Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Divorcing Your Mean Mother

As a result of the Casey Anthony trial and all the talk surrounding it, I have discovered a new book ("Mean Mothers" by Peg Streep) with a wealth of information regarding daughters of 'mean mothers'. The author shares her experiences and what she's done to handle her 'mean mother'. I also found that this book been a topic of conversation on BPD Family because much of what Peg Streep discusses correlates with the BPD mother (or the sociopath mother, Casey Anthony).

One very poignant section in "Mean Mothers" by Peg Streep is about estrangement, which I frequently get questions about (how to, how long, how to carry on, when does the hurt end, etc) as follows:

But for some daughters – myself included – "divorcing" my mother was the only way I could move forward into a healthy future.

Most daughters who've broken with their mothers acknowledge that this is less a "solution" than a life-saving strategy which only offers partial healing. Whether the separation from a mother's ability to hurt and inability to love occurs because of "divorce" or death, the result falls very short of perfect. Terri's mother died when she was eighteen, ending what had been both a reign of terror and emotional deprivation. But even the abrupt ending wasn't really an ending at all. Her voice low but insistent, Terri tells me," There is always a hole in me that needs to be filled, and can't be. Not the love of my four kids or my husband of twenty-odd years, or my friends fills it. It's always there, like a tear or a hole in fabric. You can put threads in to repair the weave – the threads of other relationships – but the hole is still there."

I know precisely what she means: I will go to my grave, still grieving the mother love I never had and wishing just as hard that I had been born to someone else.

I love what she has to say about the topic, and how she refers to estrangement as 'divorcing' your parent. The term divorcing is one to ponder as we didn't get to select our parent... we were born to her. Due to being born to her, many daughters / sons feel as if they have to remain in a relationship out of respect, religion, or duty. When using the word divorce, the term alludes to CHOICE... that you CHOSE not to take the abuse, dysfunction, toxicity, craziness, manipulations ANY MORE. You chose to separate yourself permanently from the negativity just like you would a spouse.
  • You do have a choice of what you let into your life.
  • You do have a choice of what influences you.
  • You do have a choice of how you allow those around you to treat you.
And by the way, I would rather have the hole of where a mother should fill rather than a hole as a result of continued abuse. One can build a life that is healthy and happy and prosper away from the BPD mother but trying to build a life with an EVER destructive force of the BPD mother is extremely challenging and fatiguing... if not virtually impossible.


  1. You're right about divorcing being the right solution to start a new life of your own, a healthy life. Imagine you finally managed to cope with grief resulting from divorcing your own mother, you don't feel pain or sadness anymore cause you live a fulfilling life. Yet, your mother dosen't accept that and keeps gossiping about you, your husband and children to the extent that whenever you meet someone "from the past", they treat you like a monster, what can we do about it.

    Since I become estranged from my mother, my aunt, uncle, niece refuse to talk to me, believe that I've gone crazy, violent...even though I tell them about professional successes etc etc...

  2. I am so sorry that you, your husband, and children have to endure the wrath of your mother's mean spirit. Try to focus on those around you that are positive and happy figures... those that build you up rather than tear you down.

    As far as a mother who doesn't accept the 'divorce', I hear you loud and clear. Even though I am estranged from my mother, she continues with her 'campaign of denigration' against me. She continues to talk smack about me, spread all sorts of myths / lies about me, and keeps the gossip flowing. So I ignore it-- the people with which I surround myself wouldn't listen to her and wouldn't believe what she says-- they know better. And those that do buy into her fabrications aren't people who I need to surround myself with anyway. I can't change what people think... and I am not going to politic to make others turn to 'my side', so if they listen to her, so be it.

    I feel for you. Keep on reaching for happiness, peace of mind, and a fulfilling life. All my best to you and yours.

  3. I agree with this statement. I just recently divorced my mother who is currently going through another divorce. It is difficult for her to see the capable, strong, intelligent woman I am, rather than the incapable, weak and longsufferring wife. She was always seeing nuturing and love as a bad thing. Our family is thriving, happy and loving and we just arent missing the refereeing and acceptance of her negativity.