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Having a wobble – please hold my hand and tell me that I’ve done the right thing...(Toxic Mother)

(23 Posts)
Clint Mon 15-Aug-11 09:44:22

I?m a regular who has name changed for fear of someone recognising this.

DM is due back from her annual 3 month summer break tonight.

Things have been crap between us for some time ? crap upbringing, toxic mother, emotional abuse back story.

I have a DH and 2 small DCs

My siblings don?t have any contact with us because my DM plays us all against each other and we have all been so desperate for her to love us for so long we have all been at some time or another been abusive to each other in the name of scoring points.

The only contact I have had with my DB over the last year is to have him phone to shout at me for being a crap daughter/sister/person.

DM is coming home tonight. Out of the blue, DB sent a text saying that he missed seeing my DCs and that he would like to come to visit.

After a year of counselling I have got to the point of understanding (most of the time) that I am not the terrible person my family say that I am; that I haven?t actually done anything to hurt any of them and that I am allowed to get on with my life and focus on fulfilling the needs of my DCs and DH according to what we think is right.

My relationship with my DM broke down at the beginning of last year because whilst she was busy telling me how crap I was one day, I left.
I had a huge realisation that at 32, I could no longer spend any more time being this unhappy and have my DM tell me how awful I was on a regular basis so I sought therapy and have slowly come to realise just how detrimental my relationship with my DM has been on every aspect of my life.

I can?t believe how good things are for us (my DH, DCs and myself) now. Things have moved on massively over the last 12 months ? we have almost paid off our debts ? (will be clear by March). When we had our first DC, we moved 200 miles away to be near my family for the ?support?. It turned out the support was a poison chalice but we have stuck it out for almost 3 years and now we intend to move back to where we lived originally because we desperately miss our friends and DH?s family live near by. A big part of the therapy has been around my concerns about running away from my problems rather than slugging it out with my family. I have since realised that the sole reason for us moving here was that I was so desperate for my DM to love me, to approve of me and given that she would never visit us 200 miles away then I had to come home.

I don?t feel as if this will be running away. My DH hates living here, hates watching me being attacked on a regular basis by various family members. But he also says that had we not come here, I would never have got peace in terms of my relationship with my family. I know now that there is nothing that I can do to win my DMs love or approval ? she is not capable of it in any healthy way ? she is only able to be concerned over her own needs.
So when my DB asked if he could visit to see the kids, given that he has been horrible and abusive towards us for such a long time. I didn?t respond until I was sure of what I wanted, what my DH wanted. And after discussion we decided that we would rather that he didn?t. Life is really nice and sedate and content in our home ? the children don?t really see people arguing or shouting at each other and this is how we would prefer it to stay. So we said that he would always be welcome if he wanted to make up with us, but that if he was still angry towards us we would prefer it if he didn?t. We got a nasty text back telling us that he would always be angry with me for being such a crap person.

My DM is coming home tonight. I have spent the last year dutifully taking my DCs to her house on Sunday afternoons because ?she shouldn?t have to come to us?. I?m not sure why.

When she phones I?m going to decline the kind offer of having to facilitate her relationship with my DCs. Either she comes here and behaves appropriately or she won?t see them. I?m no longer going to her home to be shouted at by either her or my siblings. My DCs haven?t seen her in almost three months and haven?t missed her.

I?m not going to do anything that makes me unhappy anymore ? I shouldn?t have to. If things don?t suit then tough. This is my life, my family is m DH and my DCs and I owe them a strong and happy mother and wife.
So, in terms of the wobble ? though I am doing the right thing/have done the right thing, I would really appreciate it if someone could just confirm.

The problem with being an emotionally abused daughter is that you never quite trust your own judgement.

P.S. If you have read all of this, thank you!

confidence Mon 15-Aug-11 09:52:09

You are doing the right thing, no question.

Be strong. It sounds like you have a mountain of strength behind you in your DH and DCs. If you wobble, just take a look over your shoulder.

afishcalledmummy Mon 15-Aug-11 09:53:20

I think from reading your whole post you know you are doing the right thing for you and that's really all that matters. Your mother seems to dangle her love in front of you as something you need to earn but you aren't ever good enough/dutiful enough to attain. This is not a healthy way to treat your child and if I were you I'd spirit my children as far away as possible so they don't see her cruel games. Your duty is to your family - your DH and DC, so do what is right for them.

