Last year, I published this article on my Huffington Post blog fully expecting to be vilified, attacked and generally raked over the coals for daring to address the rarified, the sacred, the madonnaesque bastion of mothers and motherhood. But it didn’t happen. No, the general consensus was a huge sigh of relief from all of those who dread Mother’s Day because their mother is just too narcissistic, too abusive, too toxic for the de rigueur visit and bouquet of flowers. If this is your situation, take comfort! You’re not alone!
Now, for your reading enjoyment and for the first time on Psych Central, please enjoy…
Toxic Mothers Don’t Deserve Your Time
On Mother’s Day
Who doesn’t want to be close to their mother, especially on Mother’s Day? But for thousands, it’s just not possible. Being with Mom hurts too much. Her “love” is toxic. It causes too much emotional pain. No time is this more controversial and guilt-inducing than on Mother’s Day.
How Do I Know if Mom is Toxic?
Does she fake heart attacks and cancers to bend you to her will? Does she create dramas to steal the attention during weddings, parties and family get-togethers?
When your child says, “Mom, your just like Grandma,” do you snap, “Don’t you EVER say that again!”
Those are clues!
The Mother/Child Bond
There’s somethin’ so special about that mother/child bond. It’s like no other. William Thackeray said, “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”
Ain’t that the truth!
If you had that special relationship with your mom, it’s precious to you. If you didn’t, you miss it and wish you’d had it.
But sometimes, something goes wrong with that bond.
Unfortunately, sometimes love turns toxic. Just think about Mrs. Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory. Does she love Howard, her little bubbala?
Yeah, she does!
But her “love” nearly squashed his dreams, ruined his life and has made his marriage to Bernadette so much more difficult than it needed to be.
That’s what I mean by a toxic love!
For some reason, motherhood has attained a sacred status in our collective psyche. Mothers can do no wrong. Mothers can get away with anything. That’s why a woman with a selfish agenda can exploit her motherhood to get away with anything.
Motherly love is the perfect smokescreen for abuse. She can pretty much do anything to her kids, as long as she brainwashes them to believe that she’s doing it from love for their own good. And if the lovey-dovey (lovebombing) brainwashing doesn’t bend them to her will, turning on the tears and giving them the silent treatment works, too. It’s called “false guilt.”
Just because your siblings think Mom is wonderful doesn’t mean you had the same “wonderful” mothering they experienced. Ever heard the terms “golden child” and “scapegoat?” For some reason, in some families, the parents assign these roles to their kids. I said assigned. These roles aren’t necessarily earned.
So, yeah, if you’re the scapegoat, Mom wasn’t an angel to you. But she may have been angelic to your “golden child” sibling(s). And now, they’re on her side and she sics them on you every time you defy her iron will. It’s a dynamic called “flying monkeys.”
Just because a woman may have come from a dysfunctional family doesn’t give her the right to perpetuate the abuse. Just because a woman gave birth to you and raised you doesn’t mean she’s has the right to ruin the rest of your life. She may simper and coo, hug and kiss, but she doesn’t own you!
Face it! The woman has almost single-handedly ruined your life. She’s behind much of the conflict in your marriage. And now, she’s trying to get her claws into your kids.
Are you gonna stand for that!?
What’ve you got to feel guilty about!?! She worked hard at alienating you. You’ve given her tens, hundreds, thousands of chances. Swallowed your tears, your anger for decades. But no! She’s just as toxic as ever.
So let her rally the flying monkeys against you. Let her sob into her decaf and, like Mrs. Wolowitz, tell everyone “what a horrible son [or daughter] you are.”
She deserves to be alone for Mother’s Day, ’cause motherhood doesn’t sanctify abuse.