real life

'It's been a year since I cut off my narcissistic mum. I wish I'd done it sooner.'

This September marks one year since I cut my parents from my life. No calls, no visits, no nothing.

I’ve gone to Europe, dyed my hair five times, got new piercings, rid my body of the tattoos that branded me with ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’, and seen my best friends instead of them.

It’s the sort of gleeful freedom you’d hear from a newly minted adult, someone recently turned 18 and feeling the wind beneath their wings for the first time.

But I’m not 18. I am in fact well into my 40s. And one year ago, after a lifetime of being verbally abused and gaslit by my mother, I finally cut her and my dad - who doubled down on the coercive control - off.

I took the leap after another unwanted drama from my mother ruined my son’s birthday. That day, I cut ties for good.

Watch Jordan Turpin's 911 call for his abusive parents. Post continues after the video.

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I had no idea what life without my parents, however abusive they were, would look like. And despite how it sounds, it wasn’t a decision I made overnight. It took 12 years of therapy to get to the root of my anxiety and unhappiness: my mother.

I set out thinking cutting her and my father off would be a change that happened in isolation to everything else in my life.


The opposite turned out to be true.

Making this decision in the first place took years as I tried everything else to cope with my mother’s critical, controlling, and manipulative behaviour.

It was only in the last two years I learned my mother very likely has narcissistic personality disorder - meaning she lacks empathy, is inherently selfish, manipulative and incapable of loving me, her only child, unconditionally.

It’s taken me more than a decade to fully untangle the threads of not only my mother’s behaviour, but understand my father’s complicity in my lifelong abuse.

And once I did, there was no other way through this. Going no contact was the only route to peace and finally living a quiet, secure, happy life.

It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made and I worried about many things before pulling the proverbial trigger.

I worried I’d be judged and lose other relatives (I did), harassed by my parents (that happened), and receive condemnation from friends, loved ones and society at large (my loved ones have largely pleasantly surprised me).

I also knew I would have to explain to my three children why they could no longer see their grandparents. I admit I avoided those conversations, desperate to protect my children from adult issues, but once they grew frustrated and needed to understand the ‘why’, I told them the truth.


They were beautifully empathic, understanding immediately how unfair and unkind my parents had been to me. My seven year old understood things my parents never could.

Before cutting my parents off, I dreamt doing it would bring me relief. And once I made the decision to cut ties, it was like the thick rope binding me to my parents was severed forever. No thread of regret or doubt clung on.

I took the leap after another unwanted drama from my mother ruined my son’s birthday. That day, I cut ties for good.

I enjoyed the first birthday ever doing what I wanted without drama, I dyed my hair for the first time in my life and my mother wasn’t there telling me I looked like a cheap whore. I paid hundreds to have my tattoos, which felt like a brand by my abusers, removed. I’ve got new piercings, worn the clothes I want and found my style. I stopped dreading beach holidays that were demanded of me by my mother and taken city trips with my husband and family instead, exploring new places with joy instead of worry and fear.

My phone no longer invokes anxiety because of the many calls and abusive texts and voicenotes sent by my mum and dad whenever they didn’t get their way. It’s been lovely not having a torrent of unreasonable demands - and nasty name calling - pushed onto me daily.

In honesty, the last year has felt as if my life has finally begun because before it, the autonomy afforded to most adults wasn’t permitted in my life, blocked by my mother and enforced by my father.


Alongside those changes came a shift within my other relationships. My therapist told me when you begin setting healthy boundaries, it’s like pushing a boulder down the hill. Hard at first, then easier and faster and then unstoppable. She was so right.

Since cutting off my parents I have naturally set new healthier boundaries with others in my life including friends, in-laws relatives, even my husband. It’s been about learning I can say ‘no’, in essence.

It’s been interesting to see who has reacted badly to boundaries. They’re usually the people who need the boundaries the most. And instead of catastrophising, I’ve allowed the new dynamics to simply unfold.

