Was she Toxic?
I grew up in Calgary in Haysboro a block from Glenmore landing*. I have a brother who is five years older than me named Craig. I don’t have much else in the way of background…
You know, I did a google search, and based on that, I wouldn’t describe her as toxic in the way that articles describe the idea, well, mostly.
Except for the “demands to be your BFF”. Growing up I was her (my mother’s) confidant, for as long as I can remember. She was/is, overly dependent on me (boundaries are better set now than when I was a kid).
When I was a teenager my therapist had to work me through making it clear to her that SHE is the parent, and a child should be dependent on their parent, not the parent depending on the child.
A lot of growing up I was somewhat afraid of her moods, and would always ask “what mood is she in?” to myself. She could be a saint, or an angry demon. She would more often lash out at my father or brother, I was her favourite. But then, I would be expected to always be on her side in any conflict, and if she got mad at my father, she would take me to a restaurant with her (not my brother).
It’s hard because now that I am living with her again she seems to want me to never leave and she said she is going to leave the house to JUST me. (Note: I have a brother!).
She has said, when I try to get her to make new friends, “Why do I need to make friends when I have you?”. She always wants to plan for me to go on vacations with here, she gets tickets to events for me to go with her, without asking me, and I basically can’t say no.
I remember, growing up, I was afraid to tell her how I was feeling because she’d GET SO UPSET. Anything bad hat happened to me was devastating, like it happened to her.
You know, I was primarily raised not by my mother, but a nanny. My mother worked 6 or 7 days a week as a lawyer. But, as an adult, I worked for my mother for around five years (during university and summers) until she retired early for mental health reasons.
I moved back to my parents’ house two years ago after the end of a relationship. So even though I am 30 I am still with them everyday. I believe we get along well.
For the past year I was my father’s primary caregiver because he had an immune disorder, which is now under control (Rheumatoid arthritis, we discovered, eventually. Healthcare is slow).
When all is said and done, I think for the most part I have forgiven her for the past. She did the best she was able to. She wanted to be a mother and did what she felt was best, and I know that I am who I am today because of both my parents.
Yet, when all is said and done, I know that while some of my friends know about my mother, I don’t think people truly understand. I am lucky in that some of my closest friends also have parental issues, although in entirely different ways.
When Mother’s day comes around I’m lucky in that I don’t feel any special bond or need to do something for her. My brother often doesn’t do anything, so I end up planning something for her.
I hear about people having made families. But I feel like an outsider usually and always have my whole life. I never feel apart of social groups or friend groups, like i’m adjacent or an observer. Like I don’t belong in with anyone and never will.
I don’t have any good advice, other than just keep going. Like I said before, my mother did the best she could and that’s what I know.
*Editor’s note; this is a suburb in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.