Toxic Mom Toolkit – Six Holiday Survival Tips for Daughters of Toxic Moms

11 Dec

Daughters of Toxic Moms often find themselves walking on eggshells. During the HoliDAZE we’re walking on eggshells on a tightrope above a pit of lava. We don’t want to be a wet blanket. We want the people who get along with our mother to enjoy themselves. At the same time, this might be the year you feel like you’re just not going to take it anymore.

I have a few suggestions on surviving the holidays despite having a Toxic Mom. You can pick and choose, slice and dice, blend, as needed.

First, have a plan.

If holiday gatherings always end in fights or tears plan only a brief visit to wish everyone well and place presents under the tree and when your little timer goes off, leave. It will feel scary, but you’ll have created a game plan that protects you and allows you to enjoy other more joyful gatherings.

Count your blessings and give thanks.

Daughters of Toxic Moms often feel isolated where others feel part of the group. Take time to sit down with the people you love – who love you back – and count your blessings. Also take time to thank the people in your life who have loved and encouraged you over the years.

Create new Christmas traditions that will make YOU happy.

Make a big pot of cocoa, set up chairs in the driveway and invite friends over to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” projected onto the garage door. Volunteer to wrap presents for your local firehouse toy drive. Ask to adopt a needy family through your church or local homeless shelter. Donate a stack of old towels to the animal shelter.

Whatever it is that might warm your heart this Holiday Season, don’t second guess yourself or talk yourself out of it. You can create new holiday traditions that work for you.

Avoid common traps of the season.

Gift Giving: Give what you want to give, what you can afford, and what you think is appropriate. You can always send a very nice card.

Drinking and Dredging: Avoid drinking with your Toxic Mom. It can only lead to strolls down toxic memory lanes.  Tell her you’re choosing to have a sober season and if she chooses to drink you’ve got better things to do. Wish her well before you leave.

* * *

If this year turns out to be the year you absolutely can’t take it anymore?

Opt out.

You can decline invitations to homes that make you unhappy. Send a sparkling $4 card and take a deep breath. You may be missed, but you wo’t miss having a toxic mom hangover. Why not make this the year that you choose to book a lovely B&B over the holidays – or visit old friends. Heaven forbid you take a trip to a city you’ve always wanted to explore. Would it really be so bad to start the New Year with happy memories and photographs you’ll enjoy sharing?

* * *

You CAN re-define Christmas!

You could decide that December is when you finally discover that it’s Natural to Nurture: No amount of tears, conversations, or pleading will turn a toxic mom into a kind, nurturing mom. If your mother is incapable of relating to you in a welcoming and pleasant way, decide to nurture yourself. This includes allowing others to be kind to you and accepting expressions of affections gratefully. Allow yourself to value yourself. Plan a day of spa pampering, or turn off the phone ringer long enough for a home manicure. Buy flowers. Move furniture around to re-decorate for free. Make positive phone calls you’ve been meaning to make. Catch up with organizational tasks or take a day off from housekeeping to paint or create art.

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7 Responses to “Toxic Mom Toolkit – Six Holiday Survival Tips for Daughters of Toxic Moms”

  1. Kathleen Olson December 13, 2011 at 2:52 am #

    Thank you and Happy Hurladaze to you too.

    I am leaving the country!!

    • collectingjourneys December 13, 2011 at 3:10 am #

      That sounds sane! Have a safe trip and a Happy New Year!

  2. Lori M. January 11, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    This was really helpful. This Christmas past was a disaster. My mother invited us to come for Christmas with my twin one year old girls. We flew from VA to FL and it was no easy task with two little ones in tow. She made a lot of empty promises to do all these fun things with our girls: Disney, Sea World. Instead we felt trapped in her home surrounded by her anger and drama. She promised to keep things simple for a Christmas party that she “allowed” us to invite friends to. Instead she threw an elaborate Christmas party with China and crystal and when my friends showed up with their grandmother and their son which she’d forgotten about, she yelled at my husband about me: “SHE DIDN’T TELL ME THE GRANDMOTHER WAS COMING!!!” I offered to buy more food to appease her but there was no calming her down. I’m the one that wanted to invite my friends.” Or I’m the one that wanted Beef Wellington for dinner (and I promised to help but didn’t.) She’s impossible to make happy and I finally realized that she is in fact a toxic mother. I tried to address her stress level and she kept insisting “I’m fine!” I’m fine! ” Besides, “I’ We stayed with my mother and she was a disaster. I was really hurt. Next year will be different!

    • Lynetta November 9, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      Oh Lori! I have spent too many years feeling like you at the holidays…..do yourself and your children a favor and start a new tradition! Do something for you and your family! It’s a day for happiness and celebration…..do what makes you happy..toxic moms should not be given another Christmas to ruin! Please yourself and your family! Best wishes for a great Christmas!

  3. collectingjourneys January 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Lori – I’m so glad you found Toxic Mom Toolkit. Thanks for sharing your Christmas story. Here’s hoping next Christmas is WAY more fun!

    • Lori M. November 10, 2012 at 3:40 am #

      Thank you for the support! I had forgotten I had posted that. It’s been almost a year since that Christmas disaster and my mother still continues to try to have ultimate control over my girls and our lives. It’s been very difficult for me to face the fact that my mother is so capable of malintent and sad for me that she is not the mother I have needed and wanted my whole life.
      My husband and I have been a united front and we have been proactively planning our Christmas this year so it’s in the best interest of our family. I’m also able to recognize now that just because she is that way, doesn’t mean that I am somehow deserving of her pain nor am I destined to be like her . She’s always projected her pain on me. I just didn’t realize. Just been such painful process; first recognizing that she is in fact a toxic mother and then trying breaking free. Funny how I allowed her to verbally abuse me long after the physical abuse stopped – until I become a parent at 38 years of age. And suddenly I found myself standing up to her. And the backlash has been intolerable- not angrily , just directly by not allowing her to take control. Something changed in me and I just decided I would not accept that angry, anxious behavior around my children. You can’t be sugary sweet to the grandchildren and treat their mother like I’m not worth the air I breathe.

      This year will be different. I’m excited to start some new family traditions! My twin girls are almost two now and they are so sweet and loving and we’re going to have so much fun with them on Christmas and every day! They will never ever question their mother’s love and devotion to them. 🙂 And that’s the greatest gift I can give them.

  4. Barbara November 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    I’d add one word of caution if your Toxic Mom is around. Include her but don’t be sucked in by her ‘normal’ behavior. Anything you inadvertently tell her can & will be used against you. 😉

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