Short Story 3

The Toxic Relationship

I get it, I do, but I don’t think I can handle being around the woman who gave birth to me anymore.

I mean, yeah, I absolutely understand that she loves me unconditionally, and I her, but my God, it is creating so much anxiety in my life.

You see, the other day I came to a revelation. I found the one thing in the world that I absolutely love and want to spend the rest of my life doing. I was so excited, what with starting my lifelong dream and all, and went to her to tell her all about it.

I’m incredibly animated and obviously completely energised, telling her my plans, and she just turns around, looks at me blankly and responds, “Hmm, well it sounds like you’ve copied everything, maybe try something else. You wouldn’t be that great at it.” She shakes her head at me, “I don’t think you’ll ever get anywhere with that. You’ll just end up living with me until you’re forty. I swear honey, you won’t be able to make it in the world without me.”

Um, thanks for your vote of confidence. I guess you’re completely right considering you have zero experience in this field of work, but cool, go right ahead, tear my dreams down.

I feel like that was a turning point for me, because I started thinking about people who have boyfriends, or friends, who put so much negativity in their lives. And here is my mother, not even constructively criticising me, but purposefully picking apart everything I did and loved.

So, I took a few deep breaths and tried to let go of everything she had just said for the millionth time.

I was on my laptop when I came across this random list on the internet. It explained some undeniable signs that you are in a bad relationship. Sure it was geared at romantic relationships, but I swear, every single thing was something that my mother does consistently and without remorse.

The first was the example of abuse. I mean it’s never been anything as dramatic as physical abuse. But the psychological torment of disagreeing with everything I say, and making me feel inferior for any independent task I do, is just getting ridiculous. I mean it’s not even like I’m a teenager – I’m 21 years old. Just because it doesn’t follow her motives and opinions, does not, under any circumstances, mean that belittlement is the answer.

The second is that my mother always expects far more than she gives in return. Yes, I know, parents have the right to ask you to do something and you do it without question. But when it comes to the relationships you hold with others, or the personal things you do…well, there has to be a line, right? She had the nerve to say to me, that I shouldn’t hang out with someone – who she didn’t know by the way – because my friend voted for a different politician than her. I mean, no matter who you’re voting for, you’re voting a politician…they all lie at the end of the day. I think it’s perfectly fine to have your own opinion, and sure, if that person then turns around and stabs me in the back, so be it. It was my mistake to make, no one else’s.

Number three, my mother seems to have the impression that I should never do anything wrong! Not that I’m a particularly bad person or anything, but anything I do that doesn’t suit her means that it’s a mistake. I mean, she goes far enough to put blame on me for things that she herself has done wrong. People judge me for things she has done. The unreasonable expectations are a bit too much to deal with right now.

The fourth sign, and probably one of the more hurtful notions, is that she doesn’t respect or trust me, or what I want to do as a career. And that is not okay. In spite of this, she is still incredibly dependent and thinks that she is the one and only thing I should be thinking about 24 hours a day. Seriously? I have other commitments that don’t involve you.

Number five, she absolutely, under no circumstances whatsoever, can make mistakes. When it comes to conflict, that is 90% of the time caused by her, she cannot see her role in the mess. I’m mean if I’ve done something wrong, I will own up to it and try and fix it. For her that isn’t an option and she just cut ties with whomever she’s wronged, while trying to justify her actions by pointing blame at others.

But the final point that hits home the most, is that I’m not myself when I’m around her, because I am constantly watching how act and what I say around her. Lest I be scalding for my own personality and being. It must be a funny thing to watch for people who know us both, and also know us separately. When I’m around her I become introverted and shy, I can’t express how I truly feel without getting condemnation.

So what has all of this taught me? Well, it’s taught me that I cannot absorb other people’s problems. I am my own person, and I am an amazing person at that. I can achieve everything I set out to do, and I will.

In a way I do thank her for all she has put me through, because now I know without a doubt who I am…and I am not her.

I am rising from all of my negative experiences with new insight and new understanding of other people. I have empathy, and won’t judge people so readily because who knows what’s behind closed doors.

I will be independent. I will live my own life. Period. No ‘ifs’ and ‘ums’ about it. My life is my own, and I will live it my way.

By Naomi Eleanor

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