Dear Dr. Laura,
Growing up, I longed for a good mother-daughter relationship, but it never happened. The reality still makes me sad, but no longer stupid. It took the death of my father who served as a buffer between my mother and me, and your words ringing in my ears, before I finally cut off my relationship with her about 3 years ago.
My mother is still alive (85) and I am glad she has my two brothers and their children to be her family. Even though I married my best friend and the best guy in the world (39 years ago) and gave birth to two fantastic kids (now 35 and 37), my mother continually tried to drive a wedge between my very close knit family. I felt torn between my love for my children and my "need" to have a mother who loved and respected me. In the end, my mother verbally attacked my husband and that incident finally gave me the strength to end the toxic relationship I had with her. Better late than never!
My children admitted to their dislike of her and no longer felt the "obligation" to continue their relationship with her just because she was their grandmother. Their memories of many of the mother/daughter incidents are much clearer than mine, as I tend to just move on as a coping method. So in the end, I know my mother is the one who is missing out. She also has a beautiful great-granddaughter (13) whom she chooses not to consider part of the family. Again, her loss.
Thanks to you, and my ability to listen to you almost every day, my life is so much richer and my kids and husband often point out that it took strength to make the decision to live my life "sans mom"! You continually endorse that decision and have given me a strength I was always capable of, but had trouble asserting.
Without distraction, I AM my husband's girlfriend and my kids' mom!