F*cking Mother’s Day

flower-316437_640Fucking Mother’s Day.

Overall I think it’s a stupid holiday. I don’t see why we need a special day to celebrate parenting. And I don’t like the way such a holiday suggests mothers are more valid or important than non-mothers.

I do believe mothers are worth celebrating, but I also think that we should be celebrating the people we love and cherish every day in small, but tangible ways. Through kindness and support and affection. It should be part of the very way we interact with each other on a regular basis. These added “special” days seem like nothing more than commercialized, capitalist-driven ploys to get people to spend more money.

Also, it seems to make a lot of people more miserable than celebratory anyway. For many individuals, Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of what they no longer have or never had in the first place. And that sucks.

Which would maybe be okay if we lived in a society that allowed people the space they need to grieve and rage about their mothers, but we don’t. We want to keep motherhood on this ridiculous pedestal and pretend like having a living mother means you know nothing about pain or mourning or heartbreak.

Case in point:

I posted an important, albeit sassy article entitled, “A Toast To All The Brave Kids Who Broke Up With Their Toxic Moms” on my Facebook page. I added this small quote from the article as the “status update” part of my post:

At some point, some among us say: screw ‘em and all their darkness. Spend this Mother’s Day with a maternal creature who gives you sustenance and safety. Or do whatever your big brave heart desires.

I knew I would get mixed reception on such a post, but I don’t mind a good dialogue. Predictably, here was the first response I got (from an older second cousin):

 I would give anything to have my Mom back

And there it is.

It’s not that I don’t acknowledge and respect what this cousin must feel, having lost her mother almost two decades ago. I do see her loss and I know that must be awful. To lose a mother you loved so dearly is shattering. But you know what else is shattering? Not ever having a mother that loved you. Here was my response:

I would give anything to have had a Mother that I would give anything to have back. Different kinds of losses. Unbearable grief all the same.

This cousin followed up with a private message to remind me that “no one is perfect” and to tell of how her mother had schizophrenia and was thus imperfect, but loved her children just the same. She wrote of how absolutely “in awe” she continues to be of her mother’s strength and selflessness.

That is literally fucking great. I am thrilled for her. I am so happy that her Mother found a way to connect with and prioritize her children, despite battling a severe mental illness. I wish so much that this was true for all mothers and children. But it’s not.

I resisted the urge to just rage at this woman. Normally I simply ignore this kind of shit because it’s not even worth engaging with these types of people. But I was feeling brave and bold and was quite frankly sick of dancing around the truth, so I took a breath and wrote her back:

Thank you for sharing, I didn’t know that about your Mom. She sounds wonderful and I wish I’d known her better. I agree – no one is perfect. My parents were torturous to me. I wish more than anything in this world that I could have them in my life. but I can’t. They are toxic and dangerous for me. You may not understand that, especially because you have a different context to frame my parents, but I think it’s important that I be clear: I did everything I could. And when there was nothing left to give, I walked away.

She responded to thank me for sharing and offered prayers (ugh) and wished me peace. I think her underlying tone was very “I hope you find a way to get over your anger and re-connect with your family because it’s the only family you’ll ever get” but whatever. At least she didn’t explicitly say that.

But people have said that to me. Many people, many times.

“Family is family.”

Yes. Yes it is indeed. But when the “family” you knew for your entire life was abusive and horrible, what are you left with? Am I supposed to just stick it out and take the abuse simply because I am biologically connected to these people?! That is insanity.

I think there’s this idea that we owe something to the people that birthed and/or raised us simply for that reason alone. We don’t. I did not ask my biological parents to have me. And I certainly did not insist that they raise me. That was all on them. It was their choice and they did a shit job of it.

Furthermore, when I did finally walk away from my family, they did not even fight for me.

Ultimately it’s for the better because it makes my life much simpler to not be constantly fending off their attempts to pull me back into their chaotic dynamic. But I want to be perfectly clear that it is still absolutely heartbreaking to know that they didn’t fight to keep my in their lives. It’s almost as if I never even existed at all. By the time I had created enough space to fully cut ties, I’d become so utterly disposable to them that their world went almost completely unchanged when I exited it.

