Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Estranged Toxic Mother and the Family Fallout

(137 Posts)
OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 02:10:04

Hi, Wise Ones!

I would really value some input on my situation please. I am actually in a really good place, but would like some insight re my brother's behaviour. I also think I just need to get it all out.

This is going to be looooooong.
I shall try and be as succinct as possible, whilst imparting what I think is relevant information.

My father left the family home when I was 12, and my brothers were 10 and 7. My mother raised us as a single parent, my father barely saw us, and when I reached adulthood, I officially cut ties with him as I felt he wasn't that bothered about any of us. Haven't seen or heard from him since I was 21. I am now nearly 40.
My mother did her best, struggled financially. I know she had a lot on her plate, and no help. All of her siblings live on the other side of the planet, and her parents were dead before I was born. The only tangible family I had were her and my two brothers.
She has always been opinionated, bossy, critical, grade A never enough; why didn't you get A+, her way or the highway, stubborn, strict, overbearing. I don't think she managed well when we hit adulthood and had our own opinions.
We all muddled along ok for the next 20 years, didn't all see loads of each other (her, my brothers, me): this seemed to suit us all, as we all lead independent lives, and I don't think we have much in common.

More recent times!
I get married, we have a son, born autumn 2010 (first and currently only grandchild). Straight away the opinions come in, I should do this, do that, that's not how it's done. We used to do this in the seventies, times have changed, mother, I tell her that current research supports this or that, HV is happy with newborn and development etc, he is thriving, happy, thanks for your opinion, please feel free to offer me advice once, but if we (husband and I) say we are doing it another way, you drop it. We aren't going to change our minds just because you go on and on about it. You don't have any say in how he is raised. But she couldn't ever stop, and I felt undermined, belittled, nagged, stressed. When our son was 13 months old, I felt he was really starting to understand that I was being undermined, criticised, and I didn't feel this was a healthy environment for any of us, so I said more firmly to her, that she had to stop. She said no, she could say what she liked, regardless of my feelings (if you recognise this, yes, I did post about it on here at the time, and was told by most of the people replying that she was toxic and I was being reasonable to distance myself: indeed, I should, for the benefit of my child). I was so stressed, her visits sapped my joy and my strength, and I'd had enough. She stopped visiting, yippee.
A few months later, my husband got a new job and we moved a 90min flight away. I feel relieved. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

A poster on my original thread warned me to watch out for the family fallout. Well, here it is. My brothers have only recently been made fully aware of the situation.

Autumn 2012, six months after we moved away, my brother sends a group email to me, my mother and other brother. Just general chat, nothing great. I reply to both brothers, cutting my mother out of the CC field, as I do not correspond with her any more. My brother demands that I reply all in future, and I say no, his mother and I aren't speaking. Both brothers push to know why. I don't feel it is fair to colour their judgement of my mother, so say it is between her and me. They get some info from her, obviously, so I give my version, pretty much as spelled out above. They don't get it at all, and tell me I must let her into my life, she should be able to say whatever she wants, she is our mother. I say no, I don't need the stress, thanks, and I am very happy with how things are.
My younger brother emails me to tell me he thinks I am pathetic and cruel, that when he has children he'd love our mother's input oh how I chortled at that and blocks me on Fb. I don't see why he felt the need to take sides, our relationships are separate, in my mind.

Xmas 2012 my eldest brother sends my husband the following email. I will change the names to protect our identities, and rather than DS, DB, DH etc, I'll give us names as with it being from my brother, I think it will get confusing.

I will be Opal (OP for short!).
My husband is Harry.
My son is Stan.
My friend is Felicity.
Eldest bro is Brian.

I'll do it in the next post, as this is already long, and I think it will make it clearer. I would like some insight please into what my brother is on, basically! I don't feel any great need to respond to him (the email was to my husband, he didn't reply). I feel he does not enhance my life, and is no great loss. In the 18 months of my son's life, before we moved further away with my husband's job, when we lived a 30 minute drive from this brother, we saw him maybe three times. So, really, no great loss.
My younger brother was CCed in on the email to my husband, replied all just basically saying he agreed with the other brother.

Today I get an email from him, CCed to other brother and mother, all breezy, hi, how's everyone, just checking in! Like nothing had happened, and he wants a reply, despite sending that email at Xmas to my husband. I think I should just ignore him, draw a line under my family, and focus on my lovely husband and son. Or should I reply?

Thanks so much if you have read to the end!!! Ach, it was good to get it out anyway.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 02:12:52

His Letter

Something has to be done about this. If I am the guy that has to do it then so be it.
I will no doubt be on the 'banned from seeing Stan ever again, and don't ever speak to again list' but someone has to point out that this behaviour is completely unacceptable. 

I have only recently been made aware of exactly how bad this is and how Opal has continued to treat our mum and as you may have been able to tell from my reaction,  I am furious, but in equal measure ashamed and disgusted with my sister. 

I appreciate Opal is your wife, and your loyalty is of course to her, but she is my sister and I am not going to mince my words, for the sake of nicety. I am actually embarrassed that a sister of mine can act in such a cruel manner, and also that everyone has just let this drag on with no one actually telling her quite how wrong, spiteful and horrible her behavior is. 

She is pigheaded and stubborn to the point of it actually being detrimental both to her and those around her. She seems to have this 'I'll make my decision, whether it's right or wrong, and stick with it, so sod the rest of the world' attitude.

She is now doing that to mum about Stan. 
I have said to her before that she cannot expect anyone to respect her views when she cannot respect others. This is not how you have an intelligent adult conversation, and ultimately it weakens her position on matters she takes so seriously. 
You cannot have a debate when one party refuses to take any viewpoint other than their own, and dismisses it out of hand. This is what Opal does, and this is now happening with this situation. 

I am hoping that you have been blind to quite how bad she has become Harry, because I would hope that as a decent human being, and out of respect for my mum, as her son in law, that if you were fully aware you'd put your foot down and stop it, or at the very least give a reasoned alternative view as to how wrong it is. 

Are you aware for example that, presents my mum has bought and sent for Stan have been returned? Do you know how hurtful that must be for my mum, an elderly lady who lives on her own and doesn't exactly have a massive support circle around her. Opal has you., Opal has Stan, and using him to hurt my mum is disgraceful. Whether she thinks she is using Stan to hurt her or not, is kind of irrelevent, because this is exactly what is happening. 

She also had nothing at all on her birthday either from Opal but far far more importantly from her Grandson either. Another attempt to hrt her feelings? Well guess what, it worked.  

I am not saying anything I wouldn't expect someone to say to me if it were my wife.

Harry, I have spoken to mum and she is in agreement that mothers and grandmothers will often disagree on the upbringing of the child but that ultimately it's the mother's choice. 
Your wife however has taken something minor and purposefully magnified it to suit her agenda, which is  'I am Stan's mother, and i will defiantly make my own choices, and s*d everyone else'. I would wager that anything mum did or said would be pounced upon, such is Opal's fierce determination to be both different and defiant, and to prove she can do things 'her way'. 

This has to be sorted. 1 year? I'm ashamed that this has gone on so long. 
Opal's arguments to me are actually also based on nothing. I could take her email, dissect it, break it down and do a very good bit of psychoanalysis on where she is going wrong and why she is completely misguided in this 'crusade' of hers, but I will resist for now. I know full well that if her and i had a debate about this in front of independent people, I would wipe the floor with the rubbish that's come from her just yesterday.

Her arguments are pretty much null and void. Comparing our relationship with our father to what she is now doing to our mum is more that a little desperate. It no more relave than comparing a minor spat over what to watch on TV to World War 2. Yes they are both conflicts, but they are not the same. Not even close.

I studied psychology. I take a keen interest in understanding how certain people work. I work in sales. My job is to go in front of serious business people and understand their mindsets, and how different people work.
I also know quite a lot about depression and other mental issues that are commonplace and more socially accepted these days- I have several friends for example that have had issues.
I only mention this as I am also concerned that perhaps my sister needs some help, and. or someone to give her a bit of perspective on this, as this is not the normal loving and caring person that I have known for 36 years.
Her actions go against everything she supposedly stands for. So let me get this right- she has an almost militant love for random animals and their welfare yet can act in such a purposefully cruel manner to her own mother? It doesn't add up. I think it might be worth considering if she needs to speak to someone. Have you considered any effects of things such as post natal depression? I'm not saying she has it, I'm just saying I am so shocked and appalled by her behaviour, it's like a different person. 

I am now getting involved. If I get a 'lifetime ban' from seeing my own nephew then again that will be her ill judged choice but I am not prepared to sit back and do absolutely nothing or pander to her warped and misguided sense of what is right and wrong. 

She is wrong. 100% wrong. 

Harry, I am not trying to tell you what to do here, but if this was my wife, I would not stand for this. I would put my foot down.. This is not a sexist thing. If i was acting like that to my mother, I'd expect my wife or girlfriend, friend to properly kick my arse and pull me into line. 

With Opal, we seem to be treading on tip toe for fear of upsetting her further. That is not healthy for anyone. 

She says she has the welfare of Stan at heart but ultimately I think she will do things that will be detrimental to him in the long term. 

Let me know your thought because this has gone on for far too long., and I am going to take action is no one else will. 

