Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How to deal with DM

(21 Posts)
scribbles1980 Thu 31-Mar-16 14:39:37

Sorry if this is long.
DM and I have always had a fraught relationship. DB was the golden child and I was never made to feel loved
Fast forward and we have been NC with DB for a number of years (long long story)
DH and I have had a difficult few years financially. House needs decorating etc . She is a great grandparent but always seems to criticize me. I know she hates my D H ( when I first met him she said I disgusted her as he was from a different ethnic background).
When she stays here she does help a lot with housework etc but constantly knit picks & walks round with a cat bum face.
We are constantly falling out and she says it's only because she worries about me
DF says I should suck it up & ignore her when she moans. I feel that I have a right to answer back when she upsets me.
Because we don't see DB I feel that everything is on me. She expects me to phone her every day and she really gets me down with her constant moaning
Anyway we have had another spectacular argument about how I am living my life.
It is a rather significant birthday this weekend and both parents were due to come and stay.
She says they are not coming now . She would say a lot more to me but won't as she doesn't want me to stop her seeing my children (something I would never do).
So, I have to suck up to her or stand up to her and feel guilty for the next 10 years that I messed up her big birthday.
Any advice would be appreciated . Thank you for reading

LemonBreeland Thu 31-Mar-16 14:42:56

If she doesn't come , it is not you that has messed up her big birthday, it is her. She is the one throwing her toys out of the pram. You shouldn't have to just suck it up. We do it for too long with parents as we have that respect for elders thing drummed into us for so long. Eventually you realise that yuo are an adult too adn can disagree with what a parent tells you and tell them so. It took me a long time, I'm late 30's and only started answering back for want of a better pgrase to my Mum a few years ago.

scribbles1980 Thu 31-Mar-16 14:54:59

Thank you LemonBreeland
My DF phoned today & said that I shouldn't argue with her as she is my mum. He would never have argued with his mum. I said that should I keep taking her constant moaning and criticism and not say anything? He thinks I should.
I honestly feel like a 15 year old sometimes. I don't want to go NC as my DB did that ( I have to say it was not her fault) it broke her heart.
BUT she is driving me madsad

LemonBreeland Thu 31-Mar-16 15:03:30

Your DF expects you to be a good little child, and so does your Mum. Except you are not a child any more. Your DF is just going to make the situation a million times worse if he persists along that line.

LemonBreeland Thu 31-Mar-16 15:06:38

I suppose that you could try to explain to your DF that although you respect your DM as your DM, that does not mean you will bow down to everything she wants. Respect goes both ways as you are both adults. Not sure how far you will get with his attitude though.

CherryBlossom321 Thu 31-Mar-16 15:10:38

Scribbles, have you ever read the stately homes thread? If not have a look. It's on this board. It may or may not be helpful.

scribbles1980 Thu 31-Mar-16 15:11:08

She has always used this emotional blackmail. I had a big argument with her when the DC were small as when they used to be naughty she would say "right that's it nanny is going home then" they would get all upset and beg here to stay and I told her to stop doing it.
I know she hates my husband and maybe I should stop telling her when we fall out. But surely a mum should just offer her support? Her latest statement when I said we were not getting on "then fucking leave him"
I feel so hurt. Maybe it is me? I just feel torn.

LemonBreeland Thu 31-Mar-16 15:15:00

You are definitely over sharing with her. Particularly since she doesn't like your husband. I have never told my Mum of occasions that DH and I are not getting along. That kind of conversation is for friends. Family is too close.

The emotional blackmail bit is terrible though.

scribbles1980 Thu 31-Mar-16 16:12:47

I also can't get my head around something that happened a few weeks ago.
DM phoned and asked what we were up to. I told her we had arranged to meet up with some new friends of ours at a local pub/restaurant. All nice 'have a good time etc"
Sitting in the restaurant & she walks in with my DF. They live 2 hours away!!!
She said she just wanted to drop some clothes off to me for DC. Not stopping. Had one drink, had a moan about all the foreigners around here (to my embarrassment) and left!
Is this a strange thing to do?? Am I overeating?
DH said not to say anything to her & when she phoned the next day she asked me if she had embarrassed me. I just said that I thought it was a really weird thing to do. She said oh I just wanted to drop the things off as i had nothing to do

CherryBlossom321 Thu 31-Mar-16 16:33:28

Yes, it is a strange thing to do. No, you're not over reacting.

