Writing a letter to emotionally abusive mother - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 32 Old 02-21-2010, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: On a pilgrimage to Canterbury
Posts: 2,567
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Where the hell do I start? I want this to be as effective as possible, but all I can come up with is "Thanks for f*ing up my life." Whenever I get more specific than that, it gets really ugly emotionally for me. Or I start panicking about what she'll do when she reads it.

I've never been sure if my mother loves me. I'm pretty sure she doesn't approve of me. She is a victim in her own head. Not taking out the garbage = huge lecture about how I don't love her or appreciate her (when I was a teenager). She makes rude and inappropriate comments about my body. She disagrees with all my parenting practices. She absolutely never allows me to have the last word in an argument (and we've had like 3 in my whole life because I am so petrified of making her angry).

I've made some very minimal headway with her since I got married and started my family, but we always sink right back to where we were. The same BS over and over about how I'm not a good daughter or whatever complaint she's come up with.

When she gets angry at me (sometimes I don't even know why) she'll stop talking to me. This was the hardest thing to deal with when I was little. The only way to make it stop was to grovel and apologize and admit that my feelings weren't valid and I would never feel them again. Then I would go cry in my room. Then she would be nice to me for a while and I would think that I was finally going to have a mother who loved me and cared about me.

Now, I constantly find myself rationalizing. She never hurt me (although she loves to tell this story about how she spanked me in a Toys R Us "in front of God and everyone") and she's nice most of the time. The relationship is really just superficial. She didn't say the most horrible things I've heard parents say to their kids, and she did praise me from time to time. She came to all my band concerts and competitions, she showed support in some ways. I'm so confused. I know that she'll mention all that stuff if I ever try to get her to own all the other stuff she did, and I feel like I won't have anything to say.

But that's what I want. I want her to admit to what she did and how she made me feel. I tried once to tell her that I never felt like she approved of me, and she answered, "I have no clue why you would feel like that." End of discussion. Maybe I'm just never going to get what I want from her.

Anywho, I'm thinking about writing her a letter. At least then I can say I got it all out in the open, and stop feeling all the hurt from the last 25 years every time she makes a little comment about my body or tells me I'm doing something wrong with my son. But I just have no where to start. In any event, I keep avoiding her because I just don't want to deal with one more comment, but she is starting to figure it out. Today she calls to say she's bringing over soup since we're sick. She knows we're spending more time at the in-laws house. She's going to ask me what's up at some point, and I am terrified of confronting her.

Has anyone written a letter? What did you include? Did someone help you do it? How detailed did you get? Do you deliver ultimatums?

I know I don't have what I want here, but I don't know how to get it. I am seriously thinking of telling her that I'm not going to talk to her unless it's with a therapist mediating, but it will be coming out of left field because she hasn't really done anything wrong lately. Lately.

This has just been a really emotional week for me, and I want to get out of this funk, but I know the funk will be back if I don't do something.
InMediasRes is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 32 Old 02-21-2010, 08:02 PM
 
FlyingGoddess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 67
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have written a letter to my mom.

I kept it about our present relationship, and not what happened in my childhood.

I told her I was done with her f*ing mind games. And if she ever wants a relationship with me, I will speak to her with a mediator present--that would be the only way.

And I basically ended the relationship. That was about January '09. And it's one of the best things I did for myself.

Now I'm working on loving me, mothering me, my inner child, my inner teen, my inner adult...all.

So my suggestions isn't to dig up the past. But to talk about how you feel *right now*. And tell her you have to take care of *you*. And then let her go.

As far as all of your pain, as you go through this healing process, I'm finding that talking out loud, to myself in the mirror (or when I'm walking, when no one is around) is very helpful. Get it ALL out, be heard (by you).

"The Power Is Within You" by Louise Hays is so awesome (I'm more then 1/2 way through the book-on-a-CD.)

Learn how to love *you*
FlyingGoddess is offline  
#3 of 32 Old 02-21-2010, 08:14 PM
 
Purple*Lotus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Fluffyville
Posts: 5,572
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by InMediasRes View Post

When she gets angry at me (sometimes I don't even know why) she'll stop talking to me. This was the hardest thing to deal with when I was little. The only way to make it stop was to grovel and apologize and admit that my feelings weren't valid and I would never feel them again. Then I would go cry in my room. Then she would be nice to me for a while and I would think that I was finally going to have a mother who loved me and cared about me.
The part I quoted reminds me so much of my STBX. He used to do that to me as well. I hated the begging him to talk to me. It was so violating.

Maybe in the letter tell her that you need time without her in your life. Take a month, two, three, whatever you think you need. Maybe having that time to yourself will be enough to help you see how to proceed.

