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June 13, 2022

Daughters who have gone “No Contact” with their Mothers: must we accept that Olive Branch?

I have gone “no contact” with my mother.

Please try not to judge me.

Well, actually if I am being truthful with myself, it makes no difference whatsoever if you judge me. But there was a time, not so long ago, that I was so fragile and broken, it would have.

I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors in the lives of anyone else, neither do you. What I am absolutely sure of is that no little girl grows up and dreams that one day she will no longer have a relationship with her mother. For anyone who has made this painful decision, I know it would come as a last resort. Often, it comes after years of emotional exhaustion, heartache, and agony, and for many, can also result in losing other family members when they end their relationship with their mom.

Not all mothers are created equal. Not all mothers love us unconditionally or put our needs ahead of their own. Not all mothers are kind and nurturing, or have boundaries and respect our feelings. And contrary to what some mothers claim, what our families and society try to convince us of: not all mothers “do their best.”

Britney Spears got married a few days ago. I am extremely happy for her and her new husband as she is so deserving. Not only deserving of her marriage, but her freedom, her courage, her strength, and living life on her own terms.

Like Britney, I had a mental health breakdown a few years ago. I don’t know her specific details, and I am not going to go into detail about mine. What I will share is that during my crisis, I was at the lowest point of my life. I spent close to a year having panic attacks, fear, anxiety, depression, and fighting off suicidal thoughts. I lost my voice (figuratively), my confidence, and my happiness. I can’t even fathom doing that with the eyes of the world on me—judging and watching my every move.

This morning, I saw a comment from Britney’s mother on social media, Lynne Spears, to whom Britney is estranged and who was not invited to her wedding. The comment made me think, just for a minute, about my own mother.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

“You look radiant and so happy! Your wedding is the ‘Dream’ wedding! And having it at your home makes it so sentimental and special! I am soooo happy for you! I love you!”

It’s too early to say what Britney’s reaction will be to this public congratulations or if there will even be one, but I do have an overwhelming thought—not just for me, but for all the beautiful, wonderful, caring, kind, loving, compassionate women out there who, for their own reasons, have gone no contact with the person who brought them into this world:

Yes, you can be all of those things while deciding to cut off all contact with your mother and choosing the well-being of yourself and your own family.

So often, people like me, and other amazing women, are not supported (or believed) because the public image shown by our mothers does not match the person that we know them to be in private.

TMZ says about this Instagram comment from Lynne: “If you’re a glass half full person, though, it could be seen as an olive branch.”

I am a glass half full person and I never want to see my mother again, regardless of any message, public or private. What others may mistakenly see as a gesture of an apology or good will, I know better, through lived experience and therapy. Olive branches are usually not genuine in unhealthy and toxic families. Instead, they are meant as manipulation, guilt, and other emotional abuse tactics to make us not only behave in a certain way, but to draw us in again and again.

I am exceptionally proud of how far I have come on my own journey, and I once again have confidence and a voice. I get to decide what is best for me—and I no longer feel guilt and shame because of it.

And Britney should be supported, too, in whatever she needs to do for her own health, happiness, and spirit—whether she does or does not have a relationship with her own mother.

All daughters who have gone “no contact” with their mothers should be supported in our choices.

~

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