Cutting my parents off is killing me - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 01-23-2011, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well I am posting here with trepidation because I'm halfway afraid of the "I told you so" comments but I have to get this off my chest and I really don't have anyone IRL to talk to.

 

I posted a while back (the thread is gone now) about my mother calling CPS and making false allegations regarding my DP. In the end the case was determined to be unfounded and there is a note in the system about it in case of future malicious calls from either of my parents. But it still caused so much grief and the suspense was unbearable. I truly have never been so scared in my life. At one point DP and I sat on the kitchen floor together and just cried. the thought of losing our chidlren even for one night was the most horrible, painful thing.

 

So it's over and done with. DP's roommate came back and freaked out about me and the kids living there full time (we were not supposed to move in until the roommate moved out and rented us the whole house, in February.) He was also not at all cool with the idea that CPS/the police had been in his house during his absence. Long story short we had to leave.

 

So I made the decision way back when I found out about the CPS allegation that I was done with my parents, forever, goodbye, disowned them. But it is SO HARD

 

Ds asked why he couldn't go to grandma's house and I answered him honestly that we live far away from grandma now (we moved about 3 hrs away).  I feel so absolutely horrible keeping him from them because he loves them dearly, but already after only three weeks away from my parents he has stopped screaming at/disrespecting DP and I and he and DP are getting along fine again, just like they were before we moved back with my parents.

 

 

I just get so confused. I know that I've made mistakes in parenting. I certainly did not pick the right father for ds. I felt lucky when I met DP and he took on a parenting role almost from the get go. When he made mistakes that I felt were inexcusable I removed myself and ds from the situation. Our relationship was strong enough that we weatheredthe storm, got help and I can honestly say that we are a happy family. But we got there through trial and error, and my mother witnessed every single error, whether real or imagined. She has talked so much about my mistakes that I doubt myself now. and I start to wonder if maybe the whole thing really was just her trying to do the right thing. But...Since we have left the area, she has tried multiple times to find out where we are. First she called the socail worker and told he she had present for the children and wanted to bring them to me. Then she wanted to bring the presents to the social services office and have thw worker deliver them. Then she called medirectly  when I told the worker no thank you and said she had [resents and wanted to know how to get them to the children. I told he the best present she could give them was the gift of two parents who love them more than life itself. hint, hint. She told me "well, I only did the same thing you would have done if you were in myshoes." That got me thinking, would I havedone what she did? And Ithink the answer is no. First of all, I would havetrusted my adult dd enough that if she said she was already seeking counseling for the child I would have let it go. Secondly, if I was unequivocally sure that a child was being sexually molested, I would not have waited three days to call CPS. While the child was in my care, I would have called hte police immediately. Which leads me back to the fact that she wasn't doing it with my ds' best intersts at heart.

 

I just can't beleive that I don't have a mother I can trust. My friend wisely told me to have a funeral for her (emotionally that is) and move on. And for some reason I just can't accept it yet. I have an especially hard time thinking about where this puts my dad. Because he stands by her I've had to cut him off too.  I understand that when you love someone it's not that easy. But I feel as though he chose my mom over me. And again I understand but I am very very hurt. I would have felt guilty if he chose me over my mom though because then both of them would be devastated. My dad can't live without my mom---literally. But I don't think he would ever have called CPS on me on his own. He just isn't that type of person. He hates confrontation.

 

I knew it had to end though because the last time I was there (to get some things) my mother said some very hurtful thigns to me and I actually reached out to slap her. I'm so ashamed and horrified and I know how wrong it was. I literally was seeing red. Literally. I was so overcome with shock and horror at what she had done I felt like I was losing control. And I knew we could never be around each other again, becuase if someone is making you angry enough to get violent, it is time to walk away. But I feel like somehow this is all myfault, and I am punishing everyone around me. I halfway WANT to punish my parents. I WANT them to hurt like I am hurting. But then when I think about thier faces and how devastated they must be to not see or speak to us anymore I feel pity for them and I feel so guilty. I really feel like all I have done is tear the family apart.

 

I'm sorry this is so long, but I just needed to vent somewhere because this is eating me up inside. I know I need to accept it how it is and get over it.


