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Familes - if you don't get on with yours, want/have cut ties, how do you find it? How do you do it? (LONG!)

(13 Posts)
tammybear Mon 19-Oct-09 22:13:50

I ask this because I don?t know if I could cope with the guilt I know I?d feel if I was to cut ties with my family. I?ll apologise now this will be a lot of rambling and very long!

Background story.
I have a sister 2 years younger than me, and twin brothers 4 years younger than me. My mum and dad separated when I was 7. When it happened, my mum didn?t tell me what had happened. I just presumed my dad was working a lot (back then he used to work at the local hospital, was always on call, did ridiculous hours, a lot of night shifts). Even now I?m still very unclear as to why they split up, and this was 18 years ago! I know before I was born, my parents were together, my dad cheated on my mum, they divorced, and then after a year, they got back together, mum fell pregnant with me, so they were ?forced? to get married as my dad is from a highly religious Catholic family so it would have been a big no no not to get married iykwim. Anyway, when I was about 10, I found a diary my mum had kept when I was born. She was unhappy, she was jealous that my dad was giving me all the attention although she was still recovering from a C-section with me. I also felt like she was blaming me for marrying someone she didn?t really want to be married too as well. Mum has ever since always complained about my dad, and when they finally divorced, didn?t seem to feel anything or handle it sensitivity at least to me, as it really really upset me, as it was so final iyswim.

Anyway, after dad left, things got horribly bad, for me at least. My mum took all her anger and blame out on me. She use to hit me, push me over, call me names, mock me, you name it, she did it. She once dragged me by my hair so I ended up with a bald patch. She use to do this in front of my sister and brothers to teach them a lesson. She use to blame me for everything because I was the eldest, even if it wasn?t my fault to begin with, even if I wasn?t involved with the argument or fight which resulted in mum being angry. I felt I couldn?t do anything right. When she use to ask me a question when she was shouting at me, like ?why did you do it?? when I haven?t done anything, I would stay quiet as I didn?t want to cause any more problems, nor let the yelling carry on for any longer than it had to. It knocked all the confidence out of me.

I remember at school I was so scared to answer my teachers in case I got the question wrong and ended up being hit (obviously my teacher never would have, but it was that mentality driven into me). I use to be afraid to even answer my own name in the register. I remember in Year 6, my teacher seemed to really dislike me too. She use to pick on me, like if I made a mistake, she would point it out to the rest of the class. Didn?t do this to anyone else. I remember when we use to do swimming lessons, I felt really sick once (partly because I didn?t want to go as my teacher was very hard on me) but she made me go anyway. I almost drowned as I couldn?t keep my head above water. Also in Year 4, one girl use to bully me. I remember once she knocked me down from behind, and banged my chin into the concrete over and over.

In secondary school, some of the kids picked on me too. My dad is originally from abroad so I?m not very English looking, I guess you can say, so I got teased for the way I looked because I was different. I got called all sorts of names. I also had friends that backstabbed me too, trying to turn other friends against me, or trying to get me into trouble for something I didn?t do.

But growing up, I never got on with my sister. My sister could get away with murder. What ever she wanted, she got it. When she was 18, she was getting herself in so much debt, and has been ever since. She spends and expects my mum to bail her out, in which mum does.

One example is sister stopped paying her monthly payments for her car which was just over a £100 a month when she was working full time. The car company told her she had til a certain date to pay up the total amount of over £4000 or they?ll repossess it. She left it to the day before the money was due to tell my mum about it, so mum felt like she had to help her out otherwise sis wouldn?t have her car... She?s also paid off another £3000 of credit card debt. Sister also has dad?s card details so buys stuff online. She also stole mum?s credit cards and drew out a lot of money.

She has a 10 month old DD now. She often gives her to my mum to look after whilst she goes out and drinks. She?s also committing benefit fraud (which I?ll admit I?ve reported her on). The father of DD is a one night stand, but I believe her DP has been told my niece is his.

Sister also uses niece to get her own way. She asked mum to look after niece one night as she wanted to go to a party. Mum had work so said no. Sister then said she would call her work and tell her she weren?t gonna come in if she didn?t call up sick. She also said if she didn?t look after niece, then sister would never let mum see niece again. This is the kind of person my sister is.

