members on her side of the family over it. But again, my own mental health needed it. The best family is the one you choose, which may not be the one you are born into.
And if she threatens suicide, call 911 immediately. If she’s really suicidal, that will keep her safe and get her the help she needs. If it was manipulative, that’ll put a stop to it.
Besides, it’s NOT a family member’s job (or any amateur’s job) to deal with someone who is actively suicidal.