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My mum. Time to just give up?

(57 Posts)
Badvocsanta Fri 07-Dec-12 20:09:05

I will try not to drip feed but this has to be condensed or I would be here all night!!
I am the eldest of 3 of an Irish catholic mother (not that she is a practising catholic but we were all brought up in the faith)
Since I was about 10/11 I have been dealing - along with my dad - with my mothers mental health problems.
I nursed her through 2 breakdowns before I was 20.
My siblings were not involved really...I remember having to come home from work during my lunch hour to spoon feed her some lunch or she wouldn't eat.
My siblings seemed unconcerned she was below 6 stone at this time.
I was working part time from 13 and gave all my earns to my parents...it was what put food in the table some weeks.
And yet even though my sister started work at 16 they took no board from her until she was 20.
My brother has never really worked for any length of time and so has never contributed to the family.
Now I am a mother myself (2 ds's) I am getting more and more angry and upset at her actions both in the past (which is pointless) and now.
I invite set and my dad for lunch in Xmas day and an now really regretting it sad
She has a problem with her leg ATM and keeps telling me how bored she is, how much it hurts etc...and yet she can spend hours going around the shops with my sister.
I took her to the gp last week, even though my ds2 was ill and she knew that. I took him out in the wind and rain so she didn't have to walk to the gp surgery. The next day she is walking round sainsburys with my sister...
She is coeliac and will not stick to the GF diet. This means she has stomach problems most of the time.
She has always been far more partial to my siblings, ESP my brother.
Which is fine.
But she is now showing similar favouritism wrt the grandchildren.
My sis has 2 boys and my bro has a 1 year old girl.
We all now live in the same village and yet they never come to see my kids.
If we dont go there we don't see them.
I am so fed up. I know Aibu to expect her to change. She won't. But I am so tired and fed up and would love to have the kind of family that actually want to spend time with us.
My kids are so great, they deserve better.
Luckily pils are fab, which possibly makes the comparison harder to bear.
Wwyd re Xmas?
Just leave it as it is?
They will come, eat and leave anyway so won't be here long...
sad

CleopatrasAsp Sat 08-Dec-12 18:21:50

You're welcome Badvoc. smile Good luck!

fiventhree Sat 08-Dec-12 18:37:24

"I don't really have a parent/child relationship with my parents."

I think you do. You parent her.

Badvocsanta Sat 08-Dec-12 18:50:02

Yes.
It's hard being a parent at 11 sad
I remember the EWO coming round when I was about 15 as I was off school looking after her after she had a hysterectomy.
She was livid.
I think, looking back, school were concerned about me.
The PE teacher took me to ine side once to ask about some bruises I had (courtesy of my siblings) I lied, obv.
I would crawl on my knees through broken glass to prevent my kids going through what I went through.

ljny Sat 08-Dec-12 19:19:37

You sound fantastic. You spent your childhood parenting the family - and they made you the scapegoat.

It's a known pattern and it's not your fault . But you do need to move on, love. It's their loss, not yours.

Do it for your children - and hopefully you, too, will reap a happier life. You deserve it.

bringbacksideburns gave good advice. I wish you luck.

Unfortunately we are born to crave what we havent got and not to appreciate what we have got. I am 45 for goodness sake, my mother has never said she is proud of me, that I am special or that she loves me. It hurts but I have got past that hurdle as I know full well she will never change and that it was me that had to change. To stop expecting love, compassion and hugs. I expect nothing from her now. Sometimes I feel she plays some sort of emotional games with me but now I try not to let it upset me or cloud my thoughts. DD age 14 now notices how her Nana behaves and how uncomfortable she is expressing any kind of emotion/interest/love/favour.

Do not expect your family to change. YOU have to change your expectations, build up a 'brick wall' and keep your DH and children inside.

I would not cancel Christmas as you will have then rocked the boat. Ask everyone to bring a pre-prepared dish and give then a time to come and a time to go home. You could even need a nap whilst they are there as you might feel you are coming down with a virus of some sort!

Badvocsanta Sun 09-Dec-12 08:09:26

Hmmm...wrt to Xmas I don't know. I just don't know. It does seem very spiteful to uninvite them.
Will test the water this weeks be see what happens...
Secondhand rose...yes you are right. I do crave what I have never had.
On my wedding day she never even told me I looked nice. Nothing. Just how tired and stressed she was sad
One of my aunts was standing next to her at one point and hugged me and told me I looked beautiful "just like a model" (I didn't, bless her, she is very short sighted!) and my mum just looked at me blankly.
Sigh.
I live in the same village as my family now (lots of reasons and an happy here) but I never see my siblings unless I run into them on the school run or at the shops. I used to see them at mums but I don't go there that much anymore.

badvoc

They've trained you well haven't they?. You still doubt yourself re Christmas (do not have them over to yours!). Your considerate nature towards them is your undoing; they see that and take full advantage of you. They see you purely as their fall guy and you as parent to them as children. It is therefore not spiteful to univite them. You can uninvite them.

As others have rightly stated, you parented this sorry lot and they made you the scapegoat for all their inherent ills. You did not have a childhood really.

Fear, obligation and guilt are the toxic legacies of such dysfunctional parenting and emotional abuse that was meted out to you. You seem to have FOG in spades.

I would consider counselling; BACP are good and do not charge the earth.

Do read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward as a starting point if you have not already done so; it will explain the dynamics of such families very well.

It is NOT your fault they are like this, you did not make them this way. Their own parents did that damage to your mum and dad.

I would suggest you also post on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread or at the very least read the very beginning of it.

You would not tolerate this from a friend, family are truly no different.

Are you really and truly happy living in the same village as your siblings?.

I feel that putting physical and well as emotional distance between them could really help you.

You sound both stifled and resigned. Not surprising really, anyone would feel like that after a childhood with such damaged parents and siblings. Your toxic parents failed you utterly (understatement). They are all still failing you.

These people will never give you the approval and love that you so crave from them and its not your fault that they will not do that.

Badvocsanta Sun 09-Dec-12 08:33:31

Well I certainly have guilt...but that's being raised a catholic surely? ;)
I feel sorry for my mum. I don't think she has had a very happy life. Not my fault, I know that, but sad all the same.
She would often say when we were kids "don't have kids" sad
Like it was the worst thing she ever did.
I realised at a very young age that I could not rely on them for anything. It that's ok. It's made me independent and determined not to be like her.
I think she is depressed again but she won't take meds. She won't stick to a GF diet for her coeliac disease. She won't go out unless its to the shops with my sister. She won't do anything. She has no hobbies, no interests, she just waits at home for my poor dad to get in from work and then he cooks them their dinner.
Awful.
I am going to see her today (haven't been for a while) but not taking the kids.
Dreading it.

Badvocsanta Sun 09-Dec-12 08:40:35

I moved back here for my sons school and pre school mainly.
I am back at my old church and enjoying that.
Was very unhappy at my old house/village for a long time but resisted moving back here for all the reasons you state...I didn't want to be nearer them. At all.
Just bad luck they live where I want to live smile
Who knows what will happen in the future? We may move again..?
We like it here and the kids are happy and settled which is my main concern ATM.
I would feel a real fraud posting in the stately homes thread! But thank you for the suggestion. As bad as it was, I dont think it was that bad iyswim?
My mum is pretty much in denial about a lot of stuff that happened tbh...if anything ever gets mentioned she just either says she doesn't remember that or denies it ever happened. Not much you can do about someone like that really.
With any luck they will go abroad with my sis and bil at the end of december so I won't have to deal with any of them! smile

I'm RC and I don't have guilt.

Your guilt I think primarily stems from being raised as the scapegoat in such a toxic and dysfunctional family unit. This is why I stated that they have trained you well, you are still full of self doubt.

You honestly do not have to see anyone who refuses to take any responsibility for their actions and does not want to help their own self (thereby using you to fill that role and when you in their eyes fail, you cop it from them all over again). Toxic parents never take responsibility for their actions nor apologise.

Its more than ok not to keep offering yourself up to these people, they do not deserve you in their lives. You really do not have to go over and see them today.

You will also not be a fraud to post in the Stately Homes thread. That is specifically there for people precisely like yourself. It is there for those like you who were unfortunately saddled with such feckless and toxic parents and who live with the toxic legacies of same.

As bad as it was, I dont think it was that bad iyswim?

Re your comment re not being as bad as it was?.

Oh yes it was and it still is.

"My mum is pretty much in denial about a lot of stuff that happened tbh...if anything ever gets mentioned she just either says she doesn't remember that or denies it ever happened".

Both are actually typical toxic parent type responses designed to floor the person asking such awkward questions.

You cannot change them Badvoc but you can certainly change how you react to them.

To your great credit you do not act like they do with regards to your own children so you have made progress. That buck stopped with you.

Please post on Stately Homes!!!.

Good morning. You are also suffering from low self esteem (you have a low opinion of yourself). I would not cancel Christmas as you will become like them. You will also feel guilty about doing it in your present state.

You describe a situation my cousin was in a few years ago, her family was too tight, everyone knew each others business ans everyone talked about each other. They all still live in the same town. My cousin cut the family ties, she made new friends and sees much less if her family and she is much happier.

A counsellor will help you an enormous amount. I saw one over a number of months. What she said to me was inspirational and although a number of hears ago I still remember her advice now.

PS my Mum also didnt say I looked nice on my wedding day nor did she or my dad congratulate us on our engagement, my dad's only words were "about time too". I gradually grinds you down until you get the strength to fight back which you have now found! Well done you!

Badvocsanta Sun 09-Dec-12 09:15:40

Hmmm.
A lot to think about.
I went to school with kids who had what I consider to be really awful childhoods...I guess I just don't see myself that way I.e. like them.
My kids know that they come first. They know I love them (ds1 is 9 now and getting a bit eye rolly at me now smile) I tell them every day.
I am not sure how much of my mums issues are down to her being toxic as opposed to her mental health issues.
Wrt my siblings...that's hard too. I had to be a parent to them and they - of course - resented it.
As did I.
They would be watching top of the pops or out with their friends and I would be cooking or washing or ironing.
It's was pretty fucked up tbh.
I don't get my dc to help at all around the house yet...I never want them to feel like I did...an unpaid skivvy.
I remember once she had been so vile to me...really awful, verbal and physical and I came back from school and there was a £10 note on my bed.
That's it.
It's very sad.

noddyholder Sun 09-Dec-12 09:37:35

My mum has selective memory too Is hyper critical yet boasts about everyone elses kids and what they do etc. And she will spend £££££££ on presents but would never just ask how we are. She is also very jealous of things like looks and weight and always makes negative comments,it is sad but the time comes when you have to let them get on with it. As soon as I reacted 'normally' to one of my mums remarks eg challenged rather than just took it she cut me out. Tbh I don't miss her sad Go with your gut feeling if you are strong enough to take the outcome

I actually think my Mum is jealous of me and my life and that I am happily married. She and my Dad didnt get on at all but still stayed together for 50 years.

She favours my son over my daughter and it is obvious, she even gives him more money for Christmas and birthdays. Recently gave him £50 for a school trip but her nothing. DD is pretty astute for a 14 year old and has noticed her grandmother's behaviour and her lack of anything nice to say.

Everytime my mother says something toxic I now lightly say "now say something nice the next time you speak".

We have moved a 30 minute drive away from her, she will drive to us every couple of weeks but never ever invites us to her house. The 30 minute distance has definitely been a good thing.

noddyholder Sun 09-Dec-12 10:08:59

That is awful secondhand My son is 18 now but when he was about 8 he said 'Why is nanny so mean to everyone?' They aren't stupid. I decided to put an end to things when she started her judgey antics with ds. He had his hair cut and she said he didn't look as nice that his long hair was his identity and people would judge him and I was strange to think otherwise.Last straw for me

noddyholder Sun 09-Dec-12 10:10:32

Totally recognise the jealousy thing.My mum thinks no one is truly happy and cannot understand anyone being together for love and not money

Badvoc Sat 29-Dec-12 17:41:28

Well.
You were all right.
They came in Xmas day and ruined it.
Utterly.
They simply HAD to take my sister to the ooh gp at lunchtime because she was SO ill and they didn't want my nephews Xmas day ruined.
They were over 40 mins late to lunch, no phone call to say when they were eventually coming ans when my mum sat down proceeded to tell me with some relish that "everyone at the ooh gp was vomiting everywhere!" Lovely.
My ds2 is only just over flu and has been really ill. Noro is just what he needs!
My sister then text me to ask if she could bring my nephews up to my house (she was soooo ill 2 hours earlier remember) and I said no and then she texted to say she was off to visit her pils about a half hour drive away.
So I don't think she felt too bad.
Oh well, as long as my nephews Xmas day wasn't spoilt, that's the main thing obv.
I e mailed them and told them how upset I was and asked them not to contact me for the foreseeable future, but I know that I will have to confront them at some point.
Why didn't I listen to you all? Why? I am such an idiot. I was so upset, I ruined Xmas day for myself and my dh. Thank god dc didn't really understand.
I am so disappointed at myself, for asking them in the first place, for reaction how I did and for not putting my family first.

Badvoc Sat 29-Dec-12 17:50:35

....dh and I had a long chat about it all on boxing say night and I apologised to him for my behaviour (I was very angry and hurt and said and horrid things to him) and he let slip that for my 40th birthday back in oct he asked my mum 3 months before hand to ask some of my Irish family over to the surprise family party he and my mil did for me.
A month before the party she told him she hasn't asked anyone as she "couldn't cope" with any visitors.
Then 4 weeks later went to Ireland for a week to see them all.
sad
I wish he hadn't told me that.

ImperialBlether Sat 29-Dec-12 17:58:57

OP, I think that as long as you stay living there, you are going to have the same problem. You need physical distance from them to help you keep the emotional distance.

Copy the link to this thread and put it into your email calendar so that you see it again at the start of next December, so that you don't go and invite them all over again.

One thing, you mentioned your 'poor dad' at one point, but he was awful to you, making you stay at home because he would miss your money. Don't go pitying him now.

Just out of interest, did you get to university? You said you applied. Did you move away, if so?

RabidCarrot Sat 29-Dec-12 18:06:19

Oh OP I am sorry your bloody mother ruined your Christmas, as you have said you can not change the past (if only you could have walked away when she first went loopy) but you can change the future and protect your children, cut her off, have nothing to do with her, she will never change

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