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?

Weathergames Tue 12-Aug-14 06:17:52

Isn't NC the new phrase for sulking? ;)

I agree OP.

bakingtins Tue 12-Aug-14 06:20:08

Only on Mumsnet! I'm always shocked by the ease with which LTB/ go NC is trotted out too.

Chipandspuds Tue 12-Aug-14 06:20:10

If you had family members like mine you'd understand wink I'd love to have a nice happy family but there we are!

sandgrown Tue 12-Aug-14 06:26:08

I am always surprised how easily people advise cutting contact with grandparents over minor issues. Is it right to deprive children of that important relationship? I grew up with no grandparents as they had all died and always felt I missed out.

combust22 Tue 12-Aug-14 06:29:52

I think that is a naiive atitude.

malteaserbunny Tue 12-Aug-14 06:31:55

I agree OP. It's a response that comes so often it surprises me. While at some point I'd love to have NC relationships aren't always easy.

Bohemond Tue 12-Aug-14 06:36:22

I agree OP. I have rarely seen the bolshiness I see on MN in real life.

dogscatsandbabies Tue 12-Aug-14 06:37:22

combust I did say I understand decisions are taken by individuals. It's the knee jerk advice to others that gets me. We are NC with DP's mum by the way. It's not our choice. I would never advise someone else that this was the solution to a problem.

HPparent Tue 12-Aug-14 06:57:01

I am no contact with my Mum. I took that decision after a long period of her abusing me and then turning on my DH and kids. Of course I feel upset but if someone just wants to scream abuse at you, that is no relationship. I have had counselling to try and come to terms with the awful things she said and did. If someone was in the same position of dealing with an utterly toxic parent/grand parent I would advise the same. Unless you are in that situation it is probably difficult to understand.

mummytime Tue 12-Aug-14 07:00:26

Have you actually read the threads?

Or to put it another way. How many people do you think read and use Mumsnet? Of those how many post a thread complaining about their family? (especially on relationships) Its a pretty small number.
Those who do tend to have pretty extreme issues.

Yes there are a few jokey "Should I leave my husband because he left the butter out of the fridge"; or "Do I go NC because my Mother has offered to babysit so I can have my hair cut in peace"; ones. But most are serious. Often people don't post until they are at the end of their tether.

Most people are also pretty reasonable, so aren't whinging about the trivial. Often those who do post, do bring up going NC themselves; even if only as "and don't tell me to go NC". (Which is because they know really/subconsciously that this should be considered seriously.)

Quite often people with toxic families need to be given permission to go NC. They are caught in Fear Obligation and Guilt. They need to know that not everyone will judge them, if they break ties. That sometimes it is much better for children not to have contact with grandparents etc. that after years of being told they are the "bad" one, maybe they are not.

Doingakatereddy Tue 12-Aug-14 07:03:17

It is incredibly hard to go NC even when the relative in question is harmful.

NC is the nuclear option & agree far too many people trot it out as an option instead of other courses of action.

There will always be posters who should go NC to protect themselves or family but I personally feel they are the exception.

Floisme Tue 12-Aug-14 07:06:19

I agree with you, op. I never knew any of my grandparents and, trust me, it leaves a hole. Of course there are cases when no contact is the only solution but I find some posts on the mother in law threads quite upsetting. I've started avoiding those threads to be honest and don't intend coming back to this one either so no need for anyone to reply.

MardyBra Tue 12-Aug-14 07:07:37

I lurked in gransnet recently and there are some heartbreaking threads by GPs who are in NC situations. Of course, it's going to be justified on many occasions, BUT I can't help feeling that sometimes it will be over something trivial.

I also agree that here on MN we're only getting one side of the story and advice to go NC should not be flung around willy-nilly.

Euphemia Tue 12-Aug-14 07:09:13

I'm actually more surprised by the people who put up with all manner of crap, verging on abuse, from people just because they're family.

combust22 Tue 12-Aug-14 07:09:49

"I never knew any of my grandparents and, trust me, it leaves a hole."- how does it "leave a hole"? If it's something you have never known, then you just live with it.

I grew up without a brother- that didn't "leave a hole".

MrsAtticus Tue 12-Aug-14 07:15:12

I agree OP, same with the LTB advice.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 07:17:08

It shocks me too. I am surprised at the number of women who see ILs as a necessary evil and would never see them without DH , or even worse send DH on his own with the children -or won't do anything simple like buy a birthday card because it 'is his mother, his responsibility'
You can have some minor personality clash and the woman is prepared to deprive their children of grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins!

There are also double standards. I started to read one from a woman whose husband couldn't stand her mother and wouldn't have anything to do with her. This was generally seemed to be the man's fault and he should make the effort. Had it been the woman who was having problems with the man's mother you can be sure he should have been standing up for his wife!

However I do find MN a parallel universe!

HappyAgainOneDay Tue 12-Aug-14 07:18:25

I have no contact with a relative (A) and life is so much easier. There's no fear of meeting (A), no wondering what I might say that will go down the wrong way, no more being on tenterhooks and worrying about anything concerning (A). Life is happier without (A).

LadyLuck10 Tue 12-Aug-14 07:18:29

Yanbu, I usually take both the threads and advice given with some doubt. You never know who really is advising you from the other side of the screen.

Floisme Tue 12-Aug-14 07:19:16

Well of course I lived with it. But all my friends had grandparents and I didn't. It used to make my wonder. If it had no effect on you then I'm very happy for you.

Anyway I really am off now, have a nice day.

Flangeshrub Tue 12-Aug-14 07:19:49

I also think too many people put up with crap because they are 'family'. My mother would be (could be?) on gransnet making people cry for her over the way she's been treated over a few minor incidents and how she never sees her grandchildren when she has treated me like a chew toy for years. I've needed years of counselling to come to the decision to go NC.

Things are very complex sometimes. When you come from a happy, settled home you can't imagine why anyone would be mean to granny. It's taken my DH 8 years to understand how evil my mother is as his mother is perfect, full of love. He didn't know some mothers DID THAT.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 07:20:51

I think you have to accept that people are different. I never knew my grandmother because she died before I was born. It leaves a hole. Someone should have the imagination to know that just because it doesn't leave a hole for them it might for their child. It would leave a huge hole finding out that my mother had deliberately made the hole- especially since I am just as likely to be like my grandmother as my mother.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 07:23:32

I can see that some people have abusive family members and have to cut contact, but advice to do so shouldn't be done without hearing both sides.
It is like LTB- written far too easily.

mummytime Tue 12-Aug-14 07:25:10

I only knew one Grandparent really - and I could have understood if my Mother had gone NC there (especially after I learnt how she had treated her DD as children). I still missed having some of the Grandparents other people had.

My DD has an Aunt, but still feels that she misses out as her Aunt is nothing like her friends Aunts and Uncles.

You can have a hole even if they are around.

sandgrown Tue 12-Aug-14 07:25:40

Combust as a child I had friends with two sets of grandparents who helped look after them in holidays etc and took them for days out and holidays. They had time to spend with them and teach them things and I was envious. A child can never have too many loving family members

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 07:30:52

I think that you need to have a very good reason. Your children will judge you on it when older.

diggerdigsdogs Tue 12-Aug-14 07:32:11

I went NC with my dad for about 8 years due to my stepmothers trea

It was the best thing EVER for our relationship which is now based in mutual respect and I no longer living in FOG.

There have been apologies all round and some tears. If I hadn't gone NC I would still be resentful and unhappy.

I wouldn't judge someone for going NC, I don't think anyone does it lightly. I agree that people put up with an awful lot of shit in te name of family.

diggerdigsdogs Tue 12-Aug-14 07:33:19

God sorry for typos.

combust22 Tue 12-Aug-14 07:38:17

Sorry- I don't get the bit about grandparents. I grew up without them and there was certainly no "hole". I did see other kids grandparents and most of them were not the rosy cheeked kindly old folk from story books. I didn't feel any sense of loss.

MardyBra Tue 12-Aug-14 07:39:14
combust22 Tue 12-Aug-14 07:51:07

THe "hole" that some talk of may be a very idealistic view of what grandparents may actually have been like in reality. All my grandparents wre dead before I was born.

I have been told that my grandmother was an alcoholic and my granfather used to regularly beat his own children with the buckle of a belt. Not sure I have missed much.

Floccinaucinihilipilificate Tue 12-Aug-14 07:59:36

FGS, do you really think someone would post with a trivial problem, be told by a poster to go NC, and they'd think, "oh what a good idea, never thought of that, that's just what I'll do"?

Just like LTB, noone is every going to decide on a course of action like that on the say so of anonymous posters on the internet, unless they desperately wanted to do it and needed to know it was ok and they were 'allowed' to remove the awful people from their lives.

MardyBra - why have you linked to that thread?

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 12-Aug-14 08:02:23

All I can say is 'lucky you!'

I am NC with my dad because he is and always has been harmful to me, and I cannot risk him being equally harmful to my children.

There are loads of people in my life I find a bit irritating, difficult to deal with and so forth. I am not NC with them. The difference is between 'a bit irritating' and constant, continual harm.

It's a painful but necessary decision. You need to look up something termed FOG. The Fear, Obligation and Guilt that keeps us going back to our toxic parents. I still do it. I know how harmful he is, and I still think 'I know, I'll reach out to him...' every now and again. It always blows up in my face.

So well done on having lots of loving people around you.

For what it's worth, I've never advised someone to go NC with someone. If their story is raising those red flags of 'I am in a relationship with a toxic person' I'll generally sound them out on what positives they're experiencing in that relationship, and how badly they think they are being harmed.

I do this largely because it's a hard, gut-wrenching decision, and nobody else can make it for you. It's hard to do, and it's unlikely to stick unless you've made it for yourself.

WeirdCatLady Tue 12-Aug-14 08:06:09

IMHO life is too short to be surrounded by toxic people. I would recommend going NC with anyone who doesn't positively contribute to your life.

As a pp said, the proportion of people on MN who go NC is actually very small compared to the total number of people.

If people chose to go NC then it is for very good reasons and I don't think anyone does it in a 'blasé' manner.

Oh, and the rosy tinted view of grandparents is never the same as reality.

MardyBra Tue 12-Aug-14 08:06:34

To show that there are often two sides to the story and that NC can cause heartbreak to GPs. I'm not saying it's not justified in many cases. But I do think MN is often to quick to advocate it based on one side of he story.

Incidentally I don't think MN advocates LTB too much. Often, the OP in those cases will be in denial/ not realising they are being abused/ too afraid to leave.

NC with GPs can be an easier option than LTB, because the poster is not on their own.

Once again, I reiterate that it is wholly justified in some cases.

MardyBra Tue 12-Aug-14 08:06:58

Sorry my answer was to Flocc

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 12-Aug-14 08:07:03

Incidentally, I don't think being NC is 'normal'. It's obviously not the usual way, and thankfully not necessary in most 'normal' relationships. 'Toxic' people are not 'normal'.

It is, however, possible and an option, and it's important that people start to recognise this. To me it's the same as it being possible and an option to leave an arse of a partner. We no longer judge people who have escaped their partner the way people did 60 or 70 years ago, and hopefully we'll get to a point where we no longer judge a person for not having a beautiful, dutiful relationship with an abusive parent/sibling.

Walk a mile in my shoes.....

TheWordFactory Tue 12-Aug-14 08:14:52

In real life, people put up with lots and lots of shit.

And they allow that shit to keep rolling down the generations. They continually expose themselves, their partners and the DC to it out of some misguided idea that going NC is simply undoable.

saltnpepa Tue 12-Aug-14 08:19:14

I think the people you are referring to have often had a lifetime of abuse and nc is the only way to survive emotionally and bring their children up in a healthy way. I wouldn't imagine people in 'normal' functioning families would choose to go nc, rather of course matters would be worked through as is 'normal'. Nc is for people from dysfunctional families where working things through has proved futile. From your post I presume you enjoy a fairly functioning family which is why you can't understand it. Lucky you.

ithoughtofitfirst Tue 12-Aug-14 08:20:39

What hobnobs said

saltnpepa Tue 12-Aug-14 08:21:08

Oh and Delphiniumsblue I think you have to have a very good reason to stay in contact with an abuser - Your children will judge you on that later in life

Not my words.

noddyholder Tue 12-Aug-14 08:21:18

Good lord only someone with no clue could think like this. It is like saying to an alcoholic just have one

combust22 Tue 12-Aug-14 08:26:29

I don't waste my time with people who have a negative influence on my life.
I don't care if we are related or hot.

A genetic accident does not make me responsible. I take all people as I find them- related or not.

combust22 Tue 12-Aug-14 08:28:20

"Not- rather than "hot"!!

Floccinaucinihilipilificate Tue 12-Aug-14 08:28:23

I've had a look at those threads before Mardy and find them tough reading. I know my mother is 'heartbroken' and will have been telling everyone she's 'tried everything' and that I'm irrational and she's done nothing wrong. But her version of 'trying everything' is alternately ignoring me and threatening me. She could have stopped this months ago but she hasn't got it in her.

But of course, some of the GP have been treated very badly, but they are not the other side of the stories you hear on here, iyswim. Different situations.

TribbleWithoutATardis Tue 12-Aug-14 08:36:19

I wish my Mum had gone non contact with her parents, the way they treated her was beyond toxic and boardering on abusive. Whenever I hear of people saying they don't have contact, I think of my Mum and her parents and get why people do it.

MrsWinnibago Tue 12-Aug-14 08:38:09

OP I know what you mean but as someone who has a decent family and a DH who also has a decent family, I think it is hard to understand the awfulness of other people's families.

There are some very odd people in the world and not all parents are nice to be around.

noddyholder Tue 12-Aug-14 08:38:47

No one should ever tolerate an abusive relationship no matter who the a abuser is.

Vitalstatistix Tue 12-Aug-14 08:38:48

I wouldnt worry. I seriously doubt that anyone has made such a huge decision about a fundamentally decent person with whom they've had a minor altication because a stranger on the internet told them to.
By the time people start disclosing their personal business to strangers on the web and asking for their input, theyve already taken so much shit and been made to feel so awful that theyve made their decision already and what you are actually seeing is some sort of validation seeking, conscious or unconscious.
and why should anyone take a lifetime of crap from someone due to an accident of birth?
people should not be made to feel bad for making a difficult decision by people who have not actually had to suffer the relationship. People dont cut ties lightly. We have to trust that people actually make their own choices and not fool ourselves that we actually have power tomake people do things they dont want to do and which isnt right for them.

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 12-Aug-14 08:40:29

Huge sympathy to you, Flocc.

I'm fortunate as these things go; Dad doesn't give the tiniest of rat's arses about my children. I should never have had them as far as he is concerned. I gave up the glittering political career that he was determined I should have for children.

Of course if people wanted his side of the story, to hear him tell it he has wonderful grandchildren who he adores. He talks about them all the time, apparently. In the community, he's seen as a great family man. In reality, he saw my children for maybe an hour every 6 months or so, and this was when I was allowing contact and making an effort to call him.

He doesn't know about his grandson's SEN, or how difficult life is for him. He didn't care when his granddaughter was fighting for his life in hospital. I mean, he literally didn't care - it's not just that he didn't visit her, it's that he couldn't be bothered to call, and when I called him, he changed the subject to something about him. It's not a surprise, he told people her name was something else for twelve weeks (not a similar name - something that was on a longlist from months earlier that we'd gone off but he really liked). After I corrected him, I was made to feel bad that he'd got it wrong. 'But I've told people now!' like it was my fault that he'd put himself in an embarrassing situation.

Note - I did tell him what her name was. My mother told him what her name was. He just wasn't engaged enough to pay attention.

The level of grandfathering he actually wants is pictures of my children to show to people so that they can see how wonderful a man he is. He's not going to be chasing me down for contact any time soon, for which I'm hugely grateful.

DaisyFlowerChain Tue 12-Aug-14 08:40:45

It is said too often on here and you only get one persons version of events so not the whole picture.

It's a bit like LTB for any little thing he does or thinks. Either it's just said or there are some men who must never utter a word and work 24 hours a day just to get to stay in their homes.

Walkacrossthesand Tue 12-Aug-14 08:41:34

One thing that puzzles me is - how would I know if someone I know felt our relationship was toxic, and went NC with me? Isn't one aspect of 'toxicity' the lack of insight of the toxic person 'it's all about them'; so if someone decided I was toxic, and went NC, my attempts to make contact with the person who (to me) had inexplicably vanished from sight, would be construed as 'trying to reel them back in for more abuse' etc.
This is all hypothetical, no-one I know has gone NC, but it bothers me! Things can look so different to the 2 people on each side of a situation.

nakedmolerat Tue 12-Aug-14 08:43:24


I am in the final throws of my decision to go NC with my Dad. I no longer feel GUILT because he dumped his own family for his GFs and has made no effort to be a GP to my children. He chooses them over us in every small way. When I have had some very serious issues in my life he has not been interested in helping me out (but will bend over backwards for DGFs family) so I don't feel GUILT. His DGF likes to go for my jugular every time I see her and insult me, my children and lovely husband whilst he stands there and tells me to keep the peace and be the better person. Because of this over 20 years I do not feel any obligation to treat him like a father. Since I no longer feel OBLIGATION or GUILT I no longer FEAR the consequences of what will happen if I fall out with him.

My siblings are horrified that I am thinking of NC and are annoyed that I am going to cause trouble but I don't feel like he is my Dad anymore and I just don't feel daughterly love toward him. Yesterday I called him up only to speak to his GF who insulted me 3 times in one sentence. Today I actually feel depressed about the decision but am not prepared to hang around anymore waiting for him to throw me a baby sardine.

KristinaM Tue 12-Aug-14 08:45:56

When you have a loving happy family, it can be hard to understand that not everyone is so lucky

One of the great things about Mumsnet is that it can give you an insight into other peoples lives . And perhaps gain a little empathy

I recommend this to you OP

dogscatsandbabies Tue 12-Aug-14 08:49:39

So I have another question and I GENUINELY don't mean this to be inflammatory, I'm just interested. Of those of you who have chosen NC with a relative or parent have your siblings / aunts / uncles done the same? Is this person toxic to all family and friends or do they single you out?

NacMacFeeglie Tue 12-Aug-14 08:50:38

I am always more surprised and shocked by what people will put up with in the name of family.

Is it just me that thinks (safety of children etc aside) most problems are at least worth working on?

Define most problems OP, where is the line in the sand?

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 12-Aug-14 08:53:44

if someone decided I was toxic, and went NC, my attempts to make contact with the person who (to me) had inexplicably vanished from sight, would be construed as 'trying to reel them back in for more abuse' etc.

My feeling on this is; if someone is toxic, they will not respect the other person's wish to not be around them.

If someone disappeared from your life, and was cagey or ignoring you repeatedly, then my guess is that you would just ask; is there something I've done?

If they came back to you and said 'yes, you've been trying to control me as long as you have known me. I find it really difficult when you step in an insist things are done a certain way. You aren't interested in me even remotely; I feel you didn't even know what I'm going through. Every time I suggest something different, something for me, you cry and make me feel so guilty that I end up trying harder to please you. In short, I'm feeling as though I'm being pushed out of myself because I'm so caught up in being the person you want...'

