Trading a scar for an open wound: Being estranged from my mother

Guest post by Jody Allard
Go Away patch by PollyLoves

I turn 36 years old soon. I almost forgot about it, but I have kids old enough to remind me these days.

While my dad will celebrate the day with me a little early, my mom won’t be there at all. Not because she’s dead, or ill, or in prison, or somehow incapacitated. Those would be better reasons, I guess. Instead, my mom won’t be there in any shape or form, not even via email, or Facebook, or Skype, because we are “estranged.”

Estranged is a funny word, really. It describes the estrangement itself, but it provides no hint as to the emotions behind that decision. Did I create the estrangement? Did my mother? Why? Those questions require far more words than a simple “estrangement,” and yet I find myself little able to answer them.

Why doesn’t my mother reach out to me? Why doesn’t my mother remind me that she will always be there for me? Why doesn’t my mother love me, just as I am, no matter how many mistakes I have made? I don’t know, really. But, perhaps the hardest question to answer is this: why am I better off without my mother?

Because the truth is that I am. This estrangement has brought me peace, finally, after a lifetime of swirling questions and unmet needs.

Still, I would be lying if I said that peace was never challenged. That I never wondered, yet again, what was so wrong with me that my mother wouldn’t even call or email me on the day of my birth. As a mother myself, I find it incomprehensible. My teenagers can be real assholes sometimes, but I would never kick them out or turn them away or deny them my love. And, as time goes on, it’s hard not to wonder and perhaps even seethe with pain or rage or betrayal or who even knows what at the woman who only wanted me when I met her needs.

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There was a time in my life when I knew a terrible truth. I knew that my mother’s love was not freely given, and it was conditional, and it would be revoked if I strayed too far. For years, she accused me of testing people and trying to see how far I could push them before they left me. She was right about that much, but she never saw the why. And neither did I. Because I was too afraid to admit that terrible truth and to give up the pleasant fiction I had created about my mother. But, like all realities, it was true whether I admitted it or not. And, eventually, even I could no longer pretend and my house of cards crumpled to the ground, leaving me alone, naked of all pretense, and cast out by my mother.

Estranged: Why am I better off without my mother?

I would like to say that I had a great epiphany. I would like to say that healing washed over me. I would like to say many things, but none of them are true. What is true, however, is that the hole in my soul and my heart that was gaping and bleeding for most of my life is simply a scar now. It is there, and sometimes it aches a bit, but it isn’t gushing and hemorrhaging anymore. It is just there, a part of me now, like my brown eyes or pale skin. Through time, I’m sure that even that scar will fade. One day, perhaps, I will barely even notice it.

But, this year, on the anniversary of the day of my birth, it’s still red. It’s still a bit fresh. And, it still hurts, just a little. But that scar has led me to learn to fill my own holes in my life, and even in love. And, it has brought me peace, and freedom from love on someone else’s terms.

I may not know the answers to most of those questions, but I do know this much: even if my mother were to call me, or Facebook me, or Skype me, I wouldn’t answer. I am not crazy enough to trade a scar for an open wound. So, while I do not know the why’s, I do know how I want to live. In peace, in love, and even in estrangement.

Comments on Trading a scar for an open wound: Being estranged from my mother

  1. Wow, this hit home for me. I know that I don’t know your full situation. But, this all reminded me of my oldest brother and his estrangement from my father. I never really knew how he felt, as every time I try to talk to him about it all I get is his anger. He is 13 years older than me and product of another marriage my dad had. Where I got the time with my dad growing up, my brother got missed birthdays, graduations walks absent of him, Christmases with cash and a card.

    Now that my brother has kids, a beautiful wife. Well in general he just has a beautiful family! He reaches out to me only and always tells me he loves me and that I should hear it from a positive male role model. He has always made me feel welcome and loved beyond belief so I can only imagine how much you love your kids and family you never lost touch with. I hope your birthdays and holidays will always be filled with love and happy memories!

