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How do you go NC with someone? This is so long you might need a fag and a gin and a sleeping bag!(35 Posts)
I think I need to go NC with my mother. She wasn't physically abusive (beyond the ususal 1970s upbringing!), she didn't bring home a string of men (been married to my father for more than 40 years), she doesn't turn up drunk at my house and throw rocks at the window or do anything that would get her an immediate red card. But she is awful.
She is never, has never and will never be satisifed. With anything. You give her a choice of 3 desserts, she wants a third.
She makes these asides, these little comments without thinking. For example on my wedding day she told me that it was a shame my wedding dress didn't emphasise my boobs more "because they are your only asset". The day I received the results of my first degree I called her to say I'd got a 2:1, she said "You could have got a first if you'd ever done any work". When I began showing at 14 weeks with DS1 she said "You're just fat".
When she does think about it and she screws up her face really hard she can say pleasant things like "I'm surprised that you're such a good mother" or "I love you sooo much" but it's so insencere and often followed by a barbed comment.
I have pulled her up on this in the past. She goes global. Long ago my Dad used to be the voice of reason but he has become increasingly cowed and is no longer the man I grew up with.
I have remained in contact with her so that I could have a relationship with my Dad, my sister and my niece (who all fucking live with her). My niece is 16, I think she's old enough to see me by herself now.
It sounds petty, all of it. The crux is that I think she is deeply unpleasant. You can never know which foot to dance on with her. I don't trust her. I cannot be relaxed or comfortable in my own skin around her. She lies - denies things she has said, rewrites history - and I can't stand the hypocrisy. She is manipulative and selfish. She has contributed greatly to the fact that I skipped breakfast and lunch today because I had a small slice of cake mid morning.
I want to go NC. At the moment I am ignoring her calls. Do I just continue to do that?
Do I talk to her about it? Write? Explain my feelings? If I felt that I could explain my position I probably wouldn't want her out of my life.
Do I have a big row with her? Move house with no forwardimg address - house is on market ATM so possible?
How do I deal with the fact that this will ruin relationships with loads of other people?
I worry slighly that I am unhinged and that she's actually a cross between Mary Berry and Mother Theresa.
I'm at a loss. I would appreciate any advice.
You sound very level-headed about it all.
NC is an option, if you want to take it. If you have the strength, you could also stay in contact, while maintaining emotional detachment. Or you may find that you have achieved emotional detachment through a period of NC, and are able to re-establish contact on a new basis after a time of NC (this is what worked for me, but YMMV).
You will find the solution that works best for you.
Regarding rows and letters, I have tried both as well, and can report with some confidence that they are pointless. Only do them if you think it will do you good: it certainly won't make a blind bit of difference to her. Instead I heartily recommend writing that letter, but never sending it, and having that row, but with a pillow or other inanimate object. You'll get it out, and you won't be faced with the frustration of an unchanged mother with bonus narcissist meltdown.
I also recommend the Stately Homes thread, and all the resources linked at the start of that thread.
I think ignoring calls for long enough probably constitutes NC. However, you may not find it satisfying. You have to be clear about your motives and what it is you are trying to achieve. To me, at least, you appear to want her to acknowledge your feelings rather than exclude her and, whether you're NC or not NC, you are unlikely to achieve that. Big rows can actually be cathartic by contrast. Acknowledgement is still unlikely but at least you have had the opportunity to articulate your opinion and assert yourself.
Others will disagree with me but, in your specific situation where the main problems are manipulation and selfishness, I think you can often derive more self-esteem from asserting yourself forcibly than you can from walking away.
For example on my wedding day she told me that it was a shame my wedding dress didn't emphasise my boobs more "because they are your only asset".
Serious question, do you think she may have Aspbergers or be autistic?
This is the kind of thing people with that sort of syndrome say. They have no empathy and do not understand why comments like this are hurtful.
Of course she may just be nasty.
This is also a good resource to read re going no contact:-
I think she is being just plain bloody nasty rather than being anywhere on the ASD spectrum. It actually makes me cross when I see ASD being mentioned because ASD does not automatically equal abusive behaviour like your mother has done and continues to do. Her behaviour is both selfish and entitled.
People who have no empathy are more often than not narcissistic in terms of personality.
I am NC with my mother who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
It was quite easy for me. I challenged her on her behaviour and she went nuclear and she went NC with me.
