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Cutting off my mother - but what about my DS?

(84 Posts)
borrowedlight Wed 17-Jul-13 07:37:35

I have had a difficult relationship with my mother since my Dad left when I was 11. She is a 'strong character' at best. We argued constantly through my teenagers years and this would get violent - she would often hit me during an argument, and once had her hands round my throat saying she was going to 'fucking kill' me. All this seemed fairly normal to be honest, my parents had always argued. Plates would get smashed (by my mother). She apparently hit my dad on their honeymoon.

I realised it wasn't normal when my first boyfriend noticed bruises all over my arms. By then I was practically at university and was able to largely cut her off. Throughout this period (age 12 to 19) my mum had periods of depression. When I was 12 she told me she was suicidal. It was just me and her living together and I was scared to leave the house incase she was dead when I came back. When I was at university she once rang and said if I didn't come home, she was going to kill herself. So I came home.

I kept my distance from her for years after I left uni. Occasionally we would row and I would receive 10-15 page sides of A4 letters describing in great detail what a terrible person I was. She has fallen out permanently with her brother and her best friend of 20 years. Her mother wrote her out of her will and asked her son to write to me when she died and encourage me to get back in touch with my father. There is noone left brave enough to stand up to my mum.

But then my husband left me when my son was born. My mother swooped in and took over. She did everything she could to help - childcare to ironing. The problem is that I really just wanted to get a cleaner (she thinks it's wrong to get a cleaner) and get a childminder ('why would you ask anyone but me'). So of course I was stuck - if I asked her to back off a bit, she would get very upset and write me another letter. If I let her get on with it, she would critique every aspect of my life on a daily basis, my food, my clothes, finances, my parenting, my cleaning, my sex life (my boyfriend lived an hour a way and she said I 'went a long way for a shag').

This all came to a head when she said she never wanted to see me or DS ever again. She wrote me an 18 page letter telling me that I was so self-absorbed, that I hadn't noticed she was 'hour by hour trying not to tie herself to the rafters'. Then she changed her mind and I agreed for her to pick my DS up after school 2 nights a week. He adores her and her him. I was scared of what she would do if I said no in any case.

So now this brings me to today (thanks if you are still with me!) and I have an opportunity to move away with work. If I tell her she will go nuts, and likely move to be near us. What I really want to do is upsticks and leave, never to have contact with her again. But that would mean her not seeing my DS. I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to save him from the pressure she brings (she has written to me saying that DS helps her 'cope with feelings of despair'). This is the woman who wrote to me and said 'when you enrage me I feel perfectly comfortable giving you my rage' and 'when you see (what I do) as interference and not love, I want to hurt you back'. But she is his grandmother.

What would you do? I am terrified of her.

TheFallenNinja Wed 17-Jul-13 10:08:56

A biological link is no reason to continue this. Move, don't tell her. Get on with your life.

borrowedlight Wed 17-Jul-13 10:17:18

Does anyone legally know where I stand? Any solicitors out there? If she did try to get contact through the courts, would all this be enough? Because if it isn't and she gets contact after I move away after taking legal steps, she'll make me pay for what I did.

CalamityKate Wed 17-Jul-13 10:18:25

You know your son has had to endure this woman "savaging" him and yet you still allow him to see her?!

Wow. She's done a good job on you, hasn't she?

Move. Don't tell her where to. Tell your son she died. He'll get over it as kids do get over GPs dying.

Good luck smile

myBOYSareBONKERS Wed 17-Jul-13 10:21:33

Oh my God - she sounds horrific and I don't say that often.

You must must must protect yourself and your child from her.

What possible benefit will your son have in continuing a relationship with her?

She may be "nice" at the moment to him but one day she WILL turn on him and he may not be big enough to fend off her blows. Social Services would hold a VERY dim view on that and would see it that you knowingly subjected him to it.

Please please please do the right thing and cut her out of your lives. You have an amazing opportunity to move away and I really think you need to seize it with both hands.

Packing company's will do everything for you but you MUST make sure you cover your tracks so she doesn't get your new address from others eg your sons current school or by phoning up and pretending to be you.

Is she going away for a few days? Could you time the move into then?

I am actually worried for you and really hope you do all you can to get away

borrowedlight Wed 17-Jul-13 10:34:40

myboys- I am worried about the physical move. I have sold my house (in a day!) and found another to buy yesterday, so all moving very quickly could conceivably move over the summer when she is not seeing him and could keep it quiet. But the speed (it has taken just a week to get this far) is making me wobble a bit, hence posting.

But I worry about actually getting out of the house without her knowing. I live three streets away. My best friend did joke that now would be a great time to buy her the tickets for Paris wink.

Msbluebozooka Wed 17-Jul-13 10:45:03

Oh borrowedlight i feel so sorry for you hun, your mum is ill. You do need to move the sooner the better for your DS sake he will get over it. if you stay around her she will damage his little mind.
Does she have any friends who you could speak to about her ways. You could always contact her by a PO box if you feel really guilty might just sink in then that she is actually a mental case !

