Toxic Mom Toolkit: The Final Plan

26 Sep

photoI found the dove feather on the ground in front of my house. For a month or more it was in a cup holder in my car. I looked at it at stop lights and found it utterly calming.

Is it a coincidence that the calming feather was just the thing I needed when I decided today that I would move forward with a Toxic Mom Toolkit companion workbook focusing on going No Contact?

I have a habit of designing a book cover before I embark on a real writing project. I do it to focus. I do it for luck. I do it because other authors I admire say they do it. It is a way of making a writing project real.

I had been struggling with the possibility that I could write about going No Contact and possibly convince a reader that they “should” end their relationship with their mother. What bothered me was the thought that I could influence someone in a very personal decision that could be the best or worst decision of their life. Not to mention, it is a huge decision with lifelong repercussions.

Weighing those thoughts against the years-long pleas from readers of Toxic Mom Toolkit I came to understand that those who are going No Contact anyway could be helped by things I’ve learned and stories I’ve heard over many years. I do know some things you should ask yourself, some things you should brace yourself for, and some things you have to expect in response to ending your toxic mother/daughter/son relationship.

It’s tricky and I know a few tricks.

So, today is the official first day of writing Toxic Mom Toolkit: The Final Plan workbook. If you know me, you know I’m neck-deep in vintage decor. I grabbed some Anagram tiles from the 1920’s and centered the words on my marble coffee table. But it needed something; something else; something soft from nature.

The dove feather!

For me, the pale grey feather is a tangible reminder to be as kind as possible to everyone including toxic mothers. It is in extending kindness (and understanding) to people who hurt us that we rise above our painful histories. With 20 years of No Contact with the mother who raised me, I know how important kindness is, now that she has died. The kindness I’ve extended, the neutral state when we did speak, and the care I took to treat her as I would any other senior adult that I did not want in my life, was the key to my own peace.

I dropped the feather and captured an image that will be my light on the horizon as I continue to help others struggling with toxic mothers.

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7 Responses to “Toxic Mom Toolkit: The Final Plan”

  1. designnadine September 27, 2015 at 1:43 am #

    I am at nearly 4 years of no contact. Apart from the first summer that I went to pick up the rest of my stuff at my parent’s house. Not much was spoken. The day before, my dad told me on the phone I was a bad mother and a bad woman, the reason why my mother had to take charge (of my life and my kids’). And that day my dad’s eldest sister died. Hence the relative silence. I saw my dad once more 6 months later at the hospital, when my sister claimed he was dying. The nurse told me that at no time his life had been in danger. But I visited him anyway, with my kids. It was my good bye. My family has tried the “he is dying” trick a few more times. He still is here. I saw my mother at my uncle’s funeral. But her sister had forbidden her to address herself to me. My aunts wanted me to be there, bless them. I don’t talk to my sisters anymore neither. Whenever there was contact, my mother would be harassing me again. I so wish I was part of a happy family. The rift with my family, them being in contact with my ex, also has caused some distance with my own kids. It’s hard on them. How do you explain all this? I wish I were part of a happy family. It’s lonely. But it’s the best for my own mental health. In French they say: Mieux vault être non accompagné que mal accompagné. Better to be in no company than bad company. No contact is not easy, but sometimes it’s the best

    • collectingjourneys September 27, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

      Thank you so much for your post – it will help others. I often share your thoughts about wishing for a nice, loving, family. But what can be done?

  2. Elizabeth September 27, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    For some of us it is mind-blowing to contemplate simply going Lower Contact. The idea that I was entitled to any space, respect or peace from my mother never existed for me until all of a sudden, it did, and in a big way. A lifelong reader and writer, I could not find calm, non-incendiary language to draw those boundaries and explain what I was doing to other people in my family. It was even harder because I was being furiously attacked. Anything that helps people deal with that, and handle themselves with any grace, is a plus. Also love your points about kindness. I am kinder to everyone in my life now, because I no longer live under attack.

    • collectingjourneys September 27, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

      Thank you for your comments. A big part of my motivation is to create a vocabulary for this situation. I’m still working on it.

  3. Michelle October 10, 2015 at 2:25 am #

    Do you have a private facebook group? Each time I “like” something on your page, everyone in my friends list can see, and then they ask me about it or feel bad for me. I don’t want pity.

    • collectingjourneys October 10, 2015 at 3:50 am #

      Hi! The Toxic Mom Toolkit Facebook page is open. It always has been and always will be and I know that’s a problem for some folks. I do encourage people to create an online super hero identity so they can post freely. Not only do we allow it – we encourage it. If you poke around you’ll see examples of Great Names people use so that nobody in their online social circles see their posts. I hope this is helpful. Rayne

  4. RachelCaroline April 22, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

    I think a book on going no contact will be so useful to those thinking about it, to those who’ve done it – particularly suddenly – and to those who’ve been cut off by toxic mothers and then decided to maintain that distance. I don’t know if that’s a decision we can influence someone to make, even if the unhealthy nature of the relationship indicated they should. I do know that for me, the time between thinking about it and acting on it was long, painful and messy and that a book like this would have helped so much. I look forward to reading it even having all ready gone through the process.

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