This is a horrible blog to write and I will probably end up deleting it eventually because I am acknowledging decades of a difficult relationship with one of the most important people in my life – my mum.
Ever since I was little I have been fearful of her. She is a bully, manipulative, bitter, resentful, critical and unkind. She regularly makes me and my siblings feel ashamed, angry and upset. I used to fantasise as a child that I would be adopted and I would never have to see her again.
Society tells us that our relationship with our mothers should be something special. Mothers are supposed to be nurturing, kind, caring, protective, loving, supportive… traits that I don’t recognise or have ever seen in my mum. What happens to those of us who have toxic mothers or fathers, or both? Are we supposed to be blindly loyal and show unconditional love even though we don’t receive love in return? I have been told I am ungrateful for feeling this way and our parents are to be cherished.
I want to have a good relationship with my mum and over the years I have tried many times to establish one with her, but she isn’t receptive to it. She will accuse us and our partners of doing terrible things which we haven’t done, she will say the most hurtful and spiteful things regularly and then get angry if you become upset. My heart breaks and I always feel so conflicted when I am in her presence. I wonder what happened to make her behave the way she does – someone so destructive who has to tear down everyone around her and likes to argue.
I had a horrible childhood, it was full of arguments and beatings. My mum kicked me out when I was 17 and for the first eight months I managed to have places to stay but they were only temporary and I outstayed my welcome and eventually ended up with nowhere to go. I remember being at the benefits office waiting to see if I could get any support and a group of old men looked at me and told me to fuck off and go back to where I came from. I ran away from there in tears. It was a really horrible time in my life and I ended up in squats, wandering the streets or hiding out in parks. Life on the streets as a 17 year old is really frightening and dangerous. I have blocked out that period.
I didn’t speak to my mum for five years after she kicked me out. I didn’t want anything to do with her but I was talked into getting back in touch with her. I sometimes wish I never had.
I know my mum has been mentally unwell for many years, and it’s this reason that makes me want to try and help her. I look beyond her angry, bitter and hateful exterior and inside I see a hurt child who is unable to navigate her own toxic childhood. She is trapped in the past, in a psychological prison of her mind. I try to ignore the years of hurt she has inflicted on everyone, but there comes a point where we really can’t keep going on like this.
Earlier in the year during lockdown my mum was diagnosed with suspected dementia. It has brought out an even darker and more difficult side to her toxicity and it can at times be unbearable. Sometimes when she gets the dementia rage episodes my anxiety kicks in and I feel like I am having a heart attack. It’s so hard to not be affected by her behaviour, we try to calm her down but it’s of no use. She will rant for hours and go into a foul mood and bad mouth everyone. I don’t want to be around her but I know I have to be there, even though it hurts so much. I have to put all my years of pain aside and try to be kind and compassionate, for her sake and my family.
Caring for a toxic parent really is an act of unconditional love. But there comes a point where that love is going to break you and it very nearly has. We pretend we’re ok because we don’t want to admit how bad things really are, or acknowledge how bad they could become. There have been so many times when I have walked home from my mum’s in tears because of her behaviour.
We have to keep going somehow, put a brave face on things. Why would anyone want to put up with so much abusive behaviour? There have been times when we want to give up and turn our backs on her. But what would happen then? She’s our mum – we can’t do that. I pray that we have the strength to get through this.
I’m sorry mum that I have written this blog. I don’t know what else to do.