Instead of follwoing it up like I usually would, I stayed NC and made it clear to family members that I wanted it to stay like that.
Other than the odd squabble with SIL around Christmas arrangements, it has been plain sailing. Best decision of my life.
Be prepared or her to claim she is depressed/ill/dying and to send in the "flying monkeys" to tell you what a rotten daughter you are. You have to tell them you are not prepared to discuss it with them, you have your reasons etc.
You can avoid her - put her off with some excuse - for a while if you need a little time to think how you want to do this.
What HamptonCourt described happened to us as a family as well. The narcissistic behaviour was challenged, the narcissist went nuclear as a result and he decided thereafter to go no contact with us. He saved us doing the job. Peace mostly for us ever since.
It doesn't have to be a major confrontation if she is anything like mine.
I simply asked her, during one of her routine rants, "Why are you shouting at me? Do NOT shout at me in my home."
She was absolutely outraged that I would stand up for myself and hasn't spoken a word to me since
<waves to other Stately Homers>
My experience is quite similar to Hampton's in that I didn't answer her calls after she'd been slagging me off to my brother and she went completely nuclear for about 4 days and then just stopped speaking to me altogether. I haven't initiated any contact either, so we have now effectively been NC for about 2 months.
There have been various attempts to drag other fmaily members in, some more successful than others.
It's hurtful that my mother is such a mad old bitch, but it's more peaceful. She's currently in the process of emigrating to get away from me.
Do think about posting on Stately Homes or at least reading the links at the beginning ofthe thread.
Another Stately Homer here - it's a lovely supportive thread if you want to join in there.
It doesn't sound petty and you are not unhinged. It sounds like she is mean, and loves to undermine you and put you down, and make you feel bad. Only you know what it's really like.
I suppose it depends whether you need her to know that you're NC with her or not. You're unlikely ever to get her to see your point of view so, much as you might like to justify yourself to her, it is unlikely to bring any resolution and might leave you feeling worse than you do now.
When she realises that you've gone NC, she is likely to involve the other family members and portray you in a bad light. If you want to keep seeing them, then you will have to ask them not to relay messages from her, and not to "report back" on you to her, and this is likely to be the hardest part.
You want to go NC with her. Ok.
She goes global if you stand up to her? then NC is easy. Just plan how to handle the stress of a few arguments. Then stand up to her and keep on standing up to her. Before long, bingo, NC.
There are a few tactics she might employ like getting the family / friends to contact you to draw you back in; and you might have to put up with being badmouthed. If you care about that. Both those things are handleable if unpleasant (but you're used to unpleasantness from her).
Question tho: how far can you handle it if your father, sister and neice feel they don't dare stay in contact with you? After all, she can make their life hell. Are there ways you can stay in contact that she doesn't know about and won't ever?
If you don't want to go the route of standing up to her, then try gradually fading away. Return one call in 5. Be vague the rest of the time "oh sorry, I forgot". "Oh sorry, I missed that one". "oh, I hit delete by accident, sorry". Call less often, phone or in person. Gradually do it less and less. She'll fluffle and get angry and accuse you of all sorts of dereliction but it's very hard to hold onto someone who is behaving vaguely and refuses to get ruffled by accusations.
As good says, do look at the links on teh Stately Homes thread.
How do your sister and neice cope? it's got to be awful for them too, living there.
Thank you all so much for replying. I feel relieved that none of you have said "You're bonkers, it's all in your head, you're a bad daughter and a huge disappointment"
Goats I think I have tried to remain in contact whilst supressing my emotions for a long time. I can't reach a state of emotional detachment because I haven't managed to build the defenses to let it all wash over me. I'm very much heart over head
and a touch volatile and I genuinely don't think I can do it. I don't think I want to TBH.I just want out.
Cogito My motives are to do with self preservation and protecting my children from her. My relationship with her causes me huge anxiety and I can't live with it any more. I haven't slept past 4 am for eighteen months. A lot of that is down to that stress.
She has made me feel terrible about myself since I can remember. I don't want to give her the opportunity to do that to my children. DS1 is particularly sensitive and prone to putting himself down. I want to surround him with people who will be good to him.
Oh far from it. She is very sensitive, very oversensitive, prone to grief hijacking. She's a bitch, simple as.