I despise my sister, border line hate my sister!! She thinks she can get away with anything and it really really pisses me off because it is so unfair. When I had DD, I raised her as a single mum, struggling on benefits, and finding it hard to cope on my own. But sister gets everything on a silver platter pretty much. Yes I am pissed off and jealous, but I would never stoop so low to be better off or be anything like her.

So a while back, sister had put something on Facebook that was a blatant lie. I commented on it and said she was lying, which went out to all her friends as they were tagged. Obviously she felt embarrassed or annoyed with me that I did so, as she blocked me off Facebook which I found quite funny to be honest. Anyway, this was about 2 months ago, and I haven?t spoken to her since. I?ve seen her twice when DD has been at my mum?s and niece has been there too. We haven?t spoken a word to each other, nor acknowledged each other. She texted me last month asking if we were okay and if I had a printer. Obviously the printer is all she?s concerned about.

I am angry at my sister. But I am also angry at my mum for letting my sister walk all over her.

But on top of that, my mum still treats me like she use to. Not hitting me, but still emotionally and mentally beating me down.

She manipulates things. For example, me, DP, DD, my best friend, his DW and DS are going on holiday this Friday. So excited. But then my mum tells me she?s booked the exact same holiday! Same park, same dates, same everything and taking sister and niece with her. I was so angry as she knew we were going there and when. She said to me I probably wasn?t happy about it, and I said I wasn?t. She said we didn?t have to do anything together, and I said I didn?t want to as this was my holiday with DP and DD and friends and I?ve been looking forward to it for a long time. But then after saying I didn?t want to do anything, she tells DD that she?s gonna be at the same place on holiday, so now DD wants to see mum, so now I look like the bad guy if I say no to doing something together!

But it?s other things too. Like DD once said she didn?t want to go to mum?s, and when I told mum she said to DD ?but I?ve got all your toys out ready, I am so upset, you?ve made me very sad now?. I was outraged. DD was only 5, and I?ve always said to DD that she should do what she wants. I want her to be able to make her own choices when she?s older, for what she wants to do, to be strong. So DD felt bad and said to me ?oh maybe I should go as granny is now really really upset with me?. I told mum how I felt about it as she may be able to manipulate and push me about, but I won?t let it happen to my DD.

I had a nervous breakdown over two years ago because of my mum. When I told her it was because of her, she laughed it off and said ?well if you need to blame someone, and think it should be me, I suppose I?ll just have to make do with that?. She doesn?t acknowledge at all we have problems. I find it really hard to see her, be nice to her, or anything. I don?t like seeing her, I avoid her as best as I can. I spent the last two years having counselling bringing up all these horrible memories, but it has made me a stronger person from it.

She wants to see me tomorrow, as I haven?t spoken to her properly in a long time, and I know what she wants to say. It?ll be 1) the holiday and how she thinks we should do something together, 2) about my sister and how I should make more effort with her, 3) how I should be spending more time with her, and 4) how I?m stopping DD from seeing my family.

I want to cut ties from my family. I pretty much have no contact with my dad or my brothers. One brother has moved away, the other I rarely see. My dad... well I can?t tell you anything about him. I don?t know where he lives, what he does, nothing. I just have his number and know he has a girlfriend.

I know my DD very much loves my family and I hate that I want to cut ties from them and in a way doing that to her as well. So I feel terrible. But for my own sanity, I can?t cope with seeing them!! Again, I border line hate my mum, and I don?t want to ever say I hate a member of my family as I feel it?s wrong, but they just make me so miserable.

I know people suggest about looking at the stately home thread, but I didn?t want to just barge on there with this huge post.

I don?t know what to do really. I want to move out of this town, so they?re not just around the corner. Mum often walks the dog round and just drops in. She use to just let herself in as I gave her spare keys to keep in case I ever locked myself out or lost them (as it?s happened before) but she use to just let herself in until I told her to stop.

Maybe I am ungrateful, maybe I am selfish, maybe I am a complete bitch for thinking about taking my DD away from her gran and her aunt and her niece. But they make me so angry, they hurt me and upset me more than anyone could. I don?t even know if my mum knows she?s doing it. If it?s just in her blood, in her system to react that way to me.

