Anonymous Mom: I’m Disowning My Parents

disowning parentsAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

My parents are both dead now. They died a month ago and I’m still grieving. The problem is they are both very much alive, a 20 minute drive from my house.

Yes, now in my mid-30s, I had to disown my parents. Having a mother with borderline personality disorder had finally taken its toll.

This was a long time coming, but when it happened – when I finally told them, “I have no parents,” – I don’t think it was any less painful than actually losing your parents to sickness or a car accident. I think losing a parent is always painful.

I hate when people say, “People can change,” Or, “They’re old!” or, “How can you just cut them off like that?”

I’ve also asked myself these questions numerous times. But the truth is, my parents made me feel as they have always made me feel. Like I was drowning. I have always felt that even if I were actually drowning, depending on my mother’s mood that moment, she may or may not try to rescue me.

I had to disown my father too, because after all these years, especially during my childhood, he didn’t step in to “save” my siblings or I from my mother’s vicious streak. He, too, was under the roof of borderline personality disorder and was probably just as scared as we were — and still is.

I’ll be brutally honest: I feel like I hate my mother and I have no respect for my father. I have all the symptoms of an adult child of a borderline personality disorder parent. These include, but are not limited to, huge self-esteem issues, panic attacks after talking to or seeing my mother, and I’m wary of trusting people.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I told my parents I had a serious medical issue and asked if they could they please help out with my children for a couple of weeks. They said they couldn’t until May.They are both retired and their excuse for not helping out was so pathetic, it’s heartbreaking for me. For years, before I disowned them, I asked myself, why do I walk into this?

I haven’t been able to look my parents in the eyes for over a decade and when I used to see my mother, shivers immediately went up my spine. To grow up with a mother who never once told you she loves you is only the start of my upbringing. The lack of love affected both of my siblings, too. One tried to kill himself when he was younger and the other moved half way around the world because in his words, “I couldn’t stand mom and dad.”

I didn’t move. I didn’t try to kill myself. I disowned them instead.

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  • HPM

    I’m trying to sum up my situation into a tidy single paragraph, but I just realized that the madness I’ve witnessed from my BPD ex-wife would fill a book.

    The main reason for adding my comment to this piece was that I identified with the poor father who was also disowned because he didn’t “SAVE” his daughter from the BPD Mom. My 12 year-old daughter is currently under the spell of a BPD mom who has her convinced that I’m a horrible abusive father. Under her mother’s care she has missed most of 6th grade and will have to repeat. The only contact I get from my daughter is a weekly text asking for child support to be sent early. Or the parroted words of her mother blaming me for something.

    I’ve written letters to my daughter trying to explain what a normal life is without bad-mouthing her mother. And just to let her know that I miss her and wished she wanted to see me. All I get in return are angry emails, texts, and voicemails from her mother berating me for even trying to communicate with my child.

    Today, I wrote my daughter another letter to let her know that I can’t save her by myself. That she has to use her own smarts and common sense to let me save her. She’s a smart kid. And hopefully, as she becomes a teenager, she might see through the insanity of her mother’s BPD, parental alienation, and just plain selfishness.

    And yes, our school system and PCS are aware of the situation. Unfortunately, there are cases with greater priority – my ex-wife, in true BPD fashion flies just below the radar of true whack-job nuttiness when the spotlight is on. So sad for my child…

  • Linda Schillinger-Spiegel

    Unfortunately kids don’t get to pick and choose their parents. None of us are chosen in some sadistic way as if to say..”give that one the cruel parents and that one the loving ones!” When we are born into families it is all a gamble either way..the cards are dealt and wherever they fall..they fall. I think it is most brave to remove toxic people from our lives whether they are family or not. We have to see ourselves as individuals in this life; some of us just don’t get the stable and loving upbringing that every child deserves, however, when we can grow above this .. and turn the situation around with our own kids, then this is when life really begins. It is easy to mimic our parents bad behaviors and just blame that behavior on them, rather than trying to learn from it and be better than they chose not to be. In life we are given a choice whether to be kind and loving or just plain evil. What we don’t know or understand…we find a way! There are so many self help tools we can find in books and online. There is no excuse for abuse! BPD people usually like to pride themselves on being evil. These are the kind of people who feel more comfortable with anger and chaos rather than stability..this is all they know. Their hate protects them from their own past and pain that they have never chosen to deal with in their lives. If they refuse to get help and they refuse to take responsibility for the way they have treated others…than good riddance. Walk away and don’t look back. Our parents have us but they don’t own our lives…we own our lives…we own our lives and only we can decide who we want in it!!!!! BPD Moms are absolutely toxic people and they will never change…very few do…so unfortunately when we are young we sometimes get thrown a bad hand of cards…but there comes a time in our lives…where we can just fold, and we don’t have to fear their emotional hate games any more. Done, over, enjoy happy and make your kids happy…our past makes us stronger people and we are our best teachers; so take a deep breath, be proud of yourself for your unbelievable strength and determination to make life a better place for yourself, your children, and the generations yet to come! Bravo!!!

