In my heart I want to go NC…

Today’s thought is this: In my heart I want to go NC.  In my head I am too scared to deal with the consequences of that, mainly, upsetting my grandparents.

This realisation came to me after talking to my fiancé last night about our wedding and the reality of that day without my mother and stepdad in it. I know that it wouldn’t only be them two that no longer came, it would also include my sister and her boyfriend, possibly my step-siblings and their partners, aunts and uncles, possibly cousins and, the hardest of all, my grandparents.

There is a chance that my grandparents would come, although I am not entirely sure about that BUT what I think would happen is that my Nan would make me feel such intense guilt and sadness at how upset SHE was on behalf of my mother (feeling sadness for her daughter). I don’t want to make my nan feel like that, I really don’t and what’s more, I don’t want to have to hear all the shame-inducing and guilt-tripping things she would no doubt say in attempt at getting us back together.  She would mean well, but all that would happen is that she would get upset and I would end up defending myself or feeling invalidated and getting angry. I really, really, REALLY want to avoid that situation.

Equally however, I don’t want to live my life in FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) and possibly more importantly, I no longer want to dance to her tune. I am done with acting the good girl, faking it out to please her or even just smiling and not biting until I get home where I then spend hours crying and going over all the shit things she has said or done, or even just feeling the emptiness of the relationship and lack of connection. I don’t want that anymore.

So where does that leave me?

In my dysfunctional family, you can have a HUGE argument, say awful things and then at some stage, my mother would decide to act like nothing had happened at all. The event would not be acknowledged and I would be expected to just play along. I did that 3 years ago after our first huge argument (where I confronted her with childhood stuff for the first time – I had just started counselling and found out she is narcissistic). This time, I am not willing to do that but equally I have realised that talking won’t get us anywhere because we see things far too differently for there to be any kind of middle-ground or compromise.  My mother would have me believe that acting like nothing had happened and carrying on was some kind of forgiveness – that if you didn’t do that, YOU had the problem and were harbouring bad feelings unnecessary (and cruelly) but now I see it as denial and a refusal to take any ownership for her part in things.  (I am SO glad I have got to this point at last!).

I read an article this morning on the way to work which said that the daughter of the narc mother felt she was in “Low or No Contact Purgatory” where she wasn’t prepared to make a decision to go no contact so she just did nothing. I can so relate to that feeling at the moment! She wrote “I just did nothing, I didn’t call her and she didn’t call me” – oh hi! How similar are our stories right now?!

My sister and I aren’t speaking still and the sad fact is that my sister has been “promoted” to golden child in the years since I made a conscious effort to limit my contact with my mother and to emotionally distance myself. She has changed so much and it is so sad to see her exhibiting narcissistic tendencies.  We argued the night I fell out with my mother, in fact it is what started the arguing off in the first place, she is now very much “on my mother’s side” so I know that if I go totally no contact, that I won’t have her in my life either. I never imagined my sister wouldn’t be in my life.. she is meant to be one of my bridesmaids (not that she has shown the slightest bit of interest in the wedding)… it is very sad.  I also know that at some stage when she feels depressed next, she may possibly come to me and my fiancé and she will want to discuss my mother and slag her off to us…. I do worry about that and I worry about how a relationship between us would realistically work when she would tell my mother everything about me and my life – even if I asked her not to. That is just the dynamic with my mother and she will want to keep her elevated place with her in-between the depression phases.  I don’t like that one bit, but I sadly understand it. My sister is unable to remain neutral or not to involve herself, she just will.

My mother triangulates with me and my sister and always has. My mother taught me and my sister not to have a healthy relationship. She taught us to slag each other off to her to gain some perverse approval… she has told me so many times that HER mother hates her getting along with my aunty (her sister)….she has told me so many times how she LOVES it when me and my sister get along. That is a giant head-fuck because it is a lie.  Maybe my Nan does dislike it, but she also hates it.  Dysfunction repeating itself…

It is sad but the longer there is no contact, the less I want to return. It’s why I have some weird hope that she doesn’t contact me (maybe ever?) so that I don’t have to do the dirty work and that I don’t have to be the bad guy. Maybe I wouldn’t lose my sister or my grandparents if it were my mother that made the cut.  It’s some kind of fucked-up shame that won’t happen (what a strange sentence to type!).

Just like the article I read this morning says, my mother doesn’t want me to talk about my childhood. She wants me to “move on” – basically she wants me to shut up and not upset her or what people think of her. I can’t do that anymore. In that article there was an image of a letter and it read:

“Thank you for your voicemail Sunday night. I’m sorry I haven’t had chance to call you back. I am working on some personal issues regarding my emotional health and I am requesting time away from our relationship while I work on improving myself. When I am finished I will let you know.  During my time of reflection and work, I do not want to receive any calls from you. Of course if there is any kind of emergency I will let you know and ask that you do the same. 

Please understand this is about my emotional health and well-being. During this time I will be working on letting go of some of my unrealistic expectations. It is important to me that I give myself the opportunity to repair my self-esteem so that I can continue to work on being less emotionally reactive during our encounters. I also am working on eradicating negative internalized messages into positive ones. This is what I am choosing for myself right now because I have come to an understanding that I need time to heal.”

I thought this letter was wonderful. The only concerns I have is that it makes it sound as though I am owning/accepting 100% of the “blame” or “fault” and that doesn’t sit comfortably with me. But I guess it is the least controversial way out.  Is it telling her too much to say that I would be working on my self-esteem or my unrealistic expectations? I mean, it is the truth but….?

That’s where I am with it all today (so far!).

 

Article referred to and quoted from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/fridaynightheretics/2015/09/breaking-up-with-mom-part-1/ Part 1 and Part 2

 

26 thoughts on “In my heart I want to go NC…

  1. No matter how much you know in your heart that going NC is the right thing in the long run – especially once you have children of your own – it does sound like it might take some time to work out the best way to handle it with the rest of your family. You don’t have to do this all at once. I’d say there’s a lot of merit in the low contact purgatory option right now. xxx

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    1. I know I don’t have to do it all at once but I know she will contact me soon or send xmas presents for the kids or whatever and I’ll be forced into contact with her and I really want to avoid that…. I don’t want to be pushed into a corner and not know what to say to her because of all these worries and equally I don’t actually WANT to see or speak to her because I’m still too upset with her xx

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      1. When I found out my daughter was struggling at school because of my Mum’s behaviour, 2 1/2 years ago, I emailed my Mum and said no contact for a month as my daughter needed consistency and one carer and I needed some space to process ‘other’ stuff (aka HER). That gave me some breathing space to work out what to do. Then I wrote to her and said we’d see her once a month and she’d spend no time alone with my daughter anymore (she used to sleep over and see her 2 days a week after school). That was two years ago. Could you do something similar to get yourself some space over Christmas (that the kids need things to be settled because of what’s happened, and you need to be in a good place to help support them at this time, so you need no contact with your Mum and the rest of the family in order to do this, especially over Christmas)?

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      2. She doesn’t even know what happened! I guess I could but it seems a weird request doesn’t it? I want space and time over Xmas.. like, she would be like why?

        I do genuinely think she will want me to agree to “forget the past” in order for us to move on so that might help me in a weird way, because I can’t do that. x

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      3. That’s how it feels to me yeah… t would argue that I don’t have to do anything just because she decides to contact me and that I am perfectly entitled to say I need more time or more space or whatever… but the fear doesn’t make that feel like that xx

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  2. My heart whispered the same thing to me back in July. It took me over two months to write and post the letters because of the kinds of things you mention above, and I have a lot less family than you (two half siblings). I wrote down all the issues/worries right at the start e.g. my disabled brother who lives with her, my oldest friend’s Mum who my Mum sees regularly, how to deal with gifts, etc. and my therapist and I worked through them all. Once I knew what I wanted in my heart I couldn’t ignore it any longer, even though it was hard. I’m single atm, but one of the clearest things was knowing I will never want a future partner to meet her EVER because seeing how she interacts with people due to her own pain is too much for me, and I couldn’t bear someone else seeing how fragile she is.

    I like the letter and the idea of telling her you need some time away to process – it’s not taking the blame for the past but it is taking responsibility for healing it.

    I hope you can find some peace in the coming weeks with all of this xxx

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    1. Oh wow, really?! You know what I mean then when I say about the whole head/heart debate. That is a good idea actually writing down all the issues. I have some (untrue) beliefs at the moment that I am in a rush because otherwise I might get cornered somehow.. she may end up phoning or texting and I won’t know what to do. It’s like I am racing to make a decision and process it all before that happens.

      I like your answer too that it isn’t taking the blame for the past but it IS taking responsibility for healing it… very true.

      Peace seems VERY far away right now. I can’t believe the timing of this before the wedding! That seems to be making the whole thing harder. x

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      1. I so can believe the timing lol!! Your subconscious knows something needs to change so she doesn’t wreck your wedding – either the planning and preparations or the day. I so get the head/heart thing. I also get abject visceral terror over hurting and displeasing her which makes everything even harder!! Xxx

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  3. You’re right, it’s just one giant head-fuck!! I can’t remember if I said this in my email, but the thing I find makes it all a little easier now I’m NC (and this would be the same if you informed her of temporary NC I guess) is that I no longer get tied in knots and feel terrified and paralysed over how to respond to her requests/questions. She’s not been in touch, but if she were to be I wouldn’t have to work out how to respond. So if she contacts me and it fucks with my head, I don’t then have to work out how to respond which feels as though it lessens the headfuckery a little. So if you told your Mum NC for a year or two, and she didn’t get why, and contacted you, then provided you’ve said you don’t want to hear from her and won’t be responding during that time, then you can ignore her. I know this is easier said than done, but it has actually made a huge difference for me in terms of feeling safe and contained now I’ve taken the steps and told her of my decision.

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    1. Oh no I totally understand what you’re saying and agree entirely!! My fiancé said today how perhaps it’s easier for us to keep her at arm’s length until after the wedding, but even the thought of seeing her or speaking to her fills me with dread and anxiety!! Xmas seems to be such a big trigger atm, we are meant to be at her house this year on Xmas day and I no longer want to. My fiancé and T said even if I find a way of keeping contact, low or whatever, I don’t have to go there at Xmas. Now why can’t I feel comfortable about that? Instead I feel tense and panicky and scared at telling her I’m not going there anymore and would rather be totally NC than say that to her. Likewise I find the thought easier to be totally NC with her than to stipulate where I will and won’t see her (I.e, not seeing her at her house around alcohol anymore)….. xx

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      1. Yep!! One of the reasons I went NC was because I knew I couldn’t maintain boundaries with her that work for me (don’t say that, tell my daughter that, ask me that, ask me to go there, turn up unannounced at the door, etc.) because I am TERRIFIED of her, not necessarily of her rage but of her pain. I cannot stand up to her. I’m realising this is not a weakness or something I will get past one day if I do enough work on myself in therapy – I am getting good at boundaries with others and so on, but the shame and guilt I feel around my Mum’s feelings are at the core of me, they existed before I did in a sense – I internalised her shame and guilt and pain as a baby, before I separated from her.

        Last time we saw her in July she was emotionally abusive to my daughter whilst I nipped to get something from the car. My daughter was distraught for days afterwards and I was in a total state knowing I had to make things change but that this would involve telling her what was wrong and ‘stopping’ her. This felt impossible. I read an article on borderline mothers which helped (my Mum is totally NPD but has elements of BPD – I guess coz they are both caused by the same thing really) as it said mothers like this don’t tolerate the middle ground well which is why trying to put boundaries in place with them is nigh on impossible. Any boundary = total abandonment. So for my Mum me saying “no” to a cup of tea seemed to hurt as much as me saying “you can’t look after your granddaughter anymore”.

        tbh I think it would be very hard for you to stipulate boundaries with her at the moment, it could be quite traumatising, so maybe you need time away from her to become stronger in yourself and clearer about her limitations and how they’ve affected you, and to process all that, and then to come back to her and do things ‘your way’.

        I am thinking of you xxx

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      2. Your replies are SO extremely helpful. You absolutely get how I feel, thank you for taking the time to write these responses, they have helped me immeasurably! It is so comforting to know that you understand the extent of the fear my mother makes me feel over such small things (small to other people).

        I can’t believe your mother was abusive to your daughter, that is horrific. In a way though, I have wanted my mum to do something so horrible that I could use it to say “She did this!” and people would understand it… I guess when she did that to your daughter, you had that in a way? Does that make sense? (not taking away how awful that must have felt!!!)…. I mean, Christ knows what else she has to do but it just seems the easiest way out. I feel like a total coward. xx

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  4. I’m so glad they’re helping. It’s a fear unlike any other, isn’t it?? Yes, TOTALLY. When I told my daughter things would change after that she was terrified my Mum would kill herself – that was the final straw really!! And you are NOT a coward. Standing up to my Mum has brought me so much guilt, shame, pain, heartache, etc. and I have received so much rage for it, sometimes my Mum would rage for a whole weekend when I was a teenager and stood up to her treatment of my disabled brother. Other people cannot understand this fear so it seems small, but it so isn’t. You are amazingly strong and you are breaking this cycle. You can do this xx

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    1. Oh my goodness your poor daughter (and poor you!) how old was she? So you had the added guilt of stopping her from seeing her granddaughter too (not that she deserved that when she was abusive to her – obviously!!). Me and my fiancé tried for a baby unsuccessfully for 18 months until we got engaged and have put that on hold until after the wedding, I used to get so upset and now I genuinely question whether it was fate waiting for me to sort this out and go NC with her so she didn’t get to poison my future child!! – I know life doesn’t work like that. But I question it regardless. That and this recovery work is so hard emotionally that maybe being pregnant at the same time would have been too hard.

      I totally relate to the shame, guilt, pain, sadness, heartache – all of it. And it’s horrendous. Fear and guilt are my biggest issues regarding my mum. I’m constantly dreading a text from her and I’m nervous if bumping into her too. I’m even thinking of moving house to create some more distance! Xx

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      1. I definitely think our subconscious and body/mind know a lot more than we consciously do!! I’m sure subconsciously you knew you needed things to be easier with your Mum and other family members before bringing a baby into the mix. My biggest regret is letting my Mum get so close to my daughter (N, I’ll call her as I’m tired of keep writing ‘my daughter’). She was abusive to her and confusing and smothering and quite enmeshed until N was 8 (she’s 10 now) and it was just awful and she did the ‘divide and rule’ thing and turned N against me a lot and bought her stuff CONSTANTLY and said awful hurtful things about me and told N she loved her more than I did, etc. I could see it was a problem, but obviously had no idea how bad and how much it was affecting N. For me, even if it is not in N’s best interests to not see her Grandma (which I think it probably is), I know it is in her best interests for me not see my Mum, because I need to be stable and I need to heal which I could not do whilst seeing my Mum and getting texts and demands and so on. I didn’t want her to see me so terrified of upsetting someone else – in her eyes I’m an adult FFS!!

        We are both terrified of bumping into her, I nearly had a panic attack in M&S on Saturday and will not be going into town EVER again lol.

        I do think the recovery work would have been too hard whilst pregnant – I’m sure it will happen at the right time. And you will be a wonderful Mum, that is so clear from all the work you’re putting into healing, and how well you cared for your stepchildren the weekend after their mum’s bf died xxx

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      2. Oh goodness I can’t even imagine how awful that was!! She told her she loved her more than her own mother? What the fuck? Yes I total get what you mean by that and for what it’s worth, I truly think you made the absolute right decision. It can’t be easy for you! Did you lose lots of other family over this?

        That’s how I feel right now! I can’t heal whilst I have to see her, receive demands, worry about how to reply blah, blah, blah….

        Omg I nearly did last Thursday too! I went from the car park to ONE shop in her town and had heart palpitations the entire time! The most ridiculous thing is that T asked me, what I was scared of even if I did bump into her and my response was that she would act as though nothing had happened – and then so would I and I would hate myself for that and regret it immediately! I mean, wtf is that about?

        Thank you so much for saying that, I do put all my effort into them but that’s mainly coming from never wanting any child to feel unloved or scared or unwanted. Apparently I would need to watch I don’t over-mother according to T!! Xx

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  5. Oh man, I know EXACTLY what you mean about pretending everything is normal!! Story of my life. I honestly don’t know how my Mum does it. She has NEVER said sorry for anything or acknowledged any mistakes. She’d go absolutely batshit crazy for an entire weekend and then just pretend it didn’t happen. It is crazy-making! It is what makes us doubt our own reality even now. If I tried to speak to her about things she said and did with N she’d deny it and/or make stuff up.

    Our family is pretty small, and my parents separated when I was little. So I’ve potentially lost my disabled half-brother who lives with her still (hoping to see him in the Spring, if he wants to, but it’ll be hard and she may make life too miserable for him after he’s seen us for it to be worth it for him). I thought I might lose my half-sister, but she understands and was really worried about me and N, so that’s been a huge relief that we’re not losing all of them. We never really saw family on my Mum’s side. I’ve lost my oldest friend’s Mum, who was like a Mum or aunt to me growing up as I was at their house all the time and had my own room there, but that’s it really. It sounds a lot more complicated for you. Ultimately I was prepared to lose my siblings, because I couldn’t keep going as we were. I am TERRIFIED of bumping into her friends – nearly happened on Friday. Saw one of her best friends in the post office queue – she shot filthy looks at me it was horrendous and I left the queue without collecting my parcel lol. Tbh if if wasn’t for my T I would probably move away from the town we live in!

    Thank you for saying you think I made the right decision, that means a lot!

    I get what your T means about over-mothering, it’s good you’ll have her to guide you. I think I was doing ok with parenting before I started therapy two years ago, and had already taken N away from my Mum, but my skills have increased SO MUCH since starting working with my T, and N has really noticed that too 🙂 xx

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    1. I think N is VERYYYYYYY lucky to have you as her Mum. Not only are you actively working on being the best Mum you can, you’ve known awful pain and longing and all the shit we had to deal with having a narcissist as a mother and so she will never have to worry about feeling like that. You are protecting her from your mother and her abuse and not only that, but you are ensuring she only sees healthy, functional relationships and teaching her that it’s okay to have boundaries even with family members! If only me and you had been taught that from birth hey! I’m in awe of you dealing with everything you have whilst being a mum too. I imagine that was tough.

      I’m being triggered constantly by my stepkids at the moment. The reality of my experience suddenly so painfully obvious to me when I imagine it happening to them – I imagine that pain would be ten times worse with your own blood! I think at the moment, “childhood” is my trigger.

      I’ve been looking at houses on rightmove all weekend, the only thing stopping me is my T!

      I don’t blame you for not getting the parcel, it’s just not worth it is it? I’ve been thinking of shutting my Facebook down koz that’s easier than blocking the amount of people I would need to to prevent my mum’s flying monkeys! And I love Facebook lol. When does it ever end? Xx

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      1. Aww, THANK YOU SO MUCH!! And yep – childhood is one big trigger for me! I had this connected feeling after therapy last year, like there was ‘a cuddle inside me’ is the best way to describe it, and like I wasn’t alone even though I was. I told my T about it next session and pondered on whether N had ever felt that feeling – she said she thinks she feels like that most of the time!!! Lovely but so triggering. I guess with your stepchildren it’s the same where you want them to NEVER feel like you did growing up, but it’s so hard seeing so clearly what you never got (and how it’s not fucking rocket science to provide it, is it!!!).

        And LOL – that joke from your sister is AMAZING!!

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    2. Oh ps, my mum has NEVER ever said sorry either. In fact, the very night we fell out, my mother told my sister to apologise for something and she said “my mum taught me never to apologise, just to start being nice instead”. It was said in jest at the time but I laughed sooooo much out loud koz it was spot on true! X

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