Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My mom is a bipolar narcissist – the bipolar part diagnosed clinically, the narcissist part my own assessment. She is estranged from me, my sister and my dad, her ex-husband.
Unlike my dad and sister, I never foreclosed on the possibility of reconnecting. She has been unpredictable and emotionally abusive at various points, and enough was enough. However, she also has the capacity to be loving, generous, and kind – and I am grateful for those times that she was a good mom.
I just proposed to my boyfriend. There is no wedding date set yet, but I want to consider having my mom there. It will be thorny, to say the least, with my dad and sister in attendance – and I can’t be assured that she won’t behave poorly. But my gut tells me that I would feel a tremendous loss without her presence.
I am on the fence about inviting her, as it would also mean re-establishing contact and potentially reopening a lot of wounds and relationship conflicts. I also fear that her presence may create more family stress. I cannot decide how to proceed. What are your thoughts?
In my head, I am hearing the red-alert sound from the Enterprise. (The original, because I’m old.)
Since “it would also mean re-establishing contact,” why peg it to your wedding day? Why don’t you re-establish contact for the sake of it, and then make up your mind? Or, probably closer to the truth, let her make up your mind.
Dear Carolyn: This might be the oldest question in the book, but here it goes. My boyfriend and I broke up this week. We both love each other but he wanted to move in and get married and I’m not quite there yet, so we came to a mutual agreement that parting ways was the right decision.
I’d still be up for being the best friends we were before we started dating. He wanted no contact because he said talking, emailing or texting, even at a reduced level, would be too painful. Of course, I agreed to his wishes.
Is there ever a point where I can check in with him to see what he’s up to? We were the best of friends before we ruined everything by falling in love. I miss having him in my life, and I’m genuinely curious about how life is going for him. I don’t want to be disrespectful or make things harder by checking in, and I would only do it some pre-determined time from now (six months?), but I don’t know if it’s a good idea at all.
Contacting the Ex?
I think you have to leave him alone unless and until you change your mind about marrying him. Being “genuinely curious” is not enough – especially since it’s about you, not him.
Re: Contacting the Ex: It sounds like the letter-writer is asking, “Does ‘no contact’ really mean ‘no contact’?” And yes, yes it does.
Right, thanks. No loopholes here.
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