To the Brave Kid Who Broke Up with their Toxic Mom

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“My toxic mother can only intimidate me if I let her. While she’s busy trying to bully the child me, the adult me can reject her, ignore her, correct her, or report her to authorities.”

A mother should be the best person in one’s life; no love is so unconditional, no bond as strong, and no adoration as powerful. As Gail Tsukiyama said, “mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.”

But what about the non-Hallmark daughters and sons? The survivors of toxic mothers, the bravest souls that could ever exist?

You’re so tired of the people who say “…But she’s your mother!” Yes she is. And as a mother it was her job, her responsibility to be there for you unconditionally, to give you love, support and forgiveness instantaneously, to always lift you up. It’s not enough for her to say, “I love you” once in awhile; like “I love you” makes everything okay. You love someone by being there for them. By not hurting them. It’s not the thought that counts. It’s the actual execution that matters. It was her job to teach you how not to be afraid, to open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.

I wish I can make it all go away for you — the pain, and guilt and turbulence. I don’t think you understand how courageous you are. How beautiful, how strong, how none of this is your fault. You did nothing wrong. You deserve so much better. I am so sorry you had to do the hardest breakup known to the human heart, but I am so proud of you for deciding, I had enough of all her darkness, it’s time to protect myself.

Perhaps you have found a middle ground, a place where you can keep your mother at a distance, where you can avoid the excesses of her scarred personality.

Perhaps you cut off contact completely. There is only so much you can take.

“You are a gift, never forget that. You were a beautiful baby, and child, and now an adult. There are so many people who love you and who you have yet to meet who will love you.”

Maybe you haven’t spoken to your mother for years. I want to tell you to please not feel like the bad one in this situation. I know it feels like a stab wound to the heart — I know your guilt and your mother’s presence lingers inside of you — comfortable in its home in your bones, causing breathtaking emotional pain at the most inconvenient of times. You are not alone in this.

There is always an innate desire to love and please your mother. But none of this is your fault. We always feel like there’s something that we could have done differently. But there’s not a damn thing you can do to fix a relationship with a toxic person, except to protect yourself. You cannot spend any more time damaging yourself to help someone else be whole. Never let anyone makes you feel bad about what you can’t control.

Don’t let your mother manipulate anything; toxic people are very good at manipulating the situation. Know that what you experienced is real and your mother is responsible for her behavior. You are the kid and she is the parent — it is not your fault.

Everything you are feeling is normal: the feelings of guilt, anger, rejection, fear, pain, relief — sometimes all at once. Sometimes we don’t want to let go of our pain because it’s the only thing still attaching us to the person. Let go of it and you let go of that person, sometimes we’re not ready for that. But you need to understand that the energy it takes to hang on to a toxic person can hold you back from living your life fully. Don’t try to understand why she did what they did; she is broken, and it is out of your control. People don’t change.

You are a gift, never forget that. You were a beautiful baby, and child, and now an adult. There are so many people who love you and who you have yet to meet who will love you. Most importantly, you are falling back in love with yourself. You are taking your life back from what broke you. Love is the most powerful thing in this world — empower yourself by giving and receiving love from the people who deserve you. You are not that little child anymore who didn’t have power to change your situation.

And most importantly, you were more than good enough. You are good enough. You will always be good enough.