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This feels quite Stately Homes to me - or maybe I'm imagining it

(37 Posts)
user1487175389 Wed 15-Feb-17 17:01:31

Got a letter from my mother today. It's quite upsetting to read.Maybe it's best if I just copy it out as faithfully as possible:

Dear A & B,

I need to write this letter to both of you because I'm appealing to you jointly for help.

In little more than one year (starting in 2009), I lost my mother, father, brother-in-law, cousin and also an aunt and an uncle. You need to know that the pain of being blocked from your lives in the last year and a half has been far far worse. The grief is often overwhelming. I cry a lot and on the worst days am forgetful and find it hard to concentrate. I'll struggle to follow conversations or read more than a few lines. (this letter has taken me weeks to write... I'm desperate to choose the right words in order to be understood).

Dad copes differently. He 'blocks' things off. It usually makes him angry if I try to discuss these things; but recently he admitted he is 'grieving' for A - and his dgcs.

Following the death of a 19 year old friend two years ago, A's sister needed lengthy counselling at college. She said the other issue that came up frequently in her sessions, was the situation with A. A's other sister and brother and other family members are also sad, particularly when they see the effect it has on us... it is like ripples in a pond.

It is about two years since I had a normal conversation with A and in June it will be two years since we saw the dgcs. On that occasion for about 40 minutes. Neither of you will meet me or suggest a time for an appointment: I'm turned away from A's doorstep and calls are blocked by both of you. B will not give me his address.

If both of you remain equally hostile to us - A because she thinks we accused her of lying (we didn't) and B presumably (I'm only guessing here) because he believes A's DF of A's legal costs was an attempt to deprive him of his children (it EMPHATICALLY was not!); then surely simple logic says we cannot possibly have been 'against' both of you simultaneously? In fact we weren't 'against' anyone.

Neither of you confided in us and we had scant detail about the content of the Hearing. A's Df saw it as his duty to help A financially, and trusted the court would reach a decision on custody arrangements that would be fair to both of you both. This does at least appear to have happened.

To struggle to reconcile two conflicting accounts: the first describing an amicable separation due to 'incompatibility' and a 'bad atmosphere'; and the second, approximately a year later, speaking of A as the victim of physical assault, is not to accuse anyone of lying. The allegations were made belatedly; at a time of conflict over access; after living apart fairly peaceably (or so it seemed to us) for a long period. How could we NOT find that confusing? If one (or both) of you had confided in us and appealed to us to intervene at times of trouble we might have been able to help - and to understand.

When your children are adult and go through relationship breakdown (42% of marriages end in divorce), you too will discover that god-like insight into their circumstances or perfect judgement about the levels of wrongdoing between your child and their partner, is not available to you!

If the context of their troubles is a background of sparse and fractured communication between the couple and yourself over 10 or more years; if there has been a cyclical pattern of bouts of recrimination and accusation - often triggered by relatively trivial things; if you never actually hear the word 'sorry' after these incidents; even when (months later) the dust has finally settled; you too will find it wise to approach their marital conflict with neutrality and caution! (contd below)

raindripsonruses Wed 15-Feb-17 17:09:17

Don't know enough background so can't say. If a nc parent is reaching out to you it's your call. I recently lost my mum and, though we had the odd ups and downs, I couldn't imagine not trying to rebuild some sort of relationship if she reached out. If she had been an abusive shit I might take a different view. I can't tell from your post what caused your relationship to break down.

user1487175389 Wed 15-Feb-17 17:12:26


They say 'hurting people hurt people'. This is true and we are all capable of doing this. However, it needs to be said plainly: the only people responsible for your failed marriage are yourselves! Frankly, it is nothing to do with us. To continue (three years after separation) to project your pain onto a family who have only ever tried to give kindness and support is profoundly wrong and unspeakably cruel!