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#2 of 35 Old 01-23-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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I don't have experience with this, but I can imagine the grieving process I would go through.  Give yourself time.  


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#3 of 35 Old 01-23-2011, 10:44 PM
 
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congratulations, i think this is a big step in your process.

the devastation you feel means the detachment is real. KEEP GOING WITH IT.

all the best of luck to you. it will be hard, but you can do it on your own, Lady!

ps: there is a saying, when you are going through hell, keep going.

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#4 of 35 Old 01-24-2011, 12:46 AM
 
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I have broken with my mother, too. It has been hard. I have felt like the worst person on the planet, and thoughts of how devastated she must be, have been truly tormenting me. The urge to believe that she has been doing her best, and to forgive, and let her back in, has been almost irresistable. My mother has also used the "presents for DS" method of trying to weedle herself back in. She has never apologized to me for anything, I have given her many chances, and I know that she will not change. I have been grieving hard.

 

It has gotten better, though. I have slowly regained my self esteem and confidence, which were really suffering - I think partly simply from being without my mother's disapproval! I find that cutting myself loose from her has given me room to grow and, eventually, more peace of mind.

 

Hang in there, it will get better. :)

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#5 of 35 Old 01-24-2011, 05:11 AM
 
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I watched my husband go through this when he cut his mother (and his enabling father) off.  It was a grief process.  The first year was really truly hard.  Then it got a little easier.  He still has moments, especially around the holidays, where it is super hard but overall he is much less stressed and happier.  He has made peace with his decision but he also went through a lot of counseling to get there.

Stay strong.  You can do this.

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#6 of 35 Old 01-24-2011, 05:35 AM
 
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I'm in a very similar situation right now(not the living situation stuff, but the stuff with your mom) and I just want to offer my sympathies. I haven't made any hard and fast decisions yet, but I know what I should do. It's just SO HARD. 

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#7 of 35 Old 01-24-2011, 07:41 AM
 
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It can be hard to cut off family but just remember that you have good reason. It will get easier.Stay strong and try to find new connections for your family as it is. Finding new traditions to replace old ones that involved them may help too as those times get closer. 


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#8 of 35 Old 01-24-2011, 10:21 AM
 
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Oh, mama. It's so, so normal to grieve the mother and father you didn't have, and will never have. You're entitled to these feelings and doubts and to this pain. Let it come.

Please bear one thing in mind: this was not your decision.

Your mother decided to try and undermine your parenting with your child every chance she got.

Your mother decided to threaten you with taking custody of your child if possible.

Your mother decided to try and get to you through your child, saying who knows what to him and teaching him to disobey and disrespect you.

When none of those methods worked to her satisfaction, your mother decided to sic the authorities on you as a form of punishment and abuse.

And your father decided to stand by a woman who has tormented his own child for years, and was obviously repeating the pattern with his own grandchild.

Their wicked behavior and refusal to change is absolutely not your decision.

If someone chooses to hurt you over and over and over again, despite your telling them to stop, despite your trying to make them understand that their behavior is driving you away, that it's killing you inside, your only real choice is to submit to their abuse and slowly die, or get away from them so they can't hurt you anymore. How is that even a choice at all? You deserve to be healthy, happy, and whole. You deserve to be treated with respect. You really have no other options here; you have to get away from an abuser and her enmeshed enabler (your father). It's their choice to keep hurting you.

When I cut my parents off more than two year ago, I went through all the stages of grief. I thought it had to be all in my head--surely I couldn't have been born to people who really truly treated me so badly? I thought maybe it hadn't been so awful--maybe i was overreacting. But some facts were undeniable:

-Like you, every time I had been in my mother's presence for the last several years, I found myself thinking horribly violent thoughts. As I'm not a violent person by nature, this frightened me more than anything. When I was pregnant with DS, she came to stay with us for a few days from out of town. More than once during that short visit I found myself wanting to jump over the table and strangle her, or maybe beat her to death. These violent urges horrified me completely and sent me running to therapy, where I was diagnosed with PTSD and told that such rage and ugly thoughts are common in adult survivors of child abuse when they have contact with their abusers.

