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Hurtful Mother

(11 Posts)
banox Mon 25-Jan-16 09:47:43

On the surface I have a normal relationship with my Mother, underneath not so much. There is a lot of back history which may or may not be relevant, but which I can't summon up the energy to go into right now so I'll stick to my current pain. I will add however, that there is NEVER any mention or acknowledgement that there have ever been painful aspects of our relationship. Personally I think she had buried previous issues and no longer even thinks about what has gone on in the past. I am so traumatised and hurt by some of it though that I am unable to do the same.

Anyway, I have cancer, have had it for almost 5 years. It is incurable but (for now) treatable. While I was going through the worst of it (awaiting diagnosis, deciding treatment etc) DM said more than once that she was there to listen and support I if I needed her. But it was just words. Whenever I tried to talk to her about how I felt, she just deflected the conversation as soon as possible to some other topic, usually about the ill health of one of my siblings or how my father was annoying her. Eventually I stopped trying to tell her anything.

6 months ago my DH was similarly diagnosed, so now I am dealing with having cancer myself and watching my DH go through the shit that is cancer. On top of this I have a grandchild who has recently been diagnosed with a serious and incurable disease – not cancer but very debilitating and I am not unnaturally, worried sick. They live a long distance from us so I am not able to see my grandchildren very often and this compounds the stress and fear.

My DM has recently “reminded” me that she is there if I need her, so a couple of weeks ago I again attempted to talk about how scary life is and how unhappy I am with no end in sight to all the health miseries. Her response was to remind me that she was also worried about my grandchild and that “it's not just you Banox you know”.

And the real kicker? DM's brother in law also has cancer, and she emails/phones her sister most days to support and help her through it all. Is it me? Am I being unreasonable to be hurt by this?

TickingClock1 Mon 25-Jan-16 10:49:55

Firstly I am so sorry that you are in this situation, it must very hard and frightening too. Secondly, you are not being unreasonable, at all. It sounds though, that your Mum is not going to be the support that you need and just says the words "I am here if you need me", more of an automatic thing to say rather than really mean it. I love my Mum, but she would support everyone before she supported me! She is a lovely person and just doesn't think sometimes how hurtful her actions are. I have accepted this and now it doesn't hurt. I think that you need to look to someone else for the support you most definitely need at the moment and if you could find some acceptance that your mum is not going to support you if may not hurt so much when she doesn't? I hope you find the support that you need.

banox Mon 25-Jan-16 11:28:11

TickingClock1 Thank you. I too feel that my mum would support anyone else rather than me. Can I ask how you managed to gain the acceptance that your Mum puts you last? And did you ever work out why? I think it's the "why?" that hurts me.

pocketsaviour Mon 25-Jan-16 11:42:15

Banox so sorry for the massive load of shit you're currently dealing with.

I'm sorry your mother is so unsupportive. It is a very hard thing to realise you are at the bottom of your parent's priorities.

You might wish to come and find us on the Stately Homes thread where we children of dysfunctional families support each other.

banox Mon 25-Jan-16 13:45:16

Thank you pocketsaviour I will have a look at the thread, it would be very nice to find some support

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Mon 25-Jan-16 14:00:16

banox no, not unreasonable, she's being very hurtful.

Has she always been like this? all your life? If she has, then I think she's maybe got some pretty deep seated hangups if she can be (genuinely) nice and supportive to everyone ... except her own daughter. You'd expect to be very high up on her priority list of relatives. Not the bottom.

TickingClock1 Mon 25-Jan-16 14:07:59

Hi Banox, I think I have been able to accept being last on her list by acknowledging to myself that my mum doesn't do it out of nastiness or wanting to be mean or hurtful. Its difficult to explain in writing without demonising her, only the other day she did something unintentionally to me that astounded me! I think she really enjoys helping other people, she gets a lot of self satisfaction from it, she is very kind, she doesn't boast about what she does for others, so it's not glory she is looking for and I just think that she believes that I am strong enough to deal with my own problems. When my exh left me for another women after nearly 30 years together, she was upset, but just said "you aren't the first and wont be the last" and has carried on a "friendship" with him and will not say anything bad about him at all. She doesn't say anything good either, she just stays neutral. Recently her friends partner of 16 years left her and my mum hasn't left her side!! So I swallow the hurt I feel knowing that she would not purposefully hurt me and look to others for support should I need any. If she was doing it on purpose, I would definitely feel different. It was a long process that took a lot of understanding from me, but it was rather accept her as she is and move on or not having a relationship with her. Our expectations that our mothers are mothers like us and will always put us first can let us down badly and very much hurt. I always make sure I put my dd's before anyone else, but then again they put everyone else before me!! Luckily I have broad shoulders and very good friends!

MatildaTheCat Mon 25-Jan-16 15:12:23

I am so sorry you have all this to deal with. I'm wondering if your mother is very elderly? I know my own parents and in laws who are all in their 80s do deal with this stuff differently to tougher people .

It may be that your DM cares so much about you and your dh and gc that she cannot commute this into actions and words. It's easier and safer to think, 'it will be ok', and offer platitudes or even less.

Her own generation is easier....expected to die at some stage, in the correct order, so to speak. My in laws have been remarkably robust about close friends who have died. I wouldn't like to question this because it is their way of coping.

Unless there is a massive back story I very much doubt your DM does not care, it may just be too big for her to handle. Maybe contact her regularly and offer info as asked for but don't rely on her as your main supporter? I don't have cancer but a nasty condition and honestly, this has worked best for me.

YANBU for feeling sad.

banox Mon 25-Jan-16 15:58:33

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer yes she has always been the same. I have no memory of ever feeling supported even as a child when I was bullied at school (her response to my crying and misery was to ask me what I did to cause the other children to pick on me, when I said nothing she told me it happened to everyone and to ignore it....no comforting hug or reassurance that I was loved)

TickingClock1 thank you for your generosity in sharing that, I'm very glad you've managed to find a way to live with it and very sorry you had to.

* MatildaTheCat* Thing is she is only like this with me, she has never been unavailable emotionally for my siblings. Just me.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 25-Jan-16 16:07:55

I am very sorry also to read of your situation.

Its not you though, its her. She is toxic and not a nice person to be in any form of contact with. Its all about her and I am wondering if your mother is a narcissist in terms of personality. I can imagine you were treated abysmally as a child too whilst your siblings were more favoured; that is perhaps still the case.

It is not your fault your mother is this way, you did not do that. Her own family of origin did, what if anything do you know of her own background?.

It sounds very much like you are the scapegoat for all her inherent ills.

I would try and grieve instead for the mother you should have had rather than the one you actually got.

It looks like your dad has also played a role here; one of bystander who has acted out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He has also failed to protect you and your siblings from her mad excesses of behaviour.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Mon 25-Jan-16 19:30:43

agreed that it sounds like you are her scapegoat, especially if she isn't like this with others. I'm sorry; it's so painful.

Sometimes someone with inner wounds (or sometimes just plain nastiness) chooses one of their children to unload everything onto. It's nothing that that child does. It's just the sad, random, unhappy bad luck that their mother has the need to treat one person worse than the others. The sheer randomness is what's so unfair; there is nothing you can or could have done.

In practical terms the best way to handle it is to give yourself space to grieve and to keep an emotional distance from the person.

Please take care of yourself, look to your husband and to your close friends flowers

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