    • I’m sorry, but this reminds me of myself. I’m seventeen and just got estranged from my father in May. He demanded the house key and for me to be packed up and out as soon as possible. My half brother is 12 years younger than me, and is the main reason I kept going back to my dad and step mother. Since he’s only 5, I can’t really explain why I’m not home anymore. My real mom encouraged me to leave sooner, and I regret not doing so. I always felt like the bastard child of an otherwise happy family. Luckily, I always have my mom to rely on. She’s been my rock through all of this.

  2. I divorced both of my parents a few years ago, mostly because of my mother, but my dad played a major role in it as well. I thought long and hard before I made the decision to go my separate way. And, I waited until my son was an adult and had established his own, independent relationship with them before I acted so that my decision would only affect my parents and myself. This was not something I went into lightly, nor was it a spur of the moment reactionary response to a specific situation. It was a way to put an end to the decades of emotional abuse. Abuse that everyone around me could see but no one would confront. It seemed easier than waiting for a knight to swoop in and defend me. Even so, you cannot believe the amount of grief I took from the “survivors” (i.e. my brothers and my son). Although everyone understood why I decided I’d had enough, they never stopped trying to get me to divorce the divorce. I held fast to my convictions in a calm and measured way, no histrionics or drama, just simple dissolution.

    Almost a year, I lasted. After which, it just became too much pressure on me. Oh sure, people were sympathetic about my situation and understood why I took the drastic steps that I did, but they weren’t empathetic to my reaction. I heard a lot of “They’re old,” “Yeah, they’re [jerks to you] but just ignore them,” and the worst one “Let it go.” Ultimately, I caved. I caved for my son because it was putting him in the middle and I caved to preserve my relationships with my brothers. So, now, I suck it up on every holiday. I try to pretend all is right with the world, even though we all know that it is not. It’s not comfortable, but it is what it is.

    Since I allowed them to at least exist on the periphery, every now and again, my parents (usually after many cocktails) will call up my son and tell him what terrible parents they were to me. We both know why they do it. They want him to tell me that they recognize how much they hurt me. The thing is: As much as I might like to do so, I will never be able to forgive them if they don’t say they’re sorry directly to me. That’s just the bottom line. If they would sincerely apologize to my face, I could “let it go,” but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Even so, you cannot believe the amount of grief I took from the “survivors” (i.e. my brothers and my son). Although everyone understood why I decided I’d had enough, they never stopped trying to get me to divorce the divorce.

      Yup, totally reminds me of the “Make peace with the fact that people will think you’re an asshole” section of this super-related post: http://offbeathome.com/2014/02/ending-relationships-with-family

    • Ohhh been there. I’m so sorry we have to go through this ….every holiday has a block of time set aside for ‘family time’ and then I allow myself time after to grieve just a little bit without beating myself up. I made my own ‘family’ though, filled my world with love, let my sons know I love them, so otherwise I have found a peaceful spot… it comes out ok in the end. I equate it to going to the dentist or the gyn now. (And Guinness precipitates the phone calls here instead of cocktails 🙂 …and my friends wonder why I refuse to drink)

    • I always turn to quotes when I don’t understand something. Or can’t articulate what I want to say. So, I hope it’s ok if I share some of my favorites with you.

      This one helps me remember I don’t have to explain myself:

      And this one reminds me it’s ok to NOT do/care about what others want:

      And if I may….forgiveness is for YOU not for them….so it doesn’t get even more toxic

    • Yes, it’s crazy the way people guilt you about it even though they “understand.” My husband is estranged from his biological father, because his father abused his mom, was absent throughout his childhood, and pretty much only ever gets in touch when it suits him or he wants to talk about himself. Despite the fact that his family understands that his dad is super shitty, they all give my husband grief about it (even his mother, who the man seriously abused for years before she left him, comes back to “but he’s your father!”). And people outside of the family really never understand, even if he or I fully explain the situation. The response is always, “Well, sure, but it’s his FATHER!” As if that somehow grants you the right to be a horrible, toxic human being without any consequences.

      • One of the best analogies that I have heard used when people throw out the old “But their your parent”! line is this: If your best friend was in an abusive relationship with a partner, and they repeatedly physically/mentally/emotionally abused me, would you tell them to stay or to leave for their own well being? When you pose the question that way, sometimes it helps people to see how foolish they sound. NO ONE deserves to be abused. It doesn’t matter not one bit who is doing the abusing. It’s your choice as to who you want to keep in your life. No one else’s.

