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Summit Meeting .....(25 Posts)
I'd really appreciate some wise words from mums netters..
I'm currently estranged from my mother. I have posted about this before but long story short, last year I had cancer followed by major surgery. From the point of diagnosis, she made my whole illness about her. I think she had a vision of how I was supposed to behave (her being my primary support & being involved at every turn) & when I didn't behave in the desired way, it caused a slow burn of tension then an almighty bust up last summer after a spectacularly cruel poison pen from her.
I am carrying a lot of anger & there are many things unsaid so I have agreed to meet her (her request). I have thought long and hard & I have no ides what to say to her at all. I even don't know how to greet her. I don't think I can force a hug but it feels wring not to. Yep, I know I'm clearly still in the fog.
One thing I know for sure though is that I'm not going to get the apology I wanted when all this was going on - in fact she has suggested we each need to listen to & respect each other's point of view. I don't even think I can be that open minded.
Clearly I need some sort of counselling & am almost regretting agreeing to this meeting now. I have no idea what I want to get out of this, no idea what I'm going to say or what I expect the outcome to be. Perhaps having no expectation is a good thing.
Can you help me see through the mist & clear my thinking?
Firstly, Banana, I am so sorry for what you have been through :0(
Personally, I don't think you are ready to see her yet, and from what you describe, it doesn't sound like she is remorseful for her actions when you needed her most .
Personally, I would cancel the meeting and give yourself more time. You will be clearer in yourself and less emotional (I don't blame you for being very angry), and with time hopefully you will be in a much stronger position to deal with her.
Totally agree with Keepcool I would not meet her. This is her opportunity to tell you how wrong you are and how you have hurt her and to see it all her way.
You won't get anything but grief from it. Cancel and stay NC/LC.
Do not meet your mother under any circumstances; cancel it immediately. She has not changed at all, she wants you again to be her emotional punchbag. I can tell you now how such a meeting will go - very badly. She will not listen but instead give you a laundry list of your own supposed shortcomings. Also if your dad is still around, he'll be drawn into this too. Women like your mother always but always need a willing enabler to help them.
Your mother reads like a narcissist in terms of personality; such types always make it all about them and she will certainly not listen to or respect your point of view. She will continue to put the boot into you if you do meet her so no good will come of it and you will end up feeling far worse. If she is indeed a narcissist then it is not possible to have any sort of a relationship with her in any case.
Do read "Children of the Self Absorbed" written by Nina W Brown and look too at the website entitled "Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers". Also read the "Out of the Fog" website.
Re counselling BACP are good and do not charge the earth. You need to find someone who is highly versed in the workings of dysfunctional families and narcissists so the first person you see may well not be the right one. Counsellors are like shoes, you need to find someone who fits in with your approach.
Again, do not meet your mother.
Do also post on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages. You will get support there too.
In the same vein as other posters...I sadly believe that any meeting you have with her at the moment will leave you feeling worse, not better. Unless you are prepared to say you have been a 'bad' daughter, I suspect she will not be satisfied with any outcome. Maybe postpone, while you have some counselling and feel clearer/more equipped to handle or cancel a future meeting? x
Banana, sorry for what you have been through and I hope that you are well on your way to recovery.
As for your mum, if you have feelings you want to express to her, it's understandable you want to meet, but if you don't think you'll be able to say these things, then it might make you feel even worse.
Do you think you could write them down in an email or something so that it has been said, cancel the meeting at the same time and then block her, going NC? Maybe that way you can get these feelings off of your chest without having to see her face to face.
Counselling is probably a good shout to get over these feelings as well. From experience, no amount of interaction with someone with such narcissistic personality traits ever brings any relief, any sense of resolution or closure, or any lessening of anger; in fact it is likely to increase it IMHO. I've found the only way to work through it is by going NC and talking therapy.
Good luck to you.
Cancel. For your own dignity and self-esteem.
My mother was like this and it will not end well.
I've just read Toxic Parents by Susan Forward. She does advocate confronting before you go no contact so IF you do decide to meet your mother I would highly recommend you read the book first so that you know how to approach the meeting. Otherwise it will be her agenda.
You have my sincere sympathy.
Attila - it's almost like you were in my kitchen last December!! The laundry list of shortcomings - wow.
