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I have a complex relationship with my mum, I just reconnected and agreed to visit. Can you help me for this to go well?

snippets of what people shared on campfire.

Joel

I can relate to this, I have a toxic narcissistic, ultra conservative Christian mother whom I’ve been trying to distance from. I think like Kay says it’s about setting boundaries, for me It’s been helpful writing notes on my phone about the sorts of boundaries I want to keep. It may sound silly but I’ve found that in emotionally traumatic Situations my mind turns to mush and I forget all the boundaries and rules I’ve set for myself when I’ve been feeling strong and of sound mind. Taking Ygor with you will be good as he’ll be an emotional support animal in that instance and allows you breathing room and a form of escape if needed momentarily “mum I just need to take Ygor outside” when really you just need a moment to breathe.I’d also say, just acknowledge within yourself how big a step this is for you, I find that when you meet people under these circumstances it can invariably be about them and their journey when yours is overlooked and while this initial meeting may not be about getting closure / understanding on how you got to this point, just be sure to hold on to the feelings and acknowledgement of what it took you to get to this point which is huge and truly amazing! For me it’s usually through journaling I capture this as it’s not often acknowledged by those around me. It makes my feelings and emotions feel more real and valid

Imane

I also have a complicated relationship with my parents and a lifetime worth of pent up resentment but we still manage to have a good and civil (most times 😂) relationship and I think what made it that way, at least for me, was becoming genuine with my responses. If they have a go at me, I will let them know that I'm not a fan of it and just let out my genuine reaction to their words (whether that's silence, anger, disgust, etc.). Setting boundaries doesn't quite work around here so that's how they got to know what to say/not say. We've had our no-contact days (even while living in the same house sometimes 😅) and when we start talking again, that behavior disappears. I'd say go for it with confidence, you already did the hardest part, and don't betray yourself just because u're scared you might regret it later --I assure you she feels the same way as well.

Ben

Hi.. adding my thoughts on this.. Yes go for meeting .. but be carfuly to consciously check yourself on expectations.. if you don't have any expectations then you can't be disappointed... My own background here of some relevance / bias is that I could have met my dad but chose not to as I thought it would be disrespectful to my step dad who basically brought me up along with my mother from a very very early age... and now it is too late and I recognise that was a silly excuse to self not to take any risk and regret it every day.. so see the upside for you as being greater than the downside.

Irrum

In a situation like this it might be an idea to ask if it’s possible to meet in a neutral location for the first time - like a local cafe or restaurant. That will provide you with two things.1: you’re not psychologically affected by being at her home. 2: you have a way of keeping the meeting short to something like an hour or two. That could provide a useful boundary for you. I think given that it has been such a long time since you last saw each other this might provide an easy “get out” if either of you feel like you’ve had enough so to speak.

Jake

I think pretty much all the advice has been given! I just wanted to add that the way you approach initiating 'the talk' can be quite important too. I think it can really help to start with something along the lines of "Would you be open to discussing our relationship structure at some point soon?" That way your intentions are clear but your partner doesn't have to feel cornered or ambushed and has time to formulate their own thoughts on the matter 😊

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