Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How hideous is going no contact?

(251 Posts)
NumptyNameChange Mon 28-Oct-13 15:08:07

not sure how much to write but after my sister had a hissy fit over nothing and threw me and my son out of her house in the rain without our coats (and with my keys in my coat pocket) in front of her own children (her daughter was really upset by it all) i have refused to go 'back to normal' re: forget anything ever happened yet again.

as a result i've ceased to be invited to family gatherings for over a month and no one wished me luck for an interview or asked how it went and basically i'm being punished for not playing the game/the role/etc that i am meant to.

another posters thread on here has really brought the dysfunctional dynamics of my family to life for me - they were anyway but you know how when you read it in someone else's life it's so much clearer?

anyway my role was always scapegoat and whipping boy (i'm female btw). no matter what successes i have it won't change a thing. things going well or that in any way disprove the role i've been assigned are just ignored.

i have never in my life been asked by my mother how i am or how things are going. i've never had an apology even when she has been absolutely monstrous. i'm pretty sure she is a narcissist - ticks all the boxes etc.

i have built pretty good boundaries over the years and laughingly refer to my teflon coating that lets the abuse slide off but i find myself wondering why on earth i put up with it at all or allow these people who are so keen to destroy me in my life.

could say lots more but not sure if i'll regret putting this out there. my parents are due to go away for a long spell soon, i haven't seen them for about a month despite living close by and i would actually rather not see them before they go away and rather not have my son go there as at the minute it feels really important to me for us to be together and not polluted by all the extended family madness. i suspect the pressure will come on soon or the 'you're such a bad person' trip.

i massively miss my sister's children but i no longer feel i can put up with all the shit i have to take to be in their lives. i'm tired of being painted as someone i genuinely don't even recognise and never did even as a child and having motives and intentions and actions attributed to me that bear no relation to reality. i'm sick of the crazy making of people behaving monstrously and then just lying or pretending it never happened or that i'm the crazy one and it was all my fault somehow. i'm also sick of allowing my son to be around people who don't have the most basic respect for me.

not sure what the point of this post is - maybe just to put it out there.

NumptyNameChange Thu 31-Oct-13 15:39:35

argghh - my dad showed up uninvited again on some other false pretext and barged his way in. i got on wit washing up and when he tried to invite himself and my mother who was just round the corner at the docs to stay for coffee i said, actually i'm just about to get in the bath so not a good time.

i then got the well we probably won't get to see ds before we go..... you should come round and see us business i'm afraid i had to say something. just said, 'you do know i had an important interview don't you?' and he was like yeah and i said well it really didn't occur to you to wish me luck? or ask me how it went? or... anything? out came first a denial that he knew anything about it - i pointed out i had a long conversation with him about it and told him how much i wanted it and he expressed disapproval and honed in on all the negatives of moving away so it shifted to well i didn't want to stick my nose in your business - what by wishing me luck? or showing any interest?

he came out with the 'well i'm sorry if you've taken it the wrong way' pa crap and i said i'm sorry but i just can't be doing with being around people who don't give a damn about my life and can't even feign interest or basic courtesy. he then left, then let himself back in to ask ds if he would come out to give granny a big cuddle goodbye which he did on the doorstep and just said, 'bye' to which she was all like oh, right, see you then, sulky child voice and ds shut the door to carry on doing the washing up he was enjoying doing.

i shall be painted as an utter monster no doubt but i actually don't have to have these people in my house, i don't have to talk to them and i don't have to do the stupid bloody game of pretend nothing has happened because we've decided it's time to go back to normal now. i wasn't invited for the usual sunday lunch for over a month in punishment for a) having fallen out with my sister and enforced my right not to pretend she'd done nothing wrong and sweep it under the carpet and b) for applying for, and actually getting an interview for a really good job that would not fit what i'm meant to be in their world and would mean moving away and taking narc supply from her.

i half feel like a complete bitch but actually sod it. i actually owe this people nothing and i do not have to make myself available to be the convenient whipping boy and take a beating and pretend it didn't happen when they want to act all normal for some occasion or performance. i have had to pretend and be silent about so many shitty things that have been done and said to me as a child and an adult and i just don't think i'm willing to do it anymore. i really don't know what has changed but i just don't care what they throw at me now - i'm not scared anymore - well i am but not paralysingly so. what might happen no longer seems worse than the status quo.