Harry, let me know your thoughts on the points i raise above. I will be speaking to and informing any 'cousins' who Opal seems to have bonded with of exactly how she is treatin our mother as step one. I twill then speak to someone who I knew as a friend well before Opal was best mates with- Felicity Smith, as I fully expect her to be as appalled as I am. 

If I can't speak any sense into her, and if you won't or don't want to, then maybe one of the above will be able to make her realise just how unjustified and horrible she is being to our mum. 

I look forward to your thoughts Harry, and again, please do not take any of the above as having a go at you, it's not meant that way. I am a man of action and enough is enough.


OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 02:17:04

Now. A few quick points from me, and then, over to you, please.
The typos are his, I didn't bother amending them, I wasn't sure what all were.

Presents from my mother, and returning them. My mother bought my son some inappropriate clothes in a sale, merely because they were in the sale, regardless of whether they would be the right season to suit his age, e.g. a pair of beach shorts for a two-month old, given in winter. By summer, he'd be seven months old, they wouldn't fit. Shoes that were too small, and actually, I had already said we didn't want to put shoes on feet that weren't even walking yet, etc etc. I did return this all to her, telling her perhaps she could regift them to someone else, thanks anyway. They would just go to waste otherwise.

My husband and I make our child-rearing choices together, as a team. The above makes it sound like they think it's all me!
I didn't, and don't, have PND or anything similar. I am blissfully smitten with my bundle of joy, and could not be happier (except if I had a second child, currently TTC!). My husband doesn't think I need psychiatric help, he regularly tells me what an awesome job I am doing with Stan (I am a SAHM), and he is as instrumental in the choices we make for our child as I am.

My brother says he studied psychology. Actually, he dropped out of college and didn't complete the course. Does it show? smile

I don't know why 'cousins' is in inverted commas! They are our cousins! I have made close friendships with my cousins, visiting them when I was mid-twenties, living there for 18mo, one made me godmother to her child, one made me her chief bridesmaid, she was BM at my wedding, they are wonderful. It is a shame they live overseas, but we catch up on Fb and email etc. I have already told them about all the strife, so I don't know why my brother, who has said he is not bothered about having a relationship with any of them, and can probably not even name all of them, let alone all their children or their spouses, thinks emailing them will help his cause.
I have also told my friend already, I don't know why he thinks I wouldn't! Both she and my cousin are sympathetic to my situation, and fully supportive.
Interestingly, my cousin, whose mother is my mother's sister, has pretty much exactly the same situation with her mother. So yes, she understands!

Thanks so so much if you read all this! It helped to get it out, even if I don't get any replies. But I'd really like some! Thank you. thanks

I have absolutely nothing of assistance, but whatever crack your brother is on, I don't want any.
I've heard narcissistic parents can have "scapegoats" and "golden children," d'you reckon she's narcissistic?
Sorry I can't be of more use, good luck with it all.

monsterchild Thu 14-Feb-13 02:33:22

I think your brother's a twat.

I think he's basically saying exactly what your mother is saying, that you are wrong and he is right. I don't blame you for taking the position you have taken!

I'm sorry he's gone and been so horrible then acted as though nothing has happened, that's just annoying and weird.

I don't have much else to add, but I can completely see where you are coming from. If he knows so much psychology he should know right and wrong in social situations is very subjective!
And his being a sales person just somehow made everything he says a little oily.

Jengnr Thu 14-Feb-13 03:50:18

What a pompous, self important dickhead.

Whitewineformeplease Thu 14-Feb-13 04:20:37

Jesus, that's awful, what an arrogant asshole. There are so many shock points in the e-mail, like saying he doesn't understand how you can not listen to anyone else's opinion, then saying you are 100 percent wrong, saying to your husband I'm not going to tell you what to do, and then telling him what to do; and worst of all, the threats to 'out' you to your friend and your cousins! Not to mention the pompous 'I used to study psychology, I have an innate understanding how people work' bullshit. When he dropped out! It would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. I have no good advice I'm afraid, I think getting into a long e-mail exchange would make it even worse. Maybe you and your DH could send something along the lines of, "Your e-mail and its 'advice' is insulting. We have not made these decisions lightly and we resent your interference, your threats and your attitude. Please stay out of it."

CleopatrasAsp Thu 14-Feb-13 04:20:39

What a patronising arse. Ignore!

thepixiefrog Thu 14-Feb-13 06:56:52

Is he likely to have any DC of his own any time soon?

When he does he will look back in this and cringe at just what a sanctimonious pompous twat he has been.

He has nothing to offer you or your family.

drizzlecake Thu 14-Feb-13 07:22:55

I think men are easily led when it comes to close relationships. They seem able to switch off when it comes to toxic rellies etc and just cut out what they don't want to see. (will no doubt get slated for not knowing what I talk about).

But when someone is ranting, in this case your mother, others can be drawn in and, because they feel sympathy for the ranter, will take their side without thinking it through.

There is also sibling rivalry and in my slightly toxic family some members were affected more than others (this is 50 years on by the way) so you might hold quite different memories of childhood.

So I would ignore DB, or perhaps just send a v brief note saying he only has DM's version of things so isn't in a position to judge.

But his email is a mix of sibling past resentments/ perhaps an overprotective attitude to DM (maybe as eldest son he felt more responsible for her happiness after your DF left)/ and a naivety about how protective mother's feel towards their DCs.

Also I wouldn't assume that he will understand how you feel after he has DCs as DM might act quite differently then. Relaionships between DMs and DD or DSs can be very different.

Sugarice Thu 14-Feb-13 07:25:53

He's a man of action is he? hmm.

What a twat, more like.

I'm sure both you and your dh are treating this email with the scorn that it deserves.

Ignore, ignore, ignore.

Aussiebean Thu 14-Feb-13 07:33:32

Wow. Just wow.

I think you have a great attitude to the whole thing And doing it right. Ignore ignore ignore.

I am sure if you do a lot of reading in the stately homes thread and other places you will be able to work out a little of what the hell is going in his head.

But it sounds like you are fine. You don't need to get involved and you are perfectly fine without any impact from them.

You could always reply and say for him to get back in touch when his first child is 12 months and you can talk again then.

ChasedByBees Thu 14-Feb-13 07:40:09

What an idiot. I like how he says he's not being sexist in a letter to his BIL asking him to sort out his wife. I think I'd see less of him too - it sounds like he's just going to put pressure on you regarding your mother. Trying to get others to take sides against you is particularly nasty. Would you really do that if you suspected someone had PND? Actually I don't think he thinks you have PND for a moment - I think he's implying you must be unbalanced to be so unreasonable. Thinks a lot of himself doesn't he?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 14-Feb-13 07:46:44

Just ignore it.

I know it's hard, because it's personal, and from a close relative, but really: he's not going to change his mind, or acknowledge your point of view. Or if he ever does, it won't be down to anything you say or do.

Ignore. Don't reply. Rise above it.

ll31 Thu 14-Feb-13 07:46:56

Agree with above posters. Only one thing i'd disagree with you on is the returning of presents when you had a relationship with her, think that's just rude. Couldn't you have put shorts on ds, taken photo to show her, then given them away-I just think there's something v unpleasant about returning presents, suggesting she re-gifts. .. I'd be v hurt and I'm hard to upset.

Gunznroses Thu 14-Feb-13 07:52:00

Poor OP! [SAD] please neither you nor dh should reply to this email, your silence will kill them! i think its wonderful that you've also move far away from them all. What worries me about your brother's email though is he keeps saying he will 'take action', 'somebody has to do something' what exactly is he planning ? hmm....what an arrogant, pompous git!

Walkacrossthesand Thu 14-Feb-13 07:56:30

He writes in such an 'oh no not again' weary way, as if your 'behaviour' is sooo predictable - ''I've said to her before that she can't expect anyone to respect her views if she doesn't respect anyone else's ' - has he ever said anything like that? Is there 'history' of antipathy between the 2 of you, or maybe an unseen GF ( as well as DM) pulling his strings for some reason? Of course the entire contents can be attributed to him not having the wisdom to recognise that you can't comment on a situation involving 2 people when you only have 1 person's version of events. Pity he doesn't have the insight to see that. Analyse, dismiss, ignore! Glad you have a supportive DH.

Gunznroses Thu 14-Feb-13 07:59:46

walkacross - him not having the wisdom to recognise that you can't comment on a situation involving 2 people when you only have 1 person's version of events.

he must have missed that particular class on his Psychology course smile

Walkacrossthesand Thu 14-Feb-13 08:00:52

ll31, I think op explained that the clothing gifts were not carefully chosen but bought in a sale, one item off-season and the other something she specifically said she didn't want for her DS but DM bought it anyway.

thepixiefrog Thu 14-Feb-13 08:08:53

For what it's worth I think you're doing great. It takes real courage to cut a toxic family member out of your life, and you are an inspiration.

I hope you and your little family continue to flourish.x

HilaryClinton Thu 14-Feb-13 08:09:43

He's such an eejit. He's a nincompoop and to be ignored.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 08:10:19

Bizarre email! Ignore it. Pompous ass!

VivaLeBeaver Thu 14-Feb-13 08:17:12

I would be fuscking furious with your brother. How bloody dare he judge you like that, and all that pompos self absorbed drivel about psychoanalysing you. I'm wound up on your behalf. And it is fucking sexist to email your husband. Basicly saying whip your naughty wifey into line. Bastard, bastard, bastard.

