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I'm not playing.

(129 Posts)
VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 10:57:42

I have been estranged several years from my mum now and recently my brother reached out again after 3 years with no contact. I am assuming they have finally been able to travel to visit and are putting pressure on him. Of course he said all the wrong things.

His position is that my estranging is worse than anything that led up to it. While he is of that mindset, things could never change. Also of note is the fact that, those things are what caused the estrangement, one could not happen without the other.

He mentions differing perceptions, that's a valid point. That doesn't however invalidate my hurt and upset and that I needed certain behaviours to stop. It doesn't actually mean that my perceptions are wrong. Just because they feel comfortable with how I was treated, doesn't mean I should.

He said the ball is in my court. This is not a game but let's pretend for a moment that it was, I'm not playing, I have left the court. The rules were unclear, it was 1 against 3 and they never equipped me with a racquet.

He says that I have used my children as weapons. Again, my children have witnessed things for themselves. They are involved and approving of my decision. Also, my children aren't weapons. They aren't pieces to be moved as part of a game. Why are they being referred to as such? My children and their emotional health is my responsibility. They aren't mediators, they don't belong in the middle. The way to have a good relationship with my children was to have a good relationship with me, both in front of my children and when they were not around.

He said they are always willing to fix this. That should have happened years ago when I explained how I felt and what was hurting me. I offered joint counselling, I explained why I couldn't carry on as things were politely and gently. I came to it from a place of love and wanting a good relationship.

He told me that while I remain cut off from family, I cannot grow emotionally. Oh no, the opposite is true. Completely. The evidence exists in every aspect of my life. My growth was stunted by people who treated me like I was worthless, an embarrassment, not good enough, too many children, don't own my house, didn't finish my education, the list goes on and on. Of course they have no way of knowing I did in fact finish my education since estrangement.

He said that I had surrounded myself with people willing to agree with me unconditionally. Again, not true. I do not exist in an echo chamber and if that is what I wanted, I would never be posting here, in a place where estrangement has many facets. I've never held myself up as perfect. I've struggled with my mental and physical health. I've needed support that hasn't always been easy to hear but that's possible to do when it comes from a kind place of understanding and care.

He said some really awful things to me when I first estranged and again he justified them all, I made him angry, he said things because he was angry and that was my fault so he has no need to apologise. I don't agree, we are all always responsible for our own behaviour. Just because anger exists doesn't mean it is OK to cut someone, physically or verbally.

He told me all about how I will eventually regret this. Why? Why on earth would I? If regret were to appear it would be there from the start. The only thing that comes and goes is guilt and hurt. Hurt that I couldn't have a family who loved me but cares deeply that it appears to others that they do. Guilt because of all the things I no longer do or will not do in future for aging family members because we do not have a relationship. Unchangeable, circumstantial emotions that sometimes have to be carried and sometimes get put down.

I still know what it would have taken for me to end estrangement. It's quite simple. Accountability, empathy for how I felt and change. Of course that's impossible because my mum is an abusive narcissist and follows the abuse patterns of a covert narcissist to the letter. Baring in mind, her narcissism is diagnosed in her absence by a therapist due to the symptoms I exhibited. The same way we know Chicken Pox by our bodies very specific immune response.

It is just too late for my brother too now though. I've grieved and moved on from the relationship the same way I would any ended relationship. I don't have feelings for him any more. I knew that the moment he sent me an email picking me apart and demeaning me on every level because I didn't cry, I just dealt with it as I would any stranger on the Internet telling me all the old tropes estranged children of abusive parents are far too used to hearing. Even if he said the right things now, there is no trust, it's gone. I'm just not playing.

Riverwalk Fri 01-Oct-21 11:32:19

I know nothing of your story Violet - don't usually engage with the Estrangement threads as outsiders usually get short shrift from the regulars!

I'm just wondering why you spend so much energy writing such a long post when from what you say, you and your children are doing well without the other family members.

Is it not draining to constantly talk about your estrangement and constantly go over past hurts?

VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 11:39:13

Riverwalk problems are ongoing. This email was recent days and there are threats to come toy house...

Apart from that, it might help someone else, possibly

Namsnanny Fri 01-Oct-21 11:42:45

You make a good point Riverwalk it is always a fine line between 'venting' and moving on.
I'm not sure I feel confident enough to post anything constructive, other than to say I'm sorry you are having a difficult time.

VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 13:16:54

I think people just process/work through things differently. For me, I write it out. I was always the child in the corner with my nose in a book, I suppose it comes from there

Smileless2012 Fri 01-Oct-21 13:55:26

Moving on does require letting go. You can't necessarily let go of the painful memories but you can let go of the people responsible for causing that pain, even if they are the ones who have estranged you.

We were estranged, it wasn't anything we'd ever have wanted and yet we have moved on. I would have thought that the person who makes the decision to estrange, having 'got what they wanted' so to speak, would find it easier to let go; perhaps not.

Hithere Fri 01-Oct-21 14:24:45


Will pm you later

3nanny6 Fri 01-Oct-21 14:32:23

Violet estrangement is so difficult to deal with and as you grew up your perception of life with your family apparently caused you enough pain to make the decision to estrange them.
There will be memories with you but you seem to have moved on and you have to let go of your past stay focused in the present and move forward.

I live with the pain of estrangement and I suppose we all have different aspects and question ourselves why we found ourselves in such a situation. Many times I have tried to communicate and get to the root cause but it is like going a round in a never ending circle without progress or answers.
Moving forward and letting go of the situation is a start of finding some peace again.

basicallygrace12 Fri 01-Oct-21 14:36:43

I would say if your brother contacts you again, with threats, you report him to police for harassment, and then try and move on with your life. Maybe a talking to by an officer might to him, might make them realise you have moved on and need leaving alone.
It is so hard to move on, I have ended up just being estranged from all of my siblings , as well as my parent , now. It is easier to get on with my life, and that of my children's (who support me), without any involvement at all, and that includes looking them up on social media (which is hardest battle to break for me personally).

VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 14:43:54

3nanny6 I agree it is always going to be painful in some way. Just not having that family support system but knowing what it should be... Not perfect or anything, just loving.

There isn't any of what you describe in my situation, no attempts to listen to me or find a resolution to issues... Just putting the weight and responsibility on me.

No matter how often I block them or try to put measures in place, they break through. Fake social media profiles, new emails, finding contact routes to me online...

I tried over and over not to read them but every time there was this little voice in my head saying "what if it isn't the same old guilt trips and blaming me?“ and I find myself opening them hoping for something different.

It's one thing to logically understand a situation is as it is but another to persuade your emotions to keep up.

Like you though, it just goes around in circles and I can't do it anymore. Estrangement was never anything I would want but it's the only way I had left to protect myself.

VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 14:47:20

basicallygrace I've been told what they are doing online is not illegal as in the public domain but if they do show up I will definitely report them to the police as I know I will feel scared and intimidated. I also obviously have the evidence that they have been asked not to contact me.

Hetty58 Fri 01-Oct-21 14:48:52

VioletSky, we are always free, thank Heavens, to spend our time with whoever we wish to. Equally, we can ignore and rebuff those who we don't wish to associate with, 'family' or not.

They may well have different views or recollections (and want to convince us that they're right, we're wrong) but so what? We don't want to know, anyway, so it makes no difference to us.

I've had closer relationships with friends and partners, over the years, than I ever had with family. We find our place, where we are content and happy - and leave certain people behind for good!

VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 14:56:42

Hetty I know you are right!

I think I just have a very loud inner child sometimes lol

3nanny6 Fri 01-Oct-21 15:08:47

Violetsky : That is the main thing in my situation I know we cannot get back to wonderful family only going back there were better times I too would never want things perfect only to care and have genuine concern for each other.

I wanted to listen and communicate find ways for resolution only that has to come from both sides and at least both sides must want the best outcome for me it was only going around in the same old circle and achieving nothing.

I am not on facebook or other social media sites like that so I get no contact to bother me. Every once in a while a text appears on my phone and like you say a little voice appears in your head and there is hope that this time it could be different. I am the same , only from experience I know I only find myself once more disappointed.

Only with concentrated effort and seeing the situation for what it is allows me to move forward and letting go of those
I care for but who have shown they do not feel the same takes me in the direction of looking for others worthy of my

Hetty58 Fri 01-Oct-21 15:29:03

There's always the sadness of what should or could have been, vague memories of innocent, fun days with siblings, holidays and outings - before the rot set in.

There's the enduring thought that blood really should be thicker than water - yet somehow isn't. So there's always a sadness there but, should they show up, don't open that door. Value the peace and stability you have now.

Smileless2012 Fri 01-Oct-21 16:27:05

3nannyflowers the only thing that going around in circles achieves is to make us giddy. I do wonder why despite our best efforts to find the root cause, we sometimes never get to know from the other party/parties what that is.

There comes a time when you just have to tell yourself that if they wont tell you why, there's no point in asking.

"We find our place where we are content and happy - and leave certain people behind for good" Absolutely Hettysmile and the passage of time does help doesn't it, even enabling those of us who'd never wanted to lose the ones we've lost to find happiness.

No, blood isn't thicker than water when it comes to relationships and there are circumstances when it shouldn't be. We shouldn't tolerate unacceptable behaviour from someone just because we are biologically related.

You can estrange someone who does, and you can let go of the person who has estranged you too.

VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 16:36:15

3nanny6 I am glad you are doing so well and staying strong.

Hetty figuratively and literally. I'm keeping the curtains closed and the latch on for the next week until I feel the coast is clear. Our front rooms have windows front and back thankfully so still plenty of light. I genuinely do not believe my brother will bother as soon as they stop badgering him

3nanny6 Fri 01-Oct-21 16:59:27

Smileless2012 : Yes that is right it does not help to achieve anything, there is the possibility that there is not even a root cause to be found. The other party does not always want to tell us what the main difficulties are they just want some control over us and maybe want us to be miserable.

It has been some months since I have bothered to allow an estrangement to make me feel miserable I miss my grand-children but that is because I cannot have a relationship with them due to the situation and am being denied the chance to show them how much they are loved and cherished.
It is what it is I bear no grudges hostility or anything else life is too short never thought I would be in this situation but life goes on. Family for me has always been close and loving to nearest and dearest estrangement has shown me that bonds can be broken.

freedomfromthepast Fri 01-Oct-21 17:22:43

VS: I am sorry they are causing you stress. Stay strong and keep doing what you are doing.

VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 17:26:58

For me explaining why I estranged was the right thing to do. Even given my mother's abusive nature there was a chance losing me or my children completely might be a push for her to get help and change. I could have forgiven her. She couldn't do that without destroying her own life, unravelling a lifetime of lies and awful behaviour, so it was never really an option for her.

I don't know if I think everyone should give reasons for estrangement, quite possibly not where there has been abuse but I do think it helped me to try and to know that I did what I could to be open to making the relationship whole again.

3nanny6 Fri 01-Oct-21 17:29:36

V.S You have come this far without them and no contact from your brother for along time. All they want is to remind you that they still exist probably makes them feel better.
Keep enjoying your life stay strong live how you want to live
they will soon get bored when they have no reaction from you
leave them to it.

VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 17:39:27

3nanny6 I think you hit the nail on the head there, he said if I don't answer his emails he will "pop up to remind you I am here".

I will, thank you

Smileless2012 Fri 01-Oct-21 17:45:13

"there is the possibility that there is not even a root cause to be found" my thoughts too 3nanny or that they are the root cause and aren't prepared to honest with themselves, let alone us.

A reason/reasons should be given IMO. If you've taken the decision to never have anything to do with the person you're estranging, especially if that's your parent and there are GC involved and the estrangement means they'll lose them too, the least you can do is give your reason(s).

You do seem to be in a 'better place' which is good news. It's been such an emotional roller coaster for you especially with your GC.

As you say "bonds can be broken" including those we thought could never besad.

Sara1954 Fri 01-Oct-21 18:06:38

You simply have to draw a line under it and move on.
I have had no contact with my mother for twenty years, and I never will.
I haven’t stopped my children seeing her, and they still do.
But all this going backwards and forwards will stop you moving on, you have made a choice, you say you are happy with it, now close the door.
It doesn’t matter who said what or did what. There is bound to have been fault on both sides, but that doesn’t matter, just let go.

Smileless2012 Fri 01-Oct-21 18:13:46

It must be hard for you being estranged from your mum Sara but allowing your children's relationship with their GMflowers.