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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?

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 16-Oct-13 13:44:05

Only read the title, the answer is "no".
Will read now.

I too thought the 'I hope you're happy' was a dig at me! It's just the kind of thing she'd do.

I put the card and flowers in the bin and will not be contacting her. I really appreciate all the advice. I'm feeling quite strong again.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 16-Oct-13 14:13:35

It is bait, leave it.
Gifts are tricky. They create a sort of moral obligation to respond or reciprocate. If you don't respond then she has "won" a superiority point at your expense (to which we say, "so what" wink).

If you do respond then she can make hay at your expense. And if you find out about it, most certainly will require a more extended period of detox time.

If you do feel a need to respond because it is something you feel you should do for yourself, living by your code of conduct...which is exclusive of any connection to her (even tough she will never get that) then perhaps the following could be of use to you.
Before achieving NC with a toxic one, I was in a period of very reduced contact. I would send the same two line thank you note for any gift giving occasion, and even prewrote them so I could pop it in the mail the very day, or next, of receiving the "gift" package:

Dear ____,
Thank you for your generous gift.
Your thoughtfulness is very kind.
Sincerely, (it was a leap to not sign off with "love"...baby steps!)

Congratulations on your seven months of peace!! Well done!
Happy Birthday thanks <hypoallergenic grin

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 16-Oct-13 14:21:46

Xpost
That is what I would do too, Clementine. Or perhaps do what was suggested up thread and donate to senior home or let a neighbor have them. Or, grin children love disecting flowers!
And the "you will always be in my heart".... another trick : not the same as saying she loves you is it? angry You are in her heart because she loves to abuse you.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 16-Oct-13 14:23:58

6 months
And I have a smile for you as you have set the boundary for the holidays. Ho Ho Ho

sofurcough Wed 16-Oct-13 15:43:20

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Meerka Wed 16-Oct-13 17:14:47

If your instinctive reaction was put the flowers and the card in the bin YOU are not ready to have any further contact with her at this point.

Such a strong reaction, and you said you were actually frightened of her, tends to show that you need quite a bit mroe time - possibly a great deal more.

A polite thank you note on teh lines of Boffin's suggestion might be possible in the (far?) future but for now, no. I hope you are in a position to take stock of how she's affected your life and work out how to handle the damaged caused, either by psychotherapy or reading Toxic Parents. Takes a long time to recover even partially!

Thanks all.

I don't think I can even contact her to say a polite thank you. Even the thought of her makes me nervous and I start getting a horrible sick feeling. I know she will use this to tell anyone who will listen that I'm such a cruel daughter because I didn't even thank her for the flowers but I can deal with that as long as it means I don't have to have any contact with her.

I long for the day when I can move so she doesn't know my address. Only then will I be truly free of her. I honestly can never see a point where I will want her in mine or my dc's life. I spent hours talking to a counsellor about her and she validated my feelings.

That, combined with read all the stately home threads on here, has given me so much strength!

AndTheBandPlayedOn Thu 17-Oct-13 14:14:18

Clementine, imho, no contact sounds like the best solution for you.
Six months in is still, relatively, early days so I guess what the flowers have done is create a bit of second guessing yourself (from creating this thread). In action though, binning the objects straight away, is your truth. That is the holy grail that cuts through the FOG (fear, obligation, guilt).

The thing about what she is saying to other people about you is hurtful...but in a way who cares what her associates think? They are tainted by association with her and you do not need to care for their opinions either. Let them live with her for decades and then give an assessment. And I bet a good percentage of those people may nod in the moment, but think she is a toxic loon in private. People understand that people do not go NC for no reason. (Sorry for the double negative.)

Also, she needs narcissistic supply or whatever the dynamic is and she will use you. You have made the executive decision to just not participate in it anymore. She will still use you, out of habit, out of lack of someone else to fill the spot, etc. So you are effectively a cardboard cutout of a person to her...and as a cardboard cutout person would say:
"(nothing)".

Good for you, and never doubt that you are most certainly doing the right thing regarding protecting your dc from her.

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