How Going ‘No Contact’ with my Narcissistic Mother Changed My Life for the Better
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
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When I made the decision to go no contact with my mother four years ago, I was devastated. The constant battle I’d lived all my life between loving my mother and being fed up with her abusive treatment had come to a head. I’d had it. Finally, the last straw.
“You suck.” A simple text message. Her angry response to the “hideous birthday card” I’d sent her, which apparently wasn’t ornate enough. I’d gone with a card that was decorated on the outside and blank on the inside, so I could write my own message.
Normally, I would have shopped at the grocery or drug store to ensure a wide enough selection to find a card that felt right. Expensive enough to show I care, yet worded specifically to avoid that “you’re the best mom on earth” stuff.
I was under a lot of pressure that year working, 80 hour weeks after relocating for a new promotion I wasn’t sure I could handle. I was relieved that my regular coffeeshoppe, open at 4:00AM, which meant I could come in and work for three hours before heading to my job, (see Why I Moved to Mexico), happened to have a small selection of greeting cards because it meant I wouldn’t have to make an extra stop. I wrote a modest but loving birthday wish, squeezed in a trip to the post office on my lunch break, and sent it off, feeling I had done my daughterly-duty. Fast forward to her disappointment that I didn’t go the Hallmark route.
When I read her text message, something in me snapped. I simply could not allow anyone, not even/especially my own mother, to attack me like that. I was working so hard to scrounge up enough confidence to face my daily life, I just couldn’t take the hit. I didn’t need her help feeling bad about myself and I couldn’t overlook her causal willingness to tear down the flimsy excuse for self esteem I was working so hard to build up. Not to mention the fact that she had not sent me a birthday card, not one, in ten years at the time. I blocked her number and didn’t look back.
Well, actually, I did. I looked back quite a lot. Looked back in mourning, in heartbreak, in anger; for about about 6 months I looked back everyday. It was the longest we had ever gone without talking. Some days I was enraged. Other times, I missed her terribly and wanted to call, but didn’t. I made myself take notice of the fact that my life was better without her in it. I felt safer and more at peace. I got better. I got therapy. And slowly began to heal from the years of being tormented by my mother.
Therapy took me on a two year backward journey through the individual accounts of abuse. During that time I learned the hard way why not to break no contact. I called her a few times. Took her calls from a blocked number occasionally, still holding out for the possibility that we could have some kind of relationship. But, it didn’t take long for the familiar dynamics to kick in–her lack of emotional support, using me for money, making rage threats. I found myself increasingly unable to excuse the imbalances in our “relationship”.
I had outgrown sitting on the other end of the phone for hours listening to her go on about her problems, while showing little to no interest in what I was going through. I was learning that I had the option to be in relationship with people who did not explode all the time, or feel the need to control me to be at peace. I found myself wanting to be known for who I was instead of who I was supposed to be. I couldn’t refrain from speaking up when my boundaries were violated. I simply did not have the energy for her to drain with her antics.
None of this went over well. The last time I reached out to her, I extended a final invitation to be a part of my life, making it clear that I required her to observe my boundaries and treat me with respect. No go. Our last conversation ended with me hanging up on her while she yelled loudly over me trying to speak. That was that.
Since then, I’ve completed my journey through talk and acupuncture therapy and am now living free of the PTSD symptoms that once paralyzed me. I now enjoy waking up feeling present and ready to start my day. I’m no longer transfixed by the pain of my past.
I’m grateful to have purged the burden of repressed pain from my initial traumatizing event. Finally being free the from depression and self loathing has enabled me to live my best life. I am newly relocated abroad, completing graduate school, and building a business built on my passions.
Going no contact with my narcissistic mother was my first step to becoming my best self. Moving on to fulfill the potential I could never reach while being drained by an abusive relationship is the best gift I can give to my mother.
For support recovering from an abusive relationship with your mother book a session with me at EllisonInk.com.