Write about the boundaries you have established in your life. Do they work? Why did you establish them?

I have always been attracted to brilliant but disturbed people. They didn’t fit in, like I didn’t fit in, and the things they thought or talked about were so beyond what normal people did. They were toxic but I didn’t care, they weren’t boring, so it was worth it. Maybe they made me feel normal in comparison. Maybe I was just re-creating the dangerous dance of abused/abuser, and trying to fix it, this time around. I’m not really sure anymore. What I do know now is that those relationships are no longer acceptable.

When we were dating, I lost two of them. One extracted herself, painfully. The other attacked. Both were threatened by the healthy and fulfilling pairing up of me and my now husband. Snip. You are cut out. It was, for some reason, okay for you to abuse me. But now that I am teamed up with someone else, it is absolutely not okay for me to expose my partner to you. Which is a bummer, because we certainly had fun times.

When we were planning our wedding, I lost another. I just couldn’t bring myself to invite an undiagnosed alcoholic to an open bar party on a boat. We had been roommates in the past, and I had seen firsthand her behavior while intoxicated. And I just couldn’t subject the wide variety of attendees, who were trapped on the water for 4 hours, to this gal. We had had some really brilliant conversations in the past. I would miss them. She self-extracted. Wrote in shock and surprise on facebook about not being invited, then unfriended me. Snip. I hope one day when she has to plan a wedding she will see just how hard it is to put together a guest list. Weddings are extortion, especially if you’re paying for it yourself. And the pressure from family members to invite people you’ve never even met is ridiculous. Thank goodness that’s over.

Snip, snip, snip. I will miss you and the fun times we had. But now I’m responsible for yet another person, my daughter. And there’s no way you’re getting any access to her.

So what does that mean? Toxic sister – snip, the week after my daughter’s birth. Toxic mother – well, that took longer. Sort of snip? Very, very limited access, and only while supervised. It sounds terrible to say, but I will be relieved when you’re gone. I’m sure I will wrestle with guilt and what-if’s. But at least I will be able to finally let you be who you are, since there’s certainly no changing yourself when you’re dead. I’m trying, I’m really trying to lower my expectations of you, and yet you still find ways to disappoint me. You’re a mess. And it pisses me off. And it’s just better for everyone if you go live your life over there, and I’ll go live my life over here. Then I can go back to focusing on being healthy and balanced and on maintaining and nurturing the precious relationships with my husband and daughter.