-I had and have screaming nightmares for weeks after any contact with my biological parents. The body doesn't lie.

-My parents never once tried to reconcile with me. They only sent the occasional email pretending that nothing was wrong and blandly wishing me a happy holiday or birthday. They have also tried, repeatedly, to give gifts to our son with no mention of the very reasons they aren't allowed to be anywhere near our family. Normal parents would talk about it, at least try to make things right. Dysfunctional parents deny, deny, deny. Not only does this prevent them from having to face the truth about their behavior, but it makes their victims doubt their own memories and reality. How can they be pretending nothing happened? Maybe nothing did happen... Twisted.

It hurts, mama. It hurts all the time. But it gets easier every day. I do have to tell myself over and over again that this wasn't my decision. I tried for years to make it work, to "be the bigger person", to "let bygones be bygones", to "give them a break", to accept that they were "only human" and that they "did the best they could". It didn't work, because it was all one-sided. Their decision is simple: they're not going to change, and if I want a relationship with them it has to be on their terms, i.e. as a victim. So I walked away.

Please see a therapist if there's any way you can manage it. You really shouldn't be doing this alone and with no real life support system in place. If you can't afford therapy, find an online support group for adult children of abusers. I like this community: http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/

And talk about it whenever you have to. This isn't going to go away and it's not going to get better overnight. But you'll get through it, and once you have some distance from your abusers you're going to be positively shocked by the change in yourself. And then you'll fully trust that you did the right thing for yourself and your family by escaping.

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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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#9 of 35 Old 01-26-2011, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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peainthepod, your post was so, so helpful. Thank you so much. I looked at that website. It was so accurate that I started freaking out and had to shut the computer down for awhile. Lately since the CPS thing happened I've been prone to panic attacks at teh slightest thing. I'm sure it's the stress from this weighing on me but I have to get ahold of it because it interefeers with my life. And that is with me already taking zoloft every day.

 

My mom called last night and said she had to talk to ds to tell him what happened with his hamster. I asked her what happened and she said "oh i only wanted to tell him, it's about HIS hamster. But you can put me on speakerphone if you want." I told her no, it started to get confrontational, where she kept saying the way things had gone down was my fault for not handling the situation properly, and I said "well you got the ball rolling by calling CPS" and she said "no I didn't." The whole conversation was so surreal because he was being so illogical and it was intensely frustrating. Eventually when she couldn't get me to agree with her she humg up on me. But not before she reminded me first of how kind she had been to us and all the things she had put up with from us.


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#10 of 35 Old 01-26-2011, 04:09 PM
 
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I'm glad my post helped. Gently, I would encourage you to stop taking her calls, or opening her emails. Abuse is like a dance. If you refuse to be her partner, she can't hurt you anymore. Let her spin around on her own.

Only you can decide whether to fully cut her off. But given what she's put you through, and how any contact with her makes you feel, at the very least I think you should consider taking a long break. No contact means just that--no calls, no emails, no letters, no parcels, no visits. Get Caller ID if you don't already have it--or better yet, screen all calls. Delete her voice messages without listening to them. Throw away her letters unopened, or keep them (unopened) in a shoe box in the back of your closet in case you need them for legal purposes later on. Send her emails to your email client's spam folder, unread (or if you use Gmail, tweak your settings so they get archived automatically without you ever seeing them--very useful if you need to get a restraining order later on). If she shows up on your porch, don't answer the door. Or tell her to leave, and if she refuses, call the police and report her for trespassing. You have that right! You are a free woman.

She can't abuse you if you refuse to let her into your life. It will be very, very, very hard at first, but it's so worth it. And nothing says it has to be forever (although you may find that you're so much happier without her that you can't imagine letting her back into your precious circle of trusted friends and family).

You might also ask to join the Surviving Abuse forum here on MDC, if you haven't already. Some very helpful and experienced mamas in there.

