At what point do you say ENOUGH!
Enough abuse, dysfunction, bullying, drama, intrusion, insults, and toxicity for one lifetime. At what point do you decide going “no contact” with your difficult mother is the way to go?
Almost every daughter of a difficult mother I see struggles with where to draw the line, and if to draw a hard line.
Seated on my psychotherapy couch, Sarah is in agony.
“ I just can’t take one more discussion of my faults. Nothing is ever good enough for her. No matter what I do… she weighs in with criticism and judgment. I get off the phone in tears feeling terrible about myself. Who needs that? I’d be better off never talking to her again.”
In a later session, Emily says,
“Mom’s a black hole. I constantly take care of her and have nothing left for myself. Her neediness is sucking the life out of me. Everything turns into a drama, and whatever happens, it’s always my fault. When will this end?”
Still later, Susan says,
“ My mother is toxic. She poisons everything she touches. She twists the truth and manipulates constantly to make herself look good instead of owing up to anything. I’ve had it with her lies and manipulations. After what she said to me yesterday, I am never speaking to that woman again!”
In the course of a therapy day, I hear more than one daughter of a difficult mother struggle with this one agonizing question.
“Should I cut my mother off and go no contact? “
Daughters of difficult mothers can’t imagine taking the abuse indefinitely, and they see only one way out… no contact. This is indeed an option. In fact, sometimes it is the only acceptable option.
However, for most of my clients, it is more complicated than that.
After the anger subsides, and the amnesia of time washes over them, this one feeling threatens to challenge their resolve-