By RICHARD A. FRIEDMAN, M.D.
Published: October 19, 2009
A patient of mine, a lovely woman in her 60s whom I treated for depression, recently asked my advice about how to deal with her aging mother.
"She’s always been extremely abusive of me and my siblings," she said, as I recall. "Once, on my birthday, she left me a message wishing that I get a disease. Can you believe it?"
Over the years, she had tried to have a relationship with her mother, but the encounters were always painful and upsetting; her mother remained harshly critical and demeaning.
Whether her mother was mentally ill, just plain mean or both was unclear, but there was no question that my patient had decided long ago that the only way to deal with her mother was to avoid her at all costs....Read the rest...
I have some close friends and online-only acquaintances who seem to have truly toxic parents. While it is great to try to work out family issues, sometimes one's family is simply too attached to their dysfunction, and the dysfunction is far too toxic to justify continued exposure to them. Breaking ties (at least for a while) can be hard to do, but it can also be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself, if you are in that position.