      • This. I’ve actually been going through this with my own spouse. He’s estranged 100% from his father; zero contact, not sure where he is in the world, or even if he’s alive. I’ve recently been going through some crap with both my parents (divorced, different issues entirely) and he pulls out the “but they’re your parents”. I pointed out his hypocrisy and the stunned/confused look on his face was a little heartbreaking. Like, he of all people should know instantly what I’m going through but his father hasn’t been a thought in so long that he’s forgotten the frustration and pain.

  3. ‘I’m not crazy enough to trade a scar for an open wound’. This sums up my situation, perfectly. It’s tough to get grief from other family members, but life is so much more peaceful and happy.

  4. It’s nice knowing there’s a community of “the estranged”. After 15 or so years, I believed it was only my family who could do something like this and moreover, that something was terribly wrong w me that I could walk away from people. I don’t regret it for an instant though. I wish I could trade the questions for a functional family relationship, but the truth seems to be that sometimes people are just more fucked up than they can face, so they don’t, and you can’t force them to.

  5. “I knew that my mother’s love was not freely given, and it was conditional, and it would be revoked….”
    At the age of 48 I decided that my Mother’s version of a Mother’s love was not good enough for me..and that her bullying behavior was not something I wanted in my life…….she is older now and not in the best health and sometimes I can feel that tug on my own scar…..but I refuse to open that wound again…it took too long to heal over and the peace that brought gives me strength……..

  6. I’m right now trying to decide how much distance to put between myself and my parents. I’m in my early 30s and often feel they treat me like an appliance. Where i’m only important to them when I do something for them. And now that I have stopped “working” I have been pushed aside and forgotten. What holds me back from fully cutting them out is a fear that when they pass away I will regret my choice and hate myself. So as for now i’m trying to learn about setting bounderies (both emotional and physical) in hopes to have some sort of relationship. Part of me hopes they prove me wrong and that they really do care more than I think. But another part thinks that i’m just in denial of how bad our relationship is.

    • One thing that might help is considering what exactly it is you would regret in that scenario. Would it be that you regretted not building bridges when they showed that they were interested in holding up the other end? Or would it be regret that your parents were not the parents you wanted and deserved? It sounds like you’re not sure which yet, but I think it’s useful sometimes to recognise that in sad situations, it’s often inevitable that we’ll be left with regrets. It’s just not necessarily the case that we can do anything to really address the cause of such regrets.

  7. I keep waiting for an epiphany, as though it would allow me to better explain the situation to the other people in my life. But like you said, “So, while I do not know the why’s, I do know how I want to live. In peace, in love, and even in estrangement.” Beautiful and powerful! Thank you!

    • I was just rambling in my own post when I scrolled up to read this. This sums it up perfectly really. I hope the “epiphany” (or strength or acceptance) comes to you and I both nibbler.

      Cheers Jody, to you and your family.

  8. My mother and my maternal family are gone to me. For several years I tried to have a relationship with my aunt. There comes a point where you realize how hard you’re working for nothing. I thought I had a scar but being pregnant with our first baby and a girl at that has shown me it’s a wound. The love I already have for my daughter and the love I share with my beautiful compassionate husband has taught me what I had with my maternal family was not love. I will be ok some day and until then it gets easier and easier. At this point if my mother were to contact me I wouldn’t respond.

  9. My heart goes out to you, and this post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me. I recently made the decision to cut ties with my mother-in-law, and the conditional, unloving relationship that you describe with your mother sounds exactly like how she’s treated my partner his whole life. The emotional abuse he has endured at her behest was just untenable, and we decided not to let her treat him, me, and any children that we might one day have like that any longer. There have been fights and his extended family has been extremely unsupportive, but we’re standing firm, despite the constant pleas to “be the bigger person” and “just let it go.” I know we’ll be handling the fallout from this for a while, but life is already so much better without the additional drama and heartache that contact with her caused – I just can’t shake the guilt that I feel for doing this.

