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Want to protect myself and my sister.
March 24, 2015
12:21 pm

Dear LH

Thank you for your kind words support and the recommendations, I am going to follow up on the websites you have directed me to - wow I feel like you can understand my fear and the relationship with your father has been really painful. You have really helped more than I can really put in words, and I am going to go away and read and research this now as you have made me feel like I'm not exaggerating my fear and anxiety. I think this is going to help my sister too,at times I have been so concerned that when me and my boyfriend bought a flat my main excitement was that if my sister was ever out of work I had a home to offer her so she would never have to move back home!



March 24, 2015
9:50 am

Ugh, that sounds horrible. If someone in the street treated you like that you'd turn and walk the other way, shaking your head at the craziness, but because she's your mother and she's installed all kinds of buttons tied to guilt and shame, her words have a deep, indelible impact. I know how that feels. I'm irrationally afraid of my father, even though anyone else I met who acted like him I'd dismiss as a defensive, emotionally stunted alcoholic. His words MEAN something, even when he's just lashing out and saying anything he thinks will hurt me.

You sound like you really want to cut her off, but the guilt holds you back. Try reading Out of the FOG ( and see if that helps--FOG stands for Fear, Guilt, Obligation, the three things that keep people in relationships with toxic people.

Ramping up when you're told to go gently or to stop doing something that's hurting someone else is a classic symptom of narcissism--take a look at and to see whether anything else clicks with you. The drinking also makes me wonder if she's alcoholic, which brings its own special brand of joy into relationships.

But really, what it comes down to is that your mother sounds very, very ill. She needs help. She's not going to accept help from you, and if you could help her, you would have succeeded already. So there's no point to staying around to help her get well.

You also know she's toxic to you and your sister. She keeps hurting you even now, when you're an adult and you can get away from her if you need to. That temptation you have to leave her behind and never speak to her again? Give in to it. It's healthy for you, it's healthy for your boyfriend, it's healthy for your shared future.

And it's healthy for your future child. From other places I've read, she's going to get 10 times worse if she knows you're having a baby, because new babies make crazy people crazier. She'll see it as HER baby (because you're a part of her) and as her do-over child, a chance to have a child that's not as disappointing as she thinks you and your sister were. You'll avoid a lot of extra pain and drama if you cut her off well before you and your boyfriend start trying to conceive.

(You may also want to check out this group for help: They see mothers like yours and people in your situation all the time. They can be tough, but they truly do put the "love" in tough love.)

March 24, 2015
8:37 am

I am 32 years old and hoping to start a family with my boyfriend of 7 years. I have never had a good relationship with my Mum and I feel she has bullied me and my sister all our lives. It was never physical beyond smacking but we both felt tormented by frequent criticism and shouting. Both of us have anxiety problems and have worked on this but neither of us can have a healthy relationship with our Mother as it always leads to her saying intensely cruel things to us, either in private or public. I am 'stuck' because the guilt that she brought me up always leads me back to having a relationship with her. I don't want to blame her for anything or dwell on what she may have done wrong as I feel it's wasted energy. I am sugar coating things a bit but to give you more info she drinks and then gives me the sort of character assassination that leaves you depressed for days and with very low self worth. I firmly believe that she has mental health problems and when you tell her someone is vulnerable and to tread lightly she will go 10 times worse and start really criticising them and also likes to list all the things we did as children, teens and young adults that made her angry. The best way I can describe it is fear - we are adults but we are really really afraid of her and how her words make us feel. Are we right to walk away?

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