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Should I just stop expecting anything of my mum and carry on as I am or would you be more drastic? Feeling very hurt and need some support and advice. Long sorry.

(10 Posts)
Fairylea Sun 31-Mar-13 18:59:49

Hi, this is very long. To cut a long story short, my mum and I had the mother of all breakdown in relationships a year ago and I am finding it very hard to know how to continue... I have two dc - a dd aged 10 and a ds 10 months - and its very complicated but I don't know whether I should literally be cutting my mum out of my life or what. I have no idea anymore.

Background -

My mum used to have mental health problems when I was little. Between the ages of 4-9 my mum was in and out of mental hospital (and this was on the early 1980's when they were pretty much still in the white coats and straightjacket era so quite scary). I know it wasn't my mums fault as she was ill but I feel very sad that I have such horrible memories of my childhood - my mum screaming, trying to stab my dad with a fork, them arguing when she wanted to walk down the road in her pjs and generally her not being engaged with me at all as a young child (although she would argue she was). She would have days of literally sitting on the sofa or lying in bed staring into space and I have memories of me being 4/5/6 and bringing her drinks and trying to entertain myself constantly because she wouldn't even talk to me. When she went into hospital (mainly over Christmas so I have no happy Christmas memories either) I was looked after by my dad who basically didn't give a shit, not necessarily abusive as such but just a typical 1980's business man who wasn't interested in children at all.

I am an only child.

My mum slowly got better to the point she was able to come off medication and she has been off medication since (some 25 odd years now). Mum and dad divorced when I was 12 and my mum has had some terrible crappy relationships since which has left to her utter bitter hatred of men in general and she isn't shy about hiding it.

Recent years - (spanning since I was 12ish to now, early 30's)

My mum and I continued to live together and because she was physically ill (not related to mental health) she was unable to work. I therefore felt responsible for her in so many ways and picked up the baton as it were. We moved house and I got a very very well paid job and essentially paid all the bills etc. Mum became well physically and was very stable mentally.

I met dd's dad and had dd. That relationship for one reason and another (not related to my mum) broke down and I went back to work and mum looked after dd for me.

I met my ex husband and we married and continued living with my mum. I had a very close good relationship with my mum. We would go on holiday together with dd (my ex husband wasn't interested in doing much) and on days out etc. I now realise looking back that the relationship with my husband wasn't much of a relationship (financially he wouldn't share anything, didn't want to do anything, was generally distant).

After 7 years together (4 years ago) my now ex husband decided he didn't love me (at the time we were going through IVF) and he upped and moved out in the space of 3 weeks. He has not been in contact since (with regards to dd being essentially brought up by him).

My mum was more devastated than me when this happened because it tipped everything on it's head.

At the same time as this happening I was made redundant. (Doesn't it always happen at once!) I did my very best to find another similar role but despite managing to have 4 second interviews I didn't get any of the positions. So I ended up on income support, a single mum, trying to run my large house (which another silly point, I always felt annoyed as people would assume I lived with my mum and actually mum lived with me!) and mum being annoyed because I wasn't able to pay everything anymore.

So... (stay with me)... mum resentfully went back to work (very very resentfully) and I found a job paying minimum wage and we paid the bills and juggled childcare between us. During this time my mum was really angry towards me as if it was my fault ex dh left and she would generally sink into a deep angry depression "all men are shits" blah blah and started to drink heavily. I felt she couldn't look after dd anymore so in desperation and unable to sort out alternative arrangements I packed in my job and went back on income support.

Eventually of course we couldn't afford to keep the house so we sold and moved to a smaller one. (Again, my mum was absolutely raging about this, she has a very strong sense that she is middle class - she is not - and is quite entitled).

About 6 months after moving into the new house I met the man who is now my dh. She took an instant dislike to him - he is a man after all- and made life hell. Literally treating me like a teenager and trying to control when I saw him and what time I got back.. Ridiculous. (Bearing in mind dd was often away with her dad who she still has contact with, so it wasn't about dd).

I got a job and started paying all the bills again, this time around school hours so again my mum wasn't involved in childcare.

She had some sort of mini breakdown where I guess everything just got on top of her. Her drinking became totally out of control (often shouting at me to piss off and fuck off and she would go up to bed and shout "you fucking bastard" aimed at my dh if he was visiting in our separate living room - so not invading her space at all...and it all accumulated in one evening where she got absolutely off her trolley (dd was at her dads so has no knowledge of this) and shouted and swore etc and then went out walking the streets in her pj's at 3am.

Dh and I went to go and find her. I found her and ordered her in the car. I was so angry I was literally screaming my head off like someone from Jeremy Kyle and believe me I'm not like that at all. She sat there laughing at me.

When we got home she said that I didn't care about her and I had ruined her life and "after everything she'd done for me" this is how I repay her (basically getting involved in another relationship).

That's when it all hit the fan and we had a horrendous out pouring of everything we were angry about.

I ended up saying I didn't want to live with her anymore and she literally said she was going to kill herself, didn't want to be alone, die alone etc etc. It was awful. I felt awful but I couldn't live with her or put dd through living with her.

So dh and I remortgaged the house (it didn't have a mortgage) to buy my mum a house 10 minutes away. All she has to do is work and pay her bills and her food.

For a while we could hardly talk to each other at all but I had ds and slowly mum has begun trying to become involved again and I just don't know what to do really. It's all very civil (she comes over maybe once a week) but I still feel really, really angry with her and she has never apologised for how she's behaved towards me, or dh (who completely hates her) and she thinks I'm wrong for not apologising to her - when I really don't know what I've done wrong!

I also feel like she is only interested in having a relationship with dd and not really with ds because 1. he is a boy and 2. he is my dh's, who she perceives as taking me and dd away from her.

She is still as selfish as ever and never makes any effort for me. This week for example I have been extremely ill (I too have health problems) and despite knowing this she has made no effort whatsoever to ask if she can do anything to help or if I need anything. I don't expect her to do these things but after how I supported her for so long with so many things I don't think it's too much to ask.

She also forgot my birthday. And for Christmas I gave her a copy of Brave (about a mum and daughter trying to rebuild their relationship hint hint) amongst other things (she is clever so would get the hint).... she gave dd lots of nice bits and pieces and she gave me two pots of used nail polish. I know it's petty and stupid but I feel really hurt.

I am just so angry and hurt about the whole thing. I have no support from anywhere else. No other family. My dad I never see, I have no brothers or sisters, no aunts etc. Just my mum.

So would you try and rebuild the relationship or would you say enough is enough and cut her off as much as possible? I'm not sure it's good for the kids either as she's only interested in dd. Dd is away at her dads this week and I haven't seen my mum for dust despite ds and I being here.

At the same time I feel so hurt inside. I feel completely lost.

Fuck me I'm so sorry that is so long. I don't expect anyone to have read it all. Maybe I just needed to get it all out.

Hissy Sun 31-Mar-13 19:33:35

My love, you've had a terrible time of it have'nt you?

When my 10 year relationship with an abuser came to an end, and I was literally a mere shell of a human being, I needed support from anyone.

My mother buggered off to the otherside of the earth, supported my ex in wishing him well, never once asked me how I was. I was left for emotional dead.

It was the most hurtful period of my life.

I was told by my therapist that it was my fault I was so hurt. hmm it was a WTF moment for me, but she was right, tough love and all.

She said to me that my mother has ALWAYS turned her back on me, my entire life. I was an idiot to assume she'd act any differently this time around.

When I finished wincing, I realised she was right.

Your DM is a PITA, and is a poisonous person to have near your family.

Let her go. Please. Her life was all about her, and it still is.

dragongirlx Sun 31-Mar-13 19:45:08

Your mother sounds a lot like mine. You have done everything that you can to support her and help her and have got very little in return. It will be hard but I think you need to get distance from her. I always hoped my mother would change and she never did and I just got angrier and angrier till it all blew up. In the end distancing myself was the only way to protect my own health. You need to consider you and your families health first of all.

pippop1 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:56:31

And as she gets older it will be even harder to turn your back on her won't it. Don't work at rebuilding the relationship unless you think YOU will get something out of it. Will you?

Fluer Sun 31-Mar-13 20:03:17

I totally agree with the poster above. My parents were horrible to me a lot of the time as a child. I was also an only child and my mother used to make me feel such a bad child. I wont go into my childhood story but I also had therapy when I was in my twenties and it was a lightbulb moment to realise what they had done to me was so wrong. I changed and became better towards myself and stronger and my parents didn't like the new me and I hadn't seen them for 21 years until last year when they turned up out of the blue. I didn't want to see them at all ( they live abroad) but my mother used emotive language and I felt bad and arranged to meet up and introduce them to my two grown up children. Everything was fine but they never apologised for anything and nothing was said of the past or if I had been ok in the last 21 years. It was just all about them them them. Anyway, I kept it lovely as my mum was not very well. They flew back home and they have phoned occasionally. But whenever I talk about me they don't seem interested. I was involved in a very bad car accident this year where someone drove into me at 60 mph and I had to be cut from the car and taken to hospital. I kept it from my parents but after hearing all about her problems on the phone I told her that I had been in a bad car accident. She said nothing more than "O". My dad never contacted me to see if I was ok. My mother didn't ask for any details or if I was ok. So hurtfull. Anyway, the last phonecall I had from her was her telling me that her Doctors have said that she is suitable for a transplant . She said that a man with her on the dialysis ward has his sisters going for tests to see if they are suitable donors. So now I am left feeling that the only reason after all that time that they came to see me is because she wants my kidney. I am left feeling very sad and very hurt and that I have let myself down by allowing this to all happen again. Im sorry I have gone on hav'nt I. I

I think my point is that you owe your mother nothing, nothing at all. She has treated you badly and abused you all your life (although not always intentionally) its still abuse. You don't need this in your life as it will always drag you down. My goodness, you have bought a house for her as well . She will probably never change but you can change the pattern for yourself and your children who are in danger of been treated badly by her too and you don't want them to grow up with your issues do you.

Only you can make this decision. Your mother might end up destroying the relationship you have with your lovely husband and she would probably be happy then that she has you back to herself. Don't let her do this to you anymore. You really don't deserve it.

yellowhousewithareddoor Sun 31-Mar-13 20:05:12

My mother is bi polar and an alcoholic, drinking on and off. We have a sort of relationship but I sadly never expect her to ever ask how I am or actually help. (my brother however, she'd help him. Grr.)

They've been so self absorbed for so long they're beyond it. Doesn't stop it hurting each time they're not the mum you'd hope for but its best not to expect much.

goodenuffmum Sun 31-Mar-13 20:26:04

I agree with Hissy's tough love therapist.

A definition of madness is doing something the same thing over and over again and expecting a different ending.

Your mum cannot change. That is a fact.sad

You can change how you behave because you have the insight your mother sadly lacks.

It is not a reflection on you.

It was when I realised this about my parents that I stopped being hurt by their lack of interest (unless it related directly to them), their hurtful comments dressed up as constructive criticism and being let down by them...I treat them like distant relatives with minimal contact and short obligatory visits.

In fact the only effort I put into them is sourcing mother and father day cards that don't include the word "love" or talk about them being so wonderful grin

The hardest thing was realising that limiting their toxic influence was not selfish but an essential part of ensuring my mental health!

Good luck x

Fairylea Sun 31-Mar-13 21:25:03

Thank you very much for such kind and thoughtful replies. And for sharing your experiences of similar mothers. It's good to know - although sad - that I'm not alone.

You have all confirmed what I know deep down which is that for my own sanity andthat of my family I need to reduce contact.

I find it so hard to reconcile with the idea that actually I don't have a mum, not in the proper sense of the word. You're right, I can't keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. It is like a grieving process.

I am trying to move forward its just so hard when right up until recently mum and I had been so linked, living together into my adult life etc.

I also find myself withdrawing from dh and the children a bit at the moment because I am so worn out emotionally with my mother I feel I have nothing left to give. Although obviously I am doing my very best to hide this from the dc and love bombing them as it were. My dh I find more difficult because he becomes frustrated by the fact I feel so sad about my mum as opposed to angry like he is.

I know it will be more difficult as she gets older. I don't know what to do about that. Unless I completely cut contact all care or organisation of care etc will fall to me as there is literally no one else. She has no friends, family or partner. I don't know if I could handle the guilt to turn my back on her.

At the same time I feel like I've lived my whole life for her, as if I was only born with the purpose to provide in every sense for her. Like I am worthless in my own right.

And I'm scared my dc will grow up and hate me as much as I hate my mum. But I'm trying my best not to be anything like her. When dd was little every Christmas I made happy for her was like taking one back for me.

I need to move forward. I want to try and reclaim what is left of my life.

yellowhousewithareddoor Sun 31-Mar-13 21:34:13

I really like that description of Christmas. I need to remember that. It doesn't half effect self esteem doesn't it.

I think I need to withdraw more but its hard. My mothers' been seeing everyone but me this weekend (and just told me she was 'busy' - its the evils of others' facebook that I've realised what she was up to). I'm still disappointed she didn't want to see me or kids. . . Its hard to create a large extended happy family when ultimately its just me and my husband.

Hissy Sun 31-Mar-13 21:40:05

Sweety, your kids won't hate you. You are not your mother. Wanting to make your DD happy is all the proof you need to know.

your becoming a mother was probably one of the things that showed you how 'off' she was when you were growing up.

Losing your mum, like this, is excruciating. It's the worst kind of pain. Death'd be less cruel tbh.

I howled when I realised that Mum just didn't give enough of a shit to be there for me, when she put my sister on a vastly better footing than she did me.

I realised that emotional support is not her thing. I made alternative arrangements. I leant on friends instead, they were wonderful, more supportive than I'd ever imagined possible. I never imagined that people could be so kind.

I recently had it out with her, I took no prisoners. She cried, she said sorry, but still her uncouth and rude H has not apologised for screaming and shouting at me, and doubtless won't. So apparently I'm in the wrong again somehow.

I'm not, and I'm going to have to fight another fight no doubt.

Know the truth. Be brutally honest with yourself, tell yourself that none of this was your fault, because it really wasn't.

Have you read Toxic Parents? I'm told it's really useful!

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