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I have an opportunity to tentatively get in contact with my mum and not sure if I should take it...

(22 Posts)
skyyequake Sat 17-Dec-16 19:03:14

Ok backstory: My mum and my dad split up when I was 6 months (she cheated on him but I only found out about this last year). Mum was a single parent to me till I was six when she met my stepdad. He was lovely to me at first but then mum fell pg with my DSis and he started being really horrible to me. This then led to 10 years of emotional abuse until I cut all contact when I was 18 (I'm now 22). I gained some contact with my DSis (I also have two DBs) who is now 15 earlier this year but other than that I've had no contact with any of them for almost 4 years.

The damage between myself and my stepdad is irreparable and I would quite happily never lay eyes on him again. But with my mum it's different. She never stepped in to protect me, but I don't know if that was a deliberate move or if she just didn't realise. He played quite a lot of it off as "only jokes" and when I was a teenager he convinced my mum that I was lazy, selfish, inconsiderate, rude, etc, etc... Which I guess most teenagers can be to a certain extent but I tried my best and nothing was ever good enough. He also said the harshest things to me out of mums earshot, so I don't know if she knew half of it.

He also isolated me so much from the rest of the family that I have no idea how mum felt or how he treats her. I've just come out of an abusive relationship and now I'm wondering if mum is in one and doesn't even realise.

Anyway, back in June, my nan on my dad's side passed away and as she hadn't updated her will for a long time she has left my mum some money. My dad was going to give it to her but asked me if I wanted to do it as an excuse to test the waters. This way I could ask to meet up with her away from my stepdad, I wouldn't have to appear as though I was "crawling back with my tail between my legs" (one of my stepdads favourite phrases), and it wouldn't be too hard to just cut contact again if I really felt like my mum played a part in the EA as opposed to being ignorant to it or a victim herself.

For further context (to avoid drip feeding) I have an 18 month DD who she has never met and I don't know if she even knows of her existence. We live in the same city although opposite sides so no one would be going out of their way. I'm just really confused and it's been so long but there was never any closure (no big incident that led to me cutting contact or anything) but I'm not sure if it'll just be me opening myself up to more pain.

I don't have to decide until the New Year but because of legal reasons I would have to hand the money over by Feb at the latest... If I decide I don't want to, then dad will drop it off to her so that's not a problem.

Any advice is welcome...

TheLongRains Sat 17-Dec-16 20:23:34

Gosh, that's a tricky one. I think, if you think you're able, I'd try to steel myself for the worst, but still be the one to make contact. Perhaps keep it fairly business-like but with a touch of friendliness at the start, to give yourself a chance to see how she reacts? So don't be too cold or she may react to that and not feel able to be friendly if that's what she wants, but also don't be too friendly, in case things don't work out and you feel that you gave them too much.

I'd keep reminding yourself of how much better your life is now, and all the things you've achieved and done for yourself and your daughter, and how you can and are protecting her from the same things you experienced as a child. Then knowing that your life away from them is better than it previously was, it will hopefully be less hard to just cut context again if it all goes badly.

It is hard though, after all you've been through and how long you've been free from that. It's bound to bring up a lot of memories, so be easy on yourself - fortunately for you, and thanks to your dad's willingness to so it if you don't want to, you are not obliged to do anything that you aren't comfortable with, and you can put a stop to things at any time.

I really hope you come to a decision you're happy with smile well done for even being able to think about this! You're already strong.

TheLongRains Sat 17-Dec-16 20:25:04

His willingness to DO it, not "so" it...

skyyequake Sat 17-Dec-16 20:37:49

Thanks smile I think what's worrying me is that I don't know how I'd react to having her right there in front of me... Like you say I don't want to be too cold but I know I can come across quite cold even when I don't mean to!

I do feel much stronger and more secure than I did when I was 18 (or even 3 months ago if I'm honest) and I don't want to be reverted... But I don't know if I will be!