The thoughtless remarks aren't so much tactless (MIL is great at those but makes me laugh because there's not a bad bone in her) as carelss. Those are the times when the mask drops and we get to see what she means.
Atilla Thank you for that link. It makes a lot of sense and I will be taking the advice from it. I'm reluctant to say she's narc because Mumsnet loves that term BUT she's self-centred, manipulative, controlling, over-indulged... "selfish and entitled" just about sums it up.
Hampton I am tempted to get her to go statospheric, it wouldn't be hard. I think we're at the stage where that needs to happen. But it will be fucking awful.
And the flying monkeys? That would be my Dad so I could pretty much say goodbye to him. I might be able to salvage a relationship with my sister if she ever gets the balls to leave home (at 42) but my mother has done everything to drive a wedge between us and it will take a lot to put that right.
Fabulassie I am ignoring calls at the moment. Soon my Dad will email me to ask me why I'm ignoring them. I guess I need that moment where I draw a line in the sand and start a new chapter.
I will join Sately Homes, thank you for suggesting that.
How do my niece and sister cope? God only knows! She is very manipulative, my sister is very trusting. She also treats us very differently.
Practically NC is easy(ish) to do because I live miles away from them. How do I explain to my kids that their grandparents are no longer in their lives? They quite like her because she buys them stuff.
I think I want a proper ending because I'm not good at grey areas and leaving things unfinished.
I think I want a proper ending because I'm not good at grey areas and leaving things unfinished
I'm afraid you're unlikely to get a "proper ending" unless she wants one too. I think you just have to get to the point where it doesn't bother you so much.
I think with your children, wait until they start asking.
Then I would actually tell them why you are not talking any more in age appropriate terms. The way I've done it in my family is to say that XXX says mean things and until she is willing to apologise and stop, we can't be in touch. It isn't ok to say mean things over and over. It's better to treat people nicely.
We've taken this tack becuase actually I think it's very important to let children know that they don't have to put up with bad behaviour from other people. It's ok to walk away from people who treat other people like shit. Haven't volunteered any details and if our son asks, I'll have to think carefully about how much to tell him. Probably just enough to give him the idea and no more. No need to make the situation worse than it is.
Regarding a proper ending ... hm, you sound angry with her. I doubt you'll ever get a reasonable response from her though The only clearly-drawn line would be if you had a blazing row.
Regarding your father, it's ok to say that you don't like the way she speaks to him. When he comes back with justifications, one answer might be "Dad, it isn't about how you feel about it. I find it unacceptable".
The way I've done it in my family is to say that XXX says mean things and until she is willing to apologise and stop, we can't be in touch. It isn't ok to say mean things over and over. It's better to treat people nicely. That's pretty much what I said to DS aged 6 after seeing Meerka's suggestion.
I think it's very important to let children know that they don't have to put up with bad behaviour from other people. It's ok to walk away from people who treat other people like shit. Totally agree with this. With my DS, he's a bit inclined to let other kids take advantage, like he lets them borrow his bike but then wants it back and they won't give it back and he gets upset, but then if they ask again he'll lend it again. It's good to reinforce for him that you don't have to do something you don't want to, that boundaries are important, that it's OK to say no, I don't want to share at the moment.
Haven't volunteered any details and if our son asks, I'll have to think carefully about how much to tell him. DS asked what nasty things Granny had said and I said that it wasn't really important what was said, the point was it upset me and so she needed to say sorry and then we talked a bit about how if you upset someone, (especially someone you love) even by accident then it's important to make amends.
Regarding a proper ending ... hm, you sound angry with her. I doubt you'll ever get a reasonable response from her though.The only clearly-drawn line would be if you had a blazing row. And even then you'll replay it endlessly in your head and it won't be a proper ending because she won't give you what you want, an apology and decent behaviour and a loving family. It's really really hard, because that's what we all want, we want them to be normal, so desperately But they're not. It's a long long hard road to accepting that and putting it to bed. The only thing you can do is what feels right at the time.
And I have been NC for over 2 months after a sort of blazing row by proxy (she bitched about me behind my back to my brother, but knows he told me and then when I wouldn't talk to her, went ballistic with phone calls, e mails, voice mails ranting at me and then silence and is now leaving the country saying I've cut her off forever) and I still struggle every day with all this shit. It all feels very messy and unfinished and painful still. There are no straight answers. Have you ever had and counselling? I'm having some sessions, which are really helping.
