Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

What made you go no contact with your mother/parents?

(19 Posts)
ReginaPhilangie Sun 07-Jul-13 22:04:19

I want to go no contact with my narc mother, but I feel like I'm overreacting and being silly and selfish, and cruel. Short previous thread here. It's been about 3 weeks now since I sent her a text saying I wanted space from her. After a bit of an argument she's left me alone since then.

It's been fantastic having no contact with her. I've felt free and unburdened. I haven't missed her in the slightest, and although the kids have asked about her a handful of times they haven't missed her like I though they would. I really would like to have no more contact with her for the foreseeable future, (not sure how I'll feel in a few years time).

I was kind of putting off making a decision on whether to or not. She texted me tonight just asking how me and the kids were. It was a bit of a shock because I'd gotten used to not having to worry and get anxious every time I pick my phone up in case it's her. DH said not to worry and I don't have to text her back straight away. But I'm thinking I don't want to text her back at all. Would it really be so bad if I didn't?

My childhood wasn't abusive, I wasn't neglected or abused physically in any way. I went to school, had holidays, had a nice house, nice clothes, friends etc. But...on the other hand my mother basically controlled my life. It's almost like I wasn't able to think for myself or make my own choices. She never did it obviously it was always very covert. She never liked any of my friends, would make me feel guilty if I wanted to go and play out whilst she was alone. She's manipulative and controlling and emotionally blackmails me all the time.

She's caused so much trouble in my marriage over the years, she's already started with the emotional blackmail on the kids. She's interfered in every part of my life since I was little. My relationship with my sister is almost none existent because of her jealousy. I only started to have a proper relationship with my dad when they got divorced 17 years ago.

I feel like I can't justify cutting contact with her (or stopping her seeing the kids) because my childhood was normal. Because she's not a bad person just a selfish one. There are people who's childhoods were far worse than mine that still have contact with their parents.

I know that I'm the only one who can actually say whether I should cut contact or not, I guess I'm almost looking for permission to do it.

sweetkitty Sun 07-Jul-13 22:14:16

I'm 4 years no contact now hmm

I never made a conscious decision, I just stopped phoning her (the phone calls were all "feel sorry for me") she didn't phone me for about 6 months then I got a birthday card with a note in it asking for me to phone her (why the note why not just anyway) I wrote her a letter telling her why I wasn't bothering to phone/see her, she wrote back saying everything was my fault I always thoughts was better than her even as a child, she's never felt welcome in my house etc etc. she started sending the DC cards in with ther people's presents, I sent them back after much deliberation. And that was that, she has never even saw DS who is 3.

She's a narc as well, not as much controlling but ate away at my self esteem, always tried to pull me down but to others she was the perfect mother. Emotionally abusive definitely.

I do not miss her but I miss having a Mum like I see my friends having. hmm

chickydoo Sun 07-Jul-13 22:26:18

Maybe it's the right thing to do for you, maybe not?
Maybe your kids will feel the same way about you in years to come maybe not?
Only we can change the way we feel about situations. Your mother is who she is....Why would she change? You are who you are, if you don't like a situation, you either forgive, except & forge new memories & experiences or you turn your back & walk away.
The former takes effort & deep inner strength, the latter is probably the easier option. If you choose the latter be sure you won't regret it later.
I am sure you will do what is right for you, I wish you luck, it is not an easy place to be in.

I'm 3.5 years very limited contact.
My mother lives on the other side of the world and came to visit once christmas and caused nothing but trouble. I had 4 kids aged 1,3, 6 and 8 and was stupidly looking forward to a bit of help.
I was pretty optimistic in expecting this really. We've had dust ups before, she says she hates me, wishes she'd never had me,I ruined her life etc, etc and despite the fact I did well at school, got a degree, had a career, married a good bloke and had 4 kids, she has never been able to forgive me for BEING FAT.
In the end she walked out to stay with a friend claiming I wasn't paying her enough attention, and I said if she went, that would be it.
She went, and she hasn't seen me or her GC again. She is not allowed to ring and talk to them, but does send them presents for birthdays/ xmas still- always late!
I send her a link to the monthly photo album so she can see what she's missing...
I miss the chance of having a normal mother-daughter relationship but my life has been much easier and calmer since I don't have worry about what she thinks.
My older kids kind of remember her and may want to contact her when they are older, but we'll deal with that when it happens.

stepmooster Sun 07-Jul-13 23:58:25

Oh god I wish I had gone NC years before I did. Mum was an alcoholic narc. Final straw was her getting the police called out to her by concerned staff at a hotel, and then she made up some BS excuse for her drunken state that my dad had thrown her down the stairs. They arrested my father, my sister went to pieces because the police wouldn't believe her that she was with my parents the whole time and nothing had happened and we all had a nervous breakdown. Why we never did it when she used to walk around the house at night screaming abuse at us all whilst we slept I'll never know.

