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"I'm praying for you." Or how to deal with my mother...(44 Posts)
So after spending the past 3 months of my pregnancy without any family support, I got a text from my mother.
"Hello redwine, as we haven't heard from you, we presume you're still angry. The most important thing to remember is that we love you. Don't know why you felt you had to storm off like that when a cup of tea and a hug would've made all the difference.Why can you never bring yourself to. say sorry? We are praying for you daily
Think I'd be tempted to just text back 'I'm fine thanks, apology accepted'.
Whatever you do don't reply.
She won't hear you, and all it will do is provoke a reaction from you, and then she knows how to get you.
It's emotional manipulative nightmare parent 101.
Ignore. Detach some more.
Check out stately homes thread on here, you'll be right at home! there are loads of lovely MNers who'll know exactly what you're going through.
I would text back,
Thank you for praying for me. I am sorry you and sis were upset on our last visit but we just don't know why everything went so wrong. We have not being in contact because we didn't really know what to do about all this and it is awful for everyone when there are arguments.
Anyway I hope you are all well and sis has settled into uni.
Wine and family.
You know what, RedWine, if it would make you feel better, then forwarding the website and saying 'think these people are in more need of your prayers. I'm fine.' would be, well, if not advisable, then OK. Well, it might make you feel better anyway.
But really, the advise is 'ignore, ignore, ignore...' There's no greater revenge on a narcissistic parent than proving you can live your life happily and well without them.
Beattie that is what DH has done in effect. It's the only way he can deal with it and I can see that it makes him feel very sad, but it is better than the upset she can cause when we are in contact.
In fact following on from my thread about my own mother earlier this week I was saying to DH why can't we just have families where you can say 'oh my mum and dad are lovely' and I think the answer is that both of our parents were basically very unhappily married and they can't contain their bitterness at life, especially when DH and I seem to be so happy/successful.
well, it sounds like there is a lot of history. If anyone smacked my son, never mind repeatedly, I'd be exceptionally angry and they might well be out of my life anyway. However.
Assuming you want some sort of relationship, then maybe the best thing is to plan how much you are willing to put up with. At what point do you draw the line and walk away? you cant foresee every circumstance but you can have a rough idea, such as "we can handle upsets if they speak to us calmly but if they explode without explanation that's our limit" or "we want only contact every 6 months' or 'they can visit us, but we won't go there"
Then text her back calmly. Explain that actually you had no idea why your sister and then mother were upset and what was difficult for your family was that there was no calm explanation and chance to sort things out. If they are willing to speak in a level headed way about why they were upset then perhaps it can be sorted out, but you do need to know what the heck was going on and why they were unhappy. You left - not stormed out, but left - because you felt that whatever was happening could not be sorted out then and it was all pretty miserable. It was the best option in the circumstances.
If they respond with games such as 'you should have known' then you can only say that you didn't. They can choose either to explain in a calm way. If they don't, then keep your distance. If they do and it was a reasonable explanation then you can talk further.
If it was unreasonable then time to keep distance. From what you wrote this is not the first time it's happened and you feel that they do both twist things and broadcast them all over. If that's the case, then I'm afraid you're in for a rough ride and again, you'll have to decide just how much contact you do or don't want.
I think in all this you have to consider the impression your children are left with. Shouting and tantrums are a very poor example. For this reason alone it might be an idea to keep a bit of distance. If the good outweighs the bad, then at the least point out to the children that this is how not to handle disagreements and upsets!
I think that the keys here are calmness, speaking clearly and without too much passion and keeping a clear idea of what you want out of your mother and sister and how much you're prepared to put up with.
she sounds very similar to my mother. I think you should ignore the text. and cut contact.
like you I feel sad that I don't have a good relationship with my parent or any support from my mum like my friends do, but I don't think it is possible with the parent I have. It's sad but you need to focus on your little family and make the most of them. At the end of the day it's your mum that will lose out.
"Mum, we left because there was a problem with us that a) nobody would explain to us and b) it mean you ignoring us for X hours. The time to talk about it was then. If you want to explain then do, but I have no problem with my decision."
And ignore the crap about the praying.
Just text back "All fine here, thanks. Will let you know when the baby arrives".
