Continue reading the main story 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. Emotionlaly that her mother was approaching death, she was torn about yet another effort at reconciliation. Tough call, and clearly not mine to make. But it did make me wonder about how therapists deal with adult patients who have toxic parents.
Created with Sketch. ImagineGolf via Getty Images To outsiders, your dad is a larger-than-life social magnet who attracts people from all walks of life. Or your mom is the perfect woman, always looking to please and juggling everything with ease. But behind closed doors, all pretense falls away.
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I try not to think this — I work in child protective services and that means I have to find every possible way I can to reach parents to change behaviors, lifestyles, etc that threaten the safety or wellbeing of their children. With that being said, the most frustrating for me was a mother who was emotionally and mentally abusive to a daughter who has mental health issues. I became involved years after that man was out of the picture. I spent several days working with this family and not once did I hear the mother say anything resembling love, affection, caring, kindness, or understanding towards her daughter and the vast majority of the time the mother was trying to elicit sympathy from other adults in terms of how difficult the kid was to manage. She very obviously still had her own trauma from the abusive ex and seemed to transplant all of her negativity towards him into her behavior towards her daughter.
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Also, since he didn't get what he wanted from my mother, he made me his wife. Yes, in all the aspects you'd imagine.
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