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Wavering on NC with family(19 Posts)
I've posted about my family and my situation on few threads but thought it was easier to start a new one for this.
My family cut me off 2 1/2 years ago for unknown reasons, throughout this time I've sent Christmas cards/gifts in an attempt to be the bigger person but received nothing in return finally last year I decided to go NC as the relationship was clearly toxic.
In the meantime I found out I was pregnant so felt I had to tell family, they showed no enthusiasm and so after 12 week scan I stopped trying to involve them.
I'm now 33 weeks, a few weeks ago I get a phone call out of the blue from step father, I missed it so got dh to call back as I find dealing with it all too stressful. Step father then went on at length about how my mother didn't understand why I didn't want her in my life and she was upset on missing out on her daughters pregnancy ect. Dh said he would talk to me about it, we agreed to maintain NC, my mother hadn't actually made any effort just got step father to do it.
2 weeks later a massive parcel arrives full of expensive baby clothes all gender specific, which we never told them so they must have got from other family members. There were 2 parcels in 1 package 1 from my mother and the other from grandmother.
Gm parcel was addressed solely to her great grand daughter which really concerns me NM parcel to me and dh at least.
I was going to send thank you cards with a simple thank you message but my anxiety has been really bad and I didn't get around to it yet, yesterday I noticed NM has now unfriended both dh and myself on Facebook.
I'm not sure why this has upset me so much? I know this is probably the desired impact.
I'm now considering sending the cards with a note in outlining why I'm upset with them as in their behaviour is not acceptable and if they want a relationship with DC They need to modify their behaviour as it's not fair on my but especially not fair on a child.
I know this is stupid, GM is the bigger narc and this clearly shows as she refuses to acknowledge me as DCs parent even now I have serious concerns about them having contact but at the same time we live several hours away and so I could control contact to some extent although I know this could/would still be damaging.
If you've read all that thank you! I think I know the answer is in my post really, that I should maintain NC but I feel terrible about it, I can hear them clucking about how ungrateful I am not even a thank you when they've spent so much money etc.
I'm also incredibly sad at not really having any family to share this time with MIL was asking did I know the details of when I was born etc. I had to make it up because I'm too ashamed to tell them my mother won't speak to me.
My mum didn't care either. But when people said to me 'your mum must be so proud' I just said 'nope she doesn't care' it's the truth and i am not ashamed of her behaviour. That's her problem.
Sounds like the idea of nc is causing you strain. Not good for you or baby. So imagine what actual contact would do.
Protect your baby and stay nc.
Big hugs to you. I would be tempted to send the thank you card but with no personal message (although I thought cards were sent after the birth so I don't think you are late). Your DD might want to see her granny one day but granny needs to know it's on your terms. Don't worry about her unfriending you on FB, it's her problem, not yours.
They're still deeply mired in their own interpretation of events and scoring points, rather than truly reaching out to you with openness and a view to healing the rift.
Yes, it's hurtful. But I don't think there is anything you can do about it other than try not to let it affect you.
If you want to send a simple thank you, do. If you don't, don't. I don't believe that a note where you outline your hurt will have any impact whatsoever, or at least not the recognition of your feelings that you hope for.
Sometimes, with narcs, it is good to just take everything they do at face value, and to choose to ignore all the underlying manipulation, as if it simply isn't there. It takes the sting out of their intended digs, disarms them in a way. So a simple: "Thank you for the baby things, which we have received," that doesn't acknowledge her unfriending you or the PA phone call from step father, could make you feel stronger and more in control, as you are neither hiding from her salvo, nor engaging in tit-for-tat.
It's entirely up to you what you think the best course for you is, of course. And if total NC is what feels safest for you no, then by all means do that.
Its not you, its them.
What the other respondents have written; you need to maintain your no contact stance with these people. No response of any kind should come from either of you now.
Toxic crap like this can and does go down the generations and you are the latest to be affected by such behaviour. Do not let your child be affected too by such toxic behaviour from your relatives. Your mother and grandmother are both narcissists and this is typical behaviour too from such disordered people.
Re this comment:-
"but at the same time we live several hours away and so I could control contact to some extent although I know this could/would still be damaging".
