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My toxic mother

(7 Posts)
radiosignal Thu 05-Oct-17 21:55:15

I have never had a good relationship with my mother. I am the scapegoat in the family. i did have a three year period when I was NC with her as I just couldn't cope with the pain she put me through. In that time she never tried to contact me... we just both stopped phoning each other and that was it for three years. No row, nothing.
About two years ago she put the phone down on me as I was actually challenging something she said, instead of gritting my teeth and pretending I wasn't upset/hurt, as I usually do. For several months I couldn't phone her, but we wrote letters and eventually things returned to normal. About three months ago, she did it again. She was being rude and insensitive and i got quite riled... she put the phone down on me again. Since then, there has been no contact apart from a WhatsApp message from me to say her behaviour had upset me. She replied saying we should love and support one another but no apology. She never apologises.
The situation is i am becoming increasingly upset by the fact that I can't see us speaking on the phone again for a long time, and there is effectively no contact. She is 80. Time is running out, and i am really upset. Part of me is glad i don't have to deal with her on the phone. The rest of me is really upset she isn't apologising and doesn't seem to care.
I just need a hand hold really. I've had a really difficult time recently and just feel I have no one who gives a damn apart from immediate family.

CoyoteCafe Fri 06-Oct-17 01:54:39

I think at some point it makes sense to grieve that you will never get what you needed from you mother. It sounds like time will run out, and she will die, and nothing in your life with change. Seeing that reality is bleak, but I think that now that you see it, you will be able to come to accept it, and that once you do that, the anger will resolve.

It just is what it is. I'm sorry.

For me, it helps me to love myself anyway. Right now I'm working through a Buddhist book called "Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness" by Sharon Salzberg. If that doesn't appeal to you, you might look at your own religious tradition, or something secular.

Skittlesandbeer Fri 06-Oct-17 02:05:24

Have a look at, it's been very helpful to me in a very similar situation. Do a search for 'medium chill' which is a technique for staying in touch with a toxic person while protecting your boundaries (and mental health).

I asked my mother to please stop hanging up the phone on me, and recognize that she only did it when I disagreed with her- not judging, not criticizing, just having a different view. And that the 56 minutes of active listening and agreeing that I'd offered beforehand had to count for something! Cue the long hurt silence, then the pretending it never happened, endless cycle. Did my head in.

Medium chill, which effectively requires me to give up on real change and a genuine adult relationship with her, has become second nature and took all the stress out of the interactions. It has clear rules, even phrases to use, so after a few false starts it lead me to a freedom and lightness I wouldn't have believed possible. But you do have to stop hoping (pretending?) that you can 'fix' her or the relationship. Good luck.

radiosignal Fri 06-Oct-17 11:00:06

Thanks, these are both very helpful. I will read the book and look for the technique. It just seems so incredibly sad that things have to be like this, especially since she has a completely different relationship with my sister. It makes me feel that there is something wrong with me.

radiosignal Fri 06-Oct-17 11:04:28

Reading about medium chill, this is more or less what i have been doing for some time, but it leaves me feeling exhausted, resentful and angry. I don't find it liberating. I just find it incredibly stressful.

CoyoteCafe Fri 06-Oct-17 16:07:18

My parents have a completely different relationship with my sister than they do with me. I was the scapegoat, she was the golden child. It doesn't have anything to do with us, it's just how their craziness played out. I really don't think my parents behavior toward me was ever personal -- they were just crazy and I was there in the path of it. Their behavior shows that something was wrong with them, not with me. (also, OutOfTheFog is a GREAT website!)

this is just kind of thinking out loud.....
My sister was always more of a pleaser, and was very malleable as a child. I wasn't. As adults, I think I've feared better. I'm happier now than she is, and she is still trying to live her life to please other people. I sometimes wonder if the same traits that caused my parents to dislike me so much were the traits the helped me make a life for myself that I truly like. I was more mischievous and impulsive as a child, but without their need to control, it means that I think outside of the box and I'm spontaneous. Those aren't bad things. wink

In some ways, being the one who clearly sees the need to get away from the crazy parent(s) is healthier than being the one left behind saying "it isn't that bad." Those poor souls can get really stuck there.

radiosignal Fri 06-Oct-17 16:54:28

Yes, that is very true. My sister was always good, and if she wasn't being good, they didn't see it. Literally, they cannot see she has any faults. I have looked at Out of The Fog before. It is a very good site. Thanks for your thoughts Coyote.

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