  • Pauline

    I really do empathize with anyone who has to run from their “families”. My parents, despite their craziness at home, put on a great face to the
    world. Plus, I have 2 older siblings who in their 50s are still under
    our parents control. My older brother and sister follow our mother’s
    orders to a Tee, including moving right next door to her, and including
    stalking and harassing me on her orders. So, of course, they look like a
    really tight family and I look like the deadbeat who skipped out on our
    “poor old mother”.

    Growingup under parents who do nothing but belittle and abuse you, has a huge
    impact on one’s self image. Both of my parents were mentally-ill
    addicts. My mother is a manipulative, cold, sociopath who delights in
    crushing people that she can’t control. She couldn’t manipulate me, so I
    became her scapegoat and bore the brunt of her abuse. She abused me
    physically and sexually as a small kid and then mentally and emotionally
    after that.

    My father was a drunken weakling who couldn’t find a willing woman to
    start a family with, so he went on a vacation back to the “old country”
    when he was 35, and screwed and married his 20 year old 2nd cousin (my
    mother), brought her back to the US, and got her a green card in the US.

    He was also very belittling of me and every little accomplishment I
    earned at school and in life. He was a weird guy who on one hand was
    very judgmental and moralistic, but on the other hand was kind of
    perverted, almost pedophilic, in violating normal father-daughter
    boundaries. When I heard he died recently, I felt nothing but numbness and relief.

    I wasn’t allowed to have friends or do much outside of the
    house. Neither of my parents had any empathy. I was deathly ill alot as a
    kid, but rarely went to the doctor, and never got any nurturing or care
    from either of them. I basically ran from their house when I was 18 and
    they stalked, threatened and harassed me for almost a year, just
    because I told them to go to hell and I left.

    It was a very bizarre childhood, and it scarred me until I was in my
    late 20s. As a teen I was unloved, withdrawn, suicidal, and miserable.
    At 28, I decided to hell with them. I decided they could drop dead and
    that would be fine with me. I changed my name, made sure they couldn’t
    find my address, or how to contact me. And I dropped off the face of
    their earth. It was easy to do really, they never offered me any
    emotional or financial support. So I wasn’t “losing” much.

    ….And that’s when I was able to take control of myself and my life.
    And things got so much better. I felt empowered and I was finally able
    to realize my potential to do something with myself. I still ABSOLUTELY
    “blame” them for what they did to me and for their selfishness and
    abuse. But I’ve realized that I deserve to succeed and have a good
    life, and I am responsible for that.

    Escaping from an abusive family (even if the abuse is limited to
    psychological/emotional) is alot like escaping a cult. People who
    haven’t been thought it, can’t understand it. And when I have tried to tell people, I become the bad guy…..either because they don’t believe me. OR, they do believe me but vilify me for opening my mouth and airing the family’s “dirty laundry”. Abused kids are supposed to shut up and “forgive” their abusers. That’s stupid. That’s like telling a rape victim that they should “forgive” their attacker and forget about it. Noone does that… why are abused children supposed to forgive parents who violate them physically, sexually, or emotionally.

  • James

    very much sympathize with your sufferings of friends and family being like, “How can you cut them off completely? They’ll always be your mom and dad. You owe them so much. You’re so spoiled, look at kids in Africa” and other bullshit red herrings. You’re right. You gave me a lot of hope when you said “Most adults aren’t strong enough to cut ties” and you’re right. It encouraged me. I had cut my mom off a couple months ago, when I brought up an issue between us and got it shoved down my throat, and then when I complained to a sibling and it got back to her my mom threatened a lawsuit against me. Two weeks later she tells me she loves me. The fuck ??? No one ever understands I tell this to. So I stopped telling them. I go to ACoA and it helps, a lot of them have been through similar shit, but with alcoholics. Like you, if my mom were an alcoholic I’d be able to sit in those meetings, enjoy hundreds of immediate friendships and a full unerstanding into the library of literature. But no one understands BPD and no one really wants to, because it’s so fucking insidious.

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