RatherBeRiding Thu 31-Mar-16 16:42:35

No you don't have to "suck it up". You are entitled to stand up for yourself, and entitled to tell your DF to butt out.

As others have said - she has "ruined" her own birthday. Cutting off nose to spite face springs to mind! Let her get on with it.

And definitely DO NOT share any more personal information about your relationship with your DH. You know she will use it against you. Why would you do that?

scribbles1980 Thu 31-Mar-16 16:59:11

Thank you cherry I thought it was so strange & couldn't get my head around it.
I don't share the details . Just that we are not getting on. I have been really suffering with depression lately and just told her I'm not happy.
I suppose I should just keep it to myself. It's so hard because when she comes she will stay for a few days, so it's difficult putting on a happy front.
She will never offer to look after DC so we can go out. Which would help us and if D H pops to the local she really gets the hump. Although it doesn't bother me.
Just sitting here waiting for her call as to what she has decided

scribbles1980 Thu 31-Mar-16 19:34:07

Still not heard anything. Sitting here feeling guilty.
Even if they do decide to come it's going to be strained.
Feeling so stressed with the responsibility of it all.
DH says just ignore. Why do I feel so bad?

Sgoinneal Thu 31-Mar-16 20:22:59

You're giving her too much power over your life. I get on very well with my DM indeed and I wouldn't share half these things with her.

I'll take your word for it that it wasn't your DM's fault that your brother went NC, but being the golden child can be shit in different ways... Are you sure he hadn't just had enough? Your DF is also complicit by expecting you to go along with this.

You need to try very hard to extricate your self-worth from her opinion, and given that's a lifetime's habit that could be immensely hard. All families row, but you sound genuinely afraid of conflict with her in a way that is completely unhealthy. Do check out the stately homes thread.

Janecc Thu 31-Mar-16 22:12:13

Your mother sounds a lot like mine. She is a very angry person, who blames me for all her ills and complains constantly about everything and everyone. From young, she trained me to take on her emotions and anger. Your mother is infantilising you and clearly has no boundaries. Your father is enabling her. I recently went through a massive power shift with my family. My father died a long time ago and she remarried. My brother is golden child I am the scapegoat. Brother, his wife, my mother have all treated me appallingly. My mother's husband sits and sighs at me a lot, the bad one. I had a similar situation to yours just after Christmas when they all ganged up on me. My husband (who is thoroughly sick of the situation) finally gave me some support because I've decided enough is enough. My brother, wife and child were supposed to be coming to stay with us. After abusive texts were sent to me and to my DH about me, the day before their arrival, we decided they would not be coming and did not engage with the texts. All subsequent phone calls from them were ignored and they got the message that they weren't welcome. The thought of seeing them for months made me feel physically sick I was that nervous.
The only way to change the shift in power is to stand up for yourself and hang the consequences. My mother has in the past in a fit of rage told me she disinherited me, I don't know if she has changed her will but I would rather be happy than rich. She has always used money as a means of control and I'm done with cow towing to her. We have minimal contact. My brother speaks to her every day. She has said some awful things about my 7 yr old DD. I called her the other day and her tone of voice for a split second was lovely because she mistook me for her sister and when she realised her mistake, she changed mid sentence and was instantly her nasty self.
Sorry op, you may never get what you are looking for from someone like this. If I were in your situation, I would make the decision now that she is not welcome for her birthday celebration and she can come another time when she is being more reasonable. She is the one, who has brought this upon herself. It is time to look inwards towards your husband and nuclear family. I visualise myself turning away from them and toward my little family. And as another poster advised, please stop sharing information with her. My mother is told absolutely nothing because I have learnt she will always use it all against me.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Fri 01-Apr-16 08:32:53

goodness, you are walking on eggshells aren't you? No wonder you're getting depressed.

My DF phoned today & said that I shouldn't argue with her as she is my mum. He would never have argued with his mum

This is how things used to be in repressive families but it's a Victorian view. Things have (thank god) evolved and it's okay to have a civil disagreement and to work out what's feasible for you, what's feasible for the other person and to meet half-way and respect each other. Even with your parents!

Your father probably didn't do things the way his father expected in some aspects and you don't have to do things the way your father does.

