Estranged from my Mother ~ Still A Little Sadness on Mother’s Day

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EFB door 2For the past few years I have not thought about myself as a daughter on “Mother’s day”, I have thought of myself as a mother instead. When I used to think of myself as a daughter the purpose of mother’s day was to celebrate someone who constantly reminded me that I was not the daughter that she wanted. I celebrated someone who treated me like I was lacking in some ways. I celebrated someone who seemed to be exasperated with me and communicated to me that I was somewhat of a pain in her butt. I celebrated my mother even though she blamed me for more things than I care to list in this post and I celebrated a mother who caused me untold grief. (Well actually, it was untold until 6 or 7 years ago. Now I have told…)

Mother’s day in the past was a time of great anxiety for me. It was difficult to decide ‘how’ to celebrate my mother; what kind of card, what kind of gift and what if she didn’t ‘like them’ and what if she didn’t show any appreciation and what if she made that ‘disappointed face’ which crushed my soul and spirit so many times on previous Mother’s days and on other gift and card giving holidays. I had so much anxiety over the fear of ‘that face’.

Mother’s day in the past was about celebrating someone who hurt me. It doesn’t make much sense to me today when I put it that way but back then I never thought about it that way. I was in the deep fog of conditional love, brainwashed to believe that mother is god and that parent entitlement rules over all else, no matter what…

I celebrated my mother on Mother’s day, yet my mother was someone who communicated to me that she was more important than I was, that only her feelings mattered, that I was somehow unworthy of the things that she was worthy of such as respect, equal value, honor, love, validation, comfort, my own personality, thoughts, opinions and choices.

In the past, in fact for the better part of 45 years, on Mother’s day I celebrated someone that taught me there were two sets of rules in life; one set that applied to her and a different set that applied to me. God help me if I got mixed up about those rules. I learned to prove my love and to prove my worth by trying to guess what she wanted and then trying to do it. Those guidelines did not apply to the way she loved me. She did not show me love in the way that I was required to show her love. She didn’t respect me in the way that she demanded that I ‘respect’ her.

There were consequences if I questioned my mother. I learned to try and avoid those consequences when I was very young. The worst consequence that I feared was of being rejected by her. I was afraid that if I didn’t prove my love in the way that she wanted, that she would withdraw her love from me. That seems a strange fear to me now; all of the ways that my mother regarded me and disregarded me were a rejection all along. All of the ways that she taught me to love her were withheld from me. All of the ways that I tried to show her how much I cared were not reciprocated.

The entire relationship between my mother and I was up to me to maintain; if it failed or if it succeeded (on any given day) it was up to me. Society agreed with this dysfunctional definition of mother daughter relationship. I was told all my life with statements such as “you only have one mother” ~  “I am your mother” ~  “I am THE mother” ~ “You will be sorry” and I believed every one of those statements although today I am not sure I knew what she meant by them back then. They communicated my disrespect, they put me back in “my place” (which was UNDER her) and they enhanced the ever growing fear of rejection.

And there were other statements aimed at me perhaps more blunt such as “you are so ungrateful” and “I can’t take it Darlene, you are going to make me have a breakdown” and “nothing I ever do is enough for you is it?” and I believed all of those statements too.  They communicated my failure and that I was a burden when deep down all I wanted was to show her that I loved her and to be loved by her in return. I wanted to be seen and to be heard and to be validated by my mother.

When I was in my forties I got so sick emotionally that I had to face the truth. The truth was that rejection, my biggest fear, had already happened. My days were spent trying to figure out what was wrong with me so that I could finally be loveable in my mother’s eyes. I never considered that the problem belonged to my mother. And today I understand how I never could have considered that; all my life my mother communicated to me that I was the problem. I had no choice but to believe it and to try to fix me. Today I see it all differently.

For the last few years I have celebrated being a mother on mother’s day. I celebrate with my children; I celebrate my love for them and theirs for me. I celebrate the relationships that I have with them and how wonderful my three children are; each unique, each amazing, each with their own gifts and personalities. I celebrate my choice to be a different kind of mother than the one that I had. I celebrate knowing what love really is and how to express it and I celebrate the mother that I became for myself; I learned to sooth myself and validate my own pain the way a mother should which went miles towards my own healing.