Ipsissima Wed 17-Jul-13 10:48:37

It is understandable that you are a bit wobbly if this has come at you so quickly. Congratulations on such a speedy sale.
I would proceed with caution, and not do or say anything until you have exchanged contracts on your sale as things could get very awkward if it then fell through and, for whatever reason, you had to keep the house for any time.

That said ...you are going NC, and its hard. No-one ever said its easy, its just better than the alternative! You are probably going to feel scared, and worried at a variety of points. Keep posting and talking, because that is the best way to access what you really feel beneath the 'conditioned' fears.

It will be OK. Personally, I think your friends suggestion has a lot of merit!! Otherwise......even if she finds out, the only person who can give her the address is you!! And you won't.
I wouldn't actually even give your son the name of the town you are going to. Just in case she tried to pry it from him (although tbh I wouldn't give her a single opportunity for 1-on-1 time)

Stay strong OP. For someone standing at the lip of this choice, you sound very 'together'. smile

There is no absolute legal entitlement for grandparents to have access to children but they can apply to the courts for a contact order.
This explains it in brief.

Given that you could easily argue the case for emotional abuse, I wouldn't be too concerned ....but check with a solicitor.

borrowedlight Wed 17-Jul-13 10:52:41

Msblue - she does have friends but she doesn't see them often. But her best friend whom she saw more regularly fell out with her. I bumped into her and she said that she just can't take anymore and that my mum is just so hurtful. She said she can't face the argument in trying to sort it out because my mum is so good in arguments. She is the last person who would have been strong enough to reason with my mum. Everyone else has given up. That's why i worry about what she will do after I go - there will be no one to talk her down.

Pilgit Wed 17-Jul-13 10:54:55

She sounds like severe long term mental health issues. You can do nothing about it. You are protecting your ds and teaching him depression is no excuse for this. She sounds like she thinks she's staring in her own private soap!

Yes removal firms can move and pack everything. We did this with 7 week old and 3 year old. Money well spent.

Her life is not your responsibility. Fwiw I understand where she is coming from. I have mh issues and can see the skewed sense of reality she has going on in her head. Not an excuse for her actions.

Ipsissima Wed 17-Jul-13 11:10:07

borrowedlight " That's why i worry about what she will do after I go - there will be no one to talk her down "

As I said, these feelings are very normal (at least for people in very abnormal relationships with toxic parents). You will go through a real roller coaster, and guilt will form part of that. Many many people who make the move benefit greatly from both counselling and ADs after the break. It really really helps, because however much we know that the situation is/was wrong, our reactions to everything are still skewed by years of 'training'.

No contact will happen when you go past the point at which your worry over the abuser and their reactions is outweighed by your need to protect yourself and your child.

It sounded to me as though you have reached that point.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Wed 17-Jul-13 12:57:53

OP, you've said you are 'terrified of her'. I would get this fear logged somewhere. Contact the non-emergency police and explain the situation. They will have seen this kind of situation, where a person has been ground down by a family member and is scared of them, before. Ask them what can be done in your new location to protect yourself from being followed or harassed.

All these letters she has sent you, have you kept any? Those might be useful evidence if she ever did try and go to court. But there will also be people like her former best friend who could back up your accounts of her behaviour over the years. It might be worth keeping in touch with the friend by email, but not giving her your new address - not suggesting that she couldn't be trusted, but if she just doesn't have it there is no way she can give it to your mum under pressure, or for your mum to find it out by snooping.

PedantMarina Wed 17-Jul-13 13:21:54

I don't have a lot of experience of this, but I have heard, several times on other threads, that the child has the right to see the GPs, but the GPs do not have rights to see the child.

Hope this helps.

And best of luck - have a better life!

borrowedlight Wed 17-Jul-13 13:24:00

I do have some letters - from the last two years, 28 pages worth. I dug them out because she denied having said she was suicidal, and I knew she had put it in writing. Re-reading them all in the cold light of day, the same week I bumped into her friend, is what sparked the move.

But the hitting as me as a teen I can't prove - she admits it and says it was normal behaviour, that everyone did it. She says she can't remember the hands round the throat incident, but added that she would have only done it if I had deserved it. But it would be her word against mine if she denied it publicly.

I should add, I was a grade A student at school, lots of nice friends, hardworking, no drugs, no alcohol, I have had a job since the age of 14, so I wasn't that terrible I don't think - arguments would be about how long it took to do my hair (fair enough probably), teenage stuff.

DontmindifIdo Wed 17-Jul-13 13:24:43

Do you think your mum actually needs talking down, or is her threats of suicide a way of keeping you and others in their place? IME (although limited) most people who are really suicidal don't give multiple people chances to save them. That she makes a drama out of it might mean more likely that she's playing on your fear that she'll do it, rather than intending to kill herself .