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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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#11 of 35 Old 01-26-2011, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really am trying. I feel like a part of me is pulling me back into it. Almost like I don't know how to live without the constant drama and turmoil and chaos. I don't kno how to just LIVE. And I know that that is what I need to do. I have spent so much of my life running, or planning to run, or just surviving/coping, that I've lost my ability to be in the moment and just slow down. DP complains about it because I'm always worrying, always anxious, always planning and never satisfied. And in some kind of sick way I guess the situation with my mother feeds into that so that I keep going back for more. I don't know if that makes any sense or if I'm overanalyzing this or what.

 

I think I have to just take it one day at a time. And I'm an inherently curious (ahem, nosy) person by nature, so deleting a unopened email is like unthinkable for me, lol. But I can try. I think it's wrapped  up in my control issues, because I used to read all DP's text messages too (and no he's never cheated or anything like that). I am trying very  very hard to respect his privacy and not snoop but it's like I have to know everything that's going on or I start to get uncontrollably anxious that something bad is going to happen. It's totally illogical and senseless. And I'm rambling now so I'll stop......but I will just have to get through one day at a time without her because if I think of it as forever I won't be able to handle it.


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#12 of 35 Old 01-26-2011, 05:12 PM
 
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Fantastic post peainthepod!

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#13 of 35 Old 01-26-2011, 05:20 PM
 
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Needing to know and needing to have a sense of control over everything in your life, along with feeling anxious and a sense of doom are all connected to having an abusive parent while growing up.  When they deny that an abusive situation exists, you doubt yourself... and you long for something solid.  That's where the need to know everything about everything comes into play in your life now.  Or at least that's what I read while looking for answers to my own situation.  And I completely agree that if there is ANY way you can auto-divert those emails to junk mail or have someone filter your calls and messages before you ever see them, it helps so much.  Even seeing my mom's name haunts me.  I have very violent nightmares involving her still... but they're becoming less frequent since I'm taking a long break.  Right now I don't know if it will be forever... maybe the break will allow me to become so strong that I could eventually be around her without losing myself, I don't know yet.  I wish you strength.  It's really sad and tough but you'll get thru.  Having a daily ritual helps me, I do a short positivity meditation and remind myself of the good things all day long.  It helps.  That daughters of narcissist mothers is great, I read that site whenever I feel unsure or like it's all too much.  

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#14 of 35 Old 01-26-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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Think of your relationship with your mother as an addiction. It's bad for you, but there's a part of you that craves it even when you know it's unhealthy. When you have an addiction, it's best to get yourself into a new environment, and avoid situations that may trigger you. Distract yourself for the time being. If you know you're nosey and would like to read the e-mails she sends, set up a special folder and put all the e-mails she sends you in there. Once you feel ready, after the tough part is over, then maybe you can go back and read the e-mails she's sending you with some objectivity.

 

You will go through a period of "withdrawal". You may experience restlessness, sleep disturbances, fatigue, anxiety, fidgeting, agitation and changes in appetite. At the same time you'll go through the 7 stages of grief:

 

  • Shock & Denial: You may deny the loss. Maybe you'll think your relationship can recover.
  • Pain & Guilt: This is where you're at right now, wondering if you're to blame and she wasn't that bad
  • Anger & Bargaining: You might start blaming your DP, or decide to try & set up a deal with your mother during this time. DON'T DO IT, THOUGH!
  • Depression, reflection, loneliness: You'll start missing your "mommy"
  • The Upward Turn: Things will start getting better
  • Reconstruction & Working Through: You'll begin to see you don't need her anymore. You won't think of turning to her during hard times.
  • Acceptance & Hope: You will begin to see the reality of the situation. You accept that you can never achieve a healthy relationship with your mother, and you accept that. You'll still be sad, but you won't feel physical pain at the loss.

 

 

 

I stopped talking to my mother over 4 1/2 years ago. She tried pulling the whole "I have presents for the kids" act about 3 years ago. She showed up at my door unannounced (after calling around to get my address since I'd never given it to her). I was polite, and I let the children have the gifts, however I was very clear that we were not to have any future contact. I haven't heard from her since. Okay, I take that back, I did call the house because I heard from my cousins that my dad had a heart attack. My mother insinuated that my father had died. I  found out later he had left her and they were getting a divorce.