    Until all of that happened with MIL, I was only on the receiving end of estrangement. My cousin was raised by my parents because my aunt, her mother, had no interest in staying clean and/or sober once she had a child. About 10 years ago, my aunt came back into her life and without notice my cousin (who I regarded as essentially my sister, given our upbringing) dropped the rest of us and hasn’t spoken to us since – even when my father was on his deathbed. I can’t pretend to know the reasons for her estrangement, and I’m sure she felt completely justified in them. No judgement on my part, just a lot of pain and hurt. It’s hard knowing that my MIL must be feeling some of that hurt right now. Such a tough road to go down.

  10. My relationship with my mother completely changed after my father died. I had always thought she was the glue that held us together. Come to find out, after Dad died, he was the glue, and the crazy balancer-outer…

    I’m estranged with my older brother since a month after my father’s funeral – because he’s just an awful person. I don’t regret it one bit.

    And I’m one step away from being estranged from my mother. She held it against me that I chose my (6 month old) marriage and my own sanity over her needs – after I’d spent all the time and energy I possibly could in the wake of losing my dad. She stopped talking to me for a few months until she found out I was pregnant.

    Now I have a gorgeous two year old girl whom my mom has seen once. She doesn’t make an effort and all of our interactions leave me either feeling angry or guilty – she’s a master at the guilt trip. She lies about sending birthday cards…they just never show up.

    I battle all the time with how to proceed with the relationship – I’m to the point that I recognize she brings no positive value to my life, but….she’s my MOM. Being a mom myself now, it just complicates it. I just don’t understand why she behaves the way she does, because I’m just so over-the-moon about my daughter. But this woman is also a huge reason why I have awful self-esteem and why I have had difficulty functioning in an adult relationship.

    So here I sit, three years later, on the fence between a relationship (however pathetic and angry it is) and estrangement. Because it’s so hard to commit to closing that door. I have so much I want to say to her, but I know it wouldn’t make a difference because she’s not ready to hear it. It would likely be the end of our relationship. And I’m scared of crossing that bridge, even though I know it’s for my own good.

    • I understand about the glue and crazy balancer – when my Grampa passed, it’s like something broke loose in my Gramma. She was fine for about a year or two (besides grieving) and then she started becoming more unbalanced. She has become toxic, manipulative and lies constantly. I haven’t seen her in three years, because I just cannot be around people like that. No one has given me grief about it yet, but I am just waiting to see what happens

  11. thank you for sharing your story

    It’s nice to know we are not alone in things like this.

  12. This spoke to me in such a way that when I was initially writing a reply it went far too long and became about so many things other than this. Now I’m rewriting it to submit it as a guestpost.
    I’m somewhere in the process of beginning my second estrangement from my mother. We became estranged a few years after I spoke out about being sexually abused as child by my father. I stopped speaking to her, and shortly after my brother stopped speaking to me as well. A few years ago, my brother reached out to me because my mother was ill and we all tried to repair our relationships. While my brother and his family are now an integral part of my life, it seems as though I will be cutting ties with my mother again very soon. It is beyond difficult to do it this time. My brother and his family now have an extremely strained (soon to be estranged) relationship with my mother and have cut my father completely out. Perhaps I feel she will have no one left if I cut her out again. I haven’t spoken to her since December. Weirdly, my grandmother (her mother) has began speaking with my mom on the phone again after she discouraged me from trying to reconcile with my mom.
    My husband and I are purchasing a home very soon, and will be working towards adopting children shortly after. I want the mom I had growing up to be a part of their lives, but I don’t think she will be or can be that person ever again. Maybe it will be better to move on now instead of drawing it out as long as I did the first time just on the slim chance that she would change.

    • “I want the mom I had growing up to be a part of their lives, but I don’t think she will be or can be that person ever again.”

      The biggest thing I had to accept about my father is that he will never be the dad to me that he’s chosen to be to someone else. It’s been the biggest relief and the toughest realization, but I had to move on. I have my life to live.

      Good luck on your adoption. I’m sure those will be some very lucky children to have you and your husband in their lives.