My biological mother gave me life. I am grateful for this life, but my gratitude is not owed to her. She is a horrible, narcissistic, selfish monster who tormented me. She stripped me of all humanity and autonomy. She convinced me I was unstable, crazy, insane, and a liar. She used affection as a tool to manipulate and hurt me.

She was cruel. She is totally incapable of loving anyone but herself and I am convinced she has never felt empathy towards any person a moment in her miserable life. I was a toy to her. An object. Her property. She used me as she saw fit, for her own pleasure and gain. I never meant more to her than the benefits she could reap from me.

No single person in this world has done more damage to me than my mother.

I have never once regretted my decision to cut her out of my life and I refuse to apologize for that. My living mother does not make up for your dead mother. The mother that many people miss and yearn for is not the mother I have. They are completely different.

So please stop shaming people for walking away from their mothers. And on Mother’s Day, please think of those of us who have had to walk away. Despite the fact that we made that choice, the odds are pretty high that it was for our own safety and sanity.

But do not be mistaken: we are in pain, too. We are grieving. We are heartbroken. And we would give anything to have a mother worth missing.

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42 thoughts on “F*cking Mother’s Day

  1. Katy Messier says:

    For me when it comes to days like this the thing that bothers me most is the lack of validation from others. Like your example with your cousin, people just assume that it’s better to ‘fix’ relationships with biological parents. With my own mother it’s much more in the gray area than your situation but I’ve completely cut any and all ties with my father. You did get me thinking though about why we have these days to celebrate parents, not that we shouldn’t necessarily. But, people who have children made a choice, good or bad – to sacrifice, to give, whatever. That’s great and admirable and should be cherished when it happens, but why do we need a special day of the year for it? Hmm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Exactly! And perhaps you’ll be feeling something similar come June and Father’s Day. These things are complex and deserve respect for their nuance, you know? And yes – good question about the special day thing 🙂

      Like

  2. Zoe says:

    PREACH IT. I want to reblog this post but only if I get your permission since you share your pain here which is very personal.

    I have a fantastic mother and I celebrate her every day but I would never invalidate an opposite or different feeling to mine simply because I don’t experience it. That’s stupid and selfish. I know this person you interacted with MEANT well, but the reality is that not all of us have good families or families we should or can reconcile with. And it’s NOT our fault. We shouldn’t be shamed for the anger and self preservation just because society expects us to forgive everything family does and make it work with them above even our mental health.

    People like that are so ignorant to the millions who have been brutally tortured by the very members of their family who were supposed to love and protect them. And it’s perfectly, 100% okay to NOT be okay with that and walk out. It’s okay to have an opinion about holidays that — as you say — are mostly there to get us to spend money and guilt us when we don’t. It’s the salt rub on the wounds of people who have no mothers to thank today and I’m as sick as you that people don’t understand this reality.

    I personally like the holiday because I’m disastrous being good sometimes so today allows me to reflect since I tend to live in oblivion but I don’t condone guilting anyone into liking or accepting this holiday that at core is mostly about sales.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Andi says:

      You can totally reblog! You really nail it here. I know she meant well. But I think that’s not enough, you know? We need to get out of our own contexts and deal with some of that dissonance we feel about the shitty reality of how awful people can be to their own kids. Otherwise we just shame and alienate anyone who’s experience of family is different. I’m glad you like the holiday. Thanks for sharing that – I’m going to reflect on that some more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zoe says:

        YES. So tired of people hiding behind their so called good intentions and never bothering to think of others truly — walking in their shoes for just a moment.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Rachel says:

    Andi, thank you for saying everything I am feeling right now. You summed it up for me in one line “no one has done more damage to me than my mother.” Why do I need to feel shitty about myself today because I don’t want to give attention to someone who abused and tortured me? That makes me an ungrateful daughter? Here is to awareness, boundaries, and the strength to feel the pain of not having a mother. Thanks for helping me to not feel so alone in this today. xx

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Zoe says:

    Reblogged this on Trash Diaries and commented:
    Andi brings up an excellent point that I wish all people would consider about those whose mother may be living but isn’t worth the fuss this holiday is supposed to make. Just. Go read it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Andrea CH says:

    Absolutely the truth.

