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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...

Pages Sat 15-Dec-07 10:43:33

That's perfect Danae. And as this is the 1000th post...

Danae Sat 15-Dec-07 10:35:50

Message withdrawn

ally90 Sat 15-Dec-07 09:37:34

Pages, it stays, however I have been informed it is a 1000 post limit (due to loading time) however Tech can reopen to allow extra posts if neccessary.

May I suggest another title...something that encourages people to look if they don't know yet that they were abused or had realisation as yet...

'But we took you to Stately Homes' - family problems? Unhappy with parents/stepparent/siblings? All welcome to unload here' Or something less longwinded wink inspiration has not struck as yet!

And another about a 2nd thread set up, one that is for us to recommend links and do book reviews. It would be so much easier to find them rather than going back tho 200 pages to find that 'really useful book someone mentioned in about may/jun/jul 07 time...'

We could also sell/buy abuse books on there, amazon can be quite dear and I know I cannot get to a big bookshop easily. MN may have issue with that tho? Should be okay...shall I check?

<gasps for breath>

And don't forget to summarise your story...and your last meeting with your mum...v inspirational.

grin <sits back and waits for new thread to appear as if by magic>

Oh and hi Tilly! Will get round to looking at post...I'm having to skim read then shoot off to do things at home at mo...xmas cards today <shudder> glad you found us! Esp at xmas time!

Dietizima, put yourself first now. You have enough on your plate. Your mum is only alone and lonely because of the way she behaved. You can't treat your children as she did and expect them to be around in your old age. But for now, let your adult little brother fend for himself. Let him fly the nest...which is effectively what you are doing as his surrogate mother.

dizietsma Sat 15-Dec-07 00:20:18

My brother who has just caught some flack is 8 years younger, and yes I did care for him a great deal when he was a child. My mother was too wrapped up in herself and her messed up relationship to care for him properly so I became a second mum/advocate for him. Other brother is 6 years older and I imagine he felt he had to be a second dad to me.

I think I'm feeling the need to protect younger brother, I always felt like I had to because no-one else would. He's an adult now, though and I think it would be no bad thing for him to understand what mum is capable of.

Pages Fri 14-Dec-07 23:23:03

PS, what happens when we get to 1000 posts? Hope this thread doesn't disappear in a puff of smoke, because I haven't printed it off yet...

Pages Fri 14-Dec-07 23:20:40

Just re-read the last few posts and wanted to say sorry for overlooking your post Tilly, and welcome to the thread.

It's interesting how there are a couple of common themes here: a) having your own child dragging up the feelings from your own childhood (realising the unbelievable feelings of love and prtection we feel for ur dc must have been absent or very lacking in our own mothers) and b) those of us who wer abused by dads/stepdads feel indifferent to the father but feelings are much more complicated towards the mothers who stood by and let it happen. If a mother desn't protect her young, who the hell else is going to?

Yes, Tilly. my mum too had a shit life. It's true, I don't doubt it, but you know everything that happened to me happened to her ten times as bad with knobs on, my life hasn't been easy but there is NO WAY my dc are going to suffer because of it.

I too seriously wish for 2008 that each and every one of you wakes up one day to find that the pain has gone and that your mother, like mine, has melted. Your DH sounds very mature, Tilly.

oneplusone Fri 14-Dec-07 20:11:46

Sakura thank you so much for your post, I was in tears reading it this morning. I think you are right in that having awareness of ourselves is half the battle but I worry that however hard I try with my DD, because of the unmet need in me it is asking an impossibility of myself to fully give my DD what she needs from me because I simply do not have it to give to her. In a way it’s as if in the same way the bad stuff can be passed on from generation to generation so too the good stuff is passed on, but only if it was given in the first place. What I needed wasn’t given to me by my mum and therefore I can’t give it to my daughter.

I have only recently had the ‘realisation’ about how much my mum let me down and I can say that I don’t think I have yet retrieved all my memories in relation to my mum and ‘felt’ the pain that I felt as a child and indeed as so many of you have mentioned the pain she continued to cause me right until i cut her off. I have been through that process in relation to my dad and I remember one evening, luckily my DH was there and comforted me, I just cried and cried as if my heart was breaking at the thought of how he could have done what he did to me, his own daughter who was just 11 years old at the time. But I fear that the pain caused by my mother is far greater and runs much deeper than that caused by my dad and I am, right now, simply not ready to face up to or feel the pain in order to release it.

