My mom died. She died, but I became free. For the very first time in my life, I’m not worried about what stories and lies she’s spreading about me.

Even though we lived thousands of miles apart from each other, she had everyone around me in the palm of her hand. They believed her. I was a horrible child, rebellious teenager, and spiteful adult. 

You see, I was never good enough for her. Her fantasy of what she believed a daughter ought to be is something I simply could never live up to.

When I realized the behavior was transferring to my own children, I took a stand and broke the sacred bond of mother/daughter. The bond society has us believing is so sacredMother must always be respected and right.

But, what if she’s wrong? What if she is the result of a bad mother/daughter relationship herself and doesn’t know better than to continue the viciousness, the vindictiveness, the plain cruelty, and manipulation?

RELATED: My Toxic Mother Tears Me Down, But I Will Rise Above

When I decided to put my children’s well-being first and saw that no amount of reasoning was going to make a difference with someone who doesn’t see reason, society came for me. They brutally came from every corner.

“But that’s your mother! How can you deprive her of her grandbabies?” 

The guilt from outside, as well as inside, was all-consuming. It drove me to seek therapy. Was something wrong with me? I was able to see I had made the right decision in going no contact. I found out she was a narcissistic mother with both mentally and physically abusive patterns. She was a product of a similar upbringing and passed the torch of scapegoat on to me.

And I put the torch down.

That heavy, ever-so-consuming torch was on the ground in front of me, but it wouldn’t move from my feet. It would still impact everything I did, everywhere I went. Self-doubt, anxiety, low self-esteemher voice followed me everywhere, disapproving.

I flew to her for what turned out to be her final week. I held her hand as she hallucinated and called for her own mother. Yes, it broke my heart. 

I stroked her hair and sang her favorite songs. I made decisions about her pain management that her golden child just couldn’t make. I was there for her final breaths. It was excruciating. It was hard. But I feel oddly free now.

As I stepped inside her apartment and noticed she only had pictures of me at 16 years oldwhen I was barely eating due to the stress she caused, when I was still trying so hard to please her, wear the outfits she wanted me to wear, have my hair down to the length she loved most. Not one picture of me as an adult. Me or my husband or children. 

RELATED: Losing My Narcissistic Mother Is Complicated

She told people she left clothes for me (that’s all she left for me), but she was three sizes smaller than me. Knowing they wouldn’t fit me and knowing how hard I’ve been fighting with my weight since having kids and health issues, she told people she hoped me seeing her pretty dresses would serve as a motivation for me to lose weight. And all the memories of never being good enough came back.

But at last, when I look down now, that scapegoat torch at my feet is gone. And I felt pity for this lady as I looked through her closets and saw her color-coordinated clothes, folded so incredibly straight that you can put a ruler next to them. Her storage room was filled with shoes she had never worn before, which she bought simply because they were heavily discounted. I see the labels on everything. The forks and spoons neatly in their place, from large to small. 

And my pain finally dissolved and turned into pity. What an exhausting way to live. And how exhausting it must have been for her when her daughter just didn’t want to fit into that mold anymore.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Jennifer

Jennifer is a Montessori teacher who left the classroom to focus on homeschooling her two amazing sons. Married to her best friend for over a decade and living in the Caribbean on a tiny island, which has its challenges and its perks.

I Was Never Good Enough for My Mother, So I’m Done Trying

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking away

I’m on a path in life that is so different from what I ever imagined growing up. It’s a path I’m not even sure I consciously choose. And it’s a path that exhausts me. I grew up with a narcissistic mother, and I was the scapegoat. No matter how I tried, I could never gain my mother’s love. It was love that was tainted with conditions and taken away at any time—and that was often. And thus, I tried harder. Best grades, best behavior, cleanest room. It never worked. I was too fat. My thighs were huge—make sure they were...

Keep Reading

I Refuse To Be Anything Like My Narcissistic Mother

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Woman looking out at water

Do you know what it’s like to never know what mood is going to meet you at the door? Do you know what it’s like to never make your mom proud? Not for lack of trying but from never being good enough? Do you know what it’s like to have your mother one-up you every time she gets the chance? “Congrats on your new car! I made sure to go out and get a nicer one.” Do you know what it’s like to walk on eggshells because you never know what might turn her mood sour? Do you know what...

Keep Reading

I Went No-Contact With My Toxic Mom: Here’s What It’s Like

In: Living
Toddler girl looking out over mountains, color photo

Two and a half years ago, with tears in my eyes, an ache in my heart, and an eight-month pregnant belly, I walked off my mother’s porch for good, and I never looked back.  The month after I left was probably one of the most chaotic times of my life. My husband quit his job, I packed my house up into a 14-foot cargo trailer, moved into a new home that I bought online, then drove 2,100 miles to it with my husband and our 18-month-old daughter. I immediately hired a brand new OB-GYN and had my C-section birth alone...

Keep Reading