Well, you'd be hurt, obviously. What happens after the pain is what counts though.

If you were toxic, you might find yourself having panic attacks that they really should know about, or having a heart tremor that needs investigating so they'd come back and help you through that difficult time. (My dad's mum has had two weeks to live for 3 years now. He's contacted everybody to ask them to tell me that I must visit her, it's real this time, she's about to die...') In short, you'd attempt to manipulate the other person into coming back to you. That's what toxic people do; they manipulate other people in order to get their way.

Then, the chances are you'd conveniently forget that they ever pulled you up on your behaviour. It simply didn't happen. Everything's fine and always has been. You are wonderful.

If you were non-toxic, you would sadly agree that the person didn't want you in their life and you'd let them move on and you'd move on yourself.

combust22 Tue 12-Aug-14 08:55:33

dogs- I have no idea how my other relatives relate to each other.
I have 5 aunts, 3 uncles and 23 cousins on my father's side and I don't know where any of them live. Perhaps they all keep in touch I have no idea.
It has been 5 years since I have seen my sister.

Fairywhitebear Tue 12-Aug-14 08:56:56

I haven't spoken to my MIL since 2 weeks after our wedding day (which she tried to ruin) when she screamed down the phone at me telling me I wasn't welcome in 'her family'

She has only met our toddler DD 3 times (once at the wedding!) and hasn't met our newborn at all.

She is the one missing out. Frankly, life is easier without someone who is clearly unstable with a nasty edge.

Mind you, it would help enormously if FIL would actually listen and agree to help sort out what the issues are. Pretending that a load of crap didn't happen is not a solution!

Walkacrossthesand Tue 12-Aug-14 08:57:10

Thanks looking, that makes a lot of sense.

MardyBra Tue 12-Aug-14 08:58:02

I can see I'm qualified to comment compared to some of the very sad situations on this thread so will bow out. My comments had been based on threads I'd seen in the past where I felt NC was being advocated for relatively minor transgressions. Nothing more.


Walkacrossthesand Tue 12-Aug-14 09:00:01

PS I guess non toxic people are also prepared to apologise if they've upset people they care about.

maddy68 Tue 12-Aug-14 09:00:52

I think it's more a mumsnet thing. In real life I know very few people who are actually nc

MardyBra Tue 12-Aug-14 09:01:35

Sorry. NOT qualified.

baskingseals Tue 12-Aug-14 09:03:20

You don't know how you would behave in certain situations unless it happens to you, what you think you would do, and what you would actually do can be two different things.

I think mumsnet is invaluable for offering people trapped in a cycle of unhappiness a way out - a realisation that it is okay not to be involved with people who do not have your best interests at heart, and who never will have.

It is freedom to be the person you are. Something that you take for granted if you are lucky enough to be surrounded by family who geniunely want your happiness.

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 12-Aug-14 09:05:50

Of those of you who have chosen NC with a relative or parent have your siblings / aunts / uncles done the same? Is this person toxic to all family and friends or do they single you out?

My siblings are not NC, but none of them chase down contact; they don't really have a relationship with him one way or another. I'm the only one who's actively avoiding him.

They all know that I'm NC. My sister understands completely why I've done it and is quite protective of me - she holds no truck with his attempts to use her to get in contact with me. My brothers know and accept it but they don't quite understand it. I haven't ever shared with them what was happening.

Our relationships with him are all quite different. This will often be the case in dysfunctional families - one or several children are treated differently to the other siblings. Dad used to delight in setting me above my other siblings, and had me dancing on the end of his rope. He loved the discord between us children. I was his project, the others were given a lot more freedom from him. I was taught to fight them to protect him. By the time he left, I felt as though he was throwing me into the enemy's pit.

Our relationship was intense and incredibly twisted. He had me wanting to marry him. I literally wanted to take my mother's place.

Because of that intensity, that smothering, suffocating desperate need to be everything that he expected me to be, he and I were just different, and I was very damaged.

If we'd have continued down that road, with me fighting the others for his sake, I'd have ended up as his and I'd lose them. Having spent my late teens and early adulthood recovering, I'm hugely grateful that I ended up with them and not him.

deakymom Tue 12-Aug-14 09:07:56

my grandparents were lovely my mom is not my fil is not nice either i don't think not speaking to them affects my children if anything my middle child is determined never to speak to grandad again as he was there when a massive incident occurred thats the main issue with fil batter your brother by all means but don't do it on a,your grandchild's birthday and b,less than a foot from both of your grandchildren when they can't get away forcing your son to get involved and drag you off you should not try to get your son arrested for dragging you off nor should you rant vocally that the grandkids should be destroyed and are not even your grandkids

jesus christ himself would have to intervene before he speaks to grandad again right now he never wants to speak again

Whoyouse Tue 12-Aug-14 09:09:55

Completely agree with you OP. In cases of abuse yes it's probably justified but if I'm correct this isn't actually what she is talking about. It's the ones who suggest that a husband not buying you a present for your birthday is being borderline abusive and that you should take the children and leave immediately, or that a grandparent has fed your baby a bit of banana and the answer is to stop all contact and forbid them from being alone with the child from this point forwards. Happens regularly.

BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 09:14:33

most problems are at least worth working on?

Totally disagree.

Most poster do give clear reasons for their problems and usually involve years of suffering with a mad mil to contend with who wont listen, yadayadayada

BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 09:15:07

who I have never seen it happen regularly at all.

PetulaGordino Tue 12-Aug-14 09:15:40

women are constantly being told that they have to compromise, to work on relationships, make allowances for other people etc. frequently this means putting up with an awful lot of shit for the sake other people, that threatens their own mental (and sometimes physical) health and happiness

these decisions aren't taken lightly, but i do think that more women should be encouraged to focus on the positive relationships in their lives, that support them and make a positive difference to their lives

Aeroflotgirl Tue 12-Aug-14 09:16:27

Some families are so toxic and detrimental to health that NC is better than suffering years of emotional abuse. Not all families are the Walton's. Some op families on here are that, op is unhappy, family wether it's PIL or parents are so horrid to the op, despite them bending over backwards to please them, sometimes NC is tge only way. I went NC with my toxic sister, she resented me from the word go, she was 21 when I was born, and admitted to me as an adult she wished I wasn't born. When I was a child, the put downs, treated differently. Low level emotional abuse. One day I just had enough and dident bother anymore, distanced myself. Best thing I've done, I am a much happier person now.

You don't have a clue, some families are awful abusers.

KristinaM Tue 12-Aug-14 09:17:21

I don't recognise this Mumsnet you are taking about

Here I generally see lots of threads where women who have struggled for years with very difficult problems are offered help and support .

Of course there are a few bonkers threads and some equally off the wall replies. But usually posters with genuine serious issues are given mostly well balanced advice, from a range of perspectives

BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 09:17:29


I think mumsnet is invaluable for offering people trapped in a cycle of unhappiness a way out - a realisation that it is okay not to be involved with people who do not have your best interests at heart, and who never will have

Yes yes and yes....again.

Society in all its forms makes us think we have to put up with constant negative behaviours no matter what they are, because its your mum or MIL doing it.

The tales of woe, people so miserable they cant enjoy thier lives, their self esteem rock bottom, no one understands....and MN has brought together many many women like this and said - actually there is another way...the way to freedom and happiness...

Thebodyloveschocolateandwine Tue 12-Aug-14 09:17:49

Very lovely for you op.

Now in the real world some families contain vile people in them that you are best away from.

No one makes this decision lightly and I have never ever seen anyone on mumsnet advise going non contact or LTB on a whim.

It's extremely commen in RL.

dogscatsandbabies Tue 12-Aug-14 09:18:48


My idea of most problems is most problems I have faced. And I am lucky and grateful to say that there are a lot of things I haven't faced. But generally my approach is 'can I see the other point of view?' And even if I still disagree with it, if I can understand it then there is a starting point. I can see from responses that there are areas I have no experience or right to comment on. Point taken.

I do fully recognise BTW that there are some situations when NC is clearly best and if you read my original post you'll see my qualm is with the brief advice to others without knowing the whole situation, not necessarily the act of going NC.

BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 09:19:50

Of course there are a few bonkers threads and some equally off the wall replies. But usually posters with genuine serious issues are given mostly well balanced advice, from a range of perspectives

Loads more serious issues needing help than one or two frivolous.

I know, its a topic I watch with interest due to my own massive PIL problems...and I get advice and try and support also.

If you have lived this see it in others and can tell when someone is suffering, perhaps if you have no experience of it, you are able to take it lightlu and no write it off.

KristinaM Tue 12-Aug-14 09:20:47

Well no one " knows the whole situation " , either or Mn or in real life

We only know what others choose to tell us or show us

I'm prepared to believe that on occasion some posters may give a knee-jerk reaction of 'Go NC' when the situation doesn't warrant it.

However, I've yet to read a thread in which that occurs, and so I think it's pretty rare.

Also, yes, toxic people are often unaware of how crazy their behaviour is, or how much damage they do to others. The world tends to be centred around them, and anything you do is all about them.

I went NC with my mother for a while. If you read a thread by her talking about our relationship, it would certainly come across as heartbreaking. Why doesn't my daughter want me to stay with her? I just want us to be as close as we were before. She doesn't let me into her life any more, it's so sad.

You'd need to speak to me to find out that she tried to kill herself when I was 12 and told me it was my fault, or that she said I'd pass on a 'generation of hate' to my own children, or that when he was a child she told my younger brother he was a 'parasite, worse than a tapeworm'. Just a few choice examples.

If you haven't experienced this stuff yourself, it's hard to see why you would cut someone out of your life. But believe me, a hole is better than the presence of someone who constantly attacks and undermines you, and who will do the same to your own children.

In response to dogs' question: toxic families tend to have certain dynamics. A toxic parent may, for example, run the 'golden child/scapegoat' game, in which one child is held up as a shining example while the other is put down and abused. There are also often gender issues involved. A father may treat his daughter terribly because he has contempt for women, and raise his son to be a version of himself. In these cases, the scapegoat or the reviled daughter may choose to go NC, while the golden child or brother remain in the family. It's complicated.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 12-Aug-14 09:22:07

Why should women have to compromise their own mental health and well being, to please a toxic family member, you would not put up with that from any other person, why because you are related does one have to put up with it! It's not taken lightly, sometimes it's years of emotional abuse, toxic behaviour, that it all gets too much. Op usually has tried her best, putting up with a lot of abuse from the family member that not only compromises her mental well being, but the toxic behaviour seeps onto her chikdren, so they can become affected. Yes yabvvvvu not all families are lovely.

noddyholder Tue 12-Aug-14 09:25:02

Ime people do not go NC lightly or on the advice of just a faceless Internet forum it is far more traumatic than that and the OP would do well to have a bit more respect for something that is frankly like an illness when you are in the grip of it MN at its worst here

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 12-Aug-14 09:25:38

OP, can I ask you a question?

Can you imagine the level of pain someone must feel when they finally, slowly, come to the realisation that their parent does not love them. Moreover, this is often a parent that they've often spent a lifetime running themselves ragged to please.

It's a special kind of pain.

Dad was never secretive about not having wanted me. A family 'joke' he used to tell was 'I was asked - you have a boy and a girl, what do you want next? And I said 'a miscarriage...'

That was his attitude to me.

It was never a secret that he never wanted me. I thought, if I worked really, really hard, I could change that and make him love me. I was frantic about it. I got all the best grades at school ('98%? What happened to the other 2%?' was another hilarious 'joke'.) I made his hobbies my hobbies so we'd have a reason to hang out. I would staunchly defend him to anyone. I'd get the boot in with my siblings when there were row between them. I was the child and I made it my mission to defend him. He was not going to defend me ever.

He assaulted me a couple of times. I'm not talking about the smack round the back of the legs form of usual punishment. On one occasion he grabbed me and my brother by the hair and cracked our heads together. Another time he picked me up, shook me hard and flung me into a chair. I was totally to blame and at fault here (the first time he misconstrued a conversation I was having with my brother and the second time I had 'cheeked' his friends when they were visiting). All of this I fully believed to be my fault.

So there was I, a child, working my socks off to be the perfect being so that he would love me. And then, when I was 16, he did something that made it utterly apparent that it had not worked. I was not good enough for him.

I didn't go NC with him then. It wasn't until I had children and I suddenly realised how the parent/child relationship should work that I realised that what he had done to me for all those years was harmful. It wasn't until then that I realised that nobody who loved me could have possibly have done what he did. Not just the smacking and the assaults, but the whole package of 'you must not be who you are - you must only be the person I want'.

It was a hard, chokingly horrible time.

And yes, I still, every now and again, reach out to him because god-dammit I still want my father to love me.

The good news is, I've now had a bucketload of therapy, and that's helping with all of the pain a lot. So y'know, it's not all bad!

PetulaGordino Tue 12-Aug-14 09:27:55

women are taught to please and put their own needs last so often, even when it is actively damaging to their own selves. i'm so grateful that there is a place on the internet where people are saying "you don't have to do that", even if they don't follow that, the option is opened up to them

noddyholder Tue 12-Aug-14 09:29:42

Like being slapped in the face repeatedly and then seeing them once more in case they have changed only to find they slap,you again but harder

dogscatsandbabies Tue 12-Aug-14 09:30:48


This thread has been an education. Of course I cannot imagine that and it sickens me that any parent would treat their child in such a way.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 12-Aug-14 09:36:08

Sometimes it takes outside objective opinion to confirm what you already know. Some peoples behaviour is so out of this world that any rational person cannot see the other side of it! How can you see the otherside of abuse! Sometimes you will never measure up to that toxic persons expectation, you never will so why put yourself through that, life is too short so you have to do what's best fir you and your children! No op, if you have never been on the receiving end of a toxic family member you will never understand. We advise on what op has written, often it is harrowing to read, years of abuse they have had to endure, how the toxic family member is starting on their children. Sometimes NC is tge only way!

ithoughtofitfirst Tue 12-Aug-14 09:43:11

Being bullied by someone in your own family is, as looking said, a special kind of pain.

I'm glad this thread has educated you OP.

Dogs, I think you're going to catch some flack here because of your thread title.

You do say in your post that you understand that some people go NC for good reasons, and you've said in the thread that you don't have experience of toxic family situations and so bow to others' knowledge on that front.

However, your title says that you're shocked at how many people think having no contact with family is normal.

This implies that having no contact with your family is abnormal and morally questionable, and also that it is undertaken lightly. Which is going to get a lot of people upset, for understandable reasons.

It also suggests that most people who are NC are NC for frivolous reasons, with only a small minority who have genuine complaints. I'd suggest that in fact there are, sadly, more abusive people out there than you think. Closed doors and all that.

I hope the responses here will give you some new perspectives on the issue, as I think you've asked a genuine question which was just framed in an unfortunate way.

Ah, just seen your last post.

BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 09:46:54

* Some peoples behaviour is so out of this world that any rational person cannot see the other side of it! How can you see the otherside of abuse!


If you marry into a twisted dynamic it can also creep on you slowly....and before you know where you are, your run down, you dont make desicions in your own family as DH lets PILS do this, etc etc

gobbynorthernbird Tue 12-Aug-14 09:49:10

dogs, I'm NC with my father. His only other family are a brother who has minimal contact (they're on facebook but haven't met in person for over 10 years), and my brother. My brother sees things differently to me, as he never lived with my dad (parents split when he was newborn), and my dad's violence/loathing was only directed at females.
However, over the last couple of years my dad's drinking has got worse and he finds it difficult to keep up the front he used to. My brother is starting to realise that it wasn't me exaggerating or being 'mental'. I don't know if my brother will go NC with dad, but he is certainly more understanding of why I am.

OneCabbageTree Tue 12-Aug-14 09:57:05

I totally acknowledge that, for some people, NC is the best thing for them.

But, I see what you're saying OP about how tricky it is to give advice without seeing both sides.

I have 2 family members who have had a falling out and barely speak, and having spent a lot of time with both of them and their friends/families, sometimes I think part of the problem is each of them receiving well-meaning advice from people who have only heard their side of the story so taken the side of whoever's told them and inadvertently enabled bad behaviors as a result. For example, A doesn't say Happy Birthday to B, B a declares that this is the final straw as proof A doesn't care and doesn't deserve their time (while being encouraged by friends who have never met A), without being aware that A is actually very ill so can't be in touch.

I know that's a fickle example, but all I can think of at present ...

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 12-Aug-14 09:58:15

Sorry, just in case you thought you were getting a thrashing from me, OP, I am sorry. As you can tell, it's like being poked in a very raw place!

I'm perfectly happy with being asked questions about it, particularly when people are genuinely interested in hearing the answers.

This sort of thread stirs me up, largely because there will be some people who will pass it off as 'sulking'.

What doesn't make it easy for anyone is that one way of trying to manipulate someone else is, of course, by not talking to them. The freezing you out or 'writing you out of the will' things can be used to manipulate others.

I can't very easily articulate what the difference is. I suppose the manipulation carries a rider 'I won't talk to you unless you...'

With going NC, Dad would have to have a whole personality transplant, not just do one thing, then another thing, then another. I don't want to have him in my life because of the way he continually makes me feel. He can't stop doing that.

Plus - I'm not asking him to change. I don't require him to change. I have found an alternative way of getting through life without expecting him to change. I suppose that's the difference. He is absolutely allowed to be who he is - I am absolutely allowed to not have him in my life.

To be honest, I still live in vague hope that he'll mellow with age which might make it possible for me to be around him.

HauntedNoddyCar Tue 12-Aug-14 10:01:21

I don't think it is seen as normal by people who are NC let alone those who aren't. Most people who are NC are acutely aware and quite sad that they have had to go down that route and not have a normal relationship. Nobody choses to be treated so badly that walking away is the only choice.

DH had no idea how normal families really worked, how disfunctional the relationship between him and his father was until he became a father and saw how he and other fathers interacted with and felt about their dc.

But actually we didn't chose NC. We were told not to contact him unless we behaved.

This part has been airbrushed out of his tale of woe. As he always does. I can imagine the post on Gransnet and you'd be weeping at DH's perfidy

Looking, you are right about the manipulation.

I was trying to find a way of expressing that, and you have done it very well by saying that manipulative silence is always a punishment, whereas going NC is simply to do with protecting yourself.

For manipulative people, silence and withdrawal are tools, used to force the other person into resuming contact under the manipulative person's rules.

For those who go NC, they do it because there is no hope of change. It is not about the other person. It is about survival.

TheFirmament Tue 12-Aug-14 10:05:02

While it might seem like it's something that people bandy about, what actually shocks me is the amount of appalling, abusive, manipulative, selfish and vicious behaviour perpetrated by family members, especially mothers and MILs very sad to say (because I am a feminist and don't want to see older women behave like this, but so many of them do). Stories on here and from friends, as well as my own experience of my toxic parents, tell me it's quite common yet there is a huge amount of social and family pressure to endure it because it's relatives.