DoYourKegels Thu 31-Oct-13 16:03:33

Just checked in and wow! So proud of you. You are spot on with everything you say. As long as the things they consider 'punishment' don't matter to you, they have no power. grin Not being invited to Sunday lunch where you would be treated like shit? sounds good to me.

NumptyNameChange Thu 31-Oct-13 16:51:21

at my most alarmist end of thinking i can imagine my mother trying to get custody of my son by making up a load of rubbish.

baytree Thu 31-Oct-13 17:06:20

Dear Numpty, your not a numpty. There was never a mother there to mother you. You missed out on the support and nurturing that gives us self esteem as an adult. So now you need to mother yourself to give yourself this self esteem.

This new mother will be all the things that your old mother wasn't.
Try thinking in these terms and when ever you are unsure, ask yourself what your new mother would say to you. It sounds weird, but really, it helps.

DoYourKegels Thu 31-Oct-13 17:32:49

I do that. I ask what would a nice mum/dad/friend say. I am gradually learning how healthy people speak.

NumptyNameChange Thu 31-Oct-13 19:11:09

a family 'friend' (actually my sisters latest free ride) has texted to say christmas is at his. other side of town, would be trapped there all day with no way out and i've just said thanks but we're making our own plans this year.

so that's it. all hell will break lose. have been chatting with ds about what we'll do and what we want to eat (given we both hate christmas dinner anyway). he's panicking about not getting enough presents but it'll be fine - can make our own routines this year. maybe a bit tragic just the two of us but might also be nice.

the guilt trips, how dare i deprive ds of christmas etc will pile in and pressure will rocket no doubt as appearances have to be kept on special occasions. i'm just going to have to take it.

DoYourKegels Thu 31-Oct-13 19:18:50

Oh, dear me, Christmas. Such a tricky thing.

Of course it is perfectly fine to do whatever you like for Christmas. And if you want to appear ultra reasonable you can always say, 'we are making our own plans THIS YEAR'. No biggie. One year. Whatever.

You could plan a trip away if you have the money? Or get together with friends? Or you could just plan out a wonderful day just how DS wants it - pizza for Christmas lunch. grin

DysfunctionallyNormal Thu 31-Oct-13 20:28:02

ahhhhh Numpty! Reading your posts i find your situation very similar to mine grin

I went NC with my elder sister coming on about a year now. Before that i minimised contact with her but she didn't change her attitude towards me and now i've accepted that she probably never will. She is a classic narc and always has been, i just didn't know any different back then and allowed her to treat me badly and make me feel bad about myself.

In my humble opinion, it is highly unlikely your sister will ever admit what she did was atrocious and totally out of order let alone take steps to rectify it, and your family will never allow you to discuss this in their presence nor do anything to support you in either sorting it out or making sure that you are treated with respect (by them or others) when you're under their roof. They are all in denial, as far as they are concerned you are the "outsider" and therefore they will always close ranks against you.

i found that you need to feel confident in yourself that you have given all you have to give (emotionally,mentally and physically) before you can feel strong about going NC and not allowing yourself to feel guilty. This is where the "enough is enough" thinking comes in. I think you've reached this point and now you just need to teach yourself not to feel guilty when they try and use your child as emotional blackmail (because that's exactly what they are doing).

