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Reddit User Asks If They're a 'Terrible Person' for Imagining a Toxic Parent Being Gone

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To the Reddit user who asked if it was OK to know you’ll be relieved when your mom is gone;

You asked if you were a terrible person and that resonated with me because I find myself asking the same thing. The person I fear most in this world is the woman who birthed me and I know the only way I will stop being this on guard and anxious is when she no longer exists. And that’s not to say I would ever wish her cycle was expedited or that I wish she suffers in the ways I did when I was young. I know I should. I also know I shouldn’t. However, knowing that I will finally be at ease in a world she isn’t in has made me question if I’m a good person or not.

Am I a terrible person? My mom gives me so much anxiety and I feel like that anxiety will only be gone, once she’s gone. from r/mentalhealth

I’m the kind of person who actively seeks silver linings. No one is inherently bad in my eyes. I see this time and time again as I allow people who don’t have my best interest back into my life after pain and sorrow. I refuse to believe anyone is bad… including her. At least, I used to, back when I was dry swallowing love and light down my esophagus in the hope that I wouldn’t have to feel so guilty for the abuse she inflicted on me. That’s why despite her losing custody of me (earning me a closed adoption) I reached out to her after I turned 18. She deserved her chance at redemption for all the anger and resentment I felt towards her my entire life. I also was aware that I didn’t make the right choices in a lot of ways. I felt like a failure in life; at the time I reached out for contact I had flunked out of college and got myself tangled in a toxic relationship with my FP (favorite person). My adoptive family was supportive but I didn’t seek comfort from them. I was too ashamed of how far gone my mental illness had left me, so I didn’t reach out for support.

At this point, you should know that I am diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and c-PTSD (PTSD resulting from multiple events rather than a singular one). My traumas and triggers are entirely related to the neglect and abuse my birth mother and her then-husband inflicted on me after regaining custody of me for only a year. I deeply fear abandonment, I seek validation from maternal figures in my community and family to the point that their validation outweighs my own opinions of myself. I live with psychosis and severe dissociation. I attach to people; the worst addiction I’ve ever had was never to a drug but to a person.

Knowing this, you should know that during the time of reaching out to my birth mother, I wasn’t self-aware to even acknowledge the clear signs of debilitating mental illness or symptoms. I was just craving that validation, someone to fill the hole in my life. I knew it could never be her…but I figured she deserved the chance.

We continued a relationship for almost a decade after the initial Facebook message I sent to reconnect. We shared memes, talked on the phone, texted. I could tell she was really happy, elated. I could tell that me being in her life was making it better and improving her vision of self. I knew she was healing.

But I wasn’t.

Every word she said made me cringe and resent her more. When she’d compare how alike we were my skin would crawl and I would sink deeper into self-hatred. When she would remind me she loves me it was obligation, not truth, that gave my reply. Every time I saw her picture ping up on my phone for an incoming message my thoughts would race and I would wish she would just be gone.

The years passed. I left my addictive and unhealthy relationship behind, I moved states, I got married and raised a family. I started a career, despite the lack of college credentials, and in small waves started finding glimmers of success. Still, nothing felt right, as long as she was able to contact me. I told myself I was being cruel for not loving her in the ways she loved me. Every flashback I found myself frozen in of her inflicting intentional pain on my four-year-old inner child I dismissed. I gave her my time, my energy, my space. I sacrificed it all.

I started EMDR therapy last year; it was unsuccessful and the therapist wasn’t the right match. But I knew after my first session that there was no way I could cope with her abuse or the anxieties she gave me if I was still trying to please her and walk on eggshells around her. Her sanity had become my responsibility. Every time I had thought about cutting contact I knew she would threaten suicide or self-harm and I felt I couldn’t handle it if she hurt herself; not because I wanted her alive, but because no one deserves to feel pain like that (as a suicide attempt survivor myself that was how I felt). I don’t know what came over me but I knew my limits and recognized I had enough. I went home from therapy and blocked her everywhere.

It’s been a year since. I sometimes get calls from Rent-A-Center because she used my name as a point of contact and stole from them… but that’s about the extent I think of her. My life is drastically better without the constant festering anxiety that she could show up on my social media pages. However, I still live in fear she is still stalking me, telling others that I’ve been “brainwashed” and trying to convince people to help me rewrite the actual history. I cannot rest knowing she’s out there, not completely, not peacefully.

You asked Reddit if you’re a terrible person and I truly don’t believe you are. I know why you asked but I still don’t believe you are. It is natural to think in all or nothing ways, especially when there are anxieties that are fresh. Realistically, someday she will be gone and I hope that you feel resolve and solution at this. Until then, be the provider that the inner child within you needs. Give you what they should have given to you. And I hope by doing this you find a little peace; I know I’m starting to.

Originally published: June 22, 2020
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