Diane Danvers Simmons shared that she grew up for 16 years with both of her parents at home. But one day, her mother decided that she would be living the 'feminist' life by walking out of her family, including the young daughter. Despite all that, Diane said, "I never blamed my mother for leaving or her actions thereafter."
Diane remembers her words, "I've given your father and you 16 years of my life, and you're old enough to take care of the dog, your father, and yourself."
Since then, Diane's mother moved to live next door with three other hot guys as the feminist movement was on the rise during the 1970s in London. Diane was hurt over her unapologetic abandonment while knowing that she still lives nearby.
Life was suddenly not easy, but she managed. She shared, "I coped by compartmentalizing my life: friendships, school, mom's new independent life, and home life with dad."
The teen shares that she would visit her best friend's family to feel normal about her teen life. She also maintained a strong bond with her siblings to retain that "sense of family." In addition, she also developed hobbies and a love for music.
"Ultimately, music (primarily Diana Ross') and dance were — and always will be — my salvation, a way to express myself, release the remnants of pain and stress, and feel joy in the madness," said the writer.
"I never blamed my mother for leaving or her actions thereafter. I never held her accountable for her narcissism," Diane admitted. It wasn't until she met a therapist who told her to stop making excuses for her mom for leaving her at the age of 16.
"She freed me of any shame and validated my newly chosen path. My childhood shaped the person I am today."
Diane remains open to hearing the stories of her family from all sides, but she now fully understands that mothers are imperfect. But she added, "But for all the pain mine caused, she also gave me the gifts of courage and acceptance."
She penned the book "My Mother Next Door" to share her story of breaking her toxic relationship with her mother. She believed that her mother toughened her up and forced her to think outside the box. And then, to switch perspective to your mother's to learn "find a greater capacity for compassion, love, and forgiveness."