You won't be able to control contact, the damage to your child will happen right in front of your very eyes. It will be very damaging for you and your child. You as an adult child of a narcissist have been profoundly affected, your ability to set boundaries to them has been compromised mainly because you have never been encouraged to set any. These people should not be at all around your child. Narcissists make for being deplorably bad grandparent figures and they will simply use your child as narcissistic supply. Also it is painful to watch a narcissist interact with the grandchild simply because there is no interaction; its like watching a repeat of a tv show you have always hated.
They often also over value or under value the relationship with the grandchild.
It is also not possible to have a relationship with a narcissist. Your stepfather is your mother's enabler and hatchet man here; he cannot be at all relied upon.
Re the items sent I would not acknowledge these in any way and actually would consider instead now taking it all to the charity shop. They want contact from you; this is to them the reward. They will then bother you even more. These items were purely and simply sent to obligate you further, it was not done for the baby or you but for them and them alone. To that end its worked.
Hang on a minute. Yes that's all true if they're Narcs.. but they may not be. Though they are very damaging people, that's for certain.
Iiwy I wouldn't send anything dating why you are hurt. The phrase 'don't cast your pearls before swine' comes to mind ; as well as the ending of that phrase, which is ' lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.' It is highly likely they will do this. So save yourself more pain and don't send it - but write it certainly if that helps?
If it lessens your anxiety then do send a thankyou card and maybe just sign it. Then you've ticked that box and they can't accuse you of ungratefulness. From the sound of things they'll accuse you of something (and nothing) anyway, whatever you do
Have you had any therapy? Do of not. Out really helps to have someone in your corner who understands all this stuff - especially FOG, which is Fear Obligation and Guilt: lots of that when we come from a toxic family (t-shirt).
Also read Susan Forward's 'Toxic Parents'. You'll recognise a lot there..
Imo we have to do what we can cope with. If that's low contact (LC) them go for that ; as much as you can cope with.
Congratulations of your pg btw
Thank you for the replies.
GM is definitely a narc I've never had a genuine relationship with her it's always felt strained and for show, I have no reason to believe that she would be any different with my own child. I don't struggle with NC with her I find it very easy.
My mother I struggle with she definitely has a narcissistic personality but she's not a true narc like GM and a lot of her traits I think maybe learned from her disfunctional childhood.
My step father doesn't understand the whole dynamic and enables her because otherwise he gets a load of shit but is a genuinely lovely man.
I suppose I'm making excuses for her because I still have a picture in my head of the mother I want but will never have and I think being a grandmother might change that even though I know it won't.
It's a very emotional time I suppose I need other people's permission in a way because cutting your family out of your life is not the done thing!
One of my colleagues in work had a proper go at me because I hadn't sent anything for mothers day, I made up a lame excuse about doing something when I saw her next as it means more and he still gave me the only one mother speech.
People will think I'm awful for cutting her out of this.
I have cbt scheduled for my anxiety in a few weeks which I believe stems from my childhood and has developed legs into my adult life, I'm not sure how helpful it will be with this?
Cbt is a set of very good baseline skills. Imo they are as valuable as scales to a classical musician: without them you can't make the music! But they won't address all the ins and outs of what you have experienced; HOWEVER they are excellent skills for eg anxiety.
Ime I had to cobble together therapy /courses /books over many years: all put together, they have done the job (though imo top-ups are a good idea now and again) l.
I know what you mean about your mother not being a true narc - I have had true Narcs in my life as well as people with narc behaviors, probably learnt behaviors. Imo the latter are a different kettle of fish.
To that end do read up about and do courses about boundaries - again excellent baseline skills that are essential for focusing on a healthy and healing thought life.
Can you afford therapy? it can mean pushing aside other expenses in order to invest in our future. It is money very very well spent: priceless. Essential for some of us.
Therapy will be difficult while I'm on maternity leave so the cbt will have to do until I go back to work unfortunately.
My mother is completely different to GM which is why I this it's so hard with her, unfortunately my GM now lives with her and I think feeds into her narc side she wasn't this bad before GM moved in I probably could have done LC before, the prolonged periods of NC for no reason started after GM moved in so I think they fed off each other.
re your comment:-
"One of my colleagues in work had a proper go at me because I hadn't sent anything for mothers day, I made up a lame excuse about doing something when I saw her next as it means more and he still gave me the only one mother speech".
