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I want to be nicer to my mum

(41 Posts)
heidipi Sun 18-Nov-12 13:51:12

That's it really. Every visit or weekend when we get together I think this time I am going to be serenely calm and smile through every random observation and question, respond firmly but politely to every criticism of my SIL (DB can do no wrong) and generally not get wound up. I fail every time and end up hating myself.

This time I've been with her since Thursday, she's here til Tues and thank god I'm out at work all day tomorrow. Just nearly blew in the supermarket, feel like a stroppy teenager, and she's coming for 6 days at Xmas. She is probably dreading it as much as I am, and I need a strategy to get through it before our relationship gets properly damaged.

Basically her heart is in the right place, she is kind and generous (including to SIL, but criticises her and members of her side of DB's family constantly to me - she is jealous because they live closer and see more of them), is fantastic with DD and DB's kids and they all adore her. My dad died a few years ago, she has lots of friends and is busy socially but I know she also feels lonely and sometimes would rather stay home and have us all visit, so I visit a lot during the year (mostly overnight during the week with DD as DP gets bored there and this way means I can just focus on her and DD) but she spends Xmas with either me or DB.

She just drives me nuts and I know this sounds really petty - asks me random questions all the time, makes inane statements about everything from the weather to politics (mainly informed by things she read in the Daily Malicious years ago) to which the only responses are either "What??!" or "mmmm", also she is getting quite deaf but is in denial so pretends she has heard what I've said when she plainly hasn't, which makes conversation tricky (I am of course patient about this but it does make the logistics of just talking more difficult than otherwise).

We've just had a heated discussion about SIL, where I said I thought she was too hard on her and DB has a mind of his own so things aren't always down to SIL. It ended with her saying "ok we'll just leave it then" as she hates confrontation. I'll have to address it again as she will now think that everyone is ganging up on her.

I want to be able to take a deep breath and answer her calmly or just say "mmmm" but for some reason I fail. How can I be nice for a whole week in December? And also for ever afterwards if possible.

Thanks if you have read this far, I know I sounds like a bitch and I'm really not usually - there's just something about our relationship.

OK, am bracing myself for a flaming. Thanks in advance.

Spree Tue 20-Nov-12 04:11:50

Marking my place too ... I really want to be nice and to get along as I want a good relationship with my DD when she is older & I realise I am modelling a mother- daughter relationship for my DD with her.

I start with good intentions before every visit & fail miserably.

Like many of you, I am wracked with guilt.

Maybe we should be posting this on Gransnet to get another perspective sad

Kitikat Tue 20-Nov-12 04:24:20

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Salbertina Tue 20-Nov-12 06:04:59

Kiti- really off to (again) be plugging your own book without admitting it on such a thread....hmm
Not exactly in spirit of mutual support. Ive reported it but wish you well with it anyway.

heidipi Tue 20-Nov-12 10:10:00

Oh god hideous morning already. She can't wait to go, I can't wait for her to go. I tried to apologise and she just said "it's fine" so we can't even talk about anything. Just pretend it's all ok, it's like being a teenager forever. I really don't want me and DD to bf like we are.

I am in awe of the idea of living harmoniously with your mother! So much respect!

heidipi Tue 20-Nov-12 10:10:59

be not bf, done that!

sassyandsixty Tue 20-Nov-12 12:23:14

Same prob here! We get on fine for a while and then she says something 'squashing' that makes me feel about ten years old again. She seems to expect me to be her 'mini me' and holds fixed ideas about who I am and how I live - yet I am nothing like her and never have been. I find I am always watching my words so that I do not bring up an issue that will rebound on me and destroy my confidence. My only advice is to learn from this sad state of affairs and not be like it with your DCs - especially DDs. Respect them as equals as they grow up and pay attention to the fact that they are not you and are very different from you. That way you can enjoy each others' company to the full. Good luck!!

kernowgal Tue 20-Nov-12 12:53:23

I was talking about this with a workmate the other day - we were saying that there really is quite a difference in lifestyle between our generation and our mothers'. In turn there was probably a fair difference between theirs and their mothers', but I think our differences are greater. Eg both partners (often) having to work, many women in full-time work or breadwinners, general leisure lifestyles, career aspirations and so on.

My mum says she's amazed at how I am prepared to take risks and try new things out; she wouldn't have the courage (though I bet she would really). I don't have kids so I've no idea how different it is for mums and daughters these days. But I guess the one thing I would like from my mum is to tell her about something I'm thinking of doing and her to say "go for it! What a great idea!". I suppose I just want her approval confused My workmate said exactly the same thing.

Anna1976 Wed 21-Nov-12 21:36:30

Heidipi & others - you have my great sympathy. It's so hard! my mother often reduces me to stunned silence by cutting across me - usually in front of other adults - with "That's enough of your tantrumming, stop going on like a toddler" - usually when I'm saying something she doesn't agree with, but absolutely am not ranting or anything! And of course she now does it to shut me up because it works every time, and I stand there thinking "god you're emotionally and socially stunted, how different all our lives could be if you'd ever listened to anything anyone else ever said, you rapacious self-important negative cow", and she thinks I'm silent because she's right every time and she knows exactly how everything should work and it's totally the appropriate way to treat another adult!

Kernowgal - I think there's also a bit of a shift in our generation seeing self-regulation/ self-efficacy/ enfranchisement as the right thing to do, whereas women of previous generations have been told to look to other people to make decisions for them. I started a (long gone) thread here a while back about whether emotional literacy was the new feminism, but i phrased it pretty badly and people rightly enough thought I was probably too extreme in my view.

Also my family is quite spectacularly lacking in emotional literacy so my stumbling around trying to find it has been a more extreme journey than many others' journeys to enfranchisement!

Anna1976 Wed 21-Nov-12 21:56:13

PS Mermaid - thanks for the idea - I also kind of feel i need to protect friends from my parents' stalkerish tendencies - where they obsessively collect details about people and ask after "their friend XXX" once a week when they've met XXX once in a hallway for 20 seconds because I was being polite introducing them.... and they discuss all of XXX's business, make things up, gossip with other people who know basically nothing about XXX, tell me that XXX clearly doesn't like me because THEY know so much more about XXX's life than I do (when I'm usually just saying "oh, how interesting, where did you find that piece of made-up bollocks out?")... eventually I resort to asking them about XXX's life as I haven't seen XXX in 20 years... and they go round telling people I am obviously hated by all my greatest friends from school because I know nothing about XXX's subsequent life.

Either that or they decide out of the blue that YYY is disgusting and they hate them and find ignorant and nasty things to say about the person until I tell them I will not discuss this person with them again as I don't think they're being productive - then they go round telling everyone that I love YYY/ am having an affair with YYY/ voted for YYY or whatever.

The thing is, if asked to justify any of these frankly bizarre points of view, both my parents could be talked round into rationally examining the evidence and deciding that they don't know much about XXX or YYY and don't know much about my relaitonship with these people either. The obsessive detail-collecting about people is one of my mother's more groaningly obvious aspie traits where she has absolutely no idea that others don't share her fascination with what brand of schoolshoes XXX (with whom I went to school 30 years ago and last spoke to probably 30 years ago) buys for XXX's daughter whom they saw at the shops recently... And lot of their vicious assertions are just them talking endlessly and having no boundaries, and being unable to modulate speech appropriately due to having no idea that modulation is even a concept (diagnosed in my father) Asperger's... and of course I should feel kinder towards both parents for knowing that the extreme nature of their behaviour is rooted in them being non-neurotypical, but of course because I'm a guilty bitch and unable to self-regulate sufficiently to be a saint, their behaviours just get me on edge...

heidipi Thu 22-Nov-12 19:47:57

Oh Anna you have my sympathy - that sounds completely crushing.

I'm still dazed by the weekend and have been wondering how the hell I'm going to deal with this when I speak to mum, then in a flash of genius I realised that I can just not mention a thing. Yup, skim over it, sweep under the carpet etc as we have done for the last 30 odd years with any unpleasantness. That seems to be the perfect solution for now.

Plucked up the courage and phoned her but she's out, so will try again tomorrow. In the meantime I keep looking at DD and thinking we are really not going to end up the same. I'll find a different way to piss her off.

The whole thing has left me knackered, tbh. Think I'm off to bed early with the remnants of a box of chocs from the weekend.

Anna1976 Thu 22-Nov-12 21:30:40

heidipi grin chocolate and denial sounds like the way forward!

Salbertina Fri 23-Nov-12 18:10:01

Well, i currently want to be nastier to mine- shes really not a nice woman and i find her so hard to bear that i often reveal this unintentionally.
Op, at least you're willing to be nicer, the intention's there. She sounds quite hard work!

heidipi Fri 23-Nov-12 20:11:35

Well I've just spoken to her, nothing was mentioned specifically, but she said a few times on her 'serious' voice 'and how are you?/how are you in yourself?/are you tired?' which basically means she is explaining it away as me having some kind of breakdown, rather than just having reached tipping point with the fussing and questioning and nagging. It's as though she didn't hear my answers cos she talked over them but maybe she didn't hear. I dunno.

As usual she is obsessed by the weather so we talked about that a lot.

Sigh - oh well, no need to talk to her for another week so that's ok.

Thanks everyone smile

heidipi Mon 24-Dec-12 10:40:19

Hello - ungrateful bitch daughter %231 here, resurrecting this thread for a festive update grin

My mum arrived with us yesterday til Thursday, yesterday was fine as went out then plenty on telly so kept everything easy. Unfortunately DD is sleeping badly and as mum is in spare room, both DP and I had hardly any sleep, topped off with a bit of a row (we're also in the middle of moving house and I am also pg and emotional plus stressing about this visit, so liable to fly off the handle). Lovely.

Being pretty deaf mum was blissfully unaware of all this and burst in on me and a screaming DD this morning with 'oooh I can hear someone singing!' I might even find it funny, much much later.

I've left DD with her and 'gone for a sleep' (a cry and re-read of this whole thread). And it's pissing down so stuck in house all fecking day.

Joy!! Am about to paint a smile on and go and start again. Think before answering, neutral conversation topics, another 'lie-down' later when/if DD naps...

Anyone else want to join in? Happy christmas eve!

OrangeLily Mon 24-Dec-12 10:58:44

Can I join in on being the ungrateful daughter??

I have a much younger sibling and it seems to mean that I have to be treated as being the same age! Today as DH is at work we have to go 'do something' as a family instead of just hanging out together with a glass of wine or juice.

I feel a bit like a tantruming toddler all the time with DM at the moment. Yesterday she called when she knew I was really busy and kept trying to tell me a story about two family members that I have no interest in taking sides about. I kept saying 'I don't want to know' or 'please stop talking about it' and she just kept bulldozing through to the point I had to shout at her....... Obviously this is me being unreasonable.

This years been really hard. I got married and it feels a bit like she's trying to remind me that I belong to her. Over stepping so many lines/boundaries.

I love her dearly but Christmas may be really hard.

heidipi Thu 27-Dec-12 14:36:55

Oh OrangeLily how did the rest of your Xmas go? Hope it got better, thankfully mine did. Apart from Sunday when we were all sleep deprived and tetchy, it was almost enjoyable (steady now).

I found that having DP around as much as poss has sort of diluted things and made chat easier, when it's just mum and me she goes back to bizarre questions about people I haven't seen or spoken to for years and negative comments about celebs/people in the news (Kate Middleton, the cast of Strictly, blah blah). She's prob just making conversation but I hate agreeing just for the sake of it "mmmm yes full of herself, and yes who is looking after her children while she swans about on telly, and hasn't she piled the weight on" etc etc. She's stayed off the subject of my SIL so that helped too.

Overall it was miles better than expected. I waved her off on the coach thinking I should have got her to stay longer but actually short and sweet is probably safest. Phew! Over and out til the next time grin.

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