I would like to give her the chance to meet DD at least... Maybe that might knock her priorities straight? And also she's the only grandma my DD has as my ex's mum died before she was born. Plus my ex's dad isn't on the scene so the only grandparent DD see's is my dad.

It does bring back a lot of stuff, but at the same time with all the stuff I've been through recently with my ex, it feels so so long ago.

I don't even know if she'd agree to meet up with me actually. And I don't want to go to the house in case he's there. She might not want to risk him finding out, or she might just not want to know. The hardest part in all this is the not knowing... I was much younger then (not a lot physically, but mentally I've grown to the point I barely recognise by 18yo self), and I was in amongst all that fog and sadness and anger, so I don't really know what it was like from a calmer perspective... I know he was a prick, but maybe I blamed mum for stuff that wasn't under her control. Maybe he's been controlling her and neither of us recognised it, or maybe she did but I was so wrapped up in myself I couldn't see it.

It feels like a different lifetime.

Shayelle Sat 17-Dec-16 20:39:56

I would steer clear 💐

SeaEagleFeather Sat 17-Dec-16 20:40:22

If you do, you need to keep in mind that she chose your stepfather over you and she always will. It's many years on now, she has children with him and disentangling herself would probably be too hard. She may deny what happened because it's too painful to acknowledge she let you down.

How do you think you will cope?

Many sympathies, it's really shit when a parent chooses their partner over their non-adult child.

skyyequake Sat 17-Dec-16 20:56:04

Shayelle would you mind if I asked why you think that?

SeaEagle I know she chose him, but then I guess she also chose my siblings... It's a crappy reason to stay with someone "for the kids" (I would know) but I can understand the pressure... Especially as she has 3 with him. I'm not making excuses btw, and I know we're never going to have a proper mother-daughter relationship... I just wonder if that means we can't have any relationship at all?

I think I would cope ok. I used to be a wreck about it, but funnily enough having my own kid has repaired a little part of it... I guess in that I no longer blame myself. I understand less why she did it, but I feel marginally more at peace with the fact it happened and strong enough to not be as affected by either of them. (I'm not going to say I wouldn't feel anything because I would, but not to the same extent I used to).

mugglebumthesecond Sat 17-Dec-16 21:08:53

I can see why you want to be in touch with her. I had/have a similar situation and am a bit further on than you. I'm 35 and now have the best relationship with my mum, which is detached, polite and on my terms.

If you get back in touch with your mum you have to feel and be really strong and create boundaries. You will go through loads of emotional crap. Have zero expectations. Good luck x

skyyequake Sat 17-Dec-16 21:16:38

Thanks mugglebum (great name btw) it's nice to hear that it's possible! That's the thing, I feel like it would definitely be possible if it was a case of it just being me and mum... But I don't know how having my stepdad in her ear will affect things.

SeaEagleFeather Sat 17-Dec-16 21:23:46

I think that if you can cope ok with knowing that her priority will be him, then that's going to help a lot. As muggle says, the relationship can be on your terms.

But yes, you also need to be prepared for her husband's influence poisoning things :/

Even so, it's a good thing to give her this money, I think. It could be the opening of a door, and it's good to do it anyway.

mugglebumthesecond Sat 17-Dec-16 21:45:26

You could just meet with your mum in a neutral place, be it once or regularly and step dad doesn't need to be involved. ?brew
I have been on a massive journey with my mum, from being close again, to telling her to die, to now just being distant but polite.
You can only try- if you don't you will regret it. Just prepare for it to mess with your head sad
Thank you I love my name too smile

skyyequake Sat 17-Dec-16 21:53:44

The problem is when she goes back mugglebum and how his words affect how she acts with me... The first time it might be ok but after a while it could be an issue.

Her priority has been him since I was 6yo so it won't be a whole lot to wrap my head around!

I think I'm going to have to try else I'll be wondering "what if"...

Timeforteaplease Sun 18-Dec-16 00:33:21

'What ifs' are easier to live with than more rejection and abuse.
She has already made it clear to you who she is and what her priorities are.
Move on. You have your own DC and a good life from the sounds it - all of this is despite her, not because of her.

