Families is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
Let's start this off with a simple introduction; I'm Linzi and I don't get on with my parents. I'm neither a psychologist nor a therapist, so I'm in no way qualified to judge any situation but my own.
For the majority of my life I have been ushered to be quiet, told I "will grow out it," judged, had strangers tell me I'm unfair or spoilt or mean because "she's still your mum" is a sentence society thinks they are allowed to blackmail you with. Well they're not.
My parents as people are not all that bad. If you compare them to the likes of Hitler, for example, they're pretty average. However, their downfall is as parents. As parents, they are completely out of their depth, and they're atrocious at it.
I won't go into detail as to all the reasons behind my lack of relationship with my parents, because I shouldn't have to in order to be entitled to say that we don't get on. But we. Do. Not. Get. On. I do not have any kind of relationship to maintain with my mother, and my father lives 5000 miles away, in another country. My mother did a lot of things when I was a child that are unforgivable. While she knows she did them, she has made no effort to change either. She was a monster. And my father wanted out of their relationship, so he moved to another country. And left us with her. But I find myself hearing comments about our relationships or lack thereof constantly. Mother's Day comes around and everyone acts like I've set their newborn on fire when I answer, "What are you getting your mum?" with a simple "I'm not." But no one ever asks what I'm getting for Father's Day. No one judges us for saying we don't along with our fathers, but you say you don't get along with your mother and you're a complete abomination. Society teaches us to keep it to ourselves that our mothers are not good mothers. Why is it ok for our fathers to fail, but it's not ok for our mothers? Perhaps it's my hazy view on what a mother should be, but in my experience I've seen more mothers be the problem than I have fathers.
It's true that all women who grow up having had a toxic relationship with their mother experience the same things. A warped sense of self, lack of confidence, lack of belief in emotional connections. Judith Viorst hit the nail on the head with her quote.
“'You are what you are. You are what you are feeling.' Allowing us to believe in our own reality. Persuading us that it is safe to expose our early fragile beginning-to-grow true self.”
Most toxic mothers display the same kinds of behaviours in my experience, but again I'm not qualified to render my judgements scientific.
They are dismissive, controlling, unavailable—my own mother was unavailable emotionally. No matter what was wrong she had it worse so I wasn't allowed to be upset. This one is the biggest scar for me. To this day, I will leave a room and cry silently by myself rather than show my emotions in any situation. This behaviour left me emotionally hungry and desperately needy. I'm trying with this one but it has left scars of needing reassurance in relationships that I, a very confident person, shouldn't need. Enmeshed—the complete opposite of cold and distant—this is the mother who inserts herself into everything, ignoring boundaries you remind her of. Combative (Yep. That's my mum), unreliable, self involved, and immature. My mother personally is all eight. These are, according to my experiences and the internet, the eight things most likely to be found in toxic mothers.
This article contains 11 signs your mum is toxic.
All children feel a need to feel their parents' love and admiration, especially when they haven't given you any, ever. If you have toxic and difficult parents, they really are the last people you need affirmation from. The first people who will refuse to give it to you, and the last people who ever will. Both myself and one of my oldest childhood friends have extremely toxic mothers, and strange relationships with our fathers. We grew up across the road from one another and were best friends growing up, so we saw first hand the ways of the others' parents. I don't think this helped us in realising how far from normal our lives were. We both came to that conclusion much later than we probably should have. The both of us have fully accepted that our mothers will never be worthy of "mum" and I think that was the defining moments in who we are as people now. The acknowledgement and acceptance of not needing our mothers' love has given us a freedom I see others longing for.
This is the reason for this post. As much as you may want to see them change, they won't. It's just like having the world's worst boyfriend/girlfriend—you wouldn't allow it in that situation. If you're here reading this, I suppose chances are you have at least one toxic parent. Don't allow your parents to be the praise you need. You will feel so much lighter when you stop giving a damn what they think. Society won't let you dislike your mother, but you don't have to like her, either.