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Toxic mother strikes again and this time I've had enough. Cutting off contact.

(43 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Feb-13 14:52:50

I've had a lifetime of putting up with a toxic, negative, chipping away at me mother.

I could give many examples of how nasty she is - when she told me to have an abortion as I was living in sin rather than been married, the physical violence towards me and db when we were kids, the nearly constant put downs at every opportunity. My brother has only recently started speaking to her after 4 or 5 years of not doing so after she was nasty to him and his wife.

Just over a year ago she was very nasty to my dh in our house and flounced out saying she'd never come back. We didn't invite her round for a year but at Xmas did invite her back. She barely speaks to dh and makes it very clear she doesn't like him. She slags me and dh off to dd and dd comes back and tells me "Grandma has said this about you, etc". DD's first memory in life is sitting on the sofa next to my dad and my mum came and threw a bucket of water at my dad!

So we went to see her today - she lives 25 mins away. Normally see her a couple of times a month and get constant snarky remarks about how I don't see her enough, etc.

So me and dd go over today. Mum tells dd to try on one of my mum's new coats as she doesn't want it. I politely say dd wouldn't wear it as she's 12 and likes to pick her own stuff. It was like something you'd see in the back of a newspaper supplement though I didn't say that! Mum had a go at me and told me to stop giving dd "rude smirks" as it "isn't grown up". I had smiled at dd as I said it but didn't consider it to be a smirk and politely told my mum so.

We sit down and mum starts having a go at dd "I can see you haven't brushed your hair today". I tell mum she has brushed her hair, she may have missed a bit at the back but she has brushed it. Mum starts going on about how awful it looks as its really tousled at the back. I ask her if she'd make such remarks to a friend of hers. Normally I'd ignore this sort of shit.

Well she really didn't like that. Told me that we're family so she needs to talk to us like this and that she "has serious concerns over dd's welfare". Mmmm, really? Just over badly brushed hair???? Then she has a go at me saying that although dd should be able to brush her hair better I'm equally at fault "why are you letting her leave the house like that".

I told dd to get her boots on and we left.

I'm not planning on going back. I feel awful, she is my mother, etc. But I get no pleasure from a relationship with her - just guilt and nastiness. I'm fed up with putting up with it becasuse she's my mother. She falls out with everyone - she only manages to keep friends a short while before they have a major fall out. Of course its always the other person, never her fault. hmm

I feel like changing my phone number and email address so she can't contact me anymore.

HansieMom Sat 09-Feb-13 15:02:10

Well, I do not think this is a hanging offense, but I think you did just the right thing. You did not let her get away with what she said, and you cut the visit short. Maybe next time the visit can last longer before it gets to the leaving stage, say, twenty minutes?

Its really like the last straw. To some it may seem minor. But after years of this shit somethings gotta give.

You are doing the right thing. I had cut my mum out but stupidly went back. Shes worse than ever and I want to do it again but DD1 wouldnt understand.

DameFanny Sat 09-Feb-13 15:14:03

You're setting an excellent example to your dd of not having to put up with rudeness from anyone - well done.

But do make sure dd knows it not because she hadn't brushed her hair properly or anything like that? Children can take responsibility and feel guilty for all sorts of things and not tell you.

kalidanger Sat 09-Feb-13 15:19:11

"Put your boots on, we're leaving!" grin Good for you. Like so many difficult relationships it's often something small and 'silly' that breaks the camels back.

Have you seen the Stately Homes thread? smile

BookWormery Sat 09-Feb-13 15:19:42

Good in you OP

I get it. There's no need for you or dd to put up wth this, it'll confuse dd at best and could damage her self esteem. I would say if you previously avoided her for a year, there's nothing to stop you doing it again. She clearly learned nothing from that loss of contact - if she had, she wouldn't be so blatantly vile.

BookWormery Sat 09-Feb-13 15:19:56


VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Feb-13 15:40:18

Yes, I must talk to dd and make sure she realises its not her fault. Thanks for that, hadn't crossed my mind.

We kept contact for the year when she didn't come to our house, just at hers or in town.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Feb-13 16:53:17

I've had a text;

"can't you see its dd I'm worried about"

She doesn't stop and just doesn't see it. She's still trying to make me feel guilty/like a neglectful parent, etc just because dd's hair wasn't perfect.

And in my mum's eyes she will be 100% right, dd is being neglected by me, I'm a shit parent who won't accept her helpful crtiicism, etc. I feel like I want to shake my fucking mother.

