Toxic Mom Toolkit Pen Pal: Dear UncleAuntCousinJudy MomsBestFriendSinceThirdGrade:

18 Apr




Thank you for your recent letter inviting me to reconnect with Mother.


I appreciate that you are writing out of concern for reuniting the family and spurred by concerns about time running out as mother ages.


I read your letter carefully. It reminded me that you have a very kind heart and I appreciate that about you.


But here’s the thing. I’m a grown up now and I have choices that I didn’t have when I was a child. Since you knew me as a child, I’ve educated myself, created a peaceful and loving family home, and I’m active in my community. I’ve also developed the perspective to understand my relationship with my mother. That you adore her and worry for her is sweet and kind. That you would extend yourself on her behalf shows what a good friend you are – and that’s a good thing. Mother needs her friends.


But I’m her adult child who suffered many forms of abuse while in her care. She has never explained or apologized for the trauma she inflicted upon me, despite the sun rising each morning. Although you’ve known her since before I was born, you are not informed on how she treated me in private.


I have built a life that I am proud of and happy with. It must seem sad that it does not include my mother. I can only assume that her past behavior is the best predictor of her future behavior towards my family and myself. My first priority is to protect myself (and my family) from her.


I have chosen peace over chaos, love over hate, and contentment over deep emotional pain.


As I would wish for anyone, I do hope she finds her peace one day. I cannot deliver that to her and I don’t choose to be near her. I ask that if you choose to stay in contact with me that you not “plead her case” or give me updates on her health or wellbeing.




19 Responses to “Toxic Mom Toolkit Pen Pal: Dear UncleAuntCousinJudy MomsBestFriendSinceThirdGrade:”

  1. Claire April 18, 2016 at 5:23 am #

    Thanks for this great reminder! People should “hear” it. My worst years with toxic mom were my adult years, when I was married a little bit (I was living too far away) but once I got divorced and moved closer again, hell started (as she totally wanted to take over my life and that of my kids). Not too many people plead with me anymore these days they know it’s useless. But I still get health updates. Well, no one cares about my health. So!
    Your sentence: “I have chosen peace over chaos, love over hate, and contentment over deep emotional pain.” says it very well. I choose peace too. Life is hard enough as is.

  2. Misty April 18, 2016 at 7:38 am #

    This is great!

    • collectingjourneys April 20, 2016 at 1:18 am #

      Thanks Misty!

  3. Sharon Kornfield April 19, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    this is such a kind and powerful letter and so well stated – you have hit the nail on the head for sure – and kept it classy as well. I am hoping i am smart enough to figure out how to save it so I can refer to it for future empowerment.

    • collectingjourneys April 19, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

      Sharon, All you need to do is copy it and save it as a word document. Just be sure to label it in a way that you’ll be able to find it. How about “TMT Letter” ?

  4. sdpatt1 May 3, 2016 at 9:57 am #

    I have been avoiding talking about my TM and the siblings who have now excluded me from their lives since my decision to go no contact with her. People who don’t know the situation still politely ask me about her and then I must choose to either lie or change the subject, neither of which really works for me. I don’t like to lie and evading the issue just means that I’ll have to deal with it again the next time I see that person. So the last time I was asked about her by a long-time acquaintance I decided that I was tired of dancing around the issue. I said that I don’t see or speak to my mother any more because the situation between us is untenable. I also said that I wouldn’t be providing details because I have chosen not to speak about my mother behind her back. The lady was shocked but accepted my answer. It was uncomfortable for both of us but still preferable to the alternatives. And it was a good trial run, so to speak, because I don’t think that it will be the last time someone asks about her.

  5. TM Cousin, who married son of a TM May 5, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

    I am glad to read this site, gives me some insight into my cousin’s behavior. I still think you don’t get to choose your relatives.

    • collectingjourneys May 6, 2016 at 1:09 am #

      Yes, you don’t choose your relatives, but you can choose to protect yourself from toxic abuse.

  6. Rebecca Delaria July 9, 2016 at 2:02 am #

    I absolutely love this letter and while I pray I don’t need to use it (I probably will have to), I’m so glad to know its there for reference!

    • collectingjourneys July 9, 2016 at 2:42 am #

      Great! I think once you see it/read it, it will just be in your toolkit, so you’ll know exactly what to say. Glad you found Toxic Mom Toolkit!

  7. Lisa October 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    Thank you! I just found your site. So grateful and happy that I found this post.

    • collectingjourneys October 25, 2016 at 11:26 pm #

      It’s a miracle! So glad you found Toxic Mom Toolkit! – Rayne

  8. Romina Garcia November 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    This is everything : I have chosen peace over chaos, love over hate, and contentment over deep emotional pain.

    • collectingjourneys November 10, 2016 at 11:37 pm #

      Who wouldn’t? So glad you saw this post! Best, Rayne

  9. Jennifer Nilsson January 29, 2017 at 12:28 am #

    I know this is an older thread, but I just now found your website and this post. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I’ve just recently separated my life from my mother’s and I run into those who want to make amends on our behalves or who accuse me of being the problem and telling me to change. At almost 46 years old, I am just not finding my voice. Thank you

    • collectingjourneys January 29, 2017 at 3:14 am #

      Isn’t it amazing that you found this helpful post? Print it out and keep it in your car and read it several times over the next few days. If you are
      right at that point, you deserve to feel supported. I have a great book too, Toxic Mom Toolkit. You can find it on Amazon. Very helpful for someone just finding their voice. Best, Rayne

  10. Debi Anderson May 3, 2017 at 11:49 pm #

    what a great response!

  11. Jessica LaScola June 22, 2017 at 6:48 am #

    I have been searching for a way to “explain” my relationship with my mother to people who do not understand or know the truth. This is PERFECT. Thank you so much! This makes me feel a level of comfort I have not felt in a long time. ❤ ❤

    • collectingjourneys June 22, 2017 at 6:59 am #

      I am so glad this is helpful to you Jessica. I would hope any good-hearted person would understand.
      Best, Rayne

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