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I'm letting you see me before you die(38 Posts)
How does this sound? Does it sound nuts? I have been NC with my d'm' for a good 10yrs. During this time I know she's tried to keep tabs on my life by contacting my neighbour and lately by writing directly to myself and my dc. None of us have responded. In her last letter she talked of having had major surgery & not expecting to survive it, I think she had cancer - it's not the first time. I believe her pain/shame at our estrangement will kill her within the next 5 - 10yrs if not before. It's well documented the effect of acute stress on the body. I'm now doing lots of therapy to undo the damage I suffered and I can see she was/is clearly a damaged individual herself. So I'm thinking of meeting her to let her see me again before she dies. I'm not sure how it would affect the rest of my life if she died and I didn't show I'd forgiven her. Trouble with this though is I have no idea of the can of worms I might be opening...
What does your therapist say? Without knowing any details, my stance has usually been its better to regret something you have done than something you could have
It sounds like this is for you, not her.
So that you don't feel guilty if/when she dies.
Obvs you have the right to change your mind. And I don't agree pain/shame causes death but clearly if she does have a life threatening illness then she may not be alive soon.
If you are NC for good reason, why change it? It's not clear that you are entirely comfortable with it...
My therapist is well aware and we've done loads of work on my mother issues. She doesn't voice an opinion either way though.
Well, first of all, have you forgiven her? Truly? Secondly, will it give you closure? Thirdly, is it a one-off or reunion ie. What if she does not die and has another twenty years left?
Good point Penelope who would it be more for? I'll think that through carefully. I am just very aware right now I have a limited window of opportunity and I will have to live with my decision for the rest of my life. I have decided though that I wouldn't attend a funeral but then I'm unlikely to be invited.
You don't have to forgive or forget how your DM has behaved (and why should you?) but you can learn to live with it and move on from it. It makes re-establishing contact a bit easier.
Do it for your sake not hers.
What about a letter offering a very controlled meeting? Explain that you recognise that she has been damaged herself, which affected her treatment of you. That you in no way condone what she did, but would consider very restricted contact that you will end if she behaves in a way which causes you pain.
Specific times, specific public place. Somewhere where she can't damage you.
I suppose it comes down to if you believe her or not? If she has cried wolf many times it's a hard decision to make. I guess you have to decide how bad you would feel if she died without you seeing her compared with how you would feel if she was lying to get attention and the twattery started again. I am NC with my sister. If she died, I wouldn't give a tinkers rap but I am probably much angrier with her than you are with your Mum perhaps?
But you haven't forgiven her - or at least, there's nothing in your post that suggests you have truly forgiven her, it seems to me that you are seeing forgiveness as something that you 'should' demonstrate. I don't know why - perhaps it suits your self-image to be able to say 'look, I am a forgiving person, I even forgave my mother?'
I would explore the need to be seen to forgive vs actual forgiveness with your therapist before moving forward with this.
My birth mother died last year after 10 years of no contact. I went to the funeral, but I had already done my grieving for her during the non contact time. If
In my case, she was ok with not being in touch, and never tried to contact me, but who knows what she felt inside.
If you haven't grieved for 'the mother you never had' yet, then I would say you might feel bad when she dies, so perhaps see her once. How honest could you be with her at that meeting? Would it set you back in your recovery? You have to look after yourself, but that may mean seeing her for some closure for you.
I went NC with my paternal family. After a lifetime of shit I'd had enough and their final act was the straw that broke the camel's back. I was happy with the decision at the time. I was contacted to tell me my GM was terminal and she wanted to see me. It took a lot of soul searching but I made the decision that it was in my best interests not to see her. It would have taken me back into the family fold so to speak and open me up to lots of hurt and upset. I was further abused for this decision by my GF who sent me hear death notice in the post with a note saying "You destroyed my wife, do not ever contact me again" Fastforward some time and my Aunt contacted me. GF has dementia and wants to see me to right his wrongs. Again it took a lot of soul searching but I decided not to.
You have to live with whatever decision you make. For me that was the right thing - I was not opening myself and my family up to further upset. I still wonder if what I decided was right and still think about them from time to time. Even after my GF sent the note I was upset at the thought of him on his own.
Good luck in whatever you decide
Personally, I would not dream of meeting up with a toxic person who had affected me so badly. Making me insecure, making me struggle to maintain relationships and friendships, and making it hard for me to show emotion and love to people who care about me. The only reason she wants to bother is so she can make her peace with God because she knows she's dying.
I would say stuff it, don't see her. Don't even respond. And block and ignore anyone who tries to make you or encourage you to it.
