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I am writing this down so I can remember it later. So I don’t forget. So I can regain this position of equilibrium if I lose it.

It is just over a year since I last engaged with my mother. It was Mother’s Day. In the year since then, I have had weekly counselling sessions to come to terms with my need to not have my mother in my life.

I think I have now done that.

My mother was not emotionally or psychologically equipped for motherhood. I don’t know whether this was because of her own upbringing, or her own brain chemistry. It doesn’t really matter: whatever it was, it wasn’t her fault.

It was also not her fault that she didn’t know she wasn’t equipped for motherhood. Who would tell her? How would she know, at 19, newly married, that she wasn’t going to be good at this? Or maybe she did know, but thought she’d manage. Regardless: I am not responsible for her decision to become a mother, and I owe her no debt for making it.

With this realisation, I can feel sympathy for her for having got things wrong and done things wrong. It is safe to feel this sympathy, because feeling sympathy does not mean I have to have her in my life: I can not, and should not, have her in my life, because it is not good for me. I can and must protect myself by not having her in my life. She is dangerous to me and my wellbeing in a way that she may not be dangerous to other people, because she is my mother and the relationship between mother and child is inherently different to other relationships.

It is this latter part that it will be important to remember: having her in my life would be dangerous to my mental wellbeing.

This may all sound sad, but for me it is freeing. It means I can move on without ill-will, with sympathy for her and care for myself – my own self, whole, safe and protected.


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