I think talking with a therapist with her is a fabulous idea too!

ribbonpurple.gif  "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more than the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin
   
Purple*Lotus is offline  
#4 of 32 Old 02-21-2010, 08:33 PM
 
buckeye_bebe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 285
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Writing a letter is not a one-chance-only deal. You can draft and re-write as much as you like. That gives you a chance to start off with "Thanks for f*ing up my life."

Quote:
Originally Posted by InMediasRes View Post
Where the hell do I start? I want this to be as effective as possible, but all I can come up with is "Thanks for f*ing up my life." Whenever I get more specific than that, it gets really ugly emotionally for me. Or I start panicking about what she'll do when she reads it.
Even though I was a science major, I had to a communications class. They *only* thing I took away from that horrible experience was that you can only control the message going out, you can't control it going in. You control what you say/write/gesture, and that is it. That is as far as the message goes on your end.

Besides, some people use letter-writing as therapy. And never send the letters.
buckeye_bebe is offline  
#5 of 32 Old 02-21-2010, 08:41 PM
 
SoulCakes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 534
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, mama. I'm so sorry for this.

I have a victim-type relationship with my own mother, who's very emotional, reactive, and passive-aggressive. I can't do anything right when it comes to her. I've written her a letter, once, when I was getting divorced and she was calling every half hour, worried that my daughter "was lying in a ditch somewhere". Because that's what happens to children of divorce. Thanks, Mom.

But. You can't control the actions of other people. You may want her to admit that she did terrible things in the past, but you can't make her take responsibility for it. She may not even see it that way. So don't hope for that - hope instead for your own healing, and work to grow stronger and more independent from her control over you in the present day. I do still cringe whenever I say something that I know is going to make my mom go off on a tirade: that we changed my daughter's school, for instance (she's going to be maladjusted and never finish college), or a joke about how my husband doesn't like it when I leave my dirty socks on the floor (she's pretty sure he's going to leave me for that). But I'm learning to rise above it, that it reflects poorly on HER, not me.

I've been through a lot of therapy, and it's helped in so many ways. I highly recommend it. Fearing your mother is a type of prison, even if it's "just" emotional abuse, and even if she's "just" showing you that she cares. The answer lies in getting yourself to a place where you can set solid boundaries with her and have enough perspective to let her words roll off your back. Some people choose to also limit the amount of time spent with their mothers, which I've done as well. You'll find the balance that works for you.

Good luck, mama, and take care of yourself.
SoulCakes is offline  
#6 of 32 Old 02-25-2010, 06:15 AM
 
Krisis's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Utah
Posts: 1,110
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Leah, do we have the same mom? Are we long lost twins?

I've thought about writing a letter, but my mom just doesn't care. I've thought about asking her to do a therapy session with me, but my grandma thinks I should just let the past go. But for me, it's not the past. It haunts me every day - all the things she said, the names she called me, and the little things she still does, like mock my parenting skills (as nonexistent as they are) and just generally hurt my feelings.

But I am willing to bet she'd just roll her eyes and say "stop being so sensitive." The end.

It's a bummer. Especially for a woman who is getting her doctorate in counseling. Bah!!!

Good luck, and if you need to vent, I am a good venting machine

Kris - married to Nate since 12/06, mom to Toby since 1/08. Also servant to two felines. Done having babies for medical reasons.

Krisis is offline  
#7 of 32 Old 02-25-2010, 02:20 PM
 
red and lulu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 386
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


it sounds like your mother could have narcissistic personality disorder (npd).

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...ssistic-mother

http://www.alanrappoport.com/Co-Narc...%20Article.pdf

i could have written your post word for word (though my mom isn't nice most of the time... most of the time she's paranoid, snarky, and accussing everyone around her of being a selfish a**hole, me included). once i had a therapist who suggested that my mom's cruel, erratic, and intolerant behavior was narcissism, but i kind of blew it off. but recently she's really been making a mess of things and like you, i was ready to sit down and write her a letter and tell her to stay away because she was hurting my family (she has recently begun lashing out at dp w/o provocation). but instead i started researching npd and maternal narcissism and holy crow, it's her to a T! everything started making sense (which doesn't make it better or easier but you know what you're working with). the information i've found has offered a lot of relief and validation, just knowing that there are thousands of women out there struggling with the same hurtful dynamic with their own moms.

check out the book "will i ever be good enough" by dr. karyl mcbride. it's full of very validating information, and talks you through how to establish boundaries and heal. i've found it an invaluable resource.

as for the letter.... i think write it, but for you. write lots of letters, puke out all the frustration and hurt and anger. unfortunately i don't think it will do much giving it to her, given how she is. she is unable to empathize, and i'm afraid you'll feel even more invalidated, unheard, and frustrated by whatever her response may be (cause it won't be "i'm so sorry, i'll change").

i am so sorry that you're going through this. it sucks. big time.