I'm on the verge of going NC with my mum, and have been NC with my dad for years. My dad was easier, because he was SO beyond the pale, an absolute monster, mentally cruel, manipulative, childish and a (now convicted) paedophile. With my mum it's taken decades for me to get to this point because she is very clever at dressing up her vicious abuse as "concern" and trying to control me with presents and portraying herself as a lovely person. She brought me up to meet her emotional needs, reflect what she wanted to hear back at her and take responsibility for her feelings. The guilt I feel at the thought of hurting her is overwhelming, and if and when I do hurt her, or even dare to criticize at all, she plays the victim, cries and begs me not to "tell her off" hmm.

And because I've found all this so hard to walk away from, I've endured over 40 years of having my appearance, weight, tastes and preferences picked to shreds, my secrets told to everyone, physical inappropriateness and lack of boundaries, being told my DP and kids are all subnormal or mentally ill, dealing with her hysterical needy meltdowns and demands, and like Looking said, the pain of deep down gradually realising that your parent does not really give a shit about you. All they want is for you to give them the positive feedback they need. You don't exist. My mum knowns nothing about who I am. It is all one-way, all about meeting her needs, treading on eggshells and being told I'm just like her.

If a friend had treated me like that they would be out of my life within days or weeks, and rightly so. But going NC with your mum is such a massive, massive taboo. One of the things I LOVE about MN is it's a place where the whole idea can be openly discussed and you will find people who understand and will present you with the possibility.

Because one thing you need if you do decide to go NC, is to go over the idea again and again and think about it and try to get your head round it.

YY, noddy.

Being NC with a family member is not seen as normal by those who have to do it.

I never felt that being NC with my mum was normal. Especially because so many people who have never experienced abuse say helpful things like 'But it's your mum!'

All I ever wanted was a normal family, but there's no hope of that. The best I can do is try and create it in my generation.

nakedmolerat Tue 12-Aug-14 10:10:46

It wasn't until I had children and I suddenly realised how the parent/child relationship should work that I realised that what he had done to me for all those years was harmful.

Yes, that is when the penny dropped for me too. You ask yourself if you could ever bring yourself to treat your child like that and if the answer is NO, then you realise that this person doesn't love you how your deserve to be loved and that it is better to have no relationship than a toxic one.

TheFirmament Tue 12-Aug-14 10:11:13

God yes Looking and Adam, totally, totally, NC is NOT about punishing the other person, sulking, or withdrawing to make a point.

In fact, one of the things that makes it extra hard for me to do it is that my mum will spin it that way. She will, as she does with everything, take is as a form of engagement and she will go beserk.

I just want to not have to deal with her endless hurting, bullshit and the guilt I feel when I see her. That is all.

The first time I was pregnant, I just wished my mum lived on a different planet because of the neediness and obnoxiousness I knew was going to rain down on me WRT having a baby. That's all I wished - just that she could be millions of miles away. Not to hurt her. if I could do without hurting her, it would have already happened.

thanks for Firmament.

Your mum sounds horrendous. And spookily familiar.

'Being told I'm just like her' - in some ways the worst thing they do. Because you spend the rest of your life examining yourself for signs that you might secretly be like them, or turn into them, because there's some bit of mental muck that you forgot to get rid of.


BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 10:18:50

'Being told I'm just like her' - in some ways the worst thing they do. Because you spend the rest of your life examining yourself for signs that you might secretly be like them, or turn into them, because there's some bit of mental muck that you forgot to get rid of


BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 10:20:01

As you can tell, it's like being poked in a very raw place!


MommyBird Tue 12-Aug-14 10:25:05

I've been NC with my MIL for almost a year now.

From my experience, there is only so much you can tolerate because 'its my mum' so much stuff was brushed under the carpet, she was getting away with doing and saying anything she wanted and she knew she could because she was never confronted...when she was she managed to turn it all back onto us and somehow make it all our fault.

It was a complete headfuck and emotionaly draining.

The last straw was how she acted when i was in labour with DD2 and how she was afterwards.
She had no boundries and no respect, she would deny saying thing, lie and manipulate.

She doesn't see 'her' side of the family because of how they act..i see now that it's all her.

You can't talk or reason with toxic people, nothing is their fault and they're allways the victim.

It wasn't an easy choice, I put up with it for 4 years, I even had councilling. I told DH that i didn't want to see her anymore, he could see her asmuch as he wanted but I couldn't do it anymore.
He decided he didn't want to see either.

If you speak to her though, she will say she has no idea what she's done wrong and she is heartbroken she is missing out on the kids lives.
When in reality, she has spread lies and has never been bothered about or DDs, picks and drops them whenever she feels like and just can't bothered with them.

OP you're lucky you don't have toxic people in your life!

noddyholder Tue 12-Aug-14 10:26:01

This is not about 'being in a huff' as so many think. That minimises it and then some It is about being constantly attacked by the very people who should love you unconditionally sometimes in teh most clever and subtle ways

TheFirmament Tue 12-Aug-14 10:29:45

Thank you adam, and for you too.

" 'But it's your mum!' " Oh yes. I've had "but he's your dad" for years, and now "but she's your mum". And this is exactly one of the pressures that make it so hard. How can you be such a bitch, eh!!?

When my dad finally landed up in court for his crimes, and my siblings and I had to testify, I was asked why we were being "so vindictive" to a frail old man. By a friend. Thanks for that.

I also totally agree about having children. That was really what started me on the road away from my mum. I looked at my newborns and loved them for who there were, and realised neither of them was in any way a mini-me. For my mum, that was the greatest thing about having me, her firstborn - I was just a smaller version of her - and she's always delighted in telling me this. My babies showed me that's not what it's about at all!

And I just can't imagine saying awful things to my child about her body to make her feel like shit. I can't imagine telling my child I'm not proud of his achievements because they are nothing to do with me. And all the other hurtful crap. How could she?

tiggytape Tue 12-Aug-14 10:30:47

There are some very good reasons people go NC and it is obviously nothing to do with punishment - it is 100% self preservation.
Some of the stories and backgrounds are just awful and they really have no choice in order to protect themselves and their own children.

But I do agree with the OP too - there have been threads where people are advised to go NC over what is essentially a bit of a personality clash of the kind that all families have to some extent.
Every family has a difficult or stroppy or needy or self centred member and most people learn to get along with them just enough to maintain harmony for the sake of the wider family unit.
There are threads where people seem to say that there is no need to make any such effort to tolerate someone when you can just cut them out instead. I don't understand advocating NC in those situations not least because family is important, none of us are perfect and you cannot just avoid every person in life that is difficult (again not talking about the extreme and abusive examples here)

NacMacFeeglie Tue 12-Aug-14 10:34:53

I had a problem with my girls a few weeks back. My elder was accused of doing something and my younger confirmed it. Only to find out two days later my younger had lied because she was worried her friends would fall out with her if she told the truth.

I sat them down and explained to younger about lying. Then I went on to explain that family is important. Families should be loyal to each other and support each other.

Then I went and had a cup of tea and thought if they knew the truth about my family they would call me a liar. Thank god I can try to bring them up and show them what a loving supportive family can be like.

For a lot of people going nc is incredibly hard. We all were children once that just wanted a normal family. Some of us were lucky enough to get it. The rest of us live our lives without the security and warmth of a happy family. Some of us are fine with that. Some of us will always suffer with self esteem issues and generally wondering why it couldn't be that way.

All of us that choose to do it will be doing it to protect ourselves from a far worse hurt. The hurt of having a family that cause you pain.

I don't think people are too quick to suggest nc. I think people are quick to say that can be an option. That if that's what's needed then it's okay.

RonaldMcDonald Tue 12-Aug-14 10:36:21

I have NC with my father. I wish my mother had been able to do this when we were children. This is a reasoned decision.

I am divorced and my children see their father everyday. He is a good man and a great father <but a shocking husband>
They all adore each other.

SlowRedCar Tue 12-Aug-14 10:36:22

I think it's more a mumsnet thing. In real life I know very few people who are actually nc

maddy68, it might (or might not) surprise you to know that many people don’t exactly publish this kind of information. I have been NC with my parents for over 20 years, but it’s not something I brag about or disclose willy nilly to all around me. It's fairly sensitive stuff for me, and I am guarded in who I share it with. In normal conversation I talk about my parents, in a normal way, I have never done the "paint them black" thing, except with a tiny group of very close friends. Many people just assume I have normal (if somewhat limited due to geography) contact with them. It’s not that I lie about being NC, more that I just adopt a kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with everyone except very close friends.

I worked fairly closely with someone for 11 years and after a trip home they casually asked how my parents were, to which I answered, “fine I assume, but I didn’t see them on my trip home, and haven’t seen them for over 20 years as I went no-contact with them years ago as they were abusive”. I only replied that way because I was asked so directly. If the question had been more along the lines of “how as everything with your family back home?” I would have answered as I usually do with “fine thanks, it was great seeing them all”.

I think what I am trying to say in a roundabout way is, don’t just assume that you don’t know people in real life who are NC with their parents. As the years go by, of course more and more people in an ever widening circle of friends, family, colleagues, neighbours and casual acquaintances know I am NC with my parents, but it has taken in excess of 20 years for this “circle who do know” to be as wide as it now is, and only part of that circle is due to my actually telling them. I would guess that a good two thirds know because they have been told “via via”. And, they only knew 5 or 8 or 10 or 15 years after the NC was established.

Things aint always how they appear to be on the surface.

I think that what's emerging from the stories here is a pattern. There are certain attitudes and actions which are common to most abusive behaviour.

For instance, I can read gobby's post about her dad, and Firmament's about her mum, and they are virtually identical patterms of behaviour to my own parents'.

For those who have experienced it, when you see certain incidents outlined in a post, you know them to be 'red flags'.

If you haven't experienced them, they don't mean the same thing. Therefore you may read the post and think, 'What! People are suggesting that the OP's mum/dad/husband is being abusive, when all they've said is that they did X and X, or said X.' But that's not all they've said. It's about what those things are symptoms of: a lack of boundaries, the treatment of a child as an extension of a parent, a violent attitude towards women, etc. These indicate that the person you are dealing with is not a reasonable person, not someone OK at heart who's been a bit crass or had a bad day.

I suspect that this may be why those with no experience of abuse read certain threads as 'over-reactions'.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 12-Aug-14 10:42:10

Whoever described it as sulking at the beginning of the thread is minimising the toxic relatives abusive and awful behaviour. That's an insult, if you read some of the harrowing abuse and treatment suffered by some on here!

TheFirmament Tue 12-Aug-14 10:42:22

Absolutely redcar! And one of the reasons I don't tend to broadcast it is because if someone does ask outright, and I say "actually I am estranged from my dad and haven't seen him for 20 years", then I'm likely to get the response "But he's your dad!" Which makes me feel horrendous.

I don't actually blame people for saying that, of course it's good that there are people who have nice parents they are close to, and can't contemplate the idea of cutting off a family member.

MommyBird Tue 12-Aug-14 10:42:59

My MIL used the 'can't we just start again?'

No. Because there is no closure. She will have got away with everything with no apology and will continue doing everything she has done.
She thinks that the way she has behaved is fine and isn't sorry for ANY of it.

For an example, a few weeks after i'd given birth she told people I have an eating disorder and that's why I was so thin!
When I asked her about it and had told her that really upset me..she said that yes, she had told people that because i'm so thin.

She thinks that ok, thats an ok thing to do and didn't even say sorry, she tried to justify saying it.

If you offend someone, normal people say sorry.
That's what you're dealing with.

PetulaGordino Tue 12-Aug-14 10:44:47

i can remember as a child some of my friends "didn't see" x uncle and aunt, y grandparent. it wasn't something that was talked about often but it did happen. of course in those days there were fewer lines of communication if you didn't see people in person (letter or landline phone)

mumsnet is brilliant at helping people to see that although they might not be ready for complete no contact, it is a valid option and it's not a sign of failure on their part that the relationship isn't going to improve

BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 10:45:11

I had to go no contact with my sister, it was very very painful, being in contact with her and very depressing and painful going NC with her.

I have learned the hard way its the only way and her behaviour is how some of you are describing your parents.

If someone told me I was in a huff with her I think I would punch them.

drudgetrudy Tue 12-Aug-14 10:46:15

I think there are two sides to this-for some people from abusive backgrounds NC is the only way forward for self-preservation.
However I agree with OP that sometimes it is trotted out on here as standard advice if someone is just a bit of a PITA. or makes too many demands.
Is there never a middle way like negotiating and setting boundaries. (I do know some people don't respond well to this but perseverance can do the trick).
There is one particular poster on relationships who seems well-respected but terrifies me-she makes assumptions-recommends NC in all cases whilst not knowing the people involved etc etc -she thinks nearly everyone is a complete narcissit even if they are just getting on someones nerves or have made them very upset over one incident.
She doesn't seem to think anyone is capable of change.

Having said that some people are complete narcissists and abusers and I have every sympathy for their family members. NC can be best for them.
A big responsibilt to advise people on here though-particularly if they are stressed and venting-better to direct them to RL help and counselling.

BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 10:47:46

I'm likely to get the response "But he's your dad!"

I was once told,...." We all want to support our parents when they get elderly and do the best we can for them* For people like this - its utterly shocking to think someone has cut out their parents or PILS and its YOU they think are the shocking one.

Firmament, you're seriously spooking me a bit wink

I was the firstborn, I was 'mini-me'.

My mother named me two names that mean 'helper and protector' in the original language. And that's just what I ended up doing. Being a carer to a grown woman who told me completely inappropriate things and called me 'thoughtless' when I didn't toe the line, and 'over-sensitive' when I was upset by her.

Goodness me, MN should start charging by the post for catharsis smile

drudge, to be fair, I know what you mean re certain posters being very hardline. I've been on the end of that and it feels like you're being bollocked and told to man up and go NC. It's not always helpful.

It's only the one or two that I know of, though.

Setting boundaries works with people who respect boundaries. If they don't, it's just banging your head against a wall.

Lamu Tue 12-Aug-14 10:54:49

You spend the rest of your life examining yourself for signs that you might secretly be like them, or turn into them, because there's some bit of mental muck that you forgot to get rid of.

If you're spending a lot of time examining your actions it's a surefire way to avoid repeating the behaviours with your own children. That's what I tell myself anyway.

I when NC 8 months ago. It's not a decision I took lightly but ultimately it was the right thing to do for me and my family.

TheFirmament Tue 12-Aug-14 10:56:14

Oh Adam! I too am "over-sensitive" if I have a problem with anything she's done or said. I want to give you a hug.

One thing recently twisted a knife in my heart, I can't say what as it is very specific and would out me. I couldn't tell my mum how much it hurt as she would call me over-sensitive, and also not get that it was the motivation and hurtfulness behind it that hurt, not the thing itself which she would claim was just minor.

So I texted my sister (who is already NC) about it. She texted back (as a joke) "Oh you are sooooo oversensitive!" smile It's just what my mum always says the minute you question her. Oh and if you're not all smiles and hugs, you are "hostile". hmm

But as you've said, isn't it weird how these same behaviours come out?

Mrsjayy Tue 12-Aug-14 10:56:33

Not a clue what n c means. Anyway I do think some posters tell others to stay away from mil as she is obviously toxic are just projecting and that isnt helpful. But I have read some threads where it is probably better if there is distance in the relationship.

Yes Lamu, they say that it's awareness that's key. As long as you understand your history and are aware of your own behaviour, you're protected against repeating it.

Still freaks me out when I'm fragile, though smile.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 10:57:42

I am so what biased because the only cases I know personally are lovely people with very difficult DILs. There are cases where you need to do it- but equally there are cases that are unnecessary.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 10:58:08

You need both sides to give advice.

PetulaGordino Tue 12-Aug-14 10:59:01

no one ever has both sides, even in RL that is rare confused

TheFirmament Tue 12-Aug-14 11:00:45

Delphinium, I realise it's possible for ther DIL to be at fault, but unless you have seen precisely how they treat their DILs at all times, I would hesitate.

My mum has lots of friends and is a "lovely person" as far as they are concerned.

Lamu Tue 12-Aug-14 11:05:42

Delphinium, you never know what happens behind closed doors. Somebody can outwardly be an upstanding member of the community whilst doing the most horrific things in the privacy of their own home.

<hugs Firmament>

'hostile' - ha! Yes, bingo again.

You were right not to tell your mum. We keep thinking that we can make them understand, but we can't. I tend to think of my mum as having a few pieces missing. She's just not capable of recognising how awful her behaviour is. It's driven by needs that are deeply unhealthy and more important than anything else.

It's good you've got your sister to talk to. I don't know where I'd be without my brother sometimes. We support each other, and we've developed a fantastic black sense of humour. It's good to laugh about ludicrous behaviour.


mrsjayy, NC means 'no contact'.

SaucyJack Tue 12-Aug-14 11:06:52

YABU, and completely missing the point.

If the no-contactee was the sort of rational, caring person who you could sit down with and work through issues together, then you wouldn't be seeking to go NC in the first place.

Some people are just so narcissistic, self-righteous or plain ol' mean that the only sane way to deal with them is by refusing to deal with them. You cannot change other people's behaviour; you can only change how you respond to it.

gobbynorthernbird Tue 12-Aug-14 11:09:15

I think the posters who jump straight to NC are few and far between. Mostly because those of us who have suffered abuse and have gone NC have done so because we got to that stage because we 'saw the light' and recognised what normal relationships are. And that these relationships have their ups and downs. In my own case, both my mum and MIL/FIL are perfectly capable of doing my tits in. There are times when I may feel that they're being a bit selfish or obtuse or demanding, and I'm sure they feel the same way about me! But they never make me feel like they are deliberately hurting me, or that they will never put me/my family/our feelings first. There is always room for compromise. In my personal experience, I only have one friend who is NC with a parent, and when we have talked it is like I'm having a chat with myself. Her experiences are pretty much the exact same as mine.

To pp who have been damaged in the same way I have, and have had the same issues with self esteem, etc, I hope that taking control and making the NC decision has helped you in the same way as it has me.

SlowRedCar Tue 12-Aug-14 11:16:15

So I have another question and I GENUINELY don't mean this to be inflammatory, I'm just interested. Of those of you who have chosen NC with a relative or parent have your siblings / aunts / uncles done the same? Is this person toxic to all family and friends or do they single you out?

dogscatsandbabies, No clear cut or short answer to this regards my parents. Both of my parents have mental health issues, both are (functioning) alcoholics, both are abusive. Mother’s MH issues are deeper rooted and harder to “cure” than fathers, and also harder to deal with. Father also accepts he has mental health issues and does some thinsg to try to limit them. My mother mostly refuses to treat her MH issues or even accept she has any. She is also far more toxic than my father. Father, while having issues of his own, is more of an enabler than an abuser. Mother is definitely an abuser, and definitely very toxic.

I have other siblings and they …..oh this is sooooo hard to explain without turning it into a novel.