TBH its your choice and it can be a very liberating one too. Perhaps it was easier for me because the 3 of us did it together, and because after that she also started to become physically agressive. We had to take her to court, she got a restraining order and it felt like what we doing was justified by a judge. I can see how it would be harder to justify to yourself when you're going NC just for psychological mind games. Once we did go NC her voice in my head telling me I was ugly/fat/useless etc slowly faded. My self esteem returned and I never regretted my decision. And yes the psychological mind games are definitely something you can do without.

fabergeegg Mon 08-Jul-13 02:45:41

I don't think you necessarily need to cut contact to feel liberated. If you wished, this space and experience of feeling liberated could be a helpful tool to set up boundaries that you are happy with. The whole liberated thing is happening inside your head. It can probably be made to happen regardless of what your mother is doing. This may be idealistic and not true for everyone, but I think it's better if you choose not to accept your mum's control, rather than having to drop it entirely. And if you were to start drawing lines in the sand, you would have to be feeling very strong and be willing to spend a period of time in a very stressful place emotionally, I would think.

However, if you decide cutting contact is best for you, then that's your decision and you don't have to justify it to anyone. How your children will feel in years to come - and how you will feel in years to come - is your own business.

With my husband's parents, after years of awfulness, we eventually cut contact. This was more as a result of realising that my husband was just not ready to hold firm on boundaries than because we thought they were actually dangerous...although they were. Yes, it feels more free. But it's a rather sad kind of free, when I think about the questions my DD is going to ask one day. Even though my life is immeasurably better since we stepped away from PIL, I would still prefer it if we could have found a way to manage them. Estrangement is sad.

Estrangement can be sad yes but it can be also necessary to protect your mental health and wellbeing.

RP, your childhood was not normal because you were raised by a narcissistic mother who saw you and still does as an extension of her own "perfect" self. She has caused you much emotional damage yourself and you seem mired in FOG - fear, obligation, guilt. Narcissists are more than just plain old boring selfish, they are very damaged, have absolutely no empathy for anyone and are masters too of, "come closer so I can hurt you again". You went NC after sending her a text saying you wanted more space, she three weeks later has deliberately ignored your self imposed boundary by contacting you. Any response on your part will be seen by her as a way "in" for her. DO not respond to her text, infact I'd block her number as of now.

If she is too toxic for you to deal with (and you do not sound strong enough to enforce and maintain a higher set boundary with regards to your mother due to her conditioning of you) then she is too toxic as well for your children to be around.

Having got narc rellies myself, the best thing I can do for myself and my child is to stay the hell away from them and their associated chaotic lives. I am very low contact with such people and do not go out of my way to see them, I certainly do not see them alone and I do not speak to them on the phone.

You may find reading the website "Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" helpful as is reading "Children of the Self Absorbed" by Nina W Brown.

FrauMoose Mon 08-Jul-13 08:57:28

Having only discovered the concept of narcissistic parents quite recently, it seems that this - and the term 'toxic' - are frequently used here.

My late father was extremely difficult. In retrospect I think he probably had Aspergers, but other problems too. I find it difficult that my mother has essentially rewritten/keeps rewriting the family history to put my father (and her) in the best possible light.

But although I see my mother less now, I felt that I had a responsibility to let my daughter know who her grandparents were. As long as they weren't behaving harmfully to her I kept some sort of contact going.

NewLifeDownSouth Mon 08-Jul-13 09:04:01

I cut contact about 4 years ago now when I realised I was happier without her in my life. And I liked not jumping when the phone rang. Like you, we had a normal childhood with some good times in there but she is manipulative and deceptive and nothing was ever enough. She sends me letters occasionally now but nothing to entice me back - just blaming everyone else for how she is.

