Hayden — Thank you so much for sharing your story. I appreciate hearing from those who have become estranged from their mothers, even if every one of them, to a person, has accused me (either outright or suggestively) of being toxic to my child.

I respect so much your position, but I would posit that every situation is different. The thing that affected my daughter the most was the family dynamic that resulted from an emotionally abusive father who ruled the entire family with anger and intimidation. While I tried to protect them all, I could barely keep my nose above water at times. In the end, I know that my daughter’s needs were not met — not her physical needs, which were always met — but her emotional needs. I am beginning to understand that she must not have ever felt safe and secure in our family, no matter how I tried to be there for her. I can see that she must see that as a betrayal and an abandonment. It has been hard for me to understand because her brother and sister went through the same hell, and they did not choose to walk away. But I know that all children are different, and she was the youngest.

I have done so much work to heal myself from 27 years of emotional abuse, in the years since I divorced her father, and I am more than willing to accept my part in my daughter’s decision. I would love the opportunity to hear from her what she needs from me and how I can make amends, but she has not spoken to me in 8 years. When she walked away it was with no warning and no explanation. Until she decides it is safe to approach me, I will be here waiting and praying. I am always hopeful. I will never give up.

I am sorry that your mother seems unable to make your relationship work. I can imagine that for you it is as hard as losing my daughter. I wish you the best. Thank you for responding.

Human learning to be human. Writing in hopes of getting there.

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