My siblings have periods of contact with my parents, then periods of no contact, these periods can be up to 5 years or more. Every parent/sibling relationship is volatile and unstable, no single one of my sibling have stable (or remotely healthy) contact with my parents. But as the years go on, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that some of my siblings are developing the same problems/lifestyle as my parents. All of my siblings have alcohol problems. One sister has been diagnosed with the same personality disorder as my (our) mother. One brother has the same MH diagnosis as my father.

My siblings now have grown up children themselves and most of those relationships are dysfunctional or non-existant too. Many of my nieces and nephews are no contact with their parents (my brothers and sisters), as well as with my parents (their grandparents). Those nephews and nieces who do still have contact with my siblings (their parents) I fear will either be NC a decade from now, or I fear even more, will have followed the same vicious cycle of their parents and grand parents and turned to the bottle or be camping with their own personality disorders and the poisonous coping mechanisms often employed by those with undiagnosed PDs.

Both of my parents have brother and sisters (my aunts and uncles) and those relationships broke down many many decades ago. When I was a small child my mum and dad had some contact with their brothers and sisters, but as they became increasingly difficult to deal with, those brother/sister relationships broke down and petered out and have been non existent for around 20-30 years now.

My parents are however “in your face” idiots. It’s obvious pretty quickly to most people that they are numpties, best to be avoided. They have no close friends or close family ties at all. At best they have sporadic volatile on and off relationships with my siblings and with others. Most people who know a bit of my family history totally support and understand my being NC with parents.

On the other hand my husband has THE worst kind of mother, who makes mine look like Mama Walton. My husband’s mother was abusive in the extreme, but could put on the best façade possible to the rest of the world. A secret abuser if you will. So while people who know me, and know my family, know and support my NC stance 100%, my husband does not have that luxury as most people think his mum is a nice person, and he must be a cruel bastard to go NC with them. His mother only abused him, and never ever physically, but to a terrible degree emotionally and verbally. He does have a sister but she was the golden child and he was the scape goat. While my parents abuse was quite blatant and obvious (obvious neglect, obvious parents had alcohol issues, obvious parents had bad MH issues, obvious that my parents had zero healthy relationships with any single person in their lives)… my husband’s mothers abuse was far more subtle and 100% behind closed doors and totally invisible to the world. My husband’s mother has a perfectly ok relationship with her siblings. She is at worst “slightly bossy” or “a bit controlling” with his other aunts and uncles and cousins, and is known (quite affectionately) in the family as the alpha-female-bossy-but-nice-enough-aunty-who-must be-obeyed. It was only with her own son that that bossy became utterly controlling and abusive.

I would take the “in your face” abuse/neglect I received at the hands of my family any day, as opposed to the “secret” abuse my husband went through. I was left to rear myself from a very young age. At 10 years old I did more parenting of my alcoholic parents than they did of me. It taught me to be independent and strong and to fend for myself. My husband was never even remotely neglected, he was however smothered and controlled and enmeshed and made to feel an utter failure by a controlling, toxic and abusive mother.

So two stories of NC with abusive parents and two completely different takes on how the abusive parents portray themselves to the world at large.

Sorry this was so long, but it’s impossible (for me) to condense.

Mrsjayy Tue 12-Aug-14 11:17:11

Ah of course it does thanks

Nae worries smile

PetulaGordino Tue 12-Aug-14 11:19:59

i have a relative who has an extremely difficult mother. relative works really hard on their relationship, but it makes her miserable, because fundamentally she is a kind, thoughtful person with reasonable and rational reactions to things. and being fairly reasonable and rational and optimistic she expects her mother to also react in a reasonable and rational way. but of course she doesn't, so time and time again my relative is disappointed and feels rejected and as though she has failed again because she hasn't been able to please her mother

i think that people who are horrified by the idea of someone cutting off contact with such a close relation also assume that given the right behaviour or strategy on the part of my relative, she will be able to "get through" to the reasonable and rational response from her mother. but it won't ever happen, because none of the strategies will ever work, they won't be allowed to - that's the point. the relative's mother doesn't want a relationship based on mutual respect and love for each other, where differences are accepted and with compromises on both sides where there are disagreements. she wants my relative in the place she has designated for her, which is one where her needs are suppressed in favour of her mother's needs

i am lucky enough not to have ever needed to cut off contact with someone close to me, so i'm not projecting as some assume

drudgetrudy Tue 12-Aug-14 11:21:00

There is a thread at the moment by someone whose DM and DH have a poor relationship. DH is refusing to attend DMs 70th birthday party.
DM does not sound abusive but she is a bit demanding and dependent on her DD
Poster only sees her about 6-8 times a year as they live at a distance.
Poster doesn't seem to want to go no contact with her Mum.
I admit it is only a few replies but some people are telling her that her DH is her family now and the contact is too much, he sounds a bit of an awkward bastard too

Again every sympathy to those with genuinely awful families I am sure that you didn't decide onNC lightly

HauntedNoddyCar Tue 12-Aug-14 11:21:13

You cannot set boundaries and discuss stuff with these people because they cannot accept any fault, blame or responsibility.
You're upset? You are too sensitive
They're upset? You did it on purpose to hurt them.
There is no middle way.

My own df and I have a chequered history but we talk and resolve things and he shows me he is proud of me and reacts positively when I do things for him. We can row and resolve. DH has never seen this bond. Never been the child. DH can be less guarded with my df than his own.

TheFirmament Tue 12-Aug-14 11:23:01

My siblings have done the same, though one has now restarted sporadic contact with my mum. (The one who is also a narcissist - IMHO)

My mum has upset a lot of people in her extended family and she also often has fallouts with neighbours, for example. She is intrusive, inappropriate and needy and they don't like it, but when they object she is furious and blames them for having "something wrong with them" (her catch-all for people who call her out on her behaviour).

However she does have a husband, my stepdad who is quite nice if a bit of a reactionary old soul, and loads of friends. She seems to be able to switch on the charm for these relationships and very much plays the victim for them, WRT what her terrible children have done to her.

noddyholder Tue 12-Aug-14 11:25:14

My mother is NC with all of us bar one. We don't go NC with her as such she cuts us from our life if we disagree with her as she does anyone. SO I kept my mouth shut for years and still saw her but as soon as I spoke up and disagreed with something she said she never spoke to me again. the general consensus among friends and family was what took you so long?

noddyholder Tue 12-Aug-14 11:29:38

The firmament I could have written that. My mum has no contact with her siblings either or other family members as if they challenged her about us (they all support us) she would not be able to take it. has also fallen out with every neighbour she has ever had!

Preciousbane Tue 12-Aug-14 11:29:44

Actually the concept of NC had never occurred to me until I read MN and for that I am eternally grateful.

My mother beat me and allowed me to be sexually abused by my stepfather after I told her. She also informed me my ex H was beating me because I 'must have annoyed him' and I stayed with him for seven years. The stupid bitch almost got me killed.

I haven't seen her for a year and do you know what I feel a lot better for it. Sometimes when people say go NC I do think the issue could sometimes be resolved but for some of us it can't be. My Dsis still sees her about four times per year, she is in an utter state each time, that used to be me.

RonaldMcDonald Tue 12-Aug-14 11:30:28

Regarding the wider family
My father is NC with all of his siblings and the majority of people who have come into contact with him over the years
He is a delight

gobbynorthernbird Tue 12-Aug-14 11:33:50

Firm, my dad has a history of falling out with people. Neighbours, colleagues (before he retired), friends, anyone who he has ever paid to do any work on his house or garden. If you were to listen to him, he's hard done by, but I can now see that the common factor is him.

AgesOfAquarius Tue 12-Aug-14 11:35:31

I sometimes wonder about going NC with my father but he lives just down the road and so it's pretty much impossible. He dotes upon the grandchildren and makes it very clear that I am tolerated because without me he wouldn't see them. He never wanted to have children and has often said that it would be much better if you could have grandchildren without having to have children. I am annoyed that I still feel the need to have his approval because it is never forthcoming.
It's been made abundantly clear that I have been a disappointment to him all of my life and will continue to be. I don't especially like him that much and I am sure that the feeling is mutual.

Legionofboom Tue 12-Aug-14 11:36:07

I very much doubt that many people go NC just because a family member was a total twat once. Going fully NC is painful and very, very different from not speaking for a few days while one of you sulks.

I suspect some of the threads where people suggest going NC are documenting a long history of problems. Certainly I would be extremely surprised to hear anyone who is NC with a family member throwing the advice for others to do the same around without careful consideration.

As someone who is NC with my family I find it almost laughable to hear people say 'most problems can be sorted out if you are all willing to compromise'. You have NO fucking idea.

SlowRedCar Tue 12-Aug-14 11:39:51

Absolutely redcar! And one of the reasons I don't tend to broadcast it is because if someone does ask outright, and I say "actually I am estranged from my dad and haven't seen him for 20 years", then I'm likely to get the response "But he's your dad!" Which makes me feel horrendous.

I don't actually blame people for saying that, of course it's good that there are people who have nice parents they are close to, and can't contemplate the idea of cutting off a family member.

I could write 20 pages on this TheFirmament, and still only be half way through. A few years back I got the “but she’s your mother, how can you in good conscience ignore her, how can you live with yourself” speech from a good friends mother who was visiting at the same time I was. The look of disgust (at me) on her face was a picture, and it was actually the look of utter disgust she gave me, more than her words that cut me to the bone. And it’s the only time in my life where I consciously decided to bring a person down a peg or two or ten in a public setting. And I did that by simply answering, in brutal detail, how I could sleep perfectly well at night, but left her to wonder how my mother could by telling her just a tiny bit of what my childhood was like, in Technicolor detail of course. To say I knocked the wind out of her sails is putting it mildly. I made a bit of a fool out of her. I am not proud of that. She is an old lady in her 70s and I was blunt to the point of cruelty with her. But one thing I do know is: she will never look with disgust and use such judgmental wording again if she encounters someone who is no contact with their parents. Of that I am sure.

And that’s why, while I will never and have never advised NC to anyone, in real life or on mumsnet, I do think these discussions (even the ones where I think NC is being bandied about needlessly and wrongly) are on the whole a good thing. It makes so many people aware of something that they simply never were aware of. Even though both myself and my husband come from abusive families, and both have been no contact with our parents for years, MN has helped me see that this whole thing is a far bigger problem than even I thought it was.

Chances are TheFirmament and I could be gym-buddies or good neighbours or colleagues with a good realtionship for 10 years or more and have no idea that each of us is NC with a toxic parent(s), as it’s simply not something that all of us shout about. For obvious reasons.

HesterShaw Tue 12-Aug-14 11:42:22

Luckily for you, you don't appear to have toxic relatives who bring you nothing but trouble and heartache then.

MumBoots Tue 12-Aug-14 11:45:15

YABU. I dont think many people cut someone out of their lives lightly. Usually, there is a straw that broke the camel's back, after a long history of shitty behaviour.

I went 'NC' with my poisonous stepdad and entire step family (step sister, aunts, cousins on that side etc) after my stepdad cheated on my mum with a mutual friend and threw my mum out after 25 years together, without a penny or a backwards glance, then basically replaced my mum with this woman at all family functions, meetings etc. Nobody said a word. Nobody even asked after my mum or how she was. She was and is the most loving, kind, placid person who did everything for that family. It was the biggest slap in the face anyone could receive, and she didn't deserve it.

I decided they were gutless, spineless arseholes the lot of them...and would never hear from me again. I cut them out completely and entirely. It was really hard and upsetting, but it ultimately helped bring peace in to our lives again.

I have two friends who have cut out their mothers over cold, emotionally abusive treatment towards them. It has improved their mental health and wellbeing no end.

drudge, at the risk of creating a TAAT, I've hopped over and had a look at that and the range of replies is vast. A full spectrum.

An absolutely negligible number mention going NC, and they are entirely counterbalanced by posters with very conservative views about family loyalty.

I would suspect that this is a pretty common balance. I'm just not sure there's a general trend towards shouting 'NC!' at minor issues.

NigellasDealer Tue 12-Aug-14 11:48:20

the thing is that 'NC' is perfectly normal for some families = it is what I grew up with and anyway why should I waste time seeing someone who spent our childhood trying to kill me?
(ref maternal grandparents and brother = NC v healthy

Legionofboom Tue 12-Aug-14 11:48:44

Absolutely redcar! And one of the reasons I don't tend to broadcast it is because if someone does ask outright, and I say "actually I am estranged from my dad and haven't seen him for 20 years", then I'm likely to get the response "But he's your dad!" Which makes me feel horrendous.

YY to this. More than one person has said to me "My dad can be a bit annoying too sometimes but in the end your dad's your dad" hmm

In my experience people either get it or they don't and those that don't can be so, so harsh.

Isetan Tue 12-Aug-14 11:50:13

I'm actually more surprised by the people who put up with all manner of crap, verging on abuse, from people just because they're family.


drudgetrudy Tue 12-Aug-14 12:00:24

to be fair you are right about that thread adam

It is the person on "relationships" that bangs a drum about narcissism and NC that really worries me.
Sadly I know very well that NC is the only way for some people but she takes on board what distressed people are saying uncritically and makes all sorts of assumptions about the other players in the situation- I find her a bit dangerous (and she is so well respected on here).
Just wish she took a bit of time with people before she started telling them what they need to do,

SlowRedCar Tue 12-Aug-14 12:03:39

YY to this. More than one person has said to me "My dad can be a bit annoying too sometimes but in the end your dad's your dad" hmm

In my experience people either get it or they don't and those that don't can be so, so harsh.

The only thing I can say is.... after over 20 years experience with these types of harsh and flippant reactions it gets easier to spot who is going to give the flippant/harsh reactions and just spin them a lie instead.

I mentioned earlier about a woman I worked with for 11 years asking me directly how my parents were after I came back from a trip home. I answered honestly with "fine I assume, but I actually didn't see them on my trip home, and haven't seen them for over 20 years as they were abusive and I broke contact with them long ago because of their continued abuse". I answered that way as I knew that woman would react normally and fairly. She might be surprised or even shocked, but wouldn't be harsh or judgmental or flippant. Had another colleague yes that yappy know-it-all-bitch who I try to avoid asked the exact same "and how were your parents" question, I would have looked her straight in the eye and said "great, fine, thanks for asking".

I don't lie for the sake of it, or because I find it a fun thing to do, I lie because so many people would (and have) judged me unfairly and very harshly without even asking for elaboration on why I am NC.

That's why I kind of secretly laughed inside when someone upthread said NC with parents is purely a mumsnet thing as she knows no one in real life who is NC with parents. It made me think of a friend of ours who would say the exact same thing, that no one she knows is NC with toxic parents. Little does she know that three of her friends (me, my husband and another female friend) are all NC with at least one parent, and have been for years on end. She is a bit judgmental, and she is only in our friend group through marriage, so better to just to keep her in the dark than be subjected to her "OMG but she's your mum" comments, complete with look of disgust.

Slow, I think you were justified in being honest with your friend's mum.

She may have been elderly, but every person, regardless of age, is entitled to the same respect and courtesy, and to the same honesty. If anything, it's patronising to treat older people differently, though it's enshrined in our culture.

I remember standing up to a party of (wealthy, well-educated and compos mentis) elderly people who were making appalling racist remarks (really, truly appalling) to each other. I asked them not to use the words they were using, and got myself into a 15-minute argument with no backup from the people who were with me. Afterwards one of my companions who had remained silent told me that I shouldn't have said anything because it was just their generation.

I told this to an older relative of mine who said 'Nonsense. My father never used the N word in his life'.

In not challenging hurtful or repugnant behaviour, we're denying that older people can change, or that they're capable of intelligent debate.

It doesn't sound like you were gratuitously unpleasant to your friend's mother, just clear and truthful. Well said.

mommy2ash Tue 12-Aug-14 12:11:30

I agree that I see it thrown around a lot here and not just in abusive situations, that I would understand but minor annoyances or personality clashes do not require no contact.

I am pretty much nc with my sister. we don't get along, she doesn't like me and although i love her as she is my sister I don't like her behaviour towards me or her choices in life which affect my niece. I put up with years of rubbish treatment before I said you know what you live your life and just leave me out of it. it still hurts now and then but what can you do it's better than it hurting all the time

SlowRedCar Tue 12-Aug-14 12:19:51


I think I know who you mean, and although both me and my husband are NC with both sets of our very toxic, very abusive parents, even I cringe at many of that persons posts. Not individually I must add.

More…. Just through the sheer amount of times she recommends it, and the sheer fact that she never questions the poster, always makes armchair diagnoses about the personality disorders the perceived abuser “probably” has, the way she seems incapable of ever thinking a poster could be at fault, or not disclosing relevant information, oh I don’t know, again just purely through the sheer number of posts, and the rational way they are written, but always banging the exact same NC drum, she does send alarm bells ringing with me too.

On the whole though, I still think this kind of discussion is helpful. Even if we do have one or two people who will regularly post in the extreme, most will (and I feel do) post normally.

It reminds me a woman who is a kind of distant friend of ours. She has had two very unhappy and very abusive marriages. I know both of those men were bastards, and I can well understand that due to what she has experienced in life, she has become a man-hater and any time she ever hears of “so and so is going through a rough patch in their marriage” she will ALWAYS take the side of the female, and always advocate vocally divorcing the husband. If she was on MN I know for a fact she would be the poster child waving the LTB flag 10 times every day. And often it would be needlessly and unwarranted calling for LTB. But I also know for every one (unreasonable, biased?) voice like hers, there would be another person along with “wait up a second, maybe you just need a good chat/couples counselling/some time alone to recharge your batteries” … so on the whole I think the extremes are generally balanced out by the more reasonable.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Legionofboom Tue 12-Aug-14 12:24:32

SlowRedCar Thanks for that. flowers

PetulaGordino Tue 12-Aug-14 12:24:55

please don't discuss any particular poster in this way. i think it's fine to talk about responses in very general terms, but it's very unfair to discuss one individual in a way that it is very obvious who you are talking about

Thenapoleonofcrime Tue 12-Aug-14 12:25:43

I think there are some situations in which NC is exactly the right way to go, some parents or gp are just so horrible, destructive and abusive, there is no option for your own sanity.

That said, I was suprised to be told, on a thread in Relationships, that continuing to allow contact between my husband's parents (children's grandparents) and my children was abusive, as they had been emotionally abusive to him as a small child. My choice, indeed my husband's choice, has to been to stay in contact with his mum and dad, with firm boundaries and us as the family unit, and I think we all benefit- he would rather have a flawed but involved relationship with them, the children enjoy a different relationship than was with him, and I am happy to support him. Given he is foreign and from a very conventional culture in relation to deference to parents, going NC with his parents would essentially mean not seeing all of his relatives and the children becoming estranged from that culture/family.

Now, if they were abusive to my OWN children, I wouldn't hesitate. But they are not, they are impotent, slightly annoying IL's who need firm boundaries but who weren't great parents themselves. I was very annoyed to be told it was neglectful on my part to continue contact and felt it was quite naive about the consequences NC would wreak in the wider family.

I do support NC as an option, though, some people are truly awful and contact inappropriate.

You are right Petula. Apologies. No more specifics from me.

I've reported my own post for deletion.

