Seeing abusive toxic mother this week advice - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 05-05-2010, 03:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Not sure if this is where I should go for support,but this Sat is my dear brother's wedding. My brother was raised with his father and I was raised with our mother. Its a long story

My mother was verbally,emotionally and physically abusive towards me growing up. The last time I saw her as a youth was when she was arrested and sent off in handcuffs for choking me. I was 17.

When I was maybe 24 I decided it was time to forgive her. The trip ended up with her dog attacking me, she blaming me for the attack and then the real slap in the face was that her new boyfriend ( ex con) had " White Power" tattooed on his back.

Yes this is sicker,but the sickest thing is that I am black and my mother is white. She also failed to mention that she was ever married to my father and also skipped the part that she raised a daughter. This is a whole other issue that I have worked through in therapy. I've had to just let that one go.

My brother told me there was a chance she was coming to the wedding. I know that I am now the adult, I can now stand up to her,but these past few days I have been feeling sick with worry over seeing her. Its not that I am afraid of her,but I don't want her to make a scene at his wedding involving me.

Usually her thing is to to start crying and try to hug me with more crying and my brother is not having a large wedding. Maybe 40 people.

Ive been married for 11 yrs, she has not met my husband ( he will be there). She has not met my child and that's how I'll keep it.
To me, our relationship is over and this needs to be conveyed somehow if she decides to pull a drama scene.

I do not want this to embarrass my brother on his day and I'm hoping to garner some advice on how to deal with this situation quietly and diplomatically,but she is so unpredictable.

My friends have just told me to ignore her,but that's just not going to play out so simply.

All I want to say to her is that "this is my brother's special day, I prefer not to speak with you and I cut you out of my life to save myself; now I'm happy" then walk away.

I hope its that simple. Thank you for allowing me to post this difficult thing I'm dealing with. Any advice would be appreciated.

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#2 of 11 Old 05-05-2010, 04:42 AM
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I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. We can't pick our family usually.

We had some family quibbles between the in-laws and my family, as all of us had been close for years before our marriage. My mother decided that she could not come to my son's party, if my MIL were going to be there. They were cordial at a later party when things had calmed down after a lot of time. I was mad at my mother for saying that she just couldn't come. She had said she wanted to come the night before with my sister and her family as well, but I wanted them to act like grown ups and decided that I didn't want to be hosting the night before the party that I would have even more people. She ultimately didn't come over, even though the visit coincided with when they were in the state so close to us. I know now why she felt this was the best way to protect herself. And the event wasn't as important as a wedding.

You may try the same thing. Ask your brother to confirm with her whether or not she will be there, and if there is a chance of it, then make arrangements to see him separately. Let him know that this is just really stressful and hard for you, and you just don't want things to get crazy on his day. It needs to be about him and his bride, not you and your mother's relationship or lack of. Maybe he will ask her not to come so that you and your family can attend.

I know that you really want to go, and it would be so unfair that her presence could interfere with that, but sometimes there are no great compromises. Kymberli
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#3 of 11 Old 05-05-2010, 08:41 AM
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Is there another relative or friend there who could be on behavior patrol and quietly remove her from the room if needed? That is the route I would go.

I'm sorry you have to deal with this. My husband goes through the same thing any time we know we'll be seeing his parents. It sucks.
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#4 of 11 Old 05-05-2010, 10:42 AM
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Can you lean on your husband? I know the deal is usually that each spouse deals with his or her own parents, but I think in a toxic situation like this, if your husband is willing and able to be your shield, he should do it.

Also, just something to hold in your head. If she makes a scene, try to remember that it's HER making the scene (perhaps you feel some shame or guilt, as if somehow if you handled her "right" she would not, but there is nothing you can say or do that will be "right," it's all her). And also try to remember that you don't have to give her the power. Maybe try to feel sorry for her. Is it even possible to mentally decide to be amused by her? I can undestand if you can't, but what I'm trying to do is give you suggestions for different ways to react to her, that don't follow your usual pattern. And preferably those ways to react to her would give her a lot less power. Being amused by her would be like watching her make a scene and thinking "ok, this is a classic Wedding Fail" or "boy this would be perfect for Jerry Springer" or something like that (especially with her White Power boyfriend, UGH). Look at her through the eyes of an audience that doesn't know her and can't be stung by her.

I'm sorry you're stressed, and I hope she doesn't show up - but even then, just the threat of her prescence is enough to make you feel bad, I'm so sorry.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#5 of 11 Old 05-05-2010, 11:06 AM
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I'm sorry. I know how hard this is.

Me and DH are dealing with a similar situation with my mother. Here are some things we discussed:

My mother tries to put on a good front when others are around. We hope that she will not make a scene if it is an event and we can just walk away.

