I’m in an (emotionally) abusive relationship, but I can’t end it because it’s with my newly-widowed mother.

The abuse (and it took me a long time to categorize it as abuse after many people called it that) has gone on for years, but reached new extremes when my father was dying, and has not recovered. We’re held together because I’m her only daughter (my brother, being a married man, gets preferential treatment from her as needing space to deal with his own issues of being a guy and a husband) and the family expects it of me.

She constantly invokes the “honoring your parents” clause to try to get me to do everything for her, even things that are in direct violation of halacha, because ironically, she’s less religious than me, so she doesn’t “buy” the argument that that commandment is not the be-all and end-all of Torah. She accuses me of sabotaging her relationship with G-d and Judaism, and for my brother becoming less religious. She told me that it was my father’s dying wish that I stop studying Torah.

I’ve spoken to several different high level Rabbanim about it, and they all agree that I am within my halachic rights to cut off the relationship beyond the basics of checking in to see that she’s well, and that I should not put her life in front of mine, but she obviously disagrees, and my whole family (which is, again, less religious than I am) disagrees.

“Jewish values” don’t allow a daughter to distance herself from her mother. We should do everything and anything for family, all of the time, no exceptions. Anyone who doesn’t follow this is the worst kind of person. I can’t relate to supportive sites that encourage you to face your abuser, beacuse I’ve done this and it’s been disastrous and solved nothing. I don’t know what to do.

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  1. Tanya Arons September 28, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Blessed Soul, get yourself free of her. Narcissistic abusers will eat you alive and still blame you for giving them indigestion.

    You need to leave her behind and never look back or go back.

    How do I know for sure? I went through similar with my own mother who became even more cruel and monstrous when my stepfather died. I went back and back 3 times. Even was totally there for her after the last estrangement when she was granny dumped in an aged care facility by her stepdaughters (spawn of my second stepfather -another evil psychopath). Then when my mother died and the Will came out, she had abused me even in her Will. I nearly suicided 4 times during that horrendous will dispute (which I lost as these con artists were clever lying manipulators!)

    Do I regret being a decent honourable daughter??? Hell yeah. Would I do it again? Probably not.

    I received one reward and one only. I found out what a decent honourable human I am. The rest was just historical abuse piled on top of me until I almost died.

    Don’t do it! Trust me on this. You deserve so much more from life. Hugs!

  2. Michelle September 28, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I just read this and it resonated… It is quite possible your mom and her family have mental illness…. It can’t matter what they think.. chayecha kodem…. take care of yourself… get therapy and heal. You can’t control someone.. she is destructive. I pray you work on yourself and heal. You are not responsible for your brother’s religious observance. Each person is responsible for their own actions. My heart hurts for you and I pray you can rise above this and take care of you

  3. Elisheva Marissa September 28, 2017 at 10:21 am

    If the relationship is unhealthy, and is causing you pain and forcing you to negotiate your convictions of halacha, then you are within your rights of Halacha to only check in on her well being. You are not held to her as a close daughter if she is not treating you with love and respect as a woman, no longer a girl. I had to do the same with my entire family, and I can tell you that even if sometimes it can feel a little lonely, Hashem fills the broken places, and my emunah can grow without narccisistic criticism.

  4. Anonymous October 2, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Mmm, this poem says all the important things

    The Glove and the Lions
    King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
    And one day as his lions fought, sat looking on the court;
    The nobles filled the benches, and the ladies in their pride,
    And ‘mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sighed:
    And truly ’twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
    Valour and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.

    Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
    They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;
    With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another;
    Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother;
    The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air;
    Said Francis then, “Faith, gentlemen, we’re better here than there.”

    De Lorge’s love o’erheard the King, a beauteous lively dame
    With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which always seemed the same;
    She thought, the Count my lover is brave as brave can be;
    He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me;
    King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine;
    I’ll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine.

    She dropped her glove, to prove his love, then looked at him and smiled;
    He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild:
    The leap was quick, return was quick, he has regained his place,
    Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady’s face.
    “By God!” said Francis, “rightly done!” and he rose from where he sat:
    “No love,” quoth he, “but vanity, sets love a task like that.”


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