Balaboosta Tue 12-Aug-14 12:31:08

I've just gone NC with DB. Inspired by mumsnet, I think. My kids do not need to be manhandled in the name of "discipline". I do not need to be verbally abused in front of my children. We were just on holiday together and after four days with him I was literally having a breakdown - not sleeping, paranoia, shattered self-esteem, even for one dreadful moment wondering if my life was worth living.

It disturbs me how "easy" it has been to declare NC or that i have somehow been influenced by reading AIBU all the time but his effect on me and DCs was utterly devastating.

YABU to make assumptions about other people's decisions.

drudgetrudy Tue 12-Aug-14 12:32:47

Yes-it is that she recommends it every time-gives the parents diagnoses of personality disorders without knowing them and they can't win.
If you go NC and they accept it-they never cared.
If they send gifts for GC they are manipulating -send them back
They are always only interested in you because you are a source of "narcissistic supply"

MIL will always back her son over you even if he is treating you dreadfully

Its the generalisations.
Sometimes someone posts very angry and venting and she goes straight into this-never pausing to think there may be two sides to the story.

I have been concerned about it for a while-she is a powerful voice and people listen to her. She is so sure she knows what is right for everyone.

Again in saying this it does not detract from me feeling sympathy for those who have concluded that NC is right for them

drudgetrudy Tue 12-Aug-14 12:39:32

I don't think I'm out of order mentioning it because I think its dangerous - if MN want to delete me that is up to them.
Perhaps I should just post another view on the threads but might get poor response because I am newer. When I posted just now I had not seen the very recent comments and I will now say no more-having made my point.

Lamu Tue 12-Aug-14 12:42:41

I don't think anyone is justified in judging what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour in a relationship. Only the person going through it is able to make that judgement call for themselves.

My siblings and I all had the same parent. I was the first to see through the manipulation, control, emotional and psychological abuse. I was told I was being a drama queen. Years later my mother has cut off my 2 brothers and nephew out of her will because they disobeyed her. She's disowned us all bar one brother once again scapegoating. Only now is she being seen what she is. Even now we all have different memories, feelings from the exact same event.

PicardyThird Tue 12-Aug-14 13:41:43

I am NC with my parents, and hence their wider family, after an upbringing I now in my late 30s accept as having been severely psychologically abusive, submitting our of fear to behaviour that if I gave an example (which I will not for privacy reasons) I think everybody would agree was utterly outrageous, trying desperately for reconciliation after having been cut out of the family at what should have been a very happy and proud occasion for me for having chosen my own life partner, accepting more terrible behaviour and under-the-carpet-sweeping for the sake af giving my parents a relationship with my sons, until I could no longer do it. And even then I tried and tried to talk to them and be heard.

(Adult) children who have been brought up as I and, sadly, many on this thread were often have a sense hard-wired into them in their early lives of things being their fault, their responsibility, and a hope that things might, surely must come right if they just tried that little bit harder, were more forgiving, forbearing. And the toxic people they are dealing with display, with seemingly no self-awareness, behaviours they have never been called on, they have always got away with, until now, with other family members colluding out of advantage or fear. Calling time on that is a lonely process. The tenets behind 'it's your mum!' or 'but it's family!' just do not apply.

I continue to live in fear that my parents will do something terrible to ruin my life and that of my family in order to punish me for saying 'no more' and leaving them behind.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 12-Aug-14 14:04:45

I'm actually more surprised by the people who put up with all manner of crap, verging on abuse, from people just because they're family.

This ^^ and

I'm actually more surprised by the people who put up with all manner of crap, verging on abuse, from people just because they're family.

This ^^ again.

Just because they are family doesn't make it right.

ADHDNoodles Tue 12-Aug-14 14:10:47

Depends though. Some families on here sound like absolute nightmares. Some families sound like they can work things out with a little boundaries and communication.

Really though, it's a lazy piece of advice to a complicated multifaceted problem. Just like "listen to your instincts" is lazy advice to justify writing someone off completely. Just like LTB is lazy advice to a complicated marital issue.

I say it's lazy because a person isn't going to leave or NC until they're ready to, so the advice is pointless. The best you can do is encourage them to think about if this is what they really want and if they truly think a relationship is salvageable.

Not only that, but those type of choices are permanent and often cause an entire new set of problems to deal with. It's not a magic fix.

BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 14:12:13

I think I know which poster you mean in relationships I have cringed but at the end of the day we are all arm chair diagnosers.

No one on MN is going to blindly follow the advice of another poster.

However, on the other hand, what people are dealing with in RL is so extreme and warped...its good to have a stringent, no nonsense poster who is drawing a line in the sand as it were.

BornFreeButinChains Tue 12-Aug-14 14:13:18

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 12-Aug-14 14:04:45

YY this also surprises me.

flippinada Tue 12-Aug-14 14:25:19

I agree with Boney <world tilts on axis slightly>

People put up with all sorts of shocking abuse in the name of family. Folk who have loving supportive families really have won the jackpot in life without realising it. So many of us don't, it's just not widely talked about because of the taboo attached. So it's good to have a space where people feel able to talk about it without having their feelings and thoughts dismissed because it's your mum/dad/sister (or whomever) and you mustn't talk about them that way.

Btw it's not on and not ok to talk about another poster in the way that's been done on this thread. They are easily identifiable.

True born, we all love to speculate about peoples' psychology. And I agree that posters won't just automatically do whatever they're told.

However, I do get worried when I see authoritative diagnosis and simplistic judgements (NB: not from anyone particular, but generally, and from both sides), especially in a conversation involving vulnerable people in abusive situations.

It's an issue WRT anything involving relationships, emotions and mental health because the area isn't as well understood and regulated as physical medicine. We wouldn't let anonymous MN posters tell us what prescription drugs to take because we know they may not be qualified and that drugs can be dangerous. Advice about serious relationship problems can be just as risky, but is accepted with less questioning because it's 'just' about emotions.

Therapists and counsellors go through rigorous training (including spending years in therapy themselves) in order to be able to treat people safely and professionally, just as GPs train to safely treat the body.

The only thing we can really offer each other on here is sharing and support. Pretty much like the rest of the thread's been, really thanks

drudgetrudy Tue 12-Aug-14 14:45:10

YY Adam-it is when anyone sets themselves up as an authority that I worry.
These issues are very complex and some vulnerable people (aren't we all vulnerable when distressed) take advice seriously.
A real life psychologist would work through these issues slowly and carefully

And just to emphasise, I do mean from both extremes there. That includes advice like 'You owe your parents respect, no matter what they've done', and 'But it's your mum'.

Simplistic instant judgement = bad news.

abouttobeevicted Tue 12-Aug-14 16:06:17

I am NC with my parents. I tried hard to work at it to let them be grandparents but our life is much better without them. At best they were Disney GPs a few times a year but would call and send crap all the time. I had a emotionally abusive and sometimes physically abusive upbringing. I am adopted and was told "we can send you back if you don't do/act like etc" all my life. My final straw came not when i had cancer and had to go to chemo myself as my DH couldn't find anyone to look after the DDs as they wouldnt help but about 6 months later when my mother wrote a letter to my then MD of the company I was working for informing them that I couldnt do my job and they shouldnt be paying me what I was being paid around £50K as I wasnt worth it!!! (i was 34) confused
Luckily he was nice and concerned about my mothers mental health!

I am in contact with my fathers side of the family as they are NORMAL and nice. We are attending my cousins wedding next my mothers family are as bad as her so bad that my fathers family emigrated the day after their wedding!! Later in life my Grandpa said that it was influenced by who my dad had married!! they had sorted it out during their 2 year engagement. shock

My DH is also nc with his mother who was physically and sexually abusive to him so he ran away to his grandparents at 15.

WhimsicalTwattery Tue 12-Aug-14 16:58:34

We are NC with DHs family. Not our choice exactly. DH was told by his mother to pick me and DD or her (after ten years of horrible behaviour the mask slipped and she showed her true self).

Not an easy 'choice' to make and stick to but ultimately for us it's been a positive outcome in the long run.

I think a lot of people on MN who advise it have been in a toxic family situation themselves. It can be very difficult to see what's really going on when you are being manipulated by a controlling family member who fills you with doubt and guilt.

To anyone thinking of going NC; stay strong and be brave.

MisForMumNotMaid Tue 12-Aug-14 17:18:22

The way some people talk about being NC its more like they've backed off a bit from a difficult/ challenging person. I think its a phrase that means different things to different people.

We're NC with some of DH's family. We changed phone numbers, deleted social networking profiles they knew about, sold our house, moved areas and remain NC (following various police interventions, restraining orders on them and a court case). To me thats NC.

I don't think bandying it around is such an awful thing, along with LTB. Its a kind of offering support like saying if things are really that bad 'LTB'. But the reality is the OP may just be letting off steam and in doing so focusing consciously or not on the bad bits. Once vented a well place LTB can make you sit up and get a sense of proportion about things. As someone used as an example upthread, after all it is only the butter left out the fridge! Or alternatively it can make you think I spend too much of my life in grief over this person and yes I do need to take some form of action.

CheerfulYank Tue 12-Aug-14 18:27:53

YABU in some cases and YANBU in others smile

My mother is NC with her sister and it is for the best. Until my aunt seeks the help she needs to deal with her anger and mental health issues, anyway.

But a friend of mine is NC with most of his family and it really is a big sulk.

Darkesteyes Tue 12-Aug-14 18:51:36

Siring a child does not immediately elevate someone to sainthood.

Most of the EA from my DM has been gender based. For both religious and cultural excuses reasons.

What i dont understand is the gaslighting. And although obviously there is gaslighting sometimes involved in emotional abuse, the gaslighting society does to women and mothers is astounding.

Look at how women whether they are mothers or not are victims of sexism in the workplace, single mothers are vilified and treated with vitriol.

Then all of a sudden when an adult child decides to go NC the mother they are going NC with gets elevated to sainthood. confused

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 19:35:30

While there are undoubtedly cases where you need to go NC because of toxic relations there also the women who think that marriage has nothing to do with families and the man comes alone- without parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, old family friends etc- and they want to isolate him from family- or take the attitude that they don't need to get involved and make their own relationships with those people.

SlowRedCar Tue 12-Aug-14 19:58:03

Delphiniumsblue, Surely in the same vein there are shitty men too who do this???

Men who think that marriage has nothing to do with families and the woman comes alone- without parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, old family friends etc- and they want to isolate her from family- or take the attitude that they don't need to get involved and make their own relationships with those people.

I don’t think being selfish and self-centered regards in-laws is just a thing that some women do.

flippinada Tue 12-Aug-14 20:20:52

I was just going to make the same point as SlowRedCar.

The idea that there's a collective coterie of horribl, controlling, DILs whisking their husbands away from their family, or enough of them to make this a phenomenon worthy of note is very odd.

This is not to say that some DILs aren't like this because they do exist , but making this out to be some exclusively female phenomenon is bith sexist and offensive.

And what about the abusive SILs who behave like this? They definitely exist I'm afraid. You only have to read a few threads on here to confirm that.

flippinada Tue 12-Aug-14 20:21:15

SIL = Sons in Law, for the sake of clarity.

WandaFuca Tue 12-Aug-14 20:36:18

I think I also know the poster referred to earlier, but from many threads I've read here, it seems to me that she only "speaks" in a direct way when it's pretty clear (to me as well as others) that an OP needs some serious pointers to what is going on. Often an OP posts when they've got to the realisation that something is wrong in their family dynamics and are trying to figure it out. The terms "toxic" and "narcissistic" aren't diagnoses – they're a colloquial shorthand useful for describing behaviours.

So many of us have been raised with the concept that our parents are always right, that we owe unconditional respect and loyalty to them forever, and we can end up being silenced – we can't speak with our own voices because we've never been allowed to do. Making some kind of sense of all that, and getting away from it, can be very daunting, and is very painful to talk about. So that’s two reasons why people don't realise the number of dysfunctional families out there and hence the number of adults who eventually go no-contact to protect themselves and their children.

As a society, we're getting better at dealing appropriately with domestic violence, and we're getting better at intervening in child abuse/neglect and elder abuse, but there are unknown numbers of adults who are otherwise fully-functioning yet whose lives are made a misery by controlling families. Some of them post to Mumsnet, and sometimes the only realistic advice is for them to go no-contact.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 12-Aug-14 20:42:07


Yes, its not just women, its men as well.

but its also wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews etc.

and there are many reasons to go NC.

SlowRedCar Tue 12-Aug-14 20:56:18

I know all that BoneyBack, I was taking issue at delphiniumsblue for making out it was only ever females who got shitty with their inlaws, when obviously men can and do get shitty with their inlaws too.

Thefishewife Tue 12-Aug-14 21:48:26

I have not contact with my mother after years of abuse of which resulted with my older sister being taken in to care for 3 years with me being told she was away at boarding school which I find found out was a lie like most of my life of course

Last I heard she is now married to someone 4 years younger than my older sister who is 40 confused and as a result of the trauma bond myself and my sister had I had to cut her out of my life for my own mental health yabu

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 21:53:48

I expect it is men too- we just don't hear from them on here about MIL.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 21:57:35

Anyone, male or female, who tries to isolate a partner is being abusive.
You marry and get the family- unless he/she was a foundling

flippinada Tue 12-Aug-14 21:59:18

Well, that's true. But that's because the majority of posters on here are women.

However, you do hear from a lot of women in abusive and controlling relationships where their other half alienates them friends/family etc. Different side of the same coin.

flippinada Tue 12-Aug-14 22:02:44

"Anyone, male or female, who tries to isolate a partner is being abusive"

Agree. Isolating someone from their support network is a classic sign of abuse

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 22:05:04

I only took women because OP was talking about AIBU on MN and I have never read about a man on there- but plenty of women. I will include men if people want to widen it from OP. I expect it is the same problem- they just never post.

winkywinkola Tue 12-Aug-14 22:13:03

Not everyone has the fairy tale apple cheeked grandparents or well meaning relatives.

It is naive to assume that children need relations with family members who aren't necessarily good people.

I never met my maternal grand parents. I feel no "hole". I never had a sister. Again no "hole".

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 22:25:05

I never met either of my grandmothers- both dead - I felt a hole. You can't assume your children feel like you- they may indeed take after the very relative you have cut off! You don't choose the genes.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 12-Aug-14 22:26:28

I can see from photos that I look like my paternal grandmother rather than my mother- and I am more like my aunt in character than my mother.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 12-Aug-14 22:37:58

When you have toxic in laws it is often the just the op who has gone NC with the toxic person, her dp/dh may still have a relationship with them unless their toxicity is extended to the partner and dc aswell. Like abuse, in the past it used to be put up and shut up, now more people are standing up for themselves saying I don't need to out up with this crap anymore.

tilliebob Tue 12-Aug-14 23:05:24

It wasn't until I started reading mumsnet that I realised that I am actually nc with my SIL and have been over 3 years now. Quite easy since she lives miles away and it has helped my sanity no end.

DH has huge periods of being nc with his mother and step father too, purely to save his blood pressure.

I think being in our 40's and having our own dcs to protect from toxic relatives means we've gone long past the put up and shut up stages.

You can pick your friends.....

Aeroflotgirl Tue 12-Aug-14 23:12:53

I totally agree tillibob

HauntedNoddyCar Tue 12-Aug-14 23:29:13

Delphinium you could equally argue that parents have to respect their adult dc's choices of partner. If their choice isn't actively harming the dc, should the parent slag them off to the child?

And wrt to feeling a hole, you feel you missed something you wanted. But what if the reality was diametrically opposed to what you wanted? What if they had been unpleasant to you? Punished you harshly?

LoveBeingInTheSun Wed 13-Aug-14 03:55:31

Don't really want to go I to the full circumstances as would totally out me.

I'm nc with my older (half) brother. He is a selfish, horrible bastard with no regard for anyone's feelings except his own. He was vile to my dad when he was alive, as well as when he was dying. No-one else on my side has anything to do with him as far as I am aware.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 07:14:11

Probably the way to judge it is how you explain it to your child when they are older. If it is completely understandable because of abuse etc you have done the right thing, but if it is completely petty (and some are in MN) then you should make more effort.

Morloth Wed 13-Aug-14 07:47:27

I have never felt the need to go 'NC' with anyone, but I have stopped bothering with people in my family. As in, I don't call them/organise things with them, polite but distant if both at things, unavailable generally.

If there was abuse though I bloody well would cut them out.

Who the hell needs that.

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 13-Aug-14 08:48:22

but if it is completely petty

Delphiniums. And what sounds completely petty to you might be a slow, dripping of constant undermining to the person going through it.

My mother occasionally says that my children need a male role model in her generation. Their paternal grandfather isn't in the picture, their maternal one is not in contact, and her new partner is not someone I'd trust around children.

In my opinion, having a pair of bollocks and being of a certain age isn't actually that important with regards to being a role model. I look for other qualities before I look for them. Have I created a 'hole' in their lives? Yes. I don't care - I'd rather have a hole than manipulation.

As to how I'd explain to them, that's already happened. They don't see their grandfather because he was cruel to me, and we don't tolerate unkind people in our lives. They know how to make compromises and adjustments for people who have challenging behaviours, but we draw the line at cruelty. It's not acceptable.

If they've learned that they don't have to tolerate someone treating them badly, even if it's in small but continuous and consistent ways, then I think I've taught them a very important lesson.

I'm also afraid that I don't understand your horror of a partner being asked to go and see their family without the other partner. Yes, family and support are important, but if one partner is asking the other to continuously sacrifice their dignity and to go into an environment where they will be bullied - why should they have to put up with that?

They're not cutting of the other's support network, the partner is allowed to see his/her family as often as they feel they want to - they're protecting themselves. To me, it sounds like a perfect compromise. Partner 1 gets to see their family. Partner 2 isn't being bullied.

Also, isn't it normal to see your family on your own sometimes? DH really likes my mum, but I see her without him all the time. We're married and a partnership, but we're simultaneously independent people who are both capable of being somewhere without the other. MIL and I get on really well, but I know she still likes him visiting without me sometimes, so she's still got her son all to herself. Not often - maybe for a weekend a year or so, but she likes it. I think this is healthy.

combust22 Wed 13-Aug-14 08:58:59

delphinium "then you should make more effort."

Why? relatives are no more than a random bunch of people we happen to share genetic links with. Doesn't mean to say we need to stick together I have cousins that stay within an hour's drive and haven't seen for 10 years. Why is it important to " make more effort" with peope tha tI have no interest in? i have friends who are closer to me than family.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 10:25:06

Either you are a family person or you are not.
I am a family person- still see all first husband's family even though he is dead- so does DH2 (and on his own sometimes) - they are nice people.
DH stays with my mother in his own, if on business. My SIL and I are off for 5 days holiday on our own soon. DS is getting married , his fiancée has been part if the family for a long time- she and I are going out on our own on Saturday.
I struggle to understand how people think they are marrying a partner and not getting his family too.
I understand that everyone isn't lucky and there are toxic people that you want to cut off from- rightly so. But some reasons are petty.
Your partner is also the results of their family -nature or nurture they get their genes from their family- and so will your children- you don't get to choose!

