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To consider cutting off my mother?

(37 Posts)
NikkiPlum Fri 12-Dec-14 11:16:05

OK, it sounds harsh but my mum and dad split up when I was 4, and though I was closer to my dad, my brother and I had to stay with my mum (it was the early 80s, just the way it was).

She re-married when I was 6 (nice enough guy, my dad's best friend) and had a daughter. My mum and I did not get on (chalk and cheese and very much favoured my brother and sister) and when my dad remarried when I was 11, my brother and I chose to go and live with him.

While my dad was the absent parent, he made sure that he saw us WITHOUT FAIL every other weekend, even driving 4 hours with a broken arm one weekend. He called and constantly showed he cared.

When my mum was the absent parent, she didn't come to visit us once in the next 7 years. She called once every few months and occasionally sent emotionally abusive letters in which she'd state that her 'priest' (she's not remotely religious) told her that losing us was worse for her than if we'd died because we'd chosen to die'. I was 12.

As an adult we have sporadic contact, but every time we do she piles on the guilt and adds snide little digs constantly to everything she does. She's also incredibly tight with money and doesn't now 'do' presents for us and only minimal tokens for my kids, who she barely knows. Last time we went to visit for a few days I had to take sedatives to stop myself getting wound up by her. We offered to have them to stay last Christmas but she said that 'since your brother's not available over Christmas there's not really any point, is there?'

I would prefer to cut the toxic witch woman out of my life entirely as contact with her only upsets me and stresses me out. My DH insists that this is setting a bad example to our kids but I don't want them growing up seeing some woman be mean to their mum! Am I being unreasonable?

SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Fri 12-Dec-14 11:20:24

You poor thing, YAKNBU. Your DH is wrong, it sends a far worse example to let your DCs witness you being treated unlovingly by your own mother. Cut the ties.

SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Fri 12-Dec-14 11:20:59

Sorry, YADNBU, not YAKNBU.

HellKitty Fri 12-Dec-14 11:22:39

Agree. Cut the ties. And get to the Stately Homes thread here, you are not alone!

Whatisaweekend Fri 12-Dec-14 11:23:26

Reading your OP, I cannot really see why you would stay in touch. She brings absolutely nothing positive to your life and is pretty detrimental in several ways. You have the backing of your dh and you are absolutely right that your children shouldn't be exposed to this nastiness. I would I go NC and feel the guilt lift. thanks

Whatisaweekend Fri 12-Dec-14 11:25:56

Gah sorry I misread - you don't have the backing of your dh. Well, he is wrong!

PixieofCatan Fri 12-Dec-14 11:29:11

YANBU. Surely your DH realises that having somebody belittling their mother is far worse on the kids?!

Nancy66 Fri 12-Dec-14 11:32:14

Does she bring anything positive to your life at all? It doesn't sound like it.

If you can't think of a single thing then, yes, I would cut her off

Mintyy Fri 12-Dec-14 11:32:21

It seems she has not been able to forgive you for choosing to move to your father's house when he remarried. I have some sympathy for her if she was upset by this, but only up to a point!

If you did not get on then, you are unlikely to start getting on now.

I agree with the others, there is no point in continuing this relationship if you need to take sedatives in order to be able to see her.

MuttersDarkly Fri 12-Dec-14 11:32:44

I am estranged from my mother. Have been for over ten years. The relief from the ever present risk of emotional upheaval and feeling bad when she decided it was time to have a poke or give my life a shake cannot be over stated.

It isn't always easy. You may get pangs. Some people will play the blood is thicker than water / ... but what if she DIES ! card ! You may have periods of doubt. You may feel misunderstood. All that is worth it. Not easy. But worth it, if the alternative is an ever present black cloud that rains on you based on their need to spread a little misery and heartache.

I didn't want her ability to manipulate a whole family's emotional mood to leak into another generation either. On that side of things the estrangment has been an enormous, unequivilcal win.