I look at my DD and could never imagine hurting her, physically or mentally or emotionally. I love her so so so much that I could never dream of doing such a thing. So how could my mum do it to me?

With all the shit that has happened in my life, not just family, but with school as well, I just wonder if it is me, and if there?s just something about me that attracts this?

I know it?s not me, it?s just for whatever reason. But I spent my whole life wondering if it was just me, what was so wrong with me, what was so bad about me that people wanted to punish me.

I?m sorry that was so epic, I suppose I really just needed to get it out. But I suppose the whole point to this post is, if people have cut ties from their family, how do you do it? And how do you cope with knowing you?re cutting ties for your DC as well? How do you cope with the guilt?

I have tried everything I can manage to do to make things better, like talking to my mum, writing letters, getting counselling. I would never do family counselling with her. I?d adamant about that, as I couldn?t do it. If I brought something up, she would be on my case all the time, asking ?why did you say that?? ?what did you mean by that?? and stuff like that. So I know that this is how it is going to be, that things will never get any better with how things are now. But anyway if you managed to read through that, I give you a medal! TIA.

ScaredOfGhouls Tue 20-Oct-09 08:33:15

I am not in a situation of having cut family ties (although my mother did it with all our family when I was very young). I just wanted to reply to your post. You are obviously feeling a lot of pain over your situation, and a lot of pain over the decision you are trying to make sad.

Just to add though, that I am sure your daughter will accept the situation if you do cut ties - children are usually fairly accepting of changes. As long as you are open with her about your reasons, and encourage her to make her own decisions regarding contacting the family on her own when she is older.

I hope that whatever decision you come to gives you peace of mind in the long term.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 20-Oct-09 09:17:34


The two people i.e your parents who were supposed to protect let you down completely. You were the victim of their overall poor life choices; it is NOT your fault in any way that they acted like this towards you.

TBH if they were and are like this with you then I would be extremely wary of having any contact with your Mum at all. Toxic parents can easily become this type of grandparents; age does not necessarily mellow such bitter people. Also these problems can become generational in nature.

These people too never accept any responsibility for their actions and have likely given you all the usual type stuff such people come out with in response to you challenging her.

If you haven;t already done so I would suggest you read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward. You became your mum's scapegoat in that dysfunctional family; people from dysfunctional families can end up playing out roles.

Would suggest you both look at and post on the "Stately Homes" thread too. They could offer you good counsel as well. Please do not think for one moment your post is too long to post on there.

Hullygully Tue 20-Oct-09 09:26:04

I stopped all contact with my father many years ago because I decided it came down to a choice between the pain of seeing him and the guilt of not, and decided the guilt was easier.

I would say that some people are just poisonous, and if you let them stay in your life they happily spread their poison right through your life too. Life is VERY short, I would stay away.

shinybaubles Tue 20-Oct-09 09:55:18

I walked away from my dad and his whole side of the family about 5 years ago now, I even changed my name and moved to make a new start - this was difficult especially since my mum died before this so I was basically going to end up with only one sister as family, but I did it and my sis also did it - the best thing we ever did. Not easy, not nice but for me so worth it.

gawkygirl Tue 20-Oct-09 10:16:51

The problem is that you like the idea of family but yours don't come up to scratch.

It doesn't have to be black and white. You don't have to have the extemes of, on the one hand, your mum letting herself into your house or, on the other hand, totally cutting ties. Go for a middle ground of seeing her only occasionally. Be a bit distant (but don't feel that you need to explain that is what you are doing) and let her make the running. If you hadn't told her about the holiday then she couldn't have gatecrashed it - don't give the opportunity to do things like this, be a bit more choosy about the info you share with her.

You haven't mentioned the MIL and that side of the family. How do you get on with them?

gawkygirl Tue 20-Oct-09 10:47:47

Why do you seek a relationship with the females in your family who make you feel bad about yourself but can't be bothered with the males?

tammybear Tue 20-Oct-09 11:42:53

Thanks everyone for your responses.