And how dare he threaten to report you to your cousins and friends.

If I were your dh I'd reply back to that email, politely and just pull every point to bits one by one. Making sure its very clear that your dh supports you and doesn't appreciate your brother's email.

I'd also be tempted to have as little to do with your brothers as possible. They sound as nasty and manipulative as your mother.

I've just cut my mum out my life but my brother supports me having done it for 5 years himself once. Though he's speaking to her now.

DeckSwabber Thu 14-Feb-13 08:18:46

How often does this brother see your mum? If the answer is 'not very often' my guess is that your brother feels guilty about his mum being elderly and lonely, but has been thinking that her having you and a grandchild to think about lets him off the hook.

He is angry with you for not being there to do all the dutiful child stuff, and he us also blaming your husband for not stepping up and making you - this allows him to feel angry and self-righteous instead of guilty.

DeckSwabber Thu 14-Feb-13 08:20:40

And how did it take him a YEAR to realise something was wrong? Because he wasn't around?

Also wondering how much interest he takes in his nephew.

Januarymadness Thu 14-Feb-13 08:25:36

I have to speak honestly. Your bro is a twat for how he writes and an even bigger twat for addressing your husband rather than you.

BUT he does have some good points. There is a vast difference between distancing yourself and cutting all ties.

There is no need to cut all ties. Ignore all communication and cut her out of family emails. Sending the gifts back, for whatever reason no matter if completely rational to most, WILL have come across as a sign that you are bloking her out of her only dgc life completely.

If that is what you want to do that is your choice but you have to understand such finality cannot be limited to a single relationship in a family situation. Your relationship with your brothers have to be affected as there is some degree of picking sides.

In the situation with your father. He was completely in the wrong so you all, rightly, picked the side against him. Here I believe you are both in the wrong so it it not so clear cut.

what you do now must be a choice on how you want to interact with your whole family. If you want to cut ties with them all , again, it is your choice. However if you want to maintain at least some contact you must do so with all and admit to some of your part in the situation. i.e cutting all ties from your dm may have been a step to far but that you had to get some distance for your own health.

good luck

Januarymadness Thu 14-Feb-13 08:26:57

sorry about typos. Posting from phone.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 08:27:25

This is how toxic families work, in many cases. For the queen bee to get away with their toxic behaviour they need supporters, and your brother is playing his part taking mum's side without even talking to you.

There are many possible reasons your brother is attacking you now. Maybe your mother is now turning her criticism on him and he wants you back in your place as the family scapegoat!

Just reply 'this is between me and mum, you only know one side of the story, please keep out of it' and do not engage with any other questions or issues. Do not explain about friends & cousins knowing etc or the presents or whatever. Just ignore.

Sorry it is so hard, glad to hear your own family is happy & your DH supportive.

Muminwestlondon Thu 14-Feb-13 08:34:17

OP - what a patronising idiot your brother is - he writes to your husband accusing YOU of mental illness, being a fucking salesman (no offence to salespeople) is no qualification for a diagnosis.

I have a toxic mother who I haven't seen for two years after I broke off contact with her. My sister lives overseas and is still in contact. We are though united in our opinions of our mother.

My grandmother was also toxic and used "divide and rule" tactics on her three daughters. They are in their seventies and still argue and fight.

I think your husband should respond with a short factual email saying that you don't want contact with your mother for reasons well known to her but that doesn't extend to other family members.

Good luck and stay strong!

CleopatrasAsp Thu 14-Feb-13 08:43:21

With toxics, any reaction fuels the fire. No reaction is the way to go - you can't reason with them, they have a vested interest in believing you to be wrong, just ignore.

LimeLeafLizard Thu 14-Feb-13 08:50:27

As I managed to make it to the end smile I thought I'd post a quick message of support to say I agree with the general sentiment of other posters. Your Bro is an arrogant dickhead and is totally out of order to email your DH like this. He has only heard your Mum's poison and isn't interested in hearing your side of the story. There isn't anything you can do to change either of them, ignoring is the best approach. Thank goodness you are physically a good distance from them.

Januarymadness Thu 14-Feb-13 08:50:29

oh and my pil are toxic, to say the least. we maintain very very basic contact as dh is not ready lose contact with other people as the inevitable consequesnce. So I do have some experience

LimeLeafLizard Thu 14-Feb-13 08:51:41

PS are either of your brothers married? I am betting we'll get a few MIL threads on here about your Mum!

Miggsie Thu 14-Feb-13 08:55:28

Your brother and mother are on a power trip - and nothing will ever EVER be their fault.
They will always blame others - you are the convenient person to attack as, being family, you may feel obligated to be nice to them.

With a dynamic like this all you can do is ignore them, anything you do or say will be twisted by them as more "proof" of you being wrong.

Ironically, I would say your brother is "projecting" onto you-a nice pyschological term there!!! He accuses you of all the things HE is - he is actually the one who is round the twist (a non pyschological term) - but he accuses you.
This is a classic tactic in toxic families - somone gets picked to take all the blame. Once they realise you are not taking their crap they will up the level of manipulation and pressure, if you still don't take the blame they will bad mouth you to everyone they know. It is a standard pattern in these cases. My grandmother was the same - you are either her acolyte and slave or you are the hated outcast, there is no in between. Your brother seems to also have high power needs and to be seen as the important and all-wise one - an arogant prat, in other words. He is also trying to turn your DH against you - anohter classic tactic, to pressure you from all sides. He has misjudged though, as again, he will assume your DH is also a sexist pig who bullies his wife - becuase he does it, he will assume others have the same value system.

They will add nothing to your life. Read the "toxic parents" book and get on with your life spendng time iwth people who actually like you and who do not have personality disorders.

DontmindifIdo Thu 14-Feb-13 09:12:14

Yes if your brother didn't notice for a whole year that you'd cut out your mother, then that suggests he doesn't spend much time with you and her at all. He wants to you to look after 'D'M so he doesn't have to do it

He will be expecting a reaction to his message, and while it's tempting to give him a piece of your mind or your side of the argument, that just gives the impression he has a right to be involved in brokering the relationship between you and your mother and opens a dialogue about it in which you give him more 'entitlement' to comment and discuss.

I'd simply get your DH to reply, CCing you (so it's clear he's shared the e-mail with you) "Brother, thank you for your thoughts, however we are perfectly happy that our actions are in the best interests of our family. If you would like to visit and see [Stan] do let me or Opel know. Kind regards, DH."

Crocodilio Thu 14-Feb-13 09:17:22

I think he's got some good points. If you want to maintain a relationship with your brothers, why not suggest that you three all meet up to talk, and each explain your point of view. You can say that you struggled with your mother when your son was a baby, and so find it easier not to see her at the moment, but that won't necessarily always be the case. You can acknowledge that you were probably in the wrong re the gifts. And you can listen, and share, and bond. Don't lose your relationship, and your son's relationship, with your brothers. Does it need to be so black and white?

LtEveDallas Thu 14-Feb-13 09:57:16

If I was OP's DH I'd email back:

"Why are you sending emails to Opal? I did as you instructed and took her in hand. I put my foot down and forced her to see the error of her ways.

The doctors say she will hopefully be released once she realises that everything is always her fault, your mother is completely blameless, you are not a pompous arse and that any other point of view is not worth listening to"

Googol Thu 14-Feb-13 10:00:59

Don't reply. Don't engage with either of them.

Your brother's letter is nasty and malicious. I did snort at his assertion that as he is in sales and has dabbled in psychology that he knows what he's talking about ie his opinion is far more important than yours. If he was so concerned about you why is he not trying to support you to get help? Instead he wants to cruficy your reputation and your relationship with your husband.

Any reply will be dissected, trivialised and turned on you, your agruments are "null and void" remember. There is no way they will hear what you say. You are the scapegoat and you always will be to them.

He's also told your husband that he is going to talk to the people who know and like you. This is a slander campaign. If you haven't already I would speak your cousins and friends to make them aware of what your brother is going to do.

And to say that you will harm your son is disgusting.

Protect yourself and ignore, ignore, ignore.

DumSpiroSpero Thu 14-Feb-13 10:13:18

Your brother is a massive wanker!

Regardless of any other goings on I cannot believe he has emailed your DH to ask him to 'deal with you' as if you were a 1940's Stepford housewife.

I think the only possible response to him is 'F*ck off and good riddance' tbh.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 14-Feb-13 10:42:52

I wouldn't be too worried about his threats to slander you either, by the way: people will think of it what they choose to think of it. Chances are, many or most will think "Who is this wanker telling me what I should think about OP?" or "Huh, I've met OP's mother, and I am not at all surprised that OP's relationship with her is strained."

Let him say what he will - you can't stop him anyway. And let your friends and relatives think of it what they will - you can't control that either. Just focus on remaining true to yourself, and doing what you feel is right for your family.

And definitely just ignore his email. It's the only thing to do (and, also, the best weapon against pompous arrogance: don't feed it with a reply)

FlouncingMintyy Thu 14-Feb-13 10:49:57

God what a sad situation.

Have you considered the possibility that you might be as toxic as your mother?