This year my youngest daughter is graduating high school and going off to college in the fall. This year, perhaps because this is the last “Mother’s day” before I am an empty nester and there is a bit of sadness around that for me, I have been thinking about my mother a little bit more than I have in previous years.

I am feeling a little more grief then in past years. My mother walked away from relationship with me when I asked her for mutual respect. I will never understand how a mother could make a choice like that but my mother did. This year, along with a little more sadness I feel a little bit more sorry for my mother as well. I feel sorry for her that she didn’t find freedom from her own pain the way that I did. I feel sorry for her that she didn’t find the glorious fullness of knowing what love really is. I feel sorry for her that she lost me because I am pretty awesome, but I didn’t know that until I stood up to her definition of me.

I feel sorry for her but not at my expense anymore….

Happy Mother’s day to all of you who are mothers and to all of you who have become the mother you never had~ to yourself or to your children. Celebrate YOU today. (this encouragement includes men!)  

In honor of Mother’s Day for each person who purchases a copy of my e-book “Emerging from Broken ~ The Beginning of hope for Emotional Healing” between the dates of May 4th and May 22, 2015 I will enter the receipt into a draw for a complimentary one hour consult or a conversation with me (valued at 125.00 USD per hour) either on the phone or on Skype. You can ask me anything you want. If you have already purchased the book, all donations for $10.00 or more will also be entered into the draw. Due to the nature of this website, the winners name will be kept confidential unless the winner decides otherwise or if the winner will allow me to post a screen name or first name only.  (Click on the book picture in the upper right side bar)

The winner of the free one hour consult / conversation with me is KAREN R.
Karen has been a frequent participant and supporter of Emerging from Broken for several years! I am excited to talk to her in person.

Here is what Karen had to say when I emailed her to tell her that she won the prize!

“I feel like I know you already;
I think I started reading EFB in Nov of 2011. I wasn’t searching for it. It showed up on my Facebook as a “you might like” suggestion.
As I read thru the articles I realized pretty quickly that they described my childhood circumstances, upbringing, and family treatment throughout my life.
Within 3 months it radically changed my understanding of my behavior, coping and issues.
The many insightful comments by other posters were just icing on the cake.”

Karen has been a huge blessing to EFB and I and has regularly contributed both in comments and in donations and I am very pleased that her name was drawn!

Thanks to EVERYONE who participated.

Hugs, Darlene

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time,

Darlene Ouimet

More related posts ~ Honor your Mother and Father ~ Is drawing a boundary as sin? 

~ Mother’s Day and Dysfunctional Mother Daughter Relationship

479 response to "Estranged from my Mother ~ Still A Little Sadness on Mother’s Day"

  1. By: Kris Posted: 18th August

    Alaina #460.

    Spot on. Our Foo’s didn’t want us to have anyone else in our lives because to them that meant taking a risk that we would abandon them. There was no room for both in their minds.Such a sick dynamic. Robbed us from having long time friendships that would have made life a whole lot nicer.

  2. By: Kris Posted: 18th August

    S1988,

    I was an extreme isolator my whole life due to being abused and developing Dissociative Identity Disorder because of it and I am an introvert by nature so I do enjoy time by my self but what I am finding out is the more I take risks and surround my self with people who are safe to me the more I am enjoying their company and now I actually look forward to the times when we see each other as opposed to being afraid all the time. The outcome is I don’t feel so lonely anymore and my warped belief systems of “how I never fit in” and “how everyone is out to get me all the time” are dissipating as I take more risks. Who knew!!

    I respect the right of anyone who feels more comfortable being by themselves. No one has the right to judge anyone and I am sorry that your FOO couldn’t accept you for who you are. Seems to be a re-occurring theme here!! I believe some of us were so wounded that it is next to impossible to trust another human being and rightly so but I can’t help but feel sorry for them at the same time because now that I got a little taste of what it feels like to be accepted for just being me I wish the same thing for everyone else because I know how lonely it is to believe the lie that no one out there will like you for just being you.

