What I Wish I Could Say To My Toxic Mother

by An Anonymous Mom
Originally Published: 
A woman holding a cup under her chin while looking sad
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Mom, as you’ve so publicly let me know, you think I despise you.

(Yes, you actually used that word. You think that’s why I won’t see you.)

Here’s the thing though. I don’t despise you. I miss the woman I remember from so long ago. The one that would give my dolls bubble baths in the sink. I miss the woman that would watch old sitcoms with me. How can I despise you? You’re my mother.

I don’t despise you, but I am done.

I’m done listening to excuses about why you are so unreliable. Excuses about why you can’t be trusted to safely drive a car. Excuses about why you have another broken bone and a black eye. Excuses about how you really didn’t drink that much or need your pills to function, when the truth is you do drink that much and your pills turn you into a scary shell of a person.

I’m done listening to your lies. Lies about how much you had to drink. Lies about what pills you swallowed with your booze. Lies about when you’d be coming home. Lies about whether you’d paid the electric bill. Lies about the men you slept with, while you were still married to my father. Lies about what a supportive, loving husband you have now, though he’s a crook and likely responsible for at least one of those black eyes. Lies to everyone about my lack of character because I choose not to have my children around your lies and toxicity.

I’m done feeling like your drinking and demons are my fault. I spent too long when I was young wondering what I could have done differently to make you stop turning to your bottles. I used to listen to you fling threats of suicide around because of something you perceived me to be lacking. I used to carry your burden. But I can’t do that anymore. Your choices are your choices–not mine.

I’m done accepting the blame.

I did not cause the lifetime of poor decisions that led us here to this impasse. I didn’t pick the booze, the lies, the cheating, the words I will never forget you said and the words I so desperately wanted (needed!) to hear from you instead. I didn’t choose the times you drove around drunk with me or another loved one in the car. I didn’t chose the times you begged aloud to get in an accident while you drove me places, so that it would “all end.” I’m done thinking your behavior is my fault.

I didn’t choose the fact that you have never sought help either. If it had been up to me, you would have gotten help years ago. You’d be a proud, successful, chip carrying member of AA. You’d have a great therapist helping you handle your mental illness. You’d try.

Instead you choose not to admit your drinking and pills cause problems in your life. You ignore the fact that you put yourself and others in harm’s way. You’ve ignored my pleas when I’ve begged you to seek help.

So, I’m done.

I can’t make you choose me. I can’t force you to get well, to be the mother I wish I had.

I am only capable of making choices for myself, and I choose to walk away. I choose to keep my babies away from your bad choices. I choose not to give you the opportunity to verbally abuse me in front of them. I choose to never let you drive them around. I choose to not allow you to wreak havoc on their lives. I choose to refuse your demons.

Instead, I choose to be the best mom I can be to them, even if it means being a “bad daughter” to you. They deserve it, and you know what? So do I.

So until you can put an honest, long-term effort into getting your life together, I’m done.

I can’t control your actions, but I can control my own. I choose to not have you in my life causing turmoil. I choose to not allow you to make me feel broken any longer. I choose to not allow you to soak up my energy with your toxicity. I choose to raise my kids in a happy, stable home. I choose to keep them safe from you. To do that, I have to choose them (and me), and not you.

So, do I despise you? No. I’m sad for you. I genuinely miss what we could have had. And someday, I hope you can get the help you need. If that day ever comes, maybe you’ll reconsider your choices and I’ll reconsider mine.

For now, we will remain estranged and I refuse to feel guilty about that.

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