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I know my parents are toxic. But I wasn't prepared for this and I don't know what to do.(208 Posts)
I'm sorry, this is long. I've tried to put in paragraphs to make it a little less trying. I don't have a good relationship with my parents. Any relationship, really. Full on narcissistic mum and enabling dad who are very controlling, petty, spiteful and prone to temper tantrums. I try to have as little to do with them as possible because every single interaction is just horrible and upsetting and nothing positive ever comes from it. I have read 'Toxic Parent's by Susan Forward (amazing book) and they are textbook.
I have tried to tell them how I feel, they don't care or don't listen. And the cycle endlessly repeats itself. I have gone NC before, but them one or the other of them has some serious health related drama and as an only child I am expected to fix all of their problems. They also don't seem to notice when I go NC and just carry on, regardless. We had a horrible Christmas 2017 where they said terrible things (by text) and when I responded back it was just silence. They ignored it, waited a few months, then carried on.
Previous gems include telling me I was a mistake baby but they decided to 'love me in the end', and being told "you should look at yourself and ask what went wrong", that I am "no daughter of theirs" (because I wouldn't use my annual leave to go and run their business whilst they went on holiday), and when Mum faked a heart attack (she'd coughed a bit too hard and strained the muscles around her ribs) that it was my fault for not visiting them enough. Also Mum telling me that she will probably die soon and that again will be my fault.
Late last night, I had a text message out of the blue (they won't call me, email me, and only Dad text messages me. Mum won't answer the phone if I call and won't respond to any of my communications). The message said that this month is their anniversary month (they were married years before I was born), and if I "forget what this means to your mum and dad (he speaks in the 3rd person) we will never speak to you again so try to not be a selfish child. Dad". It's not a joke- that's how they talk. Emotional blackmail, passive aggressive, temper tantrums. The viewing me as a child, not an adult, so it's all about control, the setting ridiculous responses in overblown dramatic fashion...it's so exhausting and distressing.
So now I have a dilemma. On one hand...they've made it easy for me, I would happily never talk to them again. On the other hand, I could just send a card (as I do every year) but I know it won't be enough. It will be, why didn't you send a present, or visit us, or make our day special? (they don't do anything to celebrate it themselves). I also resent being 'forced' to send them a card because of a threat of 'or else'. Once, about 10 years ago, I did forget to send a card, and Mum refused to speak to me for 6 months, and when she did, she called me a slut. So, what should I do? Send a card, not send a card?
Jesus, break the cycle, don’t mention the anniversary, ignore, block and move on. They add nothing but stress to your life.
What would Marie Kondo say? Do they bring any joy into your life?
You can't do anything g right in their eyes...in your shoes I'd go no contact as any contact leads to you being treated like shit.
Don’t send a card. I’d take them up on their offer. Block them from texting you and get on with your life. You owe them nothing. I think you’d benefit from counselling to finally make the break.
Whatever you do it will never be enough. Send the card and face them moaning about it not being special enough or don’t send it and enjoy the peace
Don't send a card, but do please look for some real life support to help you manage going nc.
If you haven't already I would read up on toxic relationships and FOG. This article is a good starting point.
Don't send a card. This is your chance to finally break free. Put the money aside and get some counseling when you can. It will help you more in the long run.
Block them and avoid any temptation to ever contact them again. Vile people
It sounds like you've spent a great many years trying to please them, it's obviously never going to be enough. If they did cut contact with you, how would you feel about that? I'd call their bluff, personally, & enjoy a bit of freedom from their demands.
Oh feel for you OP. Big hugs first of all.
This is so complex that it is difficult to see clearly and obviously nobody has all the info. But what I would suggest is to try something new.
Like politely ask him to stop passive aggressive texts and to state clearly and directly what he is exactly asking for. Because as you know already, there is nothing you will do that would be enough. So you have to treat them like the children they are. If he comes back with an aggressive response then tell him politely to reflect on his response and com back when he is ready to answer the question, and that you will respond then when you receive a proper request.
I am sure the mumsnet community will come up with lots of good lines, course of action and ideas...
More generally, you would have to stay away from bully and narcissist types but so complex when it is about parents. How old are you approximately?
Do what's easiest for you.
I am NC with my parents after a lot of awfulness and many years of putting up with it. I actually reached a point where when they messaged me with an emergency, aunt I another country passed away, I just told them I couldn't go rushing around to theirs as I was in the middle of something pretty important which I could not cancel.
I'm not sure what I would do if I got a call saying one of them was on their death bed, I honestly don't think I have the emotion left to care to be honest.
They made my life such utter hell and then transferred it to my DC, I have a hard time finding it in me to be nice to them and therefore feel maintaining a distance and remaining silent is probably the kindest option on my part. Also I actually don't care about them.
Decide for yourself, what would cause you the least stress and adopt that way. If that means sending them cards and flowers on their anniversary then do so, if it means changing your number and ignoring them completely then do so. It's directly down to whatever you want to do and can cope with given their guilt tripping.
Don't send the card and go nc with them. Get some counselling with someone experience in this. If you have children, don't expose them to such toxic people. I understand how difficult any path you choose will be but nothing you do will ever be enough and the goalposts are ever changing.
'It won't be enough'.
Nothing will ever be enough for them. You're their narcissistic supply. Please consider blocking them forever, they're not parents in the true sense of the word.
Late 30s- I can spot people like my parents a mile off and avoid them like the plague, but I feel like a 13 year old again around them. I have had significant counselling, which is ok until the next round of parent-behaviour comes around.
Block their number, or change yours. Radio silence would be best. Next time you hear from them, tell them to give your inheritance to the cats home.
Imagine having no stress from them. You owe them nothing.
Don't send a card or gift. If will inevitably be wrong- too cheap, too small, too impersonal...
Why are you putting up with this behavior from them? Anniversaries are for a couple to celebrate. Expecting your child to organise it is mind-boggling. You know that the health crises are about keeping you on your toes. Detach!!
Send the a card
With two words on it...
That should do it
Seriously, go NC
Text back “Sounds good. Enjoy your special month.” Then block, buy yourself a session with a counselor as a present, and move on with your life.
Christ. Draw a line under this. No card. No contact. Ever again.
I don’t say this lightly. I’m NC with a parent and I know how hard and complicated it is, but it’s for the best sometimes and I think this is one of those times
They must but so used to being awful they don't realise about it anymore. So they definitely need time by themselves. I cant imagine they have friends or a social life being like that, so they channel their anger to you? A lot to take. The more I think about it I would go NC. Go fly be happy and free. You deserve it too after all these years. Let them be by themselves and beware if they suddenly become very nice these types only revert back once they feel in control again. They are the ones that need therapy!
Reply to the text. “I accept your offer”. Then block and ignore forever.
I agree with others NC sounds the best for you. But I think to help you do that you need to have people in your life who can help mentally support you OP besides a counsellor. Do you have a partner/good friends who can do that?
Please don't let these people take any more of your life away from you OP.
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