Talk

Advanced search

My mother has cut me out of her life - long sorry

(1000 Posts)
Pages Fri 17-Nov-06 16:57:06

I posted on here a while back asking the question "Would you cut your mother out of your life" because of a really hurtful thing she did to me which she refuses to apologise for. I think my position has always been that it would be the last resort - I think my question should really have read "would you risk your mother cutting you out of HER life?". Well I risked it and she has...

Sorry to go over old ground but she told me over a year ago that my SIL found it hard to be around my son who has special needs. I didn't confront my brother and SIL until recently because they are really unapproachable and part of me felt that I had to just live with it. It came out a few months ago in a bit of heated discussion with my brother about something else. I immediately apologised to my mum for the way I had delivered it to my brother but said I felt it did need to be addressed (I have to protect my son, he will pick up on people's feelings about him). My mum denied having said anything of the sort and she, my SIL and brother all called me a liar (SIL said some really nasty things) and said I had invented the whole conversation, and my mum got the rest of the family to gang up on me.

My mum has said very little to my face but has badmouthed me and manipulated behind the scenes including trying to get the one (older)brother who has stood by me against me against me, accusing me of splitting up the family, etc.

Me and my older brother sent her an email telling her that we don't like the way the family operates, the scapegoating, backstabbing, and manipulating that goes on. We also told her that we wanted her to acknolwedge how bad our childhood was (my stepdad was physically and emotionally abusive to us both for several years, my mum left us home alone when we were really small, etc). We told my mum that this has really affected our lives (Neither me or b have much inner confidence and I still have nightmares about the past. I am having counselling now).

My mum said nothing to me and b but showed my younger brother and sister the letter (even though we asked her not to and to talk to us about it instead)and my sister had a go at me, said my mum was really upset and had told her what had "really happened" and that we had made it all up, it wasn't that bad. I sent an email asking to be treated with more respect or be left alone. I heard nothing from any of them till now.

My mum recently started texting and contacting my older b, we are both certain she was doing her usual "divide and rule" bit, trying to get him on side so I am the one left out. He emailed her back a few days ago and said she must apologise to me for calling me a liar and take on board our concerns if she wants a relationship with either of us. I have to say, I never wanted to issue ultimatums, but could not live with the alternatives which would be to just not be myself or true to myself.

My mum has emailed him back and said it is too late, we have both hurt her to much and it is beyond redemption and that we need to sort our own lives out and leave her to get on with hers. She called me false because I had a close relationship with her and never said anything like this before. I accept that I did used to just say "the past is the past" and because I have always been too petrified of losing her to ever cross her, so have accepted blame, guilt, comments behind my back about me and DH, and have carried on being loving and compliant towards her till now. We did have a "close" relationship but on the basis that I agreed with everything she said.

I feel okay, actually. I suppose I have been slowly accepting this may be the outcome for months. But I can't quite believe that rather than discuss things, debate things, get things out into the open and (what is hardest for her - apologise)so we can move on to a new and better level in our dealings with her she is willing instead to lose two of her children. Just feel sad about that really...

boboggglimpopo Fri 17-Nov-06 17:01:24

I am sorry to say but it sounds as though you are better off without your mother and her issues (no doubt guilt amongst them) in your life.

Overrunnerbean Fri 17-Nov-06 17:01:54

I don't blame you for feeling sad. It sounds like you have been really brave for tackling this at last.
It may seem like it has all been for nothing, but you may well find that given a bit of time she might come around.
Its one thing to talk about cutting people out of your life, another to actually maintain this stance over time.
She may well have to address these issues yet.

Pages Fri 17-Nov-06 17:05:40

PS I suppose I was being false in a way, but not consciously. I didn't know the extent of my true feelings till this all happened recently - they were buried under hers.

hatoff Fri 17-Nov-06 17:08:38

Feel really sad for you. It's a really awful situation to be in one I can't imagine but I think you are an adult now and your mum is not helping/being what a mum should be. I can't explain properly but would say if you can deal with the loss that surely that must be better than dealing with your mum. What about the counselling... are you able to think this through with them?

southeastastra Fri 17-Nov-06 17:09:26

blimey i really feel for you! what an awful situation

FioFio Fri 17-Nov-06 17:09:33

Message withdrawn

foxinsocks Fri 17-Nov-06 17:17:30

oh Pages my love, I was wondering how you were doing.

I guess this result was one possibility of you standing up to your mother - because that is what you have done here. And I am so pleased to hear that your lovely brother is still standing by you.

I am so sorry your mother has chosen this path - but that is what she has done - she has chosen to be deliberately obtuse - it's not your fault, it's no reflection on you as a person. It may be that she feels unable to face up to the past and the way she (and her partner) treated you - it may be that she really is truly unpleasant! - I don't know, but I do think you are very strong and I am so sorry that this is playing on your mind and causing you torment.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 17-Nov-06 18:02:36

Pages,

It is very interesting how your Mother has made out that she is the one being hurt here. Typical toxic parent behaviour that.

Your Mother is blaming you primarily because she cannot or will not face up to what has happened in the past.

You are better off concentrating instead on your own family unit. She has been very crafty e-mailing your older brother (the one who has previously sided with you) to get him on her side - divide and conquer indeed.

Toxic parents have not got the capacity to discuss issues openly - if they did they would not be toxic parents otherwise.

Pages Fri 17-Nov-06 19:26:58

Thanks everyone! Yes Fio, my youngest brother and sister are half brother and sister (both have different dads from me and my two "real" brothers, who are one older and one younger than me - but much closer in age). I don't expect the younger two to understand the dysfunction in this family - as my older b said it has taken me and him all our adult lives to realise!

And thank you for saying I seem genuine Fio. One of the reasons I do believe I am better off without my mum is because she paints me in such a bad light. No-one else experiences me as this false person who makes up lies, is hurtful and twists things. It's just her. Whatever my faults none of my friends, partners or DH has ever claimed that I'm someone who makes things up. My counsellor and I have talked about little else for the last 5 months! He told me today that is not his experience of me either, and that none of this is my fault. I find him genuine too so I believe him.

I know what you say is true. I have changed in the last few months and do trust my feelings a lot more so am not as crushed as I might have been. We held a mirror up to my mum and she didn't like what she saw. But thanks for the virtual hugs...I still feel a bit abandoned and like I don't have a mum anymore. Think I am going to have to go out and adopt a new one!!!

JennyLeevesmilkandcookiesforSa Fri 17-Nov-06 19:47:35

also have toxic mother who would cut me off if I pushed it too much .so I feel sympathy for you. I hope you and your older brother continue to be family to one another and try to let her go, she is awful for you and your family and you do not deserve it.

edam Fri 17-Nov-06 19:50:46

How very sad. But sounds like you are much better off without her (and your younger siblings who choose to collude with her).

Blondie79 Fri 17-Nov-06 19:58:42

It is v sad and I could never imagine it because I am so close to my mum but I think you have a fab brother!

Greensleeves Fri 17-Nov-06 20:02:06

Hi Pages.

I know how you feel. This will be my first Christmas without my mother, and my younger brother. I feel pretty bleak about it too, which is NOT the same as regretting the actions I took that precipitated the breaking up of our family. I regret that we were the sort of family that couldn't have a healthy and non-toxic relationship. I don't regret ending the destrcutive and negative pattern we were in.

It's a horrendous feeling, isn't it. All I can say is that I think you did the right thing - in fact I don't think they left you with any other choice. You haven't lied, you haven't been cruel. She has made her own decisions.

Sorry I can't say anything more comforting. I understand how you feel, though. Don't let it spoil your enjoyment of your children.

Pages Fri 17-Nov-06 20:29:47

Hi Greensleeves - I was hoping you might pop onto this thread and I have been wondering how you have been doing too. You too know that you have done the right thing and that you were left with no choice.

I am sure I will go through the whole range of emotions in the next few weeks but I have to say that I have actually been looking forward to Christmas for the first time in years, knowing that I will be spending it with people who genuinely love me for who I am, not having to deal with all the politics of the last few years (last year my mum upset DH and then blamed him for ruining her Christmas because he didn't come to the family do - it was horrible anyway, I hated every minute and couldn't wait to get away) and the preceeding weeks of when and where we were going to get together and how much we should spend on each other - my mum doing her cold stony silence thing - it just made me sick to the stomach. I have always felt inadequate and worried that I will be later "gossipped about" when with my family.

This year I know I don't have any of that to deal with and found myself inexplicably happy a couple of days ago at seeing lights outside someone's house.

Pages Fri 17-Nov-06 20:46:09

Have to add that my mum said she would never feel the same way about DH again (even though it was her who upset him) and she avoided coming round my house for several months until I realised she was avoiding us and sweet talked her. God, so many things she has made me feel bad about...

Greensleeves Fri 17-Nov-06 21:00:54

That is lovely to hear Pages . I must admit although it's all weighing quite heavily on me lately, there have also been flashes of wild excitement at the thought of doing things our way, at our pace, with no poisonous "atmosphere". It keeps taking me by surprise. I am looking forward to taking the children to a Christingle service, watching them open their stockings in their PJs, no hurry, no worry - it's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows at the moment. As soon as I start looking forward to something the guilt hits me again.

I hope you do have a lovely Christmas, you deserve it.

orangecake Fri 17-Nov-06 21:07:06

Pages, sorry to hear that you are going through this.

Myself and my sisters also had an abusive upbringing at the hands of our dad (physical and emotional abuse BIG time)

I am now 36 years old (the youngest of 3) and we are STILL struggling to overcome the damage that our upbringing did to us. I harboured a lot of resentment towards my mum for a long time becauase she never did enough to protect us but I understand now that she was just as frightened of him as we were.

My dad died 3 years ago and in many ways it simplified things, but never once has my mum attempted to apologise or say that she wished things had been different.

As it happens, i now have a good relationship with my mum (I have learn't not to try and bring up the past anymore though).

Your situation seems more complicated though and it's awful that the siblings have been divided over this (at least me and my sisters were unanimous of our hatred towards him). I think that your mum is playing you off against one another and that seems like a very childish and manipulative thing to do (sorry)

From your posts, you seem like a lovely lady and I don't blame you for wanting to put your child first.You are doing the one thing for your own child, thatour mother couldn't do for you and I hope she feels ashamed.

Keep your family close to you and stay close to your older brother if possible.

harrisey Sat 18-Nov-06 01:04:40

pages - I know how hard it is to get to this stage with your mother.
I havent seen my Mum for 2 years or spoken to her for 18 months. This is because she is unwilling to accept that I have been ill, and is convinced that there is 'more' going on that I am teling her (I suffered very badly with kidney problems after my dd2 was born and my mother thinks I was making it up!!).