I do sincerely hope though that when I am ready to face up to the pain and anguish she caused me, that by doing so I will be free of the burden she put upon me and I will be able to then begin having some feeling towards my daughter. That is the only way I can see of not continuing this cycle through her, as of course there is no way now that my needs as a child can be met. I remember once my DH saying to me that he felt I was looking to him for unconditional love when in reality it is only my parents that could have loved me in this way. At the time I think we had had an argument about something unimportant (as it usually is!) and I must have told him that I felt he didn’t love me. He told me he did love me but he suspected that I was looking for the kind of love that he was not able to give me and that I was looking for the love that a parent gives to his child. I knew there was probably some truth in what he said at the time but I had not long been on this journey then; now I know that what he said was absolutely right, I am still now looking for the unconditional love that I didn’t receive as a child and that I so badly needed. I know my DH loves me but I guess his love sometimes feels lacking because I still need and want the love my parents never gave me and it is only they who can fill the need in me…….but that is never going to happen as I know that they will never change. It’s strange as I should feel sad knowing that probably all my life I will have this need for parental love that will never and can never be fulfilled but I don’t. Perhaps at the moment the realisation that this is the case is all that my mind can process, and the pain will come later.

Gosh, sorry I am rambling, I have been wanting to get my thoughts out all day but haven’t had the opportunity til now and now I’ve started I can’t stop!

Danae, I totally know what you mean about feeling completely freaked out at the thought of a visit from your mother. I would feel the same way if I were in your situation. My parents do have my address, but I know that they would never dare to come here, perhaps because of the letter I wrote to them earlier in the year telling them why I have cut them off and I know I wrote in big, bold capital letters many times that I hate them and that if I ever laid eyes on them I would kill them both with my bare hands! That sounds awful I know, but it’s how I felt at the time, I was very angry when I wrote the letter but I think it did the trick and I have not heard a peep out of them since and I hope it remains that way.

Pages, you are doing so well to be at the stage where contact from your parents doesn’t bother you. You are absolutely right in saying that that is the greatest liberation from a toxic parent. My counsellor told me that he still receives quite nasty letters from his parents (he was abused as a child) and he says it’s like water off a ducks back to him. I personally don’t know how I’d feel if I got a letter from my parents at this stage of my journey; but just thinking about it right now makes my heart pound and I feel scared at the thought so I know I still have some way to go. Sometimes I’m walking down my street and I see a man who from a distance looks like my dad and I start feeling physically sick especially the first few times I saw him. Now when see him I know it’s not my dad but I still feel a bit shaky. I'm sure you are well aware as i am that your mum is unlikely to ever become non-toxic and acceptance of that is a kind of liberation i suppose.

Dizietsma, I feel for you. Don't forget you have the understanding and support of everyone on this thread, we'll help you get through the next few weeks.

I suppose I am luckier than some of you over christmas as i know my parents won't attempt to make any contact, i think they got the message from my very angry letter to them.

ally90 Fri 14-Dec-07 19:36:01

dizietima, your brothers are how old? Did you used to look after them a lot? I'm just aware from what you said, it takes me back to what my therapist said to me this week about my caring for other people and not letting them be adult enough to look after themselves/decide what's best for them...

ally90 Fri 14-Dec-07 19:31:13

Anyone else intimidated by how many posts there are to catch up with? Each day that passes the busier it gets! I'm backing up to 4th dec at the mo...and got my xmas cards to write this weekend so that's another 3 days worth of posts to catch up on!

dizietsma Fri 14-Dec-07 19:29:37

Thanks, Pages. It must feel pretty amazing to be able to not let a letter like that ruin how you feel all day, I'm hugely jealous!

ally90 Fri 14-Dec-07 19:28:32

Should have been 'that is your mother you are being so disrespectful to young lady' or wench grin

Pages Fri 14-Dec-07 19:22:55

Oh, and did you like the "Your mother" bit? It struck me as really funny, I could hear it in a victorian parent type voice, "I am your mother, and just you remember that, you ungrateful little wench!" grin

Pages Fri 14-Dec-07 19:19:31

PS Sorry Ditzietsma that you are having a hard time. It is a hard time of year, and you're right, seems to be bringing out the Festive toxicity in our "old and lonely" (of their own making) mothers.

