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SFrost
Feb. 21, 2013, 11:15 PM
I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

Since I've been sick I've really had to cut back on a lot. One of the things that has really stressed me out is dealing with some of my emotionally/verbally abusive family members. To me, the solution was simple, just don't talk to them unless I have to. Well, wouldn't you know it, this makes me the devil in the flesh.

We'll start with my mother. She's always been a source of problems. But, she's my mom so I try to keep the peace. She not understanding at all, has accused me of making myself have pancreatitis, tried to tell me how to deal with it and how to run my life. (My pancreas issues are from a common birth defect, so they are no one's fault.) At first I let it slide and knew it was hard for her to know she had a really sick daughter. But she became increasingly more intrusive and nasty.

Finally, I kindly told her that some of the things she does/says really upset me and cause me stress and asked her to back off. That didn't go well. It turned into, don't try to use your psychology crap on me. You are the one with the problem I am just telling you how I think. When I said that she was "telling" me in less than kind ways and that I was talking to her like I would anyone else she again blamed me.

Fast forward a few months. I talk to her here and there. Now her mom is in the hospital. Her mom is mean. Every time I speak to her it is never good. I am either a brat, a baby, fat, too skinny, stupid, snobby...you get the idea. This is after I say, "Hi! How are you?" It launches into a verbal attack. That is her and has always been her.

My mom kept calling insisting I call my grandmother because she was sick and it was hurting her feelings. I gave in because I get what it is like to be ill. I am not sure why I thought it would be different but she again was nasty.

A few weeks later, grandmother is back in the hospital. Again, I get a call from mother saying, call her, you NEED to call her. What if she dies? The guilt trip. :no: I explained I would send a card but that in my current mental and physical state I could not handle any more stress myself and I asked her to please back off. She lit into me. A few days pass and she gets my Dad to text me, then my aunt. Finally I called. The conversation was this.....

Me: "Hi! How are you feeling?"
Her: "How do you think?"
Me: "I am so sorry. I totally understand how much it stinks to be stuck in the hospital."
Her: "What Mr.SFrost doing?"
Me: "he's at work right now."
Her:" GOOD. He needs to get away from you because you are a little witch."
Me: "Oh wow, no, I'm not and he doesn't think so."
Her: "yes you are, YOU LITTLE WITCH."

Someone took the phone form her thankfully. And no, she isn't senile. It isn't because of meds or being sick. This is her-always has been.

I was on FB and simply posted, "If you dont have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I made no reference to who or what. Just a venting statement. My dear ol' mom saw this and berated me on FB demanding I take it down. She then blocked me. Which is good.

Anyway, I posted all that long story to say, how the heck does one deal with unruly family? I am sick, yes, but I am not asking for people to treat me different. I am just trying to avoid situation that cause stress because stress lands me in the ER with pancreatitis.

I've tried to be rational and explain, not talk to them, everything outside of change my number so they can't call me.

OHHHHH. Today is my birthday. The TEXT I got from my mom... "Hope you have a good birthday. I am still very angry with you. Love you!"

Really? Why send that at all? It just hurt my feelings. Can't even call your ONLY child?

Ugh.

mvp
Feb. 21, 2013, 11:26 PM
Do your best to remember that your grandmother gave your mom (her daughter) piss-poor emotional equipment. She sucks at dealing with you because she had to figure out how to survive being raised by her own emotionally-abusive mother.

IMO, you get to choose the relationships you have with your mother and grandmother separately. But then your mom needs to choose how, or IF, she wants to have a relationship with you. If so, then her behavior towards you needs to change.

Make your peace with whether or not your grandmother gets to enjoy a good relationship with you before she dies. If she can't be civil before she kicks the bucket, know that that's beyond your control and accept it. If you feel you must move Heaven and Earth to keep peace with her-- sick and old and all-- then do it, but only do it for yourself.

Someone once reminded me that we don't get to pick our first family, the one we are born into. Fortunately, we do get to pick everyone else in our life.

SFrost
Feb. 21, 2013, 11:39 PM
MVP, you hit the nail on the head. I do feel for my mom having to grow up with that. She had a crappy childhood.

As for my grandmother. I'm pretty much done. She'll attempt to say sorry but really, she's already told me what she really thinks of me. (And has been all my life.) So one sorry does not make it ok. Right now, I feel it is a survival thing for me. I simply can't deal with any more. I just can't.

As for my mother. I don't know. She's going to be just like her mom. Add to that she's a drinker and has some MI, IMO. I can't sort that out for her. I can't make her be nice. I can't ever have a normal adult conversation. It makes me so sad. I WISH I had a good support system because my health situation is terrible right now, but I can't make people change. I just thought a mom was supposed to be kind and give unconditional love. Especially when their kid is having a rough go.

You are 100% right in everything you said in your post.

