Mental Health

Has it Really been 10 Years?

Happy little chappy F @ 14mI took the littlees to the play park the other day, and we bumped into a pre-school friend of C’s. They immediately wanted to follow each other around which meant that I ended up having a good old natter with the mum; a lovely lady whom I’d not met before. When it was time to leave (together, of course, to avert a meltdown) we swapped numbers to organise future meets. In the final seconds before parting company she told me her name. Which is also her name. My mother.

As the mum walked away I stood rooted to the spot for several seconds, with little shivers running down my spine, thinking ‘has it really been 10 years’? The answer of course is yes, it really has. Almost a decade to the day (I remember it was some time in April, but cannot remember the actual date) since I last spoke to her. A few months longer since I last saw her face. My mother. The woman who carried me inside her body for nine months, then endured a horrendous 27-hour labour getting me out (I was regaled with the horror of this from a very young age). The woman who cared for me as best she could for the fifteen years that I lived under her roof.

For those not in the know, I am estranged from my entire family, apart from my biological father but that’s another story in itself. When people discover this their first reaction is usually shock. Cutting ties with your flesh and blood is a pretty drastic thing to do after all, but once I give them a bit of background it makes much more sense.

When you reach the point in any relationship, as I did, where you have no respect for the other person, then it’s time to reassess whether you want them in your life long term. I speak about why I did what I did in detail in my book Become the Best You, about how toxic our relationship ended up being and how it was draining the life out of me and holding me back in so many ways. What eventually lead to my mother and I parting company for good might seem insignificant to some, but for me it was the straw that broke the donkey’s back. After years of playing the role of parent to her, rather than her to me, I knew in my heart that we had come to the end of the road.

I’m a human being though, not a robot, and the thought that it had been an entire decade since I last saw her left me feeling rather blue. Never one to let the black clouds win for too long, I did what I always do to cheer myself up – some cathartic writing. In my journey to liking myself I detail the main things I did to turn my life around after hitting rock bottom the year after I cut ties with my mother. It’s good to remind myself of this every now and then, and feel proud of all the hard work I put in to becoming a better person.

That is far from where the story ends though my dear readers. Life is a constant journey, and I am learning each and every day. The knowledge I’m gaining at the moment is mostly about becoming the best parent I can possibly be. I’m not aiming for perfection mind you, that’s a complete fallacy if you ask me. It’s about rising above the meltdowns, raising my kids in a calm and loving environment and ensuring they have a much better start than the one I was given. It’s not always easy, far from it, but I’m up for the challenge.

There might just be book number two lurking in the midst of all of this. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Full time wife and mummy to three, home educator, blogger, wannabee chef and published author. Follow me on my journey through life...

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  1. It’s not something we rejoice in is it. I would much rather have a loving Mother in my life than not, but sadly the Mother I got was chaotic, destructive and manic. It’s got to be 16 years since I’ve seen mine, and I know exactly what you’re getting at here hun. We are only human. Thanks for linking up with #myfavouritepost

  2. The strength in you is evident. Hope you are penning that book as I type. Gogogogo! X

  3. Thanks for dropping by. I cannot imagine it either – which is why I’ve gone to such great lengths to break the cycle of dysfunction, and give my own kids the very best start to life that I possibly can. You can learn more about my journey here

  4. Thanks for your kind words Jenny, it’s certainly been a long and interesting journey! Book number two would be amazing, but I’m struggling to find the time to write it… it’s a common theme 😉

  5. That must have been a very tough decision but we can’t choose are family and if its toxic it shouldn’t matter who it is you put yourself and family first to have a healthy happy life. YOu are so strong and brave for it. Book two whoop whoop that would be great. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme (your other post says page not found hunny fyi).

  6. I can’t imagine my daughter not speaking to me for 10 years. She’s only 5 but I hope we never grow a part like that. I suppose everything happens for a reason. If you hadn’t broken away from your mother, then you wouldn’t be the person you are now 🙂

  7. I cannot begin to imagine what a hard decision that must have been for you and I did try when I read your book and I have tried to again. I must confess, it is easy for me to feel angry at people who choose to have no contact with their mums but this served as a reminder that not all relationships are healthy ones, including those with our parents and that it is in our best interests to cut ties with toxic people, after all you wouldn’t expect someone to stay friends with someone who was toxic, no matter how long they had known them. Xx

  8. Thanks so much Nikki, what a lovely thing to say 🙂

  9. It’s so important to value ourselves, but I think a lack of self-respect is almost always at the heart of negative and self-destructive behaviour. Certainly was for me in my teens and early twenties… it’s good to be out the other side on that one, and be able to focus on the here and now.