(i agree with soulcakes. great advice )
red and lulu is offline  
#8 of 32 Old 02-25-2010, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: On a pilgrimage to Canterbury
Posts: 2,567
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
That is so funny that you mention narcissism because my mom has a sister that she HATES. She swears that this sister has that disorder.

The cycle continues. She is trying to buy me back right now by calling to see how we're doing and acting like she really loves me, but then she made other plans for the day we're supposed to celebrate DD's 1st birthday.

I'm going to write the letter, but I'm not sure if I'm going to send it or not. .

Thanks for the advice, everyone.
InMediasRes is offline  
#9 of 32 Old 02-25-2010, 10:39 PM
 
Tigerchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Seattle Eastside
Posts: 4,737
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have written a letter many times to my mother, but never sent it--because really to be quite blunt she didn't deserve the privledge of me being that vulnerable to her (and still doesn't).

It was for me, to strengthen my boundaries, to check my own reality, ect.

I think you need to think very carefully about what you want.

If you want your mother to "see the light", to admit fault, to acknowledge you, to say she's sorry--please believe me when I beg you to not send that letter. She'll use it as a battering ram against you, and you've just given her ammunition to show the rest of the family what a crazy b* you are. I don't know if your mother can be charming like mine, or has people who coddle her, but if she does, rest assured that you will have given her the best gift in her life if you give her "proof" how horrible and ungrateful you are. You're not going to get what you really want from her. Probably not ever. And it won't come at your sending a letter--if and when she realizes her mistakes it will be from her inside out.

If, however, you need an avenue for getting the poison out, a way to share your feelings without judgement, without a third party disbelieving you, ect...then it can be cathartic. Whenever you find yourself on the verge of being suckered into the mindgames again, you can read your letter, contrast your life now with then, and feel stronger and less controlled.

It took me so long to realize how much my mother craved my intense negative emotions. She loves intensity and control, and she'll take it however she gets it. The final break of her hold on my life came when I realized and was able to let go of the emotions. It drove her crazy. Then SHE started writing ME nastygrams because she was so unbalanced and out of control, and for the first time in my life I was vindicated. After that, she had no power over me. And really for the first time I can remember, I can interact with her without fear, rage, or guilt--because I took back my power, permanently. She knows it, I know it. It's nice to finally find the calm center.
Tigerchild is offline  
#10 of 32 Old 02-25-2010, 11:23 PM
 
red and lulu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 386
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I have written a letter many times to my mother, but never sent it--because really to be quite blunt she didn't deserve the privledge of me being that vulnerable to her (and still doesn't).

It was for me, to strengthen my boundaries, to check my own reality, ect.

I think you need to think very carefully about what you want.

If you want your mother to "see the light", to admit fault, to acknowledge you, to say she's sorry--please believe me when I beg you to not send that letter. She'll use it as a battering ram against you, and you've just given her ammunition to show the rest of the family what a crazy b* you are. I don't know if your mother can be charming like mine, or has people who coddle her, but if she does, rest assured that you will have given her the best gift in her life if you give her "proof" how horrible and ungrateful you are. You're not going to get what you really want from her. Probably not ever. And it won't come at your sending a letter--if and when she realizes her mistakes it will be from her inside out.

If, however, you need an avenue for getting the poison out, a way to share your feelings without judgement, without a third party disbelieving you, ect...then it can be cathartic. Whenever you find yourself on the verge of being suckered into the mindgames again, you can read your letter, contrast your life now with then, and feel stronger and less controlled.

It took me so long to realize how much my mother craved my intense negative emotions. She loves intensity and control, and she'll take it however she gets it. The final break of her hold on my life came when I realized and was able to let go of the emotions. It drove her crazy. Then SHE started writing ME nastygrams because she was so unbalanced and out of control, and for the first time in my life I was vindicated. After that, she had no power over me. And really for the first time I can remember, I can interact with her without fear, rage, or guilt--because I took back my power, permanently. She knows it, I know it. It's nice to finally find the calm center.
this is gold. i am inspired
red and lulu is offline  
#11 of 32 Old 02-26-2010, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: On a pilgrimage to Canterbury
Posts: 2,567
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post

If you want your mother to "see the light", to admit fault, to acknowledge you, to say she's sorry--please believe me when I beg you to not send that letter. She'll use it as a battering ram against you, and you've just given her ammunition to show the rest of the family what a crazy b* you are. I don't know if your mother can be charming like mine, or has people who coddle her, but if she does, rest assured that you will have given her the best gift in her life if you give her "proof" how horrible and ungrateful you are. You're not going to get what you really want from her. Probably not ever. And it won't come at your sending a letter--if and when she realizes her mistakes it will be from her inside out.
A million times, THANK YOU, Tigerchild. As always, your response is like a breath of fresh air.

