Boundaries and my mama 

I’m behind on posts, I still have the last week or so to post about, so this is going to be out of order. 
My mother…..well, she managed to hurt me yet again. I emailed Bea, and she emailed back. 

Dear Bea, 

I need to talk….email…whatever. Just please please write me back. I need to tell trough this and I can’t hold it until Monday and I have so much I have to do this weekend and I can’t think right now and I’m so hurt and so sad and I don’t even know why I am upset because really, this is just par for the course with “new mommy”.

I’m just….ugh! Speechless. Angry. Sad. Hurt. Frustrated. I don’t even know. I’m just….my mother. My mother. She texts me tonight, about an older friend of hers from her new women’s group she now goes to, the woman’s husband committed suicide earlier this week. I don’t know the woman, but my heart goes out to her. I can’t imagine the pain she had to be feeling. I said as much to my mom. And she texts back “and to think you almost put me on the same position, more than once.” I wrote “sorry” even though I’m not sure I am, exactly. I mean, I just didn’t know what to say. She kinda hurt my feelings, although exactly why I can’t explain. Anyway, then she says “I’m thankful everyday that you never succeeded in any of your attempts. What upset you so much, so many times? I wish you had been able to talk to me, that you had felt you could come to me instead of attempting suicide. That’s never the answer, it solves nothing.” I just responded, echoing “no, it never solves anything.” And then she says “So you aren’t going to talk to me about it now either? Am I that awful of a mother?” I just said it wasn’t a good time. 

WHAT?!? Why does she think it’s okay to bring this up? I can’t. Just can’t. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Why is she doing this? I can’t talk to her. I will NOT talk to her. I just….UGH. My issues aren’t about HER, and even before I’ve shared a single thing she’s already made it all about her and about how I screw up everything. I can’t fix this for her, or make it a nice story about how great she was, because she WASN’T great. I feel sick. And hurt. So, so hurt. I can’t handle this right now. 

She wasn’t there! She was NEVER there. She was always mad at me for “over reacting” “throwing a temper tantrum” or “ruining your life” anytime there was a suicide attempt. Those are acutely verbatim things she said to me. Yet somehow I’m to blame for not talking yo her?!?!?! I mean, this is crazy, right? She doesn’t get to do this. She doesn’t just get to try to talk to me about all this now, like it’s no big deal and I should share it all with her now, because you know, we are supposed to share everything and be super close and I can’t be my own person and my mistakes reflect on her and just Ugh! 

Okay. I’m sending this now. My head is all spinny and I’ve gone sort of numb in one way but all anxious and spazzy in another way. I hope you get this soon. 


Whoa! This came out of left field, and no wonder you are a bit freaked out. You have the choice to set whatever boundary you want with her–that’s the important thing to remember. You have control now, and you can respond as you wish. Let this sit for a day or so and the activation will settle. Then you can reply from your “wise mind” and not your “emotion mind.” Just trust that somewhere in you you will know how to best deal with this. You really will. But it needs some time to settle first.
I’m sorry she made it about you “doing this” to her. Ugh:(

I just can’t Bea. Boundaries. Ugh. I know, I know I can set whatever boundary I need to, but there is a part of me that is very strong and very adamant that “that is not allowed” and that “I’m going to ruin things and hurt her if I don’t respond how she NEEDS and then easter will be ruined and it will all be my fault and I always ruin everything.” And then I think these things, and some part of me is like “oh my gosh, didn’t I JUST go through this with Bea?” These things, these beliefs really are so ingrained. I’m not sure I ever noticed them before. Then I think “And didn’t I learn it is okay to not have the same thoughts and it is okay to set boundaries and that it doesn’t mean people aren’t on the same side or that they don’t care”? But then……that’s different. That was with you. This is about my mother. It’s not the same. She can’t handle boundaries being set that don’t align with her rules. I don’t what to reply at all. Anything I can think to say is hurtful. Ugh. And you know, anything I did was never about “doing something to her”. You know that right? Because it wasn’t, and it really hurts that she sees my pain and my hurts like that. 🙁

Well, not responding, or telling her it wasn’t a good time actually are boundaries, right? So you actually did set one reasonable one already. And I honestly still think you need to let this settle. You have to trust your gut–just like with Kristen’s shower. You ended up “knowing” what felt right to do. That’s the place to respond from, if you choose to respond.

I know that you never did anything to do something to her. It was about unbearable pain caused by years of sexual abuse. That’s clear.

My mother. She makes my head spin. She has the unique ability to bring up old hurts, and hopes and make them current again. I’m lost. I wish I could believe she really wanted to know why I attempted to die multiple times as a teen. I wish I believed she wanted to know me, really know me, and comfort me if I still needed that. I wish she had cared to know the answers to these questions years ago. I wish I believed this was about me and not about her needing to feel better about herself, not about her wanting, needing to be told she was a good mom. It’s all confusing. Anyway. That was Thursday night. It’s Saturday evening now, and I’m sick with the stomach flu. Being sick isn’t helping me to think rationally or let these things with my mother settle. Being sick like this makes me feel even more vulnerable, even more confused. 


