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Stately home folk, Do I reply to toxic mother?

(34 Posts)

Long story short. Life time of EA from Mother followed by almighty tantrums whenever I tried to talk to her about her behaviour.

Went no contact about 6 months ago and it's been blissfully peaceful until my birthday yesterday.

She sent me flowers and a card. The card said "I hope you are happy. You will always be in my heart".

Soooo what now? Remain no contact or send her a Thankyou note?

I would say ignore, ignore, ignore.

BoffinMum Sun 13-Oct-13 19:58:43

Short correspondence card informing her flowers arrived, thank you. Initials at the bottom.

BasilBabyEater Sun 13-Oct-13 20:00:06

Depends on whether you think she will take a thank you card as a door opening for her to get back in touch with you.

She would definately take it as a sign to get in touch.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ignore any such communiques and remain no contact with your mother. Practically all people who go no contact with their parents do not do such an action without there being bloody good reason (as well as much heartache and FOG - fear, obligation, guilt) to do so in the first place. There is still no actual remorse from this lady for her actions, toxic people never apologise nor take any responsibility for their actions.

Any reply on your part will just give her an "in" so continued radio silence is necessary.

Thanks all, I'll definitely leave it then. Good advice smile

ButterflySwan Sun 13-Oct-13 20:08:06

Hi Clementine, what do you feel you want to do? What are your instincts? I went no contact with my parents at a similar time to you and recognise your description of feeling peace, wonderful isn't it!
However when we've received birthday money/gifts I've sent a simple polite thank you note but no more, it just feels the right thing for me to do, I want to know I've acted correctly by my standards (hope that makes sense?) but any other contact they've attempted has shown they haven't changed their behaviour so I've either ignored or replied politely but kept my barriers up. Unless I have genuine, positive, loving contact (which I doubt) I will continue in this way and will not meet or talk on the phone. I suspect their contact will fizzle out when they realise I won't be drawn back in. Good luck whatever you decide and sorry you're in this situation in the first place, am sure others will have good advice to help you work out what feels right for you.

I just need them to stay away from me to be honest. I'm actually frightened of my mother. But I'm full of guilt because I never wanted to hurt anyone.

I actually just put the flowers and card straight in the bin.

ButterflySwan Sun 13-Oct-13 20:27:45

It sounds like ignoring is the right thing for YOU, particularly if you think a thank you note will be taken as a sign to get in touch.

You're Mum frightens you and you have felt blissfully peaceful with no contact so there's your answer (and don't feel guilty!)

cleopatrasasp Sun 13-Oct-13 20:34:02

Maintain radio silence would be my advice. Any response just provokes more contact in my experience.

You have done so well so far, 6 months of bliss, don't go back in time for a bunch of flowers. She won't change and the reasons for non-contact are still the same as they always were x

I'm non-contact with mil i once allowed a meeting and nothing had changed, it was all the same as before. Weird thing is she bought me flowers too (it's to cause guilt).
Since then i learnt my lesson and things remain calm again now we are no longer in contact.
Dh still hears from her, & very rarely sees her and he is all the more better for it although he is still pulled by puppet strings at times!

I bloody hate flowers too!! I have hayfever!

ButterflySwan Sun 13-Oct-13 20:54:12

The classic crap, unsuitable present!!!

Anniegetyourgun Sun 13-Oct-13 21:00:38

She's your mother, she must know you have hayfever? If you were "always in her heart" she wouldn't have forgotten that little detail!

Wellwobbly Mon 14-Oct-13 07:06:09

I don't know. My mother would NEVER have sent me anything. Just starting the thought around the word 'sssss....' would have resulted in spontaneous combustion.

I would go with your instincts, and also with how internally strong you yourself are feeling.

the issue is not contact, it is setting boundaries. So if you are strong and resolved, you could acknowledge the card and flowers, and if she started her shit again, state a clear boundary ('if you continue to talk to me this way, I will leave/put the phone down'), and then the consequences (leave, put the phone down).

Apparently even the self-absorbed learn after a while.

Numberjaqs Mon 14-Oct-13 17:38:25

FWIW I had a 7 month NC period with mine - instigated by her - which she ended by mailing a card and cash for one of the DC's bday with an emotive message in the card (along the lines of 'I hope mummy will let me see you soon', for a 3yo FFS).

I was feeling robust that day and just picked up the phone and called and said thanks and she behaved as if nothing had ever happened, no major tantrum/huge narcissistic episode, no apology or anything just as if there'd never been a rage or tantrum. The selective amnesia continues a year and a bit on...(of course she would be unaware of her behavior being anything but perfectly justifiable).

The peace was nice but she is my mother and I am glad to be back in touch with her for DC's sake if nothing else.

I await the next rage but feel more confident about setting boundaries if and when it happens.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

She's baiting you. You've cut her off and she needs you to pay attention to her (I've heard this referred to as "hoovering" - trying to suck you back in to a dysfunctional relationship.)

The "I hope you're happy" can be read two ways, right? You give her the benefit of the doubt by believing she means it nicely and get back in touch, she wins, and you have a niggling wonder if she was actually jabbing at you. Or, option two, you tell her she's being abusive and you don't appreciate it, and she tells you you're overreacting, imagining things, and why are you out to make her look like a bad person anyway?

No matter how you respond, she has something to chew on, grouse about, hold over your head, and tug you around with. Sounds like classic manipulation to me. I think you're better off throwing everything she sends you in the bin.

CharityFunDay Tue 15-Oct-13 03:33:50

Difficult to know how to take this.

Personally, I would probably wait until her birthday and send her a card with the exact same message in it.

Her reaction would tell you everything you need to know.

OnIlkelyMoorBahtat Wed 16-Oct-13 10:34:18

I think the fact she sent you flowers when you have hayfever says it all OP! Seriously, I agree she's just baiting you to get your attention -any response, good or bad, will be a result for her - she's still trying to manipulate you.

Plus, you said you are frightened of her: she frightens you darling, why would you allow someone like that in your life? You don't need her!

Anniegetyourgun Wed 16-Oct-13 10:39:36

One suspects Toxic Mum may be enacting a tragedy so she can wail to her friends that she sent Clementine a card and flowers for her birthday and got no thanks at all, not even an acknowledgement, after she worked her fingers to the bone bringing her up for all those years etc etc... and friends are all duly shocked and sympathetic (if they don't know her very well). This is far more important than what the daughter actually feels about the matter. Only a guess, of course.

castlesintheair Wed 16-Oct-13 10:43:04

I would ignore too although it is hard to do so. I've moved country now and they don't know where we are so I am free from such guilt messages.

I actually think the "I hope you are happy" message has toxic undercurrents of "with what YOU have done to ME".

Greydog Wed 16-Oct-13 10:52:13

Def ignore - just trying to make herself look like the caring mother she isn't. It's all playing a game

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 16-Oct-13 13:13:31

I'm a bit late to the ignore party. Can you take the flowers to an Old Folks home as an unwanted gift?

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