Thanks everyone for the helpful comments. I know I should cancel but I also feel I want to confront her; I'm of the mind to just get this over & done with & then make a decision on whether I go NC from there. I suppose I'm giving her one last chance but really don't expect anything mind blowing to come out of her mouth.
After her poison pen last summer, I wrote what I thought was a rational and good response. I didn't get into reciprocal mud slinging, explained how my surgery had affected me, was open and suggested a way forward for us both. That letter was sent back to me unopened with a sarky note. All of that hurt me so deeply, I actually don't think it's possible for her to do any more damage than she already has.
The meeting is tomorrow & although I know it goes against all your wise judgement (& even my own gut feel), I need to go through with it. At least if meeting her clarifies some thoughts, then I can go NC and hopefully heal, in peace.
I don't have the toxic parents book but I am going to have a think about how to manage the meeting utilising the "confronting toxic parents" advice on a similar thread here.
If anyone has done what I am about to do tomorrow, what piece of advice would you give me?
No matter how hoary she gets stay calm
You have a right to respectfully say that the meeting isn't working for you and leave.
If someone else was writing, what would your counsel be to that person?.
There is still no good reason for you to meet your mother and to put yourself through this tomorrow. Toxic people like nothing more than a fight and having the last word. She will get both from you meeting her.
I would still advise you not to meet her because you are really going to come off far, far worse from this. She has after all arranged it, she is well prepared. You are really going into the lion's den here to meet someone who is a past master at, "come closer so I can hurt you again". And she will.
Re your comment:-
"I actually don't think it's possible for her to do any more damage than she already has".
You were hurt enough by having your letter returned. She was never going to respond to that either and unsurprisingly it was returned and with a sarcastic note attached. Toxic people like your mother do not play by the "normal" rules governing relations; its their way or no way as far as they are concerned. She was not at all interested in listening to what you have to say then or now.
Meeting you face to face will give her the opportunity to really blast you and make it all out to be your fault. Her narcissistic rage will be turned on you full force soon after this meeting starts and it will be that sudden too.
If you do meet her it has to be in a public place in town and with back up in the form of your partner or other trusted relative. You need to be prepared to walk away as soon as she starts on you.
banana Your post gave me the chills. My hideous mother behaved exactly the same way towards me when I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. Even down to the poison pen letter. It's unfathomable, and so deeply distressing, that the one person in the world who should love you unconditionally is not only useless when you're faced with one of the most frightening times of your life, but actually exploits your life-threatening illness for drama and attention, then gets a thrill from digging the knife in when you are at your most physically and emotionally vulnerable. It makes me so fucking angry.
Please, please think again about going to see your mother. I tried to confront mine and, as previous posters have suggested, she just twisted and turned everything I said round until I was in tears of rage and frustration. And she loved every juicy last drop of drama. Please don't do this to yourself. You deserve so much better.
If you really do feel you have to do this though, like Attila says, try and do it in a public place, with support, and an exit plan, and don't let her push ANY emotional buttons. Cool, stony faced, factual. Remember NONE of this is your fault, she has behaved despicably.
Hope you're healing, and will be a long, long time in remission
Thanks again everyone. I am well so far - long may it continue.
greenleaf - I'm so sorry to hear you've been through similar - I hope you are healing physically too. I just couldn't believe it when, at the point of diagnosis & wanting some space to get my head around things, my mother threw an almighty strop because I didn't want to see her and wailed down the phone that she felt rejected. I still can't quite believe that conversation took place.
I remember after an initial smaller surgery, unable to move from the bed and with a urinary catheter in place, she was angry because I wasn't answering her phone calls. It beggars belief really.
So, yes, I am meeting her in a public place and will try to detach myself. I think her strategy will be to either tell me how much I've hurt her or expect everything to be brushed under the carpet and go back to nicey nicey.
Thanks for the support. I will come back to tell you how it went. I'm trying to keep an open mind but I expect you'll all be right...
Thanks banana. I'm doing fine .
I've actually just read what you posted at the time about your cancer and your mother. I'm so sorry you had to go through that, and I'm at how similar our mothers were. Do these toxic old witches have a textbook or something? And yes - the DRAMA! I had a very small, very treatable breast cancer, but listening to my parents you would have thought I was on my way out. My spineless, enabling father was tasked with calling me every so often in floods of tears.