RambleOn Thu 14-Feb-13 11:02:01

Gosh. I'm going against the majority view here. How is your mother toxic exactly for buying her grandchild clothes? She's probably not wealthy either, having raised three kids as a single parent. Give her a break. You only have one mother.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 12:09:47

Thank you all so much for your replies. Most are making me smile, so thank you. I will reply more thoroughly later; toddler DS is keeping me busy right now and I had better dash off this reply before you all think I've disappeared.

Minty, does it sound like I am toxic? If so, in which ways?

Just a quick response about the gifts, I didn't return all of them, just ones that would have gone to waste. She hates waste! I really thought she'd like to regift them, and this was at a stage before things had become very strained anyway.
Ramble, she is perfectly comfortable, but I didn't say the buying of baby clothes was toxic, it's all the other stuff she does and says and is.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 12:11:58

Letter-writing brother was not in a relationship last I heard, but we have not kept in touch, so I don't know.
Younger bro has a girlfriend of a few months, so I learned on Fb, before he blocked me.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 14-Feb-13 12:12:51

OP - what does your DH think about the situation?

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 12:18:46

Viva, DH is sad that there is strife - his family are lovely and normal - he is not used to it. But he sees how my mother undermines me (us - they are his decisions too, but obviously she directed her comments at me) and saw how utterly demoralised she made me. He would like peace, but knows it's not going to happen with my family as they are. He is supportive of me.

Oopla Thu 14-Feb-13 12:19:26

It's so peculiar the choice of words he's used in his email. He uses 'shame' and 'embarrassment' more than once.

The silence will do his and her nut in I agree grin

OPGangnam as much as your fingers must be itching to fire back a response to your B - don't do it. You know that your brothers and mother are toxic and you are (sadly) better off without them. Therefore their opinions don't matter to you anymore. And and response from you or your DH will just mean they have a reason to come right back at you.

So ignore, ignore, ignore. And that goes for any communication from them in the future. Block their email addresses, change phone numbers, do anything you need to make them disappear (from your lives, that is). You already know that you don't want them in your lives, so hold your head high and move forward without them (or their opinions) smile

Sorry meant 'and any response....'

Pendipidy Thu 14-Feb-13 12:51:12

Maybe you should comment, if it is so bad to block a family member, and not have anything to do with them, then why brother, are you doing that to me?!

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 14-Feb-13 12:59:47

Shame and embarrassment are what narcissistic people fear above all else, Oogla.

pluCaChange Thu 14-Feb-13 13:41:24

Don't reply. He was posturing with that email: it could never have convinced a normal person, because he was more concerned with aggrandising himself and belittling you (notably before getting to the point) than his points. It wasn't, therefore, an argument (to persuade), but a rant.

As to the other intended audience of his email, do you think he could have bcc'd your mother, to prove "what he was doing" (it doesn't sound as though she's self aware enough to realise he was alienating you more than ever and diminishing his perspective in the eyes of everyone who read it).

I think she (mother) will see it at some point, or else there would be no point putting such an incriminating document in your hands.

Sounds as though he's scared and lost, and wants desperately to be pivotal... and it's a bit of a shame for him that he's just made himself into a jackass.

weegiemum Thu 14-Feb-13 13:49:49

OP, this is very reminiscent to me of the emails I and my dh received from my sister and my mother's husband (I do not dignify him with the title of stepfather, though he's been with my mum for almost 30 years) after I cut my toxic mother out.

All the "you were wrong", "you're evil", "you don't understaaaaaand!" and how I was "killing" her by not letting her see her grandchildren.

Well it was her who left dh and my oldest 2 in the lurch when I was air ambulanced out to a big hospital with dd2. It was her who told me not to bf, who criticised me for even letting my dh make folk a cup of tea (I'm not a step ford wife but she is). 2 years after I cut her off my Gran died (I'm so glad I was able to retain contact with Gran until then) and my own mother "blanked" me at the funeral.

I'm convinced her husband is a narcissist and she is his enabled.

Background: my mother left us unannounced the day after mothers day when I was 12, to live with my Dad's best friend, with whom she'd had a 3 year affair.

We got numerous emails and letters from my mother, sister, mothers husband. They stalked me online, threatening a website I posted on at the time with legal action to read my posts. They probably still do but I don't care anymore! I'm convinced she reported me to SS, it was an anonymous call (no problems found).

My only regret is for my wonderful Dad. His 2 daughters don't speak (through her choice, not mine) and so family gatherings are awkward.

Sorry to go on .....

Ignore, is my advice. He had no right to lecture your husband. He's playing big brother but you're all adults, so no one has that right! Look after your own wee family and sod them all!!

Whocansay Thu 14-Feb-13 13:51:38

I'd ignore the lot of them. They don't want to bring anything positive to your life, they just want to control you. They have no respect for your wishes or your boundaries, so I'd treat them with the contempt they deserve and block them.

Sailormercury Thu 14-Feb-13 13:55:14

I think you shouldn't respond to them in any way shape or form.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 14:07:23

Thank you all so very very much for all your replies, I appreciate them, they mean a lot, and I am feeling better. It is good for me to offload here, I feel better for talking.

A quick couple of answers, sorry for not namechecking.
No, I don't think he is likely to have children any time soon, last I knew, he was not in a relationship, but that could well have changed. I would love to know how he feels when he does have children, when he realises unwanted opinions are a drain on your emotions, and that his mother has no place dictating how he raises his child. I'd love to see a DIL stand for it! Though likely my mother would not be as bad to a DIL as she is to her own daughter. I mean, she doesn't say all her drivel to my husband, directly. And, there is a chance she will be slightly more restrained in her behaviour with future GC, seeing as how she has alienated herself from my DC.

No, none of us really saw that much of each other, we lead quite separate lives. Though my mother would love for everyone to think we were the closest family ever, that is the impression she will give.

Smellslikecatspee Thu 14-Feb-13 14:22:17

17 years ago I would have ripped 50 shades of shit out of him. And got legal advice on his threats to slander me.

However after 17 long long years of dealing with OHs toxic family I as have many others on this thread realised that toxic people like this don't care if the attention is good or bad its the attention they want/need, and the best thing you can do for you is ignore ignore ignore.

There is the added benefit that this will drive them up the wall. . . grin
'How very dare you not dance to their tune.
Don't you know how important I am?? Don't you?
Look at me have my tantrum, waaahhh waaahhh!'

I will say that 17 years ago I too would have though really how bad can she be, this is all a bit over the top isn't it?
Having been through it with OH's family, I know how depressing and demoralising it can all be, and how hard it can be for someone who hasn't been through to to understand.

We haven't gone no contact for many reasons, and when we do have to see the main stirrers I just smile and nod. They know by now that I will walk away if they start, and that OH will back me up to the hilt.

OP you and your DH just carry on as you are, remember you're doing the best for your DS keeping this toxicity away from him.

And I would guess that his more recent email is to check that your email is working. He seems to have assumed that your DH has either put you in your place!!! Or just not told you.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 14:32:51

catpee, thanks, you have put into words many of my thoughts. 'Nod and smile' is something I said I did on my previous post last year, and I did, I would usually nod and smile at my mother's nonsense, let it go over my head, and keep the peace. But now my child is here, I can't let him see me undermined all the time, nagged, criticised. This is just not the example of a healthy set of relationships I want him to grow up around. Sure, he needs to see people have different opinions and can still get along, and sure, I can even be wrong, but it was so constant, so wearing, so demoralising, so draining, so stressful. The stress was a big one, it felt so unhealthy for me.

So I do think people saying to cut ties is too much, just don't understand what it's like to be on the receiving end of it. I was used to her nagging, and her crazy ideas and wanting things her way, but I just realised I didn't want that for my child.

I wonder if DH will get another email! I mean, my bro is a man of action, apparently, and when I don't reply, what will his course of action be!

LtEve, your email especially made me chuckle. Yes, I am writing this from the asylum.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 14:42:22

monsterchild, your oily comment also made me smile. grin

oldwomaninashoe Thu 14-Feb-13 14:48:16

I would just send a short email in response,
"thank you for your recent email, the contents of which, are noted"

LtEveDallas Thu 14-Feb-13 14:55:27

LtEve, your email especially made me chuckle

That was my aim grin. I know you must be feeling hurt by all this, but for your own sake, and for that of your family I really think the best thing you could do would be to ignore it, let it go over your head and laugh at the pompous arse and his followers.

Now you aren't falling for it, now you aren't being the scapegoat for all the family ills, he may find that the attention is aimed at him...and won't that be a kick in the teeth.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 15:32:29

Thanks, LtEve, it was amusing! smile

I think completely ignoring the email is the best thing too.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 14-Feb-13 16:02:02

Just ignore it, it bothers them more because when you engage it gives them something to analyse and pick over.

I get Christmas cards and birthday cards off my parents, I ignore them. My mum likes to buy cards with hidden meaning so if I sent one back it would be examined for subtexts.

I'd change email addresses and mobile numbers too but that's just me.

Smellslikecatspee Thu 14-Feb-13 16:15:28

Hi again, I wasn't clear in what I was saying which I realise when I re-read.

Its fine for me to smile and nod because it really doesn't get to me any more. But I am an adult, with good support, we don't have children and I have made it clear that if we ever do they will not come within a million miles of these gits.

I wouldn't want a child to see anyone been treated in that way and as you say it is not the example of a healthy set of relationship, and you as his parents have the full and total right to make that choice.