In your place, I would go to see her one last time. For your own sake rather than hers. Because from wat you say, if you don't it will eat you up after her death.
I would look at it as a way to avoid remorses and feeling guilty.
I do not agree that the fact you are NC is the reason why she might be dying (Note: are you really sure that that surgery is likely to end up with her dying? Are you sure it's not a tactic to make you feel guilty and force you to get in touch again?).
Yes stress will make things worse but you are NOT the cause of the stress. The cause of the situation is your mum attitude and the way she has been with you. She created the situation, not you.
Please don't take the responsibility for her health as if it was your fault.
lonny has nailed it, imo - your post sounds like you want to be seen to be forgiven, or even to please your mum, or even possibly that you feel some guilt at her illness and feel responsible - you say "I believe her pain/shame at our estrangement will kill her".
You are not responsible for her. You can't change her.
In her last letter she talked of having had major surgery & not expecting to survive it, I think she had cancer
I have a mother who is similar to yours from what you describe. On a few occasions now - usually when I do something she doesn't like - she finds herself very ill. It's usually cancer, at least until the doctor sees her. Think carefully.
cjt I am really sorry to hear about how your family treated you, and it sounds like you did the right thing cutting contact with them. Sounds like she AND her husband (your father was it?) were bitter and angry that you chose not to go as you wouldn't take their shit any longer.
Sucks for them.
Good on you for sticking to your guns!
What would you want from such a meeting and what will it actually achieve?.
You are no contact for very good reason; I would maintain that position. You matter. If your mother is getting old or if either of them is sick, that doesn’t change the fact that you have rights and it doesn’t change the facts about the way that you were treated by her in the past. She is not sorry. She does not acknowledge the abuse. She never wanted to change or tried to change. So why is it up to you to be there for her when they were never there for you?.
I would not meet her under any circumstances. What she has done here is her attempting to pull yet another guilt trip and manipulation on you. Many toxic people as well also use illness and hospital tests or the threat of same to simply control their victims some more and she is really trying to push your buttons here. She has had all her life to make a difference when it came to you and she could not be bothered. She has simply attempted to use a neighbour here as a flying monkey to do her bidding for her. She also has disregarded any boundary you set her by writing to you at all; she ignored your no contact stance and wrote letters. Maintain radio silence.
I don't think you can predict that her shame is going to kill her?!?
If you feel like you are not going to face pain or be abused by seeing her then I would go but if it will hurt you and there's a risk she will be cruel then I would avoid her
I would agree with this comment that LonnyVonny made with regards to you Alleris:-
"But you haven't forgiven her - or at least, there's nothing in your post that suggests you have truly forgiven her, it seems to me that you are seeing forgiveness as something that you 'should' demonstrate. I don't know why - perhaps it suits your self-image to be able to say 'look, I am a forgiving person, I even forgave my mother?"
It sounds like you still have some way to go in recovering from your mother's abuses of you; you are still very much co-dependent. I would also read up on FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) which are but three of many damaging legacies left by such toxic people to their now adult offspring.
If you have not already done so I would post on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages.
user1484750550 It was my Grandmother and Grandfather - my father's parents. (My parents divorced when I was 2 and the shit treatment started then). I think becoming a parent helped to make that decision for me to go NC - I will not have my little boy upset the way they did me
Does she want forgiveness? Was that even mentioned when she said she wanted to see you?
She could be wanting to see you so she can tell you how horrible you are.
I'm all in favour of you minimising the risk of feeling guilty when she dies - why not lighten your burden that way?
I don't know if it will help either of you, but you will have tried.
" I'm not sure how it would affect the rest of my life if she died and I didn't show I'd forgiven her."
Who are you showing? What do you think it will achieve?
I'd be concerned that you may be hoping that showing her youve forgiven her will lead to her treating you how you want her to treat you, and that rarely if ever happens. Its more likely that she will see this as a chink in your armour and redouble efforts to get back into your life again.
Your OP doesn't sound like you forgive her. It sounds more as though you want one last chance to rub her nose in your lack of contact. The idea that your estrangement is going to kill her soon (and you sound OK with that) almost sounds as though you are giving her one last chance to see you in order to speed up the process.
TBH being furious with her is fine, not forgiving her is fine, but I'm not sure what seeing each other would genuinely achieve - it doesn't sound like you would get anything from it personally and the way the OP is phrased sounds like you hope it won't make her happy either.
OP - you're not responsible for her (possibly) imminent death. No-one has that power! Sounds like classic FOG to me. Your post sounds a little confused - are you at peace with forgiving her? It sounds like you're not - and that's OK.
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