Relationships in The Raw: The Series

I’ve struggled with personal relationships for a long time… most of my life really. Don’t get me wrong, I managed to befriend and marry some great people, but opening up to them (all of them) have been a struggle. I can’t make the argument that my childhood was terrible or that I was abused, but my childhood was never “me” focused.

When I start telling any sort of story about my life, I’m almost immediately hit with “We all have family like that”. I’m sure that’s true. But in further talking, I find that others seem to have at least one family member that they can turn to. I did not. And I know there are others out there like me. I want to know your story. Here’s part of mine.

I can’t go into much detail because I know there are some family members that read this blog and I don’t blog under a pseudonym. Here’s what I’m comfortable saying:

Growing up, my mother and I were close. She told me a lot and I told her everything. When I had my son, I started to see the chinks in her armor, her imperfections, which is a normal part of growing up. I accepted and moved on. Yet as time moved along, I started seeing that she wanted her chinks to be my chinks and I didn’t want that.

I can clearly remember the two incidents that killed our close relationship.

The first was when I had about $100 in my bank account. I told her that I needed to go grocery shopping to get some food for my family (which she and others in my family often ate). Her response to me was that her phone bill needed to be paid and since that line was the business line, I should give her the money to pay the phone bill. So, never mind that everyone needed to eat, since she hadn’t made enough money to cover the phone bill, I should forgo food, especially for my son who was about 3 at the time. I remember clearly that this was the first time that I was startled by her request (even though she’s made many questionable requests over the years).

Relationships in the Raw

The second was when I decided to move out with my now-husband and son to our own place. In her opinion, she thought I should stay and pay her the same rent to live with her (with her rules) than to live on our own. When I moved out the last of my belongings from her home, she confronted me and started screaming about how much I messed up over my life and how she had been there for me at every turn… while listing all of my faults (and wrongdoings) in the process. She was screeching so loud that the police were called. At the time, my two younger sisters were in the house. Although I was not embarrassed by things I had done in my past, I didn’t feel it was right that she was so nonchalant about discussing it in front of my siblings nor that she decided to throw those things in my face because she was upset that I didn’t follow her plan.

Initially, I just needed a break. It was probably going to be a week or two. I mean, I spoke to her almost every day. Yet, her response to my request to give me room had so much vitriolic hatred that I couldn’t stomach picking up the phone (without anxiety and pain) to call her for over a year.

That’s not even CLOSE to the end of the story, but all that I’m comfortable with sharing.

We’re better now. I’ve realized that it’s just who she is… she’s looking out for Number 1, herself. But during the time of disconnect, many people refused to understand why we weren’t close… because she’s my mother.

I know she is, but when is a relationship toxic? When is a realtionship too much to bear? Should you have to bear that relationship for the sake of others?

Do you have a story to share? I’d love to hear it. You can be yourself or use a fake name. You can vent or give advice. It’s all welcome. Shoot me an email at spiritedlife @ gmail.com and I’ll schedule you in.

66 thoughts on “Relationships in The Raw: The Series”

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    Oddly, I have a very similar story with my own mother. She is a very negative, toxic person, and I didn’t realize it until I was in my late 20’s. Her and I still have a relationship, but I keep her at arms length.

    1. I wish I had you in my life earlier! It was the same for me, I was in my 20s too. Sadly, if I wasn’t completely co-dependent at the time, she probably would’ve kept bringing me down. She’s at arms length now, but at the time I didn’t know how to handle it and everyone kept telling me you have to let her back in because “she’s your mother”.

  2. I’m lucky that I don’t have a bad relationship with my mother. I have other family relationships that are trickier, but they aren’t too much to deal with.

    1. I think that’s the issue. We’re good. I just came to realize who she was as a mother, and it’s not someone I can confide in. I can have conversations with her all of the time, just nothing more than superficial.

  3. My husbands mother is so awful I had to cut her out completely. My mom sadly passed away when I was 16 but we were best friends. I like to think we still would be!

  4. My relationship with my mother is pretty ok but only for short periods. While I love my mother I can’t picture living with her forever. I know I’ll miss her when she departs this life but for now our relationship is good the way it is.

  5. It’s really hard when family lets you down. Having a good relationship with family definitely requires a lot of understanding and forgiveness.

    1. Forgiveness is only the tip of the iceberg. You also have to mourn the loss of the relationship that you wish you had. Sometimes people aren’t the ones you dream that they will be. And that’s ok.

  6. What’s important here is your understanding of what you need in a relationship, any relationship now. Forgiving her is for yourself. You get that right? And, you seem to understand this is who she is. It seems no matter what, you’ve been able to move on and get some perspective.

    1. Honestly, because I think it’s because we care about them the most. We don’t care about strangers, thus they can’t really hurt us. But our family we think that they will be there until the end. Sometimes they will be, sometimes not.

  7. Family relationships can be so difficult. I struggle with a relationship with my sister and sometimes my mom. I have closer friends than I am to my sister sadly.

    1. Yes, there often seems to be an assumption that because they’re family they are ultimately looking out for you. That has not been my experience. I’m happy that others DO have that in their lives.

  8. I am sorry to hear about what happen with you and your mom.
    yes I have lot’s of stories to share my story is writing on my blog on a page called my journey. It’s way to many pages to write here but I feel for you I really do. Sometimes we just got to make the best of what we have and move on from toxic people places and things. You can be only play the civil card for so long and reply to her but when it comes down to it that trust had been broken I can see how you can feel that way. Maybe over time you two can find someone therapist or a middle man to talk with that can help rebuild things because you have children and they can pick up on things like this and I really hope you can build a type of bond with your children that you were looking for from your mom and break the cycle of the yelling and fighting making it stop with you so your kids and their kids can have productive relationships . hugs

    1. I’m all into the idea of therapy, but she still has issues with her sisters from her upbringing and they are still harboring those feelings. I’m not sure healing between us will be complete until at least she begins healing on that side.