    It’s a lie. One big heinous lie that robs you from being able to enjoy the company of another human being that we all deserve to have. Being abused put us at such a disadvantage. I have to really work at not isolating my self despite having some really nice friendships that I was able to develop. It’s in me.

    Peace,
    Kris

  3. By: Alaina Posted: 18th August

    Hobie, i think that was maybe the worst for me, too—not quite the same as you but a variation of it, so that there was no going outside of the family to know love for what it really was, not without the major breakage it has now taken. Family loyalty demanded keeping hidden and alone the very places I needed the most love and light. First you are harmed and not given what you need and then you are also deprived of looking elsewhere or even of knowing and believing there is an elsewhere, and then led to believe it’s all you, that you were never harmed, you were given everything you needed, that no one loved you as much as they did and no one ever would, so that clearly the emptiness is just you, your flaw, your fault, etc.

    It’s definitely not love. Trying to make room for dysfunctional behaviour in my definition of love is definitely something that has kept me tied up.

  4. By: Hobie Posted: 18th August

    Alaina,

    Thank you for bringing that back to me. You express yourself so well.

    I did need a spark, some bit of empathy and understanding to believe that there was love somewhere for me. I think we all do.

    I was told from so early in my life that no one would like me, it was impossible to believe that there was anything better outside my family that would fill the emptiness that I felt. Of course I believed that I felt empty because there was something wrong with me if I wasn’t satisfied with the “love” my family provided.

    Sometimes I think that was the very worst thing that my mother did to me, convincing me that no one outside the family would care about me or tell me the truth that they actually didn’t care.

    What kind of love is it that would say those things to their own child?

  5. By: Alaina Posted: 18th August

    Hobie,
    I was meaning to respond to a comment you wrote a while back now and Kris’ comments about self esteem and self confidence reminded me because they’re along the same lines. About how you couldn’t go NC until you had other relationships in which you experienced real love. That really hit home. I think that’s the truth. And I’m glad you said it. You need something real on the outside to spark enough within yourself. At some point what’s on the outside become less and less necessary to sustain you, in the sense that you could live with the loss of any particular relationship, and have enough faith and resources within yourself to continue on in life, feeding the spark inside yourself and encouraging the growth of nourishing relationships with others, despite setbacks and those times where the light seems so dim to almost be extinguished. Just enough to keep you going. A sort of faith to trust the truth, wherever that takes you, to walk a high wire of not knowing what’s going to happen or if you’re going to be particularly okay at all points in time. But if you don’t experience real love, even the glimmer of it, bits of empathy and understanding, alongside the truth, I don’t know if you ever have that faith to let go and trust it, the idea that it can be enough to see you through… I mean, why would you go through hell if you didn’t believe there was something on the other side? If you can see through abusers, their manipulations and what they’re after, their selfishness and essentially your arbitrariness in all of it, that’s not enough, it seems to me. It’s not enough to know that they are sick and it’s not your fault. I mean it’s huge to know that and it takes forever going back and forth believing it and questioning it, doubting yourself, etc. But without experiencing the love you need, and knowing that it exists there for you to have (and that you are allowed it), the truth doesn’t hold much relevance at all. I think you’d just stick with self-delusion and denial as an easier, more effective way to deal with the truth rather than being clear-eyed about it. It’s the fact that love does exist and it is out there (and in here) to ignite and nourish you and others that the truth of the abuse, the manipulation, the dysfunction and sickness, defining it as such, actually matters because it can help steer you out of what harms you and into what helps you…. It is hard because of the self-doubt and because so many want you to believe that love is something else. And I think even just the understanding of the truth comes with love, too, though, just the idea that no, it wasn’t you, it wasn’t your fault, has love woven in it (but it doesn’t always reach our heart; sometimes we’re just saying the words to ourselves, more often than we feel it—that’s normal)… I think there’s this point of risk, when you let go, when you know that it could be that no one will love you when you let yourself out of the box. It’s probable that someone will. And the more you go along, the more you believe in the probability–as a positive feedback loop… But you don’t know in the moment, with every step in your life, you don’t know what any outcome is going to be. Except it’s not like you’re actually loved when you’re complying to the dysfunctional rules because you’re not being yourself, so it’s not you who’s loved. So basically there’s no real, sustaining alternative…. Anyway, that was all a tangent from just wanting to say that I think you were right about the role of love in all this. I think it’s everything. If you don’t experience it, just even a spark of it, you won’t have anywhere to go, nor any capacity to get there even if you did. I credit EFB for a lot of love, from everyone, for sure. Love is how you best cope with life.

  6. By: S1988 Posted: 18th August

    @Kris

    I also believe that how humans develop is a combination of genes and environment. (When I said that genes played a role in alcoholism, I meant that it was just one factor, not the main cause.)

    My coping mechanism was (and still is in a sense) my loner behavior. Begin alone with a book was my way of escaping abuse. (Which was something I took comfort in, but many adults wanted to squash out of me.) I think part of the reason that being a loner doesn’t bother me is that I’m introverted to begin with. Now, I live alone with my cat as my only live-in companion and work remotely. I can’t dream of sharing living space, and too much face-to-face interaction bothers me. That’s why I’m grateful for inventions like the Internet because I can interact on my own time, and be “faceless”, too.

  7. By: Kris Posted: 18th August

    S1988,

    I don’t know how the gene pool works either. My brother never used alcohol and I did and we grew up with the same alcoholic father and that is why I believe our addictions are based more on a combination of genes and outside environmental influences and the resiliency and the nature of the child. I also found that we all seem to have one coping mechanism or another to deal with the pain of our abusive past. My brother is obsessive compulsive and my husband is a people pleaser and I still continue to use compulsive eating and dissociation to cope.

    I think using our addictions is just a means of coping with what “happened” to us but it doesn’t address the “pain” that it caused us. Just because we stop using that coping method doesn’t mean that we ever dealt with all of the underlying reasons that caused us to want to use them to begin with and what I have found is that we will continue to seek other ways to cover up that pain until we address it but once we find the root cause of all of our pain then we will no longer want to rely on all of our addictions anymore and we will seek healthier ways to cope with the pain of our past.

    I think the answer is building back up our self esteem and self confidence so we no longer feel like we need a crutch to survive anymore.

  8. By: DXS Posted: 18th August

    Anyway, I may not be a candidate for a beauty pageant, but at least I don’t need to make a show of myself to gain validation. What I don’t possess in looks, I can compensate with my brain, such as my love of reading and writing. I’m not sure where I learned to value inner beauty, but it wasn’t from her or any other family members.

    I praise you for this! I have been told numerous times I would be a total knockout if I wore makeup. I refuse. I have always refused to wear makeup. We accept men without makeup, why must women wear makeup? I don’t get this.

  9. By: S1988 Posted: 17th August

    My parents were also alcoholics, but I was too young to remember. I heard that genes play a role in alcoholism, yet I’m a teetotaler. (It’s odd how the gene pool works out sometimes.) It’s strange that they are no longer alcoholics, but they refuse to change other dysfunctions in themselves. I wonder why…

  10. By: Hobie Posted: 17th August

    I’m working the 12 steps as a sexual abuse survivor and codependent (adult child of alcoholics). Somehow I never took the path of substance abuse. Nothing ever seemed to have a desirable effect on me.

    At this point, I’ve acknowledged that this is not likely the only time I’ll be doing a moral inventory. I also feel like I’ve done something similar that had the same effect as steps 4 & 5 and the one about promptly admitting when we are wrong. I’ve tried to keep a short account for years.

    I’ve speculated that I’ve been responsible for way too much that I should never have been responsible for, so I have to let go of that before I’ll have the strength to really deal with what I AM responsible for.

    And the one additional perspective I’ve gained over the past year or two is that the more gracious I am with myself, the more gracious I can be with other people.

    I do really understand when you say that recovery doesn’t go step 1,2,3,4, but bounces all over the place. I’m looking forward to a time when it’s a slower bounce!

    Smiles
    Hobie

  11. By: Kris Posted: 17th August

    Hobie,

    I did the 12-steps too and I didn’t have a whole laundry list of things that I did wrong to other people either but SINCE THEN I discovered a plethora of things that I did wrong!!! lol I wasn’t at a place in my recovery for me to be able to see it at the time but now I see how my perfectionism controlled my life and it dictated how my husband lived too right along with anyone else who was around me. My fear of being rejected and abandoned caused me to reject and abandon other people before they had a chance to do it to me because I wasn’t going to allow my self to relive those feelings stemming from my mother and father emotionally abusing and neglecting me. Those people didn’t do anything wrong just like I didn’t but I sure made them feel that way when I cut them out of my life for no good reason. And my 25 year old addiction to alcohol and cocaine robbed my nieces and nephews from ever having the aunt that they deserved.

    It’s hard to admit these things to myself but freeing none the less. What also makes it hard is I never would have done any of those things but not for being abused to begin with. I call it a wash and unfortunately we all got hurt in the interim!!! I am sure you will do fine with sharing your Step 4 Inventory. Let me know how it goes. I found Steps 4 and 5 difficult too but also realize just because you are on that step in their program doesn’t mean that is where you are at in your own recovery process. Sometimes I feel like these programs can do more damage then good because recovery doesn’t go step 1,2,3,4. It bounces all over the place!!

    Hugs back to ya!!
    Kris

  12. By: Hobie Posted: 17th August

    Hi Kris,

    I glad that my words resonated with you. It always helps to know someone else is recognizing how I feel, while it’s sad that too many people feel this way.

    A few weeks ago I spent DAYS untangling yarn for a project that I was crocheting. I feel like working on my core beliefs is a lot like that. Good and real truth is too often wrapped up in distorted explanations and human agendas.

    I’ve been untangling the real and helpful meanings of the words love and forgiveness for years to the point I wish I could find new words for the concepts to differentiate them from everything that’s been thrown at me all my life.

    I’m currently in a 12-step program and recently completed a Step 4 moral inventory. I’m struggling with the next step of sharing it with someone because I found so little actually wrong with me. I’m feeling defensive about not being harder on myself when being too hard on myself is what I felt to be my biggest obstacle. I still expect people to start pointing out my flaws “for my own good”!

    I’ve set up boundaries with my FOO by NC because they didn’t pay attention to anything I tried to say or do to maintain boundaries within having contact with them. It was really difficult at the beginning, but it’s easier now.

    I’ve been wondering recently if there is a way to set up boundaries inside my head for the memories of all the awful things that were said and done over the course of my life, but I think that what some people want to refer to as “living in the past”, “brooding” or “ruminating” is my way of untangling the truth from the lies. Unlike yarn, that tangled mess isn’t something I can throw away and start fresh. I’ve found satisfaction in making progress. And sometimes I don’t realize how much progress I’ve made until I take a few steps forward and realize that for the first time, I didn’t trip.

    Hugs,
    Hobie

  13. By: Kris Posted: 17th August

    Hobie,

    I feel like you do in this situation regarding not seeing my FOO. There are still some underlying warped belief systems that are getting in my way of seeing my own worth. There is no reason for me to feel guilty for not seeing my FOO when I know in my heart that I am not the one who is getting in the way of moving forward, they are…but I do. God isn’t telling me that I have to see them in order to honor Him and my parents… I do. God is telling me that living a lie is never the right path to go and I need to look at the reason why I feel so guilty over other people’s poor behavior. Other people in this situation just say “When my FOO is willing to admit their part in all of this I will be more then willing to listen but until that time I am not going to lose any sleep over people who don’t even care about me and how I feel so until they are willing to do THEIR part in rebuilding this relationship I don’t see any other way to move forward” and that’s the end of it but that isn’t how the dialog in my head goes!!!

    I still keep on telling my self there has to be “another way” to make this whole thing work out …just like my mother taught me to do my whole life so that way she or anyone else never has to admit that they did anything wrong. It was always me. It was my job to cave in and let them get away with murder and this time I am saying no and it feels awkward to me. That same old recording goes on throughout my mind still saying there has to be a way of doing this when the truth is there is but it involves my FOO’s admitting that they are the one’s who did something wrong and that just doesn’t fit into the sick dysfunctional families rule book and that is why I keep on second guessing my self and feeling guilty and ashamed over something that was never my fault to begin with.

    I get it but how do I stop it!! By setting up boundaries??? …but how do you even begin to do that with people who aren’t willing to work with you in any way???? Or maybe that is what I already did without even knowing it. It’s hard because I am willing to accept their flaws and all and move forward but they aren’t willing to do the same thing for me and I think ultimately that is what hurts me because it tells me that I have to be perfect and I am far from perfect and now I don’t want to be perfect so it doesn’t allow me any room to maneuver. In other words it is the same old song and dance as it was before with my FOO but this time I am not willing to do the dance.

    Peace,
    Kris

  14. By: Alaina Posted: 15th August

    Hi Ally,
    I wanted to add that I also felt that response from your mom to be insincere and loaded with attempts to make you feel bad for all they “do” for you and your daughter, trying to show how unreasonable you are and how you’ve failed…. and then, oh, I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, an apology that to me rang like I’m sorry you have weird feelings that shouldn’t exist but nonetheless got hurt by me and my totally fine and appropriate behaviour. The response reminded me a lot of my parents. Especially the over-involvement, stalker quality Mary-Grace referred to. My feeling is that you may find it completely impossible to ever get through to them so that they really understand because there’s this undercurrent, at least as far as I could pick up, of entitlement/possession and perhaps it’s possible to break through that but I’d be surprised. People who feel that their children and grandchildren are really “THEIRS” have pretty strong feelings of rights and privileges… like property rights, pretty much. I disagree somewhat with Mary-Grace in that your daughter’s relationship with her grandparents does not have to go through you, in the sense that she does have a right to her own relationship with them that doesn’t have to go through you (though if she disliked their hassling her and wanted your help, that’s different, or if it was abusive and causing harm). If your daughter doesn’t answer texts or phone calls, that’s in her right. I can understand your parents’ hurt over that; it hurts to be rejected, but they strike me as being quite out of bounds and engulfing in their behaviour. If they’re like my parents, if you address this, it becomes about them being “concerned” for you/your daughter and your supposed “well-being,” etc…. which seems to be the case in what your mom has written. This stuff is maddening. I wish I had something more hopeful to say to you but in my experience, the best you could do is try to be extremely strong and clear about boundaries because it’s unlikely they’ll ever understand the actual problem but doing that will cause their resentment and passive-aggressiveness (in my experience) and then you have to deal with that and maybe you can get them to hold their tongue but it never made things feel profoundly different/better for me. I could always feel it…. Of course there may be other ways. I don’t want to tell someone there’s no hope. I never tried counselling with my parents because I couldn’t handle it—the idea of being in an enclosed space with them talking about this stuff. Personally, I needed the emotional space provided by having things done through email. They of course didn’t see themselves as the problem; they saw me as the problem or they saw the dynamic between us as the problem (something similar to your mom’s opening line about different styles), i.e. “neither of us is at fault or wrong, we just need a way to work through this stuff, so that you are able to understand us and give us exactly what we want from you without it causing you problems… and maybe, if you do that, or at least try to and then feel genuine remorse towards us that despite trying, you were unable to fit what we wanted without it causing yourself harm and you’re really, truly sorry, we’ll also then try to understand you and pull back a little on this or that in attempts to understand you and your needs.” …i.e. sidestepping the whole fact that what they were wanting from me was completely in the wrong, that it was the source of the problem and not the result of the interplay of my particular personality and theirs, and that I shouldn’t have had to try to bend myself to “fit” abuse and then after failing to fit myself to it, ask/hope for their leniency, as though I have a special set of needs to accommodate or something, that they as “loving parents” will be so good as to understand… if only I keep trying to be good enough and keep being lowly/sorry for my difficulties… but also pretending to the world outside that I’m an amazing, well-adjusted person with great self-esteem who has achieved XYZ with great thanks to the wonderful parenting I received, etc.

  15. By: Hobie Posted: 14th August

    Good stuff Mary-Grace!

    I’m finding that some of the lies have very deep roots and newer truth needs reinforcement!

    I’ve had relationship struggles and been able to repair those relationships because both of us were willing to acknowledge where we were wrong and adjust.

    In my FOO, in my first marriage, and a number of other relationships, I adjusted myself inside out, but the other half of the relationship didn’t adjust, didn’t notice my adjustment, demanded forgiveness while denying a problem, and never forgave me for anything.

    I still feel a little disloyal/guilty…maybe “unChristian” at giving up on those relationships. But, I’m working at redefining what makes me feel bad and I’m getting past it a little at a time. Abusive authority figures like to twist scripture and doctrine to keep victims in line. I’ve learned that God is truly good, but a lot of people who claim to represent Him are frauds.

    Thanks to everyone for being here!

  16. By: Mary-Grace Posted: 14th August

    Ally,

    In my life I have had wonderful friends deliver to me ACTUAL apologies over miner offenses because they were sincerely remorseful. They made amends to the best of their abilities because they actually cared about me as a person and want a relationship with me.
    I in turn have learned how to humble myself & sincerely apologize for harm I have done–when I’m in the wrong.

    It looks like a few of us can recignize a nonapology a mile away. You’ll know the real thing when you see it. It won’t leave you wondering: “what did she say??” Or more confused and angry than before.

    I have learned three things in life (besides God is great!):
    1. Don’t engage “crazy”,
    2. Trust is earned
    3. Only trust the trustworthy.

    And four: trust your instincts. My gut on relationships/people has been right about 99% of the time, once I accepted the truth of how messed up my FoO is. Lol
    If I ignore that inner voice…I usually regret it.

  17. By: S1988 Posted: 14th August

    The email reminds me of my mother’s hypocrisy, too, except I’m not a parent.

    It seems similar to the emails I received during what I call “NC Round One”. I knew there was something up with the pseudo-apologies she gave me, but I was willing to give her a chance and moved in with her during hard financial times. It turned out that she wasn’t sorry at all, and either blamed something else or me for her behavior. We’re in the same town, but at least she doesn’t know where I live.

    She’s too toxic for me, and she would be too toxic for my hypothetical children. If I were a parent, and she found out, I don’t want to be like Michael Jackson and have my child wear disguises every time we go out. Over-protection is well-meaning, but harmful for a child. The best way to protect him/her is not to have a child to begin with. That must be scary to have a parent use chicanery to try to have access to their grandchild. I’m doing my best to not run into her. I can’t imagine protecting myself AND another person, too.

  18. By: Hobie Posted: 14th August

    Ally,
    I just have to say that I feel for you. I have the sense that your mother’s response isn’t genuine. There’s an air of “you’re misunderstanding us” woven through her words in a way that contradicts what she actually wrote.

    Just for clarification, is your last line “don’t know where to go with this” part of your mother’s response, or your words to us?

    This kind of communication is what led me to going NC with my family. It’s maddening!

  19. By: Mary-Grace Posted: 14th August

    Ally,

    If it were me, I would back away.
    Give it a minute to cool off. When I’m cool, if I believed my parent was
    serious, I would arrange a time and PLACE to meet that was convenient
    for ME. If my mom kept rescheduling or post poning I would know she
    wasn’t sincere.

    What comes up for me as I read these exchanges
    is this is exactly the type of emails that got me nowhere
    with my family.

    They sound a bit stalkerish with your daughter. Their relationship
    with her as a teen goes through you. If my parent or sibs tried to
    go around me to talk to my daughters while they were still minors
    I would not be cordial with my response to them about it.

    My dream with my family is that we will meet, face to face, talk about differences.
    Emails, texts and phone calls aren’t personal enough, not for the crap
    they’ve put me through.

    WHEN the apologize to me and my family, if they ever chose to, they will have
    to look me in the eye when they do it.

    I deserve that courticy and respect.

  20. By: Ally Posted: 14th August

    Here is my mother’s reply. SMH:
    What I understand is that our styles are totally different. How do you want to go about addressing things? I DO NOT call you at work. I agree when you’re at work, it is not the time or place to do it. If we call your phone when you’re not working, 9 times out of 10 it goes to voice mail. PopPop has tried to contact Sydney via her phone several times but she doesn’t answer and there is no voice mail setup. He has texted her several times with no reply. Let me know when would be a good time to get in touch. You never ever call us. I don’t even get a thank you call if I send you guys something. The last time dad called you, it was to offer help if you needed a ride to get Syd to registration. He also said he apologized for being harsh at some point. I am not embedded in your business. My biggest concern has been Syd being left alone even when she was still in school. You set up a weekend for us to meet Rob and never called or followed through. I have never blamed you for her not having a car. Dad has tried to help you with your finances, tried to get your insurance lowered, but you didn’t follow through with getting him your paper work. I don’t want to argue and I certainly am sorry for hurting your feelings. Don’t know where to go with this.

  21. By: Ally Posted: 14th August

    Years I’ve been wanting to get that off my chest. I’m sure she has a laundry list of times that I have “failed” my daughter, but I don’t care. She is my kid and she has turned out beyond my expectations. That’s on me and no one else – not her dad, not her stepmom (who is a lovely person) and certainly not my own parents. I should feel good about that instead of guilty over things I haven’t done for her.

  22. By: Ally Posted: 14th August

    So, I got this note from my mom:
    Saw your FB note that Syd has orientation today. How is she doing? I know you don’t want to talk to us, but we always want to know how things are going for Sydney. I will pay for her pens, pencils, whatever school supplies they require if you will let me know how much they cost.

    M

    And here is my reply:
    She’s fine. And thank you for offering to buy her supplies.
    Do you even understand why I’m angry, because I sure as heck don’t understand why the two of you blew up. It was uncalled for and completely unfair. It makes me incredibly sad that you feel I can’t do anything without a “nudge” from you – I am nearly 50 years old and have been taking care of us for years. And doing it the best I can, which I think is pretty good. I can’t think of a situation where I have completely failed Syd and not followed through on something.
    At this point, it’s pointless to argue about it because it won’t change. You will continue to feel that I am lacking in some capacity and I’m exhausted from trying to prove myself or talk with you without getting a lecture or a “reminder”. I’m the one who typically caves and apologizes, but I feel I can’t this time. I don’t have anything to apologize for. And I notice that you aren’t offering any apologies, so you must feel you are in the right as well. Bottom line, even if you won’t apologize for blowing the whole thing out of proportion, you should at least feel some guilt about coming at me while I was at work, and that I will not tolerate. I don’t care to discuss this any further until I get a genuine apology from both of you.

  23. By: Andria Posted: 14th August

    Callynt and Ally,

    Thank you for your kind words of support. Yeah, I just have a few words to say about my sister, “what a bitch!” Sometimes people act like they’re bat shit crazy, but they think that you are the “goofy one.”

    Ally, I’m sorry about the deal with your sister-in-law. Isn’t it funny(really not funny)how someone tries to smooth things over, but it always seems to go back to where it was because that is how the system “works”!

  24. By: Ally Posted: 13th August

    Andria – I just read your story. When my brother and sister-in-law moved here from Oregon, the first Xmas after they were back, my sis-in-law pulled me aside and said “You were right. I had no idea it was this bad”. She saw and heard the way my mom and my other sis-in-law ganged up on me. I looked with her with a blank face and asked “What was this bad?”. She replied “What they said to you”. I told her that I tune the 2 of them out so much I don’t hear half of what they say. But it took her like 2 seconds to clue in. She was pissed that I was treated and talked down to. My brother tries to smooth it over, and it’ll last a couple of days, but go right back. I feel ya!

  25. By: Ally Posted: 13th August

    Just read an article on yourtango and one particular line jumped out at me. The author was talking about her mother, our fave topic, and she said she discussed this with a niece, who “had the same type of non-relationship” with the author’s mother. The niece told her “Your problem is you keep expecting your mother to be your mother”. That really resonated with me. I do keep expecting my mother to act like #1 – a mother and not a judge, and #2 – my mother. I look at my own mother/daughter relationship with my kid (one of which my mother has said on several occasions “why can’t we have a relationship like that?”) and am shocked that she doesn’t try harder with me. I love my child more than anything in this world. I support her in everything she does, and understands her when she fails. I don’t understand how my own mother doesn’t “get” me – I think she never did. Or at least until I hit 17 years old and apparently wised up. She keeps referring to that age in arguments with me “Quit acting like you’re a rebellious 17-year old” is a favorite.

    It confuses me. If I feel this much love and acceptance for my own kid, why doesn’t she feel that for me?

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