I have been no contact with my mother — my primary narcissistic abuser — for a little over three years. Prior to this, I had been very low contact with her since the fall of 2005.
However, if I had followed the advice of my psychiatrist when I was sixteen years old, I would have gone permanently and completely no contact with my entire family in 1969!
But I kept going back to that toxic well looking for water — looking for family — looking for LOVE — over and over and over again. And, I kept getting kicked in the teeth by my mother and her “flying monkeys,” over and over and over again. Until three years ago when I finally gave up all hope.
I wrote my mother a very long letter right before I went completely no contact. Initially I was writing it as part of my therapy, with no intention of ever sending it. But then I decided that I really wanted to send it. Basically, I told my mother in that letter what it has been like to be me, her scapegoat daughter. I did not pull any punches whatsoever. I also told my mother that I have come to believe that she has some kind of toxic personality disorder, either narcissistic or possibly sociopathic. And I explained all of the reasons why I believe this is so.
At the end of the letter I told my mother that I would forgive her of everything that she has ever done to hurt me — but only if she fully admits to and sincerely repents of all her wrongdoing against me — and also on the condition that she must TELL THE TRUTH, in writing, to everyone to whom she has ever lied about me.
Finally, I told my mother that if she is, as I fear, a malignant narcissist or a sociopath, that she will never admit to any serious wrongdoing, she will never genuinely repent, and she absolutely will not tell my siblings, or anyone else, the truth about all the scapegoating, projecting, gaslighting, character-assassinating, evil LIES that my mother has been telling people about me since 1968.
Yesterday was my mother’s eighty-first birthday. Day before yesterday my aunt, my mother’s only sibling (my mother’s younger sister by five years), sent me this text on my phone:
“Well, tomorrow is my ex-sister’s birthday, 81 yrs. I wonder how your momster is. I also wonder if God has or will forgive her for her MANY MANY sins. I haven’t been able to forgive her. I hope your retreat was great. And I also hope you and yours are HAPPY and HEALTHY. FOREVER LOVE!!”
I am very grateful for my aunt. She wasn’t always on my side, however. For many years it seemed like she was neutral at best, when it came to the many lies my mother has been telling about me since I was in my early teens. But several years ago my mother did something that was so cruel, my aunt finally saw the light.
Now my aunt says that she has not been able to forgive her “ex-sister.” I thought I would never be able to forgive my mother, either, despite my Christian beliefs and despite what the Lord’s Prayer says about God forgiving us of our trespasses, “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” How could I forgive my mother for trying to gas us all to death when I was twelve… and then HATING me for not agreeing with her argument that she had the right to kill me and my younger brothers and sisters, simply because she had brought us into the world??? How can I forgive my mother for her many other countless hateful cruel ego-destroying acts against me over most of my lifetime??? How can I forgive my mother for getting involved with my first husband??? And how can I forgive my mother for her worst sin against me — her evil, projecting, character-assassinating, soul-killing lies??? How can I forgive her when she refuses to acknowledge her sins, refuses to repent, and refuses to set the record straight about her lies, which so many in my family of origin apparently believe?
Until recently, I thought I never would be able to forgive my mother. But lately I have been reading a daily devotional book written by Paul Meier, MD, the Christian psychiatrist who diagnosed my PTSD thirteen years ago. The book is called Free to Forgive: Daily Devotions for Adult Children of Abuse. Since I began reading this soon at the beginning of this year, I have finally forgiven my mother, despite the fact that she has not repented — not to ME, anyway — and despite the fact that she has made no effort, to my knowledge, to set the record straight where I am concerned.
Forgiving my mother does not mean that I will ever let her back in my life again, however. That is not going to happen, not unless she makes a huge, genuine, good faith effort to show that she is sorry for what she has done. And even then, I would still be very careful and cautious. I still would not trust her, and I would remain very low contact.
But I know that is not going to happen. My mother is eighty-one now and I have been waiting and hoping and praying for her to change since she was thirty. Barring a major deathbed confession, it’s not going to happen.
And yet, I no longer hate my mother. I no longer obsess over her many sins against me. Now when I pray the Lord’s prayer, when I get to the part that says I forgive those who have trespassed — sinned — against me, I include my “momster.”
Why? I don’t really know. I guess it’s partly because I have also sinned very badly, myself. No, I’ve never tried to kill anyone. No, I never tried to destroy anyone’s reputation with lies, least of all my own child’s. And no, I never in any way shape or form tried to have an affair with my own daughter’s husband or with any of her boyfriends. I mean, YUCK!
But I have sinned. I have done things that I would give anything to undo. And yet I believe that my sins have been completely forgiven and paid for, simply because I sincerely repented, and simply because God is loving and forgiving like that. After I have been forgiven of so much, who am I to say that I cannot forgive someone else?
I also forgive my mother because I believe she may not be able to help being the way she is. She had a severe head injury as a child, and I have heard her say she never felt the same after that. It seems to me that part of my mother’s brain is missing, the part that allows you to genuinely love others, the part that allows you to feel deep empathy, the part that allows you to understand that you do not OWN your children for the rest of their lives simply because your body brought them into the world, and therefore, because your children are not your possessions, you do not have the right to kill them, you do not have the right to have an affair with your child’s spouse, and you do not have the right to “justify” your evil treatment of your child by telling horrible lies about her.
I believe my mother is a malignant, sociopathic, covert narcissist and I also believe that she cannot help it, just as a blind person cannot help being unable to see. And therefore, I forgive her. But… until we meet in heaven, IF we do…. I do not want anything to do with my mother ever again.
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