IMO you are better off when you don't have contact. My mother has not been part of my everyday life since she left my Dad, me, my sister and brother when I was 12 to run off with my Dad's best friend. I know I am not important in her life, and will not put my children in the situation of being unimportant in their granny's life, they have 2 loving Grandmothers (MIL and my stepmum) and Grnadfathers (FIL and my Dad), and she does not deserve contact with them.

When you get to the stage that this is just 'how it is', then things become easier. But I have always felt guilty about it - it feels like it is up to me to fix it all, but my Mum wants to lecture me and at age 35, 23 years after she chose to no longer be my everyday mother, I dont have to take it from her any more!

I feel likw I am being awful and unforgiving, but keeping her (and my sister, who sides with her) out of my life, is the best way to keep my own true family happy and secure. I just wish I could see my Gran, who lives with mum, more often.

sandcastles Sat 18-Nov-06 07:33:43

Pages, honey...I am so sorry.

I know you have heard this, and know this. But she will never accept that she was wrong, she will never apologise, just like my mum. I have told you what happened with us & that last time I saw her & she blanked me was he hardest moment in my life for a long time. I really thought she would say something, especially as she knew I was emigrating!

Your mum either thinks she has done nothing, is too stubborn to back down or won't as she will lose face with the others. If she admits she was wrong they will all know about the lies she has told to cover her own arse, sorry, but she just isn't going to do it, you need to make peace with that and move on.

It is very sad, when a mother 'gives up' her child. But I really think now you have to say 'ok, you know what, I know I have been honest, caring & kind, I know I am/was right so now I will walk away...hold my head high and not let it over shadow my life'

Your siblings will find out what she is like...in their time, when they stop complying with her wishes & whims and you will be the one they run too...you will not use 'I told you so' You will comfort them like you have no idea what they are going thru, because YOU are the better person here.

Good luck, I know it is hard...but you will feel better in the long run!

Pages Sat 18-Nov-06 08:00:47

Thanks, I was thinking about your mother Sancastles, she does sound similar to mine. I think I have got to the acceptance stage but still feel the guilt like some of you describe, as if I should try and fix it. (I'm not going to of course).

She has turned things around so that she is the victim of my actions and failed to acknowledge the hurt she has caused to me. I do feel guilt that our letter to her was quite harsh and I knew it would upset her but everything we said was true and was not said intending to be cruel. We just wanted her to acknowldege what had happened in the past and that she failed to protect us, as well as the way she plays us off against each other, uses me and b as the scapegoats for bad feeling in the family, that sort of thing. I don't think there is any way we could have challenged her about it all that wouldn't have hurt her.

sandcastles Sat 18-Nov-06 08:24:45

So your letter was harsh? How was her treatment of you? Harsher still by the sounds of it!

Of course you feel guilty, you don't sound like the person to hurt people. But you need to let go off that guilt, that is what will eat you up inside.

Whe you get a guilt attack for hurting her with the letter, think about how SHE hurt YOU. I promise, you're guilt will soon fade!

I know it's easy for me to say...I have had 13 years to contend with my feelings. But I can say you will feel better and judging by your excitement for Christmas..maybe you already are..slowly!

Just step back and remember/think how richer your life is now, less stressful, less toxic, less complicated. Just how it should be!

Pages Sat 18-Nov-06 08:37:22

Thanks Sandcastles, I was wondering what the original event that led to your mum blanking you was?

I don't like hurting my mum but she always has a way of doing something that upsets me and then if I dare to tell her so she goes into the victim role and tells me I am this and that and how hurtful I am(I twist things is her favourite). The only reponse we have had to the stuff in our childhood is to say that of course we remember things differently, we were children (and she told my sister "what really happened"). Presumably because she was an adult her memories were more accurate...I must have imagined my stepdad using me as a punchbag. And her coldness to me after he had done so.

sandcastles Sat 18-Nov-06 09:24:21

It's a long story but I'll try & condense it..

I have always been aware that she never wanted me, she told me that my dad raped her to get her pg.

age 16, she moved in her toyboy (he was 19 yrs younge than her) she started to treat me like a lodger, making me pay more than 60% of my weekly wage in rent + extra for food, water, phone bill.

He once asked her if diy abortions worked (we were watching an old film all about the 60's) she told him (in front of me) that they don't, as I was still born even tho she tried twice. (I do have a CL that can almost certainly back up her story.

She started hitting me one day for sticking up for dh's family as she was staying nasty things about them. I admit I was mouthing off, but you should have heard what she was saying & she didn't even know them. She just kept hitting me around the head & shoulders (I was sitting , she was standing)

When I moved out, she didn't help & wouldn't come to the flat unless I asked her. She wouldn't help me carry boxes, instead leaving it to my heavily pg sister to help.

She got married after I moved out, caused a row at her wedding with me, I stormed off, dh (then bf) stormed after me. Her new dh said "you are no longer part of my family & not welcome in this house" I asked her if she felt the same, she said yes.

I cancelled a policy and was to recieve 500gbp, but she sent in a forged letter from me (the cheque went to her house, for some reason the company hadn't changed my address) to change the cheuqe into her name. She spent the money on herself & dh. I couldn't bring myself to speak to her after that & cut her off. She kept the money because "I owed her for raising a child she didn't want"

She sent me 2 letters, one when my brother told her to stay out of his life, she was shit stirring with his then wife and another when her dh left her. Pity letters, I need you letters...the only reason she needed me was because she had lost someone else, that hurt more than anything.

She tried to find out where I was getting married 'because I want to ruin the bitches day' she told my sister.

She sent a card when dd was born, I sent her a letter saying 'please feel free to get in touch if you would like to meet dd' It was her youngest grandchild, afterall. I never heard from her again. No birthday cards for dd, letters, Christmas cards...NOTHING!

Then that day in the post office...just blank. I told my sister that after knowing she never wanted me & her having reject me several times in the past, I couldn't have said anything, the rejection would have broken me.

So she let her last born leave the country, never to be seen by her again. That suits me, Pages. It's a rejection I just can't handle anymore!

And if anyone here thinks they know me in RL, the certainly will now!

sandcastles Sat 18-Nov-06 09:29:32

Add to that the entire lack of affection. Never once did I hear I love you. She wouldn't visit me in hospital after an op, I was 9, had just woken up form the GA, spitting blood & crying for her, she told the nurse when she phoned that she couldn't come because she had to go work the next day.

I couldn't have left knowing my dd was under GA!

Dior Sat 18-Nov-06 09:32:50

Message withdrawn

vitomum Sat 18-Nov-06 09:52:52

pages you are very brave and i know this has been going on a long time for you. Just two observations about a couple of the things still bothering you:

remember this whole situation was precipitated by your desire to do what is best for your ds. That makes you a protective mum not a confrontationalist / ultimatum issuer.

secondly, maybe your letter was harsh but then it is not your job to counsel your mum and help her come to terms with the fact she was a crap / abusive parent. And to be realistic if she hasn't done that now then she is probably so entrenced in her denial that she never will without umpteen hours of psychotherapy. People rarely have these defining moments of clarity from a one off conversation, letter etc (except in films!)

i hope you have the lovely christmas you so obviously deserve. take care.

sandcastles Sat 18-Nov-06 09:56:16

Dior, thank you. It was pretty awful at the time, and for a long while after.

I am lucky tho, was just thinking today, while with MIL, how lovely she is, how she treats me like a dauhgter, not a DIL.

My mother is way behind me now.

Pages Sat 18-Nov-06 10:22:06

How awful Sandcastles. She sounds like a nasty piece of work. I like you am lucky to have sweet and loving in-laws. MIL is very loving to me but I guess our roles are reversed as she is 80+ so it is more me looking after her. I don't mind cos she's lovely - but sometimes you just need a maternal type hug don't you (my mum never told me she loved me as a child and I remember her pushing me away saying I was too old for all that. We did hug in my adult years but it wasn't in a maternal way, it felt more like me hugging her).

Vitomum, what you said has really helped. I am not going to apologise for the fact that she was a crap/abusive mum. If she wants redemption she will have to find it elsewhere.

sandcastles Sat 18-Nov-06 10:35:46

She is a nasty piece of work.
She had 2 affairs before my dad left, he took my brother with him and asked for his school uniform as he couldn't afford to get more. Oh she sent it to him....cut into small pieces.
She threw away my brothers coat that he left for me as a comfort.
Dad sent me & my sister a bag of Easter eggs, she smashed them up & sent them back.
She sold our family dog because she was unable to control her, even tho my dad said he would come and get her.
She took us me & my sister out every Saturday, saying she was doing it because dad hadn't turned up for access meets, he did turn up, but we left an hour before he was due!
She cheated on my step dad (with the toyboy)
She is having an affair with a married man. His wife is a bitch who doesn't deserve him but deserves what she gets (so my mother tells my sister!)

My MIL & SIl are the best..oh & FIL too! Lol.

They have made my move to Oz so easy, they never critisize, nag, moan. We even lived with them for 6 weeks, and it was easier than a week at an aunts in the UK!

Coolmama Sat 18-Nov-06 10:38:58

Hi Pages - first, let me say that I am so glad to hear that you sound so much stronger! I was thinking back to your original posts and you sound like a different woman to me - which is great - it means that wonderful changes are happening and, even if you are unaware of them, believe me, they are!!

I am sad for you that it has all come to this as I'm sure it must seem so final to you. But, there is a lot of good in that because it will mean that, once and for all, this whole sorry mess needs to be walked away from - you're facing the right direction and your feet are moving forward, so just keep walking!!!!!

You will have moments of guilt about letters, things said etc, but remember that your mother is quite manipulative and, far from being the victim, she knows exactly what she is doing. Which again makes it easier for you to distance yourself. Your personal landscape has changed and you now have the joy of creating your own new one which only includes people you want to surround yourself with.

Now, take a big deep breath of lovely fresh air far away from any toxic fumes, go and hug your DS and look forward to christmas!!!!

Pages Sat 18-Nov-06 12:44:24

Thanks Coolmama - I do feel like I'm walking on air at the moment (interspersed with a few anxiety pangs!). I know from past experience that my emotions will change from day to day for a while yet but you are right, I feel I finally have closure and am able to move forward - and subtle shifts ARE happening - I am noticing at work, with DH, in all areas of my life I need less reassurance than I did and am more able to recognise my own truths.

Mummymonster Sat 18-Nov-06 15:25:39

Hey Pages. Understanding hugs to you.

I cut my 'toxic parent' (cheers Attila, that sums it all up) mother out of my life when I was 6 mth pg with DS. I was unable to continue playing her mindgames which always left me hurt. Plus I needed to be strong for my baby and I was not going to let my child be subject to her toxic ways. I didn't tell her about DS but she found out when he was about 9 mths. I said she was welcome back into our lives but she needed to address the damage she had caused in the past. She refused to even acknowledge that the physical/emotional/phsychological abuse ever occured and blame myself and my brother for it while claming it never happened. (?)