Agree keep all the letters you have or recieve from her as evidence, also are you still in contact with your Dad? Would he be prepared to explain her violent nature if it came to court?

You are allowed to move away and start your own life. In your circumstances, then just going sounds like a good plan. Agree, don't let her have 1-1 time with your DS now and limit what you tell your DS. Be careful about who you give your new address too, and make sure they know that no matter what you don't want your mum to have the address, if she claims that she needs to send you something or give you a message etc, prime your friend to say she'll e-mail you to get you to contact your mother. (makes it easier for them)

You can get removal firms who will just move you (they aren't cheap and they literally move everything, my friend found they had individually wrapped the bottles she had in her recycling box for her and moved them to the new house, make sure you do a clear out first!), google should give you details of ones in your area.

Good luck.

chicaguapa Wed 17-Jul-13 14:02:56

I would leave the house the day before the removals turn up and then you won't be around when your mum sees them and starts to question where they are going. I would also consider giving them a false address in case they let slip where you are moving to, then telling them the real address when they have left. Perhaps if you explained the circumstances to the removal company, they would be happy for you to confirm the new address when they have finished packing and have driven away.

Also maybe you could set up a forwarding address somewhere nowhere near you that you redirect post from. Then no-one need know your new address, except friends who come to visit and can be absolutely trusted with that information. Would Women's Aid be able to advise you on that? There are lots of women who are hiding from abusive husbands, I'm sure they'd tell you how to hide from an abusive mother.

Ipsissima Wed 17-Jul-13 14:12:27

I really think the Paris tickets are the safest plan.
It may sound harsh, but actually its the best solution given the posters position.
I am hyper cautious though as in my experience, this level of toxicity carries an almost feral sixth sense for someone breaking the shackles "rules". Perhaps we just exude a vibe, even when we think we are being ultra secretive.

Owllady Wed 17-Jul-13 14:17:26

Okay. I will start by saying my parents used to smack me too, I think it was quite normal in those days (I was born in the 70s) BUT you have said she hit you to the point of bruises and that is in no way normal and sounds far more than smacking - not that i am justifying smacking, it just sounds a lot worse from the language you have used.

the control, the letters - so abnormal

I would, if you can, move away and find a counselor and never contact her again. The reason i have suggested a counselor is because when you have been controlled and abused by a parent it's very difficult to change your responses and behaviour yourself - I found anyway. I found myself constantly questioning myself and feeling guilty and counselling gave me coping mechanisms with being able to deal with it all iykwim. I am estranged from my dad - 11 yrs- my children never even ask about him - I find it quite bizarre!

borrowedlight Wed 17-Jul-13 14:58:07

Yes owllady definitely not just smacking, well, not what I call smacking. It was repeated hits on my upper body. I once had a bruise the shape of her hand on my arm and often had bruises all over my arms from fending her off. I remember once telling her to stop hitting me, so she grabbed her bedroom door and smashed it repeatedly on the chest of drawers behind it - she only fixed the hole in the door last year. Did anyone else experience this? Was this normal? I was not just a little kid getting a sharp tap on the bum, I was a teenager - but I wouldn't say I was being beaten up either.

Owllady Wed 17-Jul-13 15:04:34

no, it isn't normal at all. It sounds like she has really quite serious anger issues sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 17-Jul-13 16:13:54

Anger issues? I think the correct medical term is 'batshit crazy woman'. hmm Someone else has pointed out that grandparents have no legal rights over grandchildren. If she did follow you to another city and carry on in the same vein I'm sure the police would be interested.

Owllady Wed 17-Jul-13 16:20:10

well quite, I was trying to be polite blush

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 17-Jul-13 16:23:25

I'm at the age where I'm looking at 'polite' in the rear view mirror... blush

cocolepew Wed 17-Jul-13 16:29:45

But you were beaten up, she repeatedly hit you.
I agree with the poster who said to find out if it's possible to keep your new address from the movers until they are loaded and ready to go. Obviously one person in the office will need to know but I wouldn't want it written down anywhere and left on the lorry in case she saw it.

Go and don't look back.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 17-Jul-13 16:45:36

Oh my goodness.

Move, cut contact. The treatment you describe is appalling. You say you feel guilty about severing her relationship with your DS, and yet you also say that she admits to "savaging" him at times when he is in her care.

You need to get away from her.
He needs to be kept away from her.

You do NOT have to remain in contact with anyone you do not want to be. You do not need to tell her you are leaving, or give her your address. And if she gets wind of you moving and confronts her about, you do not need to back down. You are perfectly entitled to say, to her face, "DM, I am moving and I am not telling you where." Repeat as necessary. Your choices are your own; you don't even need to bother explaining or defending them (...it's not like she would be swayed by any arguments, or respect your boundaries if you ask her, is it, right? So you don't need to explain or beg. You just present her with a fait accompli.)

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 17-Jul-13 16:46:13

and confronts *you about it

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