Toxic email from toxic mother

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Dreamscapes

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Toxic email from toxic mother
« on: February 13, 2018, 11:23:48 AM »
Hi here !  :wave:

I joined the OOTF forum a few weeks ago and I've been silent for a while, trying to figure out what to do with my mother.
She's undiagnosed, I just know that something is terribly wrong with her. I've always been belittled, criticized, mocked (she says it's "humor" and that I' have none for not laughing at painful jokes about myself), I suffered frequent rage episodes and so forth. For a very long time, I thought all of this was normal.
I'm an only child and my father died when I was 14, I lived in isolation with her until I left the house to live with my then boyfriend when I was 20. I kept telling myself that every family had its issues. Underneath I felt otherwise but it was too painful and scary to face the truth.

My point of view about her changed when I met my husband 6 years ago, when I discovered for the first time of my life what compassion, empathy, understanding mean.
Last year I became a mom, I suffered postpartum depression for a few months, it was a really painful and challenging time of my life ! And my mother's behavior simultaneously got worse (or maybe I was unable to take her bullsh*t anymore).
During her last visit in June, she was emotionally and verbally abusive, with constant criticism, put-downs and demeaning comments, culminating in a really abusive night during which I had an emotional meltdown (I can give details if necessary).
This was the last straw.

She doesn't live close to us and the last visit was very long, and so was the abuse : 2 weeks.

Since her visit, I've been low contact and medium chill for months. I could sense she was unhappy with it, but she didn't tell me anything about it, and was in a "business as usual" mode. She often complained she wasn't invited for Christmas (even sending complaining emails to my husband and telling him not to tell me), but that's it.
We've been on the phone only 2 times since Christmas, and there were a few emails too. It is very unconventional for us because she's an engulfing type and I've been codependent for so long (even after the realization that she was toxic).

So all of this is very new !

A few days ago she sent me an email to ask me if she did or said something wrong. She said she felt a distance between us and that she was hurt by it.
I have to mention she chose my son's first birthday to send her email. I may be overreacting but I found this very inappropriate to send this kind of email this specific day.

I first answered that my life was very busy at the moment, but she sent another email to insist about the distance and "my behavior". So I delivered and told her how I feel about our relationship, that the current communication mode was very fine to me and that I didn't want to engage in conversations about our realtionship anymore.
I felt relieved and frightened and stressed to send such an email to her.

She just answered this today :

"Hello daughter,

Hope you're well !

I have to anwer anyway because I have a lot of things to get off my chest and I think I received very much blame and criticism for a very long time, even instead of your father.

You want to be considered an adult, OK, but we can't tell you anything. Life is short, I realized this at a young age, I was your age and I don't want to waste my life in a navel-gazing way or torturing my mind ! Or making my relatives paying or taking the burden ! For what purpose ??

My visit was negative ? It's always a pleasure being thanked ! Fortunately your father doesn't see what you do !!!

You're selfish and immature and still full of certainty...

I don't want to disrupt your life and I won't bother you anymore.

You want to take my grandson away from me, if it pleases you... Age will help you understand, regrets can carry a heavier price than remorse... But sometimes it's irreparable and you have to deal with it !

You have a new family and you don't care about us ! You always do what you want, no concessions, that's not being an adult...!!!

Have a nice day !"



What do you think about this email ?

I don't plan to answer and I think the time is up to go NC now. What do you think ?

I'm sorry, English is not my mother tongue, I tried to translate her email the best I can. This email is messy even in my language, even I don't understand all that she means (although I'm usually fluent when it comes to her bullsh*t).
I think she must be in a deep rage and not clear in her mind.

Any advice, support, word will be welcomed !

Thank you all for sharing and helping on this site, I couldn't have reach this confidence level to confront her without you all !   :wave:
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 11:28:05 AM by Dreamscapes »

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LightOrb

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018, 12:07:48 PM »
What she means is extremely simple: "how dare you want different things from what I want!". Look at how she is mocking your adulthood. You are indisputably an adult. You are married and a mom! There is no world where you are not an adult!

What I don't understand is the thing about your father. You said he died when you were 14. Who is she talking about? Could she be having some sort of delusion?

However, at the end, there is nothing to work with. Remember that her objective is to have a relationship with you and your son (being extremely free when defining 'relationship'). To do that, she is shaming you. Instead of asking you what she can do to fix things, she is telling you how horrible you are. When they do that, I want to ask "tell me again how this is going to make me want to spend time with you?".

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Dreamscapes

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2018, 12:44:19 PM »
Hi LightOrb, and thank you so much for your reply !

What she means about my father is that in the past, I blamed her about things I should have blamed my deceased father about.
She's usually very reluctant to take her responsabilities, and I guess it would be convenient that I blame him instead of her.
Also, she want to induce pain, shame and guilt telling me "fortunately, your father doesn't see how you behave"...
She knows I loved (and still love) my father dearly and often emphasizes that I was too young to know him as much as she knew him (implying I have a false perception of him). I won't lie, my father was dysfonctional too, but he taught me useful things and I have great memories with him (besides the bad ones), so I cherish his memory. She feels threatened by this situation. She told me awful things about their relationship when I was 20, because she thought that "knowing could help me" (I was depressed at the time and it only made me feel worse).

By the way, she can be very delusional, yes ! I often don't know if she's in a normal or delusional state (and it was very confusing growing up).

Since I'm a mom, I realize I would be very mortified if my son was as unhappy with me as I am unhappy with her. I would do everything I can to fix things and stop doing what is toxic to him. And indeed, my mother chose to shame me and tell me I'm horrible for feeling the way I feel (as usual I would say).
I totally agree with you, she can't accept to be challenged, that I'm different (I've often been shamed for being different from her).

Mocking my adulthood is one of "mom's greatest hits", besides "you're selfish" (I hear that since I'm maybe 6 or 7) "you're childish", and "you're ungrateful"...

Right now, I feel relieved and with some sort of nervous laughter...
I keep asking myself "is it true ? Am I now free from this hell ? Has NC time come ?"
I'm also worried, I'm afraid of what she's capable of to get revenge.

Thank you again for your insight LightOrb  :wave:


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louisebt

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018, 01:08:21 PM »
Right now, I feel relieved and with some sort of nervous laughter...
I keep asking myself "is it true ? Am I now free from this hell ? Has NC time come ?"


This reaction is telling you what you need to know.
Remember nothing is set in stone, but if NC feels right for you now, and I can certainly see why then there is nothing wrong with doing that. She is indeed acting unrelentingly toxic with zero ability to self reflect and try to change anything.

'selfish and immature'-   :aaauuugh:it's like they literally use the same script. What she means is 'you aren't doing what I want any more and challenging me'.

I don't want to disrupt your life and I won't bother you anymore.
Take her words at face value...ok then, great!

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LightOrb

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2018, 01:22:53 PM »
I'm also worried, I'm afraid of what she's capable of to get revenge.

It is said that once they realize you mean business and NC is real and permanent, then extinction bursts come. They are in their worse behavior, their absolute worse try to make us submit. I am not going to get that because my PD parents are not in the verbally abusive side, but in the neglecting and ignoring side. It would not be bad to prepare for that, talk to your FOC and friends to prepare them if they are within reach, via phone or social media. I think your son is a baby, right? If this is not the case, take precautions with the school for them not to share information about him with anybody but you. Make sure everything you share is limited. Don't give her or allow her to have tools to hurt you. She can't go beyond that (and if she does, use the police if needed).

She is your mother, but she does not have now any power over you. I've been in that place where I am so afraid to tell her no or that she's nor right or that I don't think like she does. But you know what? She does not have power over me now. Easier said than done, I don't think I can tell her this, but I am far away, she does not have keys to my home (I don't think she even has my address), she can't come and enter and order me around as she did in the past. I can close my door and be safe from her (and uNPD dad). That is all that matters.

:bighug:

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bohemian butterfly

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2018, 01:40:40 PM »
Dreamscapes,

Welcome to the forum!  I read the letter from your mother and wanted to respond because we are in similar situations and I received a similar letter (several months ago).  Here are my thoughts....  I've written my thoughts in a different color (I hope that I do this right and you can see my responses)

"Hello daughter,      I find it interesting that she didn't use your name, "daughter" (to me) feels like ownership, or putting you in your place

Hope you're well !

I have to anwer anyway because I have a lot of things to get off my chest and I think I received very much blame and criticism for a very long time, even instead of your father.  blaming/passing the buck/no accountability.
  "I have to answer anyway" total disregard of your request.  Will do as she pleases


You want to be considered an adult, OK, but we can't tell you anything. Life is short, I realized this at a young age, I was your age and I don't want to waste my life in a navel-gazing way or torturing my mind ! Or making my relatives paying or taking the burden ! For what purpose ??

My visit was negative ? It's always a pleasure being thanked ! Fortunately your father doesn't see what you do !!!  defensive.  sarcastic. guilt inducing

You're selfish and immature and still full of certainty...   name calling

I don't want to disrupt your life and I won't bother you anymore.  threats/punishment for "disobeying" and daring to express

You want to take my grandson away from me, if it pleases you... Age will help you understand, regrets can carry a heavier price than remorse... But sometimes it's irreparable and you have to deal with it !     threat of future abandonment, shame

You have a new family and you don't care about us ! You always do what you want, no concessions, that's not being an adult...!!!     jealousy.  Guilt inducing

Have a nice day !"
     sarcastic.



I found that letter slightly triggering (not your fault) because it was eerily familiar (something my mother would have said).  There was no validation of your feelings.  She didn't even question what she did to hurt you and/or ask how she could make amends.  She was totally defensive and tried to blame you and your father.  It made me mad (for you) because you are right, it did feel toxic and icky. 

You are doing great and I'm so glad that you posted. 

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MyEyesROpen

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2018, 02:47:29 PM »
I agree with Bohemian Butterfly. I too found this letter eerily similar to a faux apology letter my own toxic mother sent me a few years ago. When I read your letter, I did the same as Bohemian Butterfly did. I categorised each paragraph and sentence in terms of whether they were trying to induce guilt or shame, or whether they were an insult or a put down etc. I also made a note of what wasn't there. She made no attempt to ask you what she could do to put things right and she showed no concern for how you might be feeling.

This is not the sort of letter that can ever mend a relationship. It can only break it further. The toxic person that sends such a letter, is only aware of their own feelings and couldn't care less about the others feelings, it therefore reads like a kind of hate filled rant.

My own mother did exactly the same. The letter she sent me was full of insults, put downs, shaming and guilt, even though the episode that had provoked this was all of her own making. She also said that it was quite impossible for her to see anything from my point of view.....which I took as a immediate self diagnosis of toxic narcissism  :bigwink:

These kinds of letters speak for themselves. They tell you that the writer doesn't care about you and is trying to bully and manipulate you, to maintain contact.....at your expense.

I never responded to my own mothers letter and went NC.  That was about five years ago. I put the letter away for a very long time until I was sure I could read it without shaking and read it critically and see all the manipulation and nastiness for what it was.

Take as much time as you want before you make any decisions. Focus on those who love you and the ones you truly love.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who fill your cup, and those who drain it. —Joe Navarro

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bohemian butterfly

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2018, 03:13:55 PM »

This is not the sort of letter that can ever mend a relationship. It can only break it further. The toxic person that sends such a letter, is only aware of their own feelings and couldn't care less about the others feelings, it therefore reads like a kind of hate filled rant.

^^this^^    I call it a "tit for tat"    She felt hurt/angry/attacked so she retaliated.  Her words were meant to "restore the balance" a sort of childish "she hurt me, I'll hurt her!" (even though that was not your intention at all!!!)

I received a 2 page letter (from my mother) in response to a text message exchange I had with her (in which I requested some space).   She had asked me (via text) what was "up with me".   I said that I wanted to individuate and just "be" 

With the exception of the first line, which went something like, "I'm sorry that you think that I'm being controlling.........." there was no acknowledgement to my feelings/thoughts.  All 2 pages were about her and her feelings.  A "defense" per se.   The ole' I did the best I could, child rearing doesn't come with a manual, I've supported you through good times and bad, your family loves and misses you terribly   It's like she had to have the last word.

I brought the letter to a therapy session and read it aloud to my counselor.  My therapist just shook her head and asked if I wanted her to get rid of it.  I gladly handed it over to her.

You are not alone and I'm sorry, just so sorry.  I get it, I really do.  Sending you hugs.




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daughterofbpd

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2018, 04:43:19 PM »
Welcome Dreamscapes!
I’m sorry you are dealing with all of this. I think you’ve done great so far. Actually, I am really impressed with how you’ve handled this, especially considering you are relatively new to this forum and you haven’t mentioned if you’ve had therapy, etc.