    There is a part of me that dislikes holidays in general, because they feel like “forced happiness” days, where we play out rituals there’s not much space to alter based on what’s actually going on in one’s life. A holiday to celebrate a specific person/role? Very weird, given the fact that people are at different places in their relationships from day to day.

    I’m so sorry that your family were abusive and hurtful to you in horrible, horrendous ways. And I’m glad you are separated from people that were just toxic and that you have the space to process, vent and make new connections. Of course it still hurts. People forget that; often thinking being estranged is “selfish” when it’s literally for your own health and safety. I wish you a drama free “May 10th,” this and every year.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. hatinglabels says:

    Hi Andi, I totally get this but with Father’s Day….Hate it. It only brings back the memories of what he did to me on that day every bloody year. What’s worse is that he’d hold me to some sort of deal that I had to show him how much he meant to me on the basis of what I did for him that day. If it was generous enough, he’d take it as an insult from me. Good parenting doesn’t need to be congratulated, it doesn’t need to be praised. A good mum and dad won’t expect that. Their ‘job’ is worthwhile enough by seeing there wonderful children. R x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Father’s Day will probably be quite similar for me. Hate both of them. I’m sorry that your father hurt you at all, ever, let alone on Father’s Day. That’s horrible. And I absolutely agree with your vision on parenting. 100%. xx

      Like

  7. Cat says:

    Well said, Andi *applause* I am sick of hearing it all from ‘you only get one mother’ to ‘but that’s your mother’, as though I’ve just murdered her. Thankfully Mother’s day was several weeks ago in the UK, but it’s weird to see it splashed over the WP reader tonight. The truth is most people can’t comprehend what it’s like not to have a parent’s love, they could never guess the toxicity or the danger.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anxious Mom says:

    I whole heartedly agree with you.

    Those “family is family” people–hate them. People have asked me whether I’d accept my mom back in my life 23 years after she walked out, knowing good and well how abusive she was, and act like I’m the one with a fucking problem when I say “no.”

    Liked by 3 people

  9. ambivalencegirl says:

    It’s all so confusing for me. I have no empathy and I feel like such utter shit that I’m not even thankful she gave me life. Ugh, and she isn’t all bad because she makes herself look good. That’s what makes it so hard…she gives monetarily and keeps giving until she sucks you in. And then she only says things behind your back so that she can play with your mind until you truly believe you are the problem and maybe I am the problem. And she pulls everyone else in and is kind and caring and the don’t have to live with her and when they leave she puts them down and puts you against them and then you can’t love anyone and you’re all alone. And I don’t know but I so need for today to be over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I know it can be confusing. I think that’s what’s so hard about abusive dynamics like these. I’m sorry your mother treats you this way. You are worthy of better. My mother is the same way – so kind and caring to everyone BUT her actual children. Disturbing, really. I hope your Sunday wasn’t too awful xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • La Quemada says:

        Narcissists often act kind and caring when they think it makes them look good or brings them attention, but they aren’t capable of being there day in, day out, when it’s easy and when it’s hard and most of all when the child needs it. We should never mistake their show of being kind and good to others as a sign that they actually are kind and good, except to us, because there is something wrong with us. That’s never true (even if they tell us it is).

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Nothing Like My Mom says:

    Thank you for the post. I agree that I wish I had a mom to miss. Instead I have a mom that decided when I was six she really did not want kids. I saw her a few times here or there for a few years and she proceeded to use me as a scapegoat and tear me apart before leaving for good. I have not seen her in over 20 years. So Mother’s Day is so heartbreaking because you see what you wished you had and get bombarded with messages on how selfless moms are and how their greatest joy is you. I wish I would have had that and lost them rather than enduring the pain of being unloveable to the one person biologically programmed to. Takes awhile to get to the point that it is not you but them and an actual holiday usually causes a day of self pity when we try so hard the rest of the year fighting the inner demons that say that if our own mother does not love us how can anyone else?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      You hit the nail on the head. It is excruciating to go through this world knowing that you were not even worthy of your mother’s love. Something that is supposed to be the purest, most simple love of all. I’m so sorry your mother treated you this way.