I don’t have to go to family parties when my health conditions flare up, or owe anyone my weekends, birthdays or holidays. I don’t have to do all the cooking and cleaning at home or subject my children to manipulation by adults just because they have the title ‘grandma’ or ‘grandpa’.

It’s made me see I didn’t have boundaries before and was an eternal people pleaser - one of the warning signs you might have a narc parent.

The change in my peripheral relationships wasn’t so much a deliberate choice, but an inevitable natural evolution of my life, and I am super grateful for it.

I’m no longer willing to do all the domestic labour at home, put energy into ‘friends’ who are not invested in our friendship, or allow unreliable people or those who bring drama deep into my life. I also know whilst I am not responsible for other people’s happiness, I am entirely responsible for my own.


The loneliness I felt at the beginning made me feel hollow for a while. Then I realised my nervous system needed time to adjust to the lack of pressure and abuse actually, life was good without them. Most importantly, I learned to trust my instincts and decisions, bringing me a new confidence in who I really was.

And what I found in my relationships was that I had a choice whether I helped, supported or stepped back. I had a choice whether I got involved in other peoples dramas and it wasn’t up to me to fix other people and their problems. I also didn’t get sucked in by the emotional vampires in my network anymore.

Of course, when you love people you do what you can to be a good support. And now I am not chasing my tail trying and failing to make my mother happy, I actually have the time to invest in others around me. It’s strengthened my friendships and other relationships.

Drawing firm boundaries has proven to be like a protective circle of salt, warding off bullshit, and letting in all the good people.

Removing my parents from my life also enabled me to finally get to grips with who I really am. Until I cut them off, I still bought the same groceries I grew up eating because it was so ingrained in me that I wasn’t allowed to make my own choices. I cooked the same meals the way my mother had, even when I didn’t like them or craved change.

Finding and trusting myself has stopped me feeling guilty about everything all of the time.


This awareness has made it very easy to spot manipulation and people who use others (or me), stopped me from wasting energy on things and people who don’t deserve it or behave in an unstable, unpredictable or volatile way.

The flip side - a good one - is I feel more responsibility for maintaining the relationships that matter. I can also look at past relationships or friendships that petered out (or imploded) and see what my part in that downfall was.

I am an imperfect human and taking responsibility for the parts that have been my fault is a good way to grow, be fair to people around me and hopefully means I won’t make the same mistakes again.

Cutting off my parents has stripped away the red mist moments of anger that made me feel like a terrible person, and stopped me dissociating in moments of frustration. In turns that’s making me a better parent, wife and friend.

It’s not to say the difficult moments of the last year haven’t sucked hard. I no longer have access to photos of my childhood, teen years and young adulthood and that’s a bitter pill to swallow. When my children ask me what I looked like at their age, I have no way to show them.

Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day passed quietly and with joy, rather than dread.

Many of my maternal relatives have revealed their own narcissistic traits now I won’t bow down to family pressure and be the pleasant ‘yes’ girl. I have distanced myself from them, refusing to give them information about my life to feed back to my mother - and god knows many have come out of the woodwork in an attempt to extract information for my mother from me. It’s been satisfying blocking those attempts.


I have also felt grief for my father and the years of my life I lost to his part in the coercive control and gaslighting. It’s been a tough pill to swallow, understating he was not a victim too, but an active participant in my abuse. It’s a sad feeling learning the two people who should have protected me the most, have caused the most harm and been unable to love their child unconditionally.

But now a year on, leaving them behind, however unnatural it might sound, has been the biggest gift I could have given my family and myself. I don’t miss my mother and father. I don’t feel angry anymore.

I feel a bit like Ironman, when he presses that button and the armour materialises around him. I see the dangers coming now and am equipped to protect myself and my family.

A year after cutting off my parents, I have no regrets. If anything, I wish I’d done this earlier.

If you are on the precipice, ready to pull go no contact, but feel fearful of what life will look like after, let me tell you the answer. Life can be peaceful, guilt-free and most of all, you can be truly free.

Feature Image: Canva.

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