Well I haven't relented. Around Easter time she left a note with some old stuff saying enigmatically that she was 'moving out of the area' I assumed she expected me to make contact but I didn't. I think she now feels she has the upperhand and has cut me out. BTW I found out that 'out of the area' meant less than 4 miles away, still in the same postal area ffs! More toxic mindgames. She also did not let her mother (76) or father (80) know either and they have no idea why she did that. More mindgames huh.

Ah well, so long as she's happy and safe. As a Mum I do miss the relationship SIL has with MIL but I would never have had that anyway. I have to say deep down it's for the best all round.

I'm so sorry for your troubles, I really am. I can't make any suggestions but I want to offer cyber hugs,tea and cakes and to let you know you're not alone

Pages Sun 19-Nov-06 11:10:50

Had a chat with my best friend last night - was feeling annoyed that my mum has yet again called me false because I had till recently said she was a good mum and that the past was the past. She has told my brother it is beyond redemption because she will never believe anything I say again. Tbh the one time I tried to confront her about the stuff my stepdad did (10 years ago) she laid such a guilt trip on me that I soon gave it up and have spent the last 10 years having conversations with her where she says "I know you think I am a bad mother" and me responding with "no you are a good mum, the past is the past" and coming up with examples of how she is a good mother to make her feel better.

I guess I had convinced myself it was past as well as her. That was how I felt at the time. And also she has been a good mum in many ways but that is not the whole picture. What happened recently, her showing yet again that she will put her feelings first and always let me take a bullet for her, dragged up the stuff from the past that I thought was dead and buried. Does that make sense? But it is precisely because of the fear of her abandoning me if I ever say what I really think that I have buried my own true feelings before. Plus, I think when something bad happenes it does drag up old feelings. My best friend thinks I should tell her this, and that she has just confirmed my worst fears by abandoning me now that I have let my true feelings out.

I am not sure it is worth it. The urge is partly there to set the record straight but on the other hand I want to draw a line under this and move on from here. She will not change and if she wants to spend the rest of her life thinking I am a liar who can't be trusted to tell the truth, then I guess it is up to her...what do you think?

Pages Sun 19-Nov-06 11:20:14

Also since having my own children the feelings have been nearer the surface because I love them so deeply and desperately I think I would probably want to kill anyone who hurt a hair on their heads, and so it makes me find it harder to understand that not only did my mum watch that happen to me but she actually turned her back on me after it had happened as if it was my own fault.

sandcastles Sun 19-Nov-06 11:27:28

Pages, it is, of course, entirely your own choice. But I have to say, draw the line, please.

Opening up any form of communtication with her will just let her berate, belittle & upset you. You seem to be moving on, it may well set you back.

You will be back to square 1.

She has already proved that no matter what you say/do, she won't accept her part in the past & the pain it has caused/continues to cause you.

I wrote a 4 page letter to my mother, told her everything, how I felt unloved, under valued, used, betrayed EVERYTHING. Never mailed it tho, because she would have just shown my sister & belittled me even more. I kept it, still have it. It houses my demons, I feel as long as I have this letter then they are inside that envelope and not inside me. Does that make sense?

Mummymonster Sun 19-Nov-06 13:19:43

Dear Pages...I agree with Sandcastles, It is entirely your choice and we MNers will be here for you whatever the outcome but my personal experience is just don't go there.

Before I made the descion to cut my mother out of my life, I had tried on many occasions to mend the broken bridges, forgive, forget and try again. On every occasion I was left hurt again, insecure about myself as a person and effectivley back to square one where she had the power and I was a powerless child.

I had to conciously draw the line and say effectivley that 'It's stopped, you do not cross, I am not your victim anymore I am free.'

Basically see it as picking a scab, if you keep doing it it hurts, gets no better and leaves a nasty scar

I am very matter of fact about it all now, it's not a situation I am happy with but it is the situation I can live with. It's just, like a lot of things, how it worked out for me.

I wish you all the best in whatever happens for you

More Huggs and my fab sticky honey and oat cookies.

Pages Sun 19-Nov-06 16:59:27

Thanks - I made the decision to move on and that's what I am going to do. I don't have to justify myself to her anymore.

I know the reasons why I told her what she wanted to hear - it was to make her feel better, and I buried my own feelings in the process. It was because of the deficits in her personality that I did this and not because I am someone who tells lies as she wishes to believe.

sandcastles Sun 19-Nov-06 21:16:27

Pages, I understand why you did what you did, re the telling her what you thought she wanted to hear.

I have to say that I was in a destructive relationship with a female friend for 14 years due to my inability to say what I should, rather than what she wanted to hear. I almost lost my dh because of it. I woke up to who she was when she said she resented my dd, because she was more importnat to me then she was????

This stems from my chld hood. If I was naughty my mum would go against me. If I was good, she would be nice. I spent all of my late teens & 20's believing you have to be nice to be loved...I have compromised many of my true feelings due to this.

sandcastles Sun 19-Nov-06 21:17:41

Good Luck with everything....we are always here to listen.

Sakura Mon 20-Nov-06 01:31:33

Hi PAges,
So sorry to see that you are still finding it so difficult. I totally agree with Sandcastles and Mummymonsters. I especialy like the analogy about the scab...Our mums, including yours for some reason do NOT HAVE the ability to change. They are too old for a start- it gets harder to change the older we get. And they don`t have the ability to admit their mistakes. Its like a mental block for them. You really must draw a line as others have said. Otherwise you can`t move on. It would be better to use all that energy on worthwile things (your own family) instead of flogging a dead horse.
I do have to say two things, from my experience. I think that you have to really admit that the mum you thought you had doesn`t exist. She never did (or has changed greatly). Its great that you have a big enough heart to have looked for the positive things your mum has done, but unfortunately those things don`t make up for the fact she is really `toxic`. This means admitting to yourself that the comfort of having a mother isn`t there anymore. If you`re ill, you`re on your own. If you`re in trouble, you`re on your own. Its scary- almost as if she is dead, but its worse because in fact your mum is instrumental in your misery- she is what is making you miserable.
Secondly, I believe we need to cut our mums out of our lives to give ourselves breathing space. But you can`t under any circumstances hold hope to patch up the relationship, because you will be back to square one. What you can hope to do is to accept the new dynamics between the two of you, and one day talk to her without being scared, and as the confident young woman you are, not as the little helpless child you were.
After I cut my mum out of my life, for a while I was so scared of hearing from her or meeting her. I was basically still scared of her influence in the family. I really had to reach the point where I DID NOT CARE about her or the people she tried to influence. Your mother may have the alliegence of some family members, but you have the true loyalty of your lovely brother. Alliegence and loyalty are two completely different things. Then one day, you may reach the point where you can have a conversation with her ON YOUR TERMS where you are not scared or vulnerable, but you are strong. I found this was the final thing that made my healing complete. Its almost like a final confrontation. I didn`t get angry, and however much she tried to push my buttons, I wasn`t affected. I wasn`t intimidated by her anymore, and actually started to truly pity her from the bottom of my heart. That is the point you can reach. It may take years, or even never for you to speak to her again, but if you do, it MUST be on your terms.
You`ve already done most of the hard work. You are in the middle of getting through this. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and when you come out the other end, you will be more sure of yourself and confident that you have ever been in your life.
There`S no way things can be the same again anyhow. Maybe your mum will turn around one day and apologise profusely for all the hurt she`S caused but we know that ain`t going to happen.
Keep going, and keep coming on here to vent and get your feelings out. It always gets things into perspective when you write them down :-)

Pages Mon 20-Nov-06 12:23:36

Thanks Sakura, you are spot on as usual. And Sandcastles thanks to you too. I sometimes feel a bit guilty for keeping on posting on the same thread when you have already said such helpful things but it really helps to be able to check back in again as things progress...

Just been for counselling and had a really good session. I feel I have clawed back so much power and I don't really think I intended to contact my mum again to set her straight - just needed a little bit of reassurance that telling her what she wanted to hear was not me being duplicitous and false as she has suggested.

I am now just angry (really really angry! But it feels great!) at her for yet again turning the whole situation back onto her so she is the victim again and I am painted in a bad light. I actually think she is quite pathetic, although I think Coolmama is right that it is also quite conscious. She knows exactly what she is doing. Mind games indeed.

Of course I told her what she wanted to hear - how else could I have a relationship with her? And I had myself convinced as well as her anyway. I am not a disingenious person, I just didn't know what I really felt because she has always told me what it is okay to think and feel - I had exactly the same experience growing up as you Sandcastles. If I was good she would give me her version of love (which still wasn't tactile or verbally affectionate, but she would give me her time and show an interest in me) - if I wasn't she switched off and rejected me. I have spent my whole life being petrified that she will abandon me if I cross her in any way and now that she has there is nothing left to be frightened of.

I can't believe she doesn't get it that that WAS how I felt at the time but I am human and our feelings aren't static. I told her in the email me and b sent that what had happened recently had dragged the past up again and she has chosen to ignore that.

I know my mum feels betrayed by me because she is used to having me "on side" (despite her showing no loyalty to me, hence the gossiping about me). But I had effectively lost a part of myself in order to keep her happy and that is the bit of me that I am now slowly getting back, and it feels fantastic. I feel like I am free to be whoever I want (keep on singing the Oasis song!) and the guilt pangs are just conditioning which which will lessen more and more with time.

My mum is upset because I have stood up to her and put myself before her. And I think what has got to her the most is that while my older b has effectively always told her what he thinks and has been rejected for it (he has been the black sheep for the last 20 years), when this recent stuff happened I became the outsider and she tried to get b back but he has steadfastly stood by me.

It is the first time any of us siblings have shown more loyalty to each other than we have shown to her, but not only is it a blow to her sense of her own importance within the family, but where previously it was possible for her to externalise the bad feelings - and make my brother believe he had remembered the past wrong and he was the only one that thought that way - she now has two of us saying the same thing which must make it harder for her to feel so self-righteous.

DH just asked me how I feel about not having her in my life anymore and I realised I am ok with it because she clearly hasn't changed and I don't want her back on anything other than my terms. I really really don't! And if her postion remains unchanged I truly think I can live happily without her. I never thought I would get to feeling that way but I think I just have.

sandcastles Mon 20-Nov-06 12:46:29

Pages, You have come on heaps since all this started. The fact that you are at the anger phase just points to your progress. Feel free to post as often as you like, if it helps you. That's what we are here for. Tbh, it's nice to have some one 'distanced' from my own situation to confide in & one who knows what it is like. My sister, while still in contact with my mother, is a good support for me, but I know she hates being in the middle so try not to involve her too much.

My brother too is a great support. It's nice to chat to 'strangers' tho.

