To be shocked at how many people think having no contact with family is normal?

(368 Posts)
dogscatsandbabies Tue 12-Aug-14 06:14:22

I'm a lurker. Can't help it, I find AIBU gets me through many a night feed. I'm always totally shocked at how blasé some posters can be when giving advice "she sounds unbearable to me, I'd go NC" and similar phrases.

Really? Just like that you'd advise someone you don't know to break all ties with a relative over a situation you've only heard one side of, creating a family situation that can become unbearable for husbands / wives / siblings who are very literally stuck in the middle?

I know there are some situations when decisions are taken not to see family anymore for various good reasons but I'd seriously hope these were carefully considered and thought through in time given the wider impact it can have. NC just seems so normal to so many. Is it just me that thinks (safety of children etc aside) most problems are at least worth working on?

PausingFlatly Mon 25-Aug-14 12:42:52

thanks Lots of good luck. You and DH and the DC have all been through so much.

GoodtoBetter Mon 25-Aug-14 12:31:40

Pausing I've read it takes on average 2 years to finally work out what's going on. That thread of mine where it all started is chilling reading for me now. Certainly has taken me two years to get to beginning to see to NC. Accelerated by her behaviour.

GoodtoBetter Mon 25-Aug-14 12:30:10

Thanks PausingFlatly and SlowRedcar, it's all very recent and far from over. I haven't heard anything in 24 hours, but I am sure there will be another onslaught or attempt to get at me through her favoured DGC, my DS. I'm trying to relax but won't really until she carries out her threat to move away to her home country.
I never expected it to come to this but there can be no other way now. Her insanity scares me.

PausingFlatly Mon 25-Aug-14 10:22:10

GoodtoBetter, I'm hugely relieved for you that you've gone NC with her. I don't think I posted on your earlier threads, but I was reading them with jaw hanging open, and willing you to move out of her house.

You have worked SO hard, and for SO long, to accommodate her while enforcing boundaries. I'm sure that, though sad, it will be an immense weight lifted off your shoulders - and your family's.

SlowRedCar Mon 25-Aug-14 09:59:42

People don't choose NC lightly, they really really don't. For me it has been the last resort.

I hear you, I agree with you. For what it's worth, I think you are doing the only sane thing you can. You can't change her, you can only change how you react, or in this case - don't react- towards her. I wish I could say something like "this NC might be just what she needs to shake her up and change her ways", sadly though I don't think it will. Purely because (like so many on this thread and others like it), your comment about if your mother was on gransnet her post would read "woe is me, was the perfect mother and this is how I am repaid" shows how far removed from the reality many of these mothers (and fathers) are. They see themselves as the victims, and that hardly ever seems to change.

Around 25 yrs on, the only regret I have is that I didn't NC earlier. The few years I tried "reduced contact" were sheer hell. After the initial shock, NC has been far easier for me than low-contact.

GoodtoBetter Mon 25-Aug-14 07:44:08

I have just gone NC with my mum. I say that, but I didn't mean too, I was hoping to gradually reduce contact with her, but she sensed what was happening and has gone completely nuclear in the last few days (ringing all phones maybe 20 times a day, phoning DH's parents, endless e mails full of rage, 13 voice mails in an hour, spitting fury and venom, coming to the house drunk and dumping stuff on the doorstep) it's been a tornado of rage and loathing. Is this normal behaviour if you think someone you love is upset with you? Seriously?
It's left me feeling that the only way to manage my relationship with her, at least for now is to not have a relationship.
The backdrop to this is her total obsession with controlling me at every turn. Anyone else in my life is competition. She hates DH and his family simply because they love me. Followed me across the world to live near me, manipulated me with illness (exaggerated) to living with her. Tried to rip my marriage apart by dripping poison about DH. When I said I had had enough she went insane, threatened to kill herself, disinherit me, said I was a disappointment, etc. Moved out and tried to have lower contact but she cannot behave reasonably to me. Total blatant favouritism of one DGC over the other (to the extent that other people have commented on it), endless manipulations. It has finally blown up this weekend as after her slagging me off to my brother I didn't contact her for a few hours and the harrassment began.
I have tried really really hard, but I can't do this any more, she is poison.
If she were posting on Gransnet it would be all "I've done so much for her, this is how she treats me, I don't know what I've done". In fact this is what she is currently telling my uncle and aunt.
People don't choose NC lightly, they really really don't. For me it has been the last resort.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 15-Aug-14 15:55:52

Yes, I have read it. I blamed the mother! An interesting book- 'enjoyed' is the wrong word,but it made for a good discussion at my book group- that is why I liked the sign so much- we never read the same book as anyone else.
I hope that anyone else I have upset can take my apologies and end on friendly terms. smile
Hope you all have a nice weekend!

