As you already know, this is a weird time. In some ways, this pandemic has paralyzed me. It has been difficult to get my normal tasks done. And it has been borderline impossible to get new things done. Unfortunately, it has coincided with the need to get some new things done. These new things have directly resulted from the other side of the Coronavirus struggle. That other side has been a deep, somewhat involuntary dive into my relationship with my mother. It makes some sense. The Coronavirus pandemic is a call to grieve on a global scale. And grieving is a letting go, a call to change. If we don’t fight it too much, this is a time for intense and powerful internal change, making external change inevitable, whether we have the energy or not.
So I am letting go of my mother on a deeper level. And I am letting go of the mother energy still surrounding me. Unfortunately, that has meant letting go of some people who were carrying that mother energy. That means finding new ways to do things I have been doing for years. And that also means fighting the deep sense within me that I cannot do things in a new way because I must continue my allegiance to my mother. But this is an allegiance I am deeply opposed to. I have been battling this allegiance for many years. I haven’t spoken to her in 10 years. I have worked hard to process contract after contract I have held with her. And now, there is another one. This one is not surprising. The fact that it is still here is probably the most surprising. But it does highlight the insidious and evil approach she took to controlling me. While this is my personal story, I also know that it is not.
This is much more than a personal story. It is the story of so many others. And it doesn’t help that we are constantly fighting (internally and externally) against a “mother story”. This story tells us that mothers are saints. They give so much. They are naturally nurturing and loving. They would do anything to protect us. We see these examples all over the movies, television, social media and Mother’s Day cards. Even our own mothers used this story to confuse us and leave us questioning our truth about what was really happening. But no mother lives up to the mother story, not even the good mothers. The mothers who are trying to live up to it are another story for another blog about societal victimization of women. But for today, let’s talk about the mothers who never intended to live up to it. Let’s discuss the mothers who use this story as a mask to hide their real intentions or a tool to gaslight their own children. Mothers can be just as nasty, controlling, manipulative and oppressive as any father can. Here are some examples of how toxic mothers control their children as exemplified by my own further discoveries this past month.
They compete with you. This starts at an incredibly young age. And that makes it impossible for you to win that competition. As a child, you will never be more talented, smart, financially savvy or manipulative than a grown adult. So you will learn early that you have no chance in life. You will never be able to truly succeed. You will never win. You will always be second-best. You learn you are unworthy of this life because you cannot figure out how to play the game better than the adults who were supposed to teach it to you. So you walk into adulthood carrying the heaviness of years of hopelessness.
They hold you to contracts. The concept of contracts might not make sense to you at first. Basically, they are deals. And you can probably guess they aren’t fair deals. They are often one-sided deals. Or if there is another side, it is often reneged or a total lie in the first place. And these contracts are lifelong. They might involve your future partners or children. They are meant to stop you from getting more out of life or having more success than your mother. Sometimes they are incredibly specific. They may tell you how much you are allowed to weigh or earn as a salary. And sometimes they are nebulous in ways that make it hard to know if you are keeping it. They may tell you that you have to play a specific role in relationships. There can even be contracts that contradict each other. In the end, you are likely to enter adulthood with a huge pile of rules you must follow, all of which will hold you back.
They sabotage you. Even with all the cards stacked against you, you will have moments of success. You will have times when you get close to happiness or feeling fulfilled. But those toxic mothers are watching closely. They can spot confidence a mile away. And they will come running. They will drive wedges in your relationships. They will convince you of your unworthiness when you start to feel good at something. They will remind you of your contracts over and over and over again. They will find ways to put you back in your place. And their methods are brutal. You would not consider doing these things to your worst enemies. They will break you with sabotage and convince you to give up. And you will grow up with no hope for the happiness you once thought was possible.
There is only one way out of this trap set by a toxic mother. We have to fight hard against the web of hopelessness they have created in us. We need to find these contracts. We need to feel this hopelessness. We need to help our inner parts see that their beliefs came from a toxic person and they don’t represent what our lives can be. We don’t owe our toxic mothers one little thing. We owe it to ourselves to live an amazing life. We owe it to future generations to stop this toxicity now. No matter what we may have heard from our toxic mothers, we can change our future.
Come join us in Survivor’s Guide in May as we get to know the karma kid, the primary inner part holding contracts with abusers. The more you know, the more you can release the hold of the past.