Friday, April 23, 2010


From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Main Entry: 1tox·ic
Pronunciation: \ˈtäk-sik\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin toxicus, from Latin toxicum poison, from Greek toxikon arrow poison, from neuter oftoxikos of a bow, from toxon bow, arrow
Date: 1664

1 : containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation 2 : exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis 3 : extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful


I am often asked about my family by casual acquaintances. I think people tend to assume that having a lot of kids myself, I must come from a close family, and that that family must play a large part in the family I've created. I hate the questions. I hate having to explain that I do not have a relationship with anyone in the family into which I was born. In some ways it's easier to talk about my dad. "He died eleven years ago." People understand this. But explaining estrangements, that's a lot tougher. It goes against everything society wants family to live up to.

What kind of mother emotionally strangles her child and then blames that child for acting out?

What kind of mother apologizes while pointing her finger and demanding that her child accept accountability for "contributing to the chaos" of that child's formative years?

What kind of mother involves herself in the emotional and legal upheaval of a marriage that has imploded, taking the side of her daughter's abusive spouse? What kind of mother believes the stories fed to her by an alcoholic, drug addicted, wife-beating, lying son-in-law without giving her daughter any benefit of the doubt, without making one iota of effort to seek out her daughter's side of the story?

What kind of mother sends her daughter a six-page, single-spaced, type-written litany of her daughter's childhood offenses and crimes - a letter containing some truth, a lot of twisting, many glaringly omitted facts, a lot of inaccuracies and outright lies? A diatribe of that daughter's wicked nature, deplorable character, and general unworthiness. And what is the point of such a letter? What does that mother hope to accomplish with it? What kind of mother is still in the business of tearing down rather than building up?

This is what I come from. I will not be a slave to my roots. There are some people who are so toxic that cutting all ties is the healthiest, most positive step that can be taken in the endeavor to rise above it.


diane rene said...

no one should judge, and unless they have been through similar situations, they can't even begin to understand. my dad was one that took other people's sides before seeing mine. my ex was "trying to be a good man" while I was "headed towards being a bitter and lonely woman with unreasonable expectations of other human beings". I was fortunate in the respect that he eventually saw the truth, but I remember clearly the arguments and accusations of all the hardships I faced being the direct result of my stubborness and inability to compromise.

the positive side of coming from this sort of family, is that we will teach our children that family IS important, but no one should willingly subject themselves to the abuse of another person, even when tied by blood. some decisions are painful, some will be looked down upon by others, but we must keep ourselves as a top priority in order to save ourselves from being lost.

I understand wanting to avoid the questions, but your children will see a strength you that can only have come from decisions such as this.

Esther and Brian said...

more power to you, lisa..i can't blame you at all. and you know, someone has to cut the toxicity so that it does not and can not go on for generations. that person is you and that is powerfull. thanks for sharing...

Lisa B said...

sounds like we need to have some wine together soon my friend... Lisa

ashamom said...

Yeah, I just recently re- read the letter of "apology" to my husband from his mother and it was a similar list of "his faults".
She was apologizing for not going to our wedding and she made it into 4 page blame and excuse list.
So she is NOT enjoying our 9 kids ( well, she never enjoyed them anyway)but my husband is MUCH better without her toxic influence on him!

Sharon said...

I cut ties with my Dad many years ago. I think the last time I saw or spoke to him was about 14 years ago. I also received a letter from him in the last year or so where he blamed, blamed and blamed me some more. Some people will NEVER change and NEVER accept responsibility for their actions. I feel totally at peace with my decision - though trying to explain it to my kids, who have recently started to ask alot of questions about him, has been tricky. But, right there with you!