  9. At a very young age, I was very spiritual – also been through a lot and knew a lot even way back.. I am not great with toxic relationships and I tend to back away from such.. at some point, I tend to knew how to handle it. Sometimes, my own mom can be such.. its a pain to handle but it is workable. So hard to explain things though but.. I still love her despite all that.

    1. Of course… there’s no denying my love for her, just she has to be kept at arms length sometimes. It is hard to explain and I find the hardest part is people who have great relationships with their family and don’t understand how you aren’t close.

  10. It is not a nice thing to go through with someone that is supposed to be there for you no matter what,To be honest it hurts more when family acts like this. I have had this happen where family members only want what is best for them no matter the cost to them so I just let go and did not bother with them any more.

  11. I’m at the very opposite end of that story. I live with my mom full time not because it is where I need to be but because it is where she needs to be. She has Alzheimer’s and yes there are ways that she has let me down and there are ways that I have also let her down but she is my mom and she always deserves my respect. I also have a daughter who has her own family. We are pretty close but we have also let each other down in some ways though nothing major. It’s just a continuation sort of. I don’t have the same relationship with my mother that I have with my daughter because I didn’t want that. I wanted something different. I think alot of relationships go wrong because parents want to be their kids friends. That is not the nature of the relationship. My daughter and I are very close and we are best friends…now that she is a mom and in her 20’s but earlier it was my job to be her mother. She had plenty of friends but only one mom.

    1. Yep! And I think that’s often the case where the mom is a single mother, not always though. I know so much about her, and I would never divulge that information to anyone, not even here. I don’t know how my children could really let me down though, not in a real way… maybe not making grades, but my children are still little, so maybe I’ll understand as I get older.

  12. Thank you for sharing this. I’m sorry you had to go through this. I luckily have a good relationship with my mom, but have struggled a lot with relationships over the years and have no close friends other than my husband. It can be really hard.

  13. Thank you for sharing your story. I am grateful that I had such a great relationship with my mom – I loved her so much and she was always a huge support system for me {of course we had our moments, everyone does}. Sadly, she passed away 6 months ago, it still doesn’t feel real that she’s gone. But my relationship with my dad is the complete opposite. I love my dad. My parents divorced when I was 7 and he got involved rather quickly with someone else and ended up moving out of our city. This changed everything. He later married my stepmom. Our relationship struggled throughout my childhood, I never felt like I got enough attention or saw him enough. As I got older, a lot of judgements were placed upon me about who I was, what I did, what I believed in, etc. It only got worse after I became a mom. I tried for so many years to make my dad “love” me and get him to want to be part of my life. But it just didn’t happen. This last year was huge for me – my mom got sick, life got real really fast and I realized I was tired of being a disappointment to my dad. A wise friend of mine said to me – relationships are about relating in love, respect, compassion, and honesty … without judgements. I realized my dad and I are on two different frequencies. We love each other, but we do not relate to each other. He helped bring me into this world, but he’s living in an old mindset, a different level of consciousness. I decided to stop accepting his projections of me and stay true to me. I forgive him, and love him and have compassion for him. But there is more to life. I was tired of feeling unloved and like a failure in his eyes and drained from trying so hard. Letting go is NOT easy at all, but I had to make that choice for me and my family. I didn’t want my girls wondering why he’s never around. My youngest doesn’t even know my dad or stepmom. The “relationship” we had didn’t serve me, didn’t help me grow and didn’t make me happy, so I chose to let go and move on.

    1. Sadly, the story with my dad is less than pretty, mainly just absent. I can’t turn to him or his family in my life. Because he really never showed anything different, it was easier to let it go LONG time ago.

  14. My mom hurt me worse than anyone could, and though I never thought it would happen, I didn’t speak to her for about 6 years. I’m slowly working on repair, but keep her at arm’s length as well. I do feel better not shutting her out completely, it was making me feel guilty, so I knew it was time to repair. She offiically spent time with my youngest for the first time ever this past summer and it was nice. He loves his gramma. And that’s fine.

    1. I felt guilty too. It’s hard when you know your mother is living and fairly sane to justify not speaking to her at all. But overall, you have to protect yourself to not pass along the same hurt to your children. 🙂

  15. I am sorry to hear about your struggles with your mom. Fortunately I have a great relationship with my mom. I just wish she was living closer to me.

  16. I’m nearing 40 and my relationship to my mother is just starting after nearly twenty years of being on my own and many years before that while living at home. Forgiveness and distance are the keys to it becoming what it is right now. It may never be that close relationship that I desire but it is a lot better than it has ever been.

  17. I hear you and acknowledge your pain with your family. I had a co-dependant mother and it took years of painful struggle for me to focus on me and finally break away. Keep the focus on yourself and your needs. Wishing you well.

  18. My mother and I still aren’t very close. I can tolerate her, though sometimes it’s difficult. She mayn’t be abusive, but she really doesn’t know what or how to handle things. She and I cannot relate even on motherhood topics…it’s very difficult. Sometimes I mourn the lack of even a bit of closeness in our relationship, mostly though (at this point) I accept it for what it is. I take her for who she is and instead of pitying her (as I have before), I simply understand that she is who she is and it’s not my job to attempt to change or help her change…… 🙂

    Glad to have found your page through Mommy Monday hop!

    1. Exactly. I have learned to accept her as she is, not how I want her to be, because it always leads to disappointment. I used to pity mine too. I’m happy to have you stop by and share your thoughts! 🙂

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