Mom might have breast cancer

So it’s been a while since I’ve talked to my mom, I want to say it’s been about 5 months since I have spoken to her. If you don’t know, I cut my mom off in this last December. Lately, I’ve had a sudden guilt about cutting her off and have been trying to grieve over it, because as much as the relationship was hard, she’s still my mom. Then this morning, my dad messaged me and tells me that my mom may have breast cancer and that they’ll find out in about a week if it is. I honestly don’t know what to do. Do I call her? Should I just give up on cutting her off? I spent YEARS trying to cut her off and find peace and now I’m in a situation where I don’t know if I should reach out to her again. I don’t want to sound selfish because of course this is terrible for her and I can’t imagine the fear she must be feeling, I just feel really conflicted on what I should do. I feel like if I decide to not contact her, I will feel like an awful person and feel like even more guilt. But the whole point of cutting her off was to not talk to her again, I just don’t know what to do. It’s frustrating


Dearest @nicole_kaley,

Going into full no contact with your mom was a strong and difficult decision, one that brings a lot of conflicting feelings already. And now with the perspective of her potentially being sick brings even more contradictions. It adds a sense of emergency in the midst of a process that requires time, patience for you to find clarity through all of these emotions. I’m sorry that this is happening right now and adds another layer of stress to you.

Last time I talked to my parents, with my sister, we confronted them – the “conversation” was quite brutal. In it, they’ve mentioned that my dad went through lots of medical tests and worries last year, which I didn’t know about because of my decision of not being in contact anymore. The way they presented it, without naming it, was that his health was not the best and they feared that it could be cancer. At first, and still sometimes, I had the same feelings as you: guilt, shame, lots of empathy for their pain once again. I thought: what kind of monster would I be if in case one is very sick, I still choose to not be in contact? I also came to realize that if my dad disappears first, my mom will very certainly end her life. I already feel responsible for something that didn’t even happen. It’s such an awful position to be in. It feels, once again, like being trapped and held hostage somehow. But does a sickness or health threat change the rules? These are such big questions, and of course the answer will remain entirely yours.

For these conflicting feelings and questions, my therapist personally called me out though. She told me two things that stick with me each time I feel guilt regarding my decision:
1 - “You think and talk a lot about their needs and feelings, but what about yours?”
2 - “You didn’t have a choice to decide before but you have it now”

Ultimately, this is about loyalty, which can really give us a hard time. We have learned to be loyal to our parents. We have integrated, even sometimes in order to be loved, the importance of caring for them – not mentioning the social pressure that says “but it’s family!”. In those situations, we generally need to distinguish what stems from us, our needs and our heart in the present moment, from all that we’ve integrated by other standards, external “should” that feel impossible to redefine. It is about trying as much as possible to get close to what you want, and remove other inteferences that don’t need to have a say in this (even if it’s been the case for a long time).

Instead of:

1- What should I do in this situation? What am I expected to do? What is the right thing to do?

I’d encourage to ask yourself:

2- What do I want to do? Do I want to contact my mom again?

Just you. No expectation. No “should”. No “what would they think/feel about it”.

In my little/humble experience, I generally know my own answers to these questions, no matter what the situation is. However, it’s hard to sit with it and accept them as they are, because it brings up a lot of fears - about myself, about them, about relationships in general, about the future, about the values I hold and wish to embody. In full honesty, almost always my answer to these questions is “no”. And to be honest, I hate this response because it’s not comfortalbe to me at all. I hate that this is what it comes to, at least my relationship with my parents. But I try not to hate myself because it’s the situation that is saddening, not the fact that I take decisions, like any other human being is allowed to take.

Because of this discomfort, I almost instantly see a LOT of thoughts and a rush of panic starting to justify the fact that I should contact them. And it spirals, over and over and over. I could make endless lists of reasons why I should talk to them again, and new situations like health struggles tend to become part of it.

Ultimately, there truly is no right or wrong decision in this situation. No matter of moral value or judgment there. You have a heart, a life, needs, and that is what can be your compass from now on. If it directs you to contacting your mom again (no matter how, in which way, for how long), then it’s okay. If it directs you to keep going on without this contact in your life, then it’s okay too. What is essential, is that you make sure your decisions are now aligned to your willingness and needs, not because of what you think you should do, or who you think you should be. It is a radical turn in your life – one that you have initiated --, and now this new element is adding something new, a re-questioning of these questions. It’s okay to walk through them, and I believe in your ability to discern through it all what decision you aspire to take.

No matter what, Nicole, you are not a bad person. You’re not selfish for even asking yourself these questions. It is normal and absolutely okay to feel like this creates some kind of interference for a peace of mind that is still in construction. You are not guilty of anything. :hrtlegolove:

PS - Just sharing personal experiences not to influence your decision or tell you what would be right or wrong. Just that you’re definitely not alone, sweet friend. You got this. You have my full support, through any decision you would take. <3


What will contacting her do?
-will it make her happy?
-will it make you happy?

  • if shes ill, does that mean she will treat you well now? Or will it give her a reason and jsutification to be nasty to you because “she can’t help how she is, she is sick!”?
  • is it a lie to guilt you into contacting her?

Her being ill (allegedly, or potentially) does not give her a free pass of access to you. Cutting contact was a result of her behaviour. Being ill doesnt erase the past.

You get to decide whats best for you. You arent her doctor, you cant heal her. You are responsible for yourself.

Also, i hope youre getting help to work through the guilt. You deserve to be free of that. Guilt and shame should never be owned by the survivors, they did nothing wrong. You matter

1 Like

From: The Blind Ash

My dear friend firstly I am sorry to hear there is a chance of her having that. As for the feeling of being selfish for protecting you by the fact you had cut her off and yet she has this and such. I can say this that it does not make you a bad person for that. It also does not make you selfish for picking your needs. Yes there is no one else to be your mom in the way she is but there are people that we choose to look up too as that mother figure. I truly cant tell you to get in touch with her or not as that is your choice but I can say this that sometimes the break of time can help a lot more than we can imagine. So perhaps whatever it was that made you decide to cut her off is something she has taken more serious and changed how she felt about it now. I know easier said than done. I am sorry that she has done anything in general that made you feel that cutting her off was the only option you had. I have had to cut my biological mother off for the most part so I know how hard it can be for us to not feel like its selfish but in reality if our parents arent willing to protect us or care for the needs we need than it might be time to realize that we can protect ourselves and that is tough. I am sorry that all of this is going on but note that my feeling is that dont blame yourself if you find it best to take care of you. If your dad is still in contact with you there is at least away to know what is going on. However I know from my own experiences that having someone in your life that is sick etc should not be why you bring back communication because in reality communication should be set around the health. I personally have multiple disabilities and if every time I became sick or what not I tried to ask others to come back into my life or make them feel selfish than I am hurting them and myself. I hope that you can make the best choice for you and no one else. Hold fast Ash

I can hear the conflict, and my heart goes out to you…

I’m sure there were real reasons for cutting her off. It sounds like it wasn’t an easy decision for you to make. Are those reasons still valid? If they are valid, the next questions are: have you been able to set new boundaries for yourself and have you worked through some/most of the reasons for cutting her off? Are you in a stable place yourself so you won’t fall under the influence or be trainwrecked by communicating with her? I hope those questions make sense.

There are ways of communicating that won’t put you in her company. Talking to her through your Dad or writing letters for example. Do you have a good relationship with your Dad or just enough for him to text you?

No matter what you decide to do, contact her or not, you will have to deal with the outcome. Please take care of yourself in the process.

Hi @nicole_kaley ,

Everyone else here had really good points and advice, and unfortunately I would be a repeat of those points—

But it has officially been a week so I would like to check in with you and see how you’re doing, if that’s quite alright.

1 Like