 

I have since changed my name, my phone number and I've moved many many miles away from her. Occasionally I get triggered, but it's not often. I see the reality of who she is and what she's capable of. Even when I acknowledge the (few) good times we had, I don't let that convince me to have contact with her again.

 

Just like drinking... if you're an alcoholic, you might reminisce on the good times, laughing and having fun. But, never forget the bad times, the ill affects on your health, fights and being taken advantage of.

 

 

Good luck!

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#15 of 35 Old 01-26-2011, 07:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post
I just can't beleive that I don't have a mother I can trust.

This is hard to accept. For my mother, it was more that she does not have the capacity for caring about other people at all. I would say that it was about 18 months for me between knowing that in my head & accepting it. I tried a number of rituals (similar to what you're describing), but they just didn't do anything for me. It was more a process for me of coming to terms with who my mom is and always will be. She will not change.

 

I wish that I had some sage advice, but I don't. I can only tell you my experience, which is that it's difficult but slowly fades into the background of your life. My mom still doesn't understand my decisions, and even now, I couldn't articulate them to her because part of me is still conditioned to believe that I should - everyone should - have a mother who is loving and caring and supportive. It's hard to break free of those cultural notions.

 

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#16 of 35 Old 01-26-2011, 07:34 PM
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It took me over a year of pain, but now I'm finally happier.  It's worth it to get to that point.  I feel free.

 


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#17 of 35 Old 01-26-2011, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you all for sharing you experiences with me, please keep them coming! It helps very much to be validated and to know that what I'm feeling is normal. I was in therapy for 4 months but we now live too far to continue with that therapist, and I'm overwhelmed at the prospect of finding another therapist that I can trust.


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#18 of 35 Old 01-27-2011, 04:47 AM
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I am currently on 'break' with a parent. I don't know if we'll talk again or not, but it does hinge on the parent choosing to CHANGE, so I don't hold out hope or expectation.

 

I cut off a different parent once, for a few months. This parent had a life crisis going on, and I had done all I could, but they were refusing outside help and spiraling out of control. I cut contact until this parent could recognize the need for therapy. I am so grateful that my parent DID take the courageous steps to start getting help, rather than getting WORSE. Now we have a lovely relationship again, and I foresee it remaining strong as long as we all keep an eye out for certain pitfalls.

 

This is to show that cutting off can be an effective tool FOR YOU whether the parent-in-question wants to get better or not. In my situation, my cutting off was probably THE BEST thing I could do for my respective parents, as well. It was certainly the right choice for me, and I am better established at the technique now, and getting ever better.

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#19 of 35 Old 01-27-2011, 12:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post

I'm glad my post helped. Gently, I would encourage you to stop taking her calls, or opening her emails. Abuse is like a dance. If you refuse to be her partner, she can't hurt you anymore. Let her spin around on her own.
 

This.^

Sooo sorry to hear you are going through this.  I know it's truly as though your mother has died.

My goodness the stories I could tell about my family.  I had to move out of state from mine, in the 90's.  For many years there was not a day I didn't think of it and be in turmoil.  Slowly, I discovered ways of rebuilding my life, and learned to trust intuition and good choices, and living apart from their influence and power over me.  I went through a grieving process as well, and in a very real way my family is dead to me.  When I talk to them nowadays, it's as though they are strangers, and I treat them with the same politeness and distance I would a stranger.  They don't have the power to animate me, or get a rise out of me like they used to. 

I hope if you see a therapist, you find it helpful.  I saw one for a while, but it wasn't helpful, some are better than others.  I did, however, buy some cds of a hypnotist, Wendi Friesen.  My favorite was Somnulucent, her cd to end insomnia.  I had terrible nightmares and sleep disturbances, and this is the one thing which finally helped.  Now I sleep like a rock :)  I think it's because her voice and her words sound so much like a loving gentle mother talking her baby to sleep--it fulfilled a need in me I hadn't recognized.

