Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Mother Invites ExH for lunch....

(81 Posts)
moonmanic Sun 09-Dec-12 23:25:55

My Mother informed me yesterday that she has spoken to ExDP and invited him to a family pre-Christmas lunch next Sunday and that he has accepted.

She did not even ask me if it was convenient for me to go, just took the assumption that we will be there. She said that it would be nice for them (which means her and my Dad) for us to have a Christmas lunch with myself, ExDP and our DD.

She knows that I am currently going to Relate on my own to find solutions to me and ExDP's issues, not to find ways to get back together as the relationship is over, but just for advice and direction with regard to how to deal with certain issues like assertiveness on my part and establishing boundaries. ExDP is quite a strong character and is often putting me down and bossing me about and I wanted to regain a bit more control in our relationship for the sake of our DD. My Mum knows this and I have also confided in her about his sometimes bullying behaviour towards me.

The counselling I have been receiving at Relate have delved into all of my relationships including with my parents and this has let me "see the light" and I now believe my mum has always behaved in a very emotionally abusive way, particularly using gas lighting tactics. Always telling me things have not happened when they definitely had, minimising and invalidating my feelings to things that a normal person would be expected to feel strongly about etc. I am now someone who does not have masses of confidence and second guessing myself is a bit issue in that.

Therefore, with regard to her inviting ExDP to lunch without discussing it with me in light of the stuff I've told her, am I being unreasonable to feel betrayed by her? I have always felt like I can't trust her, particularly with doing right by me. She said that she wants to do it for my DD, that it would be nice for her (as ExDP is going away to his family for Christmas and won't be with us) to have a "pretend Christmas" (she is only 13months btw so won't really know what's going on). To be honest I think me and ExDP probably would of done something like this anyway, just the 3 of us.

I'm just interested what others would think if your mum invited an Ex partner for lunch like this. I have such little faith in my own thoughts and feelings I don't know what is reasonable if that makes sense?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sun 09-Dec-12 23:41:39

She's lost her conkers hasn't she? hmm Of course you're not being unreasonable to expect your own mother to keep her nose out of your private business and not try to play matchmaker or whatever silly idea she was thinking.

Hope you told to shove her cosy little pre-Christmas lunch up her arse....?

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Sun 09-Dec-12 23:43:00

So you have told her you won't be attending ?

yes ?

blackcoffee Sun 09-Dec-12 23:44:44

tell her great, you hope they all have a good time
you have other plans

blackcoffee Sun 09-Dec-12 23:45:31

wonder where your attraction for bullies stems from ...

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 09-Dec-12 23:45:37

Well, if your mum is a bully then it's sadly not very surprising that you married a bully, nor is it very suprising that she is colluding with him now.
Refuse to go to the lunch, tell your mother that you will not socialise with your XP, end of. Whatever she might say, it will not harm your daughter if you prefer to keep a distance between her father and yourself.

TheSecondComing Sun 09-Dec-12 23:46:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cestlavielife Sun 09-Dec-12 23:48:34

He is your ex. You don't need to go to this dinner.
Your dd is too young to miss it.

(in future times at her wedding yes you might attend as well as exp but you don't need to go to this lunch. If they wish to see your ex well up to them as adults to do this without you

Kewcumber Sun 09-Dec-12 23:49:09

I would think my mother had lost her marbles and would have no qualms about saying "NO". It isn;t her decision to make and if you don;t say no to this then it will continue like this with her treating you like a child.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sun 09-Dec-12 23:50:24

BTW... don't confide in your mum any more either. She can't be trusted with relationship information so she has forfeit the right to know your business. It's sad when you can't trust someone but it's a lesson learned.

Bonsoir Sun 09-Dec-12 23:54:00

Just say no.

moonmanic Mon 10-Dec-12 00:03:22

Thats pretty unanimous then. Its helped me feel like I'm not being a drama queen. I don't think I responded to her at all when she told me. I'm generally a bit slow with feelings and emotions, things happen or someone says something to me and it takes a while to work out something is amiss...

