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My mum never seems to 'get it'

(66 Posts)
BetteDavis01 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:02:58

I'll try and explain myself as clearly as possible!

I have posted here before about my emotionally abusive childhood. My father was a nasty bully who made me thoroughly miserable as a child and he got worse as I got older. Whilst all this was going on, my mum would make excuses for him or would get us both in a room together to try and 'resolve' our differences. My 'father'. Would give me the silent treatment for up to two weeks. My mother would just carry on as normal during all this. As I've got older and become a parent myself, I realise how fucked up this all was.

Fast forward to now, my parents have now been divorced for ten years and my mum had got a new partner who seems ok. What I am struggling with though, is my feelings towards my mother and her inability to confront or deal with any emotion.

I remember being bullied a school in infants and she told me later that she didn't go up to the school as she thought it would make it worse. I was 5, ffs!

She doesn't really support me emotionally, although she does help out a bit financially. If I have an issue, she just brushes it off. She can never offer a POV or advice. She will not discuss my childhood, she just shuts the conversation down. She will not acknowledge my awful childhood.

I didn't feel safe or secure as a kid, I remember having insomnia and OCD, was never taken to the doctor. I was clearly an anxious child, when I look back.

My mother lives in a world where everything is solved by going on a shopping trip or having a slice of cake. Well it's not, is it? hmm

I feel very angry towards her, in actual fact more so with her than my father who I have been NC with for five years. She just doesn't seem to 'get it'. She never has.

Don't know why I'm posting really but I need to get this out of my system. Thanks for reading x

NorwaySpruce Wed 30-Jul-14 08:07:35

I would imagine she does 'get it', she just doesn't want to discuss it.

A lot of people live that way, it works for them, and there is nothing you can do about it.

The woman is not just your mother. She is doing the best she can in order to preserve her own mental well being. I'd try to understand that, and not harangue her.

BetteDavis01 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:09:44

Well perhaps she should have put her child's mental 'well being' first. That's what good mothers should do.

I think 'trying to protect her own mental health' is a shoddy excuse. If we all did that where would our children be?
She sounds selfish and self-centred, but I don't know what you can do about it.
Sorry you experienced all that.

NorwaySpruce Wed 30-Jul-14 08:12:23

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

BetteDavis01 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:13:47

Norway stop posting on my thread.

Lovingfreedom Wed 30-Jul-14 08:14:58

Do you still see yourself as a child BetteDavies?

NorwaySpruce Wed 30-Jul-14 08:15:03

Seriously? grin

Look outside of yourself.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 30-Jul-14 08:16:51

I agree with the PP. Some people are just very weak and inadequate when it comes to any kind of challenge. They'd rather stick their head in the sand, go shopping, make excuses... anything really rather than deal with anything even slightly difficult. Their attitude might be annoying or even hurtful but it's rarely done out of malice.

If you get someone like that as a parent and you were hoping for someone a lot stronger, more confident and able to fix your problems or listen to your concerns then you're unlucky, that's all. Up against a bully like your father she'll have gone into peace-maker mode because that's all she has in her tool-kit. You've only to read a few threads here to see similar stories. Women who are with seriously nasty men but who have chosen to live on eggshells and stay with them 'for the sake of the children'.

If you want to take something positive from the experience it's probably that you've resolved to be nothing like her.

FrankSaysNo Wed 30-Jul-14 08:17:11

You can be as angry as you like, she was doing what she had to do to avoid incurring your fathers wrath any further. That was her protection mechanism probably for you both.

You can take two people, encountering the same situations. one will be the stronger for it and get on with life, the other will seek to project blame for their inability to process their own feelings. A bit like grief really. You need to be responsible for your own feelings not seek to blame someone else.

Lovingfreedom Wed 30-Jul-14 08:17:16

Sorry I pressed send too quick... I would suggest either something along the lines of Spruce's first post or get her in a room and try to get her to talk (the way she did with your dad and you)

Donteatthekidssweets Wed 30-Jul-14 08:23:31

I agree that she probably does at least partly get it, but for what could be many reasons doesn't want to discuss it. Personally I don't think there's any resolving this, even if she acknowledged your childhood I don't think that all this would suddenly be better for you. Well done on not seeing your dad but only you can decide if not seeing your mum too would help. Maybe settle for the relationship you do have if you think it better than none? Similar situation myself, not my decision but all contact has now been cut and this has helped me.

BetteDavis01 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:23:36

So, you think that a person who was abused as a child, should just chalk it up to experience and move on? sad

The government is bringing in a law against emotional abuse of children.

I guess I feel cheated and angry that my childhood was blighted by being used as an emotional punch bag by my father and my mother just let it happen. No child deserves that. I deserved to feel safe, secure and loved in my own home.