Congratulations on how you dealt with your father! grin One thing to be wary of is getting sucked in to either explaining why you're keeping your distance from them or trying to get them to understand their own behavior/attitude. As you've seen, when you try to get them to look at their own behavior or lack of interest in your life (re the interview etc) they go into denial mode. They turn it around and try to make you feel that it is you who is in the "wrong" yet again! They will never respond the way you'd like them to so you just need to accept that and not "want" or "expect" anything from them again. That way it makes it easier for you to find the strength to only accept positive behavior/attitude from them.

Your son may be upset at not getting lots of presents for now, but in time he will understand that you come as a family unit/package and they cannot divide and conquer via emotional blackmail and bribery. I know you feel bad about it but ask yourself how they can ever treat your child with the respect and love he deserves when they cannot give that to his mum- their own flesh and blood?! Standing your ground with strength and dignity will also show your niece that not only do you understand her situation but that also there is a way of putting a stop to it/refusing to let it affect your life in a negative way. Keep in contact with her because you may be her "safe" place and the only one who can really understand her and see her through this until she is old enough to break free of them.

baytree is spot on with her advice. i wish i'd had someone to give me that advice years ago because it was only once i realised it for myself a couple of years ago that i started nurturing the inner child in me and now i feel so much stronger in that my self esteem has improved a hell of a lot and i am more confident in trusting my own self and my instincts and refusing to accept negative behavior/attitude form others. It will also help you become aware of your own self worth and recognise just how much you have achieved in spite of not having access to the normal support networks most people have growing up. i mean, we could have easily turned into bitter/negative people or become addicted to alcohol/drugs etc as a way of coping with all the crap we've had to endure ....but we didn't, and you need to feel proud of the person you are today.

Stay strong and be happy!

NumptyNameChange Fri 01-Nov-13 07:44:28

thank you - that was a lovely post.

it sounds so trite but i did find myself yesterday saying out loud, 'well i'll stick up for you and i'll protect you' presumably to the child in me that never got that from anyone else blush

as to christmas well i'm going to try and create our own low key fun stuff to do that is about us and what we enjoy. i actually have a bit of a loathing of big 'occasions' finding them really stressful. obviously due to the stress and strain of having to plaster a smile on your face and play your part in the performance whilst you can feel all the tensions and horribleness bubbling under the surface threatening to come flying out from one or more parties present. i also find it deeply uncomfortable receiving gifts from people who can't give me the most basic things i ever needed yet can lavish gifts for a special ocassion if that makes sense and doesn't sound horribly ungrateful?

i guess that goes back to the pay offs my dad used to give me that somehow were meant to compensate for not standing up for me or sticking his neck out - that secretive telling me he's on my side really and stuffing a tenner in my teenage hand. my sister does massive overspend which makes me uncomfortable and used to make me embarrassed that i didn't have as much to spend till i decided actually that was fine and small thoughtful gifts mean more to me and most people than a show of money. i also hate the way she'll try and outshine my gifts to my son by buying him a ton of overpriced stuff - it just seems like really bad manners to me like wearing white at a wedding or something.

sure when old enough he might see these things for what they are but for a small child all those gifts are soooo enticing and god knows how they're going to be used as bait this year. i guess i'll have to pre-empt that by maybe allowing them an hour on christmas eve when they can bring his presents over and put them under the tree here. that would NEVER be allowed usually as he'd have to open them there, in their presence and have it decided which ones he was actually allowed to take home and what had to stay there - though he's started wising up to that nonsense already and being pretty forceful about wanting to take things HOME so he can play with them and voicing his confusion as to why they'd give him something then refuse to let him take it to his own home. very typical i know.

god this is a long waffle isn't it?

the memories that are springing to mind today are of hellish christmas' having to smile and be grateful to people who a day before were laying into you emotionally, after maybe months of a hellish period of drama and abuse, but knowing you have to smile and perform even when they start sniping and digging at each other and you or it's all going to come lashing out at you.