I will tell her I won't be going. Kewcumber I think my mum lost her marbles along time ago! She almost made me lose mine too, but I'm desperately trying to hold on to them!

And Cogito I won't confide in her anymore. I'm always got my fingers burnt.

Counselling has really put a lot of stuff into perspective. She is always doing stuff like this, I don't even know if she does it maliciously or if she just does'nt know what she is doing?

andapartridgeinaRowantree Mon 10-Dec-12 00:06:08

Jus Say No.

She's clearly a barm pot who enjoys playing with your emotions. How strange.

It hurt me that my parents and siblings tried to keep in touch with my DS's father citing good relations.

I came to the conclusion it was reasonable for them to decide their relationship with ex-h. It was reasonable for me not to be involved in it.

I told them it was hurtful. Asked them not to tell me about any contact they felt they needed to have with him. He soon revealed his true colours and contact is now restricted to reluctant Christmas cards.

Your instincts are fine. Keep up the counselling. Don't go to lunch.

MrsFlibble Mon 10-Dec-12 00:13:54

Yeah tell her you made other plans, if my mum did that i'd know she was mentally ill, i know she wouldnt since she thinks her DD's ex are wastes of space, so yeah, tell her stick lunch and her match making up her, interfering, bullying, untrustworthy arse and tell exp to go up it too, the cheek of it.

Kewcumber Mon 10-Dec-12 00:27:43

"I don't even know if she does it maliciously or if she just does'nt know what she is doing?" I doubt she does either - its probably been going on so long the reasons for it are lost in the mists of time

jingleallthespringy Mon 10-Dec-12 00:33:59

It is undermining you, isn't it, to invite him and present it to you as a fait accompli. She didn't even consult you. You're not an idiot. and you're not going. don't bother making a fuss (easy to say) just say no as flatly as possible, then change the subject.

drizzlecake Mon 10-Dec-12 00:41:45

I would say it was malicious or why didn't she ok it with you first?? He's your ex fgs.

I wouldn't say anything. I would arrange something else on that day and just not turn up - that way she won't get the chance to rant, blame and guilt trip you (pressing more buttons) when you say no - 'I was only doing it for DGD' blah blah bullshit...

That way your Dex gets pissed off with her for wasting his time and she looks the manipulative bat she is.

Everyone else will tell you to say no but by turning the tables on her and pissing her off your DM is less likely to try this sort of sneaky emotional manipulating again.

orchidee Mon 10-Dec-12 00:52:35

Do you think your mum may have narcissistic personality traits?
If so, you've been groomed your whole life, so it will feel odd to stand up for yourself.

The idea that it'll be a nice event for a baby is just bonkers.
If anything, your baby is best learning now that mum and dad do separate things, and not being confused about your relationship as she grows up.

Oh and your ex knows what role he's playing here.

Greensleeves Mon 10-Dec-12 00:57:30

She is using a classic technique called "triangulation", placing herself in the relationship between you and your ex. It's a very common way of exercising control. She is a toxic manipulative bitch and you would be better off without her. IMO

And don't forget - your sister has a choice too. You shouldn't feel obliged to rescue her from your mother or feel guilty about not sharing the load.

tiredofwaitingforitalltochange Mon 10-Dec-12 00:58:43

I feel your pain OP. My stbxh is EA and a gaslighter. So is my mum who thinks that a) I shouldn't have left a husband who didn't beat me or cheat on me and b) that I don't deserve any of 'his' money.

And guess what, she couldn't help me move into my house because she and my dad were meeting stbxh at our second home (that he's keeping and which is near where they live) to go out with him for a walk.

YANBU to blow out this event or any similar in the future. Stand up for yourself smile

Greensleeves Mon 10-Dec-12 00:59:34

The sister thing is on the other rotten mother thread blush and I am an idiot!

the triangulation bit was what I meant to say to you OP

<gets coat>

jingleallthespringy Mon 10-Dec-12 01:15:44

tiredofwaiting - my family were like this with my ex too ie they chose him over me. It took me over 20 years but I've finally cut them out for good. YAY should've done it years ago

pardon hijack.