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 10:26:01

They may not be the people you would choose in the first place- that is why you need to make the effort.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 10:50:41

You also have to realise that your children and grandchildren might not have your view. My paternal grandfather cut himself off-it is only as an adult that I realised that we didn't know that side of the family. Doing family history and the Internet has made it possible to reconnect and meet distant cousins and you realise that they were all perfectly nice- it was my grandfather who was the difficult one! He had very rigid views and would hold fast to a principle, whatever the cost!

tiggytape Wed 13-Aug-14 10:53:54

I also wonder how these things pan out longer term. Many of us here are parents of children and so are the ones holding all the cards as far as choosing NC. We can choose to exclude grandparents if we want and choose who our children see.

But how would people feel if in 10 years or so they were the ones being cut off because they made a tactless comments to their DS's girlfriend (and apologised) or in some way put their foot in it or caused someone some offence?
Few of us would think we are toxic people but, if we're honest, we've all at one time done or said things that weren't well advised or had unhappy periods in our lives when we've possibly been a pain to be around. As much as I would not consider going NC for anything other than an abusive situation (as some people have described here and I do agree with those), I also would not want to be an older relative walking on eggshells for fear of being cut off and labelled toxic by someone essentially because we didn't get on very well or held differing views.

NigellasDealer Wed 13-Aug-14 11:01:40

"either you are a family person or you are not"
some of have not had the luxury of that choice mrs smuginimsblue

animalsunited Wed 13-Aug-14 11:04:01

Insensitive, dismissive attitudes like this OP, are why abuse is hard to articulate and stand up to in society.

I doubt many go no contact lightly. It is often a long andvery painful process of separation. Often after repeated attempts by the victim to try to mend things orblaming themselves.

Society finds it hard to accept that some mothers/family are incredibly damaged people who cause pain and mental health problems to those unfortunate enough to be related to them.

I've turned my life around after going no contact with my own family. I found support and understanding amongst fellow sufferers on here, which I couldn't in real life.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 11:08:33

Some people don't have the luxury of choice- but some people have that choice and are not willing to make an effort. You have to separate the two.

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 13-Aug-14 11:10:39

they are nice people.

What would you do if they were not nice people? What would you do if they belittled you and demeaned you every time you saw them? Suck it up and go anyway?

What if they wanted to give you no independence and choices, but wanted you to live entirely to their will. What you eat, how you eat, how you raised the children ('the' children rather than 'your' children, because in the toxic scenario, you're just a walking womb and the children are 'theirs'). Everything you do gets comment and judgement and defiance.

These might be hilarious 'jokes' but they're the same jokes that get made all the time because 'silly mummy is so sensitive'. They might feed your vegetarian children meat because 'silly mummy doesn't want you to go strong.' They might cut your son's hair because 'silly mummy's made you look like a girl.'

Would you still keep going if this happened every time you saw them?

You also have to realise that your children and grandchildren might not have your view.

I do realise this. I completely accept this, on account of knowing that my children are neither an extension of me nor a possession. At the moment, they are not old enough to make choices, so I make them for them, and I'm going for a) demonstrating that their mother has value and worth and doesn't have to put up with being crushed and b) protecting them from the sort of manipulation that comes with my father.

Those are undoubtedly the right choices to make, largely because I don't want to a) demonstrate that their mother is valueless and irrelevant and must put up with bad behaviour from anyone and b) run the risk of them being hurt or damaged.

I also understand and accept that there may come a time when my children don't want to have a relationship with me. It will hurt - obliviously it will be like a full body blow. However, I'm working on avoiding that situation by treating them like human beings. Ultimately, I want them to be independent. That's basically the way in which I differ from my father. My independence terrified him.

I struggle to understand how people think they are marrying a partner and not getting his family too.

You seem to be under the impression that lots of people think this way. Generally speaking, people try to have a relationship with their partner's family. If it doesn't work, they withdraw.

Personally I struggle to understand how anyone in this day and age thinks that everybody ought to just put up with crap from people just because.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 11:11:04

MN has been an eye opener to me in that some people analyse every sentence- it makes them hard work and someone like me, who makes off the cuff remarks and tongue in cheek remarks, is lost before they start! Makes you scared to speak!

Delphinium, I would be genuinely interested to see links to some threads about people being cut off for petty reasons. Also any which are about people not wanting to engage with their partner's family for silly reasons.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen - there are petty and vindictive people out there, and as has been pointed out upthread, sulking and the silent treatment are hallmarks of manipulative personalities - but this claim that it's an MN 'thing', that people turn up in hordes to shout 'NC'! at stories of minor disagreements, is just not something I recognise. If I posted that I was going to go NC with my husband's family because his mum didn't bring potato salad to my barbecue or something, I guarantee you I'd get 150 posts saying 'Oh get over it.'

The genuine need to go NC because of abuse is, sadly, something which I do recognise and is extremely well evidenced here.

There are 211 posts on this thread, including scores of stories of terrible, toxic family members. There's not one person who's posted reasons for NC which are demonstrably petty or blown out of proportion.

I understand what you're saying, which is that you think it's OK to go NC when people are genuinely toxic but some people do it over nothing. However, I think posting things like 'Some reasons are petty', 'You need to make the effort' and 'Either you are a family person or you are not' implies that some of us here are making a fuss about nothing. Have you read the stuff people have written here? Their experiences? Do you see why you're getting hostile responses?

Whilst there may be a theoretical group of people who disown family members willy-nilly, the vast majority who do it are doing it for very good reasons.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 11:15:24

You do have to separate the toxic- I am not talking about toxic. Of course I would NC if they were toxic. They were merely people I wouldn't choose as friends so I had to make an effort, get under the surface and find the good points. Very, very different. I didn't think OP was talking about toxic- just the casual way people talk about ILs on MN.

PetulaGordino Wed 13-Aug-14 11:16:01

MN makes me think about what i say and how i say it too. i see this as a good thing, i don't wnat to go around hurting people unnecessarily

off the cuff and tongue in cheek remarks in text can be tricky - you aren't getting the non-verbal cues

NigellasDealer Wed 13-Aug-14 11:17:27

well don't write trite thoughtless crap then delph, there's a thought/

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 11:17:49

I am going out- will endeavour to find some later. I remember the one who thought her MIL saying 'how's my baby today' was more than a figure of speech and meaningless.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 11:19:03

I don't hurt anyone- they are not personal - they are not supposed to be analysed!

mysticpizza Wed 13-Aug-14 11:20:02

We are NC with MIL thanks to her standing by the paedophile husband who abused her own GC.

I hope that's serious and considered enough for you, OP? hmm

Threads about abuse are not the best places for 'tongue in cheek' remarks, delph.

I understand you're cross about getting a bit of a pasting and it is unpleasant, but please don't start making remarks about other posters like those to looking.

The things that are being discussed here are deeply, deeply personal. People are talking about their experiences of abuse. Looking's response was reasoned and polite, and didn't deserve to be ridiculed that way. She actually agrees with you on a fair amount, as do I.

PausingFlatly Wed 13-Aug-14 11:22:07

Mardy, that thread you linked to is scary. I'm feeling claustrophobic reading it, and I'm nothing to do with those people.

I've read a lot of threads from adult children talking about NC: they sound hurt, lost, abandoned and scared of their parents; worried about the consequences of going NC for themselves, their parents and the rest of the family.

That thread from the parents' POV (and it's only one thread, so may not be representative), is all about hurt, anger, control and possessiveness. I Love you therefore I own you, but I hate you so much I'm going to cut your image out of a photo of My Grandchildren. Plotting ways to intrude on the family. Going to court for access to grandchildren: "Don't take no for an answer: you're entitled!"

It's exactly like a stalker - but a socially acceptable one because the Love that justifies all is a mother's Love.

It's certainly not a sort of love that cares about the object's happiness and welfare at all.

PetulaGordino Wed 13-Aug-14 11:22:49

language is powerful delph

As anyone who has experienced emotional abuse will tell you.

MardyBra Wed 13-Aug-14 11:31:14

pausing I'd left the thread but just saw my name on active convos. Tbh I'd only skimmed that particular Gransnet thread. I'd lurked on one a while back which was v sad to read, full of practical advice ( tips like: apologise even if you think you're not in the wrong, never offer unsolicited advice, don't overstay welcome etc). I couldn't find that so linked to the first one I could.

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 13-Aug-14 11:44:33

(Thank you, Adam's. I have to admit, any personal attack went straight over my head. Perhaps I've had reason to develop a thick skin over my life!)

You're a better woman than I am, looking! wink

PetulaGordino Wed 13-Aug-14 11:47:52

precisely adam sad

PetulaGordino Wed 13-Aug-14 11:48:12

sorry, that was re your previous post!

PausingFlatly Wed 13-Aug-14 11:51:08

Yes, I was expecting to see what you describe, Mardy: after all, needy, controlling, self-obssessed people are young parents before they're estranged grandparents.

But that particular thread's a Dummy's Guide to Dysfunctional Families. Not all the posters on it, but some... phew.

arf petula

PausingFlatly Wed 13-Aug-14 12:00:50

But I'm getting a bit TAAT here, so should stop.

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 12:19:10

But some reasons are petty
Your partner is also the results of their family -nature or nurture they get their genes from their family- and so will your children- you don't get to choose!

delphiniumsblue, Sorry, but your sentence “you don’t get to choose as your kids get their genes from their family” is utter bollocks in as far as they ONLY get their genes from their family, they only get the NATURE bit inherited from their family, the NURTURE bit they get from their daily life. And you do get 100% choice in that.

The nature parts our children are just born with, there might not be a lot we can do about that, you can’t change genetics after all. But the nurture part of our children we can do everything about, that’s the play-dough bit that we (and society in general) get to mould and make and shape.

Do you understand that someone chooses no contact with toxic people because of the nurture part? Because of the danger toxic family members pose to the mental well-being of not just ourselves, but our children too? If you look at personality disorders for instance, they may not be diagnosed until after 18 yrs of age, but they are patterns of behavior learned in childhood years, more often than not in the very early childhood years.

By going no contact with toxic grandparents I might not be able to totally eliminate the chance of my child developing a personality disorder, but I can greatly reduce my child’s chance of getting a PD compared to the chance that my siblings had of developing a personality disorder as they were exposed to my toxic PD mother daily.

I know you don’t want you words analyzed, but it’s hard not to when you spout such utter shite.

noddyholder Wed 13-Aug-14 12:32:32

Good ord delphinium I would take the opportunity not to come back to this thread because you really are talking BS 100%

"either you are a family person or you are not"

I'm a family person too, I just can't have the type of family I want when the relationship with my mum is lingering in the background.
I want to play happy families but I can't, I want her to be a positive part of my children's lives, this can't happen while she continues to act the way she does, with no sincere apologies or attempts to change her ways.

MN has opened my eyes to her behaviour and I see many people share similar experiences, I'm very grateful for the shared stories.

I don't want to be seen to hold a grudge by people who don't understand my relationship with my own mother.
I also don't want someone to act smug and reel off all the lovely events they've got planned with their family as they 'work at it' cos you cant choose your family.

Horribly smug and very judgemental, upsets me a bit.

expatinscotland Wed 13-Aug-14 13:18:50

I have friends who have gone NC with parents. I completely understand, not judge them for their decision.

noddyholder Wed 13-Aug-14 13:21:48

I am a family person but am NC with my mother as are my siblings. This thread is a feast of insults

PetulaGordino Wed 13-Aug-14 13:26:23

i think it's "being a family person" that often keeps people tied to an abusive relative. they crave a family that is loving and robust enough to incorporate everyone's differences and disagreements, and enjoy spending time together and support each other. it's a huge wrench to realise that the happy family they want may not be able to include that abusive person

slightlyconfused85 Wed 13-Aug-14 13:29:04

Yanbu. I don't know a single person in real life who has no contact with a family member!

PetulaGordino Wed 13-Aug-14 13:32:02

read the thread slightlyconfused

PhaedraIsMyName Wed 13-Aug-14 13:36:18

*"I never knew any of my grandparents and, trust me, it leaves a hole."- how does it "leave a hole"? If it's something you have never known, then you just live with it.

I grew up without a brother- that didn't "leave a hole"*

Completely agree. I grew up with my maternal grandparents and my mother only. It's never occurred to me to fret about non-existent relatives I never had.

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 13:37:07


I know, it's hilarious that "either you are a family person or you are not" statement. I could just see me trying to be a family person with my husband's mother and father or my own mother and father. It would be like trying to be a good (elderly female) patient with Harold Shipman as your GP. I think someone like delphiniumsblue just doesn't get that I (or you or others on this thread) could be THE MOST family oriented person in the history of the world, but it's useless as we don't have a "normal" family to work with. It's a bit like expecting a Jensen Button to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a Fiat Panda. "Come on Jensen, you big jessie, you're either a car driver or you're not". Never mind even thinking about the tools he has to work with. Give me a set of functional parents and a functional mother and father-in-law and I will show you what a family person I am. But back in the real world, with parents and inlaws I have, I can only show you how "no contact" looks.

I wish I knew LESS about my grandparents on my mums side, she should have gone nc with them. They're horrendous, far worse than my own Mother!
I don't feel like I missed out on not having grandparents, everyone else seems to feel sorry for me though hmm

^ A phenomenal example of the reason it's important to RTFT.


Not you niceperson.

I meant 5 up but the bloody arrows didn't come out right smile

I love your Jensen analogy slow.


I know, trying to force a relationship that isn't dysfunctional when you're dealing with extremely dysfunctional people is like banging your head against a brick wall....a phrase I use a lot when talking about my mother!!!

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 13:45:36

i think it's "being a family person" that often keeps people tied to an abusive relative. they crave a family that is loving and robust enough to incorporate everyone's differences and disagreements, and enjoy spending time together and support each other. it's a huge wrench to realise that the happy family they want may not be able to include that abusive person

Petula, that is definitely true in my family with my brothers and sisters. I went NC with my toxic parents over 20 yrs ago. Back then my sister was a fairly stable person, fairly strong, a good enough mother to her own then young children, and held down a good job, had a happy enough life. I warned her then that staying around my toxic mum and dad could/would pull her down and put untold stresses and strains on her marriage, her children, her mental well-being, her life in general. Fast forward 20-25 yrs and she is an alcoholic, divorced twice, umpteen fucked up short term romances, has trouble holding down a job, her mental health is shot to pieces, her own adult children have gone no contact with her, she never sees her grandchildren. Her life is a mess, she is a mess. But - she did definitely try to be a "family person" with my toxic mum and dad. The last time I spoke to her she said "it's too late for me now, my life is fucked, you got out in time, I didn't".

That's so sad slow.

Slightly confused

If you met me in RL you wouldn't know I have no contact/minimal contact with my mum, even if we were friends.

If you were to ask ' hows your mum doing?' I'd just say ' fine' and pretend she's too busy to visit us.
I'm not going to start talking about the problems i have with my mum with even close friends cos its complicated and to be perfectly honest, boring. I talk about it with my sister and occasionally my partner, who else needs to know?
To me it's a subject that upsets me greatly, to anyone else who isn't involved, it's nothing more than gossip.

You might be surprised to learn that they're are many of us no contacters wandering around in RL!

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 13:58:42

it is Adam, and what's sadder is it's true for all of my siblings. They're all pretty fucked up individuals now, and they weren't back in the late 80s. They were all fairly successful young married people with nice husband/wives, good jobs, young kids, and positive futures. I, as the youngest sibling, looked up to them back then. All my siblings now have alcohol problems, to be honest I am sure they are all alcoholics. And the sad thing is, I "get it". Although I don't even drink at all, I get why one would have to turn to drink to be able to cope with my toxic (and alcoholic) parents. My sibs have all had numerous marriages and numerous volatile relationships and just loads of problems in their lives in general - jobs-children-relationships-coping-self esteem-self control.... my parents have "fucked them up" in their adult lives in the way they didn't quite succeed to do it in their childhood years, I do think I had a lucky escape by getting out in the nick of time. I remember thinking (as the youngest child) when I hit 18 yrs old "phewww my parents haven't broken us kids.... we're all fine.... we're all going to be fine.... we all got there in the end". I just assumed if you survived the first 18 yrs with toxic parents that the rest would be easier. Obviously not.

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 14:06:57

niceperson, that's more or less exactly how I deal with questions about my parents. I like to say I don't lie as such, I just lie stretch the truth a bit lie a bit by omission, lol. When asked how my mother is, I just say "fine thanks". But don't bother mentioning the last time I actually laid eyes on her was about..... 1996.

I have never bad mouthed my parents to anyone really. My husband knows some of the story, but not much. My very closest friends know even less than he does. One thing I oftn hear from the few people I do tell that I have been NC for over 20 yrs is "wow, that's weird, because you often talk in postive terms of your parents". And that is true, I have always tried to let go of the negative and try to keep hold of what little positives there are/were. This thread and some of the "you're either a family person or you're not" type of reactions reinforce to me why I'm probably right to take the lie by omission route.

KristinaM Wed 13-Aug-14 14:11:20

If you have been brought up in a dysfunctional or abusive family, you have been trained to believe that your own feelings and wishes are stupid and wrong. All that matters is what the abuser wants you to think, feel and do .

So once you are an adult and able to make choices for your own life, it's incredibly difficult to prioritise your own mental and physical health, your marriage or the welfare of your own children . It feel completely wrong and selfish . Some people never manage to do it, and the cycle of abuse continues

So if you have managed to step away and build a new life, it's VERY painful to have someone , even a passing stranger on the internet, suggest that you have escaped for trivial reasons. Or because you are "not a family person " . Or because you don't want to work at relationships.

To someone else it might be a throw away comment -to you its twisting the knife in the heart .

It just reinforces the message that you are stupid and wrong,that nothing in the world matters as much as the abusers wishes.

So most people who have had to go NC with family member don't broadcast it in RL. They are aware of the prejudice and bigotry out there, they don't want a fight, they don't want to be judged and made to justify their decisions, they just want to get on with building their lives and being healthy and happy .

Kristina, that is very eloquently put.

niceperson - exactly.

Although I very much doubt Slightly will be back to read any of these responses, as not bothering to read before posting isn't usually a sign of interest in discussion.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 15:57:14

I think that I read OP quite differently. It seems to have been interpreted to mean toxic, abusive relationships. I didn't think this is what she was meaning at all. There are terrible stories on here and of course you should cut contact- there is no other way.
That isn't what I was talking about. I was talking about not having contact with perfectly reasonable people. e.g when I married DH he got my mother, she wasn't an option and she stays with us, we stay with her and I am certainly not putting my life in a compartment where it is only the children and me who see her. However she is not toxic, she is not abusive- and that is what I thought OP was talking about. I'm sure it was from the title, because those who have gone NC because of dysfunctional, abusive parents don't think it is normal.
It was not about the non contact- it was about seeing it as normal.
I don't think it will get back to the title- so I will leave you to it.
The problem with starting AIBU is that it takes a life of its own- miles away from what was intended.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 16:06:22

Surely those of you who have such horrible family experiences don't see it as normal? You can't do as you have cut the contact and are changing it for your own children. That was the question 'seeing it as normal'.

