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Terrible trip with my mother

(12 Posts)
Fluffalump Tue 15-Apr-14 09:22:50

I have just come back from a nightmare trip away with my mother and I'm so confused.my mum was I suppose to all intents and purposes abusive to me and my sister and to a lesser extent my brother as we grew up.
She would hit sis and I with a dingy paddle if we were naughty( my
sister would often jump over me and get the worst of it. She once picked me up by my ponytail up the stairs and threatens to shave my head.
She could be loving sometimes but would lose her temper big time ( she once threw a plate at me and it smashed on my back when I was about 13) there are other examples but in between these outburst she would be very nice so I have very conflicted feeling and I haven't really ever spoke to anyone other than my siblings about it, even my husband?? I have I suppose buried these memories and just not thought of them.

However we had a very important weekend away and she asked to come with us but she was awful, really argumentative and I recognised the look on her face from my childhood. She caused a huge scene in a shop because of a perceived slight by one of my dc and ( she was looking for any excuse to blow up, i could feel her energy) stormed off and then shoved one of my children when she though I hadn't seen, she also later called him a little shit when I had gone for 2 mins and I feel terrible for letting him stay with her now.
She seems to have a pattern of being really horrible whenever there is a big event ie Christmas or a holiday or new baby etc but this is the first time I have seen it directed physically at my children and I am honestly at a loss how to approach it.
If it was someone else I suppose I would say go nc but I am the only one who really gives her any time, by dad left her after getting fed up with these periods of nastiness intermittent with being a 'nice' person my sister thinks she had post natal depression after the birth of my db as that is when the real tempers started, my mum is old now and disabled and I'm sure everyone would think we were awful for abandoning her as she has lots of friends and does lots of nice things to people in the community. I have no idea what todo but I am so cross she treated my family like this and I know it needs dealing with.

DrewsWife Tue 15-Apr-14 09:31:54

I too grew up with a parent like that. The violence was unreal. The emotional abuse did by far the most damage and I also had the added not of sexual abuse. But blocked that side out.

I was recently told... If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got....

If you allowed her to get away with her terrible behaviour she will continue todo it now.

The only person responsible for her is herself.

I don't allow my child near my parent. I remember very strongly how big the explosions were. I also remember the crushed feeling and now at 37 I'm finally a confident woman.

Your children are your priority not your mum. She pushed your son. Pushed him. She didn't accidentally bump into him. If you allow her to get away with that ... What's her next move.

Regardless of her mental health. Your responsibility is to your children and their safety.

If you want to put yourself in that position that is fine. But don't subject the next generation.

Swearing and demeaning is just as bad as violence. thanks

Other than these words.. I'd break her hands for shoving my child. wink X

Finola1step Tue 15-Apr-14 09:32:27

It does need dealing with, you're right. It sounds like an awful situation but I am going to be blunt.

What happened to you in the past was terrible. But it is in the past. You are no longer that child. As an adult, you can make your own choices and discuss this with who you want. I strongly advise that your first step is to explain things to your dh.

Your dc are a completely different matter. It is not in the past for them. They are not old enough to deal with her behaviour. It is your resoonsibility to protect your dc from all forms of harm, including harm from their own grandmother.

From now on, do not allow this woman to have contact with your dc. Unless of course you are prepared for your dc asking you in a few years time why you let your mother treat them so badly. If that did happen, what would you say?

Fluffalump Tue 15-Apr-14 09:45:52

Thanks for the relplies, I do know this needs action but it's so hard because she can be 'nice' and I think without really thinking about it I cling to the nice rather than seeing the mean side and it's only when I typed out the op that I really recognised that?! Perhaps that was the default setting when I was a child maybe, yes she has just hit me but now she is being nice mummy again so we can just forget the hitting?
Drew, you would think I would have gone mad at her pushing him, but I just froze and I am quite ashamed that I didn't react, it really isn't how it should be. The more I think about it, the more I think I would benifit from speaking to a professional but the though of that is terrifying because then its all real isnt it.

oldgrandmama Tue 15-Apr-14 10:15:52

It is real. To be blunt, I'd go NC, you and the kids. You say she has lots of friends - good. Let them take up the slack, because you don't need that sort of shit from anyone and your children certainly don't.

meiisme Tue 15-Apr-14 10:23:53

You need to make it real. What you lived through as a child was horrible, and it's logical and common that you blocked it out and focussed on her nice side. It would have been to terrifying for you as a child otherwise.