HughFearnlyShittingFuck Mon 10-Dec-12 01:21:45

wow tired, your mum sounds like a real corker!

Anniegetyourgun Mon 10-Dec-12 11:11:56

It's time to trot out the good old Mumsnet response "That doesn't work for me". Don't get into whys, wherefores or justifications (she knows anyway, or doesn't care very much); it simply will not suit you to be there. And you totally do not have to.

OP my family did the same - in spite of (or maybe because of) knowing about the years of domestic abuse and a fun period in hospital. It is surprisingly common.

As you start getting over your relationship with your ex, you may re-examine your relationship with your family and your role in it. I found it very illuminating and am now no contact but a lot happier.

moonmanic Mon 10-Dec-12 16:05:32

I started going to Relate because I wanted to sort out my feelings and relationship with my ex. The sessions have however really ripped open my relationship with my parents (my Dad is another kettle of fish...) in terms of how they shaped me and my world view and the fact that they still affect my way of thinking and behaviour. The issues with regard to my ex, it seems, has had to be put on the back burner until I get my head round the fact that actually I have a lot of issues surrounding my parents.

I will be seeing my mum tomorrow, so I will tell her then. I just know that she will disapprove and pile the guilt on me. This is what she does. I'm not looking forward to it and I am actually quite anxious about it. I was thinking of making up some lie or excuse as to why I can't go, but actually think this is not that healthy as I am hiding my feelings (which is what I always do). I shall take your advice, Anniegetyourgun with the "that does'nt really work for me". And I have to remind myself big time not to get drawn into justifying or explaining myself!

But I really am starting to believe she has been very manipulative towards me my whole life and a lot of it has constituted abuse. The realisation of that fact over the last week has caused a rollercoaster of emotions in me as on the one hand I feel duped, conned, abused etc but also almost a sense of relief that now I know why I feel and behave the way I have always done, i.e. someone who is generally quite passive and never sticks up for myself (well not often anyway).

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 10-Dec-12 16:22:43

I wouldn't make any of this about 'me'. Rather than 'that doesn't work for me' place the responsibility full square where it lies...... 'you've gone behind my back, you had no right to do that & you owe me an apology'... and repeat as necessary. Then it's all about the unacceptability of her behaviour and the ball is in her court.

If you're a passive person normally, you won't find that easy to say but I think that's where you need to set your sights if you want to have this bully loose her grip...

CremeEggThief Mon 10-Dec-12 16:29:30

I think that was a horrid, disloyal thing for your mother to decide. Where is her loyalty towards and solidarity with you?

madeiracake Mon 10-Dec-12 16:39:34

OP think of some things to change the subject to after you've said 'it doesn't work for me' otherwise you will get sucked into discussing it (voice of experience). maybe a long list so you can keep changing the subject if necessary.

your mum sounds a nightmare, but it sounds like you're fighting you way out - good luck.

AndrewMyrrh Mon 10-Dec-12 16:53:30

Completely undermining of you and your decisions on how you live your life.

I'd be wary of any other opportunities she may seize to try to play happy families without telling you about it beforehand - e.g. when you call round to her house, ex just happened to also be there, or she might try to do it just with DD in your absence.

Manipulative weirdo.

I have a similar emotionally manipulative 'mother', you cannot reason with them so don't bother just say I'm not coming nor is dd she is too young.

If she pushes say I am having counselling on that day !

The only way to break free is to not agree to her madness and that apples to your ex too

Good luck ,it's great when you have this behind you (speaking from that perspective )but It's a hard road of feeling bad when you really shouldn't

You are normal it's them that has the problem smile

Btw I havent spoken to my Mum for a year

ZorbaTheHoarder Mon 10-Dec-12 17:06:44

I think it is very, very sad when a mother feels she has to undermine her own daughter, instead of being supportive and helping her move forward in life. Your mother is fully aware of all the upset that your ex caused you and still welcomes him into her home. It sounds as though she actually wants to witness your discomfort at his presence. I think you have done very well to realise the way she has sought to undermine you throughout your life and also that you don't have to put up with it any longer! It will not be easy, but I think that very soon, your life will start improving drastically. Good luck, OP.