19 thoughts on “Boundaries and my mama 

  1. Sirena says:

    I’m so glad you didn’t get sucked into that trap with your mother and just put the boundary in that now is not the time to talk. You were right not to, having that conversation via text is completely inappropriate and tells me that is had everything to do with her need for comfort, not yours. It was really insensitive and selfish. She wasn’t ready to hear the truth Alice. Because if she was she’d have made time and precious space for that type of conversation.
    I know you’re worried bout hurtng her or ruining Easter etc but honestly, she is a grown woman and she is responsible for herself and her own feelings. If she lets something ruin a holiday that’s down to her. She’s stronger than you think and if she lets something someone else says or does ruin her Easter then that’s completely on her. Her making you think that you are somehow responsible for her emotional wellbeing is a total manipulation. So set the boundary, if it’s brought up again or if you just feel like making things clear, tell her you will talk about your teenage experiences only when you feel the time is right and that you don’t want to hear about it from her again, particulalry through text message!
    So Alice but this just made me angry.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sirena, your anger made me smile. That’s probably weird. It’s just that hearing your anger about this helped all my huge feelings feel more acceptable. “She wasn’t ready to hear the truth. If f she was she would have made the time and precious space for that conversation.” THIS. These words helped me a lot.


      • Sirena says:

        Good!!! Your mother looks after her own feelings (albeit by trying to get others to do it for her) but it’s time for you to do the same. You look after you, do what you need and the rest can do what they want. 🙂


  2. I agree with Sirena! I also agree it was for her comfort and that having that conversation via text is completely and utterly wrong! I think you did the right thing and I think you are so brave for being able to say that to her because I know that feeling of being so scared of their reaction and trying to second guess what they want to hear and how to respond. You even realising and understanding this is about her and how your choices reflect on her is a huge step in the right direction. I’m proud of you and I don’t even know you. X

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for being proud of me. It is a big step for me, to be able to realize that this conversation was all about her and not me. It is very scary to not do what is expected, and I’m still waiting for the fall out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I gasped out loud when she ‘attacked’ you (my interpretation) while discussing the loss of her friend’s husband. Here her friend or acquaintance suffered such a loss and she thinks about it in regards of herself not compassion for her friend’s loss.
    The guilt thing. My mother was a master at it. She lacked the capacity or willingness to go ‘there’ to the places where I could really talk about what her sons did.
    You won’t ruin Easter, in fact, if she is going to act like that you could stay home and have your own Easter.
    It brought up a lot for your Mom but attacking you was so WRONG… she needs a therapist, confidant or to release it by telling her husband…not you. I wish for you that she had the capacity to approach you with open kindness but fear her guilt about her failings back then will keep her on the attack rather than going deeper to where you both can figure it out and move on.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Patricia, thank you for sharing your reaction of gasping out loud. That reaction and your thoughts about my mother’s behavior really help legitimize my feelings. I think my mother lacks the capacity to go to those deep places, just like your mom. I think you are right about her guilt over her failings limiting her ability to really hear me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just wow, Alice. Your mom was breathtakingly inappropriate. I agree that it was effectively an attack, while it might not have been consciously an attack on her part. Everything she said could only put you on the defensive.

    I believe that your assessment that she wants to be made to feel better about herself is right on target. I know that you have already heard this a lot, but I’m going to reiterate it as a daughter who also feels too much responsibility for my mother’s well being: she can take care of herself. She has been taking care of herself by failing to see your needs all of these years. She is an adult, not a child. Your primary responsibility is to keep yourself as healthy as possible for the sake of your little family of three and most of all yourself.

    Sending so much support your way! (

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Cat. It is really hard to be a daughter who feels too much responsibility for her mother’s well being. It’s hard to have your own feelings and responses because everything is filtered through the lens of *what does Mom want to hear”. I know you get this. Thanks for the support.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I just wrote a long response and then WP ate it. I’m too low on emotional energy to go through the whole thing again right now. As you know, I relate so much with these mother issues and the struggle over letting go of feeling responsible for my mom’s well being.

    Basically, I was reiterating and supporting what has already been said. Sending so much care and support your way!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bringing up such a huge event(S) over text off the back of another woman’s experience over text is just callous. It’s almost an automatic thing, like she knows you won’t go into detail. She’s removed all human contact and made it impersonal. And yes. She’s made it about her and how you made her feel, and how she wants answers. But Bea is absolutely right to withhold your response until you feel clearer about how you actually feel. Often we respond too quickly out of anger/upset whatever. You have to do what’s right for you and exert self care. I’m sorry your mother has handled this so messily. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Penny, thank you. I’m still with holding any response. I’ve been all over the place emotionally this weekend and just have no idea what it is I want to say. Hearing again that waiting to respond is s good choice helps. 🙂


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