Coreene
Feb. 21, 2013, 11:41 PM
Nowhere in life's rule book does it say you must be some a-hole's whipping post. Those are two relationships I would end.

Mara
Feb. 21, 2013, 11:43 PM
Honestly? And I know this is easy for someone not in the middle of this to say - I'd cut them loose. You can't change them and it does not seem as though they think there is anything they need to change.

Take care of yourself.

mvp
Feb. 21, 2013, 11:45 PM
OP, I feel you with respect to the way that your own health is making you wish for a better family... the one that hasn't been there for much longer than you have been alive!

Sigh. Honey, you make damned sure that you have some quality people in yo' life. Don't make no nevermind whether they are blood or not. Insist on quality, give back quality and you will have what you need.

wanderlust
Feb. 21, 2013, 11:56 PM
Walk away. Cease communication. See a therapist. I say that as someone who has similar family dynamics, moved clear across the country and spent quality time in therapy so I wouldn't end up like the rest of them. I speak to my family as little as possible, and my life is significantly better for it.

CVPeg
Feb. 22, 2013, 12:02 AM
Oh, OP - so sorry you have to hear that crap. Especially the line about the psychology being your issue. No, that's how you've learned how to have rational conversations, and not be sucked into crises mode - something so many dysfunctional family types thrive on.

Stay strong. I've been going through stuff lately with my Mom who suffers from dementia - sweet much of the time, sweet on the outside, but still can dish it out at an ancient age. But just realized (as I'm writing it out here on COTH, actually) that she also gave me the presence of mind to think for myself - which is why I had the strength to seek counseling. And yes, mine didn't have the best relationship with her mother either. The second we went on our yearly visit to see her, they got into an argument. Too many independent minds in one room perhaps? ;)

Bet your grandmother didn't have a great bringing up as well. You can excuse their behavior due to its origins, but doesn't mean you have to pay the penance from here until eternity because of others' unhappy childhoods.

Take care of yourself first.

JanM
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:15 AM
First for your own mental health stop bothering with Granny Crankypants. Block her number, block anyone else from your phone that annoys you. You deserve to be treasured and valued for the person you are, and if someone is doing anything else for whatever reasons they are berating you, then block them. With your social media (FB I guess) you can hide postings from anyone, but also unfriend or block them. I understand your mother has issues from her mother, but that's not an excuse to dump on you when you're sick. Read a book on Toxic parents, or relatives, and recognize that even though they can't help being the way they are, that it's not your fault, and you don't have to be abused by them.

I like the three strikes and you're out rule some people on here have enforced with abusive relatives.

You don't owe anyone for being born, and don't let someone guilt you into being abused by mean people just because 'they are getting older and might not be here longer'. They pulled that junk about my bitch of a grandmother, and when she finally died I didn't care at all. It was actually a relief not to have to watch her pull her guilt trips on everyone, and watch her manipulations and abuse. If grandma calls and starts that junk, then hang up. If she's on a landline look up the block code and block her number.

You come first, and you need to take care of yourself. Stress is a killer, and it's not helping you health or your happiness one bit to have people abusing you this way.

Schune
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:20 AM
OHHHHH. Today is my birthday. The TEXT I got from my mom... "Hope you have a good birthday. I am still very angry with you. Love you!"

Really? Why send that at all? It just hurt my feelings. Can't even call your ONLY child?

Ugh.

Because this way (the insults, the comments, the passive/aggressive crap) makes sure that you will never forget her; she's still a presence in your life and she's making darn sure to keep it that way. It's essentially a way for her to control you, because she IS manipulating your feelings and your health.

To me, the only solution would be to show your mom that you're done. Unfriend her on FB, block her number, etc. No contact, period. If, after a while, she bugs you to resume contact, tell her she gets one strike. One insult, one snide remark, back goes radio silence.

This is a typical method of control used by abusive parents. YOU are the only one who can break it or make a change. Much sympathy :(

charismaryllis
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:24 AM
what everybody else said. oh, and


HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!:D:applause:

red mares
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:31 AM
We have one of those, I don't think quite as bad in our family. Two of her 3 sones rarely visit. The oldest, who does take care of her, is repeatedly told how much better his younger brothers (the ones that she never sees & rarely hears from) are than he is. His daughter is MR/DD; his parents said she should have been institutionalized. Some really hateful stuff. This guy is going to fast track through Purgatory when he dies.

The old dear was quite hurtful to her middle son's wife for several years. They finally stopped coming to family get togethers. I would bet that his wife laid down the law and told him he had a choice to make. We haven't seen her in years, but they raised a lovely daughter and seem happy. They've also missed some really bad turkeys.

My mother went off on the old lady a couple days b/f Christmas. We were over changing her smoke detector battery (long story) and she said it "should be family doing this" Uh, we aren't family? (SIL of 40 yrs + niece/god daughter) Mom hasn't really talked to her since Christmas, rarely visits her in the nursing home she's in right now. I keep telling her not to worry about it. The old lady has made this bed. She has used & abused people for years.

