We asked our regular contributors through e-mail, Is it okay to push your mom out of your life if it’s to protect your mental health and overall well-being? Why or why not? We got many interesting responses. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way and most of the respondents have requested to stay anonymous, so no names will be published.
1. Yes, because blood relation doesn’t excuse their actions.
2. Absolutely. I have a friend who struggles with depression and anxiety and his mother is constantly telling him he’s a worthless piece. He has a decent job that gives him around 60K a year, novices, and is generally well loved by his peers and coworkers/subordinates. Mostly because he will not let himself be the family bank and disowned his drug-addicted brother for constantly stealing from him. At a family gathering this summer, she started an argument with him and attempted to slap his face; he grabbed her by the wrist to stop it and she told him she would call the police and have him arrested for assault. She also tells him that she wished the aforementioned brother would have beaten him, even more, when he was a child; she knew the abuse was happening and did nothing to stop it.
I have made it no great secret that I believe he should cut that toxic weed out of his life, for good if he has to. There is absolutely no benefit in nurturing a relationship like this, family or not.
3. It’s okay to push anyone out of your life for your own well being! I had to push my mom out of my life for a while. She didn’t understand boundaries and such. She kept pulling me back into a terrible mental state. So I stopped nearly all contact with her for about a year or so I could get myself to a good place. It also was good for my mom. She still occasionally slips into the old state, but immediately I remind her it’s not okay. We have a much better relationship now. That’s not saying you’ll ever be able to have your mom back in your life, everyone is different. But if it’s something you feel you need it is completely acceptable and understandable.
4. I just cut ties with my mom after a long history of putting up with un mom-like behavior and frankly, it feels pretty good to not have an emotional obligation to someone who didn’t feel one towards me anymore.
5. I grew up in a toxic household largely centered around my dad’s addictions to drugs and alcohol. I grew up in a trailer park in a trailer that caught fire and literally exploded when my dad was cooking meth in it (he was badly burned, I was not home at the time).
No one in my family went to college. I was the first to graduate high school even. My mother made it to grade 9, my dad to grade 5. He could read a little but not functionally. Mom had a GED and dad had a forged GED.
I cut ties with everyone toxic. I just said “no” one day. I haven’t spoken to my father for many years and have no desire to do so. I started cutting ties when my family began to mock and deride my decision to go to college.
I sought out stable people in my life. I married a wonderful man who helped me develop stability. I went to college, I have a master’s degree, and I graduate with my MD in may.
I could not have done any of it if I still had the immense chaos of the family I was born into, or if I didn’t have the stability of the family I chose.
No one can give you a legitimate yes/no answer to this question only you can answer this question for yourself. But the important thing is. If your family is truly toxic and you can truly seek stability without them, you should not be ashamed if that is your choice. Seek self-betterment along the way, relentlessly.
6. God yes. Being your mother doesn’t get her a pass to make you miserable.
7. Cutting my mom out of my life has been one of, if not the most, difficult things I’ve ever done. I’ve tried not to, I’ve tried to work around it and tell myself “it’ll get better, she’ll get better.” But she hasn’t and I can’t have the noose around my neck and keep calling it a necklace. There are good days and bad days without her in my life, just like there were good days and bad days with her in it. But I feel mentally lighter. More confident with who I am as a person and my own thoughts. A smidge less self-deprecating. I felt soul weary from carrying around so much self-hatred, and that’s slowly going away. There’s still guilt. She’s been through a lot, and I understand that. But I can’t light myself on fire to keep somebody else warm.
8. Absolutely okay. If your mom is toxic, there should be no guilt about maintaining your own boundaries.
9. Nobody else but you is in charge of who you associate with. Nobody other than you need to be ok with it.
10. You don’t have to have anyone in your life you don’t want in it.