ScaredOfGhouls I do worry as we do go through long stretches of not seeing either my mum or my sister, and it doesn't bother her at the time. She may say she misses my mum so I'll let her call her just to have a catch up.

AttilaTheMeerkat That is something that came up in counselling, that I never had any support, nor show of love or care, so I know even now it takes me a long time to open up to someone or to trust them, though I am getting better at it thanks to counselling. I also never speak to anyone about my problems cos I didn't feel I could. I have heard of that book and will get it when I can, as I do think it would be interesting to read. And also because of mum's behaviour to me when I was younger, I am wary about how much time DD spends with her as she still plays mind games with me.

Hullygully and shinybaubles I'm glad that the choices you made were the right choices for you.

gawkygirl I do wish we were a family that got on, but obviously that's not the case. We are very dysfunctional. But I do try and focus more on DP and DD, and they are my family. DP has suggested we move away, not overly far, but enough to have a distance between us. It doesn't help I live around the corner from mum. I do try to keep distance between us, but she goes for the "you're neglecting me, I'm all alone because you can't be bothered with me" approach. It doesn't work on me really, cos I know how I feel, but I don't have the guts to say why I distance us away from her.

I think also with the males in my family, I long given up on them I suppose. I've seen my dad 3 times this year, and that was for a maximum of 5 minutes each time. He has very little to do with my life, and that's the way it has always been. I use to want a relationship with him, and when I tried, it just felt like he didn't care, so I thought that as he walked away from all of us, that was what he wanted. I don't get on so well with my brothers, particularly one as he had a real problem with me for having my nervous breakdown, and for being with DP. I don't understand it, tried to resolve it, didn't happen, so I've given up with that. My other brother has no social life. He goes to uni and stays in his room playing games. He doesn't even go out with his friends so I never see him, even if I go round to my mum's.

I don't want a relationship with my sister, I never have really. My mum keeps trying to force one though as she thinks we should all get on (eyeroll). My sister is the complete opposite to me, and I have never liked her personality or her attitude, let alone all the stuff with the money etc. I would like to have a relationship with my niece, as I feel she's going to turn out just like my sister, and I hate the thought of it, but I know there's not a lot I can do unless I see my sister, which I don't want to.

I would quite happily go months without speaking to my mum. It's always my mum contacting me. I have to go see her at 12 today as she wants to speak to me. I already know what it's about, and I considered not going, but thought I'd hear her out. Then if it's what I think it is, I'll be honest and tell her what I feel. This is something else I worked on in counselling, being open and honest with my feelings. With my mum, it's far more scarier than if it was someone else. But it's one of those things I'm working on.

gawkygirl Tue 20-Oct-09 11:57:32

"you're neglecting me, I'm all alone because you can't be bothered with me"

THat's rot. She has four children - how can she lay the blame for loneliness totally at your door. Besides, can't she find her own friends?

Good luck with the meeting today. Be strong.

sweetkitty Tue 20-Oct-09 12:12:06

hi some of your situation borders mine a bit. I haven't spoken to my Mum since Christmas last year, she wrote a sarcastic not in with my birthday card and I wrote her a letter back to which she answered with a letter which blamed me for everything.

Basically I was an independent little girl and she resented me for it and like you I was a scapegoat for her unhappiness although my brother was her golden child that could do wrong, she is jealous I went to uni, met DP and even have had more children than her.

She tries to put me down and make me feel horrid about myself at every opportunity yet to the outside world she is so proud of me a model mum etc. She told me DP will leave me as I cannot "give" him a son as all men want sons. She always goes on about how men are better than women and how when I was earning more the DP he would leave me. She told me I couldnt' have anymore than 2 children as no one has big families these days and it was for the best I had a mc. I am now pregnant with no4 she doesn't know so God only knows how she will react.

Anyway I digress, unlike you it was always me doing the chasing with her, I had to phone her to have 40 mins of her going on about how she is dying (because google told her she was), how miserable she is, how hard her life is etc etc I would come off the phone and want to slit my wrists, I tried to encourage her to visit and have some sort of relationship with the DDs but she is far too lazy told me she couldnt' afford it then when i offered her the money said she was a bad traveller. When she did visit or we visited her she seemed so uninterested in them.