If it had been me, when she made the "You're not family" comment 2 days before Christmas, I would have uninvited her, right then & there. If we weren't family than there was no reason for her to come over. Sometimes keeping the peace is highly over rated.

Rubyfree
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:45 AM
I am so sorry, OP.

I have one incredibly toxic close family member whom I have been trying, out of respect for my parent's wishes that I do so, to maintain the peace with for most of my adult life. What I have learned from this experience is that some people simply do not want peace maintained, and to those people, every deep breath you take to calm yourself becomes another opportunity for attack. Every inch you back down to "maintain peace" is another inch of boundary lost, and reclaiming your boundaries is an outright war. As Schune said, these are exploitative, manipulative tactics used by people who would abuse your willingness to love. It is cruel, childish, and benefits no one to suffer their abuse.

We are flooded from birth with messages of what a Mother, Father, Brother, et al "is", and the disparity between those messages & reality often causes folks to suffer great indignity in the name of "love", because "She's my Mom so I have to". No, you do not. Birthing you- or in my case, being produced by the same people- does not entitle one to treat you like shi*. Acts of biology do not absolve you of sins and bad acts.

We all have bad days, bad times, but where there is a history of abuse, you are getting away from a "bad time". Abuse is abuse.

Read this blog post, please. It is geared towards a young demographic, but I feel the message is important and profound for all age groups who struggle with difficult family relationships. I know the blogger, and she has written from the heart here. She and I have talked at length about our situations, and while very different in many ways, what is the same for us is that we have chosen to be healthy and happy by eliminating toxic people from our lives. It has been hard, of course, but in the long run, the conscious decision to NOT be abused, degraded and damaged is empowering. Making healthy choices for ourselves, making our own families from people we love and who treat us with respect, makes us stronger.

Cut 'em loose. Look out for yourself. Do not allow your health, mental and physical, to be eroded. Build your own damn family.

http://offbeatfamilies.com/2013/02/parental-estrangement

gully's pilot
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:46 AM
My husband and I have had to deal with some tough issues regarding our parents. I feel for you.

First of all, don't let anybody guilt you into communicating with your grandmother. She sounds hateful. If YOU feel like contacting her, tell her up front that the first time she says anything nasty, you will hang up the phone. Then do it.

I would guess the whole family gangs up on you to stay in touch with her because you're the one with the smarts and guts to see her behavior as it is. I went through/am going through something similar.

With one of our parents, we were able to make it very clear that we would resume communication when said parent took a few concrete steps toward changing his behavior. He was NOT allowed to behave in ways that hurt my children. I did take the step of blocking his phone number, which pissed him off, but he'd started making daily harrassing phone calls to let me know he wasn't going to change, nonny nonny, so I felt I had no choice.

Eventually he decided I meant what I said. Somewhat to my surprise, he began to change his behavior, and as he did we slowly let him back into our lives. Our relationship is now marked by an openness and honesty that wasn't possible before. It's a blooming miracle.

On the other hand, we've nearly completely cut off communication with another of our parents. I don't think she'll ever change, and her behavior is unacceptable. I wish things were different, but the truth is that we're all better off without her at this point.

Good luck. Take care of yourself. Try to find some friends who can be the family you need.

bumknees
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:49 AM
I understand where you are coming from... I wonder if your mother is related to my father?

I don't even receive text messages from my dad for my b-day. I cut off all but necessary communications with him 5yrs maybe 6 now and it has been bliss. Last I heard he is calling my family and I "bottem feeders" and well like I said 5 or 6yrs of bliss.

rustbreeches
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:54 AM
Sometimes keeping the peace is highly over rated.

This is the best line ever. Might I steal it??

OP, Happy Birthday! You deserve better than what you got , I'm sure you have a very supportive network of friends that can be your family. Block all contact with the mean spirited folk in your life. Block their numbers, return any mail they send. I get that your mom probably had a craptastic childhood, but at some point in her adult life, she made a decision to follow the same path. That is not your burden to carry.

Good luck and may you have a great birthday!!!

Sing Mia Song
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:56 AM
WOW at the text message. What kind of person thinks it's acceptable to send that??

I had an aunt like this. She and her husband (my mother's brother) would always visit our family at Thanksgiving. When she was sober, she'd just drop little nasty remarks into conversation, but when she got in her cups--watch out, because Turbo Bitch is on the loose!

I was always really upset that my mother didn't take her to task, and when my mother got sick with cancer, TB went out of her way to say some really horrible things to me about my insufficiencies as a daughter. After my mother died, I cut TB and uncle out of my lives. Never spoke to them again, never saw them again. Got married and they were not invited (had a few words with my brother about that, which came down to "My wedding, my money, my rules."). Both uncle and TB died, I did not go to the funerals.