So you don't get drawn in to any debate about who was wrong or right, but you can't be accused of sulking or game playing by not responding. It might help to calm things down if you respond to her as if you have a normal but rather distant relationship- completely ignoring any histrionics may mean that she doesn't have the fuel to feed the fire.
I would also point you to the website entitled Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers and go from there as well.
I would ignore such a message because of the passive aggressive nature of it. This message neither conveys any real apology or even responsibility for her own actions, its actually also quite blaming of you. Such toxic people thrive off such drama and any response from you will give her an "in".
Emotionally healthy balanced people would not act in such a manner. I would also think your Dad's role in this overall dysfunctional birth family unit from whence you came is that of bystander. Such weak men often act out of self preservation and want of a quiet life, he has failed to protect you here from her malign influences. Such women like your mother as well always but always need a willing enabler to help them.
I would suggest you read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward as a starting point.
I would also state that if she is too difficult to deal with she is too difficult for your children to have to deal with as well. I would not visit them at all.
I agree its a passive aggressive attempt at an olive branch .,... but some people are only able to communicate that way.
Personally, I think I would stay totally at arms length, The short bits of history you have posted seem to show that you are actually in conflict whenever she is part of your lives. TBH I would have drawn the line when she smacked my children!
I am someone who usually believes that talking can solve most things, but when it comes to narc parents there simply is never a genuine communication going on.
I would reply, but in quite clipped fashion to say that as they do not understand why there has been no contact it is obvious that nothing has changed, and you would therefore prefer no further contact.
Dear God, why would she think she would have a leg to stand on? Total narcissism. I feel your pain.
I would reply, simply saying that you have nothing to apologise for, and are tired of feeling as though you need to for nothing at all.
Then stop all contact after that. Others are right; you don't need them in your lives.
lookingthrough i was thinking of something like "how sweet that you'd spend so much time praying for me. and when i already have so much to be thankful for. Have you seen either of these websites?" & then do a link Oxfam &/or Amnesty International.
What do you think?
Well, it's always been rocky. & i should say that 3 days & was the absolute maximum dh & i estimated we could cope with. seems tgat was on the generous side...
i just don't like all the packing, planning & travelling when the dcs never know what to expect emotionally when we go & see them.
Of course, being something of an angry, impulsive thing myself, I'd probably text back 'Praying for your soul too, Mum.'
But I would wish that I could just go ahead and ignore her.
oh and the we are praying for you thing is hideously passive agressive
I would be inclined to ignore tbh. She sounds just like my MIL ie a bit bonkers and if you engage you'll just give her more ammunition. Stress like this is the last thing you need with another baby on the way. What does your DH think?
My DH had to basically ignore his mother and while he hasn't fallen out with her their relationship is quite fragile as she uses any excuse to be nasty and it really upsets him, so ignoring is the best way for him to cope with her.
I don't think you should ignore the text, if you were visiting a couple of months ago for several days then you obviously usually have a decent relationship with her. You have as much right as your sister to voice your feelings, your sister sounds like spoilt brat btw!
Just tell her calmly why you left, the ball is in her court then.
lookingthrough yes, i had that thought in the back of my mind too. i do have another sister & a brother too, but they're pretty unapologetoc about going off & living their own lis. they're not manipulable, or needy, i suppose.
snowqueen yes, dd1 was only 3 at the time. M wasn't part of my life for at least 6 months after that, but she wormed her way back in, and look where that got me.
it's hard because i look around at friends who have parents & inlaws who genuinely help out a lot, & i feel sad my dcs will never experience that kind of love & care which comes without strings attached. my dad's parents were always there in a non-judgemental way when i was growing up & i just wish my family were like that. times have changed i suppose. or maybe i'm just crap at dealing with them.
Oh, and I'm now suspicious about the timing.
She's on her own with non-engaging Dad. Precious daughter is away in halls. Where will her focus go next...
I completely agree with Mummytime's response. That is; no response. You already know she'll twist what you say, and/or share it about. No response is the only real way forward.
wait, she repeatedly smacked dd1??!
Ignore the email, make separate contact with your father if you can and you want to, otherwise leave them to it.
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