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 16:19:00

delphinium so why do you trot out phrases like "you're either a family person or you're not" .... and that was said AFTER you'd been on the thread for a while, and knew exactly the many valid reasons many of us have for being NC.


That makes me feel like you think I am just not a family person. I am. I just don't have a family to work with. They're toxic idiots.

I can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. But I can sew you up a fairly nice silk purse on my Singer if you provide me with the right materials and tools to do so.

Can't you see that we can only work with the tools we're given? Given poor tools and materials I can't show off my sewing craftsmanship the way I can with good tools and decent material? The same way Jensen Button can and has won F1s in his racing-cars, but couldn't in a Fiat Panda. You wouldn't call me a poor seamstress cause I can't you make you a nice silk purse from a sow's ear, you wouldn't call Jensen Button a shit driver cause he couldn't win the GP in Fiat Panda... so why do you say "you're either a family person or you're not" to a group of people who have spent inordinate amounts of time explaining exactly why they are NC with toxic parents.

I hope it made you feel good about yourself.

TheFirmament Wed 13-Aug-14 16:19:36

It's complicated Delphinium because you are born into it, so your life is a gradual progression from seeing it is normal to realising it's not OK, due to other influences.

But the OP's question was seeing the NC as normal - no, I know it's relatively unusual. But it is also a good idea sometimes and important that people see it as acceptable. It may not be normal but people should understand it and not judge you for it, ideally.

mummytime Wed 13-Aug-14 16:22:02

I haven't seen anyone tell someone to go NC with a "normal" person. It could possibly seem like that occasionally when someone has posted before and some people know all the "back story", and then post with something seemingly trivial/could be innocent; and people start saying "Go NC".

I have a friend who is NC with a lot of her family, most people wouldn't even know that she is. I know a bit more because of when we became friends. I don't refer to it unless she does first, and somethings we haven't mentioned for probably 20 years. If she wants to talk I'm here, but he life has moved on and is much healthier and happier.

combust22 Wed 13-Aug-14 16:23:43

Well said slowcar.

TheFirmament Wed 13-Aug-14 16:23:48

I'm a family person... with my own DC and DP. In fact, thanks to the dearth of decent extended family in our lives, we're a closer family - me and DP never go away together without our DC for example, and won't until they can be left alone, because they haven't been able to develop a relationship with any grandparents they could stay with. (DP's family is remote and fairly uninvolved, though not toxic.)

I'm NOT a family person when it comes to the family I came from, because, with the exception of one sister, I can't stand them. Those I am not NC with, I see as little as possible and find even that unbearable.

So it's not the person, is it? It's the family.

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 16:27:46

That was the question 'seeing it as normal'.

is having one leg normal

is being deaf normal

(I could go on, you get the idea.....there are many things people have no control over)

no these things are not "normal" in as far as, the majority of the population aren't deaf, have 2 legs.... but we don't judge them negatively for it. We accept that is something they have no control over or never chose for themselves or were born with .... as we should with people who turn their back on toxic family members.

flippinada Wed 13-Aug-14 16:28:40

I read the OP differently. She seems to be assuming that people advise posters on MN to go no contact for flippant reasons and that people might think this is 'normal' behaviour and therefore be encouraged to follow the advice.

Subsequently, posters on here who have gone nc, with all that entails are pointing out that a)actually, people on here don't suggest NC for 'flippant' reasons (unless it's obviously jokey - e.g. she bought you milk chocolate instead of dark, omg you should go no contact) b) people who do go NC usually have very good reasons for doing so which they (understandably) don't want to share - as has been described here, very eloquently - and c) NC is usually a decision made after a huge amount of trauma/soul searching, and is not used as a common problem solving tool.

I wish we could knock the idea that people go no contact for trivial reasons on the head, it causes a lot of hurt.

flippinada Wed 13-Aug-14 16:46:47

Just to add, in fairness to the OP, I think she revised her opinion upthread.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 16:53:16

I said it slowredcar because I was talking about something quite different from the majority- but hadn't fully realised it at that point.
Those who have gone nc for a good reason have done it to be 'normal' parents themselves and will be aiming to be 'normal' grandparents. They do not see their own situation as 'normal'. They are not going to suggest it for flippant reasons- they are not the people OP was referring to in OP.
Posters who have gone nc have made this about themselves- it was never supposed to be from my interpretation of OP. Perhaps she can come back and make it clear what she meant.

Excuse me delphinium.

Did you manage to find all those threads written by all those people who think it's normal to go NC for silly reasons?

That is exactly what the thread title is about.

That is exactly the idea that I questioned.

You were going to go away and give us links to all those threads you've noticed that are rife with people cutting out family members for no good reason.

Except that you haven't done that. You've come back and trotted out the same old lines about 'not having contact with perfectly reasonable people'.

I propose that there aren't hordes of people who are NC for petty reasons. There are an awful lot of people who are NC for a good reason, a few people who are maybe just giving someone the sulky treatment, and there's you, endlessly repeating the same groundless statements about 'the casual way people talk about ILs on MN.'

It is beginning to sound very much like you don't have a point. You have an opinion. Which is that your family is fine, no-one in it is toxic, you make an effort with them, but that there's a contingent of people who go NC because they aren't as dedicated as you.

The trouble is that I think this contingent is imaginary, and unless there's some proof that they're not, then this thread is just going to grind round in the same boring circle for the next 750 posts, like this:

'But lots of people cut out family members for silly reasons'
'No they don't, every thread I've read about NC has involved serious issues'
'I just think that people need to make more of an effort, except obviously not if they're toxic'
'But most people who go NC do it because people are toxic'
'But the OP wasn't about that, it was about people doing it lightly'
'But there's no evidence that people do do it lightly. Look at all these stories of abuse'
'Well, obviously they should cut people out, it's when people do it for no good reason . . .'

And on and on until the end of our fingers all drop off.

I need a cup of tea.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 16:55:23

I'm not sure that she revised her opinion- she accepted that the thread had gone a different way and went with it. It took me a long time to realise I was talking about something different. Had I known from the start it was a 'stately home' type thread I would have kept off.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 16:58:34

I think I need a cup of tea! I accept I am talking about something totally different so am leaving it rather than trail through looking for threads which obviously have nothing to do with the way the thread has gone and so are not relevant.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 16:59:58

It was only when I got in this afternoon that I realised I was not on the same wave length at all- so apologies.

noddyholder Wed 13-Aug-14 17:03:09

If you knew how awful it is you wouldn't minimise it.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 17:08:35

I wasn't minimising it- I wasn't talking about it!
Best to leave- I am tying myself in knots and still can't make myself understood. I have never commented on a 'stately home thread' - I had utterly no idea that was what this was- or I wouldn't have commented in the first place.


<raises bruised fingertips for one more try>

Here is the OP:

'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?'

These are the OP's words.

Observe this key sentence:

Is it just me that thinks (safety of children etc aside) most problems are at least worth working on?

The entire thread has been relevant to the OP. All those people up there, talking about how their problems - which didn't always involve the safety of children - simply couldn't be worked out. About how they didn't find being NC 'normal'. They are all relevant. We are all responding to the OP.

The OP came back and said, if I remember correctly, that this thread had 'really opened her eyes'.

You are not leaving the thread because it's gone off topic - it's never been off-topic. You're leaving it because there's no proof, actually, that the casual exclusion of ILs etc is actually advocated on MN.

And also probably because you're bored. As am I.

<wonders about subbing in wine for tea>

For fuck's sake.

It's not a 'Stately Homes thread'. Twice.

See, when you sneer at all the people who've laid bare their personal situations, in genuine response to the OP, that's when I start to wonder if you're just a common-or-garden goader with no point at all.

In which case, I'll be off. No more wasted keyboard time on this non-argument.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 17:26:03

I expect the last sentence is the correct one! It is as if you are all talking about tea and I come in talking about coffee - both hot drinks but beyond that not relevant. Therefore best to make it my last word.
(Said in reply to AdamLb in case things have moved on)
I suspect we all bring our personal experience to a thread title and therefore don't read the same into it. I certainly read it differently to most.

Abloodybigmessinside Wed 13-Aug-14 17:26:26

I wouldn't judge till you've been there. I have been NC for 9 years with my parents. They are emotionally abusive and harmful.
I would actually rather my DC had no GP on my side than spend time with them and their toxic ways.
I have agonised over the decision, I have felt guilt many times, I have even given them a 2nd chance but they cannot and will not change their behaviour, for anyone.
For most people, it becomes a matter of survival and is not a decision that is taken lightly at all.

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 17:27:09

I wasn't minimising it- I wasn't talking about it!

that "you're either a family person or you're not" comment is 100% minimising. No matter what way I look at it, I can't see it as anything else but minimising, well I can.... but then I start to use even less friendly words like judgmental/patronising/tactless/cunty etc

it would be like saying to a double amputee in a wheelchair who has just said that he doesn't take part in any sports because the options open to double amputees in sport are few are far between, "oh well, you're either a sporty person or you're not".

Can you see that? Telling a double amputee he just isn't a sport-minded person is making a judgment on his personality, while it's not his personality that's hindering him in sport, it's his lack of legs. That would be tactless, right?

Well that's the same with telling me or the other ladies on this thread that we are just not family people. That is on some level making a judgment to our personalities, and it's not our personalities that is stopping us having relationships with our parents or inlaws, it's their toxicity.

And also, don't forget, many of us enjoy very fulfilling family relationships with other non-toxic family members. So I am a family person thank you, just not with my toxic parents.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 13-Aug-14 17:30:40

One very last word before I hide it. I thought that I had explained that when I wrote that I had no idea what the thread was about! I have apologised - I can't do more. We were not talking about the same thing. It doesn't matter how many times you tell me that I should have known, I didn't. I do now!

Floccinaucinihilipilificate Wed 13-Aug-14 17:34:39

But you still assert that there are times when people go/are told to go NC for no good reason. I think that is what people are objecting to.

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 17:35:41

you don't get it delphinium, because not once have you said "yes I can see now that -you're just not a family person- comment was tactless at best".

Instead of just admitting you said something shitty you go one to compound that by trying to defend a pretty indefensible stance.

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 17:37:52

For fuck's sake.

It's not a 'Stately Homes thread'. Twice

I can't quite articulate why, but both those comments irked me too. In some way I felt......... "lablelled" ............ if that is a even a word.

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 17:49:52

they are not the people OP was referring to in OP. Posters who have gone nc have made this about themselves- it was never supposed to be from my interpretation of OP.

delphinium, sorry, but I am on a roll. A lot of what you said has pissed me off, and better out than in as they say. So... that bit up ^^ there also pisses me off because I feel like you are telling me (and the others who posted similar stories) that we have somehow highjacked a thread and made it into something it was never intended to be. I don't like being told I have "turned into thread in to a me me me" thread. Not that I actually think I have. I think you are just a twat whose first line of defense if offense.

Yes, you were being belittled slow. It's a passive-aggressive dig.

Tata Delph.

To be honest, slow, I don't think Delph had a point.

After being pulled up on being unable to evidence the alleged 'Mumsnet petty NCing trend', she's covered by accusing everyone else of pulling the thread off-topic, and making PA digs.

When shown that the thread's bang on-topic, she's packed it and disappeared in in a whiff of confused defensiveness.

It was all so gigantically pointless.

SlowRedCar Wed 13-Aug-14 17:56:58

stealth passive aggression, yes adam, I am seeing more and more of it now I am taking more time to actually digest her words slowly. Like it's not her fault for being obnoxious and tactless and judgmental, no it's our fault for derailing and thread and turning it into an "us us us" thread, for no logical reason whatsoever, AND against the OPs wishes n.b.

IMO .... if the rest of you with toxic parents/inlaws are half as experienced with passive aggression as I am.... it was a silly tactic for delphinium to use with this particular group of people in particular.

Legionofboom Wed 13-Aug-14 18:09:00

I'm sorry people who have posted thoughtful and deeply personal posts have ended up feeling belittled and judged.

I am struck by the glaring reality that I could imagine some of my estranged family posting exactly as delphinium has on this thread. Ironic really.

Aeroflotgirl Wed 13-Aug-14 21:49:23

Going NC in in cases of toxic and abusive behaviour is totally fine. I bet you all who have, feel so much better for it, that's the main thing, regardless of what anybody on here says, you have one life, you do what you have to, to make it a happy and healthy one. You would not put up with being g treated badly by a friend or anybody else, why is it ok because your related to the person. There!

TheFirmament Wed 13-Aug-14 22:02:43

Although I totally credit the OP with having her eyes opened – and for people lucky enough not to know about this kind of abuse, it is an eye-opener - her op suggested that NC is advocated "just like that" and "seems normal to many".

I posted about my experience because I thought it was important to explain how it is so, so not "just like that" and it is the fact that it is not normal, and people are shocked by it in RL, that makes it hard to contemplate even doing it. That was not to make the thread about me, but to answer those questions in the OP.

OK, on some MN threads people will say "go NC" just like that, but it's a thread, not a lifetime. There's not really any other way to suggest something in a typical post. And I welcome those suggestions. I'm not going to do something just because someone on a thread told me to. But it means a lot to me to hear that it's something I could consider.

My counsellor wants me to consider it. My DP wants me to consider it (that's an understatement). I would have my sister's support too. You know what, I still haven't done it (with my mum, though I have with my dad).

What I have done is decades of trying to keep my mum happy and not react to her nastiness because my reaction would upset her. I've put her first and myself last. Has it improved anything? No.

gobbynorthernbird Wed 13-Aug-14 22:21:20

* I could imagine some of my estranged family posting exactly as delphinium has on this thread*

Oh, yeah, I hear this. Unfortunately for my dad, the 'family' thing sounds a bit lame when he's asked why he punched his child in the face.

gobbynorthernbird Wed 13-Aug-14 22:22:07

Bollocks, that was supposed to be a quote.

fluffyblue Wed 13-Aug-14 22:46:26

Over children growing up without grandparents and missing out, my mother has never wanted anything to do with my children, she has never met my eldest son who is now sixteen and only met my youngest when I stood outside her house with him when he was little. I had to shame her into acknowledging him.
My partners parents are both dead so my youngest has never had grandparents. I feel terrible about this, and actually wish I hadn't read this thread now.

winkywinkola Wed 13-Aug-14 23:11:21

Fluffy, I reckon yours dcs had a lucky escape from your mother.

fluffyblue Wed 13-Aug-14 23:45:55

Thank you winky. I know that too.

BoneyBackJefferson Wed 13-Aug-14 23:58:31

I have no doubt that various posters on here would consider my going NC "petty", in fact there was a thread about "funny" things that you did to your siblings it was like reliving my childhood + teenage + early adult years.

I was at a stage where I was going to go in to anger management courses, surprisingly as soon as I went NC all of the problems stopped.
No sibling being "annoying", no "scapegoating", in fact I have never felt or been better.

So to those that say "its just a bit of fun", "they are family", "you could make more of an effort", I say walk a mile in my shoes and see how you feel.

Aeroflotgirl Thu 14-Aug-14 00:58:31

Exactly Boney, all your problems disappearing is proof you did the right thing. Fluffy I agree your children have had a lucky escape, better no grandparents, than toxic ones.

ADHDNoodles Thu 14-Aug-14 02:10:50

My only issue with the "Go NC" is that it seems that the people suggest it like it's a magical fix. It's not.

Sometimes it opens more problems, sometimes it alienates you from people you were close to. Sometimes you can't just NC one person without causing strain on your other family relationships.

It takes a pretty impressive sort of willpower to not get sucked back into the games, 2nd hand messages, and general bullshit. It also opens the door for new problems that weren't there before.

Luckily I don't have anyone I need to NC from. I live too far away and when it comes to stupid quarrels I have "no idea" what's going and "forgot" what someone else said about it. Ironically, I somehow find out more than I want anyway.

I do have a few people that quietly disappeared from us. While I don't blame them, I do wish they didn't include me in the family purge and wonder what happened to them from time to time.

KoalaDownUnder Thu 14-Aug-14 03:50:25


I have often thought the same thing. Some people on internet boards seem to be very cavalier about cutting family members off. 'Going NC' should be an absolute last resort, not a response to 'MIL feeds my children too many sweets, even after I asked her not to, and I think she doesn't respect our parenting decisions' confused

Maybe if people looked at the bigger picture, there'd be fewer fractured families and less loneliness in the world.

(Note: am NOT talking about actual abuse.)

Delphiniumsblue Thu 14-Aug-14 07:17:01

That was what I was talking about, Koala, but found everyone else was interpreting it to be about abuse.

flippinada Thu 14-Aug-14 07:21:04

Except that nobody, as it has been explained at quite some length, and detail does go no contact for reasons like that.

And these examples of threads where MNers urge no contact for similarly trivial concerns haven't been forthcoming.

Perhaps that's because they don't exist?

mummytime Thu 14-Aug-14 07:45:18

If you can find an example of someone suggesting NC for something trivial (except a joke thread) then please link to it here.

KristinaM Thu 14-Aug-14 07:45:24

It sees that , for most people, spending time on Mumsnet makes them a bit more open minded. They realise that there is often a back story, things about other peoples lives they never knew or understood before. That things are sometimes not as black and white as they thought, more complex . They get a tiny insight into what it's like to live with special needs, serious illness, domestic violence, mental health problems , abuse .

Most become just a little more understanding and compassionate . Sadly not everyone . Some just become more and more entrenched in their narrow world view sad

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 14-Aug-14 07:46:51

Maybe if people looked at the bigger picture, there'd be fewer fractured families and less loneliness in the world.

This can work both ways round. There was a thread on here where the poster was struggling with her MIL. She kept wading in an controlling the Posters SD, and was having an issue with MIL storming in and tidying SDs bedroom. It seems like such a small thing, and I suggested some ways of negotiation, which the Poster took on board and tried.

It turned out that this was just the end stage of the MIL dominating, not listening, not compromising and undermining the Poster. The poster was still trying to fix one individual petty problem at a time. Unfortunately, a few months later, it culminated with the MIL screaming at Poster in the street and driving off with the Poster's 6 month old baby.

Yes - I should have seen the bigger picture. Tidying the SD's room turned out not to be petty at all, but one of a bunch of ways that she was controlling her DIL.

This 'People have to work on it!' thing is absolutely true. However, BOTH parties have to be prepared to work on it. I had issues with my MIL when I was pregnant with her first grandchild, and for about a year afterwards. Half of this was me not dealing with things particularly well. The other half was her being of the opinion that her way was best and quite pushy getting that into place. She is an exceptionally pushy woman, but she is NOT narcissistic. There is, of course, a difference.

BOTH of us worked at it. BOTH of us learned to respect the other one. Neither of us whined, cried, feigned illness and so forth to get our own way.

Things are good now - generally we get on well with some occasions that we don't. That's normal - I wouldn't expect either of us to have no character flaws.

