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People with experience of dealing with toxic families- some advice please. :)

(10 Posts)
DudeWheresMyVulva Tue 15-Nov-16 08:15:15

I would be so grateful if you can help me formulate a good response to this situation. This is long, sorry. blush

My DM had an appalling childhood. Her parents were abusive (including sexually). She was the youngest out of 4. She was scapegoated alot. She is now in her late 60s, but still runs around trying to appease her family (siblings only now). I think of her as behaving like a puppy desperately trying to get attention and approval. My DDad refused to have any more to do with them from when I was a child and I used to go with her on her visits in order to support her. I can honestly say that it made me miserable. She would take everything out on me. They lived three hours away and she would usually scream her head off at me for some imagined transgression that 'showed her up'. She would repeat what her parents said to her. I was disgusting, a horrible child and person, what did she ever do to deserve a horrible child like me etc. As an example, when I was about 12 my uncle kissed me hello at Christmas by shoving his tongue down my throat and grabbing my boobs. I yelled at him and my mother smacked me hard across the face and hissed; 'I don't care what anyone does to you, you never be rude'. I have a hard time forgiving this to be honest. There is more, but I don't feel up to talking about some of the details, even anonymously.

Anyway, I have refused to see the family for about 5-6 years now. (I am 43). My mother often laments and says; 'But they always ask after you, they really care about you'. (They don't). BUT, my mother goes and stays with her siblings 4-5 times a year. She is there now. What happens is that she then will come home crying and will wail down the phone to me or on e-mail about how horrible they are and what who said to who etc.

I usually respond calmly by asking her to consider why she is in contact with them. Apparently it is because they are her sisters, she loves them blah blah. I have had her sobbing on my shoulder just this past 6 months or so. I am tired of it.

So, DDad calls today and says that she is staying with The Horribles so to expect the full drama in a day or two. This is what I want to say to her;

'Mother. You go in circles with your relationship with them, and they only cause you pain. I have tried to support you for years. You still seek out being in situations with them that hurt you. I am afraid I do not want to hear about it anymore.'.

Too harsh? I do not want to hurt my mother, who is 'very sensitive'. But I also want to say 'Grow the fuck up woman and stop dragging me into your crap'.

An essay. Sorry. Any thoughts, advice, very very very much gratefully received. thanks

newdaddie Tue 15-Nov-16 08:23:43

Poor thing sad that sounds awful.

I think that the best thing to do is more of what you have been doing. It sounds as though dm let her abuse spill over into her relationship with you. But she was better than her mother (dgran). And you are going to be a better mother then the both of them.

Keep your distance from the horribles, support your dm when you can. And make sure that your dc never have to go through what you did.


I'd mainly change the last line:

I am afraid sounds wishy-washy yet
I do not want to hear about it anymore borders on harsh, so you have the worst of both worlds, really. Why not try: Seeing you hurt yourself hurts me, and I have to stop doing it for my own mental well-being

You might even add in, in the middle there, "... the more so, given their unacceptable behaviour to me..."

But I say all that with not a lot of hope that it's going to sink in with her. Some people have had too much practice being dysfunctional.

DudeWheresMyVulva Tue 15-Nov-16 08:34:09

Thank you both so much. I doubt also it would sink in... to be honest I think there is an element within my mother where she feeds off the drama. She is quite good at the wailing and being treated badly. I feel unkind saying that, but I do think that.

When DS was born I was floored by PND, and one of the triggers was finally 'remembering' how my mother treated me and thinking that I would never ever hurt my child that way.

Whoops, forgot to say that, in contrast, you have amazing insight and sanity, considering your past! Well done, you. fsmile

DudeWheresMyVulva Tue 15-Nov-16 08:43:54

Thanks, that is kind. smile smile I have had loads of therapy though and am currently trying to get over bulimia. All the anger was driven inside!!

Sugarpiehoneyeye Tue 15-Nov-16 08:46:24

Do you think, it's possibly all part of the drama. Is your DM, a bit of a drama queen ?
I appologise if I am way off mark.
Personally, I think you've suffered enough shit, it's time to draw a line OP.
You are 43yrs old, very together, and have a life to lead.
If your DM keeps sticking her hand into the fire, she's going to get burned.
I would chat to her, before she goes.
She is an adult, and makes her own decisions, as do you ! 💐

DudeWheresMyVulva Tue 15-Nov-16 08:53:22

Yeah, that is kind of what I think, Sugar. I think in some ways she feeds off the drama. And she likes the role of trying to be peacemaker, trying to let bygones be bygones etc. She is most emphatically NOT a drama queen in any other setting- she is very kind, very thoughtful. She just becomes deranged when near her family.

Refusing to go to family crap several years back was so liberating for me - but my mother 'surprised' me by hosting a surprise tea party with her family when DS and I went to stay with my parents when he was 18 months old so they could meet him. I was fucking fuming. My DDad took her aside and told her that if she ever pulled that stunt again she only had herself to blame if I never spoke to her again.

There might be some residual guilt on my part because I let her do the wailing and try and comfort her. But I think even hearing their names has to be the next to go for me.

DudeWheresMyVulva Tue 15-Nov-16 08:55:34

My DDad will not even let them in the house. One sister was flying abroad and it would have been convenient to stay at theirs before the flight. DDad refused. His comment for years has been; 'I'll see them only for funerals'.

Sugarpiehoneyeye Tue 15-Nov-16 10:39:03

I really think that you have to follow you DDs lead.
He's doing this to preserve his sanity, that speaks volumes.
I think it's time to stop listening to your DMs woes, they are literally, self inflicted. It isn't doing you any good whatsoever listening, as she'll never change her thought pattern.
Try and speak to her, emphasise her good points, that you love her, and how she lets her lovely self down, by continuing this fiasco.
Could she be persuaded to shorten. and limit these visits, perhaps.

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