Tommy Mon 10-Dec-12 17:16:40

my Mum has done this before - although she didn't tell me until said person turned up. I left immediately. This is emotional blackmail and treating you like a child which I'm guessing you're not.
I would just tell her you're not going -it may be tricky but you owe it to yourself and your sanity

Mockingcurl Mon 10-Dec-12 17:21:22

This sounds exactly like my mother. A manipulative cow. I was always frightened of standing up to her until 7 years ago when I was seriously ill. She was vile and unsupportive.

I was watching the tv in New Year's Day ( my mum had not bothered to contact us for two weeks as she was enjoying her Xmas), when the penny dropped. I realised that I wouldn't put up with her behaviour from anyone else, that I am an adult and deserve better. Standing up to her was easy and liberating.

I then had no contact at all for 6 years. We resumed earlier this year but she is a different person. She is respectful and polite. She no longer frightens me and have no problem looking her in the eye and saying "no".

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Mon 10-Dec-12 17:28:53

You mentioned in your intro that you and ex probably would have done something like this anyway just the 3 of you. If your mum gets wind of this she'll pounce and say oh you'd have seen him anyway, what's the difference? hmm

3 against 1 for a start. Can't help but wonder, if he weren't going away at Christmas, would she have arranged him to come over? Absolutely not her place to go interfering.

If you don't feel strong enough to issue a curt 'I can't think what you were thinking of!" just use trusted format, "That doesn't work for me", you are a grown woman and she can't be allowed to put you on the spot. You don't have to list reasons or excuses, your DD won't know any different.

Finally, a trump card when DC is this age: cranky baby overnight: shattered sleep, probably teething, but in no mood for socialising. If she's not drooling or gumming things next time they see her, "Oh dear false alarm" repeat as necessary.

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Mon 10-Dec-12 17:28:57

You mentioned in your intro that you and ex probably would have done something like this anyway just the 3 of you. If your mum gets wind of this she'll pounce and say oh you'd have seen him anyway, what's the difference? hmm

3 against 1 for a start. Can't help but wonder, if he weren't going away at Christmas, would she have arranged him to come over? Absolutely not her place to go interfering.

If you don't feel strong enough to issue a curt 'I can't think what you were thinking of!" just use trusted format, "That doesn't work for me", you are a grown woman and she can't be allowed to put you on the spot. You don't have to list reasons or excuses, your DD won't know any different.

Finally, a trump card when DC is this age: cranky baby overnight: shattered sleep, probably teething, but in no mood for socialising. If she's not drooling or gumming things next time they see her, "Oh dear false alarm" repeat as necessary.

pylonic Mon 10-Dec-12 17:38:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummytime Mon 10-Dec-12 17:41:23

I would suggest you don't have a cosy meal with your ex either. He can have normal contact with your DD, and give her presents (I would allow her to open them with him if he wants). Do also mention not having two stockings as it could start a precedent of too many presents and if either of you have new families in the future it could set up big jealously issues.

Are you spending Christmas with your Mum? I would try to minimise that for your own health.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Mon 10-Dec-12 17:50:39

It is her lunch, she has invited him, nothing to do with you.

Just decline like you would any other inconvenient invite.

Just tell her you have other plans, you are not under any obligation to attend.
Neither is your dd. If dd is with you that day, it is up to you what the two of you are doing.

jingleallthespringy Mon 10-Dec-12 18:56:29

It is her lunch, she has invited him, nothing to do with you.

Give me strength!

ZorbaTheHoarder Mon 10-Dec-12 19:23:17

Hi Pylonic! Just to put your mind at ease, I really don't think I am an ex of yours, and I'm not really a hoarder either - I just liked the sound of the name!

