The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo.
I can’t help feeling wary when I hear a mother talking about their estranged child. I can’t help wondering what’s not being said: the child’s experience that is being erased; the role of the parent that is being overlooked.
I’m talking about adult children, and it’s the mother-daughter relationship that has particular resonance for me.
I know that there are women who have lost contact with their adult children who are not like my mother. Sometimes loving relationships fall apart under the strain of complex family dynamics.
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There are women who have turned themselves inside out trying to work out where things went wrong and what they can do to make it right. Some engage in serious self-reflection to try to understand what their child has experienced and their role in it.
But there’s a particular narrative of the estranged child that puts the mother at the centre as the wronged party and situates the child as the one who has wronged them.
The child has estranged herself. If there’s any self-reflection about why the child cut off contact, it’s distorted to minimise responsibility. The need to control the narrative just continues the lack of validation that drove the child’s decision.
This is what led to my decision.
Just before Christmas, I made the choice to cut off contact with my mother. Actually, it was a choice that made itself. There was an inevitability to it that left me with no other option. My mental health and wellbeing were at stake.
My mother had tried to provoke an argument with me about nothing in particular. It’s something she does when I’m in her house in an attempt to assert some kind of displaced authority.