I will be buying that book. Thank you. I really appreciate your advice. I'm not great with words, so my reply isn't going to be nearly as eloquent as yours was.
I think you hit the nail on the head. I'm afraid of what people will think, and what my parents will tell them, if I stop contact with my parents. As proof from the way that my mom's friends act toward me and treat me, they already talk bad about me enough. What will my relatives say? I know I need to get over it and not care, but I have been self conscious and worried about what other people think of me my entire life. I don't think I will ever get over that. The biggest issue is that my mother is VERY VERY good at putting on a show. Most people that know her casually (even some that know her better than that) or just meet her think that she is a very nice person and is a loving kind mother. HA! Everyone will wonder what kind of evil troll I am to abandon my wonderful mother. The only people that know what kind of person she really is don't talk to her anymore. My father doesn't speak to most of his childhood friends b/c of my mother. One of my mother's brothers refuses to speak to her anymore. Its the people that think she is a great person that I'm worried about.
My dad is a decent enough man. He is wonderful with my son and my son loves him. He thinks that the problems between me and my mother are 100% my fault. In his own words, "I need to stop being so alienating towards my mother." I don't know if there will ever be a way to get him to understand where I'm coming from. I tried once, shortly before my sister got married, and in return he told me I was being a jerk and that's when he told me to stop being so alienating to my mother. He said he wouldn't choose sides. By refusing to even listen to what I was trying to tell him, that in itself is choosing sides. I chose not to even respond, I just turned around and asked him what we needed to do to sell our house (he held the deed to our house through a deed of trust...long story). We started looking for a house that week, as far away as we could get.
I'm going to do my best and stop all contact with my parents and sister. Someone mentioned earlier that I should change my settings on Facebook so they can't even find me...anyone know how to do that? I have been trying to surround myself with people that love me. Before we moved I spent more time with my husband's family, and when we went back up there right after we moved I spent an entire evening with my sister in law. I had a wonderful time. Our new neighbors are great people and we've been getting to know them. Hopefully we become good friends.
That's another hard thing for me. I don't really have any friends. Even though they aren't "friends" and nowhere even close to friendly, I feel like cutting of my family leaves me with no one left. What happens if something happens to my husband, we get divorced or he dies for whatever reason. I don't want to be all alone in this world. I don't think I could survive.
Absolutely buy the book. There were things I thought were engrained in me that would never change until I read that book. And I know the feeling of wondering what people will think if you end contact. And yes, she probably will badmouth you, but she probably already is. For a long time that was the only reason that stopped me from cutting ties with my mother. Then I finally decided I deserved better, and you know what? If those relatives or friends believe my mother, than they don't know me very well, do they? I have many aunts and uncles all over the country, my mother has a huge family, that are not around and close enough to us to know better. So many of them believe my mother's lies. That's THEIR shortcoming, not mine. If someone would blindly believe something my mother says without giving me the benefit of the doubt, or without asking my version, then they are not someone I need in my life anyway! And the few who actually know better understand. But I made the tough call that being HAPPY was more important than being LIKED. It comes down to that.
My father did the same thing yours did. He didn't want to hear about my problems with my mother, and he used to say things that would infuriate me, like "she's still your mother", as though I'm supposed to give up my entire well being because she happened to give birth to me? Or he would trivialize it by saying "I know you're fighting with your mother..." I would repeatedly insist that no, we were not "fighting"; this wasn't a petty argument, this was a serious and permanent cutting of ties. And he also said "I don't want to get involved", but then would tell me things my mother had said, but didn't give me a chance to tell my version. Again, that is HIS shortcoming. For years this deeply bothered me, because I love my father more than anyone in the world. It hurt that he didn't want to understand. Only very recently, did he sit down and listen so that I could explain some of the things that my mother has done. And then he said "How come I never knew any of this?!" I said "Daddy, I've tried to tell you for years, you never wanted to hear it, you would cut me off and walk away". He finally said, "Well, I guess I was in denial. I didn't want to think the mother of my child could do those things, so I guess I didn't want to hear it". THANK YOU! This was years after I ended contact with my mother, so it took a while before he finally listened to my side of things, but he did.
Also, back to worrying about what others will think, it's no coincidence we are both SO worried about what others will think. That's how we were raised. We were the kid in the family who wanted to make things right, wanted to please everyone, wanted to be good, to show them how worthy we are of love. THEY trained us to be this way by treating us the way they did, so the next time you're worried about what someone thinks, remind yourself that your parents dysfunction is making you feel so needy, and you'll snap yourself out of it, like I did. There is no bigger people pleaser and worrier than me, believe me. I did it for years. When my entire family was drunk, passed out, neglecting responsibilities, I was the one who was sober, worrying, trying to take care of things, trying to make things right. We HAD to worry. But you CAN learn to draw boundaries and practice not worrying so much, believe me, if I can, you can. And sometimes when I think about it, it still gives me anxiety to wonder what the family thinks of me, etc., and if they believe the lies, which most of them do. But then I remind myself how much happier I am now, and then I ask myself, what did those relatives ever do for me anyway? Why am I so worried about what THEY think? They aren't God. At the end of the day, I need to be able to sleep with who I am, and I do much better in life without my mother in it. So I've trained myself not to care what they think. Once you get in my shoes, get "unbrainwashed" so to speak, you'll care less and less what people think, and it's very en-liberating!
Oh, and you mentioned not having friends, and what if your husband dies and you're alone. Let me ask you, would you rather be surrounded by people who you pretend are family, who mistreat you, don't listen to you, don't show affection... or would you rather be alone and with your dignity? You are already without them, they aren't plugged in. You really won't be losing anything but pain. You don't really have them now, do you? Just my opinion, but our situations are so similar, I feel pretty confident in my opinion on this. It can be so much better when you demand better.
Edited by Laurajean - 6/16/11 at 9:45pm