    • I think the question you have to ask yourself is do you potentially want to put your children through the pain you go through with their grandparents. There was favoritism with my grandparents because my sister and I were adopted (my parents divorced and my stepfather adopted us, but we were always known as “Pat’s kids”). As a child I did not understand that or why we were treated differently. I always told my husband that if anyone treated our children differently I wouldn’t allow them to go through the pain of being treated “less than” and questioning why they weren’t good enough. I would simply remove my parents or his parents from their lives. Period. Sadly we were never able to have children, but I saw it with my parents and my two sisters’ kids and one sister did move away taking her children away from the pain of why they weren’t “favorites”. It’s easier for them to be seen every few years and not be nearby than it is to have a daily reminder of the fact that they don’t add up for some unknown reason.

      I am not estranged from my family but I keep some of them at more than arm’s length because of the wounds perpetrated on me. Certain members used to have my heart and soul, but no longer. My dedication was complete, but now it’s for only my husband and the people in my life who care about me enough not to hurt me intentionally when I open up to them. The dynamic has changed and left those members of my family confused and unsure of their role in my life and that’s okay. I am not on this earth to make them feel better about themselves. I choose to continue to love them because of who they are to me, but not to allow them to hurt me.

      • This, exactly. I grew up being the least-favorite grandchild because my father’s mother hated my mom. My grandmother made no bones about disliking our side of the family and playing obvious favorites whenever she had the chance. (One particularly memorable Christmas when I was about 7 involved my grandma’s “gift” to my mom being an unwrapped potscrubber with a $0.99 tag attached still, and my dad and I got nothing. Ouch.) My dad never estranged himself from his family because, despite how awfully his mom treated us, my mom always insisted that it was better that I have a stable family environment and that I get to know my grandparents. She’s since said she would do things differently if she could do it again. Having gone through that as a child, I absolutely do not want to put myself and my future children in the position of being treated this way by anyone else…so no more contact with my MIL.

    • I think we all yearn for the good memories, that made us feel like we had “normal” families. My mother changed, without warning, when I hit puberty. Everything before that was lovely, and everything since…well, I’m on this thread, aren’t I?

  13. This hit home for me in a huge way! My dad adopted me before I was born and insisted I have his last name knowing the obligation that came with it. My parents divorced, eventually he remarried and they had children of their own. I’ve spoken to him all of five times in the last 17 years and not at all in the last 8. Hes never met my son who will be 8 in october and he never will. He walked… I’ve dealt with the confidence issues and self doubt… And as mentioned the scar is there with the occasional ache. As my wedding day approaches it’s twining a little more and a lot of my family are going to wonder where he is (it’s a dirty little family secret that we don’t talk). But like every time i will get up will move on and it will be one more great memory he missed.

  14. I am estranged from my father. The why is less important than the current status of the relationship. You see, my dad is dying; as in on his deathbed dying, waiting for the phone call dying. I’ve been walking around for the past week in a haze of impending death. Everyone around me tells me that I should call him, say goodbye, see him one last time; they say I’ll regret it if I don’t. I don’t know if I will or not but I’m not calling, I’m not visiting. I lie to people when they ask if I’ve spoken to him or seen him. It makes me feel better because I don’t have to explain. It makes them feel better when I say yes, you can see the relief wash over their faces. No one can understand estrangement unless they are estranged. I feel sadness knowing he’s in pain and that he’s dying. I feel sad for him that he’s alone. I didn’t make that choice, he did. I will feel sad when he passes, I’m sure of it; but I’ve already mourned the loss of my father.

    • I feel sometimes the worst part of estrangement is mourning the loss and no one else understands why or how.

      My mother died. My dad and I are as good as estranged (the last time we spoke was an ill-advised trip to my step sister’s wedding).

      I feel more complete having mourned my mother than my father, knowing he’s available but chooses to live his life as though I’m not his daughter.

      FYI for RoxBox, we were civil. We always are. He’s never acknowledged that he gave up on me. I waited until after my step-sister’s wedding to lose my shit – no one but my fiancé knows to this day how awful it was for me to be there.

  15. My sister and dad are estranged from each other. Slightly nervous how my/our wedding will play out.

  16. I severed my relationship with my father several years before his death, and I’ve chosen to remain separated from my brother. My father was a paranoid schizophrenic who spoke to God, and my brother is a bi-polar schizophrenic who also happens to be an addict. I decided that I couldn’t chance being drug down into their madness; I couldn’t risk the devastation they had brought to my paternal and maternal grandparents.

