As I mentioned in a previous post since Cruella has returned to our state, she has been trying more and more to force Bruce to interact with her. Sebastian and I have always respected Bruce as a human being, and allowed him to make his own decision on contact with his mother. As I said last weekend as we were discussing it out on the back deck, Cruella makes snide statements to Sebastian like “You would think a good father would want his son to have a relationship with his mother,” but truthfully, a good parents protects his/her child, even if it is from the other parent. Bruce will be in college next year, (he’s graduating high school a year early) he’s basically grown. Bruce sent Cruella a pleasant, calm reply on “Our family wizard” which she has not responded to, unsurprisingly, because he upheld his boundaries. What is tough is that when you make the decision to cut off a parent, especially a mother, society typically judges you for it. They ask what is wrong with you, not what she did to deserve it, because we have a damaging view of motherhood in our society, that says that all mothers love and they don’t all love their children.
One of the best, most validating blogs I have found is another one on PsychCentral called Knotted, the Mother-Daughter Relationship” by Peg Streep. In her post “Toxic Mom? Going No Contact? 5 Things You Must Realize” Peg talks about how society doesn’t accept that mothers can be unloving:
“Culturally, we are sympathetic when a mother cuts a daughter out of her life because we assume the mother has done her very best and left no stone unturned to salvage the relationship, and we sigh with sympathy. People say, “It’s a pity but some kids just turn out bad, no matter how hard you try.”
No such leeway is ever granted to a child who initiates the break. Why is that? My guess is that people so want to believe in one kind of love that’s immutable—a mother’s love—in a world where love is hard to find and harder to hang on to, that the story of the unloving mother is personally threatening. That’s why they don’t want to hear you out.” [emphasis is the author’s]
Please visit the article to read the whole thing, it’s very insightful. Peg shares her own experience with cutting off her toxic mother. I’m proud of how well Bruce has stuck to his boundaries. As I told Sebastian, I gave my own mother chance after chance, for 30 years, to hurt me over and over, believing – even though she never apologized – that when she was nice to me that it was for good. Of course, like every abusive pattern the “honeymoon” phase never lasted and before too long she would be saying horrible things to me, tearing me down, emotionally abusing me, then gaslighting me, saying she had never said or done those things if I even bothered to confront her. I’m ashamed of how many times I opened myself up to her negativity and criticism, because I wanted so desperately for her to love me in the way that society tells you a mother should love. I felt that there was something wrong with me for so many years. I never had the strength that he has at the age of 16. I expected that when she showed up at the school event, he would cave, as I did to my own mother so many times. I am glad for him that he didn’t. Years of dashed hopes have left wounds that I know will never heal. I hope for him that he doesn’t begin a cycle with his mother like I had with mine. I’m glad he’s not second-guessing himself, one of the things that Peg talks about in her article and something I know I did way too many times.
I guess that we are able to do is what we are already doing – supporting him, believing him, not shaming him for protecting himself, and listening when he needs to vent. I wish that we could do more but at the same time, I wish I had anyone that would have validated my feelings back when I was a teenager! Maybe I wouldn’t have been lost for so many years.