This is a tough conversation to have. Mothers are special people. They give you the gift of life, They teach you so much growing up and do it to the best of their knowledge. But so many of them, especially in the black and Latino community are toxic. they don’t give you a voice, are always demeaning you, never apologize ” are not your friend”. They embarrass you on a daily basis, make lies about you to their friends the list goes on.
My mother and I have our own toxic relationship that in my adulthood is starting to change. However, I do know that this isn’t always the same case for everyone. I know that not everyone can reconcile with their mothers and some mothers haven’t changed. This is why this is a tough conversation. Because above all else, these are our mothers. for many of us, they are the one person we’d run into a wall for. That doesn’t take away from the fact that their methods of treating us as people are pisspoor at times.
For me specifically. My mother was hard on me. Being her firstborn and the “gifted child” I received a lot of harsh treatment. When I was doing good It was great, I received praise and all that. however, when I screwed up, there was hell to pay. I remember my mother throwing a drink on me one time because I was failing English class. Ironic isn’t it, At one point I was failing English, however now I’m a wordsmith. It’s insane how life is.
I remember my mother trying to fight me and then hysterically going into a rage when I tried to shrug her off me because she was wrong for attacking me. She tried to kick me out, I ended up taking a drive with my stepfather talking about respect on both sides. It was a mess. My Mother and I have been through tough times. She’s broken me many times throughout my life. To this day I’m attempting to shred the trauma she put me through so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes onto my own kids. I may not respect the methods my mother tried on me, but I do understand she did what she could and what she knew. Regardless of how terrible she could be. I remember the day after she tried to kick me out she brought me a ton of Gatorade as an apology.
I believe that that is a fault on toxic moms, learning to apologize. Knowing that they are wrong and acknowledging they’re wrong to their children. I don’t know what it is with mothers and not apologizing to their kids. But in recent years I witnessed my mother apologize to my younger brother for how she treated him in a recent incident. I was happy for her and shocked in the same breath. I never saw that for me, and that’s all I wanted growing up. I never received that, not once. Fortunately, my mother and I have a respectable relationship where I can call her out on her faults, I believe that evens it out.
For me, I understand my mother’s toxicity, and I acknowledge it. As an adult now I don’t allow the same treatment but I also address my mother with respect, as I have to give it to receive it, even if my mother didn’t give me the same gratitude growing up. It is a work in progress, but its working.
Understanding this isn’t for everyone. I have friends that have trouble even speaking to their mothers. I know people who’s mothers have disowned them and ruined their collegiate experiences. One person’s mother had gotten so petty that they refused to continue funding their college tuition, forcing them to have to move back home.
Some parents left their children stranded in college by moving to another state. I believe that it is almost second nature to have to be a child of color growing up, and experience a toxic parent. Most commonly a toxic mother. There are people who have told me their mothers have kicked them out when they had nothing. I know of a few women who have experienced their mothers calling out of their names and belittling them like they were someone on the street. This type of experience can break anyone apart. To hear from the very person that designed your first relationship names that people who don’t even know you would say to you is almost inhumane. being a black and brown youth, being stripped of your humanity can come straight from the house. Forget the police, or kids at school. Our own mothers can tell us we’ll never amount to nothing for simply stealing a candy bar from the store.
It’s amazing the environments we’ve been raised in. The treatment by our mothers can mold and shape us into the people we are. For me, I developed severe anxiety and a serious inferiority complex believing that nothing I ever did was enough. I developed a perfectionist mentality that left me up-tight and trying to control everything. Let me say this though, there were other factors that shaped me but my mother’s influence on me held a strong significance to who I am.
Understand that you don’t have to put up with your mothers. Regardless of them giving you everything you don’t necessarily owe them everything. Especially toxic parents. However, If I must emphasize anything it is to empathize with them. Even if they don’t with you. Empathize and realize they just wish the best for you and raised you the best possible way they knew. The type of love they knew was hard because they only wished to see you live better lives than they did. It is no excuse, but it is a reason, and I strongly believe that once we recognize that we can learn to deconstruct the toxic environments our mothers have created.
Lastly, I want to thank my mother, She did the best she could, I have to handle the rest, And I believe I’m doing a good job. We only have one mother, It is okay to distance yourself from her toxic parts, but we must learn to navigate to the best as well.