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To go Low Contact with DM?

(12 Posts)
AsthmaAndAutism Thu 14-Jul-16 22:15:44

This is going to be long and rambling, but I'm feeling so lost and I just need to write this down, even if I get no responses.

I had a really strange childhood, and I only realised this a few years ago. My Dad was fond of the 'laying on of hands' when he lost his temper, and that only stopped when at 17 I tried to leave home (I say 'tried' because he came and collected me and promised never to do it again)
He didn't do it again, and we began to communicate in a much healthier way.
To the outside world, I was very much 'Daddy's Little Girl', he did, and does, love me very very much and truly would do anything for me. He's a completely selfless person, and I truly believe that if his upbringing had been different (his Dad was very violent) he wouldn't have suffered with the anger issues. I also believe that if my DM had stepped in (he was never violent to her) it would have stopped sooner, if not straight away.
I realise this sounds very 'Stockholm Syndrome'...

I'm now grown up, with one DS and another on the way, and my DF has been amazing. He's brought us to all DS's appointments, brings him to nursery every morning and completely and utterly dotes on him. He's always offering his time and listening to our worries, and I'm so glad we've got such a grown up relationship.

What I'm struggling with now is my DM. All through growing up she would offload her problems on me. From a very very young age. I remember being 7/8 and her telling me how my older brother was in trouble with Drug Dealers and owed money to them. She told me about how we had very little money as she'd missed bill payments and my Dad had been made redundant. She never actually spoke to my Dad about this though - ever.
She'd also sit and cry to me, telling me how jealous she was of mine and my Dads relationship, like it felt like I didn't love her. I began to feel horrifically guilty even at though I was still such a child.

As I got older I suffered through depression, anxiety and self harming. I turned to my DM for advice and support, she insisted I must have a thyroid issue and a hormone imbalance, because I 'had nothing to be depressed about', she spent 2 years ignoring my requests for help with school, and instead told me to hide this all from my Dad as he wouldn't understand and would be very angry with me.
It turned out that I eventually did tell my Dad, and he was amazing. He guided me through college, sat through meetings with my teachers and ensured I got the right help, he also fought for my right to get medication if I felt like it would help.

I've slowly started to realise how emotionally abusive my DM can be to the people around her. She's forever moaning about her 'needy children', when all we want to do is chat to her. She's recently caused a family rift between herself and her sister by lying about how much money she's borrowed from my Nanna. Again, I knew about this but was told 'Don't tell your Dad or I'll kill you' (such a lovely threat)
My DS has autism, and every little thing is a new achievement, she recognises this by saying 'Oh yes, (other DGS Name) does that too', and whilst that's brilliant, other DGS should be doing it IYSWIM.

I just feel really lost. I thought I had a good relationship with her, and it's only after talking to DH one night (and his horrified looks) that I realised I maybe don't? I feel sorry for my Dad, and I feel horrifically guilty for not being the slightest bit angry at him for how he disciplined me as a child. My gut instinct atm, is that I don't want to speak to my DM anymore. I'm fed up of being called needy and her crying down the phone every time she says she feels guilty for not seeing my DS much because she finds him 'too difficult' then I feel horrible for suggesting they spend time together, as I just worry about how she'd manage (she's relatively young btw, early 50's - no health problems)

If anybody has made it through this then flowerschocolate to you, it's just been helpful writing it down.
AIBU to want to go low contact? I think it'd help my mental health to distance myself from her?
I don't even know if she's done anything wrong. Maybe all parents are like this?
Any advice would be appreciated flowers

Zarah123 Thu 14-Jul-16 22:37:55

YANBU. Your DM does sound very self-absorbed and selfish. Your DS has autism but she's crying down the phone to you because she finds it 'too difficult'?

It was definitely wrong of your DM to burden a child with her problems and to tell you she is jealous of your relationship with your DF. My mum told me about her problem once when I was 16 (she was too upset to control the words) and I can't ever forget that day. It's too much for a child.

Could you give your DM a final chance, with an ultimatum that you will have to reduce contact if she doesn't change? How did your dad discipline you as a child? It sounds like it was pretty bad if you left home to escape it.

AsthmaAndAutism Thu 14-Jul-16 22:49:33

I definitely grew up knowing far too much, and constantly having to remember to keep it a secret from my DF.

My DF used to hit me, from a very young age (2/3) right up until I was 17. It was very odd, he'd go berserk at some trivial matter (untidy bedroom, me saying I didn't want to go to dance) he'd hit me, break something of mine, then the next day it'd all be back to normal. He'd say 'You know I love, don't you?' And that'd be the end of it. There's a few things I still get scared by, I can't have anybody walk up the stairs behind me (we lived in a 3 story house, and he once chased me up them, hitting every couple of steps) I get extreme anxiety if I'm ever late for anything, as he was extremely impatient.
I know, rationally, that I should be angry at him, but he really was a good Dad, and he's an amazing Grandad, and he truly has changed. Since I was 17 and I left home (a good few years ago now) he hasn't had an outburst like that, he's controlled his temper. It's like when I stood up to him, he realised how awful his behaviour could be.

