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Not really thankful to my Mum for anything.

(96 Posts)

Very obviously in relation to the 'thankful to Mum' thread but I didn't want to drag it down as it is a lovely thread at the moment!

It is making me realise though that I really don't think of anything to be 'thankful' for wrt my parents, especially my Mum. She's not bad or anything, she was just never a strong character, never encouraged me to be strong, always listened to my fears/upsets but always just said "Well, I was like that as a child and I grew up." so never actually helped me be constructive or did anything constructive about it herself.

I was bullied mercilessly both by teachers/adults around me and peers from the age of 5/6 to 18/19 in various fashions. I remember crying to her when I was about 10 saying that I only had one friend and she told me that she only ever had one friend growing up so I would be fine. I was always encouraged to brush the bullying under the carpet, to hide in a corner and not face it, I'd cry myself to sleep every night and I know that bothered her but she never actively tried to do anything to help. I'd cry to her most days but she always said that she couldn't do anything.

I eventually moved schools when I was 12 after a particularly bad incident where I snapped and ended up being bitten at school. She let the police talk me out of pressing charges and it was only because I refused to go to school when the school wouldn't even give the girl detention that I got moved. Second high school was just as fun. I should have been pulled out of school entirely. I still can't forgive her for her lack of trying to help when I was bullied through school.

When I finally told her, after a year of debating, that I was bisexual, she pulled a face, told me I'd grow out of it and that I shouldn't say anything to my Dad. When I tried to tell her that I was being sexually abused by my boyfriend she dithered and wouldn't talk about it.

She was a complete sap. No sense of strength in herself, no pride in her appearance (more pride in her refusal to be 'feminine'), never stood up for me, never helped me get my own strength or ability to handle situations.

She now says that my childhood/teen years have made me 'stronger' and the person I am today. It has made me who I am today, but I am not bloody 'stronger'. I'm a person who really struggles with relationships of any kind. I have no self esteem. I know nothing about how to look good and when I apparently 'look good' I feel ugly as muck. I feel uncomfortable wearing anything that is not jeans and a t-shirt. Cannot handle disagreements with friends so I just avoid having friends and up until recently fully accepted that my only friend in life would ever be DP, it didn't bother me too much as I didn't let it. I accepted that I should just lie down and not do anything about things in my life. Mumsnet has been more of a parent to me than my own mother, what a crock of shit, right?

My relationship with my immediate family is very blase. They are my family, but the relationships are entirely superficial. If any of them were to die tomorrow I would mourn for what I feel I should have with them, not them. It feels awful to admit that. My sister had an accident last week which could have ended horrifically, she's fine, but it did make me realise that I have no relationship with her and I was so upset by how close we came to losing her because of that, not because I love her so much.

AnyFucker Mon 20-May-13 19:53:36

I lurk on the Stately Homes thread too

Have never really posted there as I suspect if I started I would never stop smile

infamouspoo Mon 20-May-13 20:02:06

hugs pixie. I also lurk on the stately homes thread. I feel nothing for my mother and to be honest when she dies will feel nothing apart from relief. She never stood up for me against bullies, her abusive men, anyone really and like AF, if I started I'd never stop and this is your thread.
But you are not alone.
You can heal though and you wont repeat the pattern with your own children.

Mantella Mon 20-May-13 21:07:05

So sorry for everyone on this thread with terrible mothers. It's must be extremely hard to get your head around it all, especially when you are a mother yourself and would do anything for your DC. x

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 20-May-13 22:46:37

That's the hardest bit Mantella, knowing you would never do these things to your own child, but knowing she did them to you.

Mantella Mon 20-May-13 23:16:59

sad

TigerSwallowTail Mon 20-May-13 23:32:45

I thank my mother for showing me exactly the kind of parent I don't ever want to be to my children.

springperennial Tue 21-May-13 00:30:06

I'm a former stately homes poster. I mostly lurk these days. This thread has struck a chime with me today.

My abusive mother died 18 months ago. I can say, with complete conviction, that her existence contributed nothing positive to my life. Her death was a release of sorts, I suppose. It was a way out of the FOG. Unlike so many valiant posters on this forum who try ceaselessly, but ultimately with futility, to forge some kind of meaningful relationship with their abusive parents, I know I emotionally withdrew from mine at an early age, and kept my adult relationship with them at a superficial level. I tried to present mine with things that might make them happy, a career, marriage, children; things that would allow them to bask in reflective glory, which is all they were interested in, their own status to the outside world, rather than their children's individual happiness. But I did not feel love for her or my father, either as a child or as an adult, and would never have shared any real intimate moments with them. And that is not normal, is it, because children are programmed to love their parents. They rewrote my software with their relentless emotional abuse. My overwhelming memory from childhood was the feeling of fear and hatred of them. I went no contact with my parents (and very limited contact with my toxic siblings) several years ago, and the hatred and fear gave way to indifference and relief that I no longer had to allow these people to pollute my life.