Good luck.

castlesintheair Mon 08-Jul-13 09:07:46

You don't have to justify for reasons for cutting contact. In fact in my opinion it's better to say nothing, especially write it down (even in a text). I blocked my mother on FB, email, moved house and landline number and she doesn't seem to text anymore. It was 3 years ago in August that I made the split. The reason I made the actual split was after a particularly violent episode that my children witnessed. This was after a whole lifetime of abuse/neglect/narc parenting but what gave me the strength to "go for it" and keep at it was seeing a psycho-dynamic counsellor for 6 months. It was really hard and painful and I gave up too soon but it gave me the tools to do what I have done. I would recommend the same for you. It sound's like you are still trapped in the FOG stage that attila explains above. You need to really get beyond this to be in control of your life. Good luck. It's hard but worth it. I miss having parents too but it was not the way my life was meant to be and we have to protect our DC's and our own future.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 08-Jul-13 09:10:54

I feel like I'm overreacting and being silly and selfish, and cruel.

I think that as long as you feel that way -- or any other kind of heightened emotion wrt your mother -- it is probably safest to remain without contact with your mother. You are allowed to choose who you want to be in contact with, and if you find some people difficult to be with, then you don't have to be in touch with them.

I went no contact much like you, nearly 1 and a half years ago. At this point, I feel neutral towards my parents : they are people whose company I find unpleasant and do not seek. The period of no contact helped me reach this stage, but now that I'm there I wish I had gone low contact rather than no contact -- but then, would I have achieved the same desirable result? Who knows.

The problem with no contact is that it is very black and white, hard to roll back from. Now that I just feel "meh" about my parents rather than "oh my god, I hate your guts for how you treated the innocent child-me in your care!", I wish I had a drama-free low contact situation with them, rather than this no-contact impasse. Because I now cannot renew contact without some kind of drama, so I continue to stay away, even though it doesn't feel like a big deal anymore.

You'll find your path. Most of all, just accept that you have the right to make your own choices, including the right to change your mind. You don't need to justify yourself to anyone (except yourself) in this situation. And if, right now, no contact makes you happier, then so be it.

castlesintheair Mon 08-Jul-13 09:12:59

And I meant to say, there are all forms of narcissistic parents. You don't just have to have had the crap beaten out of you as a child to cut them out. Some of the worst narcs are the ones who have given you the best of everything, allegedly, hence the "But we took you to stately homes thread" which is in relationships here. Get the book that Attila talks about and try to get past the FOG. Good luck.

DowntonTrout Mon 08-Jul-13 09:25:28

I had NC with mum for about 10 years. It was after my parents split up, after 39 years of marriage. She had always been a difficult woman and she suffered from depression most of my childhood. In the end, she felt I took my fathers side, I suppose I did really, but she was terribly selfish and I had a young baby and couldn't cope with her dragging me down any more.

She missed out on the grandchildren, her only ones, and they missed out on a grandma, but for my own sanity I had to cut her out of my life. She has Alzheimer's now and I do see her. It's like all the bad stuff has gone and she's just a sweet, if empty, old lady. There is no closure though, because we can't ever have a discussion about what has passed. She doesn't remember and, in some ways, I can't forget.

Conversely, on the other side, I had NC with my daughter for a while. She was a troubled teen and I had to let her go( when she turned 18)because she needed to make her own mistakes and learn from the consequences of those mistakes. A couple of years on we are rebuilding our relationship, tentatively. I had to make a conscious decision not to interfere or keep rushing in to save her, to try and break the manipulative attention seeking habit. It's still early days but she knows I am there for her.

MillyMollyMandy78 Mon 08-Jul-13 10:00:26

It sounds as though no contact wold be the right thing for you. I don't think you have to justify yourself at all. The fact that you feel 'free and unburdened' and say you don't miss her is reason enough.would you stay friends with someone who you felt that way about? You have no obligation to her just because she is your mum.

You say your childhood was normal and not abusive. But from what you wrote it sounds as though there was emotional abuse.

There are several posts on here telling my story, as i gradually worked things through, but here is a summary... Reasons for no contact was a combination of things. I have been on MN since earlier this year and los of things began to click as i read stories of narc mums, going no contact etc which got me thinking about my own situation.

