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.

Estrangement from mother

(7 Posts)
deskstar Wed 29-Jun-16 12:13:06

Hi, my first time on here. Thought I'd post to see if anyone is having a similar experience to me. I fell out with my mother just over a year ago. It's a very long story so I won't go into all of it, but basically I'd had enough after years and years of selfish behaviour from her where her priority is herself and my stepfather above all else - even her own children and grandchildren. I ended up voicing a justifiable critical opinion of her about something minor (something I would never normally have done but it's like a lightbulb has gone off in my head and I'm not willing to ignore her behaviour any longer). This has resulted in her ignoring me as she is unable to accept any criticism and is unwilling to talk through things, least of all her/my feelings. I know I'm not perfect and have said things that have hurt her, but on balance I feel that my criticism of her was minor compared to the crap I've had to put up with over the last few decades. I'm relieved to not have her in my life most of the time, but I do feel guilty. She has also cut off my sibling and their family because they also (justifiably) criticised her about something she had done to hurt them. She remains in contact with my remaining sibling and their family, but he has always been favoured and tbh they are as selfish as her. This sibling now has little contact with me and my other sibling. I have two teenage children and she has seen them twice in the last year, only when they have contacted her to ask if they can visit. I have encouraged my children to keep in touch with her, and have tried my best not to bad mouth her in front of them, but that's been difficult at times. I even encouraged her when we broke contact to keep in touch with her grandchildren and I would drop them off at hers to visit whenever she wanted. I'm disappointed that she doesn't bother with them. To me, once every 6 months is not enough. I'm shocked at her ignoring behaviour and feel that she actually couldn't care less about me and my family. She will never change, I try to accept that, but I do find it difficult to deal with at times, especially birthdays, christmas, etc. I've had some counselling and that did help, allowing me to recognise that it was okay to feel like this (I'd had years of my feelings/emotions being dismissed by my mother). But I'm worried that my children will see my behaviour here and judge me for it in the future.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 29-Jun-16 13:24:46

Deckstar

You are protecting your children from bad things i.e. your selfish and self absorbed mother and her enabler of a husband. He is also her hatchet man and cannot be at all relied upon to help you.

Your children will not at all judge you for doing that. Also they are children and as such rely on your own good judgment as a parent to keep them safe and away from toxic relations. Narcissist grandparents in particular make for being deplorably bad grandparent figures.

You are still very much mired in FOG - fear, obligation and guilt when it comes to your mother. This is also typical of people whose families of origin are inherently unhealthy. Your family of origin is very typical of what happens within a narcissistic family structure; you have the favoured golden child sibling/s and the scapegoat/s. People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles and your assigned role here is scapegoat. Your children have been scapegoated as well.

It is not possible to have a relationship with this type of disordered person. Your only mistake here has been to at all encourage a relationship between your children and she; after all she was not a good parent to you so why would she be any better with her grandchildren. It is understandable though, many adult children of narcissists can hold this ideal fantasy that their parent will behave better with the grandkids despite their own experiences to the contrary. As you have seen she has not behaved at all better.

Narcissistic women like your mother will use grandchildren only to over value or under value them. She has and will continue to under value them.

You're right in that she will not change. All you can do is change how you react to her. Further counselling and with someone who is knowledgeable about narcissistic family structures could also help you.

Do read the daughters of narcissistic mothers website as well as well as Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.

deskstar Wed 29-Jun-16 15:57:10

Thanks for taking the time to answer my post. It's so hard to keep believing that I'm right to have no contact with her when everyone else in the wider family thinks she is great and she acts like a brilliant grandmother when she can be bothered to see my children. They are teenagers so I can't forbid them to see her or they'll revolt against me - so maybe I can put up with them visiting her once every six months. I think they'll drift away from their relationship with her naturally as they leave home to go to college etc anyway. I appreciate your support and will read up as you suggest.

pallasathena Thu 30-Jun-16 13:08:47

You say her priority is herself and your stepfather and that you're enraged at their selfishness at putting themselves first before you, your siblings and their grandchildren.
I'm not being difficult here, but in my world, once you've raised your kids and they're living independent lives, its normal to assert your independence. Its normal to want to live life on your own terms. Its also normal for teenage grandchildren to occasionally want to see grandparents and I honestly don't understand why you are so enraged at that?
What comes over o/p, in your post, is that you are full of rage, hatred, anger and vengeance towards your mother and guilt too for whatever reason.
You want her to be something and someone she is not and is never going to be. You can't accept who she is and so you react by rejecting her. She doesn't react in the way you expected and so the anger and upset continues.
All this anger is futile because the only person you're hurting is yourself. The only person who appears to have this level of anger at your mother and stepfather is you and you alone.
Shouldn't that be telling you something?

kingvardos Thu 30-Jun-16 14:15:06

Wow deskstar,
I so relate to your story. I have a thread on here that’s been going for a weeks ever since I told my mum how I feel about her. She is very critical, selfish and in denial that she has ever done or said anything wrong. She has always put my stepdad first over us, and I like you had the lightbulb moment and wouldn’t ignore her behaviour anymore. She refuses to speak to me. I feel so guilty too.

Counselling is helping. PM me if you like. Or I can send you the link to my thread Attila gave me some excellent feedback as did many others. This will take you time I guess. But I know how hard it is sad …….

SeaEagleFeather Thu 30-Jun-16 19:47:31

I have encouraged my children to keep in touch with her, and have tried my best not to bad mouth her in front of them, but that's been difficult at times

agreed, don't badmouth her but you don't need to encourage your children to see her either. Family bonds matter - but not to her. Love is conditional on not even a hint of criticism. That's a very poor basis for a relationship with anyone, family or not.

Grieve for your mother and the relationship you wish you could have, don't bend over backwards to pacify her but if she contacts you, then good. Just remember, you shouldnt walk on eggshells around her, even though she is your mum. Nothing in life is worth that. It's not real love you're getting from her if you daren't say anything to her.

deskstar Thu 30-Jun-16 23:12:05

Thanks for posting. Yes please, could you send me the link to your thread? Thanks.

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