Some people just don't deserve to be in your life. I'm sorry for you that your mother and grandmother are those kinds of people.

JanM and Schune have it right. Block their numbers and change your email, unfriend your mother on FB (you can set it so that she can't contact you). Put your energy toward building relationships with people who are capable of behaving like adults, because clearly neither of these two people can. I can tell you from experience that you will be so much happier when you do.

oliverreed
Feb. 22, 2013, 10:07 AM
OP, what Coreene and others have said. Cut them both loose. As someone who has done this with not one but two siblings, I can tell you it feels WONDERFUL not to have them in my life anymore! I do have two remaining siblings who are great, we are very close. It will be a huge relief to you.

And happy birthday!

Trakehner
Feb. 22, 2013, 10:10 AM
Oh for Gawd's sake....kick both of these evil sows to the kerb...they don't deserve to be respected or tolerated. They're poison to your life and to anyone close to you.

Don't answer the phone calls from them, just consider them dead to you. With luck your grandmother will be dead soon, that much evil and nasty doesn't derserve to live and certainly doesn't deserve your attention. Your mother is evil...you have to face that simple thing and that she's not worth your time or emotion.

Life's too short to have these women in your life.

LauraKY
Feb. 22, 2013, 10:11 AM
If they're re-trainable, the 3 strikes you're out works. Worked with my father who was incorrigible. You have to let them know you're not going to take their crap anymore up front. After the third nasty comment, that's it, time's up. In my case my father was no longer driving so he went directly home. If it was on the phone, I'd say goodbye...I'll talk to you tomorrow.


My MIL is a different story. Didn't work for her (my husband is not really good at retraining...dogs or humans) so I just cut her out of my life. My daughter had to too. Sometimes you reap what you sow.

JBCool
Feb. 22, 2013, 10:30 AM
Another HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! And go get/give and extra hug from/to Mr SFrost: it sounds like he's there for you.

ccoronios
Feb. 22, 2013, 10:30 AM
Wow. Those of us who think we have 'interesting' families need to thank our lucky stars. OP, bless you - and I hope those in your life who love you did something special for you.

It's hard, I think, to make a conscious decision to divorce yourself from your mother and grandmother. We grow up with all these warm fuzzy pictures of what 'family' is supposed to be. And as others have said, it rarely is. But I believe with all my heart that YOU need to make that conscious decision for your own well-being. Yes, your mother seems to have come by her parenting techniques honestly, but - again, as at least one other mentioned - we can choose to learn how NOT to be. You seem to have accomplished that.

NOW you need to relieve yourself of impending feelings of guilt for a decision to remove negativity (hatefulness, bitchiness) from your life. Accentuate the positive. Put the negative in a dark basement closet and lock the door. Translate - do what many above have recommended - bar them from your life. And get on with keeping yourself as healthy as you can possible be - being mentally healthy will DEFINITELY affect your physical health.

God bless, girl -

Carol

Saidapal
Feb. 22, 2013, 10:38 AM
Be grateful your breaking the mold and won't end up like them.

Lots of good advice here. There is no law that says you have to take abuse from a parent. Love and respect, yes, take a load of crap - never seen that written anywhere.

Keep your contact as little as possible. They aren't going to change and this is the age of phone ID.

SFrost
Feb. 22, 2013, 11:27 AM
Thank you everyone. All the advice given was really helpful. I was wondering if maybe I was the one with the problem, that maybe i'd done something wrong. Thank you everyone for erasing that thought from my mind.

I know better. I am in the psych field and I should know how these situations play out. I am just not able to take my emotion and look at it objectively.

I know that it sends my mother when I put my foot down, because like someone mentioned here, it is the control. She has NO boundaries. I'll never forget the time she said that my husband is lazy. At the time he was over in Afghanistan. He works a lot, he does what he can to provide for me. He is a really caring person. Sure, he could do the dishes more, do things more quickly, but that's not what I care about. This man...holds my barf bucket, bathes me if I can't do it myself, goes to all my hospital appts, he is a caregiver.I immediately told her that he was not lazy and told her if she had any other negative things to say about him to keep them to herself. Somehow she spun it as it was my fault, that she just called it like she sees it, and she didn't see us all the time. She was just angry I called her out and told her that her behavior was unacceptable.

My poor stepdad. He is the best. Loving, caring, he's my real dad in my eyes. Just a wonderful man. He always says she is turning into her mother. I don't know how he does it. Although, I've seen the bitterness creep into his attitude too. He'll never leave her though.

I so wanted to respond to that text she sent and say something, but I didn't. I am sure that would just cause more issues. Although, I know she thinks she got one over on me and I am not responding because she thinks she had made me realize I was wrong. That burns me up. But I dont have the energy to fight, so silence it is.
An interesting development. Last night evil grandmother called 5 times saying for me to call her back, it was important. I am guessing someone told her I was not happy with her behavior. I'm not calling back. One sorry will not help now.


