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February 21, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Hard Knocks

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Did I do the right thing?

Question:

I am the adult survivor of severe sexual, physical and emotional abuse in childhood. The perpetrators were my whole family, including a brother, parents and maternal grandparents. I have been living overseas for over 8 years now and have cut off all contact with my mother, who is the only family member who has not yet died or simply disappeared. I couldn't handle talking to her on the phone any more and listening to her manipulation, immaturity and verbal abuse. The only way I could confront her with all this stuff was by letter as I seem to regress to the level of a 7-year-old when I talk to her. She eventually responded with a card but basically doesn't want to address any of it. I don't really want to either as I can only seem to survive on the other side of the world, well away from her negative influence. This isn't about punishing her it's about me being able to survive. I am in therapy which is going well and also taking Zoloft which helps a lot.

Did I do the right thing in cutting off contact with my mother? Do other people do the same thing and do they regret it later on? I so badly need someone to tell me I am not bad for doing this and that this was OK to do since it was for the sake of my survival. Of course, my own therapist will not "judge" what I did but I really need someone to tell me it was understandable and healthy.

Jabulane, 34 year old woman

Answer:

No, you are not bad for cutting off contact with your mother. If she has been unresponsive to you in dealing with these issues, then you had to do what was best for you and your healing. As you said, you are not punishing her. You are simply doing what is best for you and that is okay. Maybe someday your mother will be ready to deal with it; and at that time, you can make a new choice to rebuild your relationship and begin the process of forgiveness. But first, you need to complete your own healing. Best of luck to you in therapy and God Bless!

Tina Reed, MA, LPC

This question was answered by Tina Reed, MA, LPC. Tina is a licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois, and is also certified by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice.

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