My mum is a narc and has been very emotionally abusive over the years. But we were always expected to tow the line because she had 'mental health problems'. Anyway, she became abusive to the police on a couple of times, which got her sectioned for about three weeks. During that time she was off medication completely and was completely 'normal' whilst she proceded to convince staff she was completely normal but my dad was mntally ill and abused her (all lies). She was pretty successful too.

Anyway during that time i hardly spoke to her and like you, my life was so much nicer with minimal contact. It also showed without doubt that she is just manipulating things to suit her. If she had depression etc, then she would not feel better after her meds were taken away. She did lots of other awful things in this time too, which i wont bore you with. I found myself thinking how much simpler life would be if she was in hospital for a few more months.

She has never put us first and as a child i was expected to mother her and my siblings cos she wasn't up to the job. Mum will behave ok for a few months, and then create some drama/ threaten suicide for the millionth time, so suddenly everything revolves around her again. I was fed up of all this drama interrupting my otherwise happy life.

I wanted a clean break so wrote her a letter saying that i was fed up of the lies, emotional blackmail and abuse. If she could seek help and have a relationship based on mutual respect i would continue things. But if not, i was unable to have any future relationship with her. Her written reply clearly showed this was not going to happen, so i have had no contact ever since - been about two months now. My enabler dad has followed suit, so no contact with him either for most of this time.

Life without them is simple and happier, and mums critical voice in my head is fading. I feel freer and am beginning to work out who i really am, without worryng about what others might think. I also have more energy to invest in my own life, marriage, new hobbies etc, because i am not too drained from the latest drama. I am happier, less moody/ angry/ insecure and my confidence is slowly growing. However, even though it was the right decision for me, i struggled a lot in the first month with guilt/ hurt, which i didnt expect. So be prepared for this possibility too. However, it is worth it in the long term. Good luck whatever you do!

MillyMollyMandy78 Mon 08-Jul-13 10:04:00

OMG, sorry that post was much longer than i realised! I tend to go on at times. Well done if you got to the end of my last post!!!

Viking1 Mon 08-Jul-13 11:29:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReginaPhilangie Mon 08-Jul-13 16:03:48

Thank you for the replies, and sharing your experiences.

You're most definitely right about the FOG. I'm still very much in it, although I can recognise it now. After reading all your posts you've validated the way I'm feeling and yes, it's down to me whether I cut contact or not. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

She has texted me several times again today, and I felt that I was almost compelled to reply. I didn't though even though DH thought I should just sent her a short general text. I feel that any contact now will open the floodgates to the drama again. It's only been 3 weeks and she's already pushing me to contact her. I'm not ready to be in contact with her yet, I don't know when if ever I will be ready to contact her again. It's just a matter of letting myself be led by my emotions for the probably the first time in my entire life.

MillyMollyMandy78 what you said about her voice in your head rang so true for me. In the past few weeks I feel like I can hear my own voice in my head instead of hers for the first time ever. I know that if I carry on down my own path I'll get to know myself in a way I never have before and learn to rely on my own judgement rather than hers. I almost feel like I'm getting out of prison, except the prison is in my own head.

MillyMollyMandy78 Mon 08-Jul-13 22:37:24

I'm glad you are beginning to hear your own voice rather than your mum's. it is so liberating isn't it?

Funnily enough my sister has just phoned me, upset over the latest thing mum said to her, and i think she is leaning towards no contact herself (she is very low contact at the mo). I can always tell when she has spoken to mum, as soon as she speaks cos she has a tense tone to her voice that is so unlike her normally light and breezy self... if you do decide to go no contact you will see so many little ways that she affects you that you didn't even notice before... For me, it was an overwhelming nausea and tense physical feeling whenever she was close to me. I was so used to it that it was normal for me - never even questioned it!

Whatever you decide, keep posting here - I have found some wonderful support on MN through a full range of emotions and experience.

GiveItYourBestShot Mon 08-Jul-13 22:45:28

I see my dad about once a year. I decided to stop making an effort when I realised that all he talked about was my brother and my brother's friends and my brother's life. If my brother wants me to know his news he can tell me himself. In the same conversation I mentioned a friend who was going through an awful time with her baby (meningitis) and he said "who"? She was a bridesmaid at my wedding and had been in my life 30 years. Essentially I have given up. I don't need to be made to feel invisible by my own family.

Don't feel obliged to reply to her texts. It really is up to you.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now