You are going through a grieving process, you will feel all manner of emotions & they will catch you off guard. You will get through this & you will be better off without the toxic influence in your life.

Good Luck & continue to post as much as you like!

Pages Mon 20-Nov-06 14:49:32

Thanks I will then! I never used to allow myself to get angry - I thought it was a pointless emotion because you couldn't do anything with it. I suppose that is how it was for me when I was a kid, because I was always in a hopelessly weak position compared to the physical strength of my stepdad and my mum's rejection of me if I got "out of my box". I think I used therefore to cry instead of getting angry.

But being angry actually feels really good!

It's so good also to speak to those of you who have been through this and come out the other side. It makes me realise that it isn't the end of the world. Quite the opposite in many ways... feel even a little bit silly that I have got to the age I am without having reached this stage in my own development...

Pages Mon 20-Nov-06 14:52:51

PS Would it be giving too much away to say which part of Oz you live in?

Mummymonster Mon 20-Nov-06 17:08:36

Pages

Well Done...I too found righteous anger a wonderfully cathartic process. When it subsides, the healing is amazing.

You are coming on so well. It is a difficult process as you get the clueless Pollyannas giving it 'you only get one mother' and 'you can't be like that, she's your mum' and the like and it does put you back but ignore them, thankfully they haven't had to live what you have tolerated. I am so pleased for you.

Your posts have also helped me. By putting feelings into words, I have realised how far along I have come too so may I say thank you to you for sharing.

Be strong and come back anytime, as many times as you feel the need to, that's what we're here for.

sandcastles Mon 20-Nov-06 23:06:26

Pages, I think I gave enough away in my last post..so saying that I am in Adelaide really doesn't make alot of difference!

Anger is OK, you know. It means that instead of wallowing in a pit of self pity you are moving on, turning corners.

When my mother never said a word to me that day, it did upset me, but it made me realise, what feelings could she have had for me to just let me walk off without even trying? If that was me & dd I would never have been able to do that. I am pretty sure I would have told her where to go, but her making an effort...'hello' 'How are you' ANYTHING would have meant that she cared, would have shown me that she had loved me all these years. I felt hurt, of course I did, but I left the UK knowing what I thought I knew all along, that she never loved me the way she loved my siblings, and far from crippling me it gave me the strength to realise that I can survive without her & I do.

Mummymonster is right. Alot of people not in our situation will not understand, they think all mothers are great like theirs. The sad fact is, we would not be where we are if they were all great. I just tell people (who need to know)that she isn't a very nice person & that I don't need her in my life.

Take strength from knowing that this isn't your doing, you couldn't have prevented this no matter who you were & what you did. You shouldn't have to tell anyon, let alone your own mother, what you think they want to hear...just to be excepted!

sandcastles Mon 20-Nov-06 23:17:22

*accepted

Pages Thu 23-Nov-06 14:02:53

Hi there. Apologies in advance for rambling a bit.

Have been feeling a bit insecure today, particularly because I emailed a couple of extended family and they haven't responded and I fear my mum's "faction" have got them on side too. I didn't mention any of this btw, but am certain my mum will have done. My sister started out neutral but it didn't take my mum long to get to her.

Am realising how much of my life has been spent protecting my mother and her feelings at my own expense (like Orangecake says, I learnt not to bring up the past) and yet at the same time the guilt keeps kicking back in that in telling her my true feelings I have said things now that have hurt her so much. Yet she doesn't appear to have any concern for or concept of the hurt she has caused me, nor did she have when I was a child.

Has anyone else experienced this feeling angry and then guilty ambivalent feeling?

On the other hand it does feel good to "let out" how things realy were. I have spoken to a couple of old friends' mums who knew my family when growing up and I told them what REALLY went on. One who knew my stepdad quite well was not at all surprised and very supportive.

I hate the fact that it was all a big coverup and that even my diaries as a kid are full of accounts about the family and the nice things we did when my memory of the atmosphere surrounding it all was completely horrible. I barely mentioned any of the horrible stuff, but if I did it was almost like a punchline. ("Went to the fair, dad punched b"! Ha ha!)

It's like it was all a great big fat lie and my mum and the rest of my family are now heaping the disapproval on me for telling it how it really was.

Some other friends have been really surprised that this has happened between my mum and I and I have had the "life is too short" "but you and she were so close" comments too. It's true we were! And yet I have now come to realise the relationship was quite poisonous in many respects.

It may be hard to understand - and that is why my mum is now claiming she can't understand, look at all she did for me, etc, look at all the close conversations we used to have - because she wasn't (like a lot of the other mums described on this thread) consistently rejecting, cold and unprotective of me - she was very supportive in some respects and at certain times (if I was good!). But other times and in other respects she let me down very badly. I guess I just chose to see the good in her and brush the rest aside and live the "aren't we a happy family" lie with everyone else.

But what happened recently really knocked me for six and made me realise that she would be there for me to a point - but when push came to shove she would still, EVEN NOW, put herself first and paint me as the "bad one" and the "troublemaker" for the rest of the family to see. It is hard sometimes not to slip back into that old familiar place and to keep feeling good about myself.

I guess it is a process isn't it, and Rome wasn't built in a day?

Ally90 Thu 23-Nov-06 19:52:25

Hi Pages

I believe you.

I 'divorced' my mum in feb when i was 8 months pregnant. The lies of us being a 'happy family' got too much. It was hard, and it is still hard, and I feel guilty and angry in turns about it, but it cannot be any other way. I will not live a lie anymore, it was killing me to do so.

My sister and I became estranged when I got married and announced my pregnancy in october last year. Seems that she really did believe afterall that she was the pretty, intelligent and slim one...why should I get married first when i was stupid fat and ugly?

And I split from my dad in august after specifying to him not to keep bringing items from my mum and messages. He didn't respect my decision and by the the last time he came to see me I was crying for 11 hours after in sheer anger and hurt that my dad clearly was putting my mother first, like i have all my life.

So I have no family, and its lonely, but I've been lonely since I was a child. However I am in therpy and I'm gradually getting somewhere with it. But its painful.

I too would love a proper nurturing mother, a nice loving mother. And most of all, I want to be believed by people when I tell them my experiences as a child and not have them tell me they weren't that bad. Well they were not there, and my family were not in my head at the time, so how can anyone tell me how to feel or debate my decision to split from my family?

A book i found invaluable was by Beverley Engel 'How to divorce a parent'. She did so and its very supportive and understanding of emotional abuse, and physical and sexual abuse.

Your not alone in this, if you ever want to email me about things if they get you down, please do so, I'm still going through a lot of confusing emotions.

Got to go, best get my baby to bed.

Hugs for now

xxxx

sandcastles Fri 24-Nov-06 05:24:26

Pages.

Please stop apologising for posting (& rambling, although I don't think you are) on YOUR thread!

The reason that you omitted it from your journals & your life in general, is largely because, if you thought you didn't aknowledge it, it wouldn't be real, it wouldn't be happening. It's a defence mechanism, the thought of it happening was too horrible for you as a child, so by ignoring it, it wasn't real, iyswim.

People will surprise you. You will have this throughout your life, because some people will not accept that you can cut off your mother. People will tell you stories about why they think their childhood was worse, but they still love their mum....well, bully for them..I say! My life, my mind, my heart does not allow me to forgive and forget like that.

Stand strong in what you believe. YOU have your reasons and should not have to explain. I am in the position that alot of people now ask me about leavng my family behind and coming to Oz. Alot of the time I say I miss Dad/siblings/friends. Some people pick up that I haven't mentioned my mother, they ask & I just say we don't get along...no loss here. That way I don't have to explain. Some don't even mention it.

One occasion sticks in my mind....When I left her wedding she told her family & friends that I would probably get beaten up when I got home (by dh, then my b/f)..they believed her (My sister told me this) BUT not 1 of them rang or came to my home (10 mins walk away) to make sure I would be OK. She told them that it wasn't the first time that I had 'disrespected' her & that I deserved what I got from dh as I didn't have the balls to leave him & often 'disrespected' him too!! WTF!

And so, I have learnt one thing from my falling out with my mother. Family will always believe her, unless they know 1st hand what she is like, or have been on the receiving end. My sister knows what I have been thru, but won't ever be able to empathise completely unless she sufferes herself. Which I hope she doesn't.

One of my favourite uncles died & I wasn't even told of his funeral until it was over. That is how my mother treats me. My dad knew & he has been divorced from my mother since I was 6! Apprently mother told everyone she would contact me & tell me. She called me, told dh my uncle had died & said she would call with funeral details. Sweet, isn't she? Only she had no intention of calling with those details. But she said she did & when it was enquired as to why I wasn't there, she told eveyone that I obviousy didn't care enough! There & then I lost the rest of my uncles & aunts. My own siblings even thought that was the case. Altough it was easy to put them right!

You have to prepare yourself for this Pages. As hard as it is. People will side with her, sometimes because it is easier, sometimes because they will simply believe her version of events as they won't make the effort to ask you yours.

You do have my sympathy, really you do. But if they side with her...based on one side of the story, well they weren't really worth it imo!

Ally90 Fri 24-Nov-06 09:34:44

Following on from you Sandcastle, when your own family ie in my case mum, dad and sister, don't believe you or say they don't, when you live with it everyday, you feel like your the only sane person in a madhouse. Then you wonder if its the other way round, due to the fact the people around you deny the reality of what is actually happening. Then when you first come out of the situation you are still caught up in the lies/unreality. However the good news is, after 10 months away from my mum and the unreality, reality has a way of seeping back in and you see them for what they are. But to do this I had to break with my dad as well because he had his own version of my childhood and again oh how much worse his was and mums was.

I could go on this thread for years so don't worry about rambling on Pages, it tends to happen when there is alot of injustice and no one will listen, or wants to listen to your side of the story (not on here, life and people in general)! I have just learnt to not say anything, in answer to family questions I just leave it at 'I'm not in contact with my family anymore' and if there isn't silence and more questions are asked, best reply is 'its for various reasons' and give them another silence.

And if I sound harsh and cynical, its the self defence mechanism I developed as a child, however I'm working on getting my emotional side back now I'm away from such harmful people as my family. Might be safe to have emotions now!

hugs to you both

xxxx

Pages Fri 24-Nov-06 12:37:13

And to you both too xxx

Thanks, I feel a lot better today. Being misjudged and wrongly accused IS the pits, in some ways what my mum and siblings(who are supposed to care about me) have done feels worse than what my stepdad did. At least he never professed to like me.

My mum has counted on and used the fact that she weilds such enormous power over the others that they will always put her before me, and till now she has had so much power that I have even put her feelings before my own. But I have clawed back that power now and I don't intend to lose it again. It is not surprising considering the way that the family operates that none have them have stood by me except older b who has experienced it first hand himself. I do think that at some point my mum will have to find another scapegoat and I have a feeling my sister will be next in line. But it may take a while.
My siblings are much more comfortable with the notion that my mum is a Saint and I am a liar and they won't give that up easily.

