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Emotional guilt trips from my mother, ill father.(10 Posts)
I'm going through a tough time with my parents at the moment and would appreciate advice on how to speak to them.
I moved to Australia over two years ago which neither of my parents were happy about, it was always a temporary travelling that got extended and extended. My mother especially was constantly asking me when I was coming home, saying comments like "Am I that bad of a mother you want to stay away, everyone else's children are settling down at home - when are you going to do this?" Any discussions about my plans were always met with a silence and digs like "well your life is one big holiday unlike us in the real world".
Last year my father was diagnosed with cancer, I immediately went home for 5 weeks to be there to support them during his surgery and after care. He recently has to have more treatment and this has also come at the same time that I have decided to stay in Australia for my future (Career and relationship)
Obviously telling my parents this news at this time was always going to be a tough conversation, but I've been hit back with so much anger and venom from my mother I'm stunned.
Her emotional blackmail has been so intense with calling me selfish and shameful that I'm choosing to live abroad at a time like this. Asking me to change my life and come home right now otherwise I would regret it later on (if anything happened to my father it would be on my head).
She won't take my calls, wont accept my apologies for giving her news she doesn't want. She's involved my younger sister who has now "disowned" me and they are both sending me pure hate and now the complete silent treatment (this is a classic move from my mother).
I've decided to not try and contact them until they've calmed down, but I feel like I'm dammed if I do and dammed if I don't. I want to be there to support them through this, but she's made it clear that unless I move home there's nothing that I can do and she won't be happy until I do.
Am I being entirely selfish by focusing on building my own life or should I just move back home to support my family, I feel so conflicted.
Any advice on the situation would be such a help.
Sorry you're going through this. Your mother is the one being selfish and shameful. You're sister is probably being blackmailed by her too. Hopefully they come to their senses.
When my DH was seriously ill a few years ago I told both my DCs to get on with their lives & I would deal with whatever came our way, one was at Uni & one just starting a professional career. Thankfully my DH survived but it wouldn't have made any difference I couldn't have allowed my DCs to sacrifice their opportunities for us.
Even though your DM is upset she shouldn't be trying to guilt trip you like this.
Its not you, its them.
(I may be wide of the mark here but I am wondering if your sister was also the more favoured child when you were growing up as well. Such dynamics do not happen overnight).
Would leave your mother and sister to it; their actions are shameful and selfish and about wanting power and control also.
Your mother sounds terrible. Imagine living closer to her! You would be given this treatment every time you stepped out of line.
Having said that, I would be devastated if one of my children emigrated and she is also having a tough time with your dad. For that reason I would suggest showing more kindness than she really deserves from you.
You are so far away there really isn't much support you can offer, especially if your mum won't pick up your calls. You can't do hospital visits, pick up prescriptions, take a meal round or give them a hug. Your offer of support therefore sounds quite hollow and I would stop doing that.
Personally I would write a long letter to your dad. Tell him how you feel about him, and why you've decided to stay in Australia. Tell him you're sorry your mum is so angry and that you'll communicate directly with him from now on. Then demonstrate your concern with weekly communications, whether he replies or not. Ask after your family and offer your own news. You can be sure that your mum will see your letters, hopefully paving the way for direct communication in the future should you want that. She is determined that you don't care about them, show them differently.
How awful for you. Your mother sounds horrific frankly.
Back away. Try to maintain a relationship with your dad independently- is that a possibility? If not then it is your mothers responsibility not yours.
She sounds so selfish- "am I such a bad mother etc etc" - the world and your choices don't revolve around her ffs! She's making everything, your travelling, your career/lifestyle choices, your relationship with your sister, your dads illness- about HER.
Your DM is being bang out of order. Yes, I'm sure she's upset that you've ended up choosing to live on the far side of the world (I think, tbh, a lot of parents are gutted when this happens), but its your life and if that's what you want then she should really do her best to put a brave face on it. The way she's acting means you've now cut contact, which is a terrible outcome for everyone.
I feel for you, I really do. I too married someone from OS and we lived in his country for six years before moving back to the UK. We weren't anywhere near as far away as Australia, but the fact that my family were amazing about our move, visited us while we were there, and were supportive and understanding made the whole thing a positive, life-enhancing experience and when we had the choice to move back here we did it without hesitation. Your DM's behaviour would have the opposite effect on me - in fact I'd be glad of that 12,000 mile, 24-hour travel distance between us. She's not only being spiteful and selfish herself, but she's completely shooting herself in the foot.
Thanks for the kind and constructive words everyone.
I have followed your advice and am in contact with my father, I am asking how he is and about his treatment and we have been having general chit chat about our lives. Obviously this isn't discussing the big emotional factors right now but I feel that its a start. I also want to make it very clear to him that no matter what my mother has said, it won't affect my feelings towards him.
My sister has always been a very troublesome child and has huge jealousy issues, my whole family's relationship with her has always been fraught, like walking on eggshells. She has now deleted me off all social media and banned my phone number - another typical move off her, she's done this before.
I've had email correspondence of my mother explaining how this whole situation has affected her. In a nutshell that I should not contact her again saying that I miss her or anything emotional as she doesn't want to hear it, basically unless it's something that she wants to hear...