I think we live in a world where the mother is seen as the be all and end all and should, to some extent, be put on a pedestal. It's such a taboo to break ties with the mother that we feel ashamed, even if this mother has abused us our entire lives. You will probably find some resistance - as you are already seeing from your brother (whose actions and texts reflect far more on him than on you) - but you know what is right for you and your family.

I have had nothing to do with my mother for 3 months now, also after 32 years of abuse and being told that I'm a dreadful person by her and the rest of the family. In the three months since I walked away I have felt a peace and a comfort I never had before. The paranoia about what is being said behind my back has diminished significantly and the fear of what will be held against me as a result of a visit/phonecall etc has all but gone. I realised that I was on edge the whole time before I walked away from her, and that is not a way to live one's life.

Good luck.

diddl Mon 15-Aug-11 09:57:50

Of course you´re doing the right thing & moving away sounds a good idea as well.

Let your children be near the GPs/family that they deserve!

HerHissyness Mon 15-Aug-11 09:58:57

I think it's natural you'll wobble, it's an immensely difficult step to take!

Look at your life now, look at what you have built without her there to knock it down! Your DH sounds lovely, so supportive.

You are doing the right thing. Wrt your brother, who knows, if he's only setting you up for more abuse, leave him for dust too. Working out who is and who is not a Friend of your Marriage/Life is a powerful way of protecting your family in the future.

Good luck love, sounds like you're overdue some!

dutchyoriginal Mon 15-Aug-11 10:01:22

Ok, I understand why you would wobble. Every (most) rational and sane and loving person wants loving (family) relationships. You sound like a lovely person, with a loving DH and DCs, so that is a good thing. However, relationships are a two-way street and if the other person (DM, DB, other family members) don't want to make the effort, then it is time to look at your DH and your DCs and focus on creating a happy bubble for your family unit.

So, go on with what you've decided, it is very brave, very smart and very loving!

Clint Mon 15-Aug-11 10:10:11

Thanks all - have just had a little cry because you're all so kind and also, I'm just realising what a massive achievement it is for me to finally say that I'm only really interested in my own family (DH and DCs). It feels like I'm saying goodbye to an enormous weight which I have carried round for so long, which has exhausted me for my entire life. I feel so close to having a lovely, happy future but it all depends on my having the strength to let go.

I can't wait - I owe it to myself and the people who really love me for who I am.

Thank you again, and thanks for reading.

I thought I might have been right! Wobble no more!!!!

ShoutyHamster Mon 15-Aug-11 10:12:16

I am standing up here and giving you a mighty round of applause.

WELL DONE. Double well done that in spite of all the hideous conditioning you have received to take this crap, you've built a happy, functioning family of your own and are determined to give your children a healthier set of family relationships than you had. And hurrah for your clearly fabulous DH.

Here's a little analogy for you. If you were walking peacefully down the street, minding your own business, and all of a sudden you slipped and fell on a big patch of oil spilled on the path, would you say 'No, I won't just get up and run away, I will stay sat here and deal with this problem!' Of course you wouldn't, because the problem is that you are sprawled in the yukky oil, and getting up and out of it as quickly as possible IS the solution to the problem.

This is your situation. You haven't GOT a problem except for the fact that you are, curently, 'in harm's way' - you are being made miserable and harrassed by certain people. Staying and 'slugging it out', though, is pointless - there's nothing to slug. They just behave nastily to you because that is their chosen dynamic, and as you have realised, you can't change it. Sad, because clearly your first choice would be a loving supportive extended family, but you don't have that option. Your returning to them was your way of seeing if it was possible to alter the dynamic. Very commendable, now you have enough evidence to see that it is not the answer.

So you are very practically and very logically doing the right thing, because the other option is staying where you are and, as you say, having your children grow up with this kind of abuse floating round in the background. The text from your nasty piece of work of a brother tells you all you want to know. How bizarre - so he basically thinks you are the shit on his shoe, will 'always be angry with you for being a crap person' - but he misses your kids so can he come and play the part of normal family life for an afternoon? How utterly bizarre is that? He wants to feel anger and hate towards you. He likes it, it's his chosen response, and he doesn't see any issue with having those feelings to you at the same time as feeling avuncular and misty-eyed towards your kids. Beyond odd, and really unhealthy. Not family love in any sense of the word except the most twisted. Your mother - where to start?!

