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NC 15yrs Do I open this letter?

(125 Posts)
Lottielillie Thu 07-Jan-16 08:42:38

So after 15yrs it appears my parent has written to me. Do I read the letter? I cut them off to protect myself & my kids from their narcissism. I always knew when their time came I would not play the dutiful dd, doing shopping, visiting, checking care homes etc. I was quite at peace with my decision even accepting my dc's may make their own contact in time. So, do I read it & mess with my head or forget it ever arrived?

pocketsaviour Thu 07-Jan-16 08:45:17

No, do not open or read it. Straight into the shredder with it, burn it, whatever.

Joysmum Thu 07-Jan-16 08:45:36

If there is nothing that could be contained in that letter that will be enough to make it beneficial to you to open it, rather than just opening up old wounds, then destroy it. Or if you don't want to do that, give it to someone you trust for safe keeping.

IsItIorAreTheOthersCrazy Thu 07-Jan-16 08:46:55

15 years NC is a very long time!

Can you get someone (DH / DP / DFriend) to read it for you - if it's rambling on about nonsense they can throw it but if there's anything in there you need to know, they can tell you?

Disclaimer - I've never gone NC with anyone so that advice may not be best

senua Thu 07-Jan-16 08:50:18

A letter can't harm you. Read it, and either act on it or bin it. It's not as if you are meeting parent in person. After 15 years you are strong enough for this.

diddl Thu 07-Jan-16 08:56:39

If it's going to upset you or draw you back in then get rid!

pocketsaviour Thu 07-Jan-16 08:58:11

A letter can't harm you
Senua I'm sorry but that's just bollocks. Do you really think a tirade of abuse about what an evil, useless person you are, complete with gaslighting, doesn't harm someone mentally and emotionally?

If verbal and emotional abuse are not harmful then why have such behaviours recently been made illegal in law?

duckyneedsaclean Thu 07-Jan-16 08:58:16

Maybe ask sometime you trust to read it? They can tell you what it says if appropriate?

FredaMayor Thu 07-Jan-16 09:03:35

You could put the letter away, and either read it or don't read it later on. That way you have at least some control over it. You may get a follow up if you make no response, but again that will be up to you as to what you do about that.

CocktailQueen Thu 07-Jan-16 09:10:51

Oh, that's really hard. I agree - ask someone else to read it and let them decide - tirade of crap or has the NC person seen the light and want to apologise?

senua Thu 07-Jan-16 09:11:33

Do you really think a tirade of abuse about what an evil, useless person you are, complete with gaslighting, doesn't harm someone mentally and emotionally?

If it becomes a tirade then stop reading and throw it away. And remember why you became NC.
OP needs to be the one in control of her feelings, not some scrap of paper.

Morecheesegrommet Thu 07-Jan-16 09:12:41

Have been NC with my dad for 9 years, so I sympathise.
If you are not interested in a reconciliation, I would not open it as it will only upset you and open up old wounds.
But if you would like to reconnect, this could be an opportunity.
My dad sends Xmas and birthday cards which I always open in case he is offering an olive branch. He never does, so I just put them in the bin and carry on with my day.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Thu 07-Jan-16 09:14:33

agreed letters can harm you, it can really re-awaken old wounds that have taken time and effort to heal even partially. When you've no family of origin that you can talk to, you never forget that. It stays hurtful.

15 years is a long time though. I think that giving it to read to a partner / very trusted friend who knows the circumstances is a good idea.

But think it out first. If they are really coming to the end of their lives, will it actually be something you feel at peace with, or will it be something that will put you in a dilemma and reawaken memories that leave you with vivid haunting nightmares? (it could go either way; though it'll be hard to brush it off completely).

FusionChefGeoff Thu 07-Jan-16 09:15:39

I am trying to make amends for my past behaviour with people I have lost contact with. There is a small chance that your letter could be the same.

Agree that you should ask someone else to read it just in case. If it's the first contact in 15 years it feels too important to ignore completely.

ghostspirit Thu 07-Jan-16 09:17:42

not sure what to say. what if there has been a death in the family or something and they are telling you about it.

if it was me (its not though) i would open it.

D0ntLookD0wn Thu 07-Jan-16 09:17:57

I couldn't not read it personally but I don't think any of us can answer your question for you.

Bogeyface Thu 07-Jan-16 09:20:36

I agree that asking someone else to read it would be a good idea.

After 15 years it seems odd to get this out of the blue so I wonder if it contains something important. If its just more bile/emotional blackmail then it can be binned, but I wouldnt want to chuck it without checking just in case.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 07-Jan-16 09:22:06

I wonder why now and after all this time?. Its likely not to have been sent out of any concern for your own self has it?.

I would not open it either but shred it particularly if you think it will mess with your head.

Collaborate Thu 07-Jan-16 09:23:13

Get someone to read it for you. It might be important news.

shovetheholly Thu 07-Jan-16 09:24:14

I think the answer to this depends so much on where you are with your own journey that it's almost impossible to advise.

If you've reached a point of peace in your therapy and your struggle with the past where you can read a letter with some distance and calmness, and where you can control your own reactions a bit so that they don't run out of all control, then I would read it.

If you're still struggling hard for that equilibrium, then it is to be treated with a great deal of caution. I like the advice of giving it to a partner who then gives you an emotionless account of the content. I think it's probably important for you to know whether there is serious illness in the case, absolutely not so that you can go into dutiful daughter mode, but so that you can prepare and seek any additional support you need. The death of an estranged relative can be every bit as painful as the death of someone with whom you are close - not least because there is the loss of the relationship and the loss of the opportunity for things to have been different had their behaviour been better.

MadamCroquette Thu 07-Jan-16 09:24:25

I went NC with my mum after a letter that hurt me a lot. It was mainly the usual self-pitying and manipulative stuff, then suddenly there was an attack on me that left me feeling like I'd been punched in the stomach – just when I'd thought I could handle the letter fine. Even though she criticised and undermined me all the time, it threw me. It was too late to stop reading.

Now I'm NC I get DP to read her letters (the ones she still sends after I asked her to leave me alone). He can tell me if there's any significant news. Or you could ask a friend or nice/trusted neighbour.

MerdeAlor Thu 07-Jan-16 09:25:28

I was in this situation two years ago, NC with a parent 10 years and received a letter.

I did open it and it upset me terribly. My F letter was accusatory in tone, talked about his imminent death and disowned me, how I was such a disappointment and how he'd done nothing wrong.
I was immediately brought back into that dysfunctional dynamic and had fear, obligation and guilt as a reaction. I felt terribly ashamed of my decision to go NC.

BUT, within a few days and talking it through with a friend, I realised what a cruel letter it was, written to press my buttons. It almost was a relief to see the nasty dynamic still at play and know that he hadn't changed. I happily chucked it in the bin and have rarely thought about it since.
In fact it did me a favour of removing the last elements of doubt I had about being NC.

I share this with you so hopefully you can see that whatever its contents you will get over it.

Quornmakesmefart Thu 07-Jan-16 09:25:42

For me it would depend if I had decided 100% that the reasons for NC were bad enough that I wanted the situation to be permanent, no matter what. If so I would bin it.

If part of you would like to reconcile, under the right circumstances, I would get somebody you trust to read it and let them decide what information to pass on.

Janeymoo50 Thu 07-Jan-16 09:25:58

Get someone you really trust to read it first.

NeedsAsockamnesty Thu 07-Jan-16 09:27:05

It may be nothing at all to do with the relationship.

Only you know if you can control how you feel about a letter or not

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