Zara1984 Sat 09-Feb-13 16:58:20

Well done Viva! Keep strong and stick to your guns. I cut contact with my toxic parents 4 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. I now live in peace and happiness!

VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Feb-13 17:59:26

Zara, how did your parents handle it when you cut contact? Dd they try to contact you?

EyesCrossedLegsAkimbo Sat 09-Feb-13 18:39:08

Block her number to your mobile, you don't need to see crap like that.

goodenuffmum Sat 09-Feb-13 19:09:23

This could be my story, except that my toxic mother threatened to report me to social services after my ds was told off for a situation that she created (she woke my then 5 year up at 5a.m. To keep her company and of course he was a wee devil later in the day angry

I told her to leave my house and as she flounced off she called me a bitch and that I was jealous of her and should "get a life". grin

For years she manipulated me and sucked me dry both emotionally and financially. I was so angry at how she was turning her venom on my dc with her barbed comments (allegedly said for our own good!) that I finally found my bottom line. My dc. I couldn't stand up to her for myself but I could for my dc.

There then following radio silence for almost a year. It was bliss. Then she started to text that she missed her gc...not me though!

The best way for me to cope with my toxic mother is to
-screen calls, replying in carefully neutral text messages
-limit visits to once a month lasting 60 mins
-totally ignore her venomous attacks on her "friends" and various family members
-give her radio silence if she makes a negative comment about me or my dc

I have realised that she will never change, or take responsibility for her behaviour because she lacks the insight needed. Therefore, I have to protect my family from her.

I do get twinges of regret, but it is more about not having the ideal mother in my life to go shopping and gossip with. To have that she would need to have empathy and understanding, not something my mum will ever have.

You have given your mum opportunities to modify her behaviour and she didnt take it.

Good luck xx

flippinada Sat 09-Feb-13 19:41:14

Viva I get it. And I know you didn't ask if you are being U but you arent. BU that is.

With these people, I think it's; the constant drip drip drip of poison and you can tolerate it for, I don't know 50 times but the 51st that's it..even if it seems like a small thing.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 09-Feb-13 20:23:06

No it's not DD she's "worried" about, it's a way of giving you a good kicking under cover of feigning interest and concern in her grand-daughter. Quite a low trick but luckily you're wise to it and did just the right thing.

Viva, I know you didnt ask me, but when I cut contact my family didnt contact me at all. But then lied and said they did when I got back in touch. I know for a fact they didnt.

Ofcourse it was all my fault though. Never theirs. My mum is worse than ever now because she is teaching me a lesson as usual.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Feb-13 21:09:26

Donkeys - you're totally right. Her message is all about having a pop at me. Nobody in their right mind would be worried about dd's welfare. I can promise you there's nothing I'm not telling you on that score. She's fed, clean, loved, I do homework with her, she has more material stuff than is good for her. She's the most uneglected kid ever.

I have a different parenting style from my mum and am much more laid back. I will insist dd brushes her hair properly if she's off to school or we're going out for dinner, etc. I don't helicopter parent her though, and I did tell ehr to brush her hair and saw her sat doing it. Just didn't notice she hadn't done the back.

DomesticGodess, I'm sorry your mum is still being awful to you. sad

She told DD1 she looked like a pig. And then told me about it like it was the most normal thing in the world.

DP thinks shes a total loon and leaves her house in disbelief everytime. The time she force fed him carrots was the worst.

Honestly, if she wasnt my mother I would be doing time now.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Feb-13 21:24:32

She force fed your dp carrots? shock

I'm now torn between ignoring her text or replying telling her that she isn't concerned for my dd at all. But that she's a nasty, negative person and if she honestlylf believes she's in the right then she has mental health issues.

I'm sure she's currently ringing one of her two remaining friends giving them her side of the story. As they'll oly hear her version they're bound to agree with how awful I am.

I'm going to see my dad tomorrow. They're divorced, at least he'll sympathise.

TheFallenNinja Sat 09-Feb-13 21:30:31

I had one of these mothers. Real piece of work, generally followed up one of her vitriolic comments with, "it's only the truth" or "I speak as I find". A real long term campaign of this was on the cards.

The last words I said to her were, I'm going now, I won't be back.

Nearly 30 years now and frankly, she sucked my brothers life out of him, did the same to my dad and pretty much most of her family and friends.

These people do not change, they cannot be reasoned with and only exist to heap misery on others. There is no salvation for them. Frankly I found the first year difficult and of course family tried to play the its your mother card.

If I saw her now I would walk away again.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Feb-13 21:38:03

The funny thing is that her mother was exactly the same. Manipulative, controlling, negative and nasty. Not so much with me, but with mum and my aunt.