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Mon 10-Dec-12 19:26:29

Think GQAM means, this is DM orchestrating this, DM seems to assume OP is going so OP need feel no guilt or awkwardness in declining "invitation", it's all DM's doing.

Aussiebean Mon 10-Dec-12 20:09:57

If you are worried about doing it face to face, do it over the phone. When she starts up, knock something over and say you have to go then hang up.

If this is the first time you have started to say no to your mum. It is really hard. I had to get REALLY angry the first time I told my mum she would not speak to me like that. Have barely spoken to her since.

There are many people out there who l know exactly what you are going through.

Good luck.

2rebecca Mon 10-Dec-12 20:12:29

I don't see why solidgold is getting a hard time for her comments. There have been threads where divorced women want to keep up a relationship with their exMIL and visit her sometimes and take the kids and posters have said their ex is being immature if he's objected to his mum doing this.
Moonmaniacs parents can keep in touch with her ex if they wish, they may see him as a friend as many divorced women see their exinlaws as friends.
The unreasonable bit is expecting your daughter to come round for dinner with her ex and play happy families.
I get on with my ex and can have dinner with him and the kids. We don't go relly visiting together though, that would be weird.

Bogeyface Mon 10-Dec-12 20:36:37

My parents often invite my ex for Sunday lunch and my father sees him every Friday as they play in the same crib team. I have no problem with it. I see my ex FIL a lot and we have done things together as an extended family together before, including all the parents, me, ex, my DH and the children (including mine with DH) and potentially I can see that extending even further as ex now has a GF with kids of her own. It can be done and it can be fine......

But he isnt a bully and my parents are not abusive. In your case I would stick with "I am sorry, that doesnt work for me" and be firm. I would be inclined to leave it until a bit closer to the time though, so she has less chance to lay on the guilt or change the date.

AndrewMyrrh Mon 10-Dec-12 20:44:28

My SIL invites her exH along at Christmas when she is hosting dinner for all of her own family (parents, siblings, DC & nieces / nephews, all on 'our' side). It is always a bizarre and excruciating experience when we have to be friendly to him, knowing the way he behaved to her. I know my PILs find it exceptionally difficult, and put a brave face on it. I find it strange that she insists on this happy family charade, insists on involving all of us in it.

OP, your Mum is controlling and bonkers.

moonmanic Mon 10-Dec-12 21:02:51

My mum inviting ExDP has nothing to do with them ever being friendly or close, as they never have been. Whenever we've all met up as a family (even when me and ExDP were still together for some reason it was always excruciatingly awkward...). My parents would invite us round and then make no effort to talk to him, and he would sit there not knowing what to say.

It stings me that my mum has done this as I have told her things about how difficult he is being at the moment with time keeping and he went through a phase of talking down to me and bullying me in my own home. I feel like she has totally undermined me and has not thought about me at all. In fact it just feels like she is out to get me, like she wants to hurt me. I'm upset about this as she does this sort of thing all the time. I am definitely going to tell her tomorrow but I like I said i'm not looking forward to it. I just have to remember - stay firm!

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Mon 10-Dec-12 21:05:26

Thanks Donkey, that is what I meant.

2rebecca Mon 10-Dec-12 21:38:27

I'm surprised your ex wants to go in that case and doesn't just politely decline.
If your mum does this sort of thing all the time then I'd have thought it would be less upsetting telling her that no you don't want to go as he is your ex-husband and you don't want to play pretend happy families than if she is normally sensible, loving and considerate and you don't want to hurt her feelings.

Bogeyface Mon 10-Dec-12 21:54:10

If it weren't for the fact that there doesnt seem to be much love lost between them, I would be questioning whether they were colluding in this!

He clearly said yes in order to piss you off, but what her motives were are anyone's guess.

STAY STRONG, and to quote the old MN favourite "NO" is a complete sentence!

moonmanic Mon 10-Dec-12 22:06:50

I really don't think that exDP was colluding with my mum. They don't not get on so to speak, they just don't really know each other I suppose. Whenever we all meet up there is just an awkwardness there. I think he said yes out of politeness to her, or not wanting to come across as difficult when she put it to him that it was for our DD's sake.