I think 90% of why it doesn't get to me is that I grew up in a reasonably healthy family, so I know that they are wrong (if that makes sense) and exposure to my family has helped OH see how toxic they are. And by not exposing your son to it you will be giving him that same sense of self belief.

As I said we haven't gone non contact and the main reason is to keep in touch with the DN's, and show them that you can disagree with someone and still not only speak to them like a human but its totally fine for couples to have different opinions.
That it is not acceptable to over-ride others feelings and expect them to accept it.
That women should and will be respected as people in their own right and they have a voice and a mind and an opinion (big cultural clash).
That disagreeing with your husband/ father does not give a man the right to hit/kick/beat/ throw his wife/child out of the house etc.

Once all the DNs get to an age where they can maintain a relationship with us or not as they choose we plan to go no contact.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 17:15:57

Thanks, catpee, it's ok, I did see your first post as positive. smile

I hope your DNs are ok.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 17:17:30

Thanks, catpee, it's ok, I did see your first post as positive. smile

I hope your DNs are ok.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 19:19:31

plu, he could well have BCCed his email on to our mother. I would not put it past him, but I have no way of knowing, at this stage anyway.

He may well be scared. He used to disappear every single Christmas, as soon as he was independently mobile, to his best friend's house, which was always warmer and more fun than ours, I imagine. I am talking like from the age of 13 or so, he would escape our small dull Xmas to see his friend with his respective family. I imagine now that friend is married, with a new baby, he isn't as welcome, so he is stuck back with his mother, brother and sister. Obviously I'm out of the picture now, and last xmas, younger bro buggered off to Asia with his new gf, so letter-writing bro was stuck at mothers with just her.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Thu 14-Feb-13 19:33:51

Regarding x-mas email - I see this as your brother venting an enormous amount of hatred on to you. Is he very jealous of you? TBH he sounds a bit unbalanced and very embittered for such a young man.

Re: today's email. If you decide that you do want to retain contact with your family, you could always carry on as normal and pretend your internet was down over x-mas etc.

However, if you can't see a way forward from his disgusting behaviour (and I for one don't know if I could), then I would not engage at all. But you must be very certain about this course of action.

Good Luck!

JuliaSqueezer Thu 14-Feb-13 19:45:37

Your brother might be correct, you might be the naughty one for not bowing down to his/ your mother's wishes, you could very well be the black sheep of the family and to blame for every single argument that ever existed...but even if all that was true it doesn't mean that you have to justify yourself or your behaviour to them. You are an adult and as such should have the right to contact/ not contact whoever you want. Your choice, not theirs.

pluCaChange Thu 14-Feb-13 19:50:26

He's definitelt trapped, then... So no "sense" out of him fir ages.

Unless you think he might be disarmed by a sympatheric response to him about the pressure he must feel under, to compose such a shitty email and defend her? If you do do this, take great, great care not to sound patronising, as that's how he alienated you, in his agenda-driven, insincere message.

LineRunner Thu 14-Feb-13 19:56:51

Yeah, I think your brother did this to get your mother off his back.

Ignore them.

He is trying to make himself feel better by shoving you around. I would be prepared to bet that he had you earmarked as the person who would care your mum in her old age and is now scared he might have to do it.

I stopped contact with my parents a couple of years ago. Eventually my brother phoned my dh and ranted at him in similar fashion. He also said there was no point in talking to me because I'm too pigheaded and unreasonable etc etc - all the characteristics that my parents decided I had when I was a baby and have stuck on me ever since. Dh listened for a long time, going "mmm" and "I don't have anything to say to that" and generally not reacting at all, and eventually my brother ran out of steam - and dh said "bye". Haven't heard from bro since.

I also wondered whether cutting contact was over the top - but it is so wonderful, like a ton of bricks has been lifted. And the more I'm away from them, the more I realise that it is better for my children not to have a relationship with my parents. I'm not denying my children something, I'm giving them something.

I have an email filter set up to delete all emails from my ex-family that don't contain the word "sorry" grin. They don't phone. They send cards but they go straight in the bin - if they have a dramatic change of heart they won't tell me about in a birthday card to my children.

Are your mum and brother focusing on the fact that they don't get to see your son (who is a piece of property that they have rights to)? Or have either of them said " you are a wonderful lovely person and we love you so much and we miss you?"

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 20:14:06

Cool, there are things he could be jealous of, but he chose his lifestyle and scoffed at mine. So whilst possibly jealous, he probably also thinks I am a dork, and dull. I scrimped and saved in my mid-20s to get a deposit for a house, saw my mortgage costs reduce and reduce as I chipped away at it, whereas he is still renting at 36, and has debts, whereas I have none. I'm a save for a rainy day type, he's a spend while you're young type (as is my other brother). So whilst I still went out and had fun, I'd go to parties and not drink, I'd mostly do dinner parties with friends rather than fancy restaurants, I'd happily trawl through TKMaxx for clothes, I didn't get a car, they both would drink loads, dine out loads and get takeaways, buy designer clothes at swanky shops, and buy fancy cars. Both of them went to private school (on scholarships due to mother's single low income) so had pressure to keep up with all the rich boys, I think. I've never cared how I compare financially to anyone else.
And I have a wonderful spouse, and a delightful child, so I expect he is jealous of that.

plu, I don't feel it's really worth fixing anything after that utterly despicable, vile obnoxious email to my husband, going behind my back, just abhorrent.

Julia, you are so right.

Ignore. Ignore, ignore, ignore! Nothing will bother them more than a complete lack of response.

He's an absolute twat. Who writes like that?!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OPGangnamStyle Thu 14-Feb-13 21:00:44

Oh, re the possible jealousy angle, I forgot. I graduated with a degree too, with a good grade.

Bertha (lovely Bertha), that is exactly how I feel, like a weight has been lifted. Really, it's lightening. I feel happier.
And yes, they are all about wanting a part in DS's life, how much he'll miss out on having a grandma and his uncles. I, like you, feel like I am not denying him anything good, just creating a sweet, peaceful, happy life for him and us. Bliss.

DS has a wonderful granny in MIL.

You also might be on to something, I would have been the automatic person for doing the primary caring for my mother in her old age.

It's quite some writing, isn't it, walter!

Geeze, Lunatic, there are yet more like my bro out there?! It's a worry! smile

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pluCaChange Fri 15-Feb-13 12:48:23

I have an email filter set up to delete all emails from my ex-family that don't contain the word "sorry"


I don't feel it's really worth fixing anything after that utterly despicable, vile obnoxious email to my husband, going behind my back, just abhorrent.

Absolutely up to you. He sounds like a knob to us, but by the same token, sometimes it's hard to tell other people a story like this and have them completely condemn someone you then find you have a little sympathy for. Not the case in your situation, obviously, but it is all right to have mixed feelings about family who are twats! smile

MadBusLady Fri 15-Feb-13 13:59:36

Sorry if this has been covered, but the first thing that leapt out was "Your mother favoured the boys, didn't she".

Even if he can't agree with your decision about going no-contact, that is a truly poisonous email, sexist, unreasonable, patronising, arrogant, just all-round vile. What on earth can you do with someone who thinks like that??

MadBusLady Fri 15-Feb-13 14:02:11

As to your question of should you reply to the recent breezy email - if you think it's just going to lead straight on to "So what about the email I sent Harry" then clearly, no! Is there any chance (I am bending over backwards here) this is his attempt at a prelude to an apology?

diddl Fri 15-Feb-13 14:38:51

Well he´s a chip off the old block, isn´t he??

Don´t reply.

Surely if you do he´ll think that you´ve taken on board, & agreed with the email he sent to your husband?

And no hint of an apology for what he wrote?-

Ignore, ignore, ignore!

"She said no, she could say what she liked, regardless of my feelings"-er, no-even children know that that´s not OK.

diddl Fri 15-Feb-13 14:40:15

Forgot to ask-is your mum old/ill?

newgirl Fri 15-Feb-13 14:44:49

jeez - he hasn't actually offered to do anything kind and helpful - hes just telling you all off!

poor you sad

If brother had any point in all that,he has lost it with his ranting.

slug Fri 15-Feb-13 15:28:05

I read the email and all I could picture was a Victorian scene of a young chap, recently elevated to the head of the family status, having a strained hearty 'chat' with the BIL about keeping the filly in line. "Mater's very upset you know" that kind of thing. Along with an awkward manly pat on the back and a bit of pacing with hands behind the back.

<<have obviously read far too much P.G. Wodehouse>>

PostHocErgoPropterHoc Fri 15-Feb-13 15:42:47

This has made fascinating reading OP. I've recently gone no contact with my mother, for pretty much the exact same reasons as you give, and while none of my siblings are quite such massive knobs as your brother, they are all definitely of the opinion that I am wrong. None of them have shown the slightest bit of interest in finding out what has led me to take this drastic step, they just know I'm wrong, our mother is upset, and it's my job to make everything right again.

I also have the only grandchildren in the family, and as a result have had a much more intense (I wouldn't say close...) relationship with her than any of the others in recent years. They don't understand, and I don't think they will until they have children. You can take the criticism and negativity and judging for yourself as you've lived with it forever, but when you see it being aimed at your children it's suddenly obvious how damaging it is.

NigellaTufnel Fri 15-Feb-13 15:46:06

Reply to everyone with the text of the email cut and pasted in.

