“There’s Probably a Reason Your Mom Hated You": The Retraumatising Messages From Abusive Parents Who Read My Articles
I write to help survivors. But I also write to educate perpetrators. This is what happens when they don’t want to learn.
I began writing in 2020 about my experiences of being estranged from my parents as a result of a lifetime of abuse. It took an indescribable amount of courage not only to write about it but to admit to myself that what happened was wrong. I wrote a piece titled “Why I Distrust Parents of Estranged Children” after hearing about the stories my mother was telling others about me. She was careful to paint herself as the victim in a ploy to discredit anything I could say if I dared to speak out.
I held in my anger for a while until I came across more instances of people telling others about their estranged children. Completely unprovoked, they would launch into stories about how they had no idea why their child had cut contact and how they had been the perfect parent. They would then use the same tactic as my mother by cleverly peppering their story with casual comments discrediting their child:
“They were always a bit selfish.”
“She’s always been a liar.”
“He’s mentally ill so you can’t really trust what he says.”
I’d had enough at this point. I’d had enough of people thinking it’s easy for people like me to cut contact with their parents. I’d had enough of them being so busy convincing themselves they had been perfect parents whilst their children had been imperfect, using their children’s flaws as an excuse not to explore why or how they could have hurt them so much that they felt the only option was to cut ties.
Writing that article was the release I needed. Finally, I was giving myself permission to be angry at my parents. Finally, I wasn’t making myself smaller to survive. I was taking up space so I could thrive.
I wrote more articles on my experiences with my parents, but “Why I Distrust Parents of Estranged Children” attracted the most attention. I received messages from people all over the world just like me. They couldn’t believe they weren’t alone…