Again, thank you everyone. I really appreciate it. I really needed to hear all of that!!!!

LauraKY
Feb. 22, 2013, 12:52 PM
Thank you everyone. All the advice given was really helpful. I was wondering if maybe I was the one with the problem, that maybe i'd done something wrong. Thank you everyone for erasing that thought from my mind.

I know better. I am in the psych field and I should know how these situations play out. I am just not able to take my emotion and look at it objectively.

I know that it sends my mother when I put my foot down, because like someone mentioned here, it is the control. She has NO boundaries. I'll never forget the time she said that my husband is lazy. At the time he was over in Afghanistan. He works a lot, he does what he can to provide for me. He is a really caring person. Sure, he could do the dishes more, do things more quickly, but that's not what I care about. This man...holds my barf bucket, bathes me if I can't do it myself, goes to all my hospital appts, he is a caregiver.I immediately told her that he was not lazy and told her if she had any other negative things to say about him to keep them to herself. Somehow she spun it as it was my fault, that she just called it like she sees it, and she didn't see us all the time. She was just angry I called her out and told her that her behavior was unacceptable.

My poor stepdad. He is the best. Loving, caring, he's my real dad in my eyes. Just a wonderful man. He always says she is turning into her mother. I don't know how he does it. Although, I've seen the bitterness creep into his attitude too. He'll never leave her though.

I so wanted to respond to that text she sent and say something, but I didn't. I am sure that would just cause more issues. Although, I know she thinks she got one over on me and I am not responding because she thinks she had made me realize I was wrong. That burns me up. But I dont have the energy to fight, so silence it is.
An interesting development. Last night evil grandmother called 5 times saying for me to call her back, it was important. I am guessing someone told her I was not happy with her behavior. I'm not calling back. One sorry will not help now.


Again, thank you everyone. I really appreciate it. I really needed to hear all of that!!!!

Smart, by letting it go you're taking away her power over you.

mvp
Feb. 22, 2013, 12:58 PM
I'll say it again, OP: You have to add good people into your life if you want to remove bad ones. Otherwise, it's too hard and all loss... making us become willing to lower our standards again.

Also, good people not involved in your situation can help you get perspective and even "write scripts" for what to say to this or that family member who jerks your chain in a way that is familiar and has *never* allowed you a satisfying response. For example, someone can help you figure out the right response to your mom's barbed birthday text (or that there is none at all). It will make you feel more sane and less lonely to discuss that with someone else.

Good luck to you and I hope your birthday was great.

PS. Don't defend your husband to your mom anymore. You can perhaps do that once, but after that, screw it. You married him, you dig him, your opinion matters and so hers was always irrelevant. Now that her opinion is known, there's no reason to discuss it again.

Noodles
Feb. 22, 2013, 01:04 PM
Unfortunately I was in a similar position. It took me years to cut off contact.

Seeing a counselor really helped me learn boundaries and that I was NOT the bad one.

I'd recommend reading Toxic Parents.....

Good luck and do your best to stay away from any toxic person!

cloudyandcallie
Feb. 22, 2013, 01:12 PM
Well I did not see this thread until today, but Happy Belated Birthday! I'd give you my parents but Daddy is now deceased and mother is ancient, so I cannot share as I did growing up. My parents were always the ones that others wanted. Not that they weren't perfectionists who required perfection of me, but they were always supportive without bragging about me. And I'm not a psychologist, but I have spent a lot of time with forensic psychiatrists and reading psychiatric studies of why people do what they do for decades and trying to figure out why people act as they do.

I'm still confused about why people inflict pain upon others. I don't understand how it can be gratifying. But I'm told that some people actually feel better about themselves when they make others feel bad. Because of your chronic and painful illness, you have to limit the time you spend with your toxic relatives, whether it is in person or on the phone. I had some aunts, now deceased, and some aunts, still alive, who were constantly critical of me. However I just went to their homes to help out, and ignored their comments. But I wasn't ill.

You just have to keep telling yourself that it is not your fault that your mother and grandmother have personality disorders that give them gratification when they belittle you. Stay off of the phone with them. Send emails or cards and flowers when they are in hospital. Be glad that your husband is not like your blood relatives. The more you can stay away from your family, the better you will feel. With your painful and chronic illness, you cannot have the stress of trying to please people who are really unhappy with themselves, so they must make others as unhappy as they are.

Lilypad
Feb. 22, 2013, 01:23 PM
If you want to still talk to them, you need to set strict boundaries.

Tell her straight up what you won't tolerate. Don't blame, just say "I will no longer speak with you if you belittle or insult me." If she tries to do that when you talk with her, say "I told you, I will not talk to you if you insult me." If she tries again or gets angry, hang up on her.