With the heading : Hi!? I presume you're joking? You've insulted me and described me in the most horrendous terms to my husband.
Do you think there are no repercussions, or do you want to come round and sort me out.

Come back when you have kids

LineRunner Fri 15-Feb-13 15:59:17

PostHoc I went no contact with my mother for various reasons but a massive one was that she and the brothers were - for want of a better term - ganging up on my sister, and I had to either collude or reject.

Now all of brothers have the mater for all of the holidays and indeed all of her future life, and good luck to them and their marriages with that one.

OPGangnamStyle Fri 15-Feb-13 18:08:35

So what happened, Lunatic, did SIL end up doing the caring?

I mostly don't think about it either, and feel calm and peaceful.

Thanks, plu. No real mixed feelings. I do pity him, he sounds so clueless, lacking in empathy, kindness, understanding.

MadBus, I am not sure about that, I haven't really though that she favoured her sons. If anything, I turned out more how she would have hoped, re my independence and financial savvyness. Both sons ran up huge debts, merely living above their means, and she was devastated about that. I am also the only one who has a degree, even though she invested so much effort in getting us all a good education. What in my messages (or his!) lead you to think this? I will ponder it some more.
I don't think his breezy email is an attempt to apologise. I don't know. I shall keep you posted if an apology is forthcoming! smile

Going to hit send and then reply to the other points later, toddler is about, and I don't want to lose this post.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

The thing is, people like your mother don't tend to change. Your brothers are either cut from the same cloth or have been brainwashed to the point that they're probably never going to change either.

You have a good life now. A supportive DH, a lovely child and friends/family that are normal and well-adjusted.

I just don't think this is a can of worms you need to open.

If you've made your peace with no contact then stick with it. Don't get sucked in to conversations about it because that's just feeding it.

If your brothers can't have a relationship with you without your DM being involved in some way then that's unfortunate but no great loss IMO.

You've done well. It's a bloody hard thing to do, cut out a parent. If he didn't have the sensitivity of a spatula, he could perhaps try to comprehend this.

MadBusLady Fri 15-Feb-13 18:22:00

It was really just the way he sides so utterly and determinedly with her. "Opal is 100% wrong". It's such an extreme, and daft, thing to say.

Though now I think about it, it could just as easily come out of his fear of her and desire to please her, as being favoured. Ie he has disappointed her in other ways but he can still be "better" than you at siding with her in a fight!

OPGangnamStyle Fri 15-Feb-13 18:28:58

diddl, yes! It's a miracle I've turned out as well as I have! grin
And yes, exactly. It was that which spurred me to be firmer about what we wouldn't tolerate, when DS was becoming more aware of his world, I don't want him learning that we can't expect to have our boundaries respected, nor should we put up with bad behaviour in relationships.
My mother is late sixties, in decent health last I knew, but that was over a year ago.

Thanks, newgirl. Yes, nothing helpful or constructive at all. He hopes to shame me into having a relationship with our mother??? Who on earth thinks that could possibly work! And what does he think, as a man of action, he can actually DO?! Drag me along to our mother's house by force?

slug grin He is a bit like that!

PostHoc, well, your siblings have time! It took my brother a while to work up to this rage! I am sorry you are going through it too, but I firmly believe we are doing the best thing for our children. Best of luck to you. And as someone said on my first thread, be ready for the fallout.

Nige, I would LOVE to know how he feels once he has children, and our mother does the same to him and his partner. That's if he ever finds someone to put up with him in the first place!
As LineRunner says, "good luck to them and their marriages with that one!".

TheArmadillo Fri 15-Feb-13 18:38:42

Wow I didn't realise that other people had got these letters.

Mine was sent to my PIL essentially telling them that not only was by behaviour unjustified but there was no possible situation in which it would be justified and that my PIL needed to put me back in control/get me to behave to order.

Like your brother, the relative has never contacted me directly, which I think says a lot. Also they only want me and ds, not dd and dh hmm Took them over 3 years to send it as well.

Don't respond, I know it can be tempting, but it only opens up a line of communication for them to keep up the abuse through.

diddl Fri 15-Feb-13 19:42:14

I wonder if the "breezy" email is to try to drag you back in as she is now equally dependant on them for a relationship rather than the three way split iyswim.

OPGangnamStyle Fri 15-Feb-13 19:55:42

Gosh, Armadillo, that's outrageous! To your PIL!!! That's worse, I think, than sending a letter to one's spouse. You've just reminded me! My cousin, who's estranged from her mother, our uncle sent a letter to her PIL, telling them what a bitch she is! She is sooooo lovely, merely doesn't want anything to do with her toxic mother! Sheesh!

diddl, possibly. I shall wait and see if we get any more emails!

I won't reply, but I was tempted to just reply to the email to my husband: Did you mean to sound so rude?! grin

TheArmadillo Fri 15-Feb-13 21:13:21

Luckily for me my PIL are awesome.

It's another one of those things that I didn't realise followed the abusers handbook, until I saw others got them. It's weird how they all follow a particular pattern.

I was brought up pressurised to keep everything secret and not share anything with anyone bar my immediate family, so you don't realise what they are doing and are all kept from seeing others going through the same.

Threads like this really help even at this stage where I've mostly come to terms with it. The growing awareness of their being others in the same position- that it's not me, though obviously it would be nicer if no one had to go through it.

I think breaking the silence/secrecy that abusive families rely on is a necessary and important stage. It's fantastic that you have the support of your dh, friend and cousin. I know without my dh, in-laws, and friends, I never would have escaped. Without the support and advice I got on here I would never have realised that what was happening wasn't my fault and that there was a way out.

OPGangnamStyle Fri 15-Feb-13 21:28:25

So are my cousin's PIL, who luckily adore her, and see how happy she makes their son, how great the children are, so they just ignored our uncle's crazy letter!
I am now wondering if my PIL have received a letter! Not sure if my brother would know how to get hold of them though, so hopefully not!

I was also brought up to keep everything secret, not tell anyone anything whatsoever about the family! My mother is very secretive, there is so much I don't know about her heritage or her parents and siblings. She just will not say.

I am so glad you are feeling well-supported.

ihadonetoo Sat 16-Feb-13 19:12:10

Mine sends her letters to my blood relatives who are her ex-ILs.

She was unfaithful to my father, divorced him - even annulling the marriage - and still expects his family to run round being her little enforcers.

Unfortunately as she is Very Charming and Bravely Tearful, and they're upright, trusting and generous, they sometimes swallow the lure.

Astelia Sat 16-Feb-13 21:18:44

My jaw hit the ground reading what your brother wrote OP. I agree with everything already said- if he had any point at all it was completely destroyed by his pompous, patronising and deeply unpleasant email. Sending it to your DH was unbelievable behaviour.

However I think your DB does need to be called on this, ignoring the emails will leave him thinking he is in the right. I think your DH should phone him and tell him his emails were vile and not to contact your family again.

Angelico Sat 16-Feb-13 23:14:27

There is something particularly low about sending a message to your spouse. I posted a while back about my mum doing this during a row. I have never seen my DH so angry - he is very mild mannered in the usual course of things.

After a couple of low contact weeks things returned to 'normal' but only because I warned my mum that when we next met I would not be discussing what had happened full stop as we would never agree. I think in her case there are a few narc tendencies combined with menopausal madness and I wouldn't describe her as toxic - but she went way too far and think she realised this herself.

Anyway sorry OP - this just made me think! In my case I love my mum and want her in my life, I would be very sad without her. But if your life is better without your mum in it that probably tells you everything you need to know.

OPGangnamStyle Sat 16-Feb-13 23:47:50

ihadonetoo, letters plural! Geeze! I hope your GPs know what she is about.

It's so pompous, isn't it! Astelia, I don't know about contacting him/having DH contact him. Mostly I feel he isn't even worth the effort. I don't think he'll feel he's in the right, in the long run, especially when no result is forthcoming. I am hoping he HAS spoken with someone outside of the family, and that they have put him straight. Because bottom line, whatever his course of action is, no one can force anyone else to have a relationship with someone else if they don't want to. Bullying me into relenting isn't going to produce a pleasant relationship if I'm there against my will. I can't believe with all his study of psychology he doesn't know this!

Thanks, Angelico, I agree. But it seems it is not uncommon a tactic! I am glad you are able to work things out with your mother. Mine, I feel, has lost me. I cannot believe someone could be so stubborn to prefer being able to speak their mind incessantly/nag her daughter/trample on my feelings, to being respectful of our simple wishes and enjoy a lovely, easy relationship with me and my child instead.

ihadonetoo Sun 17-Feb-13 19:23:21

Sadly, mine is rather more skilful than your amusingly preposterous brother, OP (oh dear, he's erm, not very impressive, is he?grin). Mine's more along the lines of, "I'm dreadfully upset, ihad's been horrid to me. But it's a cross I have to bear. It's such a shame she's like this."

Which of course winds my nice aunts and uncles up like little clockwork toys to try to "fix" everything. <sigh>

And for years, bizarrely, I have responded to this by saying, "She's not really quite as you think," BUT STILL KEEPING SCHTUMM ABOUT DETAILS! The secret-keeping is so ingrained I've carried on with it, feeling like a naughty 12 year old who'll be told off! Arrrgh.