Your instinct now is telling you to start keeping these fruitloops away from your children, your family. It's a good instinct. Who knows what will happen in the future - I'm sure that, level headed as you sound, you won't be saying 'never' - but you know deep down that for your family to stay happy and sorted, you really NEED to reject utterly the kind of emotions your strange, twisted brother, mother and the rest seem to understand as 'family love'.

So move, yes. How soon can you book the removal van? By mid afternoon? grin

Clint Mon 15-Aug-11 10:17:11

Ha! Thanks ShoutHamster - giggling into my tea!

Clint Mon 15-Aug-11 10:31:36

I am often accused of 'punishing' my DM but thinking in terms of removing my DCs from harms way feels normal.

Moving away is not me punishing - rather it is instinctively looking after my children - removing them from the games or harms way. Thank you for pointing that out for me.

Fuzzywuzzywozabear Mon 15-Aug-11 11:32:48

Good post shoutyhamster

OP - good luck, nothing much to add other than you're doing the right thing. Had a similar conv. with my counsellor about not facing up to narc parents (withdrawing instead) she said "you're not running away you're protecting yourself and your DCs from them"

diddl Mon 15-Aug-11 12:37:43

Well, people move-´tis a fact of life.

We are in Germany-we did it because husband got offered a job.

No malice in it.

My parents/Ils lived & worked where they wanted to, we are merely doing the same.

The fact that ILs have never visited is just a bonusblushgrin

(Seems that because we moved we should do the visiting-shame we don´t agree)

Clint Mon 15-Aug-11 15:26:55

Exactly - and it something that both m DH and I really want to do. It's not about saying that I want the relationship to end, I just want some peace to focus on bring up our DCs and building the rest of our happy lives together.

The wobble is probably because of my general feeling of anxiety because she's coming home tonight.

Tin hats at the ready wink

Xales Mon 15-Aug-11 18:05:44

You are doing the right thing. You are breaking the cycle and your much more important nuclear family of you, DH and DC are growing up in a loving, caring non arguing way.

Your extended family will never change.

Well done on realising that you need to do this and lots of hand holding for the shouting and abuse they will throw at you trying to get you back under their thumb.

Clint Mon 15-Aug-11 18:58:25

Thanks for all of your lovely and positive posts - you have no idea the amount of strength I'm getting from the affirmations

FannyAdamsToo Tue 16-Aug-11 20:09:21

Good on you say I - you're doing the right thing!

pointythings Tue 16-Aug-11 20:14:38

Another one secodning you are doing the right thing. The love of a parent should be unconditional - your 'D'M has forfeited her right to be your mother by setting terms.

You are a wonderful, strong person for figting your way through this and putting your loving family first.

<waves 'Go, Clint!' banner>

Maiavan Tue 16-Aug-11 20:16:26

Nothing to add except well done and good luck, I think you are doing the right thing and will be soooo much happier for it smile

FannyAdamsToo Tue 16-Aug-11 20:20:19

You won't know yourself when you're gone

ComplimentaryUpgrade Tue 16-Aug-11 20:33:36

Nothing much to add other that wanting to let you know that I'll be holding your hand and thinking you're a fab mum, wife and person. How loving of you to have made the change for both yourself and your all important nuclear family. Good luck.

tb Wed 17-Aug-11 09:18:44

Good for you!

(Even more good for you that you didn't sell up and move in with the bitch in answer to a year of emotional blackmail - after the previous 33. It's what I did.)

My (d)m was 96 on Monday and I've had 19 years without her, and life is much calmer. However, after we left, I had 4 years of anonymous letters, and letters from other people offering to bring her over for afternoon tea.

Hope the move works well, and that she and the rest of your toxic family don't cause you any problems. Good luck.

Clint Wed 17-Aug-11 12:00:36

Thanks again all - it's been lovel reading your positive posts. I'm feeling so positive about my decision now.

Clint Wed 17-Aug-11 12:00:48


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