Coping With the Pain of No-Contact on Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day can be an extremely difficult holiday, especially if you no longer have a healthy relationship with your mother. For those of you, who have decided to go no-contact, it can be extremely difficult to watch other people celebrating with their mother. You may even still long for your mother in some ways. Here are some tips to help you cope with Mother’s Day if you have a toxic mother.
1) Create meaning. It’s important that you interpret what Mother’s Day, or any holiday for that matter – means to you. It’s easy to go along with the commercial meaning of the holiday – buying mom flowers, taking her out to brunch, and perhaps even giving a fancy gift. In other words, express love with material gifts. Reconfigure the meaning of Mother’s Day to what works for you. Perhaps it’s just a normal day, a commercialized day that’s overrated, or a day that you celebrate other moms in your life, or a day where you observe the loss of your mother. You decide what works for you.
2) Be authentic and true to yourself. As you reflect on going no-contact with your mother, recognize that this is what is needed for you to thrive in your life at this time. Going no-contact is your way of self-preservation, so that you are able to be the best version of yourself that you can be without having to endure abuse or negativity from someone who is supposed to love you and have your best interest at heart.
3) Recognize you don’t have control over who your parents are. You don’t control over the family that you are born into. Thus, you may have to endure a lot from your mom until you become a legal adult. We develop strategies to survive a toxic parent as children. However, when you become an independent adult, you can consciously choose to cut your toxic parent out of your life. You can replace your toxic mother with a maternal figure, who is emotionally healthy, and fulfills your need for a mom.
4) Decide what a mother is to you. This is another area where you get to interpret what a mother means to you. Figure out how you define a mom and assign the appropriate role accordingly. You may even decide to take denounce the title of “mother” from your own biological mother and give her another title such “the woman who birthed me.”
5) Create a positive space for yourself. Recognize and understand that Mother’s Day is only temporary, and that it will be over in a matter of hours. Plan ahead of time how you want to spend your day. Maybe you would like to stay off social media, or perhaps you want to spend the day pampering yourself, or spend it celebrating other mother’s in your life.
6) Mourn the idea of the mother you lost. A lot of times when people reminisce about their narcissist mother, they often think of the potential of that parent. Romanticizing what characteristics your parent should have had is not uncommon. Instead of fantasizing about the person your mother should have been, write down the positive traits that you wish she had, and use that to identify an alternate maternal figure for yourself.
7) Reflect on what your mother missed out on with you. When you have a narcissistic parent, they spend a lot of time trying to change you or convince you to be something different. Instead of doing that, create a list of all the things that you accomplished. You are a survivor and a thriver, among other things. Your mother really lost a huge opportunity to be a part of your life. List the qualities and accomplishments that you are proud of. Ask others what they admire or like about you if you feel stuck.
8) Practice forgiveness. Forgiving isn’t for everyone. However, when you forgive someone, you let go of the idea that they owe you something, and the feelings of resentment and contempt. Thus, by forgiving someone you no longer allow that person or the negative feelings that you have about that person to take control over you. So forgiveness, is releasing the power that your mother had, and thus you are reclaiming your life back.
Mother’s Day can be difficult for you if you are going no contact. However, by making a conscious effort to take care of yourself and move on, the pain decreases over time. While it may be difficult to be at peace with your decision to go no-contact, recognize that you made the decision to preserve the quality of your life.
To watch the video version of this blog, please visit A Date With Darkness’ YouTube channel. This blog is also available on www.adatewithdarkness.com. Please also see the quick reference guide below for a reminder of tips and suggestions.
Copyright © 2019 Dr. Natalie Jones, PsyD, LPCC
Disclaimer: Please note that this blog is not meant to be substituted for treatment with a licensed mental health professional. Please also note, that recommendations don’t apply to everyone or every situation. This blog is educational content only.