I don't think I know what "love" really feels like. I try to give my best interpretation of what I think it should be to my lovely DH and DC, but it always feels like I'm an actor in a play. Sometimes I feel like I need to be prompted to say the right lines, iyswim. I think (hope) they feel safe and loved, but I forever feel like I'm giving an unconvincing performance. The easy affection within DH's family baffles me, especially the easy physical contact, lots of hugging and kisses and easy intimacy. I recoil when they (in their lovely, welcoming way) draw me into this. I just instinctively don't trust it. At the same time, I long to be like them and long for my own children to have that security of feeling.

Today, I re-read a critique of myself that my sister, a carbon copy of my mother, sent to me a couple of years ago, when I'd gone NC. In it, she told me I needed to respect and forgive my parents despite their faults and failings. Why must we respect a person who has done us irreperable harm? Surely forgiveness and excusing their behaviour just leaves a void. A void that the victim has to fill by accepting the blame for the harm that has been done to them, because otherwise, none of it makes any sense.

forgetmenots Tue 21-May-13 04:41:36

springperennial I've nothing to say and an un-MN hug is possibly going to feel very uneasy. So just will say that I think what you did was strong, brave and above all respectful and forgiving to yourself.

forgetmenots Tue 21-May-13 04:42:15

Nothing helpful to say, that should read

AnyFucker Tue 21-May-13 08:23:17

Spring, I have shed a tear for you

AnyFucker Tue 21-May-13 08:23:52

(and for me of course)

Thank you for this thread. On my way into work and 30weeks pg so v v tearful so marking my place til I can come back and read the thread.
OP and others I started to read, I'm so sorry you went through this too but it's 'nice' to know I'm not alone. PG with DD1 and so utterly clear on what NOT to do, just need to figure out what TO do. Back later
thanksthanks

Whocansay Tue 21-May-13 08:45:34

I'm fucking thankful I didn't turn out like her!

"If you can't be a good example, you can at least be a horrible warning."
That is my mother.

springperennial Tue 21-May-13 11:01:45

Thank you Forgetmenots and AF and everyone on this thread. Hugs and tears across cyberspace don't scare me so much, and I can accept gratefully and return them without embarrassment! Although I do feel undeserving - more childhood conditioning there, I suppose. I really feel for all of you that have been through this.

Remembering congratulations on your pregnancy, is this your first baby? Having a baby can result in your own childhood punching you in the face with huge force. It did for me. I suddenly really realised what they had done to a small, defenceless, utterly dependent child. Thank god for MN and Stately Homes, everything suddenly became clear when I started reading about toxic childhoods and FOG. It helped me to break the cycle of abuse I was falling into as a parent myself. I hope you are ok, Remembering do you have support? Keep posting here if it helps.

Thinking about what I wrote last night. I know I am not cold and unaffectionate with my children the way my parents were with me. With them, it's like my body knows what to do, there's an instinct there to hug and kiss and laugh and just be a mum with then. An then my brain catches up, and suddenly, it is like I'm an observer and I'm critiquing my performance, and analysing if I am being normal/convincing. Does that make any sense?

infamouspoo Tue 21-May-13 11:19:51

Remembering, I found when I had y own children it started the healing process but I do identify with what spring says. I still often feel I'm acting. Is this 'feeling' love? Because I never had any I dont know what it feels like. A damaged childhood leaves you unable to trust whats inside.

AgathaF Tue 21-May-13 11:29:07

MN has made me realise that there are lots of us with this similar situation too. I wonder where they all were when I was growing up though. It seemed that every other child in school had a happy childhood.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 21-May-13 11:38:02

Don't worry Agatha we all migrated to MN smile

AnyFucker Tue 21-May-13 11:41:43

Agatha, as a child, and as of now....none of us knew/knows what goes on behind closed doors.

AgathaF Tue 21-May-13 12:00:47

I know. I wish I had known that as a child and as a young adult though. Not that I want for anyone else to be or have been unhappy, but I suppose as a child I blamed myself.

I also dislike it when other adults downplay it. A friend of mine said that it was normal in the 70s to get the odd smack. She is very close to her mum. She really doesn't have a clue. I tend to only talk about it with people that I know have had a similar experience, because they are the only ones who really understand.

forgetmenots Tue 21-May-13 12:11:22

The other adults will always downplay it because as a society we do not talk about this. I honestly think the more this taboo is discussed the better.

Before I met my DH's family I thought there was my parents and there was Fred and Rose West, with very little shade of grey in the middle of that spectrum. I was wrong and incredibly naive, and AF is right when she says people from very positive families often can't recognise a dependent or unhealthy relationship. Spot on.
I encouraged my DH to build bridges with his abusive mother because he was too ashamed to tell me the whole story and I was too naive to see there was more to it. I feel awful to this day.

The more people can be open about families not being perfect, the more we will all understand I think.

tangerinefeathers Tue 21-May-13 12:15:57

spring that is such an eloquent post, I had to write. I know where you are coming from, I still have some sadness about my father but my mother just fills me with despair and anxiety and I often wonder if I'll feel relief when she's gone, it seems so wrong, but I suspect I will.

It's only since becoming a parent myself that I've realised what I missed, before then I genuinely thought she was a saint. In a way it's a relief to know the truth, but I also feel so much bitterness and anger at her behaviour [I vented on that other thread blush]. Threads like that sting because they make me wonder about what I missed out on, and what's missing from me, having had such a cold mother.

I did read that you start processing feelings like this when you are ready to, so maybe it's good to get angry/sad, think about it and vent on MN. Better than burying it all. I think it's telling that both of my sisters, who are very close to my mother, are on anti-depressants, whereas I am almost constantly pissed off with her blush but not depressed.

I think it's normal to feel like you're performing as a parent, though. You have too, at times, because it's a job and you have to keep doing it even when your head is somewhere else. Sometimes it comes easily and sometimes you are just acting the role of a mother, I think most mothers would do that. You may have meant something different, but for me there's definitely an element of faking it and I think kids don't know.

I think an open, non-abusive atmosphere in the home is the most important thing. When I think of how my mother's moods governed our home that is the thing I try most of all to avoid, by managing my own moods as best i can.

ConfusedPixie I know what you mean about Mumsnet being more of a mum. This site has changed how I think about women, I trust and like them more purely from reading the words and thoughts of strangers I'll probably never meet. I've also been told 'you're mother is nuts' on here which was, in a fucked up way, incredibly helpful to me grin.

spring the feeling of acting 'catching up' is bang on for me. I remember dd having a fit from a fever age 19 months ish and though i was phoning an ambulance and packing her bag with nappies and clothes part of me afterwards realised i was thinking through what i'd said on the phone to see if i had sounded 'concerned enough' which is utterly ridiculous. My PFB was having a fit, i was terrified of coarse i sounded flipping concerned!

On a day to day basis i often have to remind myself to 'mum' the dc - lets draw/paint/go to the park etc - all things my mum didn't do she did feck all the hungover tart i do forget a lot but they are told daily they are beautiful, precious, wanted, loved, adored and needed by both myself and dp. Not to an over inflated ego sense just so they know we think the world of them. My dd is a cheeky moody pita at times and ds drives me up the wall on an hourly basis but so often my heart just bursts looking at the little people i made and whilst i'm not perfect my littles love me anyway smile and that feels good. I prefer my kids feel able to mouth off/run riot around the house within reason because i don't want them meek like me - forever shushed and ignored.

My mother was/is a shit parent and worse grandparent

But to listen to her talking she is parent of the fucking century!

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 21-May-13 14:32:54

I miss not having a mother. I will never speak to my mother again, but sometimes long to have that relationship, and it has been a struggle to accept that I can't.

I think the legacy of being raised by my abusive and awful gran, and being left to rot by my mother (and my mother being a professional victim about it) is that I don't trust anyone wholeheartedly, and am pretty much a cold fish. I quite easily walk away from things and shy away from developing strong relationships. Apart from some people I cherish I can take or leave people really.

My overwhelming fear is that I am a terrible mother to dd. my mother and gran never realised how awful they were - what if I am the same? I just want to break the cycle of terrible motherhood in my family which has been going on for generations (my great gran was impriosoned for child cruelty in the 20s). And I don't want to end up bitter and misanthropic. But I fear sometimes when I feel very down about it that I am halfway there,

Waspie Tue 21-May-13 15:53:20

My mum appears to be a good mother - to everyone except her children of course.

Her world is herself. She is a self indulgent, stupid, drama queen. People think she is caring but if you actually listen to her what she is actually saying is all about her. e.g. "I feel so helpless to help X". "I'm so worried that X is ill". She is a manipulative bully. My sister is still scared of her.

When we were children she would throw a tantrum and leave for days at a time, leaving my dad to look ofter us.

I found out last year that she actually hit (punched, slammed into walls) my sister several times when she was little. (She has never touched me, my sister thinks that this is because she knew I would tell). I couldn't speak to her for months afterwards and even now I have difficulty not telling her just how revolted I am at her violence towards my sister (my sister has asked me not to tell her that I know).

If it weren't for my dad (who enables her) I would have nothing to do with her.

My dad doesn't bother even trying to temper her more outrageous and bizarre behaviour anymore. He just says that he's too old now. I despise him for this.

When I was a teenager I wished they would split so that sis and I could live with dad and have a "normal" stable life.

I too worry that I'm going to be a crap parent to my son because I don't know what a balanced mother/child relationship is like.

And, obviously, I feel a complete cow for not loving or respecting my mother.

DP's mum died when he was a small child and I can't help thinking that I would have been happier if mine had done the same [guilt, guilt, guilt overload]

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