  10. It is important to value ourselves. I say this so often to my clients. In valuing ourselves we sometimes need to distance ourselves from people who don’t value us back or keep us stuck in a particular place. That was a tough choice to make and I can see why the ten year anniversary caused you pain. It is great to hear that you are constantly learning and moving forward. that is what life is about. #sharewithme

  11. You’re right, you are a human being and not a robot and its occasions like these that really bring that home. I admire your positivity, Renee. People like you are a rare breed. Stay strong.

  12. It really is much more common that you would think, so sad when you think about it really x

  13. Thanks so much Emma. For sure it was the toughest decision I’d ever had to make, but definitely for the greater good. Ten years on I have never once regretted my decision.

  14. Thanks so much Cathie, your comments are always so kind and thoughtful xx

  15. Wow! Sometimes we have to do what is best for our emotional wellbeing. I have recently had to cut of and distance myself from a family member and it is certainly the best decision in the circumstances. It’s good to see i’m not the only one is this situation. Thank you for sharing! Angela xx

    Angela recently posted “Thinking Positive”

  16. The Mother says – With every post of yours that I read, I realise just how brave you actually were in making this decision. I can only comprehend how difficult a decision that must have been. I do so admire you xx #sharewithme

  17. Good for you for moving on and aiming for what you want out of life. I can’t even contemplate having to either be in that situation or needing to make that decision.


  18. So glad you talk about this! It happens more than people think and sadly a there are a lot of people that still need to find the strength to do it. x

  19. Thanks so much lovely. You’re completely right of course, we’re never done processing!

  20. You’re a strong, brave, wonderful lady Reneé.
    I can understand you being totally taken aback there in the park! We’re never done with things to process are we! No matter how ‘done’ we might have thought we were, there’s always another angle <3

  21. Thanks so much Sarah, order has now been restored xx

  22. Really was strange Carol, but luckily a spot of writing really helped 🙂

  23. Thanks so much Maddy, for all your kind words and support. I’m so desperate to start working on book number two… Maybe on holiday later this month xx

  24. Thanks so much Sam, it’s been a journey that’s for sure. Ultimately though, I think it’s just made me absolutely determined to be a much better mum than the ones I grew up around xx

  25. Thanks so much, hugs always appreciated. Parenting the parent is so draining, I just couldn’t do it anymore…

  26. Sorry to hear that you aren’t very close to your family Emily. It’s surprising how many people aren’t, seems to be really common these days. Hugs xx

  27. I can’t imagine what that would feel like. I can go a few months without speaking to either of my parents and that’s kind of how our relationship is. So we’re not close like some people I know. But ten years! I wonder how your mother views it? There’s definitely a second book there. Fact or fiction based on fact! x

  28. Just wanted to say that I have experience of parenting a parent too, and all I can say is that it is very, very hard, and not at all a conducive situation for growing and nurturing yourself. Sounds like you’ve been through challenging times, and I’m so glad that you’re in a much better place now. Sending you gentle hugs.

  29. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be parenting on such a negative role model and start in life, nor how it must feel to make that decision to cut the ties but I applaud you for having the strength to do it and to use the experience to make you a better parent yourself. Hugs X #thetruthabout

  30. I never fail to be impressed by your strength Reneé. To overcome a past like yours and provide such a stable and loving home for your kids is an amazing achievement. I think there’s another book in there too! Glad writing helped you this week. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xxx

  31. I’m sure it must be a very odd sensation to suddenly be taken back to that time Renee. But what better way to overcome those emotions (or at least deal with them) than writing #whatimwriting

  32. Wow that must have been a massive, brave, well thought out decision to cut ties with your mum. However you are a mum too and like say you can’t parent your mum and get dragged down yourself in the process. I hope you feel ok now after the realisation of it being 10 years xxx #thetruthabout

  33. I think once you become a parent yourself, you realise that their welfare as to come above the relationship with your own parent. You obviously did plenty of soul-searching before making this decision but cannot imagine how hard it must be to live with 🙁 x

  34. It’s not always easy to turn these experiences into positives, but I think you do a great job of turning them around. I think those are the hardest moments, when something creeps up on you and you aren’t prepared for it at all. You’re doing a fab job xx

  35. Thanks so much for your kind thoughtful comment Caroline. It was certainly a shock, but fortunately I got over it pretty fast. Still can’t believe it’s actually been ten years though xx

  36. Ah hon i can understand why that was asuch a shock, it must have brought it all crashing back to you. It is an incredibly brave thing to do, to cut someone out of your life when the relationship is toxic… and incredibly hard. For that someone to be your Mother must make it a zillion times harder and like you say you’re not a robot so inevitably it is going to come back at times. But you have come so far honey and should be immensely proud of yourself for turning your life around. Hugs! xx

  37. Really was a jolt Denise. You’re completely right of course, cutting ties from family often leads to becoming a different person. Although it’s nowhere near ideal, I’m pleased you’ve accepted your folks and are in a happier place about them 🙂

  38. Thanks for dropping by Rachel. It was tough at first but ultimately for the greater good. Ten years just seems like an awfully long time doesn’t it!