LellyMcKelly Sun 18-Dec-16 05:30:55

I would meet her, even if it's just to hand over the money. You may not get everything to want, but if it did work out would it be great if you could meet once or twice a month for a coffee and a trip to the park? Don't get your hopes up - you know where her loyalties lie, but as you said, you don't know what she's been going through herself. And, of course, a grandchild completely moves the goalposts. She might well be thrilled. Meet, stay open, but keep your expectations low. Good luck.

BadRespawn Sun 18-Dec-16 06:22:17

Personally, I would advise not getting back in touch. As a child - young or old - one of the strongest impulses is to gain the acceptance, love and approval of your parents. The only compulsion stronger than that should be from the parent themselves, and their instinctive urge to protect and prioritise their offspring - even, if necessary in regrettable circumstances, from their partner or spouse. Your mother has managed to bury her emotions to the point where she has whitewashed over this most basic of parental instincts, and I think that, honestly, you know as well as I do that she will forever be letting you down if you re-establish contact. She has already shown her true colours, and I don't believe that it's a decision you can ever come back from. If at some point in the future she renounces your stepfather and makes determined efforts to get back in touch with you and mend her burned bridges, then you have some small hope for a future relationship that doesn't just feel like a constant knife in the chest. Otherwise, I fear that that way only madness lies, as the saying goes. You were strong enough to walk away for your own sanity in the first instance; please trust your choices. It's your mother who needs to repair this damage, if she ever comes to her senses.

flowers for you.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 18-Dec-16 06:27:21

What BadRespawn wrote.

I would still get your dad or the Solicitor involved to hand over any legacy from your nan's estate.

I would not advise getting back in touch with your mother at all. This woman put her man above you and failed to protect you from your stepfather. I doubt very much your mother lived in ignorance as to what her H was like with regards to you.

You do not need her approval, not that she would ever give it to you anyway.

tralaaa Sun 18-Dec-16 06:38:48

Do you want to get back in touch with your mum. I think it's worth a try
Also this money for your mum could be her way out of a possible abusive relationship. And therefore a better relationship with you be in-control. I am NC with my D I now he loves me but is weak I love him and wish him well but got fed up with being hurt and upset. I won't make contact with him because I don't want too. Good luck be brace and strong

Shayelle Sun 18-Dec-16 18:07:57

AsAttila said, your mother always put him before you, and youve spent the last four years looking after yourself and theyve made no effort with you. I think trying to get back in touch will hurt you all over again. (I talk from experience and am now n/c with parents, though obviously no two situations/people are the same, ive also had a parent choose a partner over me and do know how much it hurts) x

Shayelle Sun 18-Dec-16 18:11:11

Ps if your mum had any decency she'd tell your dad to keep the money for you and your little dd, as the money was your dad's mums, and your mum cheated on and left your dad when you were 6 months old!!!

MichaelSheensNextDW Sun 18-Dec-16 18:18:41

Whether or not you eventually decide to test the waters with your mum, I think it is a mistake to entangle a meeting with handing over inherited money. It's poor advice from your Dad - it looks like emotional blackmail and further complicates an already complex situation.

My personal view fwiw is that your mum made her decision in allowing her husband to control how she viewed and treated you, and that your focus needs to be on continuing to further your own family life, self esteem and wellbeing.

tribpot Sun 18-Dec-16 18:31:06

You said it yourself, OP Her priority has been him since I was 6yo. I think getting in touch with her just opens old wounds. Best case is she believed him over you. Worst case is she knew what he was doing and didn't stop it. The best case isn't good enough.

I agree with MichaelSheen that mixing it up with the money complicates things - even though I can appreciate why it appears on the surface to be a good 'business' reason to be in touch. I think your dad should contact her - it's money from his mother, after all. She may ask about you, she may not.

The important thing is to have people in your life who bring you joy and comfort, far more than labels like 'grandparent'.

NotTheFordType Sun 18-Dec-16 18:56:18

Has she made any attempt to contact you since you were 18?

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