It's so difficult talking to people about this in real life isn't it? They just say your parents must have been worried sick and acting irrationally. My father maybe, yes, but my mother just saw it as her moment in the spotlight. No one really gets it. It's good to know someone else understands.
Good luck tomorrow. I'll be sending you positive thoughts
Re your comment:-
"So, yes, I am meeting her in a public place and will try to detach myself. I think her strategy will be to either tell me how much I've hurt her or expect everything to be brushed under the carpet and go back to nicey nicey".
It'll be that and more besides.
It is also not possible to have any sort of a relationship with a person like your mother particularly if she is a narcissist in terms of personality.
Please reconsider your decision. Its really not going to do you any favours in meeting up with her. Also you seem to be meeting her on your own; again a bad idea.
What both Greenleaf and you describe are typical of how narcissistic people behave. Such women as well always but always need a willing enabler to help them. Greenleaf; I am not surprised you called your dad spineless. Such weak men often need someone like their wife to idolise. He is also her hatchet man here as well and cannot be at all relied upon.
Also make sure you make up an appointment in an hours time.
"I have to be gone by 3, I'm meeting Fiona at her place".
You need a pre established exit.
Hello again banana. Sorry - I think I'm derailing your thread! Something else has just occurred to me.
When I was first diagnosed I read up a lot about cancer (I bet you did too). I used to hate the positive-thinking American websites - one in particular that said cancer should be looked on as a gift. I thought it was delusional, damaging nonsense. But you know what? With the benefit of hindsight and a good prognosis I think there's truth in that. Without that crisis in my life I don't think I would ever have realised what sort of "family" I was dealing with. Why I self-sabotage, why I have always struggled with depression and felt so utterly crap for days after I had anything to do with them. The pieces all fit together now. Sometimes it takes a crisis to flush these people out.
I think that's really powerful knowledge and I know if I ever have to deal with my mother I get a lot of strength from that. I hope you do too.
All the best to you
I can relate too.
When my abusive ex left, it became almost open season on me as far as my family were concerned, it was just devastating!
Op, you gave your mum a chance, she threw it back in your face.
Her summons to you will result in her telling you how you've hurt her, let her down and listing all your faults, that's usually how this stuff usually goes down.
well - you all called it, sadly.
The meeting did not go well & I came away feeling much much worse. In a nutshell, everything was turned back on me & not only did I not get the apology I wanted, I was asked to apologise for things which I'd "done" up to 30 years ago - including it would appear, not providing mother with emotional support when she divorced my abusive father...wtf?!
It was indeed a shopping list of shortcomings. Unfortunately, in my anger, I engaged with the subsequent emails which I should have just ignored - easy for me to say with hindsight though.
After a difficult weekend & the realisation that my mother, at 75, is not going to see the light, I have decided to go LC with her.
I have thought a lot about whether LC will eventually become NC. It might, but for now I'm not ready to take that final step - mostly because of the impact it would have on my relationship with my brother & his family. I want to see them at Xmas etc & given they already see my mother & father on separate days (long divorced) there would be no days left if I wasn't speaking to my mother. I also don't want to put them in the middle. Let's see how that goes..
I am trying to change my way of thinking so that I get what I want out of this situation rather than allow my mother to dictate the terms.
I'm feeling quite a bit stronger today & have my copy of toxic parents which I'm hoping will help me to finally let go of my hurt and anger. If it's proved anything to me, it's shown that I need to continue to be tolerant of other people's point of view and not end up a blinkered old woman who never admits any wrongdoing.
Thank you all for your support with this.
Oh darling, I'm sorry. Not surprised, but every time I say that these people will tear you apart I truly hope that I'll be wrong.
I'd give anything to have been wrong, but they are sadly so predictable
This wasn't your fault, none of it. I do advise NC, but it's hard to get your head around, so take it at your pace.
I agree with Hissy.
Your mum is damaged. You didn't cause it and you cannot control it.
Aww crap banana, I'm so sorry too. There's nothing you can do about these awful people.
And for what it's worth I know exactly what you mean about keeping some sort of contact with the old witch to be in touch with siblings, no matter how much it hurts.
If there is a bright side, it's at least that you know what you're dealing with now?
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