If one party generally thinks that they do no wrong, that there's no need for them to change and compromise or even listen to the concerns of the other which are clearly nonsense, that it's not their fault that the other is getting hurt, that they don't mean these things personally, that the other shouldn't be so sensitive or shouldn't take all their 'jokes' so seriously, then that's when you see narcissistic tendencies coming through. They're ways of diminishing the other one, defecting responsibility and leaving all the work squarely at the other one's feet.

That's when there's a problem.

Anyhow, like flippinada, I'm looking forward to this list of threads where loads of people suggest NC over tiny things.

winkywinkola Thu 14-Aug-14 07:55:20

Yes. I would like to see concrete examples of someone being advised to go NC over something trivial.

MrsBigginsPieShop Thu 14-Aug-14 08:07:14

We are NC with DH's entire family, through his own choice, to the extent that none of them even know about DS. It's heartbreaking for me and I feel I've let DS down by not giving him a 'whole' extended family as we only see 'my' side. But it's what DH wants.
So I also find it upsetting when it's suggested people would say 'go NC' for trivial things.
MN has some wise and experienced posters and I've never seen NC suggested for any situation that I would think was trivial.

KoalaDownUnder Thu 14-Aug-14 08:10:04

Erm, I don't think linking to specific examples is going to go down well (with that thread's OP/posters). I'm also not keen to get into a bunfight over what is, and isn't, trivial.

As a general impression, I think some posters on MN are too hasty to advocate going NC. If you don't, I'm happy to agree to disagree.

Floccinaucinihilipilificate Thu 14-Aug-14 08:11:20

That was what I was talking about, Koala, but found everyone else was interpreting it to be about abuse.

The problem is, you claim to see these trivial examples, which I and others on threads have never come across, so we can only assume that you are reading threads that we recognise as abuse, but you see as trivial. If you can point to a single example where someone has gone NC or been told to go NC over a petty disagreement then we will all concede your point. But at the moment it feels like you keep telling us over and over again that the abuse we see on the threads is in fact trivial, which is why we keep coming back with examples to try to explain to you that it is abuse, and it is incredibly frustrating that you keep taking it and saying, well of course I don't mean that, you must be over sensitive, you don't understand, I haven't done anything wrong.

flippinada Thu 14-Aug-14 08:23:03

To be honest koala I thought you hadn't read through the thread.

I just find it hard to believe someone would read through all the stories on here and, then come out with a statement about how people should just try a bit harder and then there wouldn't be so much loneliness in the world.

flippinada Thu 14-Aug-14 08:23:50

Please excuse the random comma, no idea where that came from.

Aeroflotgirl Thu 14-Aug-14 08:31:31

I agree with looking through, all these 'little petty things' can form a bigger picture. All the cases on mumsnet where an op has been advised to go NC have been those where the op has been treated appealingly by that person, has been undermined, abused and harassed. I have never ever on my 7 years on mumsnet, heard of an op being advised to go NC over something trivial. Usually Mumsnetters offer varying solutions of advice if it's so.

Yes it takes two to make things work, why should op put in all the effort and put up with rubbish, the other person has to work at it too, and if they don't there is nothing you can do but cut your ties and distance yourself.

TheFirmament Thu 14-Aug-14 08:33:43

But Koala what happens when you're dealing with people who don't try a bit harder with you? My mum has said cruel, nasty things to me, and flown off the handle if criticised, ever since I was a child. Why doesn't she try a bit harder to understand that being that rude hurts me, or that she might actually occasionally be at fault? Because she can't. All the trying harder has been done by me. Trying harder not to mind, not to say anything about her latest vindictive comment, to be nice to her to make sure she doesn't feel upset. I have tried harder.

Aeroflotgirl Thu 14-Aug-14 08:34:18

Yes ok we have got one side of the story so we have to go by what op has said and trust what she says is the true picture. So advise accordingly!

Meerka Thu 14-Aug-14 08:35:54

I thought lookingthrutheFOG's post summed it up beautifully.

Now and then you look at an original post and think 'well they just need to talk!"

But if you've been in the situation with a toxic family, then apparently small things can sometimes be a recognisable trigger for an entire raft of nasty stuff going on under the surface ... Just what looking said. To someone from a happy home, it looks like nothing. Becuase they don't (fortunately!!) have the experience.

And I'd second in big letters what she said However, BOTH parties have to be prepared to work on it


And very often sadly that's not the case.

Aeroflotgirl Thu 14-Aug-14 08:44:48

Yes meerka those on here saying work on it etc do not have any experience of being on the receiving end of a toxic family member who makes you feel like crap. Think about this, if op replaced her op with husband/partner instead of mother, father, fil/mil everyone would say she is being abused it's horrendous LTB, but because it's a blood relation you have to put up and shut up!

Meerka Thu 14-Aug-14 08:51:17

I keep thinking the same! that if you substituted the word 'partner' for 'parent' the chorus of LTB would be unanimous. But because it's a parent ... [hmmm]

PetulaGordino Thu 14-Aug-14 08:53:21

IME by the time people are suggesting NC as an option, the OP has been "working on it" and "trying harder" for years and nothing has worked. People are saying to them "look, you don't have to keep trying, going back for more pain".

It's the guilt about the relative being lonely and miserable that is one of the things that often keeps the OP going back and trying again

Aeroflotgirl Thu 14-Aug-14 09:00:27

Exactly petula, op has usually been trying for years to please this person, and as a return has got more abuse or mistreatment. People are saying on here, you don't have to take it anymore, you do not have to put yourself through that anymore! Take a step back, and distance yourself from that person. Yes going nc isent easy, but sometimes it's tge only option and bring In communication with that person is bad for op well being and health.

SlowRedCar Thu 14-Aug-14 10:11:26

this is quite mean to say, and I don't actually mean it, as I wouldn't wish toxic parents or in-laws on anyone, no matter how big a prat I found them to be on an internet forum.

but I would like to see how someone like the (family-person) delphinium would react if her daughter grew up and married a man whose mother was toxic as hell and was diagnosed with borderline PD with narcissistic tendencies. I wonder if she would still be advocating "all it needs is a bit of give and take dear". I am sure she'd be telling her daughter "look sweetie, you married the guy, you married his family, just be a bit more accepting that we're all different". Oh and then of course she could say the very helpful line "darling daughter, yes your mother-in law might be a tad awkward, but just think sweetie, your babies share her genes and you wouldn't abandon them".

Yep, delphinium would learn a thing or two if any of her children are (god forbid) unfortunate enough to hook up with a bloke with toxic parents. I don't think she'd be doing her pearl-clutching, looking down the nose speech of "well some of us are simply family people, and some of us aren't".

Back when I went NC with my parents my older brother had a newish GF at the time. That GF was horrified at my decision. Utterly and totally and vocally horrified. I mean how could I when we had such a sweet on the surface mother. I wouldn't say brother's GF NC-ed me, but she did avoid me in a big way. About a year after my NC she and my brother married. About 6 months after that I had her on my doorstep in tears, near mental-breakdown because of my mother and the strain she was putting on my brother and her's marriage. About a year or two or three later they divorced, quite hideously. None of my family (20+ yrs later) have any contact with that ex-sister in law, except me.

It's so easy to judge when you're not in it, or are only (like ex-sis-in-law was initially) in it in a minor way.

mysticpizza Thu 14-Aug-14 10:13:48

Koala, If you didn't want to get into a bunfight perhaps it might have been better to read the thread before posting a thoroughly discredited view?

ADHDNoodles YY to going NC not being a magical fix. It has caused us no end of problems, some of them completely unexpected and unforeseeable.

It's also worth remembering that those going NC even for very good reasons very often and by some twisted logic become the villains of the piece.

KoalaDownUnder Thu 14-Aug-14 10:17:12

mysticpizza, I did read the thread, actually. It doesn't mean I have to agree with the majority.

'A thoroughly discredited view' implies some kind of scientific fact, FGS. I'm posting an opinion; not something that can actually be 'discredited'.

mysticpizza Thu 14-Aug-14 10:31:08

Well, Koala you're the one who said you didn't want to get into a bunfight. I thought I was being helpful in pointing you in the right direction for avoiding that.

I'm quite surprised at your interpretation of 'discredited'. Maybe you should check out the dictionary definition.

KoalaDownUnder Thu 14-Aug-14 10:42:34

I'm perfectly aware of what discredited means. And nothing has been 'thoroughly discredited' on this thread, I'm afraid.

You're not trying to 'point me in the direction' of anything; you clearly have a personal axe to grind on this topic, and can't abide anyone having a different opinion to yourself. Carry on.

SlowRedCar Thu 14-Aug-14 10:43:50

Mystic and Noodles, (I don't want to derail this thread, so please forgive me delphinium), but while I absolutely agree with Noodle's point upthread about the wider implications of possibly losing valued family members, that MUST be considered and inevitably will happen to most I assume, and it can fucking hurt to lose contact with a family member you value. 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. A breath of fresh air. For the first time in my entire life I could experience drama free, bullshit-free, games-free life. I also don't think I (or my husband) experienced any unforeseen problems. We kinda knew in advance some people would blank us/judge us for our decisions, that went much as we had predicted. And I suppose like I said upthread about my then sis-in-law, yes I suppose I could say I was vilified somewhat, but I also knew it was only a matter of time before those people got caught in my mothers net too. And I was proven right. BUT.... I hasten to add.... I am around 25 yrs NC and my mother is an "in your face - mad as a hatter" toxic person. It is different with my husband's mother who is much more of a closet-abuser who can keep up a perfect appearance to the outside world. My mother can't. She poisons every single relationship, close or superficial, that she gets in to. So I suppose after more than 2 decades everyone "gets" why I went NC with my parents, but my husband isn't as fortunate as not so many people are aware of how toxic his mother is, as she is only really toxic to my husband and his father.

flippinada Thu 14-Aug-14 10:44:29

So, koala you read people pouring their hearts out, telling deeply personal and hurtful stories and thought that was an appropriate thing to say? Wow.

Something else that has occurred to me, I wonder if some people imagine no contact as being this big, dramatic declaration/confrontation - that's not necessarily the case. It can mean simply not getting in touch with someone.

SlowRedCar Thu 14-Aug-14 10:47:54

koala when you come across these threads where people advocate NC for totally minor or spurious reasons like the grandparents giving too many sweets to the kids, do you speak out and tell them how stupid they are being? On the actual threads where it is being said? I wouldn't be able to control myself if I witnessed (which I never ever have) such sledgehammer to crack a nut type of advice. Are you sure you are not just exaggerating for effect here?

KoalaDownUnder Thu 14-Aug-14 10:48:54

All the deeply personal and hurtful stories were about abuse - which I clearly said was not included in my statement!

KoalaDownUnder Thu 14-Aug-14 10:51:18

SlowRedCar, no, I admit I never have...often because they're old threads, or because there are already several pages of posts encouraging the OP to overreact (not all of them saying 'no contact', but some of them), and I don't really want to get lynched.

I absolutely DO NOT think anyone who has told terrible stories on this thread overreacted, though. I sincerely apologise for implying that.

mysticpizza Thu 14-Aug-14 10:53:03

Yes. Yes I absolutely have a personal axe to grind about someone I don't know having a different opinion to me on the net. Busted hmm

You have claimed to have seen non joke threads where someone has been advised to go NC for a trivial reason. Link or I shall be forced to conclude it hasn't happened.

SlowRedCar Thu 14-Aug-14 10:54:56

Something else that has occurred to me, I wonder if some people imagine no contact as being this big, dramatic declaration/confrontation - that's not necessarily the case. It can mean simply not getting in touch with someone.

I think a lot of people do envisage that kind of dramatic scenario.

With me it was no more or no less than my mother having one of her weekly meltdowns and me saying "mum, I can't deal with this right now, I am tired, have bad period cramps and I think I am coming down with the flu. I am sorry I have to go. But I will call you tomorrow, promise, love you, bye". And then simply not going back or calling. Ever.

There was zero drama from my side, then, or over 2 decades on.

KoalaDownUnder Thu 14-Aug-14 10:57:01

Conclude whatever you wish. As I said before, I'm not going to dig up specific threads about other people's problems. I don't understand why you think I, or the OP, would pretend to notice this if we hadn't.

bethcutler13 Thu 14-Aug-14 10:57:44

Of course it's easier said than done. But someone times it's necessary. And most people are rational enough to not decide to cut off all contact from a family member because a stranger on mumsnet said to do so. I've been told to go NC with my mil repeatedly on here but as a rational person I am yet to do so, I'm busy assessing the situation and deciding what's right and what is the lesser of two evils.
I can see where both sides are coming from, some days I wish id gone NC the moment it was mentioned.
Every situation is different and as adults we accept responsibility over how to handle the situation at hand, as helpful as mumsnet advise can be it's not professional advise and everyone should remember that.

mysticpizza Thu 14-Aug-14 11:00:24

SlowRedCar - I appreciate our experience isn't everybody's.

I'm so glad going NC brought you some peace and a drama free life smile

mysticpizza Thu 14-Aug-14 11:06:19

koala Rest assured.

I've concluded.

SlowRedCar Thu 14-Aug-14 11:09:57

SlowRedCar, no, I admit I never have...often because they're old threads, or because there are already several pages of posts encouraging the OP to overreact (not all of them saying 'no contact', but some of them), and I don't really want to get lynched.

I wish you would get involved on the threads it happens on. An internet lynching doesn't hurt, lol, I promise. Hell we're both on the airline-recline thread and I was called a selfish wanker on that after 11 pages of YABU replies, when one or two of us popped up with YANBU. That's just the net.

I do kind of see what you mean though.

I think LTB is used far too often and far too readily on MN. It's the go to reply for any marital problems. Just LTB. Problem fixed.

However, there are very many threads where a woman or women are rightly being advised to LTB, as they are in very abusive and horrendous relationships. I would NEVER EVER chose one of those genuine-abuse threads to say I think LTB is bandied around too much on MN. I would say it in the threads where LTB is being advised for trivial reasons.

And with all due respect, I think that was a mistake on your part on this thread, to have read it, to have seen all the genuine replies, then to chose this particular thread as the one where you finally say "yes NC is bandied about in here for silly reasons like giving the grandkids too many sweets".

It's not so much what you said, but where you said it, that I personally find a bit off.

But hey you apologised, so I am not rubbing it in. Promise. Peace and all that! Besides I am sure this wanker has an airlines seats battle to wage. lol.

Legionofboom Thu 14-Aug-14 11:15:17

I don't really understand why people should have to justify going NC.

Where does a relative 'being a bit difficult' end and abuse begin? Who gets to decide?

If someone on MN has suggested going NC as an option then surely it's just that. An option. (Disclaimer I have never seen this done for a trivial reason unless it was a joke)

Also, often when people post on MN, the problem they talk about isn't really the problem at all and there is far more going on underneath. Therefore in response to the OP of a thread it might seem ridiculously flippant to say "go NC" but 8 pages in and the real backstory has come to light it can be a very different situation.

combust22 Thu 14-Aug-14 11:51:41

legion - I agree.

I have lots of relatives that I don't keep in touch with- why do I need to even justify that? I have the rich snotty cousin who comments on my kids' "cheap shoes" and gives me a running total of the savings she has. My alcoholic chain smoking uncle, my rabidly christian sister who wastes no time in trying to cast out demons from my kids and my house, my cousin who has spent most of his adult life in prison for violent crimes.

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.

I don't get the judgement on this thread. Why do we even need "good reasons" to have NC? "Bad" reasons are fine with me.

If I don't hit it off with my relatives then I don't see why I should have to have a relationship with them- if we don't hit it off as individuals I am not going to waste my time making small talk and spending precious days in their company just because someone says so.

KoalaDownUnder Thu 14-Aug-14 12:10:18

It's not so much what you said, but where you said it, that I personally find a bit off.

That's fair enough, and you're right. I guess it was one of those OP's that I read and think, ooh, I've thought that lots of times! And then rushed through the rest of the thread (reading it, but perhaps not as thoughtfully as I should) to post my own opinion.

Not cool. I apologise. blush

PausingFlatly Thu 14-Aug-14 12:34:23

brew for Koala

<'tis my highest accolade>

Meerka Thu 14-Aug-14 12:36:38

slowred when you never picked up the phone again, did you mother try to contact you? or did she just let it drift?

sometimes one person wants to go quietly NC and the other uses that (along with any other tiny excuse) to make huge drama. Actually I imagine that many poisonous parents woudl make a drama about it. It's the neglectful ones don't care if their children never call.

SlowRedCar Thu 14-Aug-14 14:51:41

Meerka, my NC was around 25 yrs ago. Caller-i.d. didn't exist then. And yes she called, and did loads of other attention seeking things too, but they petered out in a few short months when she saw I was serious and not "biting" to any drama bait. I changed phone number back then, once. The new number was ex-directory (secret). Anyone given my new number then had strict instructions that it couldn't get back to my mum or dad. About 18 yrs or so ago caller-i.d. came in, and I have just filtered my calls that way since then. She has tried to reel me in various times, I just don't bite. I think that's the important....never take the bait they leave out.

I have never told anyone outside my very immediate family this story, I hope it's not derailing or out of place.

When I was living abroad, and she had no idea of even what my address was at that point (this is about 18 yrs in to NC), she got in touch with the Salvation Army in the UK and reported me as a missing person, from a loving caring family, who had just lost touch with their much beloved daughter/sister when she had moved to another country and an address book with important details got lost.

Now this was horrendous (and quite funny too) as the country I live in now is very big on personal privacy. Anyway the UK Salvation Army got in touch with the Salvation Army in this country. But no council or government body here will give out names and addresses at all, it's not like in the UK where the voters register and other things are public knowledge. Anyway, the salvation army in this country engaged the services of a lawyer/solicitor with a very strict privacy agreement in place, and that lawyer was able to get my name and address from my local council and contacted me to tell me my loving mother was searching high and low for me.

The "search" for me took 18 months from my mum starting it in the UK to me getting the lawyers letter here. They did an awful lot of work. All on a pro-bono, humanitarian, voluntary basis. Imagine the look on that poor lawyer blokes face when I called him up the next day, and explained I wasn't lost. I had just disowned my mother 18 yrs previous, as she well fucking knew. I told the lawyer that all my siblings, most of them live within walking distance of my mother, all have my address, phone number and contact details and all of them are in contact with me fairly regularly. And my mother knows all that. She will always ask sibs etc to share photos or tell things about me or my life.

She just loves the drama of being able to tell her new unwitting friends victims who don't know the backstory, about her lost beloved daughter, who she misses so much, who just got mysteriously lost in a move abroad. And how she, the loving mother, hired in international rescue, a.k.a The salvation army who work for free across the globe, to find the poor lost mite who was no doubt pining for her mammy dearest.

So no, she never just let me slip into a quiet, peaceful NC, she tried lots of weird and wonderful things, but I refused to bite to her bait(s) and managed on the whole for it to be drama-free. It was just a question of remaining a 100% resolute and not showing any chinks in my armour.

I hope none of that was inappropriate to the thread.

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

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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

Cheers, SlowRedCar and PausingFlatly, I appreciate it.

reclines sloooooowly grin

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

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.

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.


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.

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 14:50:00

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.

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 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'.

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 15:27:59

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 15:42:07

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 15:55:52

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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