If she still wants to act up we will walk away or leave if necessary. It became necessary for me to learn that I am not responsible for how she behaves. I know you want your brother to have his day but you cannot control or feel responsible for others actions.

Well, these are what would fit your situation. The event coming up for us in in our house so we have other things to consider that would probably be out of your hands with a wedding. We are not going to invite my mother at all and if she shows up ask her to leave.

If your comfortable with it you can also tell people who will be there beforehand of the situation.

I wish I could be more help. I know how hard it is.
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#6 of 11 Old 05-05-2010, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your kind suggestions. My brother did tell me there was a chance she would come,but it depended on her financial situation ( which is not good) and if her bf cold get his parole officer to let him go to Vegas ( where the wedding is) So I bought my tickets. She's not going to stop me from celebrating his wedding and I figured she was not going. I found out a couple weeks ago that she will be there. Her sister is coming and paying for her to come as well. So,yes she will be there. Its not going to stop my fun time there and my husband is a wonderful man. My brother suggested at the reception I just sit elsewhere, so that's what I will do. If she tries her crap, I will excuse myself.
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#7 of 11 Old 05-05-2010, 01:30 PM
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I did tear up reading your post, so it's nice to read that you have such a great attitude about this. I think you are very strong, and it sounds like with such a positive approach, you may end up having a good time celebrating.

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#8 of 11 Old 05-05-2010, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
Can you lean on your husband? I know the deal is usually that each spouse deals with his or her own parents, but I think in a toxic situation like this, if your husband is willing and able to be your shield, he should do it.


"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#9 of 11 Old 05-10-2010, 06:27 PM
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I think it sounds like you've got a great attitude about it, and I totally agree with PP who said that there's nothing you can do or say to prevent your mother from being "herself", whatever that turns out to mean that day.

The only thing you have control over is how you react.

Aside from the good advice already given (focus on yourself, lean on your DH, have an escape plan ready), I'd also offer this: if you have a close friend or someone who will NOT be at the wedding, set up a check in time with them during the day where they'll be waiting for your call and you'll know you have a chance to vent. Go somewhere private and call them tell them whatever is on your mind and hopefully they'll be a supportive voice and remind you that you're gonna be fine and you don't have to interact with her if yo udon't want to.

If you don't have anyone like that you can call, maybe schedule a check in with DH? I have just learned that it can be really helpful to have an actual plan for what to do if you get overwhelmed. Your mother may not even do anything - could be just being in the same room with someone who was supposed to protect and nurture you but instead hurt you could trigger you, even though you've done great and valuable work to get past all that. You just never know how you'll feel, so it's good to have a plan to vent or leave if you need it.

In terms of what to do if she seriously tries ot make any kind of scene, maybe have a phrase ready that you can say "Like "This is not the time or the place to discuss this. I will not be part of any drama at my brother's wedding." and just repeat that or whatever fits you if she starts crying or asking forgiveness or being mean. None of it has anything to do with you, it's all her stuff, so no matter what she might say hopefully you can distance yourself if it's upsetting or you don't want to participate. And don't get sucked into the guilt thing either, if she somehow tries to make you feel guilty for not talking ot her. "No drama. It's [brother's name]'s day. I have nothing to say about this. I'm walking away now."

My hope is you'll do all this prep and then not even be bothered with her and have a great time at the wedding! But it's really important to have some plans just in case...

Was it this past weekend? How did it go? Or if it's coming up, let us know how it goes when it happens!
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#10 of 11 Old 05-10-2010, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for your kind words. The wedding was on Sat. I sat in the second row and my mother sat in the first. No words or looks were exchanged.

At the reception, she didn't show up until maybe an hr into it. By the time she came there was about 30 mins left.

I did get to speak with my aunt. She is so dear to me,but my mother won't let her talk to me. Mind you my aunt is in her 60's. My mother just walks all over her.

Another aunt came,too and had to switch hotels from the one where my mom was staying. My aunt got a little drunk and told my husband that my mother threatened to "railroad me" out of my brother's wedding. I'm glad my dh didn't tell me this until after the wedding and reception.

I was a little bit worried that she would try to attack me,smack me,or something,but there were just too many people there and I'm sure she didn't want to embarrass my brother;I'm glad she didn't. Plus he's the one who is more tolerant of her ( even though he had not seen her in over 8-10 years)

I'm really not sure why my being there bothered her so much to make such statements. My dh was shocked and thank goodness he didn't have to speak with her either. A few cocktails beforehand helped a lot though!

I just asked him if he had ever seen the movie "Frailty"...I'm the demon killer I guess

Thanks for the support again and hopefully I'll never see her again in this lifetime or the next

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#11 of 11 Old 05-10-2010, 11:28 PM
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chanibell, you are a strong woman! I am glad you got through the weekend and didn't skip the wedding.
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