But as a PP said, you are not a child anymore and as an adult you have the capability (and when it comes to your DC the responsibility) to act.

The freezing is a common intuitive response; it is in the same category as the fight or flight response people experience in dangerous situations. It is the child within you being terrified, knowing that if you act now (fight or flight) you will get it even worse from your M.

SeaSaltMill Tue 15-Apr-14 10:31:39

I have a similar relationship with my mother. She is emotionally draining, constantly wants attention or reassurance, and was physically abusive to me when I was younger.

I have no contact with her now. However, if/when I have children I suppose I will give her a chance. BUT, if she were to ever treat my child the way she treated me, I would be long gone.

She shoved your child and called them a little shit?! In my book that's way over the line and I would be long gone.

I'm sorry she has done this

Fluffalump Tue 15-Apr-14 10:38:26

You're so right all of you,ive got to stop being the frightened child and andbe the adult, it s just hard to change how you have always coped I supose but the meaness to my son who us only 9 and loves his grandma is a step to far and I think once my dad left I felt even more responsible for her.

DrewsWife Tue 15-Apr-14 10:59:14

Fluff. It took me intense counselling to acknowledge what happened to me. Maybe it will help you.

No one protected you as a child. You are not that child anymore. You are a grown woman and owe no one anything apart from your DH& DC.

I would go NC and in that time arrange counselling. But in the meantime. If you keep contact remove the children from her. Keep to open spaces where there are others and if she steps out of line tell her.

Bullys and that is what she is... Mentally ill or not she is a bully. She uses her temper to get what he wants. Bullys get what they want by making those around feel small

I haven't spoken to mine in 21 years. Mum died 22 years ago. I did see him at a funeral where he tried to come and hug me. I realised then I wasn't a little girl and told him where to go.

He tried to contact me again a few years ago but I got so angry and thought... How dare you.

SeaSaltMill Tue 15-Apr-14 11:44:12

Fluff I know the feeling. I still get really anxious around my mum even though I am nearly 30 FFS!

I dread telling her things because of the disapproving look, or worse, the total lack of emotion/interest/anything.

Its a very hard cycle to break.

Nanny0gg Tue 15-Apr-14 13:33:11

She is their grandmother.

She should love and protect them, not hurt them. There is no excuse - especially as you say 'as she has lots of friends and does lots of nice things to people in the community.' She can control what she does, she just chooses not to around her family.

You must protect your children. She doesn't deserve your love or care. They do.

Lottapianos Tue 15-Apr-14 14:01:53

'The more I think about it, the more I think I would benifit from speaking to a professional but the though of that is terrifying because then its all real isnt it'

I cant' recommend it enough. I've been seeing a psychotherapist for the past 4 years and yes, it is very tough, very painful and involves feelings things that I had locked away for years. It's also the very best thing I have ever done for myself.

I have 2 emotionally abusive parents. Just like you, I have been well trained to be a 'good girl', always think of my parents needs first, feel guilty for having my own thoughts and feelings and opinions. I recognise the feeling of 'freezing' and feeling terrified of confronting my parents or being disagreeable in any way. It's bloody hard, this stuff, and it's not like flicking a switch - it takes time and, IMO, professional support to come to terms with it and to start breaking out of the unhealthy behaviours you have learned.

I agree with others posters that you have a responsibility to your children, they cannot defend themselves. However, I would also argue that you have a very serious responsibility to yourself - you deserve to be happy and to feel a sense of peace about who you are. You do not have to put up with this treatment from your mother. You really don't. It won't be easy, but you can be free of her tyranny.

I'm so sorry for everything you've been through x

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