SlowRedCar Fri 15-Aug-14 15:42:07

Sure thing delphi, no worries. It's weekend. I am chilled. Obnoxious mode has gone for the weekend. * wink*

Side note: have you ever read the book "we have to talk about kevin". It's a novel about a family, mum, dad, son, daughter. Son becomes disturbed teenager, and does a "colombo high school massacre" type thing. He goes into school and kills pupils and teachers. Anyway. Everyone I knew read that book. My best friend and I were at (half-friendly) logger-heads over it. She sympathised with Kevin's mum, liked her, found Kevin a "born bad" kid. I was complete opposite. I sympathised with Kevin. Disliked his egocentric mum. Felt his upbringing and his mother had made him the killer he became, and she was partly to blame. My friend didn't think that at all. We spat nails at each other over that book, lol.

Anyway, my point there is... my friend and I had totally different childhoods, parents at different end of the parenting-spectrum, totally different ways of raising kids, so maybe the difference about "Kevin and his mum" wasn't that surprising after all.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 15-Aug-14 15:27:59

I think this is very like the very good sign I saw outside a bookshop last week. 'No two people read the same book'. Very true.
We are obviously reading things differently- that is not at all what I thought Joysmum was saying.
There were people at the start who read it like me- long since disappeared.
I think we just have to agree that we don't understand each other and next time I get the urge to add I will sit in on my hands.
I am not reading people on here correctly and you are certainly not reading me correctly- misunderstandings all round.
I suggest we all have brew and cake - much the best plan.

SlowRedCar Fri 15-Aug-14 15:11:00

delphi I read joysmum as saying, in a very condensed way, what I am saying. Not everyone (thank god!, lol) is as long winded as me. I don't read joysmum as some "easy come easy go couldn't care less one way or the other person". I read her as "I will hold my family to the same levels of accountability that I hold my chosen friends to". And that's no bad thing. And I don't at all disagree with that. And it's what I would tell my kids to use as a "measuring guide" should me and Mr Slow ever become arses.

If my child as an adult doesn't like me, doesn't feel liked or valued by me, if I am unfriendly, if I am a strain to be around, if I am more of a minus than a plus in their lives, my advice to them is to retreat from me if they can't reason with me in a fairly short period of time. Because to me it stands to reason, I must then be suffering from some kind of MH condition that I am at that moment unaware of or unwilling to face. As MH issues are rife in my family, all around me know what I think on that score. Tell the person you think may have one, to get an assessment and if needed treatment, if they don't, protect yourself at all costs.

Regards being difficult or a strain to be around, I think it goes without saying I don't mean if I was just slightly tetchy on the 23rd June 2011 when I had flu. Or that month in 2009 I was crappy when my back ached etc etc.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 15-Aug-14 15:00:07

I am really only arguing about the meaning of the title of the thread. I am not judging anyone- pointing out that Joysmum was the type of person it applied too - saying it 'is no big deal'- it clearly is a big deal to me and most people on the thread. The people who find it normal, or no big deal, are not on here- probably not interested - you don't tend to reply to things that 'are no big deal'.

aquashiv Fri 15-Aug-14 14:53:38

Its up to the person why do you think you can judge? Some people have been treated awfully by family and to leave that takes guts. We don't all think like Peggy Mitchell.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 15-Aug-14 14:50:00

Thank you- you are so kind slowredcar grin
As I have said, countless times, I thought the thread was about people like Joysmum who don't see it as a big deal, she engages with the family she likes and doesn't bother if she doesn't- no doubt she applies the same to her children and isn't bothered if they have partners who don't want much to do with her - no big deal.
I didn't think it was about the majority on here who clearly find it an enormous deal.

SlowRedCar Fri 15-Aug-14 14:32:15

You might feel differently when your children have partners and you get grandchildren. Mine are coming back this weekend- I would hate it if they disappeared at 18yrs or came through duty.

Why would joysmum feel differently with kids delphi

If she applies the same standards to her kids as she does to herself then she need only be friendly and likeable to assure her kids remain in her life.

I have advised my kids to NC me or my husband if we ever become arses. The same way I advise them on other general things that are important for their health and well-being.

Is your somewhat ??unyielding?? stance on this thread coming from somewhere specific delphi? Are you worried perhaps that an older child is about to abandon you? If you are, and if you want to talk about, I would be willing to try and help in any way I could. I am sure the other ladies on this thread would to. We have after all, all been on the end of "the child who abandons the parent".

p.s. I am sorry I can't find a better word than unyielding, and I know I have been obnoxious to you upthread, this time I don't mean it. I just don't have a better word.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 15-Aug-14 14:08:02

You might feel differently when your children have partners and you get grandchildren. Mine are coming back this weekend- I would hate it if they disappeared at 18yrs or came through duty.

Joysmum Fri 15-Aug-14 09:32:37

I don't get what the big issue is.

As they say, you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family.

We choose our friends by being friendly with people we like and not engaging with people we don't.

I chose to do the same with members of my family. I didn't asked to have a blood link and that's no reason to maintain relationships.