    Before my husband and I got married, he asked me if I wanted to invite my brother, and the answer was unequivocally no. I didn’t want or need that kind of drama and ill-will coming into our relationship. Because my husband works in mental health, he understands. Just recently, my mother and I were visiting my grandmother, and my brother showed up. We narrowly missed seeing him, but just the thought was enough to send me into a panic attack. Neither Mom nor I could remember the last time that we’d seen my brother. I think it’s been close to a decade for me.

    I always cringe when I see friends post on Facebook that you need to call your father or your mother because you never know when you won’t be able to – or you’ll regret it when they are gone. I understand the sentiment, but I don’t regret not having a relationship with my father. I won’t regret not having a relationship with my brother. People that hurt me and try to manipulate or use me don’t get to remain in my life. I wouldn’t accept it in friends; the title of “family” doesn’t create more leeway.

    • This is what I struggle with – the, “you wouldn’t put up with it if it was a friend/they were doing this to a friend, so why put up with it from family?”. There are certain family members I have that I would definitely cut out of my life if they were to, say, treat my best friend or my fiancee the same way they have treated me. But it’s really hard to shake that “family is everything” mentality that I was brought up with.

  17. Yes and thank you! this is so good. I don’t know why but it seems like folks don’t talk about these severed relationships enough… as if there’s shame in it. I have been “estranged” for most of my life from my father and though not my conscious choice I have felt many similar reactions and grief and also happiness and relief sometimes.

    Thank you for opening this conversation for us.

  18. Oh, lady.

    I understand.

    I describe my relationship with my parents as “strained”, and it is extremely difficult to admit that I hate spending time with them; that I leave their presence feeling less loved, less valuable, less peaceful.

    Good work drawing your boundaries and maintaining them–I hope someday your mother will learn to be loving to you, honey.

  19. This stings especially hard for me right now, since my daughter is not talking to me. I don’t have parents ending orphaned by their deaths as a child, so maybe I don’t know how things work. My daughter started smoking pot about 6 years ago, since she started things have gone down hill. She stopped going to school, eventually dropping out, she has quit one job and was fired dr another, locked herself in her bedroom on my wedding day, forbade me from having children with my husband, has run away, assaulted me you name it. The final straw was a week ago when she had done her best to convince her younger brother that he was not mentally ill, that he was old enough to make his own decisions and did not need to let mom know where he was going or what he was up to. I had to throw her out of the house. She harasses me by phone, called me names and hung up on me. I don’t know what I have done to endure years of manipulative abuse, but I miss her.

  20. I feel the same way as you do, but about my father. I do not allow him to have access to my life (though he’s found ways around it) because I don’t want to make myself vulnerable. I don’t fault my siblings for doing this, or even my mom (his ex-wife) for occasionally reaching out to him, but I’m not there anymore. I think that I understand your feelings. The protective wall we build may seem like an impenetrable and cold fortress to some, but for you, it’s what you need to keep yourself safe. Take care.

  21. I know so many folks whose parents are jerks or difficult and whose relationships are strained, but somehow I’m the only person I know who hasn’t had any contact with a birth parent (by my choice) for a long time.

    No contact for 7 (8?) years, and my life is so much more peaceful than it was with her in it. In my circle of close friends she’s the HB- short for “the heinous bitch who gave birth to me”. I have lovely childhood memories of her and am beginning to reclaim those and acknowledge that that’s ok. When I told my father about the situation (it took me 2 months to tell him), his only comment to me was “well, there’s only so much you can take”. Having his calm acceptance of the situation allowed me to view it with a clear head.

    I do get looks sometimes, that pitying look you get. Those come from folks who never met her, or who believed her lies, or just think I should ‘forgive and forget’ because, clearly, that’s the best way to fix the problem. I have forgiven, for my own sake, but forgetting would be complete foolishness and would jeopardise the well being of the family I love and hold so dear.

    Thank you for sharing your story. For letting me see that I am not the only person to make this choice.

    Peace.