PlumpPartridge Wed 30-Jul-14 08:25:52

I understand your feelings op. With parents like this, thee hurt we felt as children often blossoms into rather intense anger when we have our own kids and somehow manage to make a fucking effort to be good parents. I got angrier at my mother when I had kids of my own, because I did have problems but the KIDS WERE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY FEELINGS. I have to be the grown up. My mother never worked thos out apparently hmm

I try to summon up sympathy for her but frankly it's hard work. My aim in life is to be nothing like her in any way.

She's dead now so that simplifies matters a bit.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 30-Jul-14 08:30:39

Your father was abusive and no, you can't just chalk that up to experience and move on. Your mother didn't do much to protect you from the abusive behaviour which was wrong of her. Both your parents let you down in different ways, you can't change the past and it doesn't sound as though you're going to get acknowledgements or apologies from either of them. If that's what you're hoping for, I think you'll wait a long time.

You've gone 'NC' with your father... why haven't you done the same thing with your mother if you're so angry with her?

BetteDavis01 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:34:06

I totally agree that becoming a parent has made me analyse my childhood and realise how dysfunctional it was. I look at my babies and I just know that if it came to it, I would defend them like a tigeress.

I get angry that she just seems to float through life in her happy bubble whilst I'm left feeling angry and hurt at the way I was treated. I am scarred by it, I suppose.

I'm not sure what the answer is really.

NorwaySpruce Wed 30-Jul-14 08:35:09

OP, I had the most dysfunctional parents you could ever imagine.

But growing up, I knew them better than they knew themselves. I witnessed their interactions with each other/strangers/colleagues and us.

I learned from it, and understood that they were doing the only things they knew how to do. I understood how they came to be the people they were, and why they had to do the things they did.

I learned from them, and understood that I wanted to be different, and that I was in a position to make that happen.

I became what I wanted to be.

Some people are not so fortunate. Your parents amongst them.

Take what you can from them, and try to understand.

PlumpPartridge Wed 30-Jul-14 08:38:26

Well, I've found that PA digs make no difference and make you feel bad for having the audacity to still be upset.... also, the enabling parent (your mum, my dad) gets quite invested in their role as 'the good one' and will get very upset at any hint that they could have donne more.

It is a difficult one.

Lovingfreedom Wed 30-Jul-14 08:38:34

I just think that when you are an adult you need at some point to recognise that your parents are human and imperfect. Your mother has dealt with things in her way. If you can forgive her who she is and how she deals with things then take her as she is. If you can't and are too angry or feel she has not treated you properly then yes, go NC with her too.

BetteDavis01 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:39:02

Cogito- I guess what sticks in my throat is the way she used to be so loving towards him and simpering when he would have just said something horrific to me. In the last year of their marriage she was planning a big birthday party for him. This was a period when he was extremely cruel to me.

There was no acknowledgment of my abuse.

BetteDavis01 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:44:25

It's hard, I feel like I'm in the middle of figuring my emotions out. Im not having therapy. Just thinking things through myself.

My mother appears to others to be very sweet, nice and kind. She even had my DH fooled, however he acknowledged recently that my DM is actually quite selfish and has no empathy for others. She doesn't think about her actions or the impact on others. He said this to me unprompted. It was his own observation but he's know her for years.

NorwaySpruce Wed 30-Jul-14 08:46:28

You take your Father's word for that, but you say he was abusive too.

He sounds fairly manipulative, to be fair.

Be wary of falling for the words of the one who massages your ego.

Finola1step Wed 30-Jul-14 08:48:44

HI Bette. I can empathise with how you feel. Becoming a parent yourself often makes you question all sorts of things from your own childhood. It certainly did for me. It left me terrified that I would not be able to parent my own children better, especially as they get older.

Through counselling, I came across a book called "The Emotionally Absent Mother" by JL Cori. It's worth a read.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 30-Jul-14 08:49:26

You might have missed it but I wondered why you still had your DM in your life, given that you had gone NC with your father. You seem to be able to write off his behaviour as ingrained, unchanging and you're not pursuing him for answers or acknowledgement. You have accepted what he is and rejected him. Your DM's (selfish, detached, weak) behaviour is probably just as ingrained and unchanging as your father's and yet I can only conclude that you keep her in your life in the hope that she will suddenly see the light.

HumblePieMonster Wed 30-Jul-14 08:56:24

she didn't go up to the school as she thought it would make it worse. I was 5, ffs
She’ll have learned that from her parents’ generation. It was standard folk-knowledge, still in use in the eighties.

She can’t help who she is. That’s her. She’s damaged, too.

I know that doesn’t help you much. Have you had counselling? Either get some, or add more. You can’t change your mum but you can change how you deal with your experiences.

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