My mum hated her, used to slag her off no end to me and said she only visited a couple of times a year due to a sense of duty. She can't see that she's exactly the same.

She's definitely got worse as she's got older. Sometimes I wonder if I should make allowances as she's nearly 70yo and maybe she's just losing the plot a bit. But I don't think she is, she's very active, drives, holds down a voluntary job. More importantly she can be very charming when she wants to be. So she can obviously control her vile behaviour.

She's fallen out with every neighbour she's lived next to, she's left every job on majorly bad terms after falling out with the boss. It's always them, never her.

I agree. She will not be reasoned with so you should honestly save yourself the bother. Ignore the text.

FWIW I confronted mine. Not on purpose, it kind of spilled out. The gist of the conversation was me telling her facts (ie not just my perception) and her telling me I was lying. "Anything else you have to say about me." was the line of choice. And at the end she said "I dont see the issue. Why would I change when I am not at fault."

Ignore ignore ignore.

Yes. My mum spends her life moaning about the way people treat her. Then treats me that way.

It has to be a recognisable condition. There are too many mothers with too many similarities for it not to be. Mine doesnt really fit the bill for NPD. But I am convinced its something diagnosable.

Homebird8 Sat 09-Feb-13 21:48:53

Good for you Viva. I've heard similar. My DSs feet were dirty and school would report me to SS for neglect. They were running round the garden barefoot all afternoon. As yet they haven't learned to hover.

Then we moved to NZ where kids don't have to wear shoes in school. Only to arrive and leave in. wink

Rise above, and distance yourself. 12,000 miles did it for me or would have if DM hadn't died first.

kalidanger Sat 09-Feb-13 21:49:38

See on the first page of Relationships there's a thread about whether narcissists know/realise they're narc? There some very affecting posts about them being not quite human. It sounds so bizarre but... Well.

Homebird8 Sat 09-Feb-13 21:50:22

Wannabe, I've wondered about OCPD with my DM.

Just googled Homebird. Thats my mum down to a tee. Unbelievable.

I see similarities to my mother in myself. But I think I have more personal insight and that doesnt describe me.

I once told my mum she was highly strung and she went purple with rage.

SqueakyGeek Sat 09-Feb-13 22:15:35

Thanks for posting this op. I had to open the thread cos I had a horrible feeling I might have drink sleep posted last night when I saw the title. I'm so glad I looked cos it meant I don't feel I have to post now.
Our small details are different, but the big picture and the emotions are the same, and I can't post them cos she has a history of Internet stalking to top it all off. But I've had enough now, no more. Fortunately self-imposed distance gives me control.
I am emotionally stunted from blocking this crap out my whole life, and I don't want my dc to end up the same from her constant demands for performance interspersed with disappointed cos your not quite what she wanted (eg someone EXACTLY like her)
Mines pretty much npd to the letter with a side order of hysterical paranoid delusions mental health issues to keep it really interesting.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Feb-13 22:31:23

My mums certainly not the most mentally balanced of people.

She had an affair years ago, told my dad he was free to see other people. Her married man dumped her so she told my dad she wanted to make a go of it again. Dad said no chance. She stabbed him and smashed the house up.

She rang me a cople of years ago absolutely hysterical, sobbing for five mins before she could talk. I thought someone must have died. Turned out she couldn't get the Internet broadband to work. hmm

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Feb-13 15:21:22

Well I've been to see my dad today. He agrees that mum is bang out of order and shouldn't be making comments like she is doing.

Then it gets worse - dd pipes up that my mum has been telling her to write me a letter or send me an email to tell me that she feels neglected by me and that I don't spend enough time with her. shock

My dad immediatly said that he doesn't know anyone who spends as much time with their dd as I do. I mean she is 12 next month so when we're at home yes she's entertaining herself a lot of the time. She's past the age of doing painting, playdough, monopoly together. Though we do still Minecraft together at times.

But we have lots of days out together - shopping, cinema, swimming, dog walking, bike rides, days out, etc. We do one of the above most weekends. I help her with her homework.

I asked dd if she feels neglected and she said no.

This just strengthens my resolve to cut contact. I can't have her posioning my relationship with dd.

DameFanny Sun 10-Feb-13 15:37:44


Well, no more second-guessing yourself then. Enjoy your freedom!


Atleast your dad can see it! Sounds like your mum is jealous of your relationship with DD. Almost as if she takes it as a criticism of her because she doesnt have that relationship with you.

My dad enables my mum.