Another online person who helped me tons (someday I'll have to email her and let her know!) is Caroline Myss.  She has a brilliant way of explaining life and relationships in terms of spiritual contracts, and archetypes.  She has some free media on her website, one I would recommend to you is her take on the Wizard of Oz (Taking the Yellow Brick Road) http://www.myss.com/CMED/media/ .  She analyzes the tornado that can uproot you from everything you know (Kansas!) and drop you in a place where you need to combine all the parts of you to become whole.  And dealing with your tormenters (the wicked witch of the West).  Well, I don't know if you are interested in all the spiritual talk she does, but I found it of great benefit.

 

Don't feel obligated to continue contact with your mom.  If she calls, simply say, "sorry but I don't wish to speak with you right now" and hang up.  No need to listen to her harangue.  It would probably be better to simply not answer her call.  If it's truly urgent, she can leave a voicemail.  And perhaps saying "I will NEVER speak to her again or contact her again, I'm cutting her off!" might be too drastic to handle emotionally.  Maybe tell yourself "At this time, it's better for me not to have contact with her.  In the future I can reassess."

 

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#20 of 35 Old 01-27-2011, 01:03 PM
 
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Oh, mama. It's so, so normal to grieve the mother and father you didn't have, and will never have. You're entitled to these feelings and doubts and to this pain. Let it come.

Please bear one thing in mind: this was not your decision.

Your mother decided to try and undermine your parenting with your child every chance she got.

Your mother decided to threaten you with taking custody of your child if possible.

Your mother decided to try and get to you through your child, saying who knows what to him and teaching him to disobey and disrespect you.

When none of those methods worked to her satisfaction, your mother decided to sic the authorities on you as a form of punishment and abuse.

And your father decided to stand by a woman who has tormented his own child for years, and was obviously repeating the pattern with his own grandchild.

Their wicked behavior and refusal to change is absolutely not your decision.

If someone chooses to hurt you over and over and over again, despite your telling them to stop, despite your trying to make them understand that their behavior is driving you away, that it's killing you inside, your only real choice is to submit to their abuse and slowly die, or get away from them so they can't hurt you anymore. How is that even a choice at all? You deserve to be healthy, happy, and whole. You deserve to be treated with respect. You really have no other options here; you have to get away from an abuser and her enmeshed enabler (your father). It's their choice to keep hurting you.

 


This. Your mother has chosen, over and over and over again, to hurt you, and mess around with your life (and then blame you for it). Your father has chosen, over and over and over, to stand by and watch her do it. The "choice" you've made wasn't a real choice at all. It's natural that it hurts - grief is hard - but it really was the only viable option you had.

 

I'm so sorry, mama. You did the right thing, though - and you've protected your ds from them.


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#21 of 35 Old 02-04-2011, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dad called tonight. I know I need to stop answering his calls....I have caller id so there is no reason to answer when it's my parents.

 

He asked if the kids were ok and if we needed anything, etc. I was poliet but I just gave one word answers, "no we're fine." When he asked if they needed clothes or toys I said, "we really don't want anything from you guys." He sounded hurt and thn he said, "well if anything happens to them or they get sick real bad would you please let us know." Which I said yes to that, and then we hung up.

 

The thing that bothers me about the call other than the fact that I konw he is hurt and upset by me refusing to let them have contact with him, is that he just wants to brush over it. I have had a a habit of this in the past, getting into big arguments with my mom and then just going on as if not9hing had happened, the next time we talked. But this is different and I can't believe he didn't so much as offer an apology or something.

 

So I know I did the right thing. I guess each time I do it it will get a little easier.


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#22 of 35 Old 02-04-2011, 04:45 PM
 
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Isn't it confusing when they do that? My bioparents are the same way. There is never any mention of why we're estranged or the reasons I don't talk to them. They act like nothing happened, nothing is wrong. It's a form of invalidation. He's hoping he can silently pressure you into going along with his charade and just let it blow over, like he always does with your mother. Know also that when you remove yourself from an abuser's grasp, they often turn on the next closest person to them. In this case, your father might be getting the brunt of her abuse now that you refuse to take it anymore. Not your problem, but a common explanation for the enabler's persistent attempts to suck you back in.

Stay strong, mama. And yeah, if you can, I'd avoid answering the phone. If it's important, he can leave a message.