      Like

  11. kat says:

    you are so right. i do have my children with me, celebrating the day, and i appreciate that (although i still feel that i don’t or shouldn’t deserve it, even tho i do enjoy it) there is a hole where a mother should be in my heart. there is no one motherly to me for me to call or visit; i am motherless, even tho she is living. i have always been so, even when i lived with her. she was never a mother.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. haircutanddivorce says:

    How did I only now find your blog?!
    I wish I couldn’t say that I relate, but I definitely do. It’s taken years of therapy, and work on myself (and boundaries!) to even be able to talk to my Mom… and even so, I’ve had to grieve the loss that she’s never going to be the mother I want. I could seriously write a book of the awful things my mother has said and done, but I’ll spare you. 😉
    As someone who’s been there, I 100% support cutting toxic people out of your life. I didn’t talk to my Mom for 3 1/2 years, and that was the second time. It was amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I’m sorry you can relate. No one deserves to be treated that way. Thank you for commenting and for sharing part of your story. I think knowing we are not alone is the most powerful healer of all.

      Like

  13. kate1975 says:

    Well said.

    I am glad my mother is dead. She was an abuser and a hatefilled person. Nothing people say or believe about mothers and motherhood makes that better, more tolerable, or healing.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thanks, Kate. I honestly will be so relieved when my parents die (assuming that happens before my own passing). I know that makes me “horrible” to a lot of people, but they don’t get it. And neither of us owe it to them to feel differently just because that would be more comfortable for them. This is our truth.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kate1975 says:

        So true, this is our truth. I have said for many years that I honor my mother and father to the limit that their conduct and inactions deserves.

        Good and healing thoughts to you.

        Kate

        Liked by 1 person

  14. LosiLosLoco says:

    Welp, umm, you certainly have your perception don’t you? I enjoyed reading that. You bring up a good point. While I know I can use a reminder every now and again to remind me to be appreciative of who I have in my life, maybe these capitalist reminders are doing the world a horrible service. I don’t know. I think it sucks that you went through what you went through with your parents but you’ve seemed to made a way for yourself now.
    I don’t really know what to say. You honestly got me fucked up with what you said but that makes me more interested in what you have to say. So I will say this with certainty: I’ll be checking in on you and I’ll see if you continue to push my limits. Hopefully you make me feel uncomfortable again. I would like that.

    Like

  15. La Quemada says:

    I think if anything today is a good day to recognize and appreciate women who have helped to nurture us, whether they were our biological or adopted or foster mothers or aunts or grandmothers or neighbors or whoever found it in their hearts to see our needs and help meet them when we were small and vulnerable. We all needed that, as in we truly, biologically, life-and-death needed it. If we didn’t get it, or got it occasionally and unpredictably, that’s an enormous wound, and Mother’s Day can be a painful poke in that wound.

    I’m glad you wrote about this, Andi, and I’d like to repost, if you’re okay with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Absolutely. I know for certain that I am as healthy and happy as I am right now because of the bits and pieces of mothering I was able to get from various women throughout my life. I think the best parts of me are modeled after them. Please feel free to share x

      Liked by 1 person

  16. angelsloveyou says:

    I walked away from my over protective mother who was so afraid of life that she thought if she told me all the things to fear that I would be safe. Instead I got agoraphobic, afraid to leave the house for a while. I have no guilt for staying away. Mother is dead now and I hope she found peace. I found EFT, tapping and have been able to release all the pain and anger.

    Thank you for writing and posting this blog. I just now found it and so dislike hearing all those platitudes about honoring mothers and fathers. I told my son if he didn’t feel like mothers day then don’t do it. He does call and that’s okay with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. twinkletoes2017 says:

    Abso-fucking-lutely. This is exactly what I was hoping this blog would be about when I saw the title. I am DREADING this day that is coming up. I am low contact with my narc mum so probably easier to tolerate than no contact but I hate the day and what it means. I hate that I am supposed to shower her in cards and presents when I have nothing to thank her for and lots to blame her for. I hate her birthday and Christmas in the same way (Christmas slightly less because it is shared out between all family) but any day where I am expected to thank her makes me feel sick. Well said. x

    Liked by 1 person

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