It Is Okay to Not Have a Relationship With Your Mother
Dispelling the social pressure of the sacred mother-child bond
As I have mentioned in a previous article, I was abused by my mother until I was sixteen years old. Since I have escaped that period of my life and been free of her narcissism, I have often heard the phrase ‘but she is still your mother’. This is an extremely toxic thing to say to a victim of abuse or trauma, as it makes the victim feel like they owe their abuser contact, purely because of a biological title.
The word mother has transformed from a biological status to a social construct, meaning nurturer, caregiver, and protection from harm. In more recent times, a mother is a daughter's best friend. It must be reiterated, that this is entirely a social construct. Yes, it is true that most mothers have the instinct to nurture and care for their child. However, when this instinct is absent or even skewed, it then alters what it means to be a mother.
My mother did want to shield me from the harm of others and care for me, yet she was the biggest cause of danger that I faced. Whilst she was so focused on being the perfect mother, by feeding me healthy foods and shielding me from the perils of the internet and boys, she was failing to see that she was mentally scarring me with her physical and emotional abuse. When she ceased to live up to the role of protector from harm and nurturer, the idea of the role of ‘mother’ broke down.
I constantly face the pressure from society to reinstate contact with my mother, purely because she was my birth giver.
If I had an abusive father, I would be congratulated for cutting contact and avoiding him, so why is it because my abuser was a woman, that the situation is any different?
The reason that society puts this pressure onto me, is because of the social construct that they have invented- that the mother-daughter bond is the most magical and sacred thing in the world.
When I was sixteen, I was on the phone to a policeman, as my mother had been stalking me despite having a court-ordered restraining order as a consequence of her abusive actions. The policeman told me that all my mother asked, was to simply chat to me and say hello. I explained that I did not feel comfortable doing so, yet he said that maybe I should reconsider this, as she is my mother and it would make her happy. This is coming from a policeman who had the full record of everything she had done to me.
We have to learn to separate social roles from biological ones. I have received love and guidance, and support from many other women in my life, that have helped to fill the absence of my biological mother. People can find their own sources of parental guidance and love from others around them, and this does not need to be biological. For some, the roles of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ do not appear in their life, whether this is by choice or not. To choose to cut parents out of your life is okay- a person will find the love lost in unconventional ways.
It is completely unfair to suggest to someone that they should keep in contact with a parent that does not treat you with respect or kindness.
You do not choose your family, but you can certainly choose to take control of your life and cut out someone who does not meet your required standards of respect.
I have admittedly assumed the social ideals of the mother-daughter bond, which has ensured that I feel the guilt for not contacting my mother. Although I am learning to absolve myself of this guilt by reminding myself that motherhood is merely a concept, the ideology is so deep-rooted that is hard to shake.
A child can often feel guilty for choosing to not have a relationship with a parent when they are faced with someone who has lost a parent due to death. This is not a reason for you to feel like you should speak to your toxic parent, and someone should not make you feel this way.
Always remember that you did not choose to be born, and you do not owe your mother gratitude for giving birth.
You are loved by a multitude of people, even if you do not know it. You do not need the presence of one person who cannot respect you.