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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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#23 of 35 Old 02-05-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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Isn't it confusing when they do that? My bioparents are the same way. There is never any mention of why we're estranged or the reasons I don't talk to them. They act like nothing happened, nothing is wrong. It's a form of invalidation.

I so relate to this.  The conclusion I've come to is my parents/family truly do not comprehend the impact of their actions.  And when I've made effort to express their effect on me, they act as though I've gone crazy...they simply do not/cannot relate to what I'm telling them.  It's not real to them.  So they act like it doesn't exist, because in their world, it does not.  I've finally come the realization they don't intend further harm by their callousness.  They are simply blind to the reality of the situation.  It's their choice to turn a blind eye...they don't want to deal with it, and most likely don't have the tools to effectively deal with it.  You know, the whole being in denial thing. 

 

As sorry as your father feels, he lacks the tools or desire to fix it right now.  Who knows, maybe in later years your parents will mature enough to understand compassion and empathy better, and understand what it takes to have a loving, or at least civil and polite, relationship.  But for now, as long as things are still tense and difficult in the relationship, I would back off and not answer the calls.  If you feel the need, you can always make the direct statement "I am upset due to past actions, and prefer not to interact with you at this time.  I won't be answering your calls, if there is a true emergency you can leave a voicemail."  And then don't answer the calls.  The time away from you and their grandchildren will give them something to think about, and if they so desire, an opportunity to re-evaluate their actions and attitude towards you.  And it will give you time and distance to become more stable and authentic in who you really are, rather than identifying so much with the trauma they've put you through. 

 

I think you'll do awesome!!  It's tough and challenging to break from difficult parents and finally stand on your own, but I know you can do it!

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#24 of 35 Old 03-10-2011, 12:23 AM
 
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I don't really know the details of your situation but it seems your mother, for some reason, was concerned for your children. It was wrong of her to make false allegations, but perhaps it is wrong to deny your children the right to see their grandparent. Is it possible for you to forgive your mother and reconcile? It may bring peace to your spirit to put the past behind and resolve the situation. The suffering caused by the disconnection must be painful for you and your children, and your mother. Hopefully one day you will change your mind about having a relationship with your mom. We all make mistakes, but that is how we learn and grow. I wish you the best on your journey!

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#25 of 35 Old 03-10-2011, 03:30 AM
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Mother4peace- if only it were as simple as you suggest. The op's mom did not make a mistake and forget a birthday or broke a dish. She called in the authorities as a way to get back at her daughter. With family like that who needs enemies?

Since you have such a low post count, your contribution is purely suspect. Best to you on your journey.
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#26 of 35 Old 03-10-2011, 07:13 AM
 
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Sorry I didn't read every post, but have you seen the book "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward?  It is very helpful.

 

You know, it was hard for me to break with my parents too.  Despite everything, I love them.  But I had to keep telling myself, I love my children *more* and this is about my children's well-being (keeping them safe from all three kinds of abuse), and NOT my parents feelings about a terrible situation they were causing themselves.

 

It gets easier.  I shudder to think what my DC would be like now if the situation had continued. 

 

 

 

 

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#27 of 35 Old 03-10-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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I don't really know the details of your situation but it seems your mother, for some reason, was concerned for your children. It was wrong of her to make false allegations, but perhaps it is wrong to deny your children the right to see their grandparent. Is it possible for you to forgive your mother and reconcile? It may bring peace to your spirit to put the past behind and resolve the situation. The suffering caused by the disconnection must be painful for you and your children, and your mother. Hopefully one day you will change your mind about having a relationship with your mom. We all make mistakes, but that is how we learn and grow. I wish you the best on your journey!



OP's mother is similar, in some ways, to my late grandmother. The biggest mistake my mom made as a parent was to avoid "denying us the right" to see our grandparent. She felt as you seem to - that the relationship with grandparents is very important, and her own issues with her mother should take a backseat. What she didn't realize was that her issues with her mother were rooted in her mother's personality, and were going to carry to the next generation. My grandmother almost destroyed one of my siblings and one of my cousins, and did serious damage to all the rest of us. She was the epitome of toxic, and we'd all have been far, far better off if my mom had realized that she really could "deny us that right". I've been reading the OP's posts for a long time, and she absolutely made the best move.

