Why would she not let you just be a child? She stripped you of your innocence, demeaned you by using hurtful names – bitch, selfish, spoilt brat – slapping you across your face in front of others. Why could she not love and accept you just as you are? Why does she compare you forever with your siblings and friends? Why does she try to control every aspect of your life, to the point of stealing your joy? Why did God make you the black sheep of your household? Why? Why? Why? You wonder loudly…
You feel like you are paying for the resentment and anger against her divorce or separation from your father. It is paralyzing and breaking you on the inside. She barely lifts you up, and neither does she support you, but is forever tearing you down. Nothing you do fits her above par standards. Can’t she just be an honest, loving, friend just like the many other mothers outside there?
Come let us have this conversation, together we can uplift another soul outside there. Let us work out how to be strong for ourselves, our families and for our future generations. Because if you continue standing up broken, that is exactly what you will be to your own children – toxic.
Signs that You are Affected by the Toxicity
Envisioning a good relationship with her is the last thing on your mind; mother-daughter relations for you are never normal. You long to go for pedicure and saloon trips together or to have her help you choose your wedding gown, but deep inside, you know she will never be present. Never do you want her to be the one who’s hand you will squeeze at childbirth, and neither will you be each other’s, to-go-to persons. When in despair you can never call her, and needing love, support and assurance from her will forever be foreign. Are you facing any of the above experiences with your mother or guardian?
Low self-esteem. You grew up being told that you are good enough. You have always been compared to others, never living up to your mother’s high standards. She will loudly point out your mistakes rather than guide you, making you feel inadequate or that you are a ‘bad’ child. Feeling guilty becomes your default emotion and you struggle believing in yourself.
Putting others first. You are forever overprotective of your own, overlooking your own wishes for the sake of others. You are affected by what friends think, and you become angry when your own kids fail to comply with you. You use your children to cover for your individual emotional needs, and by default after their grades rather than their feelings. You happen to be reliving your mother’s toxic nature by default on your children.
You crave reassurance and validation. This is hugely revealed in teenage and adulthood. You happen to seek praise and validation from whatever circles. Even holding on tightly to wrong relationships for the sake of compliments. You give too much energy, attention and time to a whining parent.
You fail to relate to those talking about good times with their mum’s. Complicated is what your relationship with your mother is compared to what others face. You feel alone, lost and like no one else will understand what it is that you went through as a child or why your feelings towards your mother are as such.
Still angered, afraid of your mother, you feel tense when in the same room, while it also takes time to visit home. You are safer and happier away from her.
Not wanting to threaten others, you let your beliefs limit you. You become extremely tolerant of other people’s poor treatment of you. You go after self-sabotage and need emotional caretaking. You feel competitive, overbearing, rigid and dominating; always in competition with other women. Depression, addictions, eating and sleeping disorders become the order of the day.
Ways to Protect Self and Move on
My dear, you have to fight. Fight for your sanity, happiness, and love. Fight for what you want and believe in. Fight because you seek salvation from what you have become. You have to start living for you, and you alone. Learn to love yourself. And here are some ways on how to do this.
- Let go and forgive. It may not be easy, and will definitely cost you your time and energy. But pursue this anyway. Tough as it may be. Remind yourself that you do not have to make her happy, it is about your life now.
- Keep a distance and heal. Time and distance are the master healers of even the deepest wounds. Allow your heart to heal from the pains, hurts, and undertones haunting you from the inside. Take this time out and work on yourself and allow for healing. Limit the times you spend together.
- Go for counseling. It for sure will not be easy for you to speak out. Worse still, having to tell what you went through to a stranger. You will face the fear of being judged, discriminated against, but guess what? This is the begin of healing. Treat yourself off the breed, you don’t want to be like your mother. And be patient with the healing process, focusing only on the care of self.
- Learn to diffuse arguments. Be in charge and learn to make arguments with your mother work for you and not against you. Do not let her boss your thinking, choices, dressing, despite all her pressures. It is your life and it is your story; tell it as you see it fit. Live it without apologies.
- Realize it is not your fault and educate yourself about narcissism. You are just a result of another person’s shortcomings. Do not let this eat into your being. Stand and be strong for you. Always be on the lookout for narcissists – they may be the ones you always relate to by default’ this brings comfort.
- Know when to walk away. Remember ‘the gambler’? You need to know when to count them, when to fold up and when to walk away. Let no one slander you as you watch. It is your life and you owe no one an apology.
- Learn to accept, process, and deal with your anger, pain, hurt, resentment. Keeping things cordial and respectful. Remember, you cannot fix your mother or tell her what to do. But you choose how to react to her behavior.
- Remain confident when talking to her, standing up for your ‘NO’ and sticking up for yourself. Set healthy boundaries but first, develop internal self-confidence. Until you are confident in your own skin, only then will you be able to face the fire within. Only then will you stand up tall and look another in the eye. And only then will your ‘NO’ to your mother mean something. Stand up against toxicity.
- Decide how you want the relationship to be. Breaking free from her torment will be the best way out. Do not let her define your worth and happiness.
My friend, it is your life. You make the choice, and you decide how you want to live this life that was handed to you. Toxicity should not be condoned, whatever quarter it is from. Believe and stand for you!