This part is probably very true to my situation. The only time I've EVER heard my father get angry at me was those 3 times I've ever raised my voice to my mother. I hadn't really thought about the family response to any letter I might send, but you're right, it would be complete mayhem. My whole extended family would know about it (from her side anyway).

I guess what I'm mostly trying to do here is just have a voice...any voice. I'm so used to just nodding my head and saying "Yes, mother" to absolutely every little thing she says that I just feel like it will never stop if I don't grow some balls and say something. I've tried hundreds of times to stand up to her in person, but I always find myself mute, terrified that she'll leave me if I cross her. I feel like a letter would really be the only way to communicate any upset of mine. I know it wouldn't actually accomplish anything except to just know that I had said my piece.
InMediasRes is offline  
#12 of 32 Old 02-28-2010, 04:44 AM
 
FelixMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 463
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Write the letter, but don't send it. Good luck as you go through these challenging times.

My mother, who was probably narcisstic, passed away nearly 5 yrs ago. But the psychological scars linger for a lifetime. At some point, I had to move out, for the sake of my personal sanity. 500 km was a good buffer to her crazy antics.

I came to a point in my life where I forgave her for all the ill treatment, never expecting her to change. By the time she was on her deathbed, dying from terminal cancer, I had no anger or resentment left. Massaging her swollen ankles and bony body was how we communicated. Mourning and accepting that my mom had a difficult and negative, controlling love was difficult.

So glad I found this thread. I have been exceptionally lucky, with a few exceptionally great friends who had healthy mindsets and emotions to set me on a better, more healthy path to living and recovering from my emotionally battered childhood.

I struggle every day in raising my 3 kids, hoping I don't repeat her same crazy ways in some shape or form.

Off to the library to finds the books you have all listed...

Sign hanging in Albert Einstein's office at Princeton: Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.
FelixMom is offline  
#13 of 32 Old 02-28-2010, 06:57 AM
 
csekywithlove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 409
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I wouldn't send the letter but I would write... and write, and write some more. I could not only be theraputic but it could also help your creative side... and in turn give you an outlet for things in general that you are dealing with.

Good luck dear.

Artist wife to dh_malesling.GIF. Mom to DSS superhero.gif (3 yrs) and DD (04/12).  brokenheart.gif (2/28/10). winner.jpgcd.gif

csekywithlove is offline  
#14 of 32 Old 03-01-2010, 02:44 PM
 
momo7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: hither, thither, and yon
Posts: 1,055
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am in the same boat you are in. I would love to write a letter to my mother, um...... my concepter...because I have been instructed, in the last month, not to call her my mother (I lived with her my whole life so it's not like I was adopted out to another family). So ummmm..yeah...I would love to write a letter too. I have no idea where to start. I have no idea what to say. I have started one so MANY times I cannot even count, but never finished it. I would never send it, it would be a complete waste of my time. But still, just the thought of writing it is so consoling. I think I would start writing and never, ever stop.

 

 

Crazy mom of 9. grouphug.gif  A wife to one.  flowersforyou.gif

 

 

-Life is a long lesson in humility.-

 

James M. Barrie

momo7 is offline  
#15 of 32 Old 06-04-2010, 10:47 PM
 
jonathan911's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Don't write that letter, if abusive mothers could be reasoned with, they would see what they do. They cant. You would just be given another label, suck-up, weak, victim etc etc. Letter from psychologist to husband of spouse with abusive mother:

Abusive mothers and fathers are often “personality disorders” in psychiatric terms. Personality disorders are totally selfish and highly manipulative with everyone in their grasp. They seek to not only have all the attention in the family, but to control the family members with guilt, intimidation, temper tantrums, or other techniques. I’ve listed many of the techniques used by Personality Disorders in my article Identifying Losers in Relationships on this website. Personality disorders never accept responsibility for their bad behavior and in fact, blame everyone around them for their behavior. Your wife will be blamed every time her mother has a temper tantrum or acts abusively.

Your wife is making a mistake commonly seen in these situations. She believes her mother’s behavior has something to do with her behavior as a daughter or something to do with their relationship. Both are incorrect. Her mother behaves abusively to everyone equally…it’s that your wife accepts the blame for it. In families where a parent has a personality disorder, three strategies are often found:

1.“Identification with the Aggressor” — As a child, you feel the best protection is acting like the abusive parent so you become nasty as well. Sons of criminals typically have criminal records…that sort of thing.
2.Emotional Detachment — The child detaches socially and emotionally from the parent and becomes very independent at an early age, making no attempt to gain the acceptance of the parent.
3.Emotional Attachment — The child anxiously seeks to gain the acceptance of the parent (it never comes by the way) and spends their life in misery trying to guess what will make Mom happy.
I’d bet that each of her siblings is using one of the above strategies to deal with Mom.