MN is changing all this, and has helped me cut contact with her. I don't post much about her (hard to talk about) but reading threads like this helps soooo much. thanks

Sorry to you, and everyone else, also going through it.

ihadonetoo Sun 17-Feb-13 19:38:15

Sorry for using your thread to dump on, OP.

zookeeper Sun 17-Feb-13 19:49:37

I'm not sure what to think; you sound as bad as each other. Returning the presents was wrong, and your excuse that your mother doesn't like waste is not very credible

OPGangnamStyle Sun 17-Feb-13 21:15:34

Dump away, ihad. It is helpful to me too, to know I am not alone. Both with the crazy letter-writing, and the secret nonsense. That especially. I really struggled with that one growing up.

Your mother does indeed sound more cunning. I am sorry your aunts and uncles aren't seeing through it. That style is far more my mother, if she were to write anyone a letter, it would be like your mother's. But I don't think she has, or will. She likes her secrets too much.
thanks I hope you are doing ok.

zoo, I take that on board. But it IS something that my mother does herself, within our immediate family, and it was not an act of spite or aggression on my part. The gifts were genuinely useless to me, in that my son was never going to be able to wear them, and I really thought she'd prefer to regift them than see them go to waste. I have never returned anyone else's gifts tbh, none have been so inappropriate, but felt that between family, it was ok. And this was before things were strained.

OPGangnamStyle Sat 16-Mar-13 23:24:37


I have enjoyed a lovely peaceful month since I last wrote. I blocked the obnoxious letter-writing brother on Fb, and just got on with enjoying my husband and son.

Yesterday, obnoxious letter-writing brother sent my husband this email. I would value some advice re whether we continue to ignore ignore ignore, or write one final email, and if the latter, what, exactly, should we say, and do you think I should reply, or my husband! Thanks.

His latest missive:


Hi Harry,

Seeing as I've now been blocked and barred by my own sister on FB for no reason, and she's ignored my non confrontational email to her from weeks back, I'll assume (as suspected) the plan of leaving stuff be, and letting it all work itself out hasn't worked.

I do not know what goes on in her head, but you'll have no extended rant from me this time. For the record- I think it is an absolute disgrace.Genuinely pathetic.

Just so I'm clear and up to date on this bizarre 'family' of mine- can you let me know for sure if we're all dead to her now for good?

It would just be nice to know where I stand. For the record, I will not go out of my way to blacken her name with any of our mutual acquaintances (there are many) but at the same time I won't cover up her behaviour and defend the indefensible. If people ask me about my nephew or her, as often they do. I will tell the truth. Nothing more. Nothing less.

If we are now (as I now strongly suspect) dead to you, then it would be nice if someone would have the courtesy to let me know.

If I hear nothing then I guess that will answer my question.

Peace out Harry- you're a decent guy and I wish you well.


Hissy Sat 16-Mar-13 23:41:06

I'm in two minds....

First thought is to email him and tell him to fuck the fuck off and how dare he email your H, to try to get him to get you to 'see sense' angry.

but then, A REACTION is what the sad little wanker wants. he wants that closure so that he can blame you liberally and with the evidence to hand. he wants a reaction from you so that he can show it to others, and destroy your image. Don't give him that satisfaction. don't give him the ammunition he will use against you.

the thing is, those that love you and know you will know where you are and how to contact you. If they want to know how your DC are, they will ask you.

If he is asked, he can say nothing, and tbh, who cares what he says.

He is utterly deluded.

Maybe one day he will see the truth and feel shame and embarrassment, maybe he won't.

The fact that you have enjoyed being without this person in your life, have enjoyed the peace and calm that getting shot of him has granted you, then tbh, that is enough of an answer for anyone.

I would say to your DH that if the emails bother him in anyway, then he can feel free to delete them without telling you, and if he wants to block or filter that is totally his call.

OPGangnamStyle Sun 17-Mar-13 00:04:19

Thanks so much for your reply, Hissy. Many good points.
You are absolutely right that our mutual friends can indeed ask me directly how I am, and how DS is! What is he on! smile

I would be interested to know if he ever does realise one day what an idiot he has been over this. I will probably never find out. I can't imagine myself ever wanting to build bridges with him even if he does apologise and have an epiphany, he's been so utterly vile.

And yes, I feel so much freer since cutting them all out. I have people in my life who enhance my life, not sap my strength and happiness.

He writes so obnoxiously, doesn't he!

EldritchCleavage Sun 17-Mar-13 01:06:46

Agree with Hissy.

My reaction to the letter you originally posted about was that there was a lot of projection going on. It seemed possible that repressed anger at your mother (what he said about you chimed with your description of her, and I remember your other thread) was being redirected at you, a much safer target. That, plus some jealousy at the way you've found the strength to go your own way and declare what you will and will not put up with.

There's nothing to be gained by any kind of response.

LineRunner Sun 17-Mar-13 01:16:47

The only possible response I can think of to that latest effort is, 'Go away, Brian, and grow up. Harry.' Otherwise, as advised, silence.

i would ignore. by responding, you are letting him know that he can get you to respond by sending a few emails, and he will never stop trying to contact you in some way.

he sounds like a big headed arse! you're better off without all of them

KeatsiePie Sun 17-Mar-13 01:42:52

I remember the first email! I remember laughing in shock at it. Can't believe your brother is back with another one, though I guess it's not surprising.

I think this "For the record, I will not go out of my way to blacken her name with any of our mutual acquaintances (there are many)" is very telling. "There are many" makes the statement come across as a threat.

And this "I'll assume (as suspected) the plan of leaving stuff be, and letting it all work itself out hasn't worked." -- what the heck? How was that his plan? That wasn't his plan. He just made that up just now!

I don't have experience of toxic families so am hesitant to offer advice. I guess based on the first round of this the best thing is to just not reply? If I were your DH I would be tempted to just write back and say "Opal and I are united in our decision to distance ourselves from her/your mother. We won't be discussing the decision with you or other family members. All best to you, and do look us up if you're ever out this way." Just to close the chapter. But I supposed with toxic family dynamics that would not actually close the chapter?

OPGangnamStyle Sun 17-Mar-13 01:45:27

Thank you, Eldritch and LineRunner.
Very good memory to remember my first thread, *Eldritch'!
I will have a bit of a think about the projection idea (but not give him/it too much of my precious time and headspace). I am just baffled he's gone so apoplectic with rage, when he knows exactly what our mother is like. I'm also shock that he thinks I blocked him from my Fb 'for no reason'. Is he so dim as to think that I wouldn't see that first email to my husband, and work out that possibly this was my reason for blocking him? Does he think that obnoxious email would warrant no repercussions? I think he's a bit emotionally stunted. Or something.

OPGangnamStyle Sun 17-Mar-13 01:53:56

Thank you, DavidT and Keatsie. Ok, it's looking like an overwhelming ignore ignore ignore vote. Apart from your last line KP, about looking us up if he's ever over our way! Er, no thanks!
It does sound like a threat, like he's lining up all our mutual friends and will tell them 'the truth'. And oh, how grateful I am he's not now going to blacken my name after all! His first email said he'd ring up my friend and our cousins and tell them all about how horrible I am bring to our mother. Hm, wonder what happened to that!

KeatsiePie Sun 17-Mar-13 02:09:16

I really do love the threat thing. It's like "Now Harry, of COURSE I'm not going to go out of my WAY to tell anyone that Opal is a psychotic bitch, but if they happen to ask how our relationship is ... or ask how she's doing ... or ask how I'm doing ... or mention my mother ... or mention their own sister or mother or anyone else's sister or mother ... or even look like they might be thinking of their sister or mother ... or if a woman who looks like a sister or mother walks by while we're talking ... well, in THAT case my back would be against the wall and I would HAVE to tell them EVERYTHING."

OPGangnamStyle Sun 17-Mar-13 02:10:50

grin grin grin

SergeantSnarky Sun 17-Mar-13 02:23:38

Another vote for ignore

Opposite of love is indifference and that has more of an effect on people than any kind of reaction your side.

He sounds like an attention-seeking control freak and it remains audacious how he slags you off to your own husband.

So just ignore entirely - as he says himself if he hears nothing that will indeed answer his question (controlfreakery)

Enjoy your husband and kids.

OPGangnamStyle Sun 17-Mar-13 02:31:38

Sergeant, that's so true, about slagging me off to my husband. So out of order. And to put my husband in the position he did.
I will enjoy my lovely husband and beautiful little boy. Thank you!

If I didn't know better I'd think that was written by a rather immature 12 year old in a strop. Although I'm also imagining a fat purple-faced middle-aged Victorian with dented pride and a frustrated power-complex. You know in books when they say someone is "apoplectic"? Or maybe Mr Dursley. Does your brother look like Mr Dursley? grin

Definitely ignore. Any reply at all will just fuel the next ridiculous attack. Ignoring him will send the best message - i.e. 'you are not worth a second of our time'.

I wouldn't worry about him "blackening your name". Let him get on with that - give em enough rope! Anyone worth knowing will listen to him and think "what an idiot, poor Opal".

Would your husband be willing to block emails from him too? I really don't think you need periodic emails from your brother. Not until you're able to look at them and laugh.

Have you got some good real-life friends you could show the emails to, btw? Because their reaction will be shock/horror/outrage for you/helpless laughter at him, and I think it might really help you to see that.