An.. big fat hug. For what you've been through and for being in a position of having to consider this as an real option.

NikkiPlum Fri 12-Dec-14 11:33:16

Thanks guys - Whatisaweekend I don't want to give the impression that DH isn't supportive - in general he very much is, but the idea of 'cutting off' a parent just seems to be a step too far for him. I feel like if I just let the relationship 'lapse' i.e. not get in touch and avoid her attempts at contact, that would be the easy way (would I be like a bad dumper?!) because I really hate confrontations, but I would feel like a heel...

NikkiPlum Fri 12-Dec-14 11:33:45

HellKitty - what is the Stately Homes thread?!

NikkiPlum Fri 12-Dec-14 11:37:36

Thanks MuttersDarkly it's good to hear from someone who's experienced it - I truly believe that some women should simply not be mothers! I'm sorry you went through that though - it's hard building your self-esteem growing up when there's someone who's always ready to tear you down to make themselves feel better.

I have tortured myself with 'what if she DIES?!' but in all anonymous honesty, I can safely say that it wouldn't really impact on me, as awful as that sounds...

AlpacaLypse Fri 12-Dec-14 11:40:47

I think Stately Homes is in Relationships... hold on I'll have a look.

Viviennemary Fri 12-Dec-14 11:41:21

No I don't think YABU in this case. I agree with just letting the relationship lapse and not getting it touch rather than making some sort of announcement that you want to stop contact.

PixieofCatan Fri 12-Dec-14 11:43:44

Stately homes is a thread for those of us with not-so-brilliant families whilst growing up. I lurk on there. It helps.
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/2216998-But-we-took-you-to-stately-homes-Survivors-of-Dysfunctional-Families

AlpacaLypse Fri 12-Dec-14 11:44:15

Here's a link - the Stately Homes threads have been going for some time but this one has lots of links.

thewomaninwhite Fri 12-Dec-14 11:46:06

I don't think that YABU either. I agree that removing yourself from your mother is the best thing for you as well as your children. Surely that is setting the best example? It's not something anyone would do lightly but this is very different.

I am sorry Op that you are having to deal with this.

HellKitty Fri 12-Dec-14 11:47:58

Thanks for linking, I can't on my phone!

Does your DH know how bad your mum is? Or just brief details? Only that my DP thought I was exaggerating until he caught the odd glare and sharp tongue that she'd forgotten to hide from him - result!

Mousefinkle Fri 12-Dec-14 11:51:53

agreed with mutters. Your DH is very wrong. The bad example would be showing your DC that people can get away with treating you as shit as they want and you just roll over and put up with it.

Cut my dad off last year. It's exactly how mutters put it. Occasionally you feel guilt pangs, you question whether you've done the right thing, possibly recall positive memories with them and start to wonder whether it was all that bad etc. Some people do the whole "OMG but if they die won't you regret it?" Thing. It's all about perspective. You have to remember all of the many negative reasons you're doing it for, exactly why you're extremely justified in doing it and realise how much more stress free you are since cutting them off.

You don't have to do a massively dramatic thing, just stop bothering to contact her and block her number. That's all I did really. Eventually he confronted me over it (via text of course because visiting was always a bit too much for him hmm) so I explained my reasons and he did his typical passive aggressive "sorry you feel that way", that was all. He's attempted to make it up to me in the only way he knows how, with money. I've refused.

You're right, some people shouldn't become parents. It gets easier with time. You won't regret cutting her off, you will however regret putting up with her toxic bullshit and letting her drag you down. flowers

Kaekae Fri 12-Dec-14 11:52:19

I don't think YABU. I have a very strained relationship with my own mother and countless times have tried to cut her out of my life. We now have very minimal contact. She brings me down. I think in life to be happy we need to remove all negativity from our lives.

NikkiPlum Fri 12-Dec-14 11:55:24

Hellkitty he's seen bits and pieces over the years and knows she's not a stellar parent but I think he considers her to be 'quirky' rather than bullying.

She really does have the whole 'digs and guilt' down to an art form, if you weren't aware of the subtext you might not realise that there was a double meaning to a lot of what she says. He's seen some of the emails and letters over the years though and agrees that she's toxic and a bit nuts...

Quadrophonic Fri 12-Dec-14 11:59:29

Well here's my story....Its a bit long but could be relevant...

My mother always suffered from anxiety and depression. We were materially well cared for as children but I always felt my mother kept me at arms length always favouring my younger brother. Time rolled on and alcohol came into the mix with to help my mother control her 'nerves'. This started around the time I started secondary school and soon it was a daily event that my mother would be 'tipsy' when we got home from school. As a teen growing up I found this hard, hated her 'drunk' voice and the way she would be either sickly sweet or nastily abusive. I never knew what mood she would be in when I got home from school.

She kicked me out at 17 as I'd got a boyfriend and would be out and about (they got me a little car and I was working in an apprenticeship) but she wanted 25% of my very little weekly wage plus to do most of the housework and ironing despite her not working - her day would be minimal housework and sat in front of the TV all day with a glass of something at her side.

I got into a very unsuitable relationship when I left as really I had no-where else to go but she thawed a bit towards me when I left home and I tolerated her and she tolerated me. She still drank but I didnt have to live with it. Fast forward to 5 years ago - she had major organ failure through the drinking for so many years - by now I was happily married with 2 children (whom she 'liked' but didn't do the proper 'grandmother' thing with) I was devasted when she became ill - she was at deaths door and despite all the past I loved her and willed her to pull through.

She did pull though after 3 weeks in ICU and come out promising to stop drinking forever. 6 months later she was back drinking again and the betrayal of trust all over again broke my heart. I kept in contact, ocassionally begging / warning / crying to her that she would kill herself but she wouldnt listen.

2 years ago another health crisis - liver packed in - she was yellow, bald, bleeding from the eyes, skin and bone. I visited her on my daughters 9th birthday - a 2 hour round trip to the hospital and she was vile to me. She didnt want to be in hospital - didnt want any help - social workers etc. My weak, long suffering, enabling Dad bore the brunt of it all again. She discharged herself from hospital and I swore that from that day on I was done.

I went NC, I didnt want anything to do with the vile creature she had become - I didnt want my kids seeing this woman who by now resembled Zelda from the Terrahawks...I had finally had enough. Dad kept me informed as to how she was doing - she was quite happy not to have anything to do with me or her only grandchildren.

My mother passed away 2 weeks ago. I got a call from my dad at 6am and I only just managed to get to the hospital before she passed away. She wasnt really conscious so I dont know if she heard me tell her despite everything I loved her.

Am I glad I went NC? Still don't know - I had 2 years of being free of listening to her drunken voice - 2 years of not having to worry about her killing herself but the guilt is huge. BUT I did it for the right reasons at the time - it felt the right thing to do to me.

Consider it well xx

NikkiPlum Fri 12-Dec-14 12:02:24

mouse it sounds as though your DH and my mother are a match made in hell! Sorry you had a crap parent too.

My brother's really good at the whole 'cutting her off' thing - he doesn't really have any contact with her and she's made no effort to go and visit since their youngest was born (he'll be two soon). I just feel more guilt over it than he does (probably instilled at an early age!) and struggle with it, even though she was always much nastier to me than to him.

I do have a wonderful DDad and Stepmum (DSM?) who I have a fabulous relationship with, so I know how lucky I am to have that...

HellKitty Fri 12-Dec-14 12:02:34

Nikki, if he has a good relationship with his own family (like my DP) then it can be a bit unbelievable, as in, 'oh she can't be that bad'. In this case you have to do what's right for you and your DC (for their future) and cutting her off seems right. Mine are all teens and now know that Grandma can be a bit (lot) weird. They also know that if ever I get like that they've promised to fill me full of brandy then push me off a cliff wink

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