It can feel really awful when you first do it, because, after all, they are your family. But it's the only way to get through to people like this. They just have to realize that bad behaviour on their end = no relationship with you.

You have to be very consistent. You can NEVER let her insult you. She will test for a long time because she's done it for so long, but stick to your guns and they will get it eventually (or not, but then at least you don't have to deal with it!).

I had to do this with my own mother. I am still not close with her, but now we can talk on the phone like normal people, instead of the conversations dissolving into insults, hurt feelings and arguments.

Good luck and remember when they insult you, it's NOT because of you, it's their own unhappiness spilling out.

horsefaerie
Feb. 22, 2013, 01:52 PM
(((HUGS)))

Happy Birthday!

I have not read every response. Suffice it to say I had an incredibly dysfunctional, abusive family situation. I put up with a lot of crap because they were family and if the poo ever hit the circulator they'd be there for me.

Well it did and they weren't.

After my Dad passed I told everyone no more cards, phone calls. presents for any reason. I am done with a capital D. THat was setting a boundary. THey have NOT honored that boundary. I don't think abusive people can. They are emotionally stunted.

Now you can certainly send cards, presents etc if you wish and not answer the phone or even open the things they send. There are ways of still being a good member of the family without exposing yourself in the line of fire.

Good Luck, whatever you decide. You are not alone.

nhwr
Feb. 22, 2013, 02:03 PM
If people treat you like $h!+ and you tolerate it, you are responsible. Personally, I'd severely limit my interactions with them but if you feel you need to be involved with them, be proactive.
If your mom or grandmother say something insulting or inappropriate, just pleasantly say "Sorry, I have to go now" and hang up or leave. Simply disengage without drama. Defending yourself keeps them engaged and makes them think they have credibility. Don't take what they say personally (hard, I know) but they can't help themselves obviously.

As an adult;
You are in control of your interactions with your family.
Your relationship with them is what you make it.
There are no victims, only volunteers.

TheHunterKid90
Feb. 22, 2013, 06:06 PM
I so feel for you OP.
My mother and I have had a very toxic relationship for about 5 years now. The past 4 months we have managed to be civil. She is truly a lunatic who cheated on my father with the pastor of our church. Anyways, long story short, I recently voiced my opinion about the situation, she responded when she heard with a text that said

"I hope the guilt of lying (I never lied about anything) kills you. You are a b!tch and I wonder how long it will take for your husband to figure it out. I wonder how long he'll put up with you. I have one child now and it's not you."

Basically, that was it for me. The relationship is over. I will no longer accept apologies for rude comments and out bursts. I am an adult and can not bring myself to care about what she thinks anymore. Frankly for my mental health I can't ALLOW myself to care. You should do the same. By not until you're ready. For me it was like a light bulb. That text was the end all of it. No doubt in my mind.

Hulk
Feb. 22, 2013, 06:20 PM
I have found out how much better life is when you delete toxic people in your life from data base.

JanM
Feb. 22, 2013, 09:48 PM
Hunter Kid-aren't you the one on Dateline? If so I totally agree with you about this being the end. You are a good person, and you never deserve for her to treat you like that. You deserve to be loved and treasured for the good person you are, and you need to have people in your life that want the best for you.

c'est moi
Feb. 22, 2013, 11:04 PM
First of all, I'm so sorry you have such an unkind, unsympathetic, and downright NASTY mother and grandmother. You deserve much better, and after reading this thread it appears that you've received a lot of good advice and well-deserved sympathy from other posters.

I've just got one thing to add: don't vent on Facebook, like ever. It never ends well. I know you were just frustrated when you made your post, and your mother CERTAINLY should not have reacted the way she did, but still, you're the lucky one with your head on straight, so do yourself a favor by not adding fuel to the flames. Ambiguous looking posts (like the one you posted) are either 1) obvious to the people who know what's going on, or 2) look like a plea for attention. Either way, you're attracting attention to yourself in a negative way.

I know you're going through a lot, so please don't take this advice critically--I mean what I say the kindest way possible. I'm sure you have plenty of Facebook friends who'd like to hear about your troubles, the thing is though, public forums like Facebook just ain't the place to do it. Communicate with people privately about your issues, call, text, email, carrier pigeon, smoke signal--whatever your heart desires.

Best of luck dealing with your family.

mvp
Feb. 22, 2013, 11:38 PM
OP, I hope you can maintain a separate relationship with your step-dad if you like him. He counts as "family," right? I'm sure he feels isolated being married to your getting-meaner mom, too. Both of you might benefit from having a family connection that's not tainted by other people or history.

JanM
Feb. 23, 2013, 11:40 AM
mvp-I wonder what would be the cost to the stepfather when mommy finds out there is a relationship? In my family's case, you would get reamed out daily, and your life would be living hell. A truly toxic person never stops tormenting people. It's a sad thing that someone gets so much joy from tormenting others.

goeslikestink
Feb. 23, 2013, 12:39 PM
MVP, you hit the nail on the head. I do feel for my mom having to grow up with that. She had a crappy childhood.