I do think you should print out and keep all the emails though, just in case they're ever useful in the future - when family members are ever denying that things were said.

LittleBairn Sun 17-Mar-13 09:09:48

non confrontational email wtf is he out of his mind, that was one of the most confrontational meals I've ever read! I plying you have mental health problems, are a disgrace and embarrassment and a bad mother.

Personally my vote is for No reply, it will drive him absolutely mad. grin

I cut a large portion of my family out for toxic behaviour, is been 5 years, it has been the best decision I ever made the relief is immense.
Personally of you are happy to cut them out permantly then you need to make the decision, draw a line under it all and move on.
Change phone numbers, emails addresses and block on Facebook.

Whocansay Sun 17-Mar-13 09:22:24

I don't think it needs saying now, but I'm another one for ignoring it. What a totally pompous moron he is. He has zero self awareness. Cut them all out.

I love the threat about blackening your name! If he does start slagging you off to general acquaintance, start forwarding his lovely emails to people. And point out that they were sent to your husband. They're all the defence you'll ever need.

I'm sorry your share genes with such a twat. flowers

Hissy Sun 17-Mar-13 09:35:25

H is no in a no-win, especially if he actually replies to the prick.

If he replies to placate, he sides against his (mumsnetting) wife. Never a good idea.

If he replies to tell the twat to FTFO, it'll be a reply that is hawked around the entire family to show what a rotter and meanie he is, and how Gangnam is a total bitch, and has him under her thumb.

So the only answer, as far as I can see, really is NO answer.

That in itself, by being put in that position in the first place isn't ideal either as he's still been involved.

Arithmeticulous Sun 17-Mar-13 11:32:12

No answer, no acknowledgement will leave your brother really perplexed. After all, he is clearly right. How come your husband cant see it? Surely he can't agree with you, his wife... no, no that just won't do

kalidanger Sun 17-Mar-13 11:50:24

OP, I read page 1 then skipped to this page and agree with everyone saying 'ignore!' Especially arthritic he'll be so bemused you aren't falling into line.

Some thanks for you, for your troubles and your sense of humour grin

Have received similar crap directed to my salt of the earth DH from his mad as a box of cut snakes narc of a brother.

Ignore, do not get pulled in. They don't like it because you are no longer playing their mind games. Brian is also a narcissist to my mind, he is Mothers current favourite.

Would also suggest you read "Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers".

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleBairn Sun 17-Mar-13 15:30:37

Bloody hell mummynosleep have you considered taking legal action against her that's clearly harassment? At the very least I would move and cut contact with everyone she knew, she sounds unhinged.

WinkyWinkola Sun 17-Mar-13 17:36:51

Holy cow mummynosleep. I think I would have had a nervous breakdown if my mil did what yours has and is.

I think you've collected plenty of evidence to take to the police. This is harassment and even stalking.

You need to stop the woman from doing more evil stuff.

I'm staggered.

OPGangnamStyle Sun 17-Mar-13 18:15:16

Thank you everyone for your input.

Hello again, Bertha. My father actually does look like Mr.Dursley!!! But my brother is wiry rather than robust.
I can already scoff at his crazy emails, scoff and pity him. They don't really get to me, as I know I am doing the right thing for my child and family (DH, DS, me), and that my brother is quite clueless about it all. Though he absolutely does know what our mother is like, the nagging and criticism, he's been on the receiving end of it plenty. I hope if he has his own children, he will protect them. Or his partner will!
I am not sure I need to show RL friends his emails. I do feel pity for him, and don't wish to embarrass him. Plus, I have always kept personal things private. Well, apart from on here!

LittleBairn, he means the non-confrontational email he sent me, the bright and breezy one, all innocent, as if he'd never sent that disgusting one to my husband only weeks previously. Crazy fool, like I wasn't going to be aware of that other email. I am glad you feel better for cutting out your family. Relief, like you said, that is how I feel. Far more relief/freeing/lightness, rather than sadness and anger. I mean, it is sad I don't have any siblings that I have a relationship with, but hey, we can't choose our family.

whocansay, thanks. Well, if I do hear back from anyone else that he's been slating me, maybe I'll show them this thread!

Ha, Hissy, quite! Never get of the wrong side of a might MNer! smile

I know, arithmeticulous! Luckily, my husband utterly adores and supports me.

kali, I don't blame you for not reading it all! smile It is rather long! But thank you for your vote for no contact.

Hi again, Attila. You were on my first thread about my mother, a year ago, and I appreciate your wise words again! And knowing there is yet another letter-writing crazy out there!!! Where do they all come from?!
I have read the list re identifying a narc mother. I am not sure mine fits, but it's difficult to know certain criteria well enough.

mummynosleep, oh my! Your MIL is awful! I think you have a clear case for getting a restraining order in her! Or can you emigrate?

OPGangnamStyle Sun 17-Mar-13 18:46:35

*mighty MNer...

Miggsie Sun 17-Mar-13 18:52:54

Ignore the email - going behind your back and using someone near you to put pressure on is classic tactics by bullies.

Ignore all missives from all of them - they are mad and twisted and you can now spend time looking for people who actually like you.

WafflyVersatile Sun 17-Mar-13 19:18:11

The brother is not a very good psychologist is he? He's not much of a salesman either.

I'll go read the rest now. blush

cuillereasoupe Sun 17-Mar-13 21:39:19

I agree with the few people upthread who've questioned your sending gifts back. That seems unnecessarily antagonistic to me, especially if you don't do it with anyone else, and if you can't see that (as you've indicated is the case), then I'm afraid I do wonder how reliable your account of your relationship with your mother is.

OPGangnamStyle Sun 17-Mar-13 23:24:33

Thanks, Miggsie, I feel well-surrounded by nice friendly people who enhance my life.
Waffly (love your name!), quite! Well, he's not a psychologist at all, certainly not one with qualifications anyway.

cuil, this was done at a time when things were civil. My mother has long tried to give back gifts my bros and I have given her, she is a big fan of not wasting money, and if she isn't going to use something, she'd rather it went to someone who would use it. I absolutely appreciate it's not the done thing elsewhere, but within my family, there was never any malice behind it, just honesty. Also, it is not as if I returned every gift she gave my son, only the really useless ones like winter clothes given in summer, and vice versa, when by the time the right season comes around wouldn't have fitted my baby. Oh, and the baby shoes, when I had specifically said I wouldn't be bothering with shoes until he was walking. Actually, that specific instance was antagonistic of HER, as I had actually said I thought shoes on babies were not a good idea as I'd read it was best for baby feet development to be barefoot for as long as possible, and that that's what we would be doing with DS. It was like she thought she knew best, and would overule our decisions. There's another example of when we'd said we specifically didn't want a particular baby item, and she turned up with one anyway.
At this stage, things were ok between us, and I thought it was prudent to nip it in the bud, save her wasting any more money on things we wouldn't use. She even used to say she's kept the recipts, so that tells me she is happy to have items returned if they are not suitable.

tallpoppies Mon 18-Mar-13 15:14:49

I have reported your thread as you have mentioned your dh's name and you stated you didn't want to go into detail as mil might see! My apologies if you wanted his name to be in the message x

threedeepbreathscounttoten Thu 09-May-13 20:55:07

Hi. I don't usually log into chatboards and such, but I just had to say thank you for this conversation. I chose to stop contact with my entire family, extended as well, because of my toxic mother. All the fallout of dealing with extended family siding with my manipulative mother and siblings was just too much. I have questioned a lot over the last five years if that was necessary and your experiences tell me it indeed was. I did have similar experiences with my brother and my uncle contacting my husband at his workplace during the first year. My alcoholic brother even went so far as to leave a message that my grandmother was dying and I would not contact them with my husband's co-workers in attempt to emotionally assault me and my family. My mother had my address, cell number, email address and clear instructions that I only wanted letters from her at this point as I needed time to prepare how I responded to her consistently harmful comments. In fact the only letter she ever sent, after uncle was told she had this pathway to me - she had told him otherwise, was essentially a great big "I don't know what your problem is and I'm sorry you feel that way." I think she would implode if she didn't have the illusion she's manipulating the opinion of extended family against me, and some of them are stupid enough to fall for it and, often inadvertently, will carry out her emotional abuse for her. It's easier and emotionally safer to stay away from the whole mess. My sister is a teacher and has looked up where my child is in the school system which is illegal but can easily be done "accidentally". She made sure I knew this shortly before I put my foot down. I am not certain if she has unofficially contacted the staff, but would not put it past her. She is just as abusive as mother, maybe more so with my mother's sister influencing her. That one is just evil. Geez I could go on, but this is way longer than I intended. I just was so relieved to see how many others here had gone through such similar experiences. Even the negative comments clearly illustrate how utterly stupid some people are about how harmful the actions of toxic family are, and how they further the abuse by attempting to slam the victims around. Reading this conversation has helped me so much, thank you for sharing.

OPGangnamStyle Fri 10-May-13 17:44:13

Hi, three. Sorry you have gone through this too. Hugs to you, flowers.
I hope you feel at peace. I do. I feel sorry for my mother, sorry she is missing out on such a joyful time, missing out on seeing my little boy grow up. But I feel SO much better for not being criticised and nagged, and happy I am saving my child from the same. And really, the other members of the family, well, no great loss if that's how they behave. Wishing you very well, it's hard, but evidently not that uncommon.

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