my mother was mostly the ignoring kind and my defense was mostly to be as invisible as humanly possible. think this is where in times of stress or upset or difficulty my instinct is to isolate and hibernate. whereas danger or hurt makes some people run to others and seek support i go underground as the safest bet. i've been working on that for a while though and started trusting the odd friend on more than a superficial level and practised asking for help with stuff. i started seeing a counsellor not long ago but it got interupted by life stuff - i will resume seeing her and use our sessions to focus on this stuff.

i had been reluctant to drag over the past again as i 'get it' already and dragging over it has never helped and i'd learnt to deal with it by having boundaries and limited contact etc. now though it feels like this is a closing a door and moving forward type moment and so revisiting it all will probably have a more significant value iyswim.

way too long a post - thanks to anyone who managed to read all this self indulgent waffle!

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 01-Nov-13 08:08:43

Hi Numpty (and you are most clearly not!). You are very perceptive.

Re this part of your comment:-

"that would NEVER be allowed usually as he'd have to open them there, in their presence and have it decided which ones he was actually allowed to take home and what had to stay there - though he's started wising up to that nonsense already and being pretty forceful about wanting to take things HOME so he can play with them and voicing his confusion as to why they'd give him something then refuse to let him take it to his own home".

I smiled wryly to myself on reading that particularly the part whereby they gave him something to play with then tell him to leave it behind when going home. My narcissistic MIL used to do the self same thing with my son when younger but I pulled her up on it the first time she tried it on with my son so she backed off.

Now that he is somewhat older she has scant interest in him and no interest me as his mother. I am very low contact with this woman and her enabler H (women like your mother always need a willing enabler to help them and your Dad fits that bill. Such bystander men as well act also out of self preservation and want of a quiet life).

Re Christmas make your own traditions.

It is not your fault your birth family are like this; you did not make them this way. Do not engage with them, engaging with them on any level feeds such people and they like the drama. A good rule of thumb here is that if they are too toxic for you to deal with, they are certainly too toxic for your child to have any form of contact with. Not all grandparents are kind and loving.

baytree Fri 01-Nov-13 09:33:02

It's normal for you to be worried about xmas in a dysfunctional family setting. The lavishing of gifts is for their benefit not for your sons. It's all part of the show.

So what would your new lovely mum say? She would say, plan a wonderful day for your son and yourself. Do things that make you both happy. She would say we all have moments when we need to do the family duty (even the queen). So lets take the good bits from it and ignore the bad. Expect that they are going to behave in their toxic way. Observe this in a detached way. Everytime they do this, it reaffirms how miserable and dysfunctional they are and how lucky you are to be enlightened. Plan something wonderful for you and your son post family event. (Panto visit, walk, ice skating, making a chocolate gingerbread house).

You are on the cusp of a new wonderful beginning.

baytree Fri 01-Nov-13 09:34:30

great post Attila. So right about rule of thumb comment

NumptyNameChange Fri 01-Nov-13 11:11:16


baytree what you describe is what i've done thus far and what i find i'm suddenly not willing to do anymore. i don't want to do the family event at all

i've done the teflon coating, automaton, present in the flesh but spirit tucked safely away type limited, careful contact. it does work to some degree and yet it suddenly feels like it was just a stepping stone, a survival mechanism when in reality i should just walk away entirely from the danger.

the cost could be HUGE but i think i'm willing to pay it. it's difficult - they live close by, they have my son as a pawn/guilt trip/threat/whatever and everyone is in on the game and determined to keep it going but.... dunno - there just suddenly IS a but. all of this meant i felt i had to keep going back for more and the defenses and boundaries were all i had but suddenly i don't feel like that.

i'm starting to think why should i have to defend myself? why should i have to 'cope' with crap? why limit myself to surviving? i want more than that.

don't know if i've got the 'stuff' to see it through but i want to try.

attila - firstly sorry you got landed with a mil like this! at this stage they genuinely are very 'good' to ds aside from me but i'm well aware actually it shouldn't be 'aside' from me because ds and me are a package actually. i don't want my son witnessing me being treated awfully, witnessing the shitty way my mother speaks to my father and the sulky child responses from him or the messed up pecking orders and nonsense or to learn that power is about being the scariest bully in the room. they love him and yes are good to him but that doesn't undo what being around that toxicity could do to him.