 

 

ETA: I just re-read this and realized that I missed something important. My mom completely agrees with me that it was a mistake, and has said more than once, when discussing our family's past that the only thing she wishes she could change is keeping contact with grandmother. If she had it all to do over again, she'd cut her off in a heartbeat, because that would have been best for us. She made other mistakes, and she knows it...but this is the only one that had such serious negative repercussions that she would actually change it if she could. Everything else falls into "these things helped make us the people and family we are" territory, yk? Contact with grandma? Not so much.

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#28 of 35 Old 03-10-2011, 12:32 PM
 
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what about you sending a brief note by the post every other month or so with just news of your children, nothing too personal, but real news

 

so that you do feel that you didn't totally prevent your parents from knowing about your children

but at the same time they don't intrude in your everyday life if you leave the answerphone on so that they leave a message rather than talk with you directly

that way you can control when, what and how much you answer (or not at all if you don't feel like it)on every point they raise

 

that way communication is not totally broken but it gives you more control about how the interactions go

 

it might not be what they like, or wish for (but you don't have to do everything they wish for either)

but it could be a good compromise for your guilt about cutting off completely

 

if it's hard not to take their calls, what about making a calendar with precise dates and prepare the first 2 enveloppes and decide by which day you will send them a short update about the grandchildren (and just communicate a few sentences about the grandchildre, nothing about anything else)

at the same time, if you feel upset about it all, you can write down how you feel in a separate sheet of paper and keep all that file "aside" somewhere so that there's a physical place where this problem is thought about and PUT ASIDE so that you can get on with the rest of your live, and every now and then you can take out the file and write a bit more or think about it, and put it away again and try to stop thinking about it ...

 

just a suggestion ... every one is different, what would work for me might have little appeal to you ...

 

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#29 of 35 Old 03-11-2011, 06:48 AM
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Just my .02, but a lot of this boils down to boundaries and the fact that the grandparents here have no inclination to respect boundaries. I had toxic inlays who could not even abide by the simplest, most minute boundary because they had to control every situation. For example, if they were coming to visit I'd ask that they come at five. Societal convention suggests that you avoid coming earlier and you come at the invited time. My inlays would then respond well can we be there at 4:55, to which I'd reply no, please come at five. They would then arrive at five complaining how they actually arrived at 4:59 but had to circle the block for a minute because it wasn't yet 5:00 and how ridiculous that was. Now, if they were normal people and could respect a boundary in most instance ( though they chose to confront, argue, try to persuade, ignore every boundary not imposed by them), I'd agree it was unreasonable to have to do that, but the problem was every boundary was ignored, argued with, tried to persuade, whatever, they could never say sure, fine. So for me the expression give an inch and they take a mile ( or ten, every time) would come to mind in trying to find a compromise. With some people there is no such thing as compromise it is their way or the highway, and we chose the highway ( which was extremely difficult at first, but the rewards have been much more than we ever could have expected).
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#30 of 35 Old 03-11-2011, 07:09 AM
 
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OP's mother is similar, in some ways, to my late grandmother. The biggest mistake my mom made as a parent was to avoid "denying us the right" to see our grandparent. She felt as you seem to - that the relationship with grandparents is very important, and her own issues with her mother should take a backseat. What she didn't realize was that her issues with her mother were rooted in her mother's personality, and were going to carry to the next generation. My grandmother almost destroyed one of my siblings and one of my cousins, and did serious damage to all the rest of us. She was the epitome of toxic, and we'd all have been far, far better off if my mom had realized that she really could "deny us that right". I've been reading the OP's posts for a long time, and she absolutely made the best move.


I completely agree.

 

Children have a right to grow up free from toxic people, even if those people happen to be on the family tree.

 

Sometimes the abuse is bad enough the only way to break the cycle, is to break with the person creating the cycle.

 

It's not something anyone would just gladly choose lightly, but sometimes it's the only option left- and the best one.

 

 

 

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