End quote:

Your mothers behaviour is not your fault. You do not need her approval or acceptance. Do you like her as a person? Probably not. It leave deep scars, but they can be healed, you dont need to be liked (not liked by your mother is hard medicine to swallow but she is just a person. and if shes abusive, likely not a good one.) all the best, but all of you sound like better people than your mothers, dont pander to them. dont compromise yourselves, but detach yourselves from the abusive and criticsm. they are more important things in life than worrying what other think of you.
jonathan911 is offline  
#16 of 32 Old 06-05-2010, 12:42 AM
 
Raine822's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 140
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow, your mom sounds just like mine! Writing the letter and not sending it sounds great. When I had DD1 I started to slowly stand up to my mothers abuse and manipulations because I could not bear to have her go through that. My mother became more and more persistent in getting her way (demanding alone time with DD1, using her against me ect.). When DD2 was born as my mother realized that she was not going to get to be in charge with my kids she flipped. She gave me and DH a very nasty letter(letter is in another post of mine) and stopped talking to us or seeing her grandkids. I agonized for 2 months over what she would do and when the other shoe would drop. Finally I wrote her a long letter. In my case I took the letter she wrote and wrote back line for line with rebuttals and included a few other points. The point of the letter at first was because I have decided to end contact with her. I never mailed the letter-I realized it would cause the other shoe to drop and give her ammo to use against me. I still feel much better though having just written the letter. Now I take one day at a time and will deal with her when the time comes.

So sorry you have to deal with this . I am here if you need.
Raine822 is offline  
#17 of 32 Old 06-05-2010, 12:59 AM
 
tinybutterfly's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 9,821
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I haven't read the other replies, so sorry if I am repeating something that has already been said.

Two book recommendations, Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Christian-based, worth reading even if you are not a Christian.

Homecoming by John Bradshaw.

Individual therapy. You don't need her there to work on this.

The letter...

You could write ANYTHING you feel needed to be said however you feel it needs to be said...and then NOT mail the letter.

Here is why not to mail the letter...chances are she isn't going to think she did anything wrong. She will think SHE is the victim and you are being unfair and delusional.

I could be wrong, but chances are good she is NOT going to say your were right, that she is sorry or take responsibility for the hurt she caused.

You can't change other people.

You CAN change the way you respond to her. You can change the way you feel about yourself. You can change the way you react when she says something awful. You can eventually change the way you feel when she says something awful.

She may never be the kind of mother you need. If that is the case, you will either have to learn to mother yourself or get a mother substitute in another woman. Your mother is what she is and probably is not capable of being anything else.

There is support thread in this forum for MDC moms with difficult mothers.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
tinybutterfly is offline  
#18 of 32 Old 06-05-2010, 10:35 AM
 
windsorheightsmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 131
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think Tigerchild and Jonathan911 gave you fantastic advice already. I have nothing to add, but wanted to express support for their perspectives.
windsorheightsmom is offline  
#19 of 32 Old 06-05-2010, 01:15 PM
 
LavenderMae's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: where I write my own posts!
Posts: 12,213
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree do not send the letter!! I'm so sorry.
I have a toxic mother too but I no longer have her in my life although she still calls (I don't answer) and emails me occasionally trying to guilt me and basically just being her narcissistic self (even when she's trying to convince me to talk to her again it's ALL about her).

OUR DAUGHTERS ARE PROTECTED SHOULDN'T OUR SONS BE TOO! :
LavenderMae is offline  
#20 of 32 Old 06-05-2010, 03:25 PM
 
~Boudicca~'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New England
Posts: 3,557
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
don't send it!

PMing you, hugs mama.
~Boudicca~ is offline  
#21 of 32 Old 06-05-2010, 04:58 PM
 
RiverTam's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Posts: 929
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Even if you don't send it, writing it can help. I wrote a letter like that when I was 24. It helped a lot.

I'm so sorry.
RiverTam is offline  
#22 of 32 Old 06-05-2010, 05:34 PM
 
Ann-Marita's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 4,429
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
InMediasRes, I noticed that your original post was way back in February. Did you write the letter? Send it?

I found the message in a bottle website to be... releasing, for me. I wrote a letter, and sent it off into the universe and felt much better.

Also, when my relationship with my mother was going through its death throes, I wanted to be very VERY clear and precise in what I communicated to her - not give away too much information, protect myself, "I" statements, etc. The situation was so upsetting that the only way I could handle it, at times, was to write a letter. And then edit and re-write and process and sleep on it and then finally send it.

I hope things have gotten better, InMediasRes.

I haven't seen it recommended yet, so here goes...

Toxic Parents
was of amazing help to me. Really good stuff.