  39. Thanks so much Tim, that means a lot!

  40. So true, the tiniest reminder of something from our past can jolt us right back there. Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often these days xx

  41. It sure is hard Jenni, but ultimately if they are making you more miserable than happy you probably need to re-revaluate things. You might find my book useful hon, I’ll DM you about it

  42. I know at least five people who come from lovely family backgrounds, but their father walked away from his own family somewhere in the equation. I cut my toes four years before starting a family, but deep down even then one of the reasons is because I knew I didn’t want my kids around them. Sounds awful but it all boils down to self-preservation.

  43. It really is those little moments that can jolt us right back to another place… Writing always helps me process emotions, it always has when I think about it properly xx

  44. Thanks so much for your kind, thoughtful words Maria. Once we have truly made peace with these things, they definitely make us stronger overall… But every now and then it’s natural to have a little wobble.

  45. Thanks so much Ting, it was a real shock but thankfully didn’t keep me down too long xx

  46. It’s sometimes these small things that can trigger something inside of past memories and locked feelings. I know how hard it’s been for you, but you’re such a strong woman now, and you’ve come out through all the crap you had to go through. It must be so tough though and sad… but you are allowed to be. And you’re always looking to the future. xx

  47. Knowing a bit a about your family situation makes you that much stronger in my eyes. I’m estranged from my father (my choice, not his) and I completely understand how you feel. Life is short enough, and time is fleeting as it is. Toxic relationships and negative energy shouldn’t even be take a sliver of our life and time. And thought it’s painful to endure, it’s the right choice for us (our children, and our family) in the long run. Thank you for such an honest and beautiful piece.

  48. It is often the little moments that bring things back like this – I can completely understand that even though cutting all ties with your mother was the right thing for you to do, how the thought that it has been a decade since you last spoke to her made you feel blue. So glad that a bit of cathartic writing helped move those dark clouds on again and you should definitely be proud of how far you have come on your journey x

  49. I think you do what you have to to protect yourself and your family and you get on with it, like you clearly have. My dad did the same with his family for a range of reasons. #sharethejoy

  50. My husband cut contact with most of his biological family (his father and his siblings) and has only limited contact with his mother. It was a hard decision for him to make but once made and stuck to it has proved to truly be the best decision, once the guilt fades the relief is incredible. I know first hand how it is a difficult and brave thing to do. I wish I had the courage to make a similar tough decision regarding my own father but that’s another story. Who knows one day I may find the strength.

  51. It’s strange how our minds bring memories back at sometimes the most inconvenient of times isn’t it? It sounds though after the initial shock you coped well and used the tools you’ve learnt to help you through. Anniversaries can be tough, but they also serve as a reminder of just how far you’ve come, and how strong and determined you are to be the best you. Thanks for linking with #sharethejoy and good luck unravelling book number two x

  52. It’s funny, so often out of something so negative and traumatic comes the determination to do the right thing by our own children. That comes across in everything you say and do, Renee. Ultimately, it’s an experience that makes you a better parent, I think.

  53. Goodness a whole decade apart from your family. I’m new to your blog so will have to find out more. You must have been through some tough times. I Really enjoyed your other post linked to #sundaysstars (linked just ahead of mine) but since I’d already commented I thought I’d comment here instead.

  54. What a jolt that must have been.
    I think it’s almost like we reinvent ourselves when we cut ties with our parents. As you know, I get on OK with my parents, but I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will never get any emotional closeness or support from them, and that it would have to stop mattering to me what they thought. It is almost like looking into an alien world when I hear about people who miss their parents and value the wisdom and support they have to give.
    I guess too most of the time you don’t dwell on it, but it only takes a reminder like that to step back and reflect on how far you have come.

  55. This happened four years before having my eldest, but you’re right. There’s no place for that level of drama and negativity in my life 🙂

  56. This happened four years before having my eldest, but you’re right. There’s no place for drama and negativity once kids come along!

  57. Once you have children of your own you have to do whats best for them and yourself. negative influences have no place there

  58. Thanks so much, I’m trying my best 🙂 xx

  59. Ah so sad yet it is just not healthy to have someone in your life that is no good for you. I bet you have be such an amazing Mum as you will have learnt so much from your own Mothers mistakes x

  60. Thanks for dropping by. It certainly feels that way now, but it took me a few years to come to terms with the loss xx

  61. Oh lovely, what a raw post. In some ways I guess it would have been a relief to finally decide and cut contact. #sundaystars

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