Meerka thank you so much for your advice, the way you have handled it sounds exactly how I need to approach it.
I'm not sure if I'm angry, but I am certainly in fight or flight mode.
Good I can see what you mean about not finding resolution from a huge argument. I guess I'd feel like less of a bad person if I had an excuse to walk away.
I have had a lot of hypnotherapy to deal with anxiety in the past. What came out of it was that my relationship with my mother has always been difficult and is the cause of huge stress,frustration, self-loathing. I have all the self-hypnosis CDs that my therapist gave me when I was seeing him. Time to use them.
I do worry that it's all in my head though, that I'm just the bad apple in the family and she's the scapegoat.
I also worry that my kids will grow up to realise they don't love me,don't like me, can't function around me and they'll go NC and I'll be all alone because I'm a spiteful,unreasonable, ungrateful bastard shit head.
Anyway, she tried to phone the landline again today. We turned off the answer machine months ago. I've blocked her number on my mobile. Another step on the road to freedom.
Thank you all so much again. It's been a lonely few
years months trying to begin this process.
I'm not on the Stately Homes thread but have been NC with my verbally and emotionally abusive father for 4 years now. I have also been NC with my manipulative and entitled sister for 2 years.
In both cases it took a row to cut the contact and then it was easy to just not get in contact again. I can't tell you how liberating it is being NC. The downside is that they aren't completely out of my life as I have 2 brothers and a sister that still talk to me about them (despite being asked not to) and I do get left out of family events.
I agree with the PP's comment about other family justifying the behaviour. I have often said to my siblings that they may feel the behaviour is acceptable, but I don't.
In your case, I'd just stand up for myself and if your mum goes nuclear, it can be the catalyst to NC. Good luck.
Also meant to add that I said exactly the same to DC as a PP and said that their grandad or aunt weren't in our lives because they didn't treat me very nicely and they made me feel bad about myself.
In fact it came up because DS(10) asked me if he'd died.
'I feel relieved that none of you have said "You're bonkers, it's all in your head, you're a bad daughter and a huge disappointment"'
Because that's what the nasty little voices in your head have been telling you, isn't it?
I relate to so much of your post OP. Loads of us on here have been through similar and we have all had moments of 'is it me? Maybe I'm just a bad daughter? She's not that bad - doesn't hit me/scream in my face/push me down the stairs etc etc etc'. You have been well brought up to consider everyone else (especially your mother) before yourself and that's not a lesson that's easy to unlearn. However, you're starting to turn that around for yourself so well done!
The very best of luck with NC - you have had loads of advice on here about how to do it. I've gone for very low contact at the moment although I don't rule out NC in the future. A couple of things that really helped me:
- psychotherapy. I'm 5 years in and I know for a fact I could not have made it to the point I'm currently at without professional support. This is dark, grim, murky stuff OP and it is hard to find your own way through it. Not saying that you can't do it alone, but I cannot recommend professional support enough if you think it might be for you
- turning down the volume on those critical voices, the ones that say you're nasty, ungrateful, spiteful, worthless, bad daughter etc. This might sound a bit mad but you can start to replace them with positive supportive voices instead. Start being kind to yourself and start praising yourself for every little thing you get right or every good decision you make. It can be as small as remembering to take an umbrella with you on a rainy day - actually say to yourself 'good work Spiders, you remembered to take an umbrella. Obviously find words that are natural to you, call yourself by a term of endearment if you want to e.g. 'well done hun, that was a good decision'. Find your own voice. Then keep it up - the more you practice, the more automatic it becomes, and soon you will find that even though the negative voices are there, they are much quieter and easier to tune out
- ride the waves. Remind yourself why you're doing this. You mentioned the word 'freedom'. Getting rid of toxic, nasty people from your life really does feel like a freedom you may not have experienced before. The joyful, freeing moments will become more frequent and will get you through the waves of guilt and self-doubt.
Good luck - you can do it
Sounds like my mother although I am not NC but I never telephone her and visit every few months.
She has said some really hurtful things in the past and that coupled with the sun always shining out of sister's arse has made me not want bother.
I have never talked about it in front of the children but now they are older they have started to notice how she is and she has said things to them which haven't been nice. My DC ignore her.
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