My thoughts and reflections on my Catholic Faith, Fulton Sheen, the problem of suffering, and books

Sunday, May 12, 2013

In Which I Indulge in Whining

I've tried to keep this blog very "theological" and "librarian-ish," and thus, not very personal.  But, after all, this is my blog; I can write whatever I want here.

So I'm going to whine.

Today was Mother's Day.  Today marked the fourth big "holiday" (including her birthday) on which I have had no contact with my mother.

Now, before y'all jump down my throat about what a terrible person I am: my mother has Paranoid Personality Disorder.  She's suspicious, critical, manipulative, controlling, and very good at making me feel two inches tall.  She has delusions that she is being followed, spied-upon, drugged, harassed, etc.

She refuses to acknowledge that I'm an adult and that I can make decisions about my life; if she had her way, she would be in control of my bank account, of whether or not I left the house (thank God I'm not living at home anymore!), of every minute of my day.  She thinks she loves me properly, that I'm a horrible person and a horrible daughter for not wanting to let her control every detail of my life.  (Not that she would ever think she was trying to "control" my life; she would just be trying to "love" me "properly.")

So, for the preservation of my own sanity, I had to go "No Contact" with her.  That hurt.  It was a very hard decision to make.

10 months after that decision, it's still hard.  I got through today without crying, but Mass last night was hard. Fr. Fasano gave a good sermon, all about mothers and Mother's Day; but I wanted to hide under the pew when he mentioned that there are people who are alienated/estranged from their mothers.  I felt like I was wearing a flaming sign on my forehead: "Not In Contact With Mentally Ill, Blind Mother--Horrible Person."  Because that's the attitude I get from a lot of people, and I am sick and tired of it!  I am sick and tired of the people who tell me "But she's your mother," and "You only have one mother"!  For heaven's sake, I know that!  I know I only have one biological mother.  I also know that she as sure-as-heck doesn't act like a mother!  Nurturing, protecting, encouraging?  Nope, nope, and nope.  Does she listen to me, give me advice when I ask for it, or tell me she's proud of me?  Nope again.  She didn't come to my graduation from college last year because the day after Graduation was Mother's Day, and she didn't want to spend her Mother's Day around her ex, because I'd invited my Dad.

If y'all think I'm a horrible person...I'll give you her address, I'll happily forward some of the emails that still show up in the trash bin (because Gmail doesn't have a "block" function).  Let me know if you want to run screaming for the hills after one email.  Don't think y'all could survive years of it with your sanity intact.  My teenage years were Hell, pardon my French.

There, I'm done whining.


  1. Hon, big hugs to you. No judgment here, just empathy for what you've gone through and the very very hard path you're currently on. Some books that might be helpful to you include "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward and "Boundaries" by Cloud and Townsend.

    I am still in the process of separating from my dad, which is difficult because although my mother and sister have no contact with him, my kids adore their Grandpa and want to see him often. I have to balance my emotional need for space and safety with my worry for how he will manipulate my children. I'm still not sure I'm doing the right thing by allowing them to see him, but as I said, it's a process.

    You have made the only decision in this situation that protects your dignity as a human person. Sometimes loving and honoring our parents means accepting their limitations and telling them "No, I will no longer accept your harmful presence in my life." As long as the door remains open and you are willing to renew a relationship once they prove to you that they are able to treat you with respect, as long as you mourn the broken situation and desire reconciliation, as long as you pray for them and hope in God's mercy and power, then you have honored them. But until they stop the abuse and really, truly, wholly change, then they are making the choice not to be in your life and you should NOT feel guilty for that!

    Love is not being a doormat. Love is not abuse. *hug*

    1. Thanks for those book recommendations! Hope things work out for your kids and with your dad!

  2. Just found your blog after reading your excellent Ignitum Today piece via Big Pulpit. I can relate very well to the need for "No Contact," having had a time with my own mother when I needed to go that route. Likewise, I can relate to the guilt that arises from such a policy, especially in a faith whose popular piety often puts forth a highly sentimentalized image of motherhood that overlooks human failings.

    I talk about this very problem, and the helpful answers given us by the Catechism and the saints, in an episode of "Women of Grace" about forgiveness, which is available online--it's the top video linked here:

    Your thesis on redemptive suffering in Fulton Sheen sounds fascinating. I hope you publish it. Sheen's "Calvary and the Mass" was the lifeline that led me out of misplaced guilt and shame over childhood abuse.

    Praying for you and commending you to Our Lady. Please pray for me!