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 10-Dec-12 22:40:23

Trust mumsnet, don't trust your mum.

She's the reason you fell into the abusive relationship with your Ex.

She wants you back in that hell, just so she's better than you. You getting free of him puts her out.

Eventually you may have to go NC with the lot of them.

You sense betrayal, and you're right to.

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 10-Dec-12 22:42:04

Keep your private life private. Keep your life to yourself only. These people are not your friends. Not in any way shape or form.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Tue 11-Dec-12 08:41:22

Given that you have moaned about his behaviour to your mum. Do you think there is any likelyhood that she wants to take matters into her own hands and has invited him for a lunch with Bollocking (as opposed to Bollinger)?

That would be soooo awkward, and another reason to just stay away.

moonmanic Tue 11-Dec-12 14:38:23

I've just had "the conversation" with my mum. It started by her asking if we were still on for the Sunday and I said no. She said why not, has ExDP pulled out? I said no and did the "it does'nt work for me line". She asked me to expand and I said it just does'nt sit well with me, that me and Ex are not together anymore and that we are having difficulties that she knows about. Then said I am not going to justify any further.

She basically got very huffy saying that I really need to think about them (as in her and my dad). She then did the line about ExDP being DD's dad and said that I was denying my DD a good relationship with him by us not doing this dinner confused. ExDP sees DD several times a week and we are having a pretend Christmas the three of us anyway. She said I was not doing best by my DD. She said it makes no difference whether I am in a relationship with ExDP or not, we are "one package" i.e. me, ExDP, DD, my parents and ExDP's family. She said that she had asked me about the dinner before asking ExDP which is absolutely not true. She asked him when I was not there and she never mentioned the idea to me before telling me it was going ahead.

She then gave me the silent treatment and left in a great big huff.

I am aware of her being manipulative in this situation. I sort of feel that I stood up for myself although I did not say what i wanted to in that I feel totally undermined and stabbed in the back when she does this sort of thing.

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Tue 11-Dec-12 14:54:34

Well done! If she's used to getting her own way through steamrollering and huffing, she'll have to be disappointed on this occasion, won't she.

She said it makes no difference whether I am in a relationship with ExDP or not, we are "one package" i.e. me, ExDP, DD, my parents and ExDP's family

It might make no difference to her, or your dad, or the ship's cat, but it sure as hell affects you and your life. If you are maintaining contact with your ex for DD's sake, you are doing your best, and your mother needn't jump in with both feet.

2rebecca Tue 11-Dec-12 14:56:14

You aren't one package, you're an individual who is divorcing from another individual. This dinner isn't about your ex and your daughter getting on anyway, it's about your parents, you aren't stopping your ex seeing his daughter.
I would ignore her back and just say very little to her for a while. You aren't going to be able to agree on this so don't involve her in discussions about your ex. Stop expecting your mum to change. Is your dad more reasonable? Maybe clarify to him that he and your mum need to accept you are divorcing.

Anniegetyourgun Tue 11-Dec-12 16:40:08

What they said, and well done. You may feel a bit steamrollered, but you did stand up for yourself. Really good that you could see the manipulation at work. That bit where someone says they told you something you absolutely know they didn't, btw, that's called gaslighting. You're supposed to accept their version of reality, like a good little doormat, rather than trusting your own memory.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Tue 11-Dec-12 16:47:41

Well done.

One package.... yes right...

clam Tue 11-Dec-12 16:50:17

Wow moonmanic! Good for you. I'm seriously impressed. smile

Corygal Tue 11-Dec-12 17:05:13

BRILLIANT YOU. Best present you could have given yourself for Xmas.

Yr DM behaved foully badly second time round, too, quel surprise.

I hope all 3 of them have the festive lunch they deserve...

Corygal Tue 11-Dec-12 17:10:17

Next time the old trout whines

'You're not doing the best by your DD' calmly reply

'And you're doing the best by me Mommy Dearest?'

bwahahaha.... mind you, she's probably too narc to notice.

