The Birthday Card after NC for six months!

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sarandro

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The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« on: October 15, 2019, 08:18:58 AM »
Hi Everyone,
I'm back  here for some advice and understanding...after going NC with my toxic Mother for 6 months.
I haven't been in contact with my FOO since my Dad's funeral in April. It was a terrible time and some things that she said and did made it clear to me that in order to protect myself, I would have to stay away. (see other posts)

I have been in therapy for the last few months and enjoyed that sense of growing calm that comes when you start take care of yourself properly...mentally and physically....but....

Yesterday was my birthday and I received a card from my Mother, instead of the usual small cheque and good wishes, inside was a long message about how I am hurting them all by staying away.
How she wants me to 'make peace' with my brother as he hasn't done anything wrong and that because I am staying away, I am the one who is not allowing her to heal our relationship, to make amends.

Basically it was a message designed to pile on the guilt, make out that she is a victim again of my selfishness....why am I doing this to her? Telling me again about my obligations and what a terrible daughter I am/have been.
If I am such a disappointment...why would she want me around?

It was very telling that she did not send a cheque.
She has always associated money with love...I am the opposite...I haven't a bean to my name...not bothered about money...my family get by OK.
So in her mind, she is punishing me in the only way she knows how....by withholding love (in the form of birthday money) to teach me a lesson!
I don't care about money that way, I never have, but it is so important to her.

What I want to ask you all is....

Do I respond?
Do I try to explain that I went NC in order to protect myself?

That it is not about hurting her...there is no grudge here, only a stepping away from the things that hurt me.

I have written a letter, just for me, to work out what to say, but I can't send it....she would not understand.

I had a nightmare last night...the first for many months, in which I was in a cafe/concert hall and Mother and her friends were at a table pointing at me and telling each other and the audience what a terrible person I was to hurt my Mother in this way.

I feel that this message and the subsequent nightmare has put me back to square one.
I don't wish any of my FOO any harm and honestly think it is better for them as well if I am not around them.

Thanks for reading if you have got this farXX

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2019, 09:52:30 AM »
I donít believe for one second that your mother would use a second chance to ďheal your relationship and make amends.Ē Her entire message was to blame and shame you, take zero responsibility, give you a big steaming pile of emotional blackmail about your poor innocent brother, and punish you in every way she could in one card. Deliberately calculated to ruin your birthday, no less.  :sadno:

Please, take the letter to therapy, write back all the unsent letters you need to, and take good care of yourself. But please donít send anything back to your mother. And you donít need to read anything else that comes from her! Sheís showing you she wants exactly the status quo that drove you away in the first place, and nothing else will do. :sharkbait:

I received a few similar screeds early in NC. In my case I intended the break to be temporary and they knew that. But they couldnít accept any kind of boundary. That kind of BS dug the hole of our relationship further and further and now there is no chance of reconciliation. It used to put me into a similar tailspin of emotion, nightmares. It still does affect me when contact attempts pop up but itís more manageable now. Itís totally normal to be affected by these things, but over time you will learn how to deal with these triggers. Have you discovered emotional flashbacks yet? Pete Walkerís book ďSurviving to ThrivingĒ has a step by step guide to getting through an emotional flashback that I refer to every time I get triggered. It helps so much. You are reacting perfectly normally, but you donít deserve to stay stuck in this panicky feeling of your inner child. Youíre an adult making good decisions and youíve got this!

Another idea that helped me a great deal during that time was every time mom and dad did not respect my wish for space, they were showing me how right I was to claim it. They had no respect or care for me, just their own wants and ideas of how *I* should act and what they are entitled to receive. Piles of expectations for my behavior, none for theirs. My needs registered not at all. That is unacceptable, but itís also the only arrangement they will accept. Sounds like you mother is exactly the same. F that 💩.

I hope you spoil yourself for your birthday, process this, and come out stronger and more confident in your decision. :bighug:

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Starboard Song

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2019, 09:55:47 AM »
 :bighug:

Take a deep breath! This is hard, but you are going to be ok.

We are 4 years NC, and we reliably get a card mailed to our DS17 every month, but nothing to us in a very long time. So I share you predicament. And I share your feelings of guilt and hopelessness, the grief inside, over the the loss, and -- yet -- the certainty that this is the only way forward.

The problem is that she is viewing NC as temporary: we none of us are villains in our own stories, and she cannot imagine that maybe you are done forever. The objects of our NC decisions, I suspect, think we are punishing them. My own in-laws call me mean and vindictive over and over again. I stopped touching hot stoves as a toddler, when I got burned on the hand. If my father-in-law had been there, I expect he'd have sided with the stove, and called me a vindictive little monster.

Anyway, people go NC in different ways. If you harbor hopes of reconciliation and redemption for her, then very limited and safe contact could be appropriate, checking in on a test case: "mom, do you now belief that x behavior was hurtful?" This type of exploration wouldn't be unreasonable. And if you went NC with no comment, I do think a letter of finality is appropriate, exactly like what you said. Explaining that you do not mean to punish or hurt, but only to protect yourself from further hurt. That this is not a grudge. Keep it short and simple, but letting her know it is time for her to move on with a clear heart.

But this is the problem, and the reason I have not sent my stack of three different painfully detailed letters to my in-laws, or any of the dozens of drafts before that: we left them with finality; we did explain exactly why in kind terms that could be processed even by a uBPD; they have never written or said anything that suggested awareness or transformatonal change; and -- and this is so important -- I do not want to replace the peace of NC with the stress of a demented penpal.

(I use "demented" literally, here, not as name calling)

If you respond to that card, you will absolutely open the door to more communications, more mixed up stories of why you are NC. If you give any single example of the things that pushed you away, they may fix on that as if it were the only thing wrong. If you are enjoying the peace of NC. If you have thought it through and have accepted that life without them is your new reality -- and forever. If you don't fear increasing collateral costs over time, because you've made a clean break and have a FOC. Then keep your response to yourself, I'd suggest. You need not explain yourself further.

You are full of love and kindness for so many people, and the right thing for the world is that which preserves your ability to continue to thrive. Even reading that card was a breach in NC, you trying to give her a little chance, sort of. You are decent and kind, and needn't feel guilt. We all are called upon to do hard things, and NC was one of them for you.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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all4peace

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2019, 10:22:58 AM »
I'm so sorry you had this unwelcome intrusion. You already got good responses, but I'll just address the part where you feel like you're back to square one.

It feels terrible to be back to doubting ourselves, feeling anxious and having nightmares. But you aren't back at square one. It's just a bump in the road, an upset, but not a total return to square one. From what I read about others' journeys and from what I've experienced in my own, we can expect this kind of upset with regularity. I do believe it matters quite a lot how we look at it, and thinking we're back to the beginning is just too defeating and also not true.

Hang in there. Work on self-care, and thank you for connecting here so we could share in this with you!

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sarandro

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2019, 10:57:18 AM »
Hi, All, thanks for your replies...
Call Me Cordelia, you are so right, today, I have thought long and hard about why I opened the blasted card in the first place!!!
My DH wondered why I would put myself through it all again.

I think that there must still be some ethereal residue inside me that still hopes against hope for things to be different, but NC has been so calming lately....and now this.
I KNOW that is why I feel so bad and have nightmares...I feel sometimes that I am the one in the wrong by distancing myself.
I have a lot of quite bad health issues and often wish that I could have the support/sympathy of my FOO
(me full of self pity, perhaps)...little girl needing my Mum?
My birthday yesterday was spent at the hospital, finding out I need long term care for something new...then this card.

You are right, she has deliberately set out to spoil my day...make it about her...make me feel ashamed...make a point about withholding love/money.

Starboard Song...I explained my boundaries to my Brother (who I love dearly) before my Dad died. I asked him to respect my decision and not to talk to Mum about me or my health issues. He is stronger than me and has said he can 'handle' Mum himself, but this message leaves me thinking that he might feel I have abandoned him and has misconstrued what I meant by NC.
I don't feel that I can contact him to re-explain my thinking behind this NC as he will tell it all to Mum to make her feel better. (ie I am mental, so it;s all in my head)
He says in an e mail a few weeks ago, that he hoped I was 'seeing light at the end of the tunnel'...meaning when am I going to stop this behaviour and get back to normal.
I realised that although he says he understands, he really doesn't.
I hate that he feels put upon, but I am not able to go back to how it was before.

I have had so many depressive episodes over the years because of my dysfunctional family and been labelled 'the Crazy One'
Dad had mental issues (he was psychotic) and Mum says I have caught the madness from him.

I have the impression that she tells her friends that my 'madness' is the reason I am NC, after all, she has done nothing wrong!

I am grateful  for your help and understanding...what to do next??

Do nothing?...NC prevails
Send the card back....that's contact!...A reaction is what she wants
Send the dreaded NC letter in a (vain) attempt at getting them to understand, one last time?
Send a message to my Brother in confidence, telling him about my health issues and asking for ....what do I want from him, I wonder?

I am not strong enough to deal with any of this face to face (my practical Husband's idea...he and his Mum can't fathom how my own relationship with my Mum is so very bad)
He thinks that I should just face it once and for all...

This is the scenario I dread the most...the face to face thing...I know I will be shamed/blamed reminded of how selfish I am to do this to my loving, elderly Mum.
The idea of mentioning my health issues horrifies me, because she has always used her health as an excuse for her behaviours.

It will be like 'Oh Sarandro has been ill all this time...that's why the NC'
A much better explanation for her to justify my actions/inactions to herself and her friends?

Still in a quandary about why I feel so bad today.
I will try to see my therapist, I think and I will show her the card.
Love to you all XX

all4peace...thank you for that...back to square one is not quite right, is it? It's more like a bump in the road, as you say...I have grown this last few months, so I can't go back to the beginning...this is not a game and I have started to see that my Mum thinks it is.
If I don't get sucked back in ...I will be OK...but it is so hard not to want to JADE in response.
You have made me feel a little better...thank youxx

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Blueberry Pancakes

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2019, 12:50:18 PM »
First of all happy birthday.  I want to mention that I believe our first responsibility is to ourselves to do what is needed for us to be healthy emotionally, mentally and physically. I am sorry you got that card and no wonder you are feeling a bit off.  That is beyond triggering. Take a deep cleansing breath and let the bad stuff drift away.       
As for how you respond? Listen to how your heart is guiding you.  Will it bring you peace to do so, or will it drag you into dynamics that you wisely walked away from?  Just because your FOO sends you a message is no reason you need to respond.  I have found it never brought about a mutual understanding that I was seeking. I was a big JADE'er.  It never worked.  You do not owe anyone an explanation and you do not need approval to take of yourself.       
You aren't alone. Families do this.  I just got an email from my dad yesterday pleading for me to make amends to my NPD sister because my mom's health is "iffy" and she would love nothing more than to see us all unite before she dies. Geez, talk about laying on the guilt, blame, and shame.  I did not respond to it.
Take care of you. You matter. 
   
   

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GettingOOTF

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2019, 01:29:16 PM »
This is similar to my siblings reaching out to me. Iíve been NC with them for two years and recently went NC with my father which triggered something in them.

I realized that their attempts at contact werenít to be part of my life but instead to get me to be part of their lives. There is a big difference there. Nothing had changed and instead of genuinely reaching out they were once again attacking me and trying to get me to do what they want. It was all about them.

I felt the same reading your post. Your mother could have written at any point. Itís awful that she chose your birthday to attack you. The fact that she did it in a card makes it even worse. Iím sorry you received such a card and that your special day is taken up with thoughts of her.

I ignored my siblings attempts. I did post here about whether I should explain but reading the responses and sitting on it o decided that staying silent would be the most effective and helpful to me.

Nothing you have written sounds like your mother has changed. It all sounds like sheís trying to force you to do what she wants. Did she often make your achievements and special days about her?

I hope you are able to have a nice birthday.

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sarandro

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2019, 01:39:25 PM »
Thank you, BlueberryPancake...
I have decided to redo my birthday next week and forget about yesterday!

All this hooha is, I imagine, my Mum's attempt to get things 'back to normal'

Things for me can never be that with my FOO, I have done too much work on my own emotions, my reactions to my FOO and how to learn to care for myself at long last.
All that deep soul searching would be wasted if I went back.

They don't see anything wrong with things as they were..that is the main reason I had to go NC in the first place.
It has always been me who has compromised my boundaries in order to find a reconciliation when things got bad...
Mum's feelings have always had to come first, often to the detriment of the rest of the family.
I am a bad person for making her feel stuff.
My brother the good one for doing everything for her...he's an enabler though. ( I wish he knew how manipulative she is)
My younger sister (who lives down South) is my Mum's GC (she has a partner, no kids)...never any mention of her.

The three of them have had that weird triangulation thing going...only talking to each other through Mum.
You know that feeling when they stop talking when you enter the room?? You find out later that your Mum has told your siblings that
'I don't know what is wrong with your sister....after all I've done....she has a cold heart...blah...blah

I have had to close off a little of my heart in order to protect myself.
This card has left me feeling like my heart is made of stone today.

I can't keep on caring for people who say they care for me and then do nothing.

When a person has been hurt by something someone says or does, knowing that it caused hurt and then denying it ever happened is crazy making.
I try never to say or do things that hurt other people...if I ever have, then I would accept the responsibility for their pain and try to rectify it.

I can't do what I would normally do....go and see her and smooth everything over again.

It would be like putting fancy wallpaper on a damaged wall without fixing it first!!!!
It would look good for a day or two, then fall down...unless the wall is sound, no amount of fancy wallpaper will last for long!!

PS My Dad was like yours...coming round to my house to get me to make Mum feel better when she gave me the Silent Treat

Quoth the Raven...Never More!!!

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illogical

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2019, 10:08:39 AM »
...I have had to close off a little of my heart in order to protect myself.
This card has left me feeling like my heart is made of stone today.

I totally get how you feel, but maybe reframe the above to--

"I have had to close off a little of my heart in order to protect myself.  I have reached inside myself and found the strength and courage to reclaim my life.  I owe it to myself to do what is best for me, because I am the only one who can live my life.  I have enough knowledge about personality disorders to be able to sort out all the lies and drama that are swirling around me, trying to lure me back into the dysfunctional drama.  I know that trying to "reason" with the PDs in my life is a futile concern.  I owe it to myself to take care of me, to not waste any more of my energy on trying the "fix" the "unfixable".   I don't need to defend my decisions to others, as they haven't walked in my shoes.  So I will take action to better my life and continue moving forward, one step at a time."

:hug:
"Applying logic to potentially illogical behaviour is to construct a house on shifting foundations.  The structure will inevitably collapse."

__Stewart Stafford

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sarandro

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2019, 10:51:41 AM »
Thanks, Illogical, that is a much better way of describing my feelings.

How awful it would be if I let the FOO turn my heart to stone!
Yesterday, it seemed that I was punishing myself for being the classic 'bad daughter for going NC.

There is still that residue of blooming guilt that if only I could give them all another chance, things would be OK again...
but they were never OK, were they? Neither was I...so NC stays.
Illogical, I have been lucky enough to find this forum and tried to educate myself about PD's...realising that the way I was brought up and the way I was when younger was mirroring her behaviour...being self centred etc...
Now I am able to step away from it all and I DO feel better about myself, BUT
Mother knows I am a kindhearted soul, who would normally make things right by compromising my boundaries.
I know I have grown, I know I'm not a terrible person.
I can't go back to the same old scenario.

She has always said that I am so very like her, which horrifies me...yes, we have some similar traits, like doing crosswords, painting etc. and people say we look alike...(UGH)  but the fundamental difference is that ..all my adult life I have done the opposite of what she has done.
I have unconditional love for my kids..always encourage them..I am generous and kind (even to strangers!)

I have always put others before myself, this is why I'm in a quandary...because I am focusing on my own well being...does this make me selfish??

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illogical

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2019, 12:04:41 PM »
No, you are not selfish because you put yourself first.  You have that responsibility, to live your life because, as I said above, you are the ONLY ONE who can do that.

It's hard for ACONs (Adult Children of Narcissists) to realize that they matter.  We have been groomed (or brainwashed) into putting others' needs before ours-- specifically the needs of our PD parents.  We didn't have a childhood, not really, because we were forced into assuming the parental role-- i.e., through parentification-- from an early age, where we took up the cross for our parents.  We were meant to take on and deal with all the uncomfortable emotions of our parents.  We were their dumping ground.  As such, we weren't allowed to ever be children.  But out of that, I think, came a self-reliance that we can now turn to in times of stress.  Sure, they weren't there for us, but WE WERE THERE FOR US.

There are two kinds of guilt-- warranted and unwarranted.  Guilt is warranted if we deserve it, i.e., if we have done something wrong.  Our conscience will tell us if we deserve it.  Unwarranted guilt is guilt that has no basis.  It's the result of our PD parents scapegoating us.  Telling us over and over and over that WE are the problem.  There is no reason to feel this guilt, outside of our PD parents trying to blame us for everything that is wrong in their life, because they refuse to accept blame for anything.

So when I am confronted with unwarranted guilt, I try to step back and remind myself of the source of that guilt.  It's not true guilt, it's false.  It's difficult to get rid of those "parental voices" that over and over repeat the same message-- We can do no right, only wrong.  But as we emotionally detach from our parents, we also detach from that type of guilt and realize it really is not our burden.

"Applying logic to potentially illogical behaviour is to construct a house on shifting foundations.  The structure will inevitably collapse."

__Stewart Stafford

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sarandro

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2019, 12:37:50 PM »
Illogical...yes, you're right,
I think the pain of guilt is the same, but the difference is with 'warranted guilt, we have the power to do something about it. 'Unwarranted guilt' leaves us in emotional limbo, unable to respond without JADEing and therefore appearing as the weak one who has to try to smooth things over.

I'm so grateful for your insights into this...

That stupid card...opened up my 'Mother Wound' once again

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Riggo199

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2019, 04:44:54 PM »
Hi--

My parents do the same darn thing (play games with money).  I have been NC for 5 YEARS with my Mom and she still sends me bday cards w/her stupid comments.  The 1st year it was "even though you don't talk to me, I want you to know that I think about you every day".  UGH.  That upset me for weeks.  Then the next few years, I simply threw the card away.  This year I read the sappy card and she wrote, "I wish you would stop shutting me out of your life".  Well, THAT triggered me big-time for weeks.  Now, I realize....DUH, just stop reading....it will never change.  My Dad sends me bday cards with $20-$40.  I never read them...just take the $$ and give it to my sons or spend it quickly (feels dirty).  I am saying this bc the cards may not stop coming....as they are desperate people.  If you can, try NOT to read them.  The only reason I read them was bc I was looking for an apology.  Not. Going. To. Happen.

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sarandro

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2019, 05:33:58 PM »
Hi Riggo199, Thanks,
Yes I think I was looking for a positive message....more fool me!!

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2019, 06:44:05 PM »
Happy birthday!   :cake:   :drinks:

I'd say absolutely nothing to your mother and let your NC speak volumes - and I'd definitely show the card to your T.  :yes:

I wouldn't say anything to your brother unless *you specifically have something to say to him that isn't mom-related.*

Like...you want to talk to him about stuff, things, life, the universe, the kids, etc.  :)

If, during that conversation, he brings up your mom, just say something about having too much going on with your own life right now, and you don't want to discuss it.  :ninja:

If he won't let it go - end the call.  Hang up.  You don't have to sit there and listen to his version of reality, where  you just have to get back in your little scapegoat box and take the pressure off him.  :aaauuugh:

He can also put up boundaries  and limits, but if he chooses not to, that's his *choice* - and is NOT a reflection on how you should or ought to behave.  :yes:

You have to do what's best for you, and if NC works, that's what works.  Stick to it.   :thumbup:

The next time you get a card, I'd suggest asking your DH to open and screen it for you -or save it and take it to T, and open it there.  8-)

If there's a check in the card - shred it.  You'll feel better.   :)

If there's cash, you don't have to acknowledge it if you're NC.  You're not being rude - you're being self-protective.   :yes:

Since your mom hasn't been able to accept she's a large part of the problem and insists on blaming and shaming you, there is NO relationship to be had.  If everything is one-sided (you do all the giving, and she does all the taking), that's not even a relationship.  That's somebody *using* you - and you don't need it, especially when you have your own precious health to think of, and your own life to live.

You come first in your life.  Your *health* matters.  YOU matter.   Put yourself first - and your mom  way, way, WAY on the back-burner, where she belongs.  :)

 :hug:

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2019, 07:53:48 PM »
I think that there must still be some ethereal residue inside me that still hopes against hope for things to be different, but NC has been so calming lately....and now this.
I KNOW that is why I feel so bad and have nightmares...I feel sometimes that I am the one in the wrong by distancing myself.
I have a lot of quite bad health issues and often wish that I could have the support/sympathy of my FOO
(me full of self pity, perhaps)...little girl needing my Mum?
My birthday yesterday was spent at the hospital, finding out I need long term care for something new...then this card.

