Gen X mom shares the revelations she got after her son gave her an ultimatum
Not that long ago, the thought of adult children choosing estrangement from their parents would have been seen as fairly atypical, even if their parents engaged in toxic behavior. But now, many trauma-informed millennials and Gen Zers are going the low-to-no-contact route—as many as 25% of young adults, according to The Hill.
But even if it is becoming more common, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice to make. It often comes after multiple failed attempts to improve communication, set healthy boundaries and establish a healthy dynamic.
And for many older parents, who didn’t grow up with nearly as much readily available mental health information, being asked to take accountability by their children can be triggering. So then stubbornness sets in, disguising itself as “not being controlled.” This leaves no one really getting what they want though, which is, presumably, a parent-child relationship.
But if older parents can find it within themselves to do the work their children desperately ask for, and try to come at the situation with an open mind rather than being defensive, healing is possible. Just take this mom’s word for it.
As one Gen X mom (who goes by @fiftiesrediscovery or Fabulous Fifties) shared on TikTok, her adult son gave her an ultimatum: go to therapy or there would be no contact.
One viewer asked this mom how she could discern whether an ultimatum like this was actually abuse. Fabulous Fifties completely understood where this person was coming from.
“I so get this. Because when I started this journey, I thought that same thing,” she said, adding that she expected her kids to “step up in some way” in exchange for her agreeing to therapy.
So Fabulous Fifties went to fix a relationship with her son. Or so she thought. In actuality, she got to work on herself. And in that process, many things began to click.
“We started digging into my trauma, and I went, oh, wait a minute, my mom was traumatized. And then she handed it down to me, and then I handed it down to my kids,” she shared. “And now the relationship between me and my kids is like this.”
“Why is that?” she said, answering that younger generations have “access to mental health information” her generation simply did not, making them more able to spot and respond to harmful patterns, rather than internalize them like many older age groups have been forced to.
“They know what toxic is. They understand what trauma is. And even if they haven’t worked their way out of that trauma yet, they know what a toxic mom is.”
After having these types of revelations and continuing to do the work on herself, the relationship between Fabulous Fifties and her son began to repair itself naturally. She was even able to help her kids heal, simply by healing herself.
Furthermore, it gave her a better understanding of her son’s given ultimatum. Instead of labeling it as “abuse,” she now recognizes it as “trauma.”
“They weren’t abusing me. They were coming from a place of pain,” she said, even being able to own that the source of the pain were mistakes she made as a mom.
Fabulous Fifties now considers herself a cycle breaker of generational trauma, and helps others on similar journeys by sharing what she’s learned along the way.
Coming face-to-face with our shadows and rewriting years upon years of subconscious patterns isn’t an easy, comfortable or even short process. But this story shows that it can be extremely worthwhile, if only we can muster the courage and patience to do it.
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