TalkativeJim Tue 11-Dec-12 17:16:07

'I think negotiating the new structure of the relationship between me and ExH, and between both of us and our daughter, is best left to us right now. I think for DD's sake you will understand that that is our primary concern rather than considering relations within the wider family, which I think are best negotiated some time further down the line, and the managing of which are, once again, really just the business of me and ExH.'

BlueberryHill Tue 11-Dec-12 17:35:50

Well done, you were amazing, you've done it once, you can do it again.

Instead of thinking about what you didn't say, think about what you did say and what you achieved. You were amazing.

I don't want a sour note, but she will come back at some point and try again, just be on your guard.

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Tue 11-Dec-12 17:59:19

BlueberryHill is right your mother may yet try again. If on the phone, picture a small bothersome fleck of something on your top/jeans/skirt. As you talk to her, focus on that and make like you're busy and faintly bored, something like:

"No mum, I already said, it's really not what I want...that arrangement doesn't work for me...DD does see her father, it's under control thanks... how can it put you in an awkward position, you go ahead..." ad infinitum.

If face to face, same assertiveness, you are an ice queen! You don't owe an explanation, she can bluster and stomp. Good practice for when DD hits toddlerdom.

LemonBreeland Tue 11-Dec-12 18:11:59

If she says you are not doing your best by your DD then you need to tell her that it is your decision to make, not hers.

You need to avoid entering into any discussion with her about any of this. She is horribly toxic and I really feel for you that you don't have her support.

well done ! small steps small steps lead to big change !!

moonmanic Wed 12-Dec-12 15:40:38

Today I feel, on the one hand, good that I stood up to her and have a sense of clarity about how my mum has been so manipulative etc which is quite liberating.

On the other hand I also have a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. I know that it is not over and there is still so much work to do. I don't know which way it is going to go. I think she will probably say some really hurtful "home truths" to me and get my dad and brother on her side if I try and raise her behaviour to her directly. I am at a point in my life where I simply cannot put up with her anymore and will not tolerate her behaviour. However, I am also someone who hates the idea of confrontation.

I coming round to the idea of having no contact for a while. Its such a pain that Christmas just happens to be in less than a fortnight. Me and DD were due to spend Christmas Day with her and DF and DB. I just can't stomach it. I'm also worried that if I do go, I'll cave to her and then I'll be back to square one. I'm really tempted to tell her I'll spend Christmas with DD at home. But then I don't know if I'm just being selfish.

not selfish just saving your sanity, it is normal to feel conflicted

just do want you want to do not what your are expected to do

good luck you are being very strong smile

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Wed 12-Dec-12 16:12:13

Look at it this way if you state your preference then feel bad for doing so, had you given in over pre Christmas Sunday lunch, you'd feel sick with apprehension. So just as well you said no I don't want to - feel the wave of disapproval and do it anyway.

If you decide you'd rather have Christmas on your own with DD and start new traditions this year, you might anticipate that wave of disapproval - your old friend - it's nothing new, you'll feel under scrutiny and on pins if you go unwillingly - why not suit yourself instead.

We are brought up nicely to think saying no I don't want that is rude or ungrateful. Well you're a grown up now, you get to choose.

AndrewMyrrh Wed 12-Dec-12 16:52:50

Don't forget, if you live near to your parents, Xmas doesn't have to be one long arduous day. Ask her what time she is serving dinner, then say you'll be over 1/2 hour before. Stay an hour or so after dinner, then you can leave with DD - what with Xmas being such a tiring and overwhelming day for small children.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 13-Dec-12 07:48:27

Well done. It's always difficult the first time you stand up to a bully but it definitely gets easier with practice. smile You've won the first skirmish, now bed yourself in for a long campaign and stay strong. I would act completely normally next time you see your parents. That way it's them/her being the awkward squad making a fuss over nothing & not you. Power balance subtly but permanently shifted.