Ann-Marita. I deleted my usual signature due to, oh, wait, if I say why, that might give too much away. 

Ann-Marita is offline  
#23 of 32 Old 06-05-2010, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: On a pilgrimage to Canterbury
Posts: 2,567
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Whoa, this was a flashback to read. I didn't think it would get dug back up again! After I got Boudicca's PM, I realized someone might have resurrected it.

As far as an update, I posted a new thread discussing what happened:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...284&highlight=

And that was months ago. Things really have just gotten better and better. I learned a lot about my mom in those few hours that we really listened to each other and I feel like it was the final haul to her seeing me as an adult. It also was a really important step for me to let go of some of the things from my past hat were hanging over our interactions.

It has definitely been some work, but it has totally been worth it. I'm so happy that I wrote the letter and got my feelings out in the open. Jus that one act made me feel empowered to get my needs met in our relationship.

Thanks everyone for your hugs and support.
InMediasRes is offline  
#24 of 32 Old 06-05-2010, 08:45 PM
 
HelloKitty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Next door to the possums
Posts: 11,369
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Late to this thread, I was going to go against the grain and tell you to write and send the letter... I did several months ago and me and my mother haven't spoken yet but it was, and still is, a huge weight off my shoulders.

Glad to read the update and see that things are improving for you!

Great for nature studies! http://www.pleinairkids.com
Plein Air Kids - Handmade wooden art boxes for Budding Artists.
HelloKitty is offline  
#25 of 32 Old 06-06-2010, 03:28 PM
 
number572's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: i see rivers, mountains & you
Posts: 1,752
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm currently writing one. I feel that I won't send it, but writing it has taken me back in time, many times so far - opening up & allowing the memories to flow through while I remain in a calm adult state & can mentally go to that child (me, although my sister is often there in the memories so I coddle her too for what its worth) and comfort her/them (if needed, if its a terrible memory) from today's perspective. Its draining and energizing. Its definitely a process.

I'm sorry that your mom couldn't be there fully for you, amazing how much it can still affect us as adults, who we are & how we carry ourselves through life. On that note, its also made me go into some memories from my mother's perspective (to try to see why she would make some of the choices she did) and that has helped, even if I'd not make *her* choices, its helped me find forgiveness. I really feel that I won't send it but I agree that the whole action of writing (+remembering/calming & comforting) has helped. Great to read your update & hope that you continue to find peace.

While I'm doing writing, I did actually tell my mom in a phone convo right after I got the call that dug alot of my stuff up... she did blame me. She accused my dead father of terrible things, said that my sister and I are liars and that "its fantastic, you are a victim, you win!" No, mom, I don't find glory in being a victim... just wanted you to *finally* step up & help me deal with something instead of blaming me & brushing an abusive situation under the rug. My point is that it was a painful wake-up for me to realize that she is emotionally abusive and definitely comes from her own little world. I left it 10 wks ago at telling her that I don't hold blame in my heart for the past, but wanted a mom who could see that something big just came down & to be there with me. She cannot do that. She has called once in 2.5 months and that was to tell me about her amazing vacation that she has been planning. Didn't ask until the end "so, everythings good right?" so I said "yeah" and she quickly came in with "alright, I'm running in to a meeting now and they all sit around doing nothing until I show up to teach them something!" She, btw is part of an equal team of several other teachers who also work very hard, I've been to their meetings on occasion. That has been the only call. Whatever, I started writing after that call. Just a btdt for what could happen if you tell her straight up. My mom's reaction hurt alot, but it was sort of like ripping off a band-aid... now I know who she is & can heal without her. Its a mixed bag!! Sorry to ramble, I wish you strength and peace.

"When the external begins to define the internal, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a universal being." ~ unknown
number572 is offline  
#26 of 32 Old 06-08-2010, 03:04 PM
 
rlmueller's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Stafford, VA
Posts: 699
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thank you for making me the parent I am









and teaching me all that I ought not do with my own children

Crunchy con wife with 1 DS and 1 lil DD born in Jan. I love breastfeeding, CDing and Friday night family bed.
rlmueller is offline  
#27 of 32 Old 06-09-2010, 02:54 PM
 
LittleRosebud's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If you're certain you have a narcissistic mom, I would first read Dr. Karyl McBrides "Will I Ever Be Good Enough" Book and or get therapy.

I've read it and little did I know. Before reading the book I'd been doing things out of habit as a result of my mothers un-parenting.

What that habit is, is something very common amongst daughters of narcissistic mothers. It's self sabotage. And it can be very serious. To the point of the daughter becoming an alcoholic or other addict to drugs or food or whatever. This self sabotaging complex is described in Dr. McBrides book.