My thoughts on her letter:

(1)   She doesn’t like that you had anything negative to say about her. Did she forget that she badgered you into an answer?
(2)   “we can't tell you anything” This is my mom’s line! As an adult, you get to choose if you want to listen to constant criticism and put downs. You don’t have an obligation to listen. You have the option of opting out! As children, we didn’t have this option but now we do. This is just a line they use as an excuse to say whatever hurtful things they want.
(3)   Typically of a PD letter, she doesn’t apologize or address any of her behaviors. She uses DARVO to change the conversation, making herself the victim.
(4)   The classic “you are going to regret this!” threat. Arg! The thing is, she was still getting contact from you previously. It may not have been the level of contact she wanted but it was something. Now she’s gone and burnt bridges and is forcing you into NC as there is no proper response to her letter. This was her choice.
(5)   “You always do what you want, no concessions, that's not being an adult” My parents trained me to believe this too but it isn’t true! As an adult, you DO get to do whatever you want. YOU get to make choices for yourself. You don’t have any obligation to do whatever your parents tell you that you have to do. You have to live with the consequence of your actions, but that’s about it. If the consequence of less time with your mother is more peace in your life than that seems okay to me. BTW, this works both ways! She refuses to consider your feelings before she speaks aka she does whatever she wants. Now SHE must live with the consequences, which is you going LC.

IMO, I would probably go NC either until she apologizes (probably unlikely) or until she drops this conversation and starts being decent again (if and when you felt okay about doing that without an apology). That is for you to decide. There’s no other way to continue this conversation. She wants you to admit fault and come crawling back to her and stop asking her to treat you like a decent human being. You don’t have to stand for that anymore.

Good luck with everything. If you choose NC and it seems too scary, remember that NC doesn’t have to be permanent. You can view it as a time out if that helps. Take care!
 :bighug:
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
~ Amanda Torroni

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VividImagination

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2018, 09:32:38 PM »
Welcome, Dreamscapes.

Thanks for clarifying that the letter was translated/paraphrased, since we can't post verbatim emails/texts/letters on the forum for privacy reasons.

The line that stood out to me was - You want to be considered an adult. Uh, well, yeah. That's a given for everyone on the planet except your mother, apparently. It's like she believes you need her permission to act like an adult.

She has thrown every PD tactic in the book at you. I would ask myself this - if this was a friend, associate, neighbor or in-law, would you allow yourself to be treated like this or would you drop her immediately?
There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you cannot accept it, change it. I f you cannot change it, leave it.

Sometimes you're damned if you don't and damned if you do, so damn well do what's best for you.

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Dreamscapes

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2018, 06:41:50 AM »
Thank you all, thank you so much for your replies. Your understanding and validation mean so much to me !
Thank you !

I will reply to each of you as soon as possible. I read each message several times, and although I'm a bit busy today to post my replies quickly, I wanted to come to thank you all for taking the time to post on this thread.

I'm really sorry that the email transcript was triggering to some of you, and that I forgot the privacy issue when I posted it. The email  is indeed translated and edited. My mother has a specific and stereotyped way of expressing herself and it was impossible to render the text word for word.
If it's better that I edit the original post and write a summary of her email, please let me know.
I was a bit confused and shocked yesterday, and the urge to tell what just happened made me forget to be more careful about my post. I'll be more cautious with the forums rules and the triggering effect now.  :-[

I have been on a grieving process since 2012/2013 concerning my mother, it was painful, I sometimes regressed in the toxic patterns but I kept going.
Her last visit was so horrible that something broke inside me and the last ties were gone.
I went through a very hard part of grieving during fall/early winter but I read very helpful books and found the OOTF site and forums. It helped and still helps a lot, and I keep educating myself about personality disorders and how to deal with PD parents (and also how to heal after the abuse).

This is the first time I found enough inner strength to go LC and then confronting her, and the first time I put my well-being before her comfort and well-being as well.
Post partum depression was so hurtful (and meaningful about my own story) that I reached a point where I had to take action to get better overall, or I would just get lost forever. And I couldn't stand the thought of failing my son.

I have been thinking about going NC since her last visit (and way before but this thought was taboo), but I didn't know how to do it, and I was afraid of the consequences.
Now that she's attacking me, I have a good reason to take the big break I have been needing for so long.

I'll be back later and I'll be more specific about my story. I'll be very glad to reply to your insightful comments too.

Thank you again ! 


 

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VividImagination

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2018, 09:19:12 AM »
You're perfectly fine.  As I said,  as long as it isn't a word for word copy and is paraphrased it's fine. You'd be surprised how many people Google their own words to see if they've been posted online by the recipient,  and it would lead them right here to our safe place.  :)

I'm glad OOTF has been a good support for you. NC is not an easy decision  but in your case seems perfectly justifiable.
There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you cannot accept it, change it. I f you cannot change it, leave it.

Sometimes you're damned if you don't and damned if you do, so damn well do what's best for you.

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Dreamscapes

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2018, 10:10:37 AM »
Right now, I feel relieved and with some sort of nervous laughter...
I keep asking myself "is it true ? Am I now free from this hell ? Has NC time come ?"


This reaction is telling you what you need to know.
Remember nothing is set in stone, but if NC feels right for you now, and I can certainly see why then there is nothing wrong with doing that. She is indeed acting unrelentingly toxic with zero ability to self reflect and try to change anything.

'selfish and immature'-   :aaauuugh:it's like they literally use the same script. What she means is 'you aren't doing what I want any more and challenging me'.

I don't want to disrupt your life and I won't bother you anymore.
Take her words at face value...ok then, great!

Yes, NC feels right for the moment. I don't know what the future holds for me but right now, I just know that I'm done.

When I received her email, her "selfish and immature" sentence was so cliché I couldn't believe what I was reading. And she told me that so many times since my childhood that it became like a (bad) running gag for me.

By telling me "I won't bother you anymore", she also implies she could die because of my behavior ("If you do that, I'll kill myself" kind of innuendo). She already made disguised suicide threats in the past.


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Dreamscapes

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2018, 10:28:02 AM »
I'm also worried, I'm afraid of what she's capable of to get revenge.

It is said that once they realize you mean business and NC is real and permanent, then extinction bursts come. They are in their worse behavior, their absolute worse try to make us submit. I am not going to get that because my PD parents are not in the verbally abusive side, but in the neglecting and ignoring side. It would not be bad to prepare for that, talk to your FOC and friends to prepare them if they are within reach, via phone or social media. I think your son is a baby, right? If this is not the case, take precautions with the school for them not to share information about him with anybody but you. Make sure everything you share is limited. Don't give her or allow her to have tools to hurt you. She can't go beyond that (and if she does, use the police if needed).

She is your mother, but she does not have now any power over you. I've been in that place where I am so afraid to tell her no or that she's nor right or that I don't think like she does. But you know what? She does not have power over me now. Easier said than done, I don't think I can tell her this, but I am far away, she does not have keys to my home (I don't think she even has my address), she can't come and enter and order me around as she did in the past. I can close my door and be safe from her (and uNPD dad). That is all that matters.

:bighug:

Thank you so much LightOrb !

I definitely see what you mean about the extinction bursts, and that's what is worrying me right now.
It is also possible that she'll be back soon like nothing happened, asking for plain news.
After her rage episodes, she always comes back like nothing happened. She also never apologized for her behavior. She does this with my grandmother (her mother) too.

She knows my address, my in-laws address and phone numbers, my husband's email address and his phone number too, and the thing I fear the most is a smear campaign. She can be very embarrassing and loves drama.
I'm not close enough to my in-laws to tell them what is going on, but my husband will speak to them soon about this issue.
My son is a baby/toddler indeed, I'm a SAH mom so there is no daycare that could disclose information about him and I told my husband not to reply to emails and to return phone calls.

I don't know your story but I'm glad you're safe from your toxic parents and I hope you're on your way to healing.

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Dreamscapes

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2018, 10:42:17 AM »
Dreamscapes,

Welcome to the forum!  I read the letter from your mother and wanted to respond because we are in similar situations and I received a similar letter (several months ago).  Here are my thoughts....  I've written my thoughts in a different color (I hope that I do this right and you can see my responses)

"Hello daughter,      I find it interesting that she didn't use your name, "daughter" (to me) feels like ownership, or putting you in your place

Hope you're well !

I have to anwer anyway because I have a lot of things to get off my chest and I think I received very much blame and criticism for a very long time, even instead of your father.  blaming/passing the buck/no accountability.
  "I have to answer anyway" total disregard of your request.  Will do as she pleases


You want to be considered an adult, OK, but we can't tell you anything. Life is short, I realized this at a young age, I was your age and I don't want to waste my life in a navel-gazing way or torturing my mind ! Or making my relatives paying or taking the burden ! For what purpose ??

My visit was negative ? It's always a pleasure being thanked ! Fortunately your father doesn't see what you do !!!  defensive.  sarcastic. guilt inducing

You're selfish and immature and still full of certainty...   name calling

I don't want to disrupt your life and I won't bother you anymore.  threats/punishment for "disobeying" and daring to express

You want to take my grandson away from me, if it pleases you... Age will help you understand, regrets can carry a heavier price than remorse... But sometimes it's irreparable and you have to deal with it !     threat of future abandonment, shame

You have a new family and you don't care about us ! You always do what you want, no concessions, that's not being an adult...!!!     jealousy.  Guilt inducing

Have a nice day !"
     sarcastic.



I found that letter slightly triggering (not your fault) because it was eerily familiar (something my mother would have said).  There was no validation of your feelings.  She didn't even question what she did to hurt you and/or ask how she could make amends.  She was totally defensive and tried to blame you and your father.  It made me mad (for you) because you are right, it did feel toxic and icky. 

You are doing great and I'm so glad that you posted.

Thank you bohemian butterfly !
I'm sorry this email was triggering to you  :-[

I read the same things that you did in her message ! Threats, sarcasm, guilt +++, shame +++ were a great part of my upbringing and her message is like her overall behavior concentrated in a few sentences.
A few months or years ago, it would have hurt a lot. I probably would have apologized (and not sending an email with strong statements in the first place).
Now that I'm learning to self-soothe and to parent myself (it's still a work in progress), I don't have negative feelings about myself, no shame, no guilt. I'm just afraid of what she is capable of to harm me.

I'm so sorry you had/have to deal with this kind of mother too. I know too well how hurtful and impairing it is. But we survived them and we deserve to have the best life possible. I wish you the best bohemian butterfly.

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moglow

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2018, 10:43:28 AM »
Not once did she ask for specifics, or "I know you don't want to talk about this but I truly want to understand so we can work on things..." Throwing what to me are more put downs and "you're such a child" comments to brush your concerns aside - when she wasn't making counter accusations and casting blame elsewhere. Sounds a lot like my mother, unfortunately. Far be it for mother to accept her part in anything unless she can come out looking the victim and the other person a big ole bully.

I'm sorry she responded to you at all, if that's how it had to be. Better to have just respected your wishes, but no. Now you have her scattered reasoning emblazoned on your mind. Tuck that away somewhere so you don't have to keep seeing it, but when you doubt yourself and your decision to step away, reread it. Sometimes it helps me to have a reference point, a little reassurance that I've not completely lost my mind.

"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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daughter

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2018, 11:01:34 AM »
Your email summarizes the same push-back I'd get from NBM, who could be incredibly unpleasant, blatantly disfavoring, and outright cruel, and yet expected, demanded, a gigantic "get out of jail free" impunity to do so.  I tried, for decades, to "take it" without internalizing it, but that's of course an impossible task.  All that negativity, all that harsh treatment, it all settles in, and my self-worth took a significant hit.  Not only was I victimized by my NBM, as her primary SG and blatantly disfavored daughter, but that same absence of self-protection hampered me at work and in personal relationships elsewhere.  I seemed to be the "useful" hard-working, self-effacing, ever-reliable gal-pal, who could shoulder a tremendous amount of responsibility, absorb petty injustices, and needed just an occasional pat on the head.  Thank you, Mom.

So my advice: this is the Hard Truth, this is how/who your mother is, so act accordingly, but address your OWN needs, and your own FOC Family's needs, before considering any of your mother's expectations and demands.  She's an unpleasant critical person.  She's not going to change, will never be attuned to your needs or how she actually interacts with you, and likely will always function on basis of "I can say and do whatever I want; you owe me because I'm your mother".  I'd print-out the email, keep it on-hand, and operate from a self-protective manner hereon.  If you had an abusive spouse, most people would counsel you to leave the relationship, seek a divorce, build a new separate life from that spouse.  Here's the thing: parents don't have more "rights" to be abusive.  Emotional abuse is as toxic as physical abuse; there's ZERO OBLIGATION for you to continue to "just take it".  In fact, there's much reason to simply disengage, and maintain a "weddings and holidays" approach to your mother, greeting cards, yes, but face-to-face encounters limited to major milestone life-events. 

This email is like an unintended "gift" - it can liberate you from further devotion to a an empty relationship with a cruel self-absorbed mother.

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Dreamscapes

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2018, 11:11:40 AM »
I agree with Bohemian Butterfly. I too found this letter eerily similar to a faux apology letter my own toxic mother sent me a few years ago. When I read your letter, I did the same as Bohemian Butterfly did. I categorised each paragraph and sentence in terms of whether they were trying to induce guilt or shame, or whether they were an insult or a put down etc. I also made a note of what wasn't there. She made no attempt to ask you what she could do to put things right and she showed no concern for how you might be feeling.

This is not the sort of letter that can ever mend a relationship. It can only break it further. The toxic person that sends such a letter, is only aware of their own feelings and couldn't care less about the others feelings, it therefore reads like a kind of hate filled rant.

My own mother did exactly the same. The letter she sent me was full of insults, put downs, shaming and guilt, even though the episode that had provoked this was all of her own making. She also said that it was quite impossible for her to see anything from my point of view.....which I took as a immediate self diagnosis of toxic narcissism  :bigwink:

These kinds of letters speak for themselves. They tell you that the writer doesn't care about you and is trying to bully and manipulate you, to maintain contact.....at your expense.

I never responded to my own mothers letter and went NC.  That was about five years ago. I put the letter away for a very long time until I was sure I could read it without shaking and read it critically and see all the manipulation and nastiness for what it was.

Take as much time as you want before you make any decisions. Focus on those who love you and the ones you truly love.

Hi MyEyesROpen, and thank you for your insight and for sharing your experience.
I'm always sad when I read people dealing with toxic parents, but it's relieving to know that we're not alone, that other people went through this and that it's possible to live an abuse-free life, and even to thrive.
I lived in isolation with my mother for years and I thought everything was normal. Our family is ruled by secrecy and I didn't dare to tell anyone about what I was living at home. The first real conversations about it were with my husband a few years ago.
I thought I was the problem. When your parents tell you you're bad and trash, you believe it. My mother can be so hateful and despising that for a very long time, I thought I was a very bad and unlovable person.
When I began to face the truth, that the problem wasn't me but her, my first reflex was to understand her, to try to fix her problems, to please her more and so on. I didn't focus on my feelings and healing and I had a lot of bad coping habits to relieve the pressure and to bury my emotions.
I have been hurting myself for so long, just to avoid hurting her. We have been trained to behave that way.
Indeed, these kind of rants/messages show us how deep our feelings are denied (+ emotional blackmail).

I would like to tell anyone reading this that the most important thing is to take care of yourself and to put your needs and emotional balance first. This is what helped me after years of abuse. It is hard because we don't value ourselves enough after the abuse, but every hurt person deserves this.

For now, NC feels right because I value myself enough to dismiss the toxicity I was subject to for so long. It feels like an entire year passed since yesterday and deep things are unfolding, it's a very strange feeling.

I'm glad you found the strength to do it too and to put your well-being first ! Wish you the best !

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Dreamscapes

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2018, 11:19:20 AM »
I can't stay anymore, but I read your messages moglow and daughter, thank you so much !
I'll be back tomorrow to post my next replies.

I know I sound like a broken record, but really, thank you to all of you, it is so helpful to be read and validated !

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LightOrb

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Re: Toxic email from toxic mother
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2018, 11:41:32 AM »
She knows my address, my in-laws address and phone numbers, my husband's email address and his phone number too, and the thing I fear the most is a smear campaign. She can be very embarrassing and loves drama.

In that case, warn your FOC about it, and get your husband's help. It's not a big consolation, but get some comfort from the fact that for many of this histrionic people, others know they are being dramatic for no purpose. When they do a  'show' people know they are not 'right in the head'. The more they go this way, the more people realize who is not right. And at the end, if they believe your mom when she invents all horrible stories about you, knowing you, perhaps they are not the right people for you.

:bighug: