Dear Miss Emily:

It will be one year in September since I talked to my mother.  She has done many mean things to me in the past, and I have forgiven her many times.  For example, talking about me behind my back to my family members saying I don't have a life, credit card fraud, causing fights with other family members when she was at my house for a special occasion, and the list goes on.  Please note, she has a problem with alcohol, but won't go for help.  I always wanted to keep the lines of communication open, but I just couldn't go on with my own mental health at stake.  I just need some advice on how to get stronger without this toxic relationship.

---------------Miss Emily's advice---------------

You were weakened by this toxic relationship.  The only way you can get stronger is to realize that your mother is an alcoholic, is abusive, displayed criminal behavior and, therefore, destroyed any credibility she ever had with you. You probably harbor some guilt in this, but that is the burden children often carry when a parent is abusive.  To have her in your life, now, is really not an option, is it?  The stress, the lies, and the deceit is far more injurious to your health and well being, than to live without your mother until (or if ever) she is capable of restructuring her life for the better.  Power and strength comes from making decisions that are not always perfect but, ultimately, prove to be the wiser, safer choice. You owe it to yourself to move forward with people who better your life, not destroy it.  We do not choose our parents, and we are not obligated to suffer family matters that are not within our control.