i actually just want them the fuck away from me and hang the cost - stuff the presents, ride out the tantrum from the 6yo who thinks shiny things and getting spoilt equate to love, sod the inheritance and the babysitting and the feeling of having people to fall back on if things get tough - actually none of it is worth continuing to value myself so little that i expose myself to people who a) treat me like shit even now and b) gave me an utterly miserable childhood that i've had to work like crazy to ensure didn't destroy me.

surely anything that can happen as a consequence of cutting them out has to be worth it?

NumptyNameChange Fri 01-Nov-13 11:31:37

either i'm becoming a heartless selfish bitch or i'm finally just sticking up for myself and putting myself first confused

it's so weird that the breaking point was my sister's awful behaviour being the final straw with her (ok that bit is not so odd) but then my parents not even having it in them to wish me luck for a job interview - that's such a small thing compared to things done to me over the years.

i think part of it was the contrast i was given by a close friend who despite really hating the idea of me moving away genuinely, genuinely wanted me to get the job because it would be good for me ! i could see she really didn't want me to move away but she also really wanted me to get it for my sake. normal people are capable of that! ones own parents should be capable of it. and somewhere in me some self respect has crept up that allows me to think actually i deserve that kind of care and consideration for me and my needs.

NumptyNameChange Fri 01-Nov-13 11:34:12

also wanted to say thank you so much for listening and talking this through with me. it is so hard to find people you can safely talk this kind of thing through with because they just can't comprehend that anyone can actually not love or respect or care for their own child. they find it hard to believe and unless you've experienced this kind of family it seems impossible for people to believe how complex and devious people's seemingly 'not that bad' actions can be and how they can accumulate. i'm not explaining that well but i think you'll all 'get it' which is great.

NumptyNameChange Fri 01-Nov-13 11:36:43

if i had a penny for all the times i've heard 'she must love you really', or 'she loves you deep down' i would be very rich indeed. people just don't want to face that actually a mother can not only NOT love her child she can actively hate it and want to sabotage it from it's earliest years of life.

my mother used to call me the devil's child and tell me i was unlovable and anyone who loved me just 'didn't know me like she did'. this was from as young as i can remember. people can't compute that a mother can be like that - especially one who goes to church and presents herself totally differently with outsiders.

NumptyNameChange Fri 01-Nov-13 11:39:31

sorry - more rant:

it seems difficult for people to believe that there are human beings who have never, never said sorry in their life to you or admitted they were wrong about ANYTHING (even down to arguing that a daddy long legs is a spider ffs and refusing to acknowledge you're wrong even when it's in black and white). she has never said sorry, admitted being wrong or told me she loves me EVER and she never will.

how do you explain someone like that to people who haven't dealt with such a person? they sound made up, too extreme but they are real.

VikingLady Fri 01-Nov-13 11:56:34

Well done! Also, tantrums about toys will fade quite quickly (kids are fickle) but you always remember long term stress from toxic family. Your DS might not seem to notice much of it yet but he'd notice more and more each year.

Keep applying for distant jobs! grin

DoYourKegels Fri 01-Nov-13 14:32:00

You are doing great. I don't blame you for wanting to go NC. They all sounds absolutely fucking hideous.

I often wonder if I'm just a chicken for not going NC, but actually it is mostly okay and just bubbles under - partly because my dad lives on another continent. But I do think that it won't take much to push me over into NC with my dad. And who knows, maybe it will just be a 'little' thing like you are experiencing.

Only you know what you are ready to bear. It sounds like you have a very good idea of the emotional fallout and pressure that will result. Getting a job far away sounds absolutely perfect.

NumptyNameChange Fri 01-Nov-13 14:37:38


have just chatted things through with a friend on the phone working out worst case scenarios of what they will do to me.

the one thing she has over me is my son. she can slate me to extended family members and that has no effect because i gave up on those relationships years ago knowing that she would have poisoned opinion and played them and there'd be nothing i could do to change it and also through knowing none of them had ever stuck up for me or seen through her or whatever. i've given up on keeping my dad in my life knowing that he would do anything for a quiet life and my sister is totally in it with her. so basically no cards to play there.

the worst case scenario i can think of is her trying to get my son taken away. i can sadly imagine her calling ss and trying to make out i was an incompetent mother and being arrogant enough to think that her saying i had mental health problems would be enough. i've thought it through and realistically ss would see through it - they'd check with my doc who would say i was honest, cooperative and proactive with my health issues, they'd check with schools and ds's health records and find zero cause for concern and they'd come look at my house and see yes, i am less than the perfect housekeeper but there are toys, food, bed, washing facilities, books etc and nothing to cause concern.

that's the 'biggest' she could go imo and i've rationally thought it through and realised it would get her nowhere.

HA! got interupted by my dad at the door with a cake that is ds's favourite that they've realised will go out of date whilst they're away hmm also my key that asked to have back saying that i'll need to leave it with someone who is around (no good it being at there's whilst htey're away) but obviously really about not wanting them to have a key to my house full stop. tried to engage me in conversation about what's going on despite me saying not in front of ds, not appropriate etc and got some 'don't know what you've got into your head' malarchy but just smiled and stonewalled and got rid.


NumptyNameChange Fri 01-Nov-13 14:42:20

this is actually the most attention i've had from them in YEARS just when i don't bloody want it.

Stepmooster Fri 01-Nov-13 15:35:24

Numpty - I went NC from my mother, and coming from a small village where everyone knows your business and you have relatives around every corner it was a whole lot easier to just move away. I moved to the south coast and started a new life. It was the best thing I ever did, it's hard to go NC when you can bump into the person you are supposed to be not speaking to at the shop etc and then there is all the explaining to 'do-gooders' trying to get you to change your mind.

If you move away, then you could limit contact to Christmas cards and the occasional phone call - thinking more for your nieces and nephews benefit. If your DS is in a completely different environment he is going to adapt and probably won't care come next xmas as you will be living a new life.

Although I know moving away is not always possible or desirable, but it does make going NC a lot easier and also remaining in contact with other family members in very occasional small doses. You won't be accused of going NC just that you moved away.

baytree Sat 02-Nov-13 09:38:04

Hi Numpty, some good advice from Step,DYK and VL.

What may help is to write a diary, so that in the future you can look back and it re-confirms to you weren't wrong. Being NC is stressful at first. It is easy to doubt and question yourself as when a family turn on you, you are the odd one out. By having a diary you can re-read what did happen. For example you could write how your sister threw you out of her house without coats or keys to your own house. Totally unacceptable in the cold light of re-reading as diary.

It is also something you can be proactive about. I am NC with my siblings and minimal contact with my dad. When I stood up for myself they all turned on me, stopped talking to me actually, but then claimed I had stopped contacting them! A diary has helped me to know what really did happen and it wasn't me being hidious it was them. I am soo much happier now. In fact I am having the best time of my life. It's taken me 5 decades to get there but it is worth it

baytree Sat 02-Nov-13 09:46:11

I've just re-read your post dysfunctionally normal and so much of it rings true with me. I could be you!

NumptyNameChange Sat 02-Nov-13 11:20:07

thanks all. really hoping the turning up unannounced business is over now but will kind of be holding my breath till they go away. at least i have my key back.

moving is currently not really an option but definitely something to work towards but whereas i thought i 'had' to move to be able to do this i now realise that i don't have to put it off till x, y or z but can just do it now. obviously would be easier if i lived far away but i don't so here we are.

with me gone i guess they will all have to start eating each other - the saf as scapegoat business will presumably run out of steam if saf never appears iyswim.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now