As for my grandmother. I'm pretty much done. She'll attempt to say sorry but really, she's already told me what she really thinks of me. (And has been all my life.) So one sorry does not make it ok. Right now, I feel it is a survival thing for me. I simply can't deal with any more. I just can't.

As for my mother. I don't know. She's going to be just like her mom. Add to that she's a drinker and has some MI, IMO. I can't sort that out for her. I can't make her be nice. I can't ever have a normal adult conversation. It makes me so sad. I WISH I had a good support system because my health situation is terrible right now, but I can't make people change. I just thought a mom was supposed to be kind and give unconditional love. Especially when their kid is having a rough go.

You are 100% right in everything you said in your post.

theres always good that comes from bad----------- and its you
mate you have broken the evil cycle of not nice people because your different to your mother and nan- like me yeah abussive parents be it mental pysical or both - i didnt want to be like mine so at a certain point in my life i said no more
when i had my kids yeah i did visit all those that were naff only to say that they couldnt say that against me of not seeing there grand kids not that they ever brought anything for them or showed them any interest becuase they didn't but in my mind - i did all that i could as after all they were my parents

when they died- i did the dutyful thing of attending there funerals as after all they like i said before were my parents etc

i know i can live with a clear concious and i know that they have missed out on a ton of stuff with my kids and there kids

my point being - they may have produce me, nuetured me into there ways early in life as after all one has to play by the rules when young and under ones roof but that doesn't mean to say that when i leave the nest that i cant be a better person than they are

mate- you are so much more than them as they have shown the wrongs of how to where you know the right of what and how to break the cycle you have and that's what they cant stand as you my friend don't need them to stand upright on your own - boils down to they want to be like you and are

jealous and cant handle it because they are not like you and you have so much more freedom then they ever did in there lives as don't for get your parents and there parents were born of age where one stuck by the side of the man and in the shadows as man ruled the house to these days

both partners do or if single one does it by themselves they never had that so think a bit

bluegirl
Feb. 23, 2013, 06:59 PM
Wow, so sorry you are going through this. I completely understand. Completely. I have not spoken to my mother or step- father for nearly 2 years now. I grew up never feeling good enough despite always trying to be a good daughter. The straw that finally had me cutting off communication was her histrionic blow- up one year because we came for a visit and stayed with my brother instead of them. Oh, and the shitty comments to my whole family about my husband. The girl who had never stood up to her mother became angrier than I ever had before and I finally snapped. It was ugly.

Anyway, it was super long coming and I decided I didn't need that kind of stress anymore. I do miss some of the rest of my family, but am happier over all. I may have to sneak into town and see all those Aunts, Uncles, and cousins very soon. :). Surround yourself with the people who you wish were your family. It works for us!

SFrost
Feb. 24, 2013, 05:07 PM
You guys are amazing. Thank you so much for the support. I hate that there are others out there who understand, because no one should have to have to put up with crap, but I am so thankful at the same time I am not alone. I know it is often like that when you are dealt a crappy hand.

As of now, still no contact from my mother. Which, thank goodness. I hope it stays that way for awhile. Then she is going to get the 3 strikes. And I am going to be sure to enforce boundaries each and every time. For the sake of wanting to keep my relationship with my step dad close, I figured this is the best route. I know she isn't going to change, but in the end at least this way I can have the piece of mind I tried.

mvp
Feb. 24, 2013, 06:18 PM
mvp-I wonder what would be the cost to the stepfather when mommy finds out there is a relationship? In my family's case, you would get reamed out daily, and your life would be living hell. A truly toxic person never stops tormenting people. It's a sad thing that someone gets so much joy from tormenting others.

Ooh, never thought of that.

I'd like to think that he was a grown man who could deal with his relationship with his wife for himself. Or he could ask the OP *not* to be friendly with him because of the sh!tstorm it would produce.

Still, in the OP's position, I might offer my friendship to him. Grown-up, non-co-dependendant and everything, the guy might be lonely in a marriage to an aging shrew.

I have always made sure that I had relationships with my family members "one at a time." That has enlarged my life. When I have failed-- asked folks to take sides or gossiped-- it never worked well. And the friendliness I got via that gossip felt hollow, you know?

IdahoRider
Feb. 24, 2013, 07:52 PM
I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. Emotionally abusive, physically abusive. It was really bad. Bad enough for the court system to take me and my brothers away from our mother on several occasions.

During my 20's I felt like it was my duty to bend over backwards to be nice to my mother. To be loving towards her and understanding. It didn't work out very well.

During my 30's I felt like it was my duty to put in place strong boundaries with her, and kind of build a protective fence so the horrible things she said wouldn't be so painful to me. It didn't work out very well.