  22. Such a hard situation. My brother and his wife has sort of estranged themselves from our family and its always so hard. I loved the description of the scar – sometimes I’m okay and have come to terms that my brother cares very little for me or my life, but other times, like when my nephew was born, it hurts like hell. My poor mother is the one of the most loving people in the world, and she cannot let my brothers rejection go – always hoping that if she loves him enough he’ll change. The only silver lining is that my boyfriend/future husband’s younger sister really likes me and has help fill the hole my brother left.

  23. I just want to say thank you for posting this. I am currently struggling with a situation where I need to cut my parents off again. For good this time. We are practically estranged, but I need to make it official in my mind because I am letting this fester and torment me.

    My parents are evangelical christian and I spent my whole life forced to serve the church and move repeatedly which caused and still causes quite a bit of inner turmoil for me, but their religion is not entirely why we are on bad terms.

    When I was 21, I married an abusive man. Eventually, I overcame the denial and confided in my parents about the mental/physical abuse and several specific incidents that convinced me to finally leave him (one involved him actually pulling a gun on me). They advised marriage counseling in spite of the fact that I feared for my life.

    When I finally decided to leave my husband, I had no where to go, so I fled to my parents house, where they again tried to convince me to go to marriage counseling.

    They did not help me move and I ended up leaving all of my brand new furniture at my house. I didn’t speak to them or even tell them where I was living for 6 months. They eventually forced their way back into my life and I wanted to believe that they were interested in my best interest. They went with me to the trial where I got a protection order and were supportive at that event, but all in all, I am really on my own.

    I have been a straight A student my whole life. I graduated college and am following my dreams post divorce. My parents are very vocal about how they disagree with my atheism, body art and anything else they can think of, ignoring my accomplishments.

    A few months ago I recently tried to air out all the pain that they have and continue to cause me. I confronted them about how their reaction to me leaving my ex made me feel like they cared more about having 2 divorced kids than they did my safety; I was met with silence. No denial. The whole conversation ended with me getting yelled at by my father and my mother silently backing him up (as always).

    I recently got engaged to a wonderful man who loves me and treats me like a queen. When I told them that I got engaged, my father snidely commented “so you got another ring, huh?”.

    Every time I interact with them it is painful and damaging to my self esteem. I have been struggling with whether I am going to invite them to my wedding or not. Honestly, I don’t want them there. I am afraid to cut them off and do more damage to our relationship, but I have bent over backwards trying to reconcile and I continue to feel as if they put no effort into it.

    My friend has been through estrangement with his family who is also religious and is encouraging me to severe the ties, as well as his girlfriend who is a psychologist. I think it’s time.

    • We eloped strictly because I was petrified of parental drama. I knew even having a wedding but not inviting some people would causes drama with OTHER people so we just didn’t. But making my partner into my spouse was more important to me then a wedding, so I’ve never regretted it.

  24. I think someone should start an online support group, blog, chatroom or whatever for people like us. It’s a great feeling to know that you’re not to blame, you’re not crazy, and you’re not ALONE. Thank you for sharing!

  25. I stopped speaking to my mom’s side a few months ago. My pop was my only saving grace. He was the one who fought for me and stuck up for me as a child. I was never good enough and seen as a nuisance or a reminder of a mistake (her marriage that failed) to my mom and grandmother. When my pop died, I was 19 and that was it. My mom moved away and I stayed with my grandmother. It was ok, but I was told, numerous times, that I came in third behind my aunt and my mom. When my mom died, I had to help her grieve but heaven forbid I even show any grief.

    After that I spent 10 YEARS being her caregiver in a vain attempt to get her to at least love me. My aunt treated her like utter garbage and still does. But for some reason, I have been told time and time again, she comes first because she is her daughter. And like an idiot, I went back for more.

    Like you, there was no real epiphany. I was trying to get her to move to where I live now and get her away from my aunt. No dice. Finally, tired of it all, I just told her I didn’t want to hear it anymore. I was done and I hung up. I haven’t answered a call from her since. She plays a good game, crying leaving messages, but I just can’t be lured into it again.

    I won’t even touch on the insanity that is my fiance’s mother. If manipulation was a celebrity, she would have won 100 Oscars by now.

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