A, you have texted some incredibly harsh things e.g that you have 'no memory' of my ever having played with you as a child (!) and claiming mistreatment and neglect. I have a wardrobe full of photographs giving documentary evidence of a nurturing, attentive and generally happy childhood (27 guests invited to your 7th birthday for starters? cello and piano lessons? Trips to swimming pool, park and library? Seaside holidays? Birthday cakes? A house full of books? Happy times with us and granparents, cousins and friends? Christmas and all the trimmings? Art equipment? Picnics> School trips? I attended every one in case they lost you! Guitar and maths tuition as a teenager? Home cooked dinner every day and a healthy packed lunch? (referred to a while ago as 'crap!') etc etc

I also have several witnesses in the family who will vouch for us as good, hardworking, loving parents, who despite our frailties and imperfections did their UTMOST for you and your siblings. Whatever your opinion of me I'm telling your the truth: you certainly had the best Dad on the planet! Loyal, patient, energetic and generous and self-sacrificing.

However, I can only repeat my offer to meet with you and listen to your grievances about your upbringing. I'm very willing to apologise for those that are my responsibility and also to discuss how you might seek redress for those that are the responsiblity of others. This could be for an hour, a day or days. (I still believe that if we only take ourselves out of our normal environment... and put the effort into communication wihtoout time pressure we can start to unravel what has gone wrong between us. I hope and pray that you will at least give this a try.

Love mum x

raindripsonruses Wed 15-Feb-17 17:15:02

Again, unless she was an abusive shit either verbally or physically, I would try and talk.

user1487175389 Wed 15-Feb-17 17:16:42

Sorry raindrops don't know if the other half of the letter helped. Let me know if there's any gaps I can fill in. Breakdown was after years of her being violent to my kids, and then basically interrogating me fand refusing to believe me when I told her the truth about B's violence, etc towards me after marriage broke down. She claims I never mentioned it before but I'd told her many times during the relationship and she continued to intermittently believe the sun shone out of his arse.

Fighterofthenightman Wed 15-Feb-17 17:16:49

People can't comment without your side of the story. I've known people go NC for perfectly obvious and legitimate reasons. I've also known people do it for very little reason.

Sometimes it's the parents that are toxic. Sometimes it's the child.

Surreyblah Wed 15-Feb-17 17:19:39

Not a good idea to copy it verbatim OP, privacy.

Are you "A"?

raindripsonruses Wed 15-Feb-17 17:21:08

Then I would write back to say you were violent to my children and did not believe I was a victim of domestic violence. I cannot pretend that didn't happen. I cannot have contact with you because of this. I will not tolerate violence against my children or against me.

Surreyblah Wed 15-Feb-17 17:22:56

The letter says that A's parents still don't believe A's ex ("B") was abusive.

Crappy to copy it to the ex.

It seems as though they want access to the GP, and if the ex will provide this they'll ignore his past abuse of their daughter!

TeamWolf Wed 15-Feb-17 17:23:29

Oh god
This sounds like it could've been written by my father in law.

He and MIL are vile, deluded, enititled and fake.

Materially they provided what thisnparents claims to have but the reality is the children were emotionally abused, conditioned and controlled.

All children are now NC and PIL are frantically (they've driven everyone else away) trying to engage because now they need support.

It's hard to tell just reading a letter but this certainly resonates with me.

DeterminedToChange Wed 15-Feb-17 17:27:19

Sorry, I can't tell who's who in this, with all the As and Bs.

Just to warn you, though, lots of newspapers are using MN now instead of looking for news. I would delete that letter and paraphrase.

Surreyblah Wed 15-Feb-17 17:27:23

Why are you NC with your sibling too? Is that relationship beyond repair?

Ellisandra Wed 15-Feb-17 17:32:43

That's quite hard to understand in places, don't know if your mum is rubbish at writing or you have missed bits.

But bottom line - your mother was violent to your children and doesn't believe you that your ex husband was violent to you?

You know the truth.

Ignore the letter. No amount of past guitar lessons or home cooked meals allows her to be violent to your kids.

HelenaGWells Wed 15-Feb-17 17:34:21

Only you know both sides. It reads like a desperate letter from a loving parent trying to repair a fractured relationship. That doesn't mean it isn't a work of fiction. You know the truth. If you are NC because she was abusive to your kids and didn't support you when your ex was violent to you then you are NC with good reason. Sounds like your ex is on your side re no contact. If you feel NC is the only way for yours and your kids physical and mental health then stay NC but Only you can make the choice.

