I tried recently to go no contact and she sucked me back in. It was as if what she did to finally get me to go no contact never happened. I hate who I become when I have to talk to her or see her. It's like my whole body goes negative when I am forced to have a relationship with her. But she has almost no one so it is very hard for me to leave her when she is so alone. Probably because I know firsthand what it's like to feel so alone in this world. What should I do?


Going no contact with a parent is an extreme step and one I wouldn't recommend unless you're working with a therapist. My cousin went no contact with her mother but did so under the guidance of a counselor whom she'd been seeing for years. Even under those circumstances, though, it's been difficult for her. I often think that if she had continued to minimize contact she'd be better off today—less tortured and more empowered.

Many daughters of emotionally absent mothers (myself included) can relate to how you feel around your mom—hating who you become. I, too, often became a different person when I was with my mom, taking on her traits of being negative, badmouthing others, and spreading gossip. That pattern began when I was a kid and was hard to break. In the moment, it felt like my mom and I were bonding so I enjoyed it. Afterwards, though, I knew we really hadn't connected at all and I felt guilty for having sunk to her level.

Moving away from my mother and minimizing contact was the best thing I could have done for my well-being and the well-being of my family. I now speak to her once a week for 15 minutes and see her in-person a few times during the year. I've accepted that we'll never link up emotionally so the cycle of unrealistic expectations and inevitable disappointments has ended. Most significantly, I no longer have overwhelming stress like I once did when speaking with her.

Today, when I talk with her, I practice “compassionate listening.” I put my ego on the shelf and let her purge her thoughts and feelings. I set a timer for 15 minutes and, when that time is up, I say, “It's been great talking to you, Mom, but I need to go now.” I no longer try to change her, give her advice, or argue my points of view. It's given me a measure of peace and allows me to maintain a limited relationship with her.

I've written an article entitled, “How to Be a Better Friend With Compassionate Listening” that you may find helpful.


Updated on October 19, 2019

Original Article:

How an Emotionally Absent Mother Impacts a Daughter's Well-Being
By McKenna Meyers

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