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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...

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

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