She phoned today. I said "we are just making pancakes" and she replied "Oh!! I was going to make them next week!" As if I had just told her she is a failure for not making pancakes. hmm

Midwife99 Sun 10-Feb-13 15:42:23

Come join us on the stately homes thread. We understand how something that seems minor to other such as hair nagging is the final straw in a toxic relationship.

Midwife99 Sun 10-Feb-13 15:48:53

Not that you haven't had great advice here!!!!

VivaLeBeaver Sun 10-Feb-13 16:39:38

Midwife, thanks. Have just posted on the Stately Homes thread this afternoon!

Midwife99 Sun 10-Feb-13 17:28:00

Oh yes smile

Homebird8 Sun 10-Feb-13 23:52:02

Sorry to hyjack Viva.

Wannabe The pancake thing. If she took it as a criticism then that's her wanting to be perfect. This fits with a suspicion of OCPD.

Now, back to Viva. You have to protect DD from not knowing what to do when she is being asked to make possibly untrue statements by her GM. If it were me then the time would have come to NC them even if I didn't NC myself.

Sounds like your DD has all the attention she needs. Especially if she was comfortable enough to spill the beans on what her GM was encouraging her to do.

Zara1984 Mon 11-Feb-13 16:58:55

Sorry it took me so long to reply, Viva. My parents cut of contact first, but tried to rest abolish (by which point I'd realised them not being in my life was awesome). I just took a firm line of "no, sorry, I can't do this anymore. Don't call me." It was very painful and took about a year before they stopped calling (meanwhile, they were calling up PILs, their lives were imploding generally due to their toxic actions). I haven't heard from them since, no idea where they live or their phone number. I do expect they will try to get in touch again as they get older/sick/dying etc.

I did this all to end the toxic cycle before I had children. Now when I have bad thoughts/fears/worries about my parents I just cuddle my baby DS instead.

DH puts it well, he says families are like poker, sometimes you get dealt a shit hand, it's not your fault but there's nothing you can do about it. And no amount of bluff will make that crappy hand any better, so you might as well fold and move on!!

Who knows what the future will bring. People judge me for cutting off contact with my parents (they have nobody else, my siblings are NC with them too, they have isolated themselves from all other friends and family) and think it's strange, and it's painful to explain to people (but I do it anyway, because I believe in being open and I don't want to be like my parents and lie about things). But all I know is I feel happy and free without them.

Midwife I need to join Stately Homes, I'm a lurker but there's so much to put down about my birth family I don't know where to start. My experience mirrors so much of what I read there. My only fear now is how to explain everything to my son when he's older?

VivaLeBeaver Mon 11-Feb-13 18:22:14

Zara, thanks for replying. I'm glad that you're happier having gone nc and can look forward with your DS.

It'll be interesting to see hom much my mother tries to contact me. I've had my mobile off today, home phone hasn't rung and surprisingly no email. I'm expecting an email essay detailing my faults.

My dh cut his toxic nother off after the birth of our first child. That was his bottom line. Frankly he's never looked back and it's given him the freedom to finally get properly angry about how she treated him and to address some of those issues. It hasn't been easy, but it has been better and our ds can grow up free of that poisonous influence, unlike dh's nephew who, at 5, is already showing signs that he's receiving the same treatment dh got. Poor kid.

Please pm if you want to talk

Zara1984 Tue 12-Feb-13 09:05:58

MakesCakes give your DH a high five from me

Viva just delete that email when it arrives, no need to read it. Don't waste your life and your emotions getting upset on that rubbish. Even better, set your mother's email address to go straight to your spam/bin. That's what I did with all my family's email addresses grin

Someone posted some bits from that great toxic grandparents blog earlier. I agree with the "be invulnerable" line. That's what got me through it all.

I always think if it were a boyfriend treating you that way, you wouldn't put up with it (and you'd get a chorus of "leave the bastard!" if you posted on MN), so why put up with it from your family.

You are stronger than you think Viva.

MarinaIvy Tue 12-Feb-13 10:27:09

I find it interesting that TM (not DM, of course) is trying to get your DD to assert you're a bad mum in a written format. Possibly trying to gear up to have SS take over?

To this end, as lovely and satisfying as it would be to simply delete her harrassing emails and texts, perhaps it would be more prudent to save them somewhere. You can still set a filter to send her emails directly into that folder, of course. And a diary of your experiences wouldn't go amiss.

Do I also get the impression that TM is able to contact DD directly? What do you intend to do about that?

I don't think you've being unreasonable, btw, and definitely don't think you're being a bad mum - quite the opposite! Keep strong! You and DD are brilliant!

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