So anyway after a rubbish phonecall last Christmas I decided to stop making any effort whatsoever with her, yes she may be my mother but if you get nothing from a relationship but grief then why continue? It's not like she contributed anything to our family. Haven't heard from her since, no doubt she is telling everyone I have gone all funny or something but I don't care.

I think it would take some serious apologising on her behalf before she would be welcome here again and as she thinks she has done nothing wrong and it is all me that isn't going to happen, I am very sad my girls don't have a Gran in their lives but am relieved I don't have to speak to her anymore.

I think there comes a time when you realise they are older set in their ways and aren't going to change or admit they are less than perfect.

tammybear Tue 20-Oct-09 14:05:38

Gawkygirl, I agree. She has one good friend, and that's about it. She is a tough piece of work. When I split up with DD's father when she was 18 months old, my mum sided with my ex which was very tough.

I spoke to her and she brought up my sister and the holiday. In regards to the holiday, I made it clear this is my holiday with DP, DD and friends and I wanted to keep it that way. If we saw her there, I wouldn't ignore her, but I wouldn't go out of my way to spend time with her. We actually upgraded our accommodation so we could hopefully be somewhere different to her, and then find out she's upgraded too! Luckily this is just coincedence (I hope as neither me or DP have said anything) but it's just one of those things...

As in regards to my sister, she said she had noticed we weren't talking. I explained I have never got on with my sister. Apparantly my sister told my mum she had noticed I was ignoring her lately so I'm surprised she's noticed and hasn't realised I didn't go out of my way to talk to her before hmm.

My mum also commented on how sister has booked a big party for niece's first birthday the weekend after DD's birthday (3 days between them) and said sister wanted DD to be there. On that same day, DD's father, aunt, grandma and grandpa are coming down for the weekend, which I pointed out to my mum. Mum asked if DD would be able to go for an hour. I said I'll see. I mostly don't want to, because I can't stand my sister nor her friends (they're all very alike) but I know DD would probably love to go. But then saying that, I don't want to interrupt her weekend planned with her father's family. I might leave it to DD and see if she wants to do both, and see if I can ask her father's family to come after it or something. However she rarely sees them as they live 3 hours away. But then I wonder why I put myself in this dilemma when I don't even like my sister!!

Other things that have annoyed me are mum saying I can't plan DD's birthday party on the 19th as niece is having her party then, and mum can't be in two places at once. Like she's presuming she can come along to DD's party, which is only going to be a bowling party anyway. Also she spoke about Christmas and said "oh I think you, DP and DD should stay at home for Christmas, and maybe we'll meet up on Boxing Day". This was what I was planning to do, but she makes it out as if this was what she planned and that I have to do what she says, not the other way around angry

sweetkitty I'm sorry to hear of your experience. I think that's what I'm most worried about, about how my DD would be, but then like it has been pointed out, do I really want to put DD at risk at maybe being subjected to even the tiniest bit of behaviour I received growing up.

tammybear Tue 20-Oct-09 14:06:27

Oh and sweetkitty I agree. Once when me and mum had an arguement, she said she's set in her ways, and won't change no matter what. So I know if I want things to change, it has to come from my end.

mickeyc Wed 21-Oct-09 01:11:56

Hi Tammybear,
Please read Toxic Parents asap. It was a real eye opener for me and gave me the courage to begin to cut off contact with my parents.

Manipulative mums will use every trick in the book to keep you in line but you have to remember you're not dealing with a rational person. You wouldn't try to reason with a "mad" person so why try with your mum??

Save your breath and your energy!!

I eventually had a full on row with my mum 2 years ago about how she was starting to treat my kids. I hadn't have the confidence/courage to break ties because of her emotional abuse of me but when she started her mind games on my kids I lost it.

She phoned 2 months later to allow me to apologise but I hardened my heart and told her that until she changed how she treated me and my family she was not welcome in my home.

It has been hard but I am finally guilt free, I control the contact, and if she starts her carry on I hang up.

I just wish I had done it years ago: I can finally laugh at her pathetic mind games.

Good Luck and let us know how you get on!

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