Living with the "unreality" (as you describe it Ally) is so isolating isn't it? I had all these feelings of sadness/upset at what was happening but didn't even acknowledge them to myself because no-one else was acknowledging it so it must have been just me. It takes a long time to break out of that pattern of internalising it and blaming yourself so I must always expect to have the odd day like I had yesterday where i question myself.

Also, saw my counsellor today and told him the guilt I felt was over the harshness of some of what I said in the letter to my mother and he pointed out that a mother with a healthy ego should and would be able to hear it. That made me feel a lot better. I know that my kids would have to do a hell of a lot more than write a letter like that to me to make me walk away from them. In fact if they wrote me anything like that I would feel terrible that I had made their lives so miserable and would be desparate to make it up to them. My mum's response is to say that SHE is hurt, and to walk away. What does that say about her? Errrr... drama queen and crap mother?

Thanks again for the support. xx

Pages Fri 24-Nov-06 12:37:46

PS That was me getting angry again, do you like it?

sandcastles Fri 24-Nov-06 13:00:02

Pages, glad you are feeling better.

I like the angry you...it's very healthy to let it go.

Any mother who puts her own hurt above that of her child, is really no kind of mother. The mothering instinct is a strong one to protect & nuture. You didn't feel very protected or nutured, by the sounds of it. Good parenting involves the ability to put your childs wants & needs ahead of your own wants and needs. My needs didn't figure much when I needed her to be with me in hospital. My wants didn't figure when I was a terrified 9 yr old, just woke from a major op on my face, spitting blood, crying for her.

Alot of people have said that maybe my mother did the best job she knew how to, but that doesn't cut it with me. I was the 3rd she gave birth to & the 4th she raised (eldest was my half brother) I think her best should have been a damn sight better by the time I came along! I have had less than half her experience & feel I do a far far better job with my dd, than she ever did with me.

pages, your children will NEVER have cause to worte you such a letter, because you will in way let history repeat itself. You are a better person then your mother....you are a better mother than your mother.

Hell, I like ya & I've never even met ya!

sandcastles Fri 24-Nov-06 13:01:58

"pages, your children will NEVER have cause to worte you such a letter, because you will not, in way, let history repeat itself. You are a better person then your mother....you are a better mother than your mother.

Pages Fri 24-Nov-06 14:00:17

You too Sandcastles! I was only thinking this morning how coming on mumsnet and meeting nice, supportive and caring women (and men! - said in a Monty Python Life of Brian type of voice) from all round the world means that I have less time anyway for the RL people who treat me like crap!!!

And I agree with you Sandcastles, you sound like you have a fab relationship with your DD and I know whatever complaints my boys have they will be nothing along the lines of mine, and I will be able to listen because I will know I did my best for them, and I believe my best WILL be good enough, unlike my mums.

It's good to know when I switch on my computer in the morning that you guys on the other side of the world may have been posting while we all sleep... it's like 24 hour support isn't it!!!!

Pages Fri 24-Nov-06 14:03:47

PS Ohhh I DO like saying she was a crap mother. Crap mother! Crap mother! Crap mother! Ahhhh...that's better.

sandcastles Fri 24-Nov-06 14:18:44

Pages....That's mumsnet...there is always someone here to listen to your 'crap mother' outbursts!!

Your best IS good enough! Don't ever doubt that. I often tell dd that I love her hundreds of times a day...I tell her that no matter what happens I will always love her & put her over anyone else. I tell she can tell me anything & I will listen. She is 3! But I need her to know what I never did...need her to hear those words that I never did!

I told her the other day that if something is bothering her, she should tell me. Later on, when she was in bed for her nap, she called me & said something was bothering her. When I asked what, she said "I am bothered because I can't sleep" not quite what I meant, but glad that she remembered!

sandcastles Fri 24-Nov-06 14:21:12

Am off to bed now (It's 1am) so will chat to you tomorrow.

Hope you have a good day & continue to repeat your mantra. Crap mother! Crap mother! Crap mother!

Take it easy on yourself!
Night.

Pages Fri 24-Nov-06 14:41:33

Sandcastles, lol at your DD. Sleep well!

foxinsocks Fri 24-Nov-06 19:31:30

Pages, saw this earlier but didn't have a chance to post properly.

I think it can be quite hard for other family members - especially if they aren't in your close family. Their memory of your childhood may be coloured by the fact that you 'appeared' ok at the time. Your mum is amazingly manipulative and I wouldn't put it past her to have got hold of your relatives.

I also think anger and guilt are pretty normal. I was very angry for most of my youth and really have only started feeling a little guilty about everything in the last few years.

But as you've said, you KNOW she was crap and you KNOW you're going to do a better job.

Hope things continue to improve bit by bit for you.

Ally90 Fri 24-Nov-06 21:02:33

This is a great thread...!

I've been desparate to speak to other people going through this! Esp early this year when I dumped the mother.

My mother too put her hurt above me, I wrote her a letter telling I could not be around her right now and as hard as it may be to put me first (in other words than that). Did she? Did she hell as like. Just 2 days after my daughter was born she turned up on the doorstep having hysterics. I was still woozy from the labour, pethadine, epidural, I felt completely out of it...and she turns up demanding to see my daughter. I got two cards from her, given to me by my dad, both addressed to my child. Not sure how good a 2 day old baby is at opening cards so left them unopened. Nothing for myself or my husband to say congratulations. Got presents despite me having spoken to her about only giving us money for a large item (it was to be the pram...hmm...lets add two and two together, mum buys pram, mum gets to push the pram as she 'owns' it). Oh and the minor matter of me contacting HER when I was ready. Which was not 2 days after giving birth.

Told you I could go on...long and short of my childhood experience of my mother is she was a bully. My sister (2 years older) would do usual 'your stupid fat and ugly' and other variations on that theme and my mother would laugh along...or big licks would be when she said 'oh stop it' in any irritated voice to my sister if I complained too much. If I ever looked like crying or upset i would get 'oh we were only teasing, I do love you'. Hmm I must have looked stupid.

They say if you want to know your place in the family script, think back to your last christmas day...thats when everyone gets together and assumes their old roles from childhood in the family. I used to get my mother and sister telling me to 'be nice its xmas day' then they would sit at the dinner table and rip me to pieces then when I finally exploded in anger 'oh isn't she nasty! On xmas day as well' and my dad would get angry at all of us and it would subside, apart from the looks I continued to get from my sister. Oh thank goodness I get a normal xmas day this year with people who appriciate me for who I am and don't want to change me into them!

Liked what you said Sandcastles, very level headed! We can and will do better than our mothers...because we acknowledge that we can make mistakes and the important thing is to own up to them! Or alternatively you can bury your head in the sand and never get to see your child/grandchild again. We all have choices!

Gosh, must get rid of the cynical attitude. Still alot of anger there!

Where are you guys based? I'm in North Yorkshire, UK

Pages Fri 24-Nov-06 21:17:24

Thanks Foxinsocks. I am feeling great again today (had a good counselling session). It really is a bit like 5 steps forward, 1 step back - but I am definitely moving forwards. I think DH and older b are quite amazed - they both thought I was going to be more upset than I am but I guess I have been dealing with it for a few months now and the positives that have come out of it all so outweigh any residual bad feelings that get the better of me from time to time.

Did you guys feel like you are more alive and like some huge pressure had lifted from you when you finally accepted that your mum was never the mum you had kidded yourself she was/hoped she would be? It almost feels like a relief to actually admit to myself that her mothering just wasn't and still isn't good enough.

I was wondering why is it that a child has such a strong attachment to their mother? And it is because she is the one person that the child instinctively (and biologically) totally trusts to put him/her ahead of herself and to defend and protect him/her at all costs. The maternal instinct is just that - an instinct. Animals will kill to protect their young. And with our mothers that instinct was (and still is) at times sadly absent. We have every right to feel angry...

Apologies Fox, I can't remember quite what your situation with your mum was/is?

Pages Fri 24-Nov-06 21:28:41

Ally, just read your last post - I missed it the first time. Can relate to so much of what you have said. Your mum and sister sound horrible. My role in the family was a similar one to yours, and for that reason I have hated family gatherings for years. Well done for being so strong. I take it you have a supportive DH?

Sorry for asking you all and then not saying where I am but I don't like to go too public on here, but feel free to CAT me any time. Glad you have found this thread helpful Ally, there was a much longer thread I started on the same subject earlier in the year which if you are interested I will try and provide a link (though am not very good at the link thing).

Ally90 Fri 24-Nov-06 21:59:24

Hi Pages!

No problems bout location! I understand.

I've known for years my mother and sister were not good enough and were abusive. Sending that letter to my mother was good and bad. Guilt and at the same time 'you reap what you sow'. It was a relief not to have to be around her any more, and telling my dad I couldn't be round him just made me feel better too...but there is so much guilt at times I can't feel it. But I can see where you are coming from!

My moment of realisation was when I was 16 (29 now). I got my GCSE results...I was convinced despite consistantly good results in tests I was stupid...any good results were flukes. I cannot tell you how utterley and totally I believed my sister and mother. So when I read my results I was in utter shock and stunned disbelief. Then about 3 minutes later I was in floods of tears 'I got a B I got a B I got a B'...it was a bit tragic! I actually got 3 B's and a C...still proud!! Then after that had sunk in the thought popped into my head 'I've been lied too'. That went on in my head for a couple of months...I then went to live residentially at college and that is when it hit me. I was so ANGRY...screamingly angry...every time I came home if my mother or sister said a word to me I would scream them down. I couldn't bear to hear one more hurtful thing.

Then of course it was blamed on being a teenager. Bit late at 16...but nevermind...couldn't be their behaviour towards me!

Eventually after 5 years I was back on almost normal speaking terms with my family. I just swallowed the anger. Didn't say anything because it would 'hurt' my mother.

But it took being pregnant and taking various angry or emotionally blackmailing phonecalls from my mother wanting to see me to make me realise I had to look after my baby (re my stress levels re blood pressure!!) then it dawned on me...I had to look after myself and put me before my mother. So I cut contact.

My regret? I should have done it at 16 and not wasted so many years putting her first.

I have a very supportive husband (is that DH??). He has a nutty family too so he gets it!!

Strong is not a word I use...I just survive.

Do you have much support apart from your brother?

Anyway better go, bedtime! Sorry its been about me...once I start...I'm like the duracell bunny!

Take care
xxx
PS (what is a CAT?)