Before reading the book though, if I were to do it again, I'd make sure I had someone who knew what I was going through. Probably a therapist. It's extremely painful to realize at an adult age that the reason you're on welfare or unemployment or drugs (whatever the case may be) is because you're continually self sabotaging yourself because your mother never gave you the nurturing you needed as a child and she's still unable to as an adult. Not nearly enough love and attention to bloom you from rosebud to a beautiful bloomed rose.

Some of you who think you might have a narcissistic mom may not have one.

And, I've got to say that for a few of the posts I've read on this thread, some of you are lucky enough to have your mothers still calling you. Mine does not unless I guilt her into it -- which is shameful.

One day our mothers won't be with us and they won't be able to see you as a fully bloomed rose and maybe at least not your own kids.

I let my mother know I loved her and I thanked her for not aborting me. I was sincere about it but since she doesn't know me, she took offense to it and I had to steer her back to reality.

I'm still in the process of healing and I have no idea how long it takes. But I won't give up on myself the way my mother did.

Love with all you've got in every moment you get.
LittleRosebud is offline  
#28 of 32 Old 06-10-2010, 10:12 AM
 
RiverTam's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Posts: 929
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleRosebud View Post
If you're certain you have a narcissistic mom, I would first read Dr. Karyl McBrides "Will I Ever Be Good Enough" Book and or get therapy.

I've read it and little did I know. Before reading the book I'd been doing things out of habit as a result of my mothers un-parenting.

What that habit is, is something very common amongst daughters of narcissistic mothers. It's self sabotage. And it can be very serious. To the point of the daughter becoming an alcoholic or other addict to drugs or food or whatever. This self sabotaging complex is described in Dr. McBrides book.
This self-sabotage pattern is a pattern that many people internalize after being sabotaged by their mothers for many years. I was an alcoholic because my mother required me to drink with her from age 11 up. She started me on heroin at age 14.


Quote:
And, I've got to say that for a few of the posts I've read on this thread, some of you are lucky enough to have your mothers still calling you. Mine does not unless I guilt her into it -- which is shameful.
My mother is dead, but phone calls from my mother were never a good thing. They were either verbally abusive or drunken self-pity fests. I was lucky when she STOPPED calling me.

Quote:
One day our mothers won't be with us and they won't be able to see you as a fully bloomed rose and maybe at least not your own kids.
This is an overly romantic statement for my life.

My mother died in March. I'm sorry for her that she's dead, but for myself and my kids, all I felt was relief. I'm glad it's over. I'm glad I don't have to worry about her. I'm 41. My mother saw me "fully bloomed." She hated every choice I ever made. She hated my husband. She hated my (successful) career. She hated my house. She hated my oldest child. She hated my clothes and my hair. Having children wrecked her life. She never, ever lost an opportunity to tell me these things.

Sorry. I'm glad it's working out for you, but this approach wouldn't work for me. I did everything I could to make a relationship with my mother work. It failed, but not because I didn't try hard enough or love her enough.
RiverTam is offline  
#29 of 32 Old 06-10-2010, 12:46 PM
 
number572's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: i see rivers, mountains & you
Posts: 1,752
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It really is tragic how many adults have to deal with issues left over from lack of good (or ANY!) parenting. All of you who've shared your stories here and on other threads -

(warning, LONG! Rosebud, your post hit a raw nerve I guess, lol.)


I also think that its sometimes best to leave the relationship behind and move on to get healthy. In my case, my mother and I will never hate each other and she will be allowed in, on a superficial level with short, light conversations. She did some terrible things, made choices that suited HER even when it meant that her kids would pay bigtime - but, it was not some of the horrid abuse that I've read about. I can fake it in order not to rock the boat even more. For my health & sanity, I need space from her to figure out how to do that. Our "relationship" is certainly not something I can't live without! Since early childhood, I've been solving her problems (she used my sis & I as pawns, many times, after a messy divorce and other times) and listening to her problems and dealing with the fights SHE still causes btwn us siblings... and recovering from some much heavier stuff that I don't feel right posting on the internet.

Right now, I just have so much rage in me toward her, things I'm remembering now, that I know it would turn back on me if I tried to talk with her about even mundane stuff, let alone anything meaningful. Besides that, conversations with her are more of an update on her life. She has a problem that when someone is talking with her, she doesn't hear what they say, b'c she's thinking of how it affects her & what she wants to say next. She's even admitted that. I have opened and told her things before and 100% of the time, it goes like this: she'll try to make me into some sort of liar who tells a story to get attention, then when she finally realizes that yes the incident really did happen she immediately tries to minimize it or say that it was my fault somehow. Then, she completely blows it off and comes back with a problem that she's having or complains about some physical ailment, etc. Its just wrong.

