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How do you get space from a toxic dm?

(16 Posts)
thepixiefrog Thu 13-Jun-13 12:43:33


I need to put some space between dm and me. She calls in to my house frequently to see my dc, often without warning, so I see her a minimum of twice a week, usually 3 times, and very occasionally up to 5 times.

I'm feeling suffocated! I need to have a conversation with her which will not be easy. She takes absolutely everything as a personal criticism I.e.

DM. I really like tuna and cucumber
Me. I think I actually prefer it with tomato.
DM. (Clenches teeth and sharp intake of breath through nose, hard stare followed by eye rolling.) Right then (silence for uncomfortably long time.

She is hard work, and any conversation is going to start a world war. She isn't into shouting, screaming and drama but there will be a horrible sulky silence for months. At the moment she isn't happy with me about something and she hasn't made eye contact with me for weeks. I will never know what the issue is until I demand to know. She doesn't volunteer any information about how she is feeling about me, but still insists on turning up several times a week! I would be happy with ONCE a week.

Has anyone ever had to ask for fewer visits from a difficult parent before? How did it go? And is it actually worth the fall out?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 13-Jun-13 12:49:23

I moved 200 miles away.... smile Please tell me she doesn't have a key to your house. This sounds like a power battle situation and the only way to win one of those is to stand firm and take no crap. The conversation to have is that she must call before dropping round. If she's prone to huffy sulks that'll probably get you a big one but <shrugs> stand your ground.

thepixiefrog Thu 13-Jun-13 13:17:31

Dh and I have been REALLY thinking about moving! It would be ideal if we lived 30 miles away so she couldn't just 'pop' in, but not so far that the DC couldn't still see her at the weekend.

I know what I need to do. I just have to work up the courage to do it! All the hassle of selling a house and buying a new one, moving, new schools etc. is by far much more attractive than have a conversation with dm.

Right! How do I get brave? :-)

Sodapop55 Thu 13-Jun-13 13:24:45

Gosh she sounds pretty difficult. Is there anyway you could know, not answer the door? And if she asks give her an excuse like you were in the shower, out the back gardening, busy with dcs etc. That's what I ended up doing with my toxic dad. And then ignoring his sulking. He could knock for as long as he wanted but I just wouldn't answer. And if he got sulky, so be it, at least Id get a break for a couple weeks! The trick is to get some space and maintain it. As soon as you give these characters an inch, they'll take a mile and barrage you with contact again.

thepixiefrog Thu 13-Jun-13 13:32:14

Unfortunately I have the loudest children I have ever met! If someone knocks at the door it is met with shrieks of excitement and a stampede to let the visitor in. If I didn't answer it would be really obvious that I was ignoring her. I did it once, about a year ago, and I had to pretend that I couldn't answer because I was doing a really big poo and couldn't get off the toilet (couldn't use the shower as an excuse as you can hear it from the back door).

I don't think she would buy the poo excuse many more times :-)

Sodapop55 Thu 13-Jun-13 13:40:02

Hmm that is a bit tricky then. You might have to take the direct approach, and with any luck she'll take it so badly she'll avoid you completely. It really depends on how much contact you want with her. I wish I could have a reasonable relationship with my dad but as noted, I have to make clear boundaries and be downright rude sometimes because you can't have a conversation with him like you would with normal people.

thepixiefrog Thu 13-Jun-13 13:50:07

Sodapop, does he still have the ability to hurt you when he sulks? When DM does her thing it makes me so anxious and it's unbearable. I'm in therapy for various things, but one of my main goals is to learn how to disconnect emotionally from her completely. I am way better than I was, but the impossible idea of moving away, and fictional giant poo sessions when she calls round are much easier to deal with than her reaction to a request for space.

Ugh! I hate how she makes me feel, and I hate how bloody wussy I am about her. I'm doing my own head in!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 13-Jun-13 13:55:16

You've just reminded me... my DM is prone to sulking. It used to bother me but now I ignore it and get far more pleasure about watching her get even more annoyed that no-one has noticed she's sulking. 76 going on 13.... <eye-roll> .. whereas my actual 13yo is much less of a challenge

Yes, you can't really use the 'giant poo' excuse more often or she'll be popping round six times a week with boxes of Bran Flakes... back-fire... {no pun intended}

overture Thu 13-Jun-13 13:59:25

* I did it once, about a year ago, and I had to pretend that I couldn't answer because I was doing a really big poo and couldn't get off the toilet (couldn't use the shower as an excuse as you can hear it from the back door).*

This made me LOL. My mum is similar but not near as bad, I've moved far away so that has helped tremendously. I so sympathise with you sad
5 times a week would be tiring and put you on edge. Does she come around when they are poorly? I used to tell my mum my lo's had stomach bug when i really couldn't be bothered by her visits. That would keep her at bay for a little while.
Sorry not more helpful.
Good luck [flower]

Sodapop55 Thu 13-Jun-13 14:06:41

The sulking doesn't bother me anymore. Honestly pixiefrog, I used to react just like you, I would panic and want to meet his needs and find his sulking so upsetting. Especially as my father has the habit of cutting people/family members off when they upset him, sometimes for months or years on end. Every time he said to me "I'll never ever speak to you again!" I didnt know if it really was.

But one day I realised that his behaviour was damaging me in large doses (feeling anxious all the time, feeling shit about myself after seeing him, putting my life and needs on hold to suit his whims) and that it might be better for me if I never saw him again! And ever since then I just feel ok about being direct, because he's the one with the entitled behaviour and boundary issues and I have the right to stop him from violating my boundaries, even if he is my dad. And tbh he never has completely cut me off, he always seems to come back.

thepixiefrog Thu 13-Jun-13 14:20:42

Thanks everyone, I would give you all flowers and smileys but for some reason my tablet does not allow this!

I know it's all her and not me. I reckon I'll summon enough courage to confront her soon, and hopefully that will eventually lead to not needing her approval at all. Until then, I plan on having a very bad case of d&v........

thepixiefrog Thu 13-Jun-13 14:24:30

I may also get a snake, she has a very big phobia. Actually so do I, but that is preferable to her.

bootsycollins Thu 13-Jun-13 14:27:17

orrrrrrrrrrrrrr you could give DM a dose of d&v via a well dodgy sandwich or something grin

thepixiefrog Thu 13-Jun-13 14:29:33

And put the snake in a tank on her doorstep so she can't leave the house. That way I don't have to deal with her or the snake.

thepixiefrog Thu 13-Jun-13 14:33:01

I'm getting a bit too ridiculous, and avoiding housework which I need to do before mil arrives, so I should probably leave the thread now.

thepixiefrog Thu 13-Jun-13 14:33:33

Dodgy sandwich is a good idea though :-)

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