My mother abused me mentally, emotionally and physically for most of my life because of her alcoholism (which she refuses to acknowledge). I last saw her in person 4 years ago which was also the last time she hit me, leaving scars. She neglected me on my wedding day 6 months ago when I used Skype to try and have her watch the wedding live. She lives too far away to have been there in person. That was the last straw for me and I cut her out of my life for her toxic nature. Recently she has contacted me wanting to get back in touch. I've been told by others to keep her at a distance to avoid getting hurt again but I have mixed feelings because she is my mother. What should I do?
Difficult call. I think you might have to go with your gut. But let me say this:
I come from a very cold family, also. My mother was sexually abused, which left her without a personality and the emotions of a 5 year old, the age at which she was abused. She was stone cold.
My older sister and brother were also sexually abused by this same mother, and they are without personalities and are emotionally five year olds, the age they were abused.
My mother would come after me every chance she got, that's all she knew, and I spent my time trying to stay away from her but, like you, I was back and forth on that topic. I knew I didn't like her, but she had a way of keeping in contact.
I dropped contact with my brother 15 years ago over a legal matter, and know enough and am strong enough to stay away from him. My sister, I dropped contact with 6 years ago after my wife died of a long term illness, and I knew enough to try my best to keep her away from the funeral, since she's an expert at laughing at funerals to disrespect the deceased.
So with that, I broke ties with my sister. No phone calls, nothing.
I know not to have contact with her, for all she's doing is setting the next trap. All she can do is try to win, for she is emotionally vacant and can't enjoy a good relationship, so she tries to make up for it by winning. I win when I stay away.
As for your mother, some questions like, "Is she vicious, or is she just drunk?" Does she verbally or physically attack you should she draw you back in?
Was she abused as a child, and that's all she knows. Where did her abuse come from? I like to analyize these little suckers. Have you ever heard one of her siblings say, "You know, one day dad just knocked hell out of her and she hasn't been the same since," some little insight like that.
Was her mother or father an alcoholic? did she have a hard life? Does she drink booze rather than taking medicine?
Has she quit drinking? Can you talk with others around her who have seen her behavior? In a way, I wouldn't just plunge back in with her. She's very dangerous. If she's still drinking you might not want to back around her.
Tell her to write you a nice long letter explaining her actions. If she's sincere, she'll write you a nice long letter explaining why she used to beat you about the head and shoulders. If she insincere, probably not.
I would get a report on her first. If that turns out OK, maybe give her a phone call or write her a letter. If you write, you can ask her to write and explain her actions. Maybe hold off even on the phone call until you can get some idea in writing, perhaps, of what her state of mind is supposed to be.
Why the big change? You know, little questions like that to those around her.
Do what you think is best. But I would think of sending up a trial balloon and see if she knocks it out of the sky, before putting myself into the same room with her and knocks you around a little bit. Then, if that test is passed, have someone go in there with you to give her second thoughts about abusing you again.
Below is a column I read on being positive when trying to solve a problem.
Here below is the column on being positive, that has helped me.
Unconsciously, I was negative and didn't know it because it was in my uncon., but for some reason I had difficulty solving problems.
When I came across this col. below, on being positive going into a problem, I knew what my problem had been: con., I wanted to solve the problem, but uncon., I was neg., and until the 2 parts of my brain could work together, I wasn't going to solve a lot of problems.
This col. helped me to train my uncon. to be positive. Prior to my next problem, I said to myself, just read this col. first. The problem is your uncon. neg. So I read the col. first, and by the time I got to the 4th paragraph, I had solved the problem, by first clearing my uncon. of neg.
When away from the col., and I had a problem, I would say to myself, "Think positive, think positive...." again, trying to clear the neg. from my uncon.
Here's the col. below.
by Niki Scott
“We all know people who race around in small, futile circles whenever they’re present with a problem to solve, and others who seem to be natural-born problem solvers—able to tackle obstacles, calmly, logically and effectively.
“Fortunately, being a good problem-solver is not a genetic trait. It’s a learned skill, one that can be learned at any age. If you want to improve your problem-solving skills, here are 10 steps that will help:
The three most important things of a good problem solver are attitude, attitude, and
attitude. If you think of obstacles as anxiety-producers and unfair burdens, you almost certainly aren't an effective problem solver."
“If you view obstacles as opportunities to gather new information, stretch your imagination, learn new coping mechanisms and achieve more control over your life on the other hand, you’re probably a problem-solving whiz.”
“Be an optimist. If your general outlook is pessimistic, you’re probably not a good problem solver. Facing every puzzle with the assumption that it’s probably unsolvable practically insures that it will be.”
“Happily, changing from a pessimist to an optimistic frame of mind isn’t as difficult was it might sound. Pessimism isn’t a genetic trait, either. It’s a habit of thought we learned as children—and can unlearn as adults.”
“Keep an open mind. Most problems have not just one solution, but many—and sometimes the best ones sound far-fetched or even bizarre at first.”
“Be flexible. Force yourself to give up old, outmoded ways of thinking or acting even though they’re comfortable. Experiment with new ways of thinking and acting, and you’ll be surprised by how quickly THEY become comfortable.”
“Believe in yourself—no matter what. If you believe you’ll be able to solve a problem, your chances of solving it double. Review your past successes—frequently!”
Take one step at a time. We all want guarantees that our imagination, diligence and hard work will pay off, but good problem-solvers are able to concentrate on the job at hand and move toward their personal and professional goals without blueprints or guarantees of success.”
“Ask for the help you need. There’s no shame in needing help—only in being too self-conscious, too self-protective, too proud or stubborn to ask for it.
“Don’t ask for help you don’t need. Those of us who were taught as children to run to an adult whenever a problem arose, or encouraged in other ways to be helpless and dependent, may find ourselves automatically seeking help now when a problem arises—whether or not we really need it.
“Resist the temptation. Asking for assistance before we’ve honestly tried to solve a problem robs us of our dignity, self-respect and self-confidence—too high a price to pay. “
“Respect the process—not just it’s outcome. Never discount a learning experience just because you didn’t get an A+ on the test.”
“Regardless of whether you’ve been completely successful at solving any problem, working on it almost certainly has gained you valuable experience and insight—good tools to bring with you the next time you have problem to solve!”
'Finally, never hold the past over you own head. Learn what you can from your mistakes, give yourself credit for trying, then wipe the slate clean, quickly, and give yourself the same sympathy, understanding and encouragement that you’d gladly give to any friend.”
Thank you for your advice. I will give you a little more insight. My mother has never spoken to me about her past, all I have heard is from my dad and he doesn't know much either. My grandmother was young when she had my mother and decided to leave her with my great grandmother rather than deal with her child. I don't know how long she was abandoned but my mother has always acted as though my younger brother and I are only here because we make her look good. She has always preferred my brother over me, sadly enough, in our baby videos, you can see the moment where she was done acknowledging my existence. Whenever my mother beat me, usually when she was drunk (however, there were events when she would hit me while sober), she would leave me on the floor crying and go hug my brother, telling him what a good boy he was. And I want to be clear that this was not "spanking a child for bad behavior", this was savage. She would tear at my skin, throw me, pull my hair and push me into furniture, at one point she attempted to rip my jaw off to which I could only bite down to make her stop. All through my childhood, up until 16, if I got sick, she would slap me and accuse me of being pregnant. Whenever I asked why she did those things, she will always say "Because you were a bad child" "You know what you did" or "I never hit you". She still drinks and denies completely that it is a problem, calling herself a social-drinker. I still have so much anger built up about the situations and I have been in counseling since I was 14, been on and off medications, and still have no answers. I have tried in the past to let it go and accept her for who she was. I'm at my wits end, not with her necessarily, but with the fact that I am exhibiting true insanity by hoping she will change. I don't know if I can handle another disappointment. My husband tells me not to talk to her and avoid more hurt but I can't help imagining that she will get sick and die one day and all she would have known of me was that I was mad at her. It's an extremely painful thought
I'm in a similar quandry. I'm fixing breakfast a little while ago, and I'm thinking, "Why am I so ill at ease? Why do I feel so unsettled? Why do I feel cold inside?"
Then I remembered, "Oh, yeah, it's that guy who lives nearby." That guy has been harassing me for about 5 years now. That guy is also anti-social, anger personality disorder, paranoid, which doesn't help me any. Again, I like to analysize them, because it makes them to understand and to defeat. Helps me to decide what to do next.
Also, the col. on being positive when trying to solve a problem calms me down, even though I'm not real calm right now. But the col. does let know, "If I can be positive about this and other problems, it improves my chances of solving it, which helps to calm me down.
But by being positive, I am better able to come up with a solution or two or three, which calms me down. I just don't know how wild he's gong to be. About a week ago late a night, he broke the front windshield of my car which was parked in my driveway. He's been on my property before, with that type of activity.
But one of the things he wants to do is make me a nervous wreck, but with the col. on being positive, he's not as successful with that as he'd like to be. Another thing he like me to do is lash out at him, so he can't say, "Did you hear what he said?" so he'll have something "real" on me. But that's not going to happen either.
I do have several things I can do, and I have to realize that to try to keep it together. One thing, I can talk to his wife when she rides by in the car sometime, and I have some info I want to give her. I can't give him the info, because I've tried in the past, and he keeps it to himself and continues the battle. If I can get the info to her, perhaps she can convince him that if wants a nice marriage, with this new info, showing there is no problem, he better calm down.
So, I'm up in the air over something, also. I know what it feels like to be up against a monster.
My now deceased wife was sexually abused at 5, and it lead to a difficult life. One of the reasons for the abuse, her mother had no support system, no money, was forced to leave my wife (for free)with a woman next door who had a disruptive household. The woman next door did not take care of my wife, either, and sexual abuse happened.
As an adult, my wife caught a deadly disease, and when she called to tell her mother about it, her mother said something like, "You think you bad off, I know a woman who's got arthritis," or some such cold remark. Her mother had no remorse that she had neglected her child, but had only anger that her child had chosen to stay with her grandmother, rather than come back to live with the neglectful mother.
But my wife would always go visit her mother for a few days once or twice, and would also speak nice to her on the phone. "Momma?" she would say in this plaintive voice when her mother answered the phone. I'm thinking, "Why is she so respectful to her mother? Is she still hoping her mother will become a nice person?" Her mother never did.
But it reminds me of your situation. "When the monster is your mother," type of situation.
There's something about you as a female that your mother didn't like. Maybe you were a rival. Maybe she was abused as a child. Maybe she was jealous. I think you need to figure that out. I'm not sure that you can figure that out, with perhaps no one around who can tell you that, but you said "all I have heard is from my da and he doesn't know much either."
I would go back to him and say, "Why did she hate and abuse me as a female, but not my brother?" Spouses do spill the beans to one another, so I would keep thing for that. If she's still alive, are any of her siblings, etc,. still alive who might could tell you on the phone?
Your telling about your past reminds me of my telling about my past for many years. Sad. I'll tell you when that stopped. I'm in a self-help group, and when it came time for me to speak, I listed my problems for a minute or two, in a very sad voice. The woman next to me listened patiently, and when I finished she said in a very neutral but caring voice, "Oh, you were having a pity party? We've all done that."
Now break that down. She didn't attack me. She was a female. She didn't scold me. She didn't encourage me. She said everybody has had a "pity party." Also, what she said was "everybody's done that," as in past tense. As in "don't do that again." And I didn't. For after that, every time I tried to feel sorry for myself, I saw that woman's face, and I heard her voice, and it didn't work. I couldn't curl up like a five year old and feel sorry for myself any more.
I simply rem. the bad times as memories, something I'm glad I'm away from. Something like, maybe I don't know that I want to go around those people who treated me like that. Maybe I don't want to treat others like that. But I didn't sit around and ponder it for a long time, because that lady had embarrassed the hell out of me when I tried to do that in front of her. Except she did it in a nice way, in front of those four other people.
But it did affect me. And I'm thankful I ran into that lady for those few seconds there at that self-help meeting.
Your past was rougher than mine, that's true. And it is a sad story, and I do appreciate you sharing it. And you can tell it to yourself and others as many times as you wish. But I am telling you that that lady helped me that day. I was older than you. I was about 42 or so. Your story does also pertain to whether you should go back and see her.
Without your info, no one call say whether you should go back to see her. You put us in your shoes.
As for our anger, when my wife got caught having affairs, she was furious at me that I inadvertently stopped them. Having been sex abused, she didn't live in reality anymore. I should have been and at her, and I was. But one of the things she tried to do was to get me as angry at the world as she was. If spoke against her verbal onslaughts, I was getting down in the gutter with her, which I tried not to do. If I was silent, she won that way, because she could berade me all she wanted, and I wouldn't even stand up for myself.
But what I was also doing was refusing to participate in pathological anger, which would have also been a victory for her. So I tried to avoid that also.
So I now you have a right to be angry. But if you're as angry as your mother, maybe she wins in a way. So with the col. on being positive, you don't have to go back to see her. It's your choice. You're in the power position. You can decide now as an adult, to ignore her request.
Also with the col. on being positive, you can chose to go back and see herm, or write her or call her, your choice. As the col. on being positive said, "Often there are more that one solution to a problem." See? You're the one who chooses which one. That's power. That's positive.
You're not going back in a weakened position. Big difference.
If you go back, you can leave at any time you want, know that in your mind. That's positive, that's power. If you go back, you can have someone with you to guard against her verbal onslaughts. Your choice.
Also this: I once had someone rip me off for some money, as in con job. That person got in need one time and called he back. I told myself. Somewhere in the conversation, ask her what she did with my money she said she needed. She said she didn't even know. I then said, "You said you were going to come into some money soon, ahs it arrived yet?" She said no. But she got the idea. Things weren't going to be right between us until she paid me back. She hasn't called bac, and I haven't gotten my money.
So here's the deal. If I went back, it would under my terms. During the conversation, I would say this, "I rem. you used to give me a rough time, what do you have to say about that?" I watched her squirm and wiggle, head down, lieing like a dog, himming and hawing, embarrassed to tears, and coming up with whatever lie she chose.
After she stopped I would then say, "You don't rem. beating the hell out of me?" And I would watch her squirm and avoid your eyes and act nervous, and I'd bring up as many of those as I wanted.
I would then say, "Whatever happen to you to make you want to treat your child that way? How were you treated as a child?" And I would watch her.... And I would ask her as many of those questions as I wanted. And when you got everything you wanted out of her, I and who ever I brought over would leave. You can ask her these questions when only you and her are in the room, as you choose.
If she begged for you to come back, same thing. "Here's what I want to know, why did you beat me?'"
Oh, here's a clue. You said, the only reason she had two children was to make her look good, that according to your mother. Why do you think she's asking you to come back? To make her look good. That's all she knows. Her neighbors have asked her, "Hey has you child, Judy, come back to see you lately?" If she says, no, that makes her look bad. If she can entice you to come back for a meaningless visit, she's fooled you again, and she considers you that--a fool.
Your brother comes back, because she didn't beat him. You're the one causing her to have a bad image with the neighbors, etc. She'll then be able to tell the neighbors, etc., "Oh, Judy and I get along great, she came by last week and we had a lovely visit." It's all to make her look good.
If she's denying that she has a drinking problem, you already know what the game is: she hasn't changed and she's only doing this for her benefit. And when she denies the other questions, it only confirms you beliefs.
Also this can be looked at as a confrontational visit. While she's using it to cover up her sins, you can use it to show yourself and her that you're not afraid to stand up to her. And if wants to cont. begging you to come back, more questions.
So, you don't have to go back. If you decide to go back, have your questions in your mind or written down, about the abuse, why you and not your brother, what happened in her past to make her be like that?" If she doesn't answer the questions, you'll know your visit is just for appearances, for her benefit, not yours.
So, either way, go back, don't go back, you can't lose.
You say, "I have tried in the past to let it go and accept her for who she was. I'm at my wits end, not with her necessarily, but with the fact that I am exhibiting true insanity by hoping she will change. I don't know if I can handle another disappointment."
It ain't going to be another disappointment, it'll be a win for you.
Living . . .
Adult Children of Alcoholics was a help for me. See if there is an active group around your home. Others have been thru the same thing as you and deal with toxic family members trying to re-connect with them, too.
Are you seeing a counselor at present?
Whatever you decide to do, make sure that it makes YOU feel better, and that it benefits you and strengthens YOU.
Perhaps if your mother met you in a place where YOU feel especially safe, like your counselor's office or with a protective, trusted relatives, so that you have some back-up in case she tries to run her games on you.
I am no longer in counseling because my insurance stopped briefly and there was nothing more my therapist could tell me that she hadn't already. That is why I am on here, for outsiders opinion. My therapist had sent me to a Woman's Crisis Center where they held meetings for domestic abuse victims. And they were extremely helpful. However, my dilemma now is that I don't know whether or not I can put my heart out yet again to try to fix things. My mother and I live in separate countries so the only way we contact is via email or video chat. I have had few meetings with her through video chat. The first since my last beating was through DHS, a supervised visit, and I actually had to get up and walk out of the visit because the mediator was ignoring the name calling and verbal abuse that my mother was exhibiting. Every other time since has been with my boyfriend (now husband) and he would step in when she would say certain things. Also, when I began cutting my mother out of my life, she had other family members email me rather vulgar messages. Unfortunately, my mother is very charismatic, even those who have witnessed the abuse stand up for her. My brother is no exception. He still believes that I am the problem although I did nothing. I'm not saying I'm perfect but she would attack randomly and I would be so confused as to why she would be so angry.
Me hurts to hear that. You should think good if you
Want to contact her again.
She is your mother, so you love her
Even if she treated you badly.
You are adult now and you should not accept
Abusement again if she would do it again.
I dont know exactly how it is when you meet.
Can you talk with her? Or is she absolutelly
Crazy? When you just suffer being on
Her side and she does not respect your feelings,
You cannot pass nice time with her and there
Are coming images in your mind from the past...
Then you should not keep contact.
But just ask yourself how I am without her?
Does she really needs me?
"I don't know if I can handle another disappointment. My husband tells me not to talk to her and avoid more hurt but I can't help imagining that she will get sick and die one day and all she would have known of me was that I was mad at her. It's an extremely painful thought"
Poor you. I agree with your husband, though. Not that that doesn't mean I can't understand your urge to just check 'one more time' because it's too hard to get your head properly around. HOWEVER, does that have to mean leaving your mother with the notion of your being MAD AT HER? Can't you leave her with a letter to explain that you'll always love her but simply can't 'live with' her OR how you've accepted that you and she will never see eye-to-eye hence it's better for both of you not to have any contact for the time being?
You SURE the mediator was ignoring everything rather than noting it, accordingly being clever about letting its full extent dare spew forth and show itself, courtesy of her seeming non-issue with it, rather than stopping it in its premature tracks?
Adult Children of Alcoholics is free.
You will hear how other people are going through the SAME thing as you: How to detach from toxic relatives with love.
So, quick update, against the advice of my husband and peers, I did reply to my mothers email. I explains that I loved her and wanted to fix things to which she responded that she would love to work out our relationship. The last email I sent her was asking that she acknowledge her mistakes so that I would feel as though she was truly sorry for the things she did. She had not replied and that was over a week ago. I'm afraid that she thinks that now she has me reeled in again and that she will abuse the opportunity I have given her. I don't know whether I should cast her out for the last time and say nothing or call her out on her game first so that she knows why I no longer want anything to do with her. I have already decided to cut her out of my life so as not to suffer any more heart ache. Do I cut her out and not tell her or give her an explanation and possibly have some closure?
Is she still active alcoholic? Why try to set the conditional terms for meeting with her? She is incapable of it at this time. You have put conditions on the meeting that she can't keep, so she does not respond. Your conditions are threatening to her. Plus - she may not even remember them!
If she is in recovery - and not just dried out - then give her time to come to grips with what she has done and how it has affected the family.
Again - I encourage you to attend FREE meetings of Adults of Alcoholic Parents groups.
In the meantime, unless you can accept her NOW and want to build on that NOW, then leave her alone. She is what she is NOW.
But remember: If you go into the lion's den, don't be surprised if you get scratched.
She is still an active alcoholic. She functions well enough when she isn't drinking and got my hopes up that she would respond well. All I asked her was "I know how I have upset and hurt you but can you tell me a way you have upset and hurt me? If you can acknowledge that we both aren't perfect, it can help fixing our relationship." My plan was to see if she could do that one thing for me, it didn't even have to be about her abusing me. Just a simple, "im sorry I wanted nothing to do with your wedding" or "I hurt you by not standing up for you when you were being bullied" would have sufficed enough. It was not supposed to be so difficult. Even if she had said that she could not think of anything would have kicked off some sort of start. The fact that she ignores it just shows she does not want to have a functioning relationship with me. I have been patient and tried many times to come to terms that she will never change. The meeting groups you are referring to is not what I need to do. I have been in enough counseling to understand as much as I need to about her condition and read many books on narcissism in parents. My question is if I should write her an email that states I want nothing more to do with her or simply cut her out without explanation. I cannot sit down with her as she lives in another country. I will not Skype her because she does not think about things before she says them and would prefer she took time to write out how she feels. At least then, she can reread and change her response if need be.
You have done very well.
Your asking her in the e-mail to “acknowledge her mistakes so that I would feel as though she was truly sorry for the things she did,” was a work of art, letting her now you were willing to work with her if she was going to give back.
You have now taken over as the mother-figure, the more mature one still willing to work with her child, even though the child (your mother) erred.
You added, “She had not replied and that was over a week ago.”
Interesting. The plot thickens. She was probably abused as a child, and was threatened by your physical and emotional growth, knowing she was stunted emotionally at age 5 or 10, whenever the abuse occurred, and was trying to keep you back, less you surpass her.
As for the delay of a week, I don’t think she can go pass emotional age 5 or 10, and is wracking her brain as to what to do or say. She cannot say, “I’m sorry,” for that puts you above her, her biggest fear. She also can’t say it for she doesn’t have emotional maturity. You can’t give what you don’t have.
She doesn’t have it, which is what you want to know. (So you found out what you wanted to know. By standing up to her, you found out what you wanted to know. There is nothing to her.)
You want to know what’s behind that façade of hers. There’s probably nothing. Which is why she beat you, to hide the fact that she isn’t strong. And why she isn't responding, and why if she does respond, she won't say anything of substance. And, because she was threatened by your emotional growth, and to keep you from surpassing her when you got to age 5 or 10, the more you surpassed her, the more she beat you.
You then said, “I'm afraid that she thinks that now she has me reeled in again and that she will abuse the opportunity I have given her.” Interesting choice of words, "abuse." She abused you, why shouldn’t she abuse “the opportunity (you) have given her?”
You’re probably right. When you wrote her back, she thought you had succumbed to her. She thought you had fallen for her trap. She thought she was still dealing with the child that you use to be.
She thought she could still fool you with her fake façade. And then when you asked her, “Why did you beat me?” uh, oh. She doesn’t think that anymore. She realizes you have grown up, and have figured her out. That’s what’s giving her pause, and slowing down her reply.
She has a two-fold problem. You have grown up and she has not. This is the part where, if you were still 5 or 10, she would beat hell out of you. Are we beginning to see a connect here? This is all coming together.
That is, she is still emotionally a child. You are very much an adult. You escaped her wrath to make it to adulthood, and now you are turning on her, but in a mature adult way, a commodity she doesn’t have, any more than a 5 or 10 year old has it.
So this week of no response is her trying to figure it out. Of her trying to figure out a way to fool you, now that you’re an adult. She won’t be able to do it, since she has the maturity of a five year old, but she will perhaps make several fake attempts to see if she can fool you. I would keep asking her about her relationship with her mother and father, which will pin her down, without having to be too aggressive.
If she keeps aggrivating, pressuring you, with no answers to any of your questions, I would consider refusing to send her any more e mails until she can start answering your questions. It’s a game of: will you be stupid enough to keep sending her mindless e-mails so she can tell her friends you and are in constant touch by email, or will you see through that and keep repeating questions about your childhood.
If you keep up the latter, she’s really not gaining anything, she’s walking into a buzz saw where you keep winning. Too high of a price to pay to be able to tell her friends, oh, my daughter, we’re in constant e mail contact, which shows I was a good Mother.
You ask, “I don't know whether I should cast her out for the last time and say nothing or call her out on her game first so that she knows why I no longer want anything to do with her.”
I don’t know what you should do about that. One, I might just wait to see if she responds. If she doesn’t, no problem. If she does, read her pathetic e-mail, which will make no sense. How long you will respond to her mindless emails, I don’t know. I might respond, “If you can ever respond to the question of why you beat me, write again."
But as long as you let her keep being mindless, and your responding, she’s winning by telling her friends, “We write a each other, so that means I was a good mother.” So at some point you may have to quit writing her.
Ok.... There is something you can understand and do in this situation that I learned from a friend who is what you would call an old soul. She gave me this simple idea that transformed my thoughts and frustration with my parents when I just couldn't beleive how they were behaving twords my husband and I. I have to say I have always viewed my parents as being the a wonderful couple and overall with some difficulties as a teenager really good parents and people. However as they have gotten older and I am in my 30's now I see clearly the faults they have as people as well as parents. This seems to have come to your realization very early on with your Mom. My friend told me we come into this life to learn, change,love and grow. To grow hopefully to the best person we can be. This for everyone is on many different levels. Your mother may only be able to achieve a certain level of this due to her parents,her childhood,her alcoholism, and her ability to be selfless to others epically her children. Your skills and of these abities you have insite on sound like they surpass your moms abilities and probably have been this way for a while. It is ok to come to the conclusion that you surpass your mother in insite, caring, giving, and forgiving. In a way you are much more psychologically mature then your mom could ever be. If your ok with that you can then look at your relationship in a different way and be ok with it. You love you mom for the positive aspects of her( and there are some for everyone) but you work on trying not to expect much in return. There are lines you can draw in the sand where you tell her these actions are not acceptable which means you separate yourself from the situation as soon as that familiar path seems to be coming. You will start viewing yourself as the parent and not the child in even the situations where she is trying to explain herself again and again,you may have a whole new outlook on things. It will give you a stonger peace in you heart but still give you the understanding that you can't expect major change. This thought process may help you to continue having a relationship with her, which I feel you want, just viewing it in a different way. This may bring some peace to you even when your struggling with her faults.
If your mother were such a hard drinker she were incapable of remembering even the self-made debacle of failure to 'attend' her own daughter's wedding then I agree she must still be a chocolate teapot and, frankly, am surprised she could even execute an email exchange! Only, that being the hypothesis, it does beg the question - why wouldn't she have responded, 'WHAT mistakes, what on earth are you talking about?'. More to the point, why say in the first place that she would love to "WORK OUT" the relationship? What's to work out if she had no memory of anyone's rap sheet, let alone her own?
The bit Susiedqqq says about your surprise conditions-setting sounds more like it. Your mother had assumed you'd respond eagerly and gratefully - as per usual - with a meeting-up date based on a total wiping-clean of the slate - or whitewash-ing - but then found herself wrong-footed by your suddenly insisting she then and there supply proof of her insinuated regret, something she'd never truthfully been prepared to do, meaning her run-up statement about working things out was moreover just a case of placatory puff, just to get what she wanted in the here and now (your company).
I agree about her needing to get back to where she has a healthier perspective before she'll even begin to examine her own behaviour from the point of view of being you, and feel any genuine regret. Right now she's probably still convincing herself that she's the poor, innocent victim that "din't do nuffink" and whom everyone just loves to pick on, blah-blah (that's the usual attitude). After all, there was nothing stopping her, I presume, from having apologised back at the time or shortly thereafter for all these occasions where she failed to act even remotely according to her motherly duties and instincts?
In short, like most heavy substance users she's still jammed too firmly up her own a*se and therefore incapable of standing in anyone else's shoes.
I appreciate you feel overly deprived of a mother and keen to start receiving what's owed you, finally - especially if your next 'landmark' is getting pregnant and becoming a mum yourself - but I think it's going to yet be quite some time, still, before she's fit for that job. And that's if she's even GETTING help these days. So I agree very strongly indeed with Susie's recommendation that you attend AA as part of the victim-family member sector in order to concentrate on YOU and YOUR healing so that, through understanding why these people tend to be such messes who behave accordingly (to their nearest and dearest, especially) and refrain from seeing it as any reflection whatsoever on you and your appeal as a child and now adult-child.
There's nothing wrong with you WHATSOEVER, apart from YOUR MOTHER HAS HUGE EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS TO POINT OF, IS ILL AND DYSFUNCTIONAL. Berbom. And yes you *do* need more counselling because your whole post screams this: "But how COULD she!?" So I think it's fair to say your logical or adult side has come to terms with it all, including the whys and wherefores, but the child you were back then is digging its feet in and still saying, "Oh yes she could have if she'd wanted to".
That's the point: she DIDN'T want to. And that's precisely what's wrong with her and why she started drinking OR what's wrong with her BECAUSE she tried to avoid her problems by climbing into a bottle. Her wanting got switched off. She was incapable of having that desire and clearly, moreover (albeit slightly less so) still is. It's like expecting someone to behave normally and have the usual human drive and instincts when those things have been well and truly PICKLED out of the mental equation, or - analogy - expecting someone to sit at their desk and do a normal day of work when still half-asleep. Ain't gonna happen. They're going to send gobbledegook letters, pick fights with clients over pure misunderstandings or tenuous excuses, knock their coffee over, possibly slide off their chair onto the floor bringing their desk down on top of them.
SOME parts of your psyche get that. Others don't (because they 'froze', back during your childhood, and think they're still there, waiting to receive what should have rightfully been theirs).
You've only two options for making yourself au fait with the whole sorry situation:  climb into a bottle yourself to see first-hand what I'm saying is true (obviously NOT an option!) or  attend AA meetings, not least to hear and feel it all from the horses' own mouths.
It's becoming apparent what you and your mother do at least have in common: stubbornness and mental over-independence.
In short: agree with everyone else.
However, regards your burning question, should you spell out for her why you're going to be giving her a wide berth for the foreseeable future? Yes, I think as long as you keep it clean and concentrate only on your own feelings and experiences rather than accusing her of having thought and felt and intended this/that/the other' then I think it would probably give you the stop-gap or initial closure you need when it comes to refusing to pick up the phone without having to AGAIN explain - to her or even just to yourself in your own head - why.
'Dear mother, you have a terrible, long-term sinus cold, so long-term as to warrant the label permanent, it makes you constantly sneeze and cough out Greenies, I can't abide being covered head-to-toe in Green gunge just for the pleasure of being in someone's company, blood or not, sorry about that, let me know when it's all cleared up and I can dare sit facing you again in the same room (at which point I'd be delighted to)'. That's basically the size of it.
But you don't have to worry that if you become a mum you're going to automatically replicate her own attitude and path (if that's partly what it is?). Albeit a bog-standard one, that's not a rational anxiety. If anything you'll make a BETTER mum than the average: You may not have attended the course entitled, How to be a fantastic mum. But you did attend the one called, how not to be a crap one. Same difference. (Again, if that's something you're worried about.)