This month’s podcast topic deals with caring for an estranged parent.
I was not estranged from my mother, just the opposite. I was enmeshed with her. We had a very close relationship. We were a pair, have always been a pair. And while that may not have been the healthiest of relationships, I would have done anything for her, sometimes to the detriment of myself or my family.
Caregiving is hard enough as it is when you like the person you’re caring for. I can’t imagine caring for someone I didn’t like, and that’s part of why I wanted to create this episode. There will always be the people who say, “you have to take care of your parent because they took care of you.” I don’t believe that statement. As my guest, Laura Davis, explained, “I think when someone betrays you in a really severe way, they break the expectations of what children owe to their parents, and then it’s really up to the adult child to make a decision.”
Laura’s beautiful memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story, tells the story of Laura’s dramatic and tumultuous relationship with her mother, Temme, from the time of Laura’s birth until her mother’s death.
Karen C.L. Anderson wrote Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters which provides real, actionable advice on how to deal with your feelings towards your challenging mother.
The most important thing in trying to care for someone that you are estranged from, or have difficulty with, is having the support and tools to help yourself, whether that is in caring for them or in walking away from them. Your mental health and well-being are just as important as the person who needs care.
I hope listeners have come away from this episode with strategies, support and permission.