One of the most powerful things the book “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” by Karyl McBride Ph.D. did for me was to ‘give me permission’ to deal with my mother the way I have chosen to, the way that’s best for me.
Most of my adult life well-meaning people have chastised me for not having a relationship with my mother. Most of those people don’t have any idea about what our relationship was like, what my childhood was like, they just believe that we only get one mother and she’s always our mother and we owe it to ourselves, somehow (I’ve never quite understood the benefit) to maintain a relationship or at the very least open communication with her.
People insist that I’m bitter, angry, being vengeful, resentful, stubborn, etc., because I don’t have a relationship with my mother and because I admit to feeling ‘indifferent’ about her as a person, as my mother. People want me to acknowledge ‘love’ for my mother, but over time I’ve realized that even as a child, I feared and respected her, felt sorry for her, but I don’t know if I really truly loved her. I think I mistook fear and respect as love.
There’s not a lot I can do about a ‘relationship’ with her, when I tried to reconcile and she wrote me a letter, signing it, “your mother for the last time.” When someone has no interest in having a relationship with you, when they have rewritten history in such a way that you can’t even relate to their ‘version’ it’s very difficult to have any kind of ‘relationship’ with them.
My mother will admit to no guilt or responsibility in regard to the physical, verbal and emotional abuse of my childhood, so we aren’t even existing in the same ‘reality’.
I struggled at one time with wishing I had my mother in my life, I mourned her lack of presence, I was angry, resentful, then I became sad. I went through all the stages of grief, until she cut me off. That was, in my opinion, the most generous and kind thing she ever did for me. I know that sounds harsh, but having been conditioned to believe everyone’s happiness and well-being was my responsibility, I would likely have continued to put her feelings above my own and to seek her approval and acceptance had she not cut me off.
There are folks who simply can’t believe that I don’t miss her, but 26 years without contact is a very long time, that’s a much longer length of time than the number of years she was part of my life.
I have never liked the idea of just ‘eradicating’ someone from one’s life… people aren’t supposed to be ‘disposable’, but when someone tells you they are through with you, it doesn’t leave you many options, you either agonize and struggle with the lack of relationship, making yourself miserable or you process, grieve and accept the situation for what it is. I chose the latter.
I would strongly recommend reading this book, to anyone who has struggled with their relationship with their mother, even if you wouldn’t describe her as narcissistic, there are so many great exercises in this book that help daughters process their relationship or lack thereof with their mother and heal themselves.