Sakura Sat 25-Nov-06 01:31:31

Keep at it Pages. You`ve still got a long way to go, but I think you`ve past the hardest part i.e the `realization` moment, and then the confrontation. From now on it will be less dramatic, but JUST as difficult, and there will be moments where you will feel sorry for her and guilty (again showing you are a better person than her).But just keep reminding yourself that you would never treat your kids like that, and would go out of your way to stop anyone who tried to. In that sense, you can even see this confrontation as protecting your kids.

Ally, I am so sorry for what you had to go through. I cannot imagine your hurt. My mother was physically and emotionally abusive,but I never felt bullied by my siblings. That is a double wammy for you. You must be so strong to be getting through this. I mean, at least my BROTHERS (and Pages` brother) can accept what happened to us, and that kind of validates it. Is there ANYONE who knows about what happened, and is not trying cover it up?

SantaGotStuckUpTheGreensleeve Sat 25-Nov-06 02:26:44

Wow, Ally, you have been through the mill

I like the Duracell bunny image, I had a little dry chuckle at that. I had exactly the same realisation, just a little later - it eventually came own to my children's welfare vs hers - and I chose theirs. I still feel guilty, who wouldn't? and Christmas is particularly loaded - but I would make the same decision again, no question.

I hope you're finding this thread supportive and I hop you're feeling better, Pages. You deserve to be happy. Remember that.xx

MossletoeAndWine Sat 25-Nov-06 11:12:51

Hello pages & everyone,
Wow, this thread has made me realise I'm not alone, thank you all.

My mother, father and younger sister are members of what I can only describe as an ultra fundimentalist christian church.

After I escaped, I did some reading and realised it met all the criteria for a cult. For 22 years I lived at home, wasn't allowed to do so many things that normal people do (e.g. I wasn't allowed friends unless they were either in the cult, or unless I planned to get them to join). My mother was the worst. It was weird, looking back, because my Dad would try and bend the rules (e.g. even though we weren't meant to watch much TV we were allowed to watch Doctor Who?! wtf?! and dad managed to find some obscure scripture in the bible to back it up - everything we did had to be backed up by scripture) but my mother would follow them to the letter.

They also belived very strongly in "spare the rod, spoil the child" and would beat my sister and I quite badly with a belt for the tiniest offences from about aged four I remember. It was so frightening as well, more so because they didn't do it in anger. They'd wait until a day after and then make my sister or I get the belt and hit us on the naked skin.

My Mother kicked me out at twenty two because I'd done the ultimate wrong, had sex outside of marriage, and with a man who not only wasn't in the cult, but was actually an atheist.

I tried to stay in touch with my family for about four years after that and it messed me up more trying to stay in touch, especially with my mother, than it would have done otherwise.

The final straw came when I announced dp and I were getting married. My dad was okay about it but my mother realised it finally meant I wasn't going back. I too wrote a letter to her explaining my reasons why, and she never spoke to me again.

I email my dad about once every two months, just really superficial stuff, there's nothing else we can talk about. My sister wants nothing to do with me and made that clear even before my mother did.

I am now pg with our first ds, but it has brought it all back again, and it's very difficult. I am trying to look at the positives, I have a wonderful dh, my mil and sil fantastic and live locally, in fact mil lives within a 20 minute walk.

But it's hard to have such mixed emotions. For the past few years I've been so glad I haven't had my mother in my life. But now I'm pg I feel like I miss that family support, I know dh's family are great but it does feel like it isn't enough.

I haven't told her I am pg but may have to inform her when Bertie is born, not for her sake but I don't think it's right for Bertie not to know he has a gran and a grandad, and an auntie. But I don't have to decide that until March.

So I just wanted to come on here and say thank you, everyone, for sharing your stories, because it makes me feel like I'm not the only one. Everyone I know says things like, "yes, but after all, she is your mother", and they just don't understand.

Pages I am sorry for having taken over your thread with my long story, but maybe the more people who share this kind of thing the less alone it feels.

Hugs to everyone xxxx

dizietsma Sun 26-Nov-06 02:07:44

Reading this has brought up a lot of feelings for me about my mum and dad. I've cut dad out of my life for over 5 years now and I have a very unhappy relationship with my mother for similar reasons to yours Pages. Honestly, I don't miss dad. I periodically cut mum out of my life and when I just don't feel the loss, it so sad.

This thread is very helpful, ((Hugs)) to all.

RnBee Sun 26-Nov-06 09:31:31

Stay strong, Pages. I feel for you so much x

Mossletoeandwine, I was brought up in this same religion. Such a shame, your story is a very common one in this religion. I know exactly what you mean about all this rule-bending when it suits the person!

Pages Sun 26-Nov-06 10:19:37

Hi, thanks for the support. It is really interesting reading your stories so don't ever apologise - for me too it is good to know I am not alone.

It is also good to know the guilt is a natural reaction but I too would make the same decsion again without hesitation - am just a bit sad for not having done it earlier as a lot of years have been wasted dancing to my mum's tune.

I don't know why I didn't, like some of you, confront it all and stick up for myself when I was in my teens or twenties but I suppose as I have said my mum has invited such conflicting emotions over the years because during the times when I have behaved exactly as she would like and been the model daughter her behaviour to me has been thoughtful, generous and kind. When I was a child the failure to protect us and the coldness was interspersed with some genuinely kind behaviour so it was not consistently bad, and in my adult years in some ways she has tried to make up for it I think by being generous and helpful in the ways that are easy for her to do. So the negative stuff has not been not as obvious as it has been with some of you and the fact that I have been undermined behind my back has only recently come to my attention so some of it I just didn't realise.

Maybe I just wasn't ready to stand my ground before - maybe I didn't realise the extent that I had compromised who I was and conformed to expected standards until now. Maybe I just believed the family myth that we were all close and loving and it took this recent incident to make me realise how far from the truth it was. But I truly admire those of you who had the "realization" when you were teenagers or quite young - I wish I had had the self-belief and courage you had then and wasn't so dependent on my mum's love.

Pages Sun 26-Nov-06 10:23:27

DH said (before this all happened) that my mum had spend the first half of my life ignoring me and the second half trying to be my best friend and that sums it up in many ways. But my best friend also pointed out that she is like a child in the way she relates and has always tried to be "one of us" young people rather than behaving like a mother.

Pages Sun 26-Nov-06 12:34:57

PS Ally CAT is "Contact another talker" via mumsnet so you can email without putting your email address on here.

And I do have support yes, from DH and a few very good RL friends, but I try not to lean on DH with it all and that's why I'm having counselling. Two of my RL friends have a similar problem with their parents and can relate but haven't actually done the confrontation thing so it really helps to talk to people who are in a similar position and have actually gone through it.

sandcastles Sun 26-Nov-06 13:49:32

Hi Pages.

Perhaps one of the reasons you didn't 'confront it all and stick up for myself' is because you weren't ready to? I know that if my mother hadn't have stole the money from me or accepted her new dh's rejection of me from the family I would have taken much longer to 'realise' what she was like.

Also, quite frankly, because she is your mum. You don't want to believe that the one person who should love, protect & nuture you is capable of such toxicity towards you. I remember looking at Melissa, still do sometimes, thinking 'how could she not love me?'

I haven't felt guilt for what happened with us. She is the one who should feel guilty, it was her actions that bought us to this outcome. Her selfishness, her 'abandonment' of me, her lack of emotional love, her joy of telling me how I wasn't wanted.

We were burgled once, I was in my teens, still at home. Dsis was at a mates. Mum, dad, me all in bed. My mother...the f%^cking drama queen fell apart. Sobbed..yelled...couldn't ring my sister & ask her to come home I had to. I had to take over the phone call to the police. She blamed ME as I had to climb in thru the window they used when I had locked myself out (they found my shoe prints). Apparently I had given the burglers the idea how to gt in, as they MUST have been watching the house! My school bag was taken, her bag was too. She blabed on about how she had no purse, so I handed her one of my sisters. She went mental when she found out 'they' could have touched it. Threw it across the room like it had just given her a deadly virus. Screaching like a scolded cat! I was the one comforting HER! A week or so later she was over the worse. I however, couldn't sleep, eat, concentrate at school. She wouldn't send a letter to the school to say my school bag was stolen, so the teachers thought I was pulling a fast one. I was on sleeping tabs, booked in for councelling. I fought the sleeping tabs, eventually falling into a very restless sleep. She wouldn't come to the dr's (had to work) said she wouldn't be able to come to the councelling (had to work). She was only ever worried about herself. As long as she was alright, well hey, that's OK. The councelling didn't happen as I cancelled it. Dad took me away for 2 weeks. Some how it had an effect on me & after that I learnt to deal with the emotions that haunted me about it. I still have bad dreams, but they were worse until I realise that I hadn't cried, or shown any emotion about what happened. I couldn't my prescious mother needed to have all the attention!

It had such a profound effect on her that she STILL lives in the same house!

Sorry, have rambled, not quite sure where that came from, actually! Think I was trying to point out why I no longer feel any guilt. It's all hers. She deserves it more than I do!

snowleopard Sun 26-Nov-06 14:05:03

Sandcastles - at your story, you're a hero to have survived all this and proof that it can be survived.

Pages - I remember your previous thread on this too and I think you're behaved admirably - and you can and will adjust. About the "false" thing - that is a typically manipulative dig to make at you, but if you think about it most of us are "false" with various people, aren't we? Particularly family members - that's one reason why christmas tends to be stressful, because we see family and have to bury past hurts and try to be polite. I am very "fasle" to my mother and sister because I am trying very hard not to hurt their feelings, which I would if I was honest. Eg I have many issues with my mum from the past (not as bad as yours, but along the lines of why didn't she protect us from my dad, the cruel comments she has made, the lack of support), plus I can't be doing with her boyfriend. My sister is needy and very hard work and I would like to tell her to get off my back, but I don't because I can't face the fallout. So I'm "false" - so what? Just trying to manage family angst like most people do - and yours has been even worse than most people's. You've tried to hold it together, but it's too much - and not because of any failing in you, but because your mum is being just too demanding, outrageous and as others have said "toxic". Try to forgive yourself for anything you're blaming yourself for.

Pages Sun 26-Nov-06 20:37:26

Sandcastles - I don't think I would have any guilt if I was you either. I really don't think your mum has been any kind of a mum to you at all. It doesn't sound like you, mummymonster and harrisey have had no kind of a mother at all.

Snowleopard, thanks and good point about the being false thing. I think my mum expects perfection from me where I have got anything but from her...that is exactly why I have hated family gatherings for years and I didn't even understand why. Clearly I had all these feelings but because they had never been acceptable to my mum or siblings I was trying to keep a lid on them. It makes a lot of sense.

Pages Sun 26-Nov-06 21:24:58

PS Sorry for poor grammar - shouldn't try and do mumsnet and roast dinners at the same time!

Am feeling so much happier - thanks for all of your kind words.

sandcastles Tue 28-Nov-06 11:43:10

Pages, how are things today?

prettybird Tue 28-Nov-06 13:03:47

Pages - hadn't seen this before, but we had "talked" on previous occasions.

I don't have a toxic relationship with my own mother, but I have seen first and the damage that toxic relationships can have - and how, despite the best of intentions, it can impact acorss the generations.

I'm glad to hear that yuo are still being strong and are getting counselling. That will really help ensure that it doesn't tansfer across the generations, even inadvertantly (eg an over exaggerated concern about not interfering leading to a barrier to getting grandparents involved)

One wee thought occurred to me: you say your mum is complaining that you'd said "the past is the past". Well, the present is rooted in the past - as I am sure that you are finding out in your counselling sessions.

But you are doing the rightt hing in not getting back to her. She would just see that as validating her onw "justification" of waht happened. I foyu think of it, her "complaint" only validated your brother and your letter. The past is the past, so she is implicitly acknowledging it, so why not just be honest about what happened. Do you see what I mean (not sure I'm being very articulate).

But as someone esle said, if any of your other relatives do "take sides" without having heard both sides, then are they worth it? The truth will out - even if it is only in your, your brother's and yur dh's heads. The people who care about you.

You're sounding stronger all the time. It must feel like a weight is lifting off your shoulders. Your friends will see the difference in you - the new, more self assured you - if they haven't already seen it!

Pages Tue 28-Nov-06 20:43:18

Hi there, thanks I am okay Sandcastles, and Prettybird I do remember you from the previous thread - I think your mum had a bad time as a child and you have a history of bad mother daughter relationships going back some generations so that your mum is a bit underinvolved or afraid to get involved with your life? I think I get what you are saying - but can you explain a bit more about the past being rooted in the present?

It feels like there is a weird kind of parallel going on at the moment in my world - I am aware that I am moving forward with my life and subtle changes are happening and the liberation I feel from my family is amazing, yet there is the old family script still going on at the same time. While I am busy the family guilt doesn't touch me (and it certainly isn't keeping me awake at night!). But whenever I am on my own and every time I start to feel joyful, really in touch with my feelings and happy to be alive (sounds daft I know!) the guilt kicks in like Greensleeves describes. It is almost as if there is a voice saying "It's all very well you feeling happy but it is at your mother's expense. She is miserable because of you" and I can feel the blame and scorn of my mother and brother in particular (the one whose wife started all this) and "hear" them talking about me.

Sometimes it just feels a bit surreal - the fact that I have believed a certain way and "played the game" for all these years and suddenly woken up to the truth about my family. They are still playing "aren't we a happy family, or we would be if it weren't for Pages" and I am looking at old photos and diaries and thinking that it was all a lie. But it's almost as if I am now having to rewrite every event, every gathering, all the conversations (even the nice ones with my mum) in the light of what I now know.

I guess as Sakura says it will continue to be difficult for a while yet but when I think back to how it was in the summer and it all first kicked off and I could barely function - it consumed every part of my day (and some nights) for several weeks - I realise how much things have moved on and how much the general feeling of freedom is worth the guilt pangs. I also have to remind myself of how devastated I was at being called a liar and blamed for something my mum and SIL had said about my child - and that the letter to my my mum came later, after weeks of her manipulating the others and still blaming me for splitting the family up, etc. She could have apologised at any time in those intervening weeks but chose instead to continue to blame me. So we wrote her a letter and tell her a few home truths and now, suddenly, it has become all about that letter. (My sister said the rest of them wanted to make it up with me and b until that point). Funny how the rest of the family could get past any ill treatment of me with no trouble but will not hear a bad word against my mum... even my SIL was defended to the hilt by everyone. It just show how low I rank in the pecking order.

Never mind, in my own little family I am way up at the top - equally with my 3 boys of course!!!! Funny, I don't feel the need to be top dog like my mum did. I wonder why our mothers had such a need to control everyone and be so ultra-important?

prettybird Tue 28-Nov-06 23:24:45

Pages - you've remembered right. Becasue of waht my mother's parents were like, and the things they did to try to manipulate them, my parents are terrified of "interfering": to the extent that we have to positively seek them out for help with ds and we (ie dh and me) think that as a result they are missing out a bit on ds growing up.

We do seem them regularly (once we week), but for evening supper on a school night, so they don't really get a chance to play with ds. if we ever ask, they are happy to look after him - but they never offer. And given my own upbringing, I find it extremely difficult (almost imposible) to ask for help (which I have told them, once I owrked it as a result of some counselling), so we never do ask - and they never offer.


What Imeant about the present being rooted in the past is that the way you react to things is a result of the different influences in your earlier life - and especially your childhood. SO for example, the fact that you are still feeling guilt and torn - even though you know that you've done the right thing, is becasue you were "trained" by your mum to put her needs first.

I'm not saying my mum did that - I am still close to her and she and dad have done the best that they can - but for example in my case, my inability to ask for help has its roots in my early childhood when apparrntly my brother (18 months younger) was a very demaninf baby/toddler, so I learnt to be the "good" older sister, not too much trouble to my mum and to be a "coper" (even when I'm not necessarily coping). It was actually in talking about my teens that I worked this out with my counsellor - and I only realised it went back as far as my early childhood when I talked to my mum and she said that my brother had demanded most of her attention, and because I was "good", she was able to give it to him.

It is possibe to overcome this early conditioning - but very difficult. In my case, it's just a case of recognising it and learning to ask for help - but also telling thoe close to me that I do find it very difficult to ask for help, so that they should not be shy of offering it. So it's a different type of coping mechanism. Althoug in my parents' case, they've been told and they still don't spontaneoulsy offer help or support - but there again, they've been conditioned too!

Hope that clarifies it a bit for you.

Your counselling should really help.

Have you decided what you are doing about contact between grqandchildren/grandparents. If I recall correctly, that was one of the things you were worried about if you cut off contact - the impact on your kids. Have they noticed anything?

sandcastles Wed 29-Nov-06 01:32:56

Hi Pages, glad you are ok.

I just need to reassure you, although you are still haunted by certain things, these feelings WILL pass. One day you will think ‘wow, I haven’t thought about so & so for a while’ so don’t worry about how you are feeling, go with it & it will eventually leave you.

Just to point out a few things…

“It's all very well you feeling happy but it is at your mother's expense. She is miserable because of you and I can feel the blame and scorn of my mother and brother in particular (the one whose wife started all this) and "hear" them talking about me”

You know that’s not true, right? She is ‘miserable’ because what she did/didn’t do is now haunting her in the shape of a lost daughter. You & your letter just brought it out in the open. You didn’t cause her to be the way she was, you caused her to look at it. She didn’t like what she saw, therefore she is miserable.

I wrote ‘miserable’ as I really don’t think that she IS miserable. She doesn’t sound capable of this feeling. Don’t let her supposed misery taint what is now a wonderful time for you. That is what she will want, then she has won & I know you don’t want THAT!

People only blame others when they really can’t take responsibility for their actions. It is easier for your family to blame you, bacause to be able to deal with it being their problem; they need to acknowledge that there was a problem. I don't really think they can do this. But this just makes you stronger; you acknowledged there was a problem, dealt with your part in it (the covering up, not mentioning it, pretending all was well ‘playing the game’) you can move on, which is why YOU are not miserable (well, not as much anyway)

Let them scorn!! You, your dh & db KNOW the truth & nothing is stronger than that!

My dad used to tell me that if people were talking about you, it is because you were worth talking about & must be interesting & their lives were dull (nothing better to do type thing). He told me never to worry about it. Only worry when they stop talking about you.

Of course it became all about THAT letter! Because it was easier for her to believe that letter was the cause of all the bad feeling, rather than her actions, iyswim.

People also feel they have to tell their side to as many people as they can, as they are over analysing & trying to ‘prove’ they were right all along! When in fact they weren’t. They want people to say how bad YOU are, because it justifies their behaviour. My mother was the same. Of course she left out the fact that she did all those things, never told her family she stole from her daughter, because if she had…it would have been a very different story. She tried telling dh’s aunt some stuff about me & she just said ‘sandcastles & I have a great relationship, there is nothing you can tell me that I don’t already know’ (she was right) She hated it…one less person on her side!

You are doing so well. I wish I had MN when I was going thru it all, way back then. But I ma glad to be able to share it, if it means others can feel better about their situation.

Pages Wed 29-Nov-06 20:29:07

Thanks, I am not miserable at all - far from it. I know the guilt feelings are conditioning from the past and will pass in time and no, I don't believe that I am responsible for my mum's unhappiness. She has driven away anyone in her life who has ever got close enough to her to hold a mirror up to her and the way she is with people and she is still convinced it is them and not her.

I started reading "Toxic Parents" again last night and found myself feeling furious again that she let me go through what I went through as a child AND made me feel as if it was my fault, and she hasnt even got the decency to say she is sorry. I am actually starting to pity my siblings that they are still caught up in her trap.

Last night I told DH the true extent of what my stepdad put me through, the ritual daily humiliation, verbal and physical abuse (and sexual harrassment though not actual abuse)and DH kept saying "you've got to tell your brothers and sisters - you've got to tell them what it was really like" but what is the point? As I pointed out to him, if they didn't even want to hear the 5 or 6 lines we wrote to my mum about the past they don't want to hear it full stop. I know what happened and so does my brother and so does my mum, even though she won't admit it to herself.

As for all the manipulation and stuff that she is doing in the present day I realise that it is too late in the day for her to change. If she hasn't by now, she is not likely to and it is therefore probably right that it is beyond redemption. I think she is too self-righteous (fragile ego) to ever admit that she has been wrong - she would rather lose two of her children - and yes, her grandchildren it seems. My brother said we would never stop her seeing them and she responded by telling us to leave her to get on with her life, so I assume she means she doesn't want contact with them either.

My kids don't even know who she is so it will be no loss to them in the short term. I don't know how much it will matter to them as they get older but as I said once before neither me or DH knew our gps and it didn't matter to us. I didn't initially like the idea of them not having her in their life but it is her decision.

Thanks for the support. You are right when you say whatever I have said to her in the letter it is nothing to what she has done to me (and is no more than she deserves to read after what she has done) - and I could have forgiven all of it if she would just say she is sorry and that she made a mistake. What kind of a mother would rather lose two children and four grandchildren?

Pages Wed 29-Nov-06 20:40:47

PS I realise of course that it is all part of her toxicity that she won't hear it, apologise or empathise - so I am not waiting for that apology, I know it isn't ever going to come, and I am reaping the benefits of not having just patched this up and glossed it over (as I have done in the past) in so many other ways.

I was just making the point that I could and still would forgive her if she apologised and I felt that she was open to change. It would take a lot of working through but I would be up for it if a better and deeper relationship were a possibility at the end. But she is the one who is categorically saying that it is beyond redemption.

prettybird Thu 30-Nov-06 09:09:51

That sounds like a good healthy attitidue Pages. You really are moving forward.

You seem to have grapsed that you can't make your mum change - she has to want to herself - and by all accounts, that is not something she is prepared or ready to do - and is unlikely ever to do so.

You gave her the cance to think , reflect and understadn the consequences when you and yuor dd gave her that letter. She has chosen not to - so you have done what you can.

Your children will unsderstand - and much better that yuo don't expose them to the possible (probable) toxic relationship. ANd espciecially much beter that they have a hapy, confident mum who isn't being undermined by that toxic relationship, Hopefully, they will remember the lving relationship offered by your MIL.

Look forward to Christmas. Ths time it is amongst people who love you for who you are.

Ally90 Thu 30-Nov-06 10:31:15

Not much time, baby wanting my attention! All you guys are helping me so much, relating to it all. I have been reading it over the past few days and not had time to reply but I feel so much less guilty all of a sudden in fact no guilt at times! Good to hear that you can stop thinking about the past eventually...I look forward to it!

Hugs to you all

xxxxx

Pages Thu 30-Nov-06 13:23:47

So glad this thread is helping you Ally - it is really helping me. I woke up today feeling fantastic and - no guilt! Read something last night in "Toxic Parents" that really helped.

Also the points you made helped Prettybird - conclusions that I had come to before and needed to remind myself about, including me teaching my children self respect by refusing to allow myself to be undermined by my family.

Also what you said about the letter me and my brother wrote to my mum helped - it is true that it was not written to her from a place of malice - the intention was to show her how her behaviour is affecting the whole family and to try and improve things for us all including her. There were parts that were harsh, and some bits did come from a place of anger, but the intention overrall was not simply to hurt - but to heal us all. Of course it was going to hurt her but that doesn't mean it was cruel.

Two things really struck me last night from reading "that book" - one is where it said about your parents denial system having an effect on your self-esteem - by their insistence that it "wasn't that bad" or "didn't happen" (which my mum did and is still doing) they undercut your ability to perceive reality, and that is definitely something that has happened to me and the reason why I have always needed so much reassurance from others about whether what I think is "normal" or correct. I have been told in the past that I need to trust and know my own truths but it has always been really difficult for me not to ask 10 people after I have been upset by someone if it is ok for me to feel that way. Now I realise why - it is because my mum has always told me what I am allowed to think and feel and denied anything she doesn't want to believe herself. Now I realise where it has come from it is something I really believe I can change and I feel so excited about it!

The other thing I realised is how codependent my relationship with my mum was and how I put her needs above mine, how to feel good I depended on approval from her, how I would do anything to avoid getting rejected by her. The book describes how in order for children to develop a sense of their own self-worth they need their parents to validate their needs and feelings. If the parents put their own needs first and ignore their children's the child learns to define themselves in terms of their parents feelings instead of their own. I realise that is exactly what I have been doing all my life - if I made my mum feel good, I was good. If I made her feel bad, I was bad. Which completely explains my willingness to tell her she was a good mother and that the past didn't affect me anymore. I don't know whether I really deep down believed that at the time - I think I really thought I was over it all - but I was definitely trying to make her feel better and ignore any feelings I may have had about the past.

But now I understand that, it almost goes without saying that if my mum feels bad I will start to feel bad - but I am now going to just let her feel bad. In a way, if her feeling good is contingent on me feeling good and I don't feel good about what has happened then it comes down to a choice of her or me, and I choose me!!! So instead of feeling guilty now I should be proud of myself for putting myself (and thereby my dc) first and risking that(inevitable)rejection!

I felt the need to write this all down in the hope that it helps some of you too.

(Oh, by the way, my mum dismissed the book as pop psychology written to cash in on the blame culture... I must let the author know so she can add that to the list of typical toxic parent reactions to confrontation!!!!!

PS my mum reads pop psychology - she introduced me to "Women who Love too much", and I am sure the author did financially very well out of that but of course there was nothing in that book that reflected badly on her...)

Pages Thu 30-Nov-06 13:27:04

Sorry should have said "contingent on me making her feel good" in 4th para from the bottom.

foxinsocks Thu 30-Nov-06 13:27:15

pages, your mother has a fantastic ability to pick out the bits of psychology that suit her the best doesn't she!!

sounds like you are doing fab xx

Pages Thu 30-Nov-06 14:10:35

I know! (Said in a Monica-from-Friends voice)

Ally90 Thu 30-Nov-06 17:02:03

which book did u read? sounds good. i had same rela with my mum re feelings!

foxinsocks Thu 30-Nov-06 20:58:51

Message withdrawn

Pages Thu 30-Nov-06 21:01:16

It's called "Toxic Parents" by Dr Susan Forward. All major bookshops should stock it. I am reading it for the second time and it is hugely relevant to my situation - I also like the fact that (apart from seeing my upbringing on every other page and at last being able to see my own reality in black and white) she is original and goes against the grain in recommending that you confront your parents - I wasn't initially sure about this but am now at a loss to see how one member of a family can change the family dynamic and interdependant relationships unless everyone confronts it. It also feels more authentic than going to counselling and crying your eyes out because you were treated like crap as a child and then smiling and saying "lovely to see you" next time you see them all. I for one have realised that having confronted my mum (despite the pain of letting her go) has freed me up beyond belief to take care of myself properly, probably for the first time in my life. Hope you too find it helpful too, Ally.

Pages Thu 30-Nov-06 21:05:44

PS Funny, it never struck me till today that while my mum got into co-dependant and on occasion abusive relationships with men, I never did. I have always been strong in my relationships with men. But I didn't realise until today that I was in a co-dependant abusive relationship with my mum...

sandcastles Thu 30-Nov-06 21:14:40

Pages, sounds like you are doing very well.

I wish I had heard of that book when I was going through it all! It could have helped. I might still get it, if not just to see what you mean.

I'm glad that you told your dh, it really does help to air these things.

I was wondering the other day, why is it that so many of us have 'toxic' parents? What was it that the generation before ours felt that to bury abuse, emotional or physical was OK? That they thought they had a 'right' to a happy & peaceful life, but we didn't? Why didn't our feelings matter, unless they were being used to validate theirs? Why did we suffer (and contune to) because they are too selfish to put us above them? I remember wanting someting from my mum, but she was busy..we ended up argueing. I yelled that 'I didn't ask to be born, you know' & she replied 'no, but I didn't ask for you to born either'

I think it is something I will understand!

Sakura Fri 01-Dec-06 07:59:43

Sandcastles- your post on wednesday was brilliant. I took a lot of advice from that, so even though I am further down the road than Pages, I still have a lot to learn about this process and keep having to be strong, because it seems to never just go away- it just gets easier to get used to. 5 steps forward, 4 steps back. But then again, my `realization` only came about a year ago when I was getting married, so its still very fresh for me too.

FOx, its interesting that you live on a different continent to your family. I do too- perhaps not a coincidence? In some ways the distance helps me to get on with my life, but in other ways, I`ve learned that your problems follow you wherever you go. In my case, I have to be very conscious to not take out my hurt on my family ( and now my 9 week old DD )

Also, sorry to rant on your thread, PAges, but I have to mention something that happened this week that really upset me. Me, DH and DD are going back home for Christmas, so I sent my mum a letter, offering her a chance to meet my dd in a public place, (because its neutral and so she can`t kick off). She phoned my DH on his mobile at work (got the number from my toxic dad but thats another story), ranting about how she was threatened by me in the letter, and going on about grandparent`s rights and how she`ll get to see her grandchild on her terms at any cost, even if it means coming to my country. At first, I felt like the scared little girl again, desparate to appease her and calm her down because I didn`t want her to spoil the happiness I`ve created for myself here. But then I started thinking about how she really doesn`t give a damn about my DD, and just wants to make sure she can keep making me miserable, and being the bully. AGain I had to remind myself, that I was not doing anything wrong. at first for half a second I thought about giving in and going to her house to play happy families, but now I realise she should be treated like a child because thats how she`s acting. I can`t let her believe that a temper tantrum gets her what she wants, in fact it will get her the opposite. so I`m not meeting her to show her the baby when we go back, and I feel very relieved about that (so does my dh).
I feel very strongly that I`m protecting my family by not letting her influence pervade my life.
sorry- thanks for letting me get that off ny chest...

Pages Fri 01-Dec-06 10:00:49

Sakura, congrats on your new DD and at your mum. Don't apologise for sharing this - it is so helpful to see that even further down the line you need to be prepared for these sort of outbursts. I can't believe that your mum would after all this time risk losing a golden opportunity to see her grandchild rather than relinquish the freakish control she has to have over you (everyone?) - her behaviour is not just unmaternal, it is bordering on psychotic imo. I would not wish my dc to be exposed to anything like this.

I fully expect and anticipate my mum to "up the ante" in respect of my situation but I am working now on the restoring of the balance of power in our relationship so I don't revert to the scared little girl you describe anymore and hope not to when the time comes. But I can see with your mum you have to be really strong not to. I think seeing your mum as a child is a good thing, she is not in a position anymore where she is bigger than you and you need her in order to survive so now you can see that being frightened of her is tantamount to being frightened of a 6 year old. You have made the right decision Sakura not to meet her. If she can react like that over a letter making what was actually a generous overture to her then what might she do in person? And even if you are able to see her for what she is and not be frightened of her your dc may well be. Well done for standing up to her.

Pages Fri 01-Dec-06 10:05:05

PS Sandcastles your advice on Wednesday was indeed really good and very helpful. And Fox, your story is a very sad one, really feel for you.

sandcastles Fri 01-Dec-06 10:05:25

Sakura, Glad you found some use in my post. It helps to share for me too, as ht elast encounter I had with my mother was in a post office 2 days before we emigrated to Oz, where she totally blanked me. So, it's a bit fresh & sore at the mo, but easy for me to 'put it away' as it's hwta I have lived with. I aslo think my family get a bit 'bored' of hearing it.

Please DO NOT go knocking on your mum's door, you will be right where she wants you 'sakura came running back' etc. Well done for being the better person, by sending that letter. As I had said, I did that too, but all I got was (via my sister) 'she knows where I am'.

You know, as hard as it is to hear & I am sorry if you find this upsetting. She really doesn't seem to care about her grandchild. She reacted very badly to that letter, it was all about HER. I think had she cared, she would have taken the oppertunity & meet her GC. Instead she decided to attck YOU for offering to build bridges. Very sad.

"At first, I felt like the scared little girl again, desparate to appease her and calm her down because I didn`t want her to spoil the happiness I`ve created for myself here" That is exactly what she wants, she can't stand that you can live your life & be happy without her!

Good Luck & I'm sure Pages won't mind you ranting here. It's like our own little therapy corner. We just need to think of a name!

This thread is not accepting new messages.