I will (probably) be able to fake it in a while, but right now I feel like I can only see her as a woman who did this to her kids, not "my mother". I have physical scars on my body from times where it was absolutely her fault for the injury or not having proper care for the wound, so I'm scarred. I was teased for those scars too, even tho I've tried to never let it bother me too much. I was always told that many things were my or my sis's fault but I can now see that she failed in her responsibilities and my sis & I have paid & paid. Well, thats over. I've had enough of that supposed lovely mother/daughter relationship & am healthier without her. It will be superficial from now on. It always has been I guess, but now I see that & won't invest my time trying to make her hear me, trying so hard to be important enough to her. I have been silently grieving my mom's love and approval for years and thats what I'm letting go. And, honestly, my kids will never spend time alone with her without me or my partner/husband.



In some cases, I can completely see how the adult child would NOT be better off keeping tied to an abusive relationship. There are truly horrific stories and some that don't *seem* so bad from an outsider's perspective, but its so individual. I don't think a lifetime of trying and being shot down or abused further is the blanket "right" thing to do.

OP, I hope you find more & more peace with your relationship. Hows it going with her these days? I'm so sorry to the countless people who live with this struggle.

"When the external begins to define the internal, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a universal being." ~ unknown
number572 is offline  
#30 of 32 Old 06-13-2010, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: On a pilgrimage to Canterbury
Posts: 2,567
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
OP here. I had to reply to a few things said here. I'm sad to read some of your stories. Big hugs to all of you who deal with this kind of pain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleRosebud View Post
If you're certain you have a narcissistic mom, I would first read Dr. Karyl McBrides "Will I Ever Be Good Enough" Book and or get therapy.
I don't really think you post applies to my situation. My mother sometimes has narcissistic tendencies, but I don't think she is a narcissist. I think, in my mother's case, she had a bad model of parenting coupled with abuse in her past that has made her road a very difficult one. Unfortunately, the bulk of her hard times were before and during my childhood. She seems to be making a lot of strides now though. I also really think she is just not very socially graceful sometimes.


Quote:
What that habit is, is something very common amongst daughters of narcissistic mothers. It's self sabotage. And it can be very serious. To the point of the daughter becoming an alcoholic or other addict to drugs or food or whatever. This self sabotaging complex is described in Dr. McBrides book.
My form of self-sabotage was never learned how to take care of my own needs. I spent so much of my late teens and early twenties taking care of everyone else. DH was the one who finally taught me how to say "yes" to myself, even when it meant saying "no" to someone else.

Quote:
And, I've got to say that for a few of the posts I've read on this thread, some of you are lucky enough to have your mothers still calling you. Mine does not unless I guilt her into it -- which is shameful.
I agree with RiverTam that sometimes it is a blessing to have a mother who doesn't call. When my mother and I were in the hardest part of this repair, I was happy that she wasn't calling. My life was peaceful. I had space to think without her voice in my head all the time.

Quote:
One day our mothers won't be with us and they won't be able to see you as a fully bloomed rose and maybe at least not your own kids.
I have read your post three times now and I still can't figure out how this fits. For someone who says that self-sabotage is the worst thing about having a narcissistic or emotionally abusive mother, this rings as guilt about not having a relationship with your abuser! I'm sorry, but at some point you have to realize that you have a relationship with your mother not because she is your mother and she might die someday and leave you forever (which, let's face it, was the whole reason I did everything to please her in the first place - to keep her from leaving me) but because she enriches your life and respects and loves you. I wouldn't have a relationship with ANYONE who didn't fit that criteria, because my own mental health is just that important to me now.

I had to come to the point where I was more concerned about loving myself than making my mother love me. Only she could do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by number572 View Post
It really is tragic how many adults have to deal with issues left over from lack of good (or ANY!) parenting. All of you who've shared your stories here and on other threads -
Here here. And really, this topic fascinates me. It seems to be so rampant. I feel that raising emotionally healthy children is the biggest and most daunting task at hand. I really feel like a lot of this problem comes from societal norms about gender roles and roles of parents in children's lives. I feel like generations become more and more emotionally aware, but that makes everything more delicate. I am so scared that I am going to do to my kids what my mother did to me.

Quote:
OP, I hope you find more & more peace with your relationship. Hows it going with her these days? I'm so sorry to the countless people who live with this struggle.
Things actually have continued to get better. My mom is making some really amazing strides and I am so proud of her. I spent so long thinking about how she could be a better mother to ME; it's nice to step back and think about the fact that she is her own person too and she is growing every day. We've had a few slips, both of us, and we're still doing most of the tricky communicating by email, but she's even apologized for things she never would have before, or even talked to me about it.

I still have a lot of healing to do from my past with her, but now I feel a lot more confident about moving forward. I feel like it can be better, and I can appreciate that I am not the only one working on it. Most of the work I have to do now is on breaking my old habits. I feel so free.
InMediasRes is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off