Cutting contact with abusive mother (NWR)

posted 3 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

Do it.  Draw a line in the sand and make her conform to your requirements for a relationship with you and your child.  What she did was fail to protect you from your father and that is abuse as well so she is equally responsible.  She will probably deny everything and definitely be angry with you so don’t expect an apology.  Make sure your husband on is on the same page so you provide a united front.

However, I will also recommend that you leave that door unlocked so that she can earn the right to a newer and better relationship with you and your daughter in time.  I also recommend counseling for you to deal with what happened to you because it still causes you anxiety to the point that you are willing to cut ties with your mother.

My mother did this with her father and eventually they both came to grips with the past enough that they enjoy the relationship they have built in the last few years.  My mom has not entirely forgiven him but she has learned to let him back into her life.

Post # 4
7654 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

@caritas:  Do you think she would lash out irrationally about this? I only ask because, with all that you said about visits and what not, I would be concerned about you and your family’s safety, but if this is not the type of woman she is or would become then I would go ahead.

I, personally, would cut all physical contact and only send her letters and pictures of the baby (maybe Skype chats), but no visits. I would be too concerned.

Post # 6
209 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@caritas:  As someone who was also physically, verbally, mentally abused I understand how parents can somehow *forget* they were ever abusive and just pretend its all so rosy. I don’t ever plan on having children because I am afraid of resorting to violene myself. Also, FI has said that he would NEVER let my parents be around the child alone if we did have children. 


Post # 7
845 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@caritas:  I think it makes sense to remind her why you find it difficult to have a warm, mother-daughter relationship with her. These bullet points are good. 

If you are concerned she may go to other family members to badmouth you, beat her to it. Tell them that because of painful parts of your past with your parents, you are finding it necessary to establish boundaries with your mother. Say that you are hopeful she will accept them. 

Have you considered what you want your child to know about her grandmother? My grandmother was an emotionally abusive and neglectful parent who is also an alcoholic. My grandmother’s behavior improved when her children were grown, but not by much. My mom always took the approach of “forgiving and accepting” her mother’s behavior and encouraged me to spend as much time with my grandparents as possible (we lived in the same neighborhood).

I only found out the truth about my mother’s childhood in the last 5 years or so. I know see my grandmother’s behavior for what it really is. It infuriates me that my mom did not establish boundaries long ago and that she allowed me to have a “normal” relationship with my grandmother, without me knowing how much hurt she caused our family. My mother allowed my grandmother to experience so many good parts of having a family, even though my grandmother made her own children’s lives hell and in my eyes, didn’t deserve it.

Post # 8
9019 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

@beachbride1216:  +1.  I love this answer.

@caritas:   ((HUGS))  You are so brave!  I cut off contact with my abusive father but more by “drifting apart” instead of overtly facing the issues the way you’re planning to.  Your way is more healthy by far, and I applaud your courage.

Post # 9
6407 posts
Bee Keeper

Sounds like you’re ready.

Have a plan for how to diffuse the pain you may feel strongly after the call. Your husband being available (but open to either giving you space or giving you closeness, knowing your immediate emotional needs may be hard to predict in advance) would be good.

There’s no “good” way to start this call, but then again, there’s no “bad” way to start it either. I guess I would say something like, “There’s something very important I need to talk to you about. This is difficult for me to say, but it needs to be said,” and launch into it. Rip that band-aid off.

Serious kudos on having the courage to do the hard thing.

Post # 10
6407 posts
Bee Keeper

Oh, didn’t see the note about your uncertainty raising each of the bullet points. I think they’re all good. Tell her. If not for her, for you.

When I speak a truth that needed to be spoken for a long time, I feel a sensation like a bell ringing in my chest. It is freeing and feels very good. It feels peaceful. You deserve that.

Post # 12
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

@caritas:  She will never be left alone with my mother.

That is smart. 99 times out of 100, this wouldn’t even be a concern, but most child abductions are by someone known to the family, and what megz said about the lashing out thing. Best to be careful. You sound like you are being careful and that’s good. I think you’re doing the right thing for yourself and your family.

Your bullet points are good. I would include all of them. Definitely tell her that the conversation is not a discussion or a negotiation, but I would let her respond, yes. You don’t have to respond to whatever she says, but do listen, and then tell her you’re going to go and terminate the call. I would keep records of what is said, if you can. Have you looked into what your state has as far as grandparents’ rights? In most states you should be fine if you need to cut her off totally, but best to know in advance, just on the off chance she decides to seek some kind of legal avenue to gain access to your child.

Post # 14
293 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

@caritas:  A few things you might want to do too:

(1) get a living will stating exactly who will take your daughter goes to if you die, if your husband dies, or if both of you die. Put a copy of it with your in-laws and another with a lawyer, so that your mother doesn’t get your daughter, ever.

(2) I wouldn’t bother explaining why you’re changing the rules of contact to your mom. She won’t understand and will just use it to try and hurt or manipulate you further. Just say that you’ve become busy with your daughter and, because you’re still dealing with the abuse from your childhood (no more details than this) you need more distance from her. She will probably lash out. Don’t let her. State the rules. E-mail them to her. Mail them to her. Then enforce them.

(3) See if you can inform the local law enforcement about the rules you’re holding your mother to, and that you may need their help with her at times (if you think she will do something extreme like not leave when told to, or vandalize your house, etc).

(4) Tell your mother that she is not allowed to contact you through alternate means – certain e-mail and phone conversations are all that are allowed, and will lead to a limitation of her future contacts. If she comments on your blog or Facebook at you, delete them and ban her/block her.

I wish I could say that I just thought of these things off the top of my head, but my mom has a similar relationship with her mother, including ongoing abuse when they were in contact. She ended up completely cutting all contact, though, and you might want to be prepared for that eventuality. Your mother may just not be a healthy person for your family to be around.

Post # 15
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

@caritas:  Recording the call is an A+ idea. Again though check to see if you’re in one of the states where it’s legal to record a phone conversation if one party knows that it is being recorded, or if both parties have to know. Just to cover your bases. But I think it’s an excellent idea. Glad to help, and good luck.

@zumbaista:  Holy heck, that bit about making a will specifying who should care for her baby should go should something happen to her and her husband, that is seriously important and it’s something I forgot about totally. Good call.

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