In my 40's I finally understood that she was just unable to have the kind of relationship I needed and wanted to have with her. I understood that constantly needing to protect myself from her toxic behavior was not healthy for me, and that much (if not all) of my interactions with her were based on manipulation. She had called me up and asked to spend the day with me. I was overjoyed. We went out to lunch, shopped for a birthday gift for my son and I even brought her to the barn to visit my horse. At the end of the day, as I was pulling into her driveway to drop her off, she asked to borrow money. I offered her what I had, she said she needed more and I told her I just didn't have it. I was sorry, but I couldn't help her. She looked at me like I had climbed out from under a rock and said, "I have just wasted an entire afternoon dragging along after you? And I get nothing in return"?

I cut all ties with her. Even though she lives 25 minutes down the road, I haven't spoken to her in years. I was waiting for a green light in traffic the other day and saw her drive by. That was the first time I have seen even a glimpse of her in over three years.

I still sometimes find myself thinking that if I could just do X,Y or Z that maybe I could have a relationship with her. But then I realize that these years have been the most peaceful of my life. And one of the reasons is because she is out of the picture and no longer bringing her crazy, hateful "stuff" into it.

Sometimes you just have to do something drastic. Cutting her out of my life was the only option I had left.
Sheilah

TheJenners
Feb. 25, 2013, 05:15 AM
Yanno, every time I start to feel bad for my mother, I remember the time she scheduled something for herself, didn't want to do it, and called me (in another town) to come do it. And when I said no, she told me she was getting on the computer to fake up some paperwork saying I owed back board, and would be taking Aisha, my happily retired first horse, to the auction that weekend, and "you know where crippled horses go." Yep. That's what loving parents do.

There are other examples, physical and mental, but this one probably sticks out the most.

So I remember that and remember that she sowed this particular crop called "Being Alone in My Old Age." And then I don't feel bad anymore.

5
Feb. 25, 2013, 06:05 AM
Wow!

Is it possible to get toxic mom and toxic granny a plane to Europe and while they are out of the country get them on the terrorist watch list so they can't come back.

suz
Feb. 25, 2013, 06:49 AM
first, HAPPT BIRTHDAY!!
and second, i'm another woman who will not rollover every time some bitch who shares a bloodline with me demands it!
(did i say that out loud?)
i am very much the odd duck in my family and between my sister and dh's two evil ones i have taken as much abuse as i am able and will take no more.

i have to wonder why we independent, competant horse women scare/piss off/ infuriate the more traditional women in our families.
i suspect it's part jealousy of our ways, maybe we shake up the ideas of femininity and good wife-liness; i know i sure do!
the three women (formerly) in my life who resent me the most are the ones who live very restricted lives as far as i can see and are pretty furious with me for stepping out of the mold.

SFrost
Mar. 29, 2013, 10:14 PM
I just wanted to give an update since you guys gave such a great deal of support both on the thread and by PM.

I'm still not speaking to the grandmother. Don't plan on it. As for my mother, she had my poor dad texting me (I assume) and then she started in on texting. Asking "how long the standoff would last". As if it was some kind of hostage negotiation.

I told her how it was. She gave NO response. Didn't even address it, I'm not at all surprised. Now she calls to make sure I've not keeled over from my chronic illness here and there. But I think I made the boundary limits clear. (for now anyway.) We all know that it will go back to what it was. Except this time, 3 strikes and a zero tolerance policy.

twotrudoc
Mar. 29, 2013, 10:32 PM
Yanno, every time I start to feel bad for my mother, I remember the time she scheduled something for herself, didn't want to do it, and called me (in another town) to come do it. And when I said no, she told me she was getting on the computer to fake up some paperwork saying I owed back board, and would be taking Aisha, my happily retired first horse, to the auction that weekend, and "you know where crippled horses go." Yep. That's what loving parents do.

There are other examples, physical and mental, but this one probably sticks out the most.

So I remember that and remember that she sowed this particular crop called "Being Alone in My Old Age." And then I don't feel bad anymore.

That sounds like my mother. Is her name Marcia and did she move to OK?

sunridge1
Mar. 29, 2013, 10:41 PM
Sorry for your tough decisions. Dysfunctional family offspring here.

It's never easy to throw up the boundaries and possibly nix them completely. I've done the boundary thing and for one sister it has worked. I'm in the middle of boundary making with another (worst co-dependent behavior ever, I can't stands it no more) and one I haven't spoken to in several years. I can say, that I love them all but would necessarily have chosen any of them as friends.

I can ferret out their good qualities most of the time but sometimes....After an unpleasant kurfuffle I unceremoniously cut-off most contact for a time. They seem to honor it as well so maybe they do the same thing. After a time we go back to our normal activities together, usually.

We do share a history together, grew up in the same household, same parents etc. and we did have some good times over all the years however if there were no glimmers of goodness or even one more common thread other than childhood I couldn't/can't do it.