You are right, she has deliberately set out to spoil my day...make it about her...make me feel ashamed...make a point about withholding love/money.

I explained my boundaries to my Brother (who I love dearly) before my Dad died. I asked him to respect my decision and not to talk to Mum about me or my health issues. He is stronger than me and has said he can 'handle' Mum himself, but this message leaves me thinking that he might feel I have abandoned him and has misconstrued what I meant by NC.
I don't feel that I can contact him to re-explain my thinking behind this NC as he will tell it all to Mum to make her feel better. (ie I am mental, so it;s all in my head)
He says in an e mail a few weeks ago, that he hoped I was 'seeing light at the end of the tunnel'...meaning when am I going to stop this behaviour and get back to normal.
I realised that although he says he understands, he really doesn't.
I hate that he feels put upon, but I am not able to go back to how it was before.

I have had so many depressive episodes over the years because of my dysfunctional family and been labelled 'the Crazy One'
Dad had mental issues (he was psychotic) and Mum says I have caught the madness from him.

I have the impression that she tells her friends that my 'madness' is the reason I am NC, after all, she has done nothing wrong!

I am not strong enough to deal with any of this face to face (my practical Husband's idea...he and his Mum can't fathom how my own relationship with my Mum is so very bad)
He thinks that I should just face it once and for all...

This is the scenario I dread the most...the face to face thing...I know I will be shamed/blamed reminded of how selfish I am to do this to my loving, elderly Mum.
The idea of mentioning my health issues horrifies me, because she has always used her health as an excuse for her behaviours.

It will be like 'Oh Sarandro has been ill all this time...that's why the NC'
A much better explanation for her to justify my actions/inactions to herself and her friends?

Still in a quandary about why I feel so bad today.
I will try to see my therapist, I think and I will show her the card.
Love to you all XX


I quoted the parts that were exactly the same in my experience. We say it all the time here but they really are all the same! I'm really sorry to hear about your health struggles. I went NC during a time of poor health for myself (now resolved) and the lack of caring or empathy during that very difficult time was the last straw. I also had "sympathetic" siblings in the beginning who thought themselves stronger than myself, only to lose patience because that's just the way Mom and Dad are and they're getting sick of them complaining. Much easier for them if I just got back in line. My needs were not actually important to them. In fact it was very inconvenient for THEM for me to have boundaries. Tough cookies, sister. You're strong enough to take it, right?

Your brother and my siblings are NOT the stronger ones! We are NOT weak for daring to buck the status quo. It's completely a cop-out to blame our poor health for what we needed to do. I got that too, I'm mentally unbalanced due to my health struggles. No. Not true. Just a comforting lie told by those who would rather deny reality than face it. And a nice little reversal called Projection. And THAT is weakness.

It is also not a weakness to be firm in your boundary rather than be manipulated into acting "strong enough" to have a face to face where you can have the pleasure of hearing the denial and abuse in person. You know their stance, you've given yours. There is nothing to say. It would just be a trap to give you more of the same blaming and shaming. It's self-respect not to put up with the treatment you know would be coming your way. It's not surprising your DH and MIL don't understand why you won't do that, since in normal relationships this is how things work. PDs know that much. But there is no "working things out" with people like our parents. There are only attacks. Reasonable people do not try to ruin their children's birthdays, slander and shame them any way they can think of regardless of any resemblance to reality, and then claim perfect innocence to any possible reason you might not wish to be their BFF. It would be like me responding to my preschooler's "You're a mean mommy!" with, "Well, you might not like that it's time for bed, but I'm in fact acting lovingly in your best interest. I'm even remaining calm while you're insulting me. It's not fair that you're calling me mean," and expecting that to turn off the tantrum. Logic and reason ain't going to work here. You just can't talk to an emotional child like an adult and get good results. You've probably tried that many many times.

And of course you feel awful. It feels awful to figure out just who your parents are, when you've believed some basic things like, you know, they love you. It rocks your world for quite some time.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 07:56:18 PM by Call Me Cordelia »

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gettingstronger1

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2019, 11:04:23 PM »
Quote from: sarando
inside was a long message about how I am hurting them all by staying away.