Pages Fri 14-Dec-07 18:53:05

Sakura, you've summed it up smile I just wanted to see a couple of your reactions before I told you mine, and that is that it is way too little, a little too late. She has thrown me a grudging defensive crumb not offered a heartfelt apology, and yes, I'm sure she thinks "I've said I'm sorry, what more do you want?" but I am not even going to ask her for any more, or to work through anything with me because I will be whistling in the wind.

I wouldn't really have expected her to say "Yes I am a toxic and bad mother" but the bit "I did my best and at times that was not good enough for you" just said it all for me - i.e. she still thinks her best would have been good enough for any other child - it's just me that is too greedy, demanding, needy, etc, etc (all the things she has always made me feel that I am, whenever I ask for anything from her that she hasn't already decided she is going to give me).

Thanks for being angry on my behalf guys, but I am really not upset, surprised or anything else by it.

I am so glad my post to Danae was uplifting for you Sakura, that was my intention.

Ally, absolutely PMSL at your cat, had to read it out to DH grin

dizietsma Fri 14-Dec-07 18:21:59

I have a feeling this thread is going to explode over the festive season.

I'm adding my vote that the next thread be called "But we took you to stately homes..." Or perhaps "Mother did it have to be so high?", but I'm a Floyd fan grin

It's so hard this time of the year. I'm trying to concentrate on DD and DH, but Mum's been calling about presents for DD and I've had to hang up on her a couple of times. She's now taking it out on my brothers. It's weird, I feel guilty. Like I'm responsible for her picking on them, probably because I've previously been the focus of her negativity. She's isolating herself and I feel bad for her, I've no doubt her xmas will seem rather cheerless. She turned 60 recently, her abusive partner died 6 years ago and I think that she now feels that she's Old and Alone. I've told her that if she wants to resume contact with me then we can start rebuilding our relationship in therapy, but she flat out refuses. Ironically, she's a Psychologist.

Ugh. I'm just hoping I can make it through the festive season without letting this make me cry.

ally90 Fri 14-Dec-07 15:51:38

Hi all, I've had contact too! Woo!

Just got parcel now (post gets later every day hmm)

Present for dd, present for me from my parents cat, all I can say is that she has impressive present wrapping skills, AND she can do joined up handwriting. Bet no one else has a cat that can do that. And we have 3 cards, one for each of us. Dh's is signed 'mothers name' mine has a sickly (she KNOWS I detest crappy soppy lovey dovey pass me the bucket NOW poems/songs whatever...again...complete lack of empathy for how I may feel, in her view its showing her 'love' for me) and card for my dd which I have not opened. My mother should know by now that I understand just how important privacy is to a child because I never had any from her or my sister. Ooh I'm angry! angry However discussed what to do with therapist if I got anything from her...talked about not opening it, or opening it and 'choosing' how to feel. Okay...have opened it. She will never give me what I want ie unconditional love and acceptance and a big fat genuine apology and acknowledgement of her abuse of me and her allowing my sister to abuse me too. So I choose to chuck cards. Put dd present and card in loft with rest of them. And go and make some more bread. I will mention to dh. Then 'choose' to forget it. Its emotional blackmail, yet again, if I fall for that one again she will only put the boot in when she next gets an opportunity. So move on. Okay...moving on now...still feel bit shaky...yes go get bread ready...give it a bloody good kneading...

smile I'm an adult I'm an adult I'm an adult. Don't depend on her emotionally anymore, she's the wrong person to depend on. Who mentioned adopt-a-gran?

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 14-Dec-07 14:50:17


Your Mother takes the cake doesn't she?!. Its a typical toxic parent reaction to being confronted as you no doubt realise.

She's basically saying, "I said I was sorry what more do you want?" (particularly like - NOT - the part, "and that is my last word on the subject"). Some parents may acknowledge a few of the things that you say but be unwilling to do anything about it. Your Mother is showing no indication that she wants to do anything about it.

A response to this could be along the lines of - "I appreciate your apology, but that is just a beginning. If you're truly sorry, you'll work through this with me to make a better relationship."

Have you ever read the publication "When you and your Mother cannot be friends". Think I need to read that one.

TillyScoutsmum Fri 14-Dec-07 14:40:09

Hi all...New to the thread but have just had a good read. You all sound so strong and brave ... a real inspiration

I was abused by my step dad as a child. My mother did nothing and is still with him. My feelings for him are straightforward...I despise him. My feelings for my mother are so much more complicated.

She too in her own way was abusive...Not as literally as my sd but she has always made it clear that I was "a mistake" and I wrecked her life.. She is bitter and twisted and jealous and I know that the relationship I have with her is toxic.

I had a lot of counselling in my 20's and thought I had found peace (after making some serious life fuck ups along the way).. I have never confronted her and maintained a distant relationship (seeing/speaking to her maybe once every couple of months)

However, I had my first child in May this year and since then, my whole relationship with my mum and what she did and didn't do has become a major part of my life again.

I suppose its obvious that having a child would raise these emotions - but I just cuddled my dd and sobbed to dp that I can never imagine how anyone could give birth and not do anything and everything to protect and nurture their child. The overwhelming sense of love and protection was immediate and has never gone away.

My mum has her own demons and her life has been pretty shit (something I know she would throw in my face if I were to confront)... but I am getting to the stage where I feel ready to confront her (and him) and actually want them out of my life..

Thank you everyone and keep strong xxx

Sakura Fri 14-Dec-07 14:31:47

OH pages,
First of all, I want to say that I was so uplifted by your last post to Danae, because of what you said about the your stand towards your mother changing your perspective of things for good. I really still hope for that day. It was also good to read that you are okay to receive letters from her now. I remember my mother's last letter (the one that said I was born bad, a "special" child) and I just felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach, so I just curled up in bed with the covers over me until I was forced to get out to tend to DD. I really hope I can reach your state of mind someday.
But anyway, your mother's letter. She is basically doing what Alice Miller(?) believes is the worst thing a parent can do; to deny a child's grievances and pretend the child's memories and thoughts don't exist. I am so angry for you. Its easy to see that your mother is so fragile that if she admits even a tiny weakness or mistake, her whole crappy life is going to come crashing down around her shoulders and she is adamant that this is not going to happen. But you are (rightly) adamant that she should be held accountable for her hurtful behaviour. As we said, this is not just about our childhood, this is about hurtful behaviour that is continuing to this day. And if we let this one go, when is the next nasty or hurtful comment going to arrive to drive a tank through our world again? No, she has to be held accountable, that is , to say sorry for a hurtful thing she has done. If she can't be responsible for her own actions, like a child, then she can't be trusted to not do it again.
This was my main problem with my mother. Where does the hurt end? What- she can keep hurting me and I should keep pretending she hasn't? Forget the childhood stuff, what about her behaviour now?

Reading what she wrote, I just see a brick wall in front of me. She is just trying to protect herself, that is obvious, but what she doesn't realise is that those words "I do not accept and never will" are so extremely hurtful, because we feel that a mother should put her child before her self.

Someone else said a good point before. That if my daughter didn't know that I loved her by a certain age (say 18) I would take a good, hard look at my parenting choices. I would search for things that could have messed up the relationship with her, and (even if I believed the argument was partly her fault) ,as her mother, I would be a mother, back down and offer her the unconditional acceptance, and understanding that I think a mother should offer. this may sound idealistic, but I think mothers are given the gift of having the power to shape their child's world and this shouldn't be used to their advantage and abused i.e "I'll be your mother when it suits me, when I can have control over you, but not if it involves me giving of myself to you"

But sorry if this post sounds too harsh, pages. Maybe you see a pitiful woman in that letter. I'm just imagining the hurt I would feel if my mother had written that, and all of its unwritten subtexts.

Pages Fri 14-Dec-07 14:16:02

PS It was signed "Your mother" (She has never ever signed a letter to me before with anything other than "love mum")

Pages Fri 14-Dec-07 14:14:50

OMG, still haven't told you!