Simple.

SlowRedCar Fri 15-Aug-14 09:05:27

ah Noodles, put that way, I take it back. Now I think on it further, this is my screwed-up thinking at play. My "normal" pre-nc was so fucked up with mega loads of drama. It improved vastly after nc, and the drama went down from mega and daily to far less frequent and lesser intensity drama. It didn't just die overnight. It did continue, just got far easier to deal with. I suppose it would be a bit like a 40stone person dieting down to a size 18. Where her GP would say with a bmi of 30 she is still technically obese, but the person feels positively skinny. It was like that for me. My normal was set far too high (at a level that would have been other peoples totally abnormal) so like the BMIof30 woman felt skinny, I felt drama-free. Even though it was more just vastly reduced.

ADHDNoodles Fri 15-Aug-14 03:55:53

However, I didn't at all agree with Noodle's point about having to have some special kind of willpower to avoid all the games and drama and BS after NC. That was not my experience at all. Pre NC it was impossible to avoid the drama/games/bullshit. After NC it was a doddle.

I'm glad it worked out.

I just mean that the people you're still in contact with in the family (unless the entire family sucks) will inevitably pass along 2nd hand info about what's going on. You'll still hear what the person "has to say" without being able to respond to it. If you tell person passing along the info they are mistaken, that's not what happened or how it is, it gets back through the pipeline eventually.

At least in my family.

But they don't really know when to shut up. hmm

KoalaDownUnder Fri 15-Aug-14 03:47:55

Cheers, SlowRedCar and PausingFlatly, I appreciate it.

reclines sloooooowly grin

MrsBigginsPieShop Fri 15-Aug-14 00:51:21

NC is not dramatic always. It is slow, painful and deeply personal. All the peacocking on both sides of this thread has made me sad. It's so hard being NC, almost like being cut adrift. It's not an easy way out, but neither is it a badge of honour, making drama for drama's sake.

SlowRedCar Thu 14-Aug-14 21:17:44

meerkat , no worries, no pain at all, just utter and total embarrassment at the salvation army and voluntary lawyers giving their time and expertise for free, only to be conned by my drama llama mama.

flo, you were certainly not the person who set my teeth on edge. Only one person did that, and I didn’t miss her and hit the wall in stating that directly to her. I do however find it very touching that you’ve read the thread and have the decency to feel embarrassed, when you have zero need to! Cheers to you! wine

But I miss a close family whom I could go back to. When the shit hits the fan, a family's the place you wish you could go back to and you long for that. But you can't. It hurts.

I hear you! I feel you.
(not in a pervy way I hasten to add)

Meerka Thu 14-Aug-14 20:03:09

slow, thank you for being brave enough to post that. I'm touched. I hope it wasn't painful, even though it has been many years.

floisme ... thank you too. I am NC with 1 family atm, went no contact with a very close female relative in the past and have very low contact with my father, sadly. None of it was what I wanted, all of it was very difficult and still haunts me years later. But without any doubt at all it was the right decision each time. It takes a LOT to get to the point where you don't invite either your father or your mother to your wedding and realise that it was the right thing to do.

I came to the conclusion that you cannot as an adult live under the thumb of people who wish to control you at every turn. You have to live your ownlife.

But I miss a close family whom I could go back to. When the shit hits the fan, a family's the place you wish you could go back to and you long for that. But you can't. It hurts.

Floisme Thu 14-Aug-14 18:56:10

Goodness I posted on the first page of this thread and didn't plan on coming back. However I've now read it all through and heard peoples' stories and feel a complete arse.

My comments were mostly a reaction to many of the mother-in-law threads that appear on here - some of which I do find quite upsetting. Also, as I said, I feel sad about never knowing any of my grandparents (although I accept that I may well have an idealised view). However those are topics for another thread entirely. I would never advocate staying in an abusive relationship and I apologise unreservedly for any upset or offence my comments may have caused.

SlowRedCar Thu 14-Aug-14 15:03:00

These are not people I would choose to asscociate with when choosing my friends- I don't see why I should change my criteria just because we have some genes in common.

Combust, good points! Indeed, toxicity is not the only valid reason for NCing family. There are many people in the world I wouldn't like myself or my children exposed to. And you are all right about ....why the heck do any of us feel we have to justify our NC actions. I'm definitely guilty of that in this thread, and in life in general. And maybe it's time I stopped feeling I have to. wine to you all.

oh and I don't mean I mind answering a question like Meerka just asked, but I am bloody stupid to waste my breath typing on someone with such set in stone, narrow-minded views as Delphi earlier on.

SlowRedCar Thu 14-Aug-14 14:55:49

Not cool. I apologise.

no worries koala, I said earlier I wasn't rubbing it in, and there was no need to apologise twice. But it does really mean a lot to me that you see what I/we mean.

have a wine on me!

but OY! make sure your seat is in the upright positiongrin

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