The Wound from Cutting out a Toxic Parent Never Truly Heals

“I think she is killing herself to please you. She worships the ground you walk on. She didn’t do this for herself.” – Meredith Grey

I had never really watched Grey’s Anatomy until recently. I caught the odd episode here and there, back when it was on the air, but that’s about it. I saw it on Netflix while I was looking for a new background show a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try.

The quote above came from the episode I was watching today. There it was: the trigger. All the feelings that I’m able to suppress, for sometimes months at a time, came rushing back. I was thinking about my mother whom I cut off for good (for the 4th time) about a year ago. I’m more confident that this time around, it actually is for good, but that doesn’t stop me from having days where I yearn for the maternal relationship I haven’t had since I was 9.

One thing I’ve learned from the multiple attempts at separating myself from that psychologically abusive relationship is that, the pain never really goes away. Even though these days are becoming less frequent, when you lack a parental relationship, you tend to still wonder the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘whys’. Social media posts about how people could never live without their mom make me wince. TV shows where you watch the psychological effects destroy the sons and daughters of absent parents cause feelings of empathy to surface because you know what that’s like. Three years ago these things would make me pick up my phone and reach out to her because “it might be different this time. Maybe she’ll realize.” but this time around I won’t be drinking the koolaid.

Sometimes all it takes is a little karaoke and dancing in the kitchen

My go-to when these triggers happen is to drown myself in misery. I listen to the music that got me through my teenage years. I watch shows like Shameless and Jessica Jones so I can relate to the characters and continue to grieve over the maternal relationship I lost at a young age.

Today was different though. My partner and I came home and cleaned, alternating what music we played while we did so. During one of his songs, knowing full well what kind of day I was having, he grabbed me and danced with me in the kitchen. When The Black Parade (my song) came on, I ran into the living room and sang passionately (horribly) into my daughter’s LOL karaoke machine.

The pain never goes away, but coming to terms with that knowledge makes it easier to cope. Being aware that triggers will happen and bad days are normal reassures me that I made the right choice to sever that relationship. I would rather have a bad day from time to time, than be living my life striving to be someone I’m not, for a maternal relationship that I’ll never have.

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