(Crossed posts with you Sakura, that way - B&B - is good too Danae if you don't feel like General Custer just now smile)

So: "Pages, What I do not accept and never will is that I was a toxic or bad mother. Sure I made mistakes, I did my best and at times that was not good enough for you. For that I am sorry. And that is my last word on the subject. I'm sorry my loving concern is seen by you as Rescuing" [last part with reference I believe to the letter where she was allegedly trying to stop me feeling guilty about DS1's SN by telling me my dad was autistic and it was inherited]


Sakura Fri 14-Dec-07 14:08:20

Oh, just read your last post smile I'm so pleased that you're ready to put your foot down and not be there. Forget the coffee idea

Sakura Fri 14-Dec-07 14:06:31

sorry for wasting thread space sad could you meet her somewhere neutral? i you really feel you can't say no to her, could you offer to meet her somewhere for a coffee? With a bit of luck she'll go in a hufty that you set a boundary and tell you not to bother meeting her. grin

Last xmas I returned to the Uk with 3 month old DD to show my family. My mother invited me for a christmas do at her new place (parent's recently divorced). The last time I was there, she picked a fight and threw me out into the street in the middle of the night 30 minutes before her new boyfrind showed up. This was a very&#12288;dodgy area that I didn't know at all. So I declined, telling her I'd meet her for a coffee somewhere in the daytime, knowing that in public she'd have to keep a lid on it. She threw a fit at this boundary setting and thats when she started telling me she was taking me to court to excercise her grandparent's rights to my child, whilst conveniently forgetting I'd agreed to meet her in the first place. It was the boundary that she couldn't handle. she didn' give a shit about seeing DD for the first time. My boundary remained solid: either we meet for coffee or we don't meet at all. Guess which option the "loving" granparent chose?

Pages Fri 14-Dec-07 14:00:31

Danae, I would have no hesitation in telling her politely that she is not welcome and then, if she turns up, shutting the door in her face. Ally's mother behaves in exactly this manner. She is trying to manipulate you, as you well know, and it is absolutely essential for your wellbeing that you stand up to her. You know the reasons why you don't want her there. They are totally valid ones and if she really cared about you she would respect them, (and even try and mend her ways), even if she didn't entirely understand.

IMO the greatest liberation from a toxic parent comes when you don't care that they don't understand your reasons for cutting them out. She will try all the toxic parent reactions - guilt, shame, "what on earth have I done to be turned away from my own daughter's home?" (sob, sob) and then maybe "how can you be so ungrateful? After all I've done for you, we took you to stately homes you know" - just check out the list in "Toxic Parents" and prepare yourself. You may not yet feel comfortable in going against your lifetime training to be dutiful, but you can still "act" as if you do. A bit like people have said to Oneplusone, to "act" as if she has the feelings of connectedness with her daughter is a step on the road to actually feeling them.

When I confronted my mother, I had the same instincts as you (ie to put her feelings first, protect her) but I chose myself over her. Even though I was quaking all the way there and back, my stomach churning and the butterflies pounding at my heart, I acted the most calmly and rationally I have ever done in her presence and standing my ground like that has changed things for ever for me. It's like "Custer's Last Stand" or something (although possibly the first of many rather than the last) but once you have done it and become your own best friend and advocate in the way that she should have been when you were a child, it IMO changes you forever.

For instance, I have today received a letter from my mother and it barely even induced a single butterfly in the tummy! I immediately phoned my bro in OZ, got his wife instead, chattted about other things and then went out (without letter) and got my eyebrows waxed and chatted about Christmas to the beautician and when I got home I thought "Right, what have I got to do now? Xmas cards, shopping list, get washing dry and.... Oh, OMG, haven't told my friends on MN yet about letter. Even a few weeks ago it would have floored me, and had me immobile and unable to do anything for the rest of the day.

It is a choice between her or you, Danae, and I for one choose you. It will be your finest hour, I promise you.

And yes, you will suffer the guilt pangs, the panic attacks, the butterfiles leading up to and afterwards too, but we will be here to catch you!

Danae Fri 14-Dec-07 13:56:40

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