ZombieApocalips Wed 15-Feb-17 17:39:43

You know what happened. Don't let your parents minimise this. I am also NC with my parents as I can't allow the dysfunction (emotional abuse) to affect my kids' generation. I wish that things were different but at least my kids are not directly affected bun my mum. I would return any future correspondence unread if they use the Post Office.

SwearyGodmother Wed 15-Feb-17 17:43:58

The thing that stands out to me is your "cared for" childhood in the letter lists material things that were paid for, not nurture. It seems a letter from someone unwilling to see any wrong in their behaviour and expecting reconciliation by A accepting they're in the wrong.

I don't think you should have opened or read the letter tbh. In doing it you're inviting the mother into your life again (if she knows it or not is irrelevant). If you think things will change if you have it out and you want a relationship in the future then by all means meet. If you are happy with the status quo then leave it be.

I read a proverb in a book years ago that comes to mind when my toxic family get in touch - don't open the door to salute the thief - which says to me don't invite trouble into your life if you don't need it.

user1487175389 Wed 15-Feb-17 19:40:05

Thanks for all the replies. Sorry I haven't had a chance to answer questions. I'll just get the dcs into bed and then have a go at addressing points that have come up.

user1487175389 Wed 15-Feb-17 20:26:47

Sweary - yes - exactly. I have tried over and over again to set boundaries with her - to tell her what is and what isn't acceptable to me but she simply can't see that treating me like a criminal under investigation when what I needed was a hug and a 'that bastard! how dare he hurt you?' but of course I was never going to get anything like that from her, the woman who's quite happy to hit my kids and sent me very similar letters when I went NC with her because of it. It's like reaching out to a brick wall, and always has been.

Surrey. yes, family is pretty much a dictatorship - besides me, people don't really question what she says or does. I've tried quite hard with my siblings and got as far as 'oh, I didn't know your side of the story from what Mum said' but that's it. It doesn't ever progress past that.Not sure why.

Surreyblah Wed 15-Feb-17 20:31:54

That's really difficult for you. I'm very sorry your mum didn't believe you, and hurt your DC.

SeaEagleFeather Wed 15-Feb-17 20:32:50

I don't think you should post a private letter on a public forum like this.

Summarize it and your own memory of events, but this isn't right, posting the letter like this.

user1487175389 Wed 15-Feb-17 20:34:26

I disagree. Names have been changed, identifying details have been changed, and besides it wasn't a private letter.

SwearyGodmother Wed 15-Feb-17 20:35:24

I've tried quite hard with my siblings and got as far as 'oh, I didn't know your side of the story from what Mum said' but that's it. It doesn't ever progress past that.Not sure why

Because they're safe from her whilst you're the villain. They know what she's like and don't want to be on the receiving end of it.

My parents refuse to recognise or respect boundaries I set too. I tried to let them back in after going NC a couple of times (one time wasn't proper NC was just me refusing to apologise for them being awful to me as was expected) and have realised by their atrocious behaviour that they won't learn to treat me as anything other than their whipping boy. I have no space for them or the damage they try to do me. In your position I'd bin the letter and keep ignoring. It won't change.

SeaEagleFeather Wed 15-Feb-17 20:38:21

You mean it was an open letter? what, to everyone?

Allthebestnamesareused Wed 15-Feb-17 20:40:35

I think it is awful that she seems to have sent the same letter to your ex as well as you.

I think just bin it and carry on as you were. If you want to stay non contact don't engage.

user1487175389 Wed 15-Feb-17 20:42:16

So sorry for what you're going through sweary - 'whipping boy' is exactly right. I feel like I'm expected to respect the place allotted to me by my mother (and by extension other family members) and it's my refusal to just lie down and be the family doormat that causes most of the problems. I'd love to bin it, but I feel I need to hang on to it in case B decides to use it as ammunition - which she's just gifted to him on a plate.

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