I think you need to start putting boundaries in place and not dancing around her or your father's pressure. It's okay to say 'yes, you embarassed me by bringing clothes to the restaurant'. She won't like it, she will sulk and will sulk more as you keep on doing it but when someone starts setting (appropriate and reasonable) boundaries almost everyone finally comes round and accepts that even if they don't like it.

Your main problem here is that for a time you will feel bad when she starts the emotional stuff. But living with her acting like this isn't doing you any good.

(I'm not advocating cutting her off btw, not at all. But I do think you need to put up firmer barriers and stop talking to her about personal things. It'd be nice to be able to talk to your mother but an awful lot of people find they can't especially as they become adults).

scribbles1980 Fri 01-Apr-16 09:41:08

Thank you for your replies.
I think that because my DB is NC I and my DC are her world.
She doesn't do anything, go anywhere. So she is so over invested in my life I feel that I am suffocating.
She refused to speak to me once for a few days because I didn't answer the phone to her.
I feel so bloody stressed today and I know it is up to me to phone her.
She says she worries all the time about my relationship with DH. The funny thing is that when we are getting on she doesn't seem to like that either.
Yes my father is very old school and always takes her side if she is right or wrong. 'I am not having her upset' is one of his favourite quotes.
If she didn't have this birthday I would leave it a few days . But I know I am going to have to ring her.
When I spoke with her last I told her she interferes too much. She said ' oh I could say so much more. To you and your DH but I keep my mouth shut'.
How am I supposed to react to that?

CherryBlossom321 Fri 01-Apr-16 11:32:54

You don't HAVE to do anything. You are an individual, with your own values, likes/ dislikes and unique make-up. Your emotions should in no way controlled or dictated by your mother's behaviour. Your dad 'won't have her upset' because he will then be in the firing line of her temper. That is also not your responsibility. You don't have to answer the phone, contact her, or give her a birthday celebration. There is a great book called 'boundaries' by Dr Henry Cloud. I recommend it. You've never learned how to implement personal boundaries, because your autonomy was steamroller-ed throughout childhood. I know because I've been through it. It CAN get better. I'm still healing but so much stronger. You can do it too.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Fri 01-Apr-16 12:01:54

She refused to speak to me once for a few days because I didn't answer the phone to her.

But she did come back didn't she? And it is perfectly reasonable to not answer the phone sometimes. It might be an idea to sometimes let her be upset if it's simply not convenient to pick up the phone right then and there. You can't be on tap for her - you have your children - and in the end she will adjust. You'll have to keep calm when talking to her (or your father) though and reassure her that you will be in touch.

Regarding her comments, Im not sure there is much you can say. All you can do here is behave differently yourself and to build on the small steps until you can set the limits for a much more healthy and less enmeshed relationship.

You're looking for her approval all the time, I think, trying to keep her happy. But actually I think you need to be looking at making life endurable for yourself here, which it isn't really atm. Your happiness has quite an impact on your whole family.

What does your husband say about all this? He must see what's going on and just how stressed this all makes you. Can you talk to him and draw strength from him to start building up a healthier relationship?

scribbles1980 Fri 01-Apr-16 12:49:38

Thank you once I think you have hit the nail on the head about me always looking for her approval.
She drives husband mad but he says just ignore her. He has had his own difficult childhood but seems to cope by just ignoring things.
He is nice to her when she is here.
Well she phoned. I had sent her some flowers (arranged before argument ) and she said thanks and what time should she come tomorrow?
No apology & she wasn't particularly friendly. To be honest I feel like telling her to fuck off but will carry on as planned as not to upset everyone. My children included.
I find it very hard not to lose my temper with her.
Years & years of being treated like crap & then when DB goes NC she wants me to have this great relationship with her.
Can't understand why I don't want to go shopping, spa days etc with her.
Without bringing everything up and causing a huge rift I think I need to bite my tongue.
Maybe I will sort out some kind of counselling to help me deal with this.
I will defenitley not be over sharing things with her anymore & setting some boundaries.
Thank you for all your replies. You have been so helpful.
Wish me luck for the weekendsmile

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Fri 01-Apr-16 13:05:30

I think some CBT might well help.

Just bear in mind here that what you want, a healthier relationship, is reasonable and good. It won't be easy to remember that at times.

Maybe bookmark this thread so you can refer back to it in the thick of any tantrums she throws, or pressure your father puts on you.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now