I know of a family, a mother and a daughter, who have always had a toxic relationship. The mother was angry with the daughter for taking a liking to her father after they got divorced. She felt her daughter was not loyal since she hated her ex-husband.
When the daughter was 12, her mother made yet another trip to the family court to collect more money from the girl’s father.
Unlike today these were the days when welfare was paramount and a black man could deny a child in court and he would not have to pay child support JUST based on his word. Today, black men have spent so many years away from their biological children that many pay child support and don’t have contact with their children because of what they saw from their own fathers and grandfathers when it came to the system.
In many cases, back then, the mothers were forced to get on welfare which was a system that berated and owned black women and threw away black men for a check and did not allow the mother to have any signs of a man being in the house in exchange for the financial handout/reward.
The Black Man Defeated by Welfare
Since the Black man was rarely hired anyplace because of racism and discrimination and many were not able to take care of their children because of that, welfare, and living in subsidized housing was often the only option for black women. But the process, of course, helped to desecrate the black family.
In this situation, my friend’s father was willing to give support. Her father mentioned to the judge that he was paying so much for child support and being dragged into court so much that the daughter might as well come and live with him. He was saying that in jest not imagining this was possible.
The judge agreed and asked the 12-year-old girl, at the time, if she would like to live with her father. She immediately said yes. Her mother was devastated by her daughter’s choice but if you hear the daughter out, she accused her mother of being abusive to her for years previous to that and she didn’t feel safe in her mother’s house or under her care. Her mother on the other hand thought she deserved to be Mother-of-the-year.
They tried to have a relationship after that for several years but constantly fell out and would not speak for periods at a time. Then when the daughter, a grown woman now, decided to get a divorce from her husband, her mother went to court and took the husband’s side.
A Turn for the Worse: Toxic Mothers
The daughter, at this point, had great disdain for her mother to the point that she started having migraine headaches. She went to the hospital during one particularly harsh episode and ended up being admitted where she fell into a coma and spend a couple of years in the hospital.
To make matters worse, her mother feels that her daughter owes HER an apology. She feels she did nothing wrong. They have not spoken in almost 30 years and they live in the same town.
The daughter ended up cutting off the entire family once she got better in order to maintain her sanity and to make sure she never had any kind of contact with her mother or that she would run into her again.
If this woman told people she had not spoken to her mother in 30 years, the first thing they would do is judge her and look at her as if SHE is wrong. Not knowing the whole story.
Hypocritical Black Community Teachings
In the Black community, we are taught to honor thy mother and the Black church BOTH of which has not always been up to par. People also look at situations based on THEIR experiences, so if they had a great relationship with THEIR mother or father then they can’t imagine what YOUR problem is notwithstanding anything that may have occurred in the form of abuse or mistreatment.
Because of this, many of us tend to ignore our own needs and feelings and do what the community would do and keep going back for more and more pain.
Just because someone is a family member does not mean they are a friend or even not an enemy and we can’t even fathom that thought but it’s the truth. Be it your mother, father, sister, brother, cousin preacher whoever if they are not bringing joy into the room or in your life you have every right to make a decision to leave the room no matter how painful that may be.
We have to ask ourselves, would it be more painful to stay in the abusive cycle or end up dead yourself? If the choice is to walk away with your own sanity. Then there are times you do have to seriously consider leaving.
What are some of the signs of a toxic relationship with famly members?
- They won’t let you forget the past and only remember the things you did wrong
This is a way of holding you hostage and a way to control you and your feelings. Nobody can hurt you like family because they know all of the buttons to push to cripple your spirit and well-being
- They don’t respect your boundaries
You can tell them repeatedly how to treat you but they keep going back to the way THEY want to treat you, not honoring you or your wishes. If this was a friend you would cut them off in a minute.
- They continue to hurt you
You already have a dark past with them but they insist on bringing up the past or laughing at your pain or reminding you of the dark times in your life.
- They are narcissists
Everything is about them, their needs, and what THEY want. Your feelings mean nothing to them. They brag about all the things they do for others and only the good side of themselves and give no credence to the pain they have caused others.
- They mistreat you
They don’t respect you and mistreat you in front of other family members or other people. They are dishonest or lie to you or about you and constantly do things to hurt you.
There are some situations where the family member(s) has done you wrong but they RESPECT your boundaries and take responsibility for what they have done. In these cases, it’s easier to forgive and have a relationship with them but in other cases, the abuse may be on a continual basis.
In other cases, there may be a situation where certain family members just make you sick, and every time they call you get anxious and stressed out. There are certain relationships that are simply doomed.
If you make the decision to cut off family member(s) make sure you get a good therapist to get rid of all the weight that you have been carrying around for months, years or even a lifetime. Nothing is as valuable as your peace of mind and only you do have control over that.
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