When I was younger, my mother was not only my parent but also one of my closest friends whom I admired and aspired to be like. However, a few years ago, my perception of her shattered completely. I had noticed warning signs throughout my life, and in the years leading up to the confrontation, I became more aware of the emotional and mental abuse and manipulation she subjected me to.
Venting my feelings here may help me gain a better understanding of my emotions as I find myself procrastinating on planning my wedding due to the uncertainty surrounding my mother’s involvement. While I have recently started therapy, I have limited time and would appreciate any suggestions.
My mother has always been a great storyteller, although I knew she often exaggerated or distorted the truth. But discovering that she lied about me being born with a heart defect, having childhood cancer, and my sister having a blood clotting disorder completely shook me. There were many more lies, but those examples provide a glimpse into the situation.
To provide some background, according to her stories, I was born with a heart defect and experienced cardiac arrest as an infant, during which my mother performed CPR and even broke some ribs in the process, with my father present. Supposedly, I underwent a successful trial treatment that resolved the issue, and I had no further complications. Around the age of 3-4, my parents divorced due to my father’s infidelity, and during that time, I was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent chemotherapy.
The details and duration of the treatment vary depending on the story. I vaguely remember celebrating “5 years all clear” around the age of 12, but I don’t recall any tests or appointments to confirm my remission. The timing and specifics of my sister’s supposed blood clotting disorder diagnosis are also unclear, as they changed whenever I asked my mother about them.
Having studied biology, with a particular interest in genetic diseases and cancer, I began noticing inconsistencies in these stories. However, I always dismissed them because it’s difficult to believe that one’s own parent is capable of such deception. Looking back, I feel foolish for not realizing the extent of her lies and the manipulation she subjected me to.
The turning point came when my sister also began questioning the truth behind these stories and sought clarity regarding her own condition. She underwent a blood clotting test that showed no evidence of any deficiency. Having worked in a hospital blood lab, I could verify the results myself.
As I delved further into my own investigations, including reviewing hospital and GP records and discussing specific details with family members, I found no supporting evidence. This also cast doubt on other claims my mother made, such as her being a paramedic or pursuing a biology degree around the time of the divorce, which I only heard about after mentioning my own biology studies. Further investigation made these claims highly unlikely to be true.
It goes beyond mere lies. My mother made me feel guilty and burdensome. I lived in fear of falling ill again. She told me that my grandmother nearly died from shock when I was diagnosed, as it reminded her of her deceased son who died in a car accident before my mother was born. (Another lie.) She cut my hair short, which led to bullying and mockery for resembling a boy.
She even suggested that the chemotherapy may have damaged my eggs, potentially hindering my ability to have children—an incredibly devastating blow, considering my strong desire to become a mother. She took pleasure in provoking me with medical emergencies involving family members or pets. While my father was far from perfect and not entirely innocent, my mother launched a massive hate campaign against him, fabricating numerous lies.
When I moved away for university and gained more independence, especially in terms of finances (another area she used to control me), she despised it. I started dating my now-fiancé, who happened to be a family friend for years.
We quickly realized that we wanted to spend our lives together, and my investment in our relationship, rather than my relationship with her, infuriated her. (The family friendship is now ruined, and explaining the associated drama would require a lengthy post of its own.)
She would often use medical emergencies or issues to manipulate me and draw me back into her control, particularly when we were in the midst of an argument. Additionally, she engaged in actions that, if done to my beloved nieces, I would vehemently denounce as abusive.
Throughout this time, there were other instances of deceit and manipulation happening in the background, but for the purpose of this post, I have focused solely on my relationship with my mother.
Eventually, I confronted her with all the evidence and expressed my feelings a few years ago. There were many more issues than I’ve mentioned here. She either denied everything or refused to respond, claiming that my silence meant I had said nothing. While my stepfather engaged in most of the arguments, they couldn’t present a logical counterargument for anything I brought up.
As a result, I asked them not to contact me unless it was for a family emergency or if they wanted to discuss any of the matters I had raised. I understood that while I had spent months researching and reflecting on everything, they hadn’t had much time to prepare or process it all. Foolishly, I hoped that after hearing me out, they would take the time to reflect on their actions.
I’m not interested in ruining her life, so only my fiancé’s family, my father, grandparents, and my mother and stepfather’s step-siblings know about the situation. In the past few years, we have attended a couple of family events where I maintained a cordial but distant relationship. I didn’t want to cause drama during other people’s special occasions.
There have also been genuine family medical emergencies where I set aside my issues to focus on what was truly important. However, my mother has continued her manipulative behavior, gaslighting me and exaggerating medical issues. Despite these attempts to reach out, she has made no effort to address any of the issues I raised.
I did make the mistake of calling her when I got engaged, a decision I now regret. At the time, I didn’t want to look back and regret not sharing the news with her. If my fiancé happens to encounter my stepfather at a football game, he will buy him a beer. It’s important to note that my stepfather isn’t involved in the lies, and if I were to see him separately from my mother, our relationship wouldn’t be strained.
At this point, I’m considering having a conversation with my mother soon to establish clear boundaries. I might inform her that she is only invited to the wedding as a guest and should avoid excessive interaction with us.
Alternatively, I might inform her that she is not invited at all. Currently, I’m leaning towards inviting her, as not doing so would create complications with the guest list and draw attention to the drama, which is the last thing I want on my wedding day. We have already put a deposit down on the venue, and relocating is not something I want to consider for several reasons.
During the wedding, I’m uncertain about how involved she should be in the photos or if I should make any plans to have her removed from certain situations.
As the wedding will take place at a hotel, I plan to have a large meal with our immediate families and closest friends the night before. Should I invite her to that gathering? Regardless of my decision about the wedding, I will establish firm boundaries after the wedding.
I have come to the realization that I cannot allow her to remain a part of my life, especially when it comes to my future children. Although I had limited contact with her before, I now intend to take the final steps in completely cutting her out.
However, I find myself going back and forth on whether to address this issue before or after the wedding. If it weren’t for the complexities and potential issues it would cause during the wedding, I wouldn’t invite her at all.
Now, after the wedding, I will establish a more definitive line and enforce firm boundaries. I will no longer leave any room for ambiguity or hope that she will change. Despite the difficult decision I face regarding the wedding, I am determined to take a firm stance and ensure that my well-being and happiness take precedence.