I’m a single mother in my 30s with a five-year-old daughter. I was six-months pregnant when I called police about my abusive husband, then got divorced.
I’ve raised my daughter alone. She’s happy, healthy and thriving.
However, my mom and I have had a rocky relationship, not speaking for months since I was 15. She makes my whole family stop talking to me.
My parents’ tumultuous relationship has lasted 40 years. Every week, dishes were breaking, doors slammed, both swearing, while we kids watched.
When I was depressed after breaking up with my first boyfriend, my mom didn’t speak to me for three months. I stayed in my room with no contact with anyone, broken-hearted.
I went online and found someone who I thought would love me. I married within ten days of knowing him. He started abusing me after three weeks of marriage. My mom said I could never leave him or return to her house. I was already pregnant.
I wasn’t allowed back home or to sleep there. When my daughter was born, my mom let me stay for four weeks only.
On my daughter’s first birthday, my mother gave me the silent treatment and didn’t even call. My dad wasn’t allowed to either. No one visited.
When my divorce was finalized and my house sold, I had to beg to stay in Mom’s basement with my daughter. I needed to return to school and put my daughter in daycare. She let me move in on condition I pay her my spousal support.
Every other month, we didn’t speak. My daughter turned two in my parents’ basement, and no one came downstairs to celebrate her.
After a few months’ silence, I’d need my mom and have to go begging for forgiveness. We’re only okay together for a few months.
During the pandemic, she told me to leave though I was paying her rent. I finally got the courage to find my own place. Our relationship appeared better. I’d daily text her “good morning” and she’d call me.
Last month, I didn’t receive any message nor reply to mine, nor a call. When I reached her, she lashed out.
She said she wants nothing to do with me and I should never call her again, she’s no longer my mother.
There’s been no contact since. No family member has called or messaged me or my daughter.
I have board exams in a few months, and I feel dead inside. My daughter’s at home doing virtual school and I have no time to study.
What can I do to make my brain feel better?
At A Loss
You have the ability and determination to rise above those who keep dragging you down. Knowing that, you’ll improve your life and that of your daughter by becoming who you want/need to be.
Study whenever you can and be the positive role model for your daughter that you never had. Make learning and a can-do attitude the shared goal for both of you.
You’ve suffered emotional/verbal abuse from your mother for years. Cut the cord of your childhood hopes from which she finds access to hurt, upset and depress you.
When you stop reacting and seeking re-connection, she won’t have won... you will, on behalf of yourself and your daughter.
The relationship may change in the future when you’re on your path and her sting has weakened. But you’ll always have to set boundaries to protect yourself and the grandchild she’s largely ignored.
FEEDBACK Regarding a close friend’s “tween-age” daughter who’s bubbly personality changed to sullen/morose (January 26):
Reader – “One sign of rape/sexual abuse in children or teens is a personality change. It can manifest itself in different ways like withdrawing from things that previously made them happy or motivated.
“It can also show up in the form of not washing, or being anti-social, nasty or mean.
“Someone should take her aside in private, several times, to ask what happened to her old self and use the actual words sexual abuse.
“Or tell the child’s mother to talk to a doctor privately, informing the doctor of the girl’s personality change. The mother can also raise whether abuse might be the problem.
“She may already be searching for answers or knows psychological problems run in her own or her husband’s family and isn’t prepared to admit that it’s happening to her daughter.
“The letter-writer could question her friend about this possibility.”
Tip of the day:
When a family relationship’s toxic, rise above it toward your own goals.