When I first cut my mother out of my life, I thought I would also lose everyone else. I kinda did. Most of my family in Singapore don’t talk to me. I’ve had friends (that I thought would be able to have a separate relationship with me from my mother) ostracise me. The stereotype of being disowned in an Asian family for not complying to their values is very real. It can be extremely isolating and lonely, even though I have lived far away from them for almost 10 years. In Chinese culture, even if your parents or elders abuse you, you MUST remain loyal and respectful to them. Talk about enmeshment!
It wasn’t a decision I made lightly. It had been YEARS of conversations, therapy and hoping. Hoping maybe this time my mother could be consistent. Hoping maybe this time I would be enough for her to change. Hoping this time her promises would come to fruition. Hoping that some of my family members would see from my point of view.
When my son was born, I realised that I couldn’t let him think that mistreatment from anyone, even from family, was okay. It was time for me to be completely honest with what was going on in my family, for the sake of my sanity. Self-care for me is also not conversing with people who are committed to misunderstanding me. I can’t change or control anyone. Looking back, I wish I had the courage to cut emotionally unhealthy people out of my life sooner. I wish I could tell little Marie “it’s okay, you’re safe now.”
You might be wondering, “but she’s your mom?” I usually say to that question, “I’m her daughter, how could she treat me this way?”
“What about honouring your parents? What about forgiveness?”
Growing up in a church that teaches that families can be together forever and then realising you might have to be stuck with your abuser for eternity, s u c k s. I’ve wrestled with God over this. Over and over again. No child seeks a dysfunctional relationship with a parent. The whole point of resolving conflict for me has been about the state of my heart and my relationship with Christ. I’ve handed all of this over to Him where it belongs Going no contact is not for everyone.
Having been in several different support groups for adult children of narcissistic parents over the years, any kind of limited contact can help your mental health when you have a narcissist in your life. Ultimately, no contact has been the best thing I’ve ever done for me and my little family. The peace and freedom I feel everyday is priceless.
Accepting my mother for who she truly is and letting go of the version of her I had in my head for so long has brought me to the greatest happiness I’ve ever learnt: I am enough.
With my incredible husband and son, and with people I feel safe with, I love doing what little Marie was shamed for doing “too much of…” S M I L E :)