The older I get, the more I physically resemble my mother. I look in the mirror, and I see her face. This is complicated for me, because, by my own volition, I don’t have a relationship with her.
From my youth I remember her show-stopping charisma—her penchant for adventure—intermingled with the ever present possibility that she might suddenly snap and become aggressive. Every other weekend, due to court ordered visitation, an opportunity for either the best or worst weekend ever.
The mental illness she experiences, left unchecked, untreated, and unfiltered despite many attempts to intervene, has caused me an immeasurable amount of pain throughout my life, trauma that I believe I’ve only begun to unpack. It’s been five years since I’ve spoken to her, and while this isn’t the first time I’ve broken contact, I do believe it will be the last.
She is my mother, from her womb I arrived into this earthly plane and for that and so much more I will always love her—but love is rarely enough. The instability of my relationship with her was unhealthy, toxic even. It left me anxious, distraught, and ensconced in the trauma from which I was striving to heal.
Over the past several years I’ve gone from angry and heartbroken to compassionate and empathetic; I hope that she can find peace but I know I’m not the one who can lead her there. As a healer, these types of choices are never easy, but I wholeheartedly believe that we each have a responsibility to ourselves to choose with whom we exchange our energy, and choose carefully at that.
Just because you’re on a spiritual path doesn’t mean you have to extend your energy towards people who aren’t healthy for your life. Just because you’re working to embody compassion, empathy, and kindness doesn’t mean you can’t also cut people out who disrespect your boundaries and break your heart. Just because you’re seeking a higher expression of yourself, doesn’t mean you can—or should—take everyone with you.
No relationships are obligatory, familial or otherwise, and I hope that wherever you are along your path, you know that you can choose, and it will always be okay.