Oh yes, that particular rabbit hole. Don't go down there. He disrespected your own truth and he should therefore be ignored. Do make a mental note to never bring up family in his presence again, re-enforce that too low boundary by not talking about wider family to any work colleagues. He does not really need to know.
Some people really do not get the whole toxic dynamic or even want to understand, that person would certainly think differently if they were to have experienced what you have done.
Your grandmother's own parents were likely to have been emotionally abusive or even narcissistic themselves. You did not make them her or your mother this way.
Do read Toxic Parents as springydaffs has suggested.
I either lie or omit crucial facts when the subject of my family comes up - I don't want other people's judgements.
^yesterday I noticed NM has now unfriended both dh and myself on Facebook.
I'm not sure why this has upset me so much? I know this is probably the desired impact.^
because the rejection from your mum hurts. it really hurts, and preg is a time when you want your mum.
What you want though is a loving mum. Remember that SHE cut you off, not the other way around. it really, really hurts but I think that now the only healthy option is to grieve for the loving mum that you want ... but don't have.
if you can, practise mentally distancing yourself and seeing her as a stranger. How would you respond if she was someone else's mum treating her daughter like this? Family -is- important ... but sometimes, sadly, for your own health and the health of your children, you need to keep distance. Especially if you do try once or twice to give them a chance (knowing and being prepared for the probably outcome), and the same destructive behaviour patterns emerge.
As for other people who say you only have one mum;
1 - it's none of their business. how dare they put pressure on you? It's your life
2 - they are either very naive (most adults know that not everyone is nice, and sometimes those people have children and don't make nice parents, as someone said)
3 - they have their own issues sometimes with their parents and just don't want to acknowledge it!
It is at best intrusive to question you and at worst very, very rude.
Imho it would be best for you to be full no contact. The gifts are nothing more than bait.
If you feel the need to send a thank you note, do it to satisfy yourself. It may ease your mind in blocking their Hey Day in smearing you even more for not sending one. However- smear you they have, are, and will-so what if they do it some more? So what? That became a bit of a mantra for me: So?
The thank you note I sent to my narc when I was distancing myself went like this:
"Thank you for the gifts. Your kindness is much appreciated. (Sign name)"
(Do not list the gifts.) This is like a form letter. This is what I sent every single time and I even wrote them in advance, had them in a drawer, so all I had to do was put it in the mailbox.
It is tempting to tell granny that you will save the package for when baby is old enough to open it him/herself...but do not engage.
Take it all to a charity shop if seeing these objects will trigger you on a continuing basis.
As for Mr Nosey Nob at work-ignore him. His experience has nothing to do with yours. As a pp said-do not talk about her to anyone at work (or in general for that matter-except where you know people will be on the same page). "I don't talk about my mother." Repeat stonewall style as necessary.
Congrats on your baby and good luck for a smooth and easy birth.
Others have given lots of great advice.
Mine how peer would be....
The gifts were emotionally laden......come back, here are gifts to lure you with.....
Having any form of contact, laying out to them what they've done, will be fruitless as they wont see it or admit it. I wouldn't bother. It will just upset you for nothing. I may well also not thank them for the gifts as again, this is opening the way for more.
I'd in fact change my number and do nothing at all. I've been no contact for years, it gets easier the longer time goes on. Xx
I can relate to this scenario. The gifts are bait, take them to the charity shop/collection. They've helped you out in un friending you on FB, go online and get them blocked so they can't be snooping about and causing trouble. You are well within your rights to be happy and enjoy life. Don't lie to other people just say that the relationship with your family isn't great and then refuse to elaborate any further, none of their business. It gets easier as time goes on, especially when you've your own children.
Your mother might be experiencing FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) if your GM is a narcissist and has come to live with her.
For some people, giving a gift on their terms makes them feel better and gives them more justification for moaning about you.
I'm torn about your mum. I always had a difficult relationship with my mum and only recently realised that it was partly (I'm not letting her off that lightly) because her twin sister had been dripping poison into her ears for years for a very long time. She is still responsible for the vile things she said to me over the years and for her unkind and thoughtless choices. I think she did want to be a good mum and just couldn't while she was enmeshed with her sister.
Pregnancy and new motherhood is a wonderful time but also an emotional time so you can absolutely respond to this in your own time and on your own terms. There are many years in front of you and things will change, eg when her own mother isn't around any more.
Sorry you are going through this, though. It is shit.
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