Last night I finally got myself to email my mum and tell her I need space. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I’m crying as I write this. Up until now, I’ve known intellectually that she’s very sick and I can’t be in touch but I’ve never really admitted it in my heart. I wrote:
Mum, I do love you. I hope you know that. But I need a bit of space for awhile. I’m so sorry.
With those words I gave up hope of having a mother. And maybe one day she’ll realize what she’s done and get help. I really wish she will. But I just can’t keep putting myself through all that pain for some pipe dream that she’ll heal over night.
I’m not only sad about losing hope. I also fear that I’ve hurt her. I’ve always felt that she was the child and I was the caretaker. So, writing that email makes me feel like I’m shoving a four year old’s face in the mud when all she wanted was a friend.
I guess it’s a bit like having an MIA loved one. You will probably never get him back but without a body you just can’t get any closure. I’ve had to let her go but since she’s still alive there is that nagging hope that maybe I can have a mum, maybe she can get better.
Since this just happened, I don’t have the benefit of time and reflection to give amazing suggestions. But here are a few things that I’m currently doing to help myself:
- Cry. You basically just lost a parent. You need to grieve.
- Journal. Get your feelings out. Also, seeing your thoughts and reasons on paper can help you look at the situation more logically and see that while it may feel wrong it was right.
- When you aren’t crying or journalling, don’t let your feelings cripple you. Your emotions will need time to catch up with your brain and realize that it was the right choice (self protection), so until then don’t allow yourself to be anything but cerebral about the matter. If you keep it conceptual, your emotions can’t get mixed in.
- Exercise. It relieves stress. It gets you high with endorphins. It’s the best.
- Don’t feel embarrassed about how hard this is. Losing a parent is devastating–even an abusive one.
- Remind yourself of the loved ones you do have and lean on them during this tough time. They’ll understand.
- Don’t backslide. If in a few months you’ve carefully considered the matter and are acting on reason rather than impulse or emotion, it’s okay to get back in touch. But reaching back to an abusive parent when you are already extremely vulnerable won’t do anyone any good.
That’s all I’ve got for now. In time I’ll probably have more suggestions and a better idea of which strategies work best. I think I may post some sort of relationship obituary about the good stuff. I love her so much and I need to grieve.