BTW.... you exP and DD are one unit in a sense.... which is that only you and him get to decide how you relate to each other. Not outsiders.

One-nil to moonmanic.

moonmanic Sat 15-Dec-12 16:25:21

I have spent the whole week now avoiding my mum as much as possible like not answering the phone to her and sending her short but polite text messages in response to hers. I am still upset and have had a difficult week coming to terms with my mum actually being quite abusive to me my whole life. I just have no desire to see her and the idea of it right now makes my stomach turn tbh.

Anyway, a quick update, I got a text from her this morning. It had a friendly jolly sort of tone saying that she and dad have got their tree and are we coming tomorrow to come help decorate it and help get Christmas ready? I'm like, well no, because of me and ex DP's mini Christmas tomorrow and of course all of the above. She just does'nt get it.

Snorbs Sat 15-Dec-12 16:53:17

She's trying the "let's just forget all the unpleasantness happened" tack. She's not used to you standing up for yourself so she's changed game plan in an attempt to get back into her position of power. You'll probably get the nice/nasty cycle for a while, with added "You're making a big fuss over nothing", "Why are you being so cruel?" plus the occasional "Your father doesn't understand why you're being like this". She may go as far as a made-up health scare.

Fear, obligation and guilt. That's what she's used to keep you dancing to her tune your whole life. It's up to you if you want to carry on with that dance.

moonmanic Sat 15-Dec-12 17:12:06

It is this type of thing though that just drives me mad. When she pretends that nothing has happened - is this a form of gaslighting? The text message had a tone suggesting firstly that nothing was wrong between us and secondly that we were due to go round tomorrow anyway, like it was a gentle reminder.

I've had such a shit week, this whole lunch thing and coming to terms with my mum being such a cow and not really seeing it before. I have always blamed myself for everything.

By asking me AGAIN she has totally undermined my feelings IMO. She has not acknowledged that I am upset or that I have a reason to be upset. I made it clear that I am not going tomorrow, but she thought this morning that it would be worth giving it another go? I am so pissed off right now!

AndrewMyrrh Sat 15-Dec-12 18:04:53

Don't get pissed off. Breezily and calmly assertive is much more effective.

Your bullying parents were the model you carried forward into yuor own adult relationship so am not at all surprised to read that you had a relationship with a bullying man.

Many children now adults of such toxic parenting carry around FOG with them -this is an acronym for fear, obligation, guilt.

Your mother's behaviour is typical toxic parent behaviour and your Dad likely goes along with her out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He is a weak bystander alongside her.

You are standing up to her and are making great strides. This is progress indeed but you may well start waivering and doubting yourself again re her. That is normal. Just keep reasserting yourself and your own boundaries with regards to her.

Would also suggest you read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward as well as posting on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread. All that you have written of your mother is typical of such toxic people.

Your mother will never be the kind and loving mother you so desparately want her to be I am sorry to say. You did not make her that way; her own birth family did that lot of harm to her.

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Sat 15-Dec-12 20:49:39

You are doing fine. Frankly if your DM has selective memory that's her problem.

It doesn't feel like freedom from maternal interference yet because your instinct is to mend and repair, deferring to her. It is absolutely reasonable for you to stand up for yourself. You're a mum now, your DD is little and helpless, you are her protector and teacher. But do you honestly see yourself controlling your DC in 20 years' time and beyond, dictating what she does, throwing paddies when she finds her own way, trusts her own judgment?

Aussiebean Sat 15-Dec-12 23:16:24

It's all part of the power play and when you start to realise what's happening you will go through the grieving process. You are grieving for the mum you deserve but haven't got.

I'm currently on anger. And bargaining doesn't work on narcs. Working my desperate way to acceptance.

My advice is that to us and to people who understand complain and cry as much as you need. To your mum you need to be calm, firm, non committal and talk about the weather. Unfortunately all personal conversations are for someone else. It's sad but necessary. And your dad can't be the one because he is on your mothers side and can't be trusted to keep a secret. That's what enablers do.

I understand what you are going through as do many here. I'm sorry. X

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