Sarando, I am so sorry your your mother is doing this to you.   :sad2:  It is very painful for you to have to deal with a mother who vilifies you.  One thing I do want to say is that you aren't hurting them by staying away.  What you are doing is setting a boundary and going NC.  As I said in a different post, setting boundaries or going NC is not abusive.  The only purpose of NC is to protect yourself from future abuse.  You are not trying to "hurt them" or abuse them.  Your only goal is to protect yourself by removing yourself from an abusive situation.  So again NC or setting boundaries is not abuse or hurtful behavior or punishment as PD people claim.  Now, does your mom feel some pain or loneliness as a result of her actions towards you.  Maybe she does feel some pain, but this is pain she brought on herself as a result of her actions. Your mother must learn that if you treat someone bad enough for long enough they are not going to want to be around you.  My guess is that the hurt feelings she claims to have about you is more just anger that she can't manipulate and control you anymore.  The bottom line is that boundaries and NC is not abuse.  They are emotionally healthy behavior.  Your mom does not want you to be emotionally healthy.

Quote from: sarando
Basically it was a message designed to pile on the guilt, make out that she is a victim again of my selfishness....why am I doing this to her? Telling me again about my obligations and what a terrible daughter I am/have been.

Quote from: sarando
I had a nightmare last night...the first for many months, in which I was in a cafe/concert hall and Mother and her friends were at a table pointing at me and telling each other and the audience what a terrible person I was to hurt my Mother in this way.



Obviously you are not a "terrible daughter" or a "terrible person" for the reasons I talked about above.  Another thing to think about when she says you are terrible for doing this to her is that she is playing the victim. She is making herself the victim and you the abuser.  That way she doesn't have to face that she has treated you badly and it also works well for the smear campaign so she can turn others against you.  There is no room for the truth teller in a dysfunctional family.  The PD person would then lose their power and that is just not acceptable to them.  So recognize the manipulation for what it is and remember you have done nothing wrong.  She is hurt because of natural and logical consequences of her own behavior.  She brought this on herself.  Unfortunately she will never understand this.  It's not your job to explain this to her.  It is just plain common sense.

I am sorry you are going through this.  Knowledge of their manipulative games is power and it helps you to see things clearly so you don't feel so much hurt and pain.  I get why you feel this hurt.  I have felt it too.  Once I figured out the games and put a name to it, (DARVO, denial and gaslighting) I started feeling a hell of a lot better.    :)


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sarandro

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2019, 08:25:00 AM »
Thanks so much for all your replies.
WomanInterrupted...you are so wise, having been through so much...I welcome your opinion X
CallMeCordelia...have we got doppelgangers?? Thanks for your understanding X
gettingstronger1...it's so frustrating to realise they will never change...you're right, knowledge is powerX

Do these people (PD's) ever try to find out about themselves?
If only my FOO could have the mindset to acknowledge that THEY are the ones who need to do the work!

I suppose, if they have decided that I'm the problem, there is no need for them to look to their own behaviour.

It's much easier to blame me for the family dysfunction and group together to defend their position of being slighted by me.

I feel that it is even more futile to try to get them to understand.

The longer I am NC...the better I feel...but...

It's ALL fundamentally wrong that we are in this situation in the first place!

I have been very sad for a number of years, and felt that every time I tried to change things for the better..I have made things much, much worse.

Now I feel sad that the possibility for a meaningful relationship has gone.
It's a different kind of sadness, though, one in which I feel I can get over if I give myself time....grieving maybe??

Thanks again for all your compassion and understanding, I really appreciate it XX


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Kiki81

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2019, 10:37:51 PM »
I've been NC going on 6 years. My 88- and 89-year-old parents give me the same silent treatment they started when I was very little. My mother lifts the ST once yearly to send me a birthday card. I comprehend the gesture as her reminding me "we made you, you can't change that!"

 My life is better in every way. I am truly myself. I have a good relationship with my DH and I'm building a relationship with my higher power. I'm beholden to no one. I'm not my parents' slave, scapegoat or punching bag.

I gave myself permission. I don't care if others validate or understand my decision for NC---I am an adult and I run my own life.

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Starboard Song

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Re: The Birthday Card after NC for six months!
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2019, 08:20:42 AM »
I don't care if others validate or understand my decision for NC---I am an adult and I run my own life.

This is spot on. We do not need to persuade others. We need only to inform them.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward