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Dear Mum(129 Posts)
You've just left and as usual, I feel broken. Sad and guilty and hopeless and, oddly but as always, ill.
Our relationship is the most complicated and saddening thing in my life. My friends simply don't understand it, but I make a point of keeping you out of my 'real' life as much as I can, so they only see a very small side of you. DH and SIL get it, at least to some extent.
To anybody else, I think I would seem quite 2 dimensional given the limited input you get from me. But given that you don't actually seem to see me as a separate entity, rather as an extension of yourself, I don't suppose that really matters. It's a claustrophobic and stifling perspective. The disappointment whenever a situation occurs which clearly disputes this is palpable but is soon 'rewritten' and forgotten.
You consider yourself to be so 'nice' that any perceived criticism results in an extreme defensive response. I always end up feeling as if I've just booted a small puppy, no matter how light-hearted or innocuous the comment.
You are a little girl in a women's body. You consider your childish affectations to be somehow charming. I champion strong women and it pains me that the woman I should be able to look up to and respect is such a child.
Your ability to turn every topic of conversation, every achievement of mine, everything my children do, even the bloody weather onto yourself is mind blowing. I still can't quite fathom how you can be so self-deprecating and so self-obsessed at the same time.
You seem to think you are a big help. In reality, you do nothing except add another person trying to claim my full and constant attention to the mix. I'm not sure how you aren't embarrassed to just lounge on the sofa while we run around organising or clearing up after family get-togethers.
I can't hug you or tell you I love you. I turned it off during my teenage years (a very dark time at home for me) and can't turn it back on again. I hate it when you touch me.
You have lied and manipulated, and when challenged you deny everything. It's all done in your little girl, I'm just so nice persona, and it leaves me disorientated about what is real. You also make stuff up in order to appear empathetic. Or to make a point. Or to make you sound more wise. Or for a hundred other reasons. If we challenge you on it, the booted puppy makes a reappearance.
You fill every pause in conversation by telling us how much you love us or love spending time with us. This should be a wonderful thing but it feels stifling. Something about the rise in intonation at the end and the pause which suggests you're again fishing for validation (the search for validation, about everything from your clothes to your opinions, is constant and draining). Is it wonderful to see us? Can it really be wonderful for you while I'm struggling so much just to be in the same room as you? Probably not and it again means that it's not clear quite how much of it is truth.
When you're around, I can hardly breathe. My stomach is tight and there have been occasions when I've had to fight a panic attack. There is no other time when I feel like this. The only way I can cope is to switch a part of myself off when I'm with you. But your words about how much you love us are in my psyche, even though I doubt their truth, and it means that as soon as you've left I feel cripplingly guilty.
In many ways I would love to cut you out but know that I will never be able to. I wish I could find a way to allow us to get on, but I think I finally have to accept that it's never going to happen. Every single time I let my guard down I regret it. I don't know what the answer is and I'm so, so tired.
Hi * good*
Thanks for asking... I haven't heard from mum since I last posted. All or nothing She's coming over quite soon, not for long (due to some careful crisis management last week) but I'm a bit stressed about it. I'm planning the time carefully.
How are you getting on? I've not been on so much this week so haven't had chance to check SH thread either. Hope you're ok x
How are you Name? Did the feared storm arrive, or are you still in a lull with your Mum?
(Not really.... Well, you know )
I've just replied to you on other thread, it just sounds like you're finding a level of detachment which is great.
At the moment I feel like we're in the calm before the storm! I'm reminding myself not to let my guard down.
Mine's on "woe is me" atm. Had the weepy PA "I can't cope alone" phone call this morning. Apparently she might have to go back to the UK and go into a home....
It's mostly triangulation (new word...) my mum uses at times like that. She's just trying to help (by creating tension and pressure and resentment).
Drat, just closed the window on my reply
good , I've not really experienced the rage you get from your mum, not since being a kid anyway but even then it mostly wasn't her style. She's more insidious, it's all so subtle. "PA dig" sums up a lot of it very nicely. That and manipulating circumstances. And twisting stuff.
Mumngran , at the revolving door. Interestingly the inheritance thing has been on my mind this week, the fact that I feel like that's an issue but that I can't remember it ever being mentioned specifically. Although she talked another it a lot in relation to her dad.
Hypochondria - yes. Often linked to eating issues.
Yes that is true - my mum convinced herself that she was dying of lung cancer (bad back actually) and blamed it on me getting married and the stress it was putting her through to 'lose' her daughter. Everyday she was convinced she was dying.
Hypochondria is a recurring theme on these threads. I guess it is a kind of manipulation really
mumngran. My mum uses money and gifts to control, divide and conquer.
You might find your ILs don't push it as much as you might think. I had to tell mine a certain amount because we then moved out of her house and although they'd always got on with her (as much as they could with the language barrier) they just accepted the new situation and it's all been ok. We have been on holiday very close (although not sharing accommodation) with DH's lovely and enormous extended family and they are wonderful....like my surrogate family
God, I'd forgotten about the inheritance thing.
My mothers Will looked like a revolving door, brother & I went in and out of it so often.
I can laugh, in hindsight.
Sounds good. Mine went into full narc rage when I originally pulled her up on criticising DH, involving suicide threats and disinheriting (not that I give a fuck) etc. Although quiet anf little girl lost is awful too...my mum alternates that with hyperchondriac illness and sheer rage. There has been some passive aggressive illness via text msg but I just texted back "oh dear. get well soon". And nothing since . Before we came away on holiday she did ask me to write down the numbers for fire, ambulance and police "in case something happened" which from anyone else would be innocuous but from her is a PA dig about us daring to go on holiday and "leave" her. I can laugh about it now from a distance. Well done Name, it's so so hard. Especially the guilt. I still suffer the guilt 8 months on. But I am so much happier with some distance between us. I am me again.
Hi, good. I'm alright, thanks. Had a wobbly week, it's been quite tough actually, but the plan is working. I've already had to use my new resolutions on a couple of major issues, which I do feel proud of. Particularly as one of them is important to my children too. My mum is VERY quiet and little-girl-lost, but she's being much better in terms of noticeably trying to show an interest in us, and I'm trying not to feel guilty. It truly is crazy that I do, I'm really trying to rethink my own thought patterns. iyswim!
How are you getting on? Any mum stories on your end this week? X
Thanks MumnGran. Sound advice, again
Phalenopsis, it did make me smile that it's on money saving expert - pretty random! Thanks for the link.
You might find this thread useful OP. It's on another site but I assure you there are folks on this thread who have been in very similar situations.
I think solving/solution is just too large a concept at the moment.
Acknowledging the realities of this relationship is such a recent thing for you, and you have absorbed so much in a short space of time, that just managing immediate problems is a big step forward .... and enough for anyone to cope with.
People who have known the reality of their parent/child relationship for years still struggle to structure long term solutions, and you really will not fix it in a day, a week ...or possibly a year!
What matters is that you are now aware, and that gives you a power in its own right. You will be less prone to manipulation, more able to analyse.
The steps you have outlined to manage the relationship are a very positive start. Other ways to cope will come to mind, slowly but surely.
At some point you are likely to feel tremendous anger.
One step at a time. And the next step for you should probably be some time just to be good to yourself, while the new mindset really sinks in.
Hmm no, she tends to engulf him too.
As MumnGran predicted, I'm feeling pretty low today. I've realised that I can try to manage things, but there's no real way of solving it all.
I had a long thread on here called my mother hates my husband (can' t link on phone). She'd always seemed to like him but as she enmeshed herself more and more into my life the more he seemed like competition....do you see that happening with your mum?
Ooh that's tricky, good.
meery mum is quite open about the fact that she wants to spend all her time here with just us. In fact, point 1 of my plan is only really so easy to instigate because she doesn't want to 'share' me anyway (her own words). Her friends are often busy too when she's over.
DH is a bit of an inconvenience but he avoids her where possible, which reminds me...
5. Limit alone time with mum when she visits. Plan visits around time when DH is home, rather than inviting her when he's away. Dilution effect!
Oh god yes the flights. My dm lives in Europe and comes to the UK once or twice a year. We invite her for a week tops but this invariably turns into at least two. Also the flights are always booked before we are asked whether the dates work for us. Suggestions to go and visit some of her friends (aftetall she is so well liked) fall on deaf ears.
Dm has been threatening to move back to the UK for the last ten years. At first we tried to helplooking at locations etc but all suggestions were rejected. Now i refuse to engage. Her ideal is to move close enough to pop in. No no no!
My mum used the being single thing as a big bargaining chip. Ironically she's probably lonelier here...
If it was just her then yes, she'd just do what she wanted.
I have a brother. It won't just be her, it will be dad too (although she's a bit obsessed about 'something happening to him' which I can't get to the bottom of and am hoping has no foundation other than her love of drama) which makes it less likely she'd come anyway if I was rudely discouraging. Dad is her opposite and would never move close of his own accord.
I think if I'd known then what I know now (impossible of course) and told her not to come she would always have come anyway....she couldn't help herself. She doesn't engulf Dbro like this. Do you have siblings?
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