And yes, DM is often telling us how difficult our DS having Autism is, forever moaning about how he doesn't say 'Nanny' yet (he doesn't even say Mummy fgs)

I'm just stuck - she's supposed to be with me during my second labour, but I don't think I want her there. I don't think I want to give her any excuse to call me needy and emotional anymore.

Birdsgottafly Thu 14-Jul-16 23:14:43

It's quite a shock to realise that your childhood had been abusive. It's usually after having children, you stop making minimising your Parents behaviour, because you realise that it can't be justified.

Emotional abuse often leaves deeper scars than physical abuse.

I had to go NC during my second pregnancy with my Mother and then I put very firm boundaries in place and went low contact.

I also challenged her, when she played the victim, or was negative/narcissistic.

Your Mother should be emotional support for you and if she isn't, then she's failed you.

Highway61 Thu 14-Jul-16 23:17:12

I'm nc with my mother. Best thing I ever did, all they did was drag me down, criticize and make me more unstable.

Do it, op, you'll feel so much better, she sounds awful.

Nightmanagerfan Thu 14-Jul-16 23:22:22

So sorry to hear about what you've been through. It sounds like his behaviour was very confusing - nice one minute and angry the next. This is actually abusive btw. It's so confusing because it means as a child you don't know what to do with the outburst or learn to deal with conflict in a healthy way. Would you consider some counselling to talk it through with someone? It sounds like you're at the point of recognising what it was like for you and the impact it may have had. And as others have said low contact with your DM could help.

Hope you are ok.

AsthmaAndAutism Thu 14-Jul-16 23:44:05

Thank you everyone flowers

Do people still find themselves saying 'Oh but they were really good parents, she helps with so many things' and feeling guilty for wanting NC?
I find myself wanting to accept her behaviour, because she has been helpful in the past, is that normal?

AdjustableWench Thu 14-Jul-16 23:50:23

I second the advice about counselling. It can really help you get some perspective on things.

I think I can understand why you're able to have a better relationship with your father, since he changed his behaviour. But your mum is still expecting you to put your emotional needs aside so that you can look after hers. That's completely inappropriate, especially since you're now a mother yourself. Also, she didn't protect you from your father's violence, which she should have done.

I think low contact would probably be very good for you... But you might need to think about the effect on family dynamics, e.g. what will your father do/say if your emotional support for your mother is withdrawn? What will you do if it's a negative reaction? That's the sort of thing that counselling can help with.

Highway61 Thu 14-Jul-16 23:51:19

Yes, op, it's normal, but you don't owe her anything.

She is harming you emotionally.

It gets easier, I don't even miss my torturer, and realize it was her not me.

AsthmaAndAutism Fri 15-Jul-16 01:17:42

I do agree, I think counselling would help, I'd just worry about the cost of it. I'm also sort of programmed to think I'm being dramatic. I got told that a lot as a child. It once took my parents a week to take me the hospital to get an x-Ray for a broken arm, as they thought I was over-reacting. I'm constantly doubting if I'm ill or not, and panic over little things as I feel like I can't discuss them without being labelled as 'dramatic'.
I worry my DM would see me seeking out counselling as attention seeking and needy. (Although, I guess she wouldn't have to know?)

I feel like my Dad is very lonely atm, he's recently sold his business and him and DM have become self employed, in work related to what one of my brothers does (whole other thread angry) I feel its financially draining to them both, and I do worry that their marriage might not last.
I'd never want my dad to lose contact with my DS, as they have a very special bond, but it'd be difficult to navigate that relationship if me and DM weren't really on speaking terms.
The small occasions she does look after DS, she's forever moaning that my Dad is useless at helping, so I worry about how she manages by herself. Although, deep down, I think if my Dad was given the chance, he'd be more than capable of looking after DS (although he's very nervous of him hurting himself haha)

I'm just feeling really upset I guess. I'm very close to due date now, and all the plans I had for how involved DM was going to be, have shifted. I really don't want any more to do with her, I'm just panicking about how to stand my ground and keep my feelings validated...

Highway61 Fri 15-Jul-16 02:06:12

Over dramatic...and let me guess...attention. seeking? Your mother sounds likes she would love mine.

Stand your ground op. Your feels are valid, you don't owe her anything.

Very warmest wishes for the birth. You will do just fine! (Unmummsnetty hug)flowers

AsthmaAndAutism Mon 18-Jul-16 11:19:09

Well after a week of not speaking (I realised it was mainly me that called her..)
She rang and invited us round for lunch. It was just awkward.
I realised she never asks about DS, it's always us filling her in. She harped on about my DB, his wife and DS who live in Australia, just about how wonderful they all were basically. I just felt so down the whole time I was there.
I tried to make her see that it was a bit rubbish that she hadn't seen my niece in over 9 months (she lives in Newcastle with my other DB) and she just launched into how that wasn't her fault and how my DB was so needy (he's going through a divorce and a major bout of depression)
I realised she must talk about us all like this behind our backs.
( I have 5 brothers, I'm the only girl)

We ended up leaving early as I started shaking/sweating and vomiting. I'm 35 weeks pregnant, and only just out of hospital because of dehydration problems. She hasn't even sent me a text to ask if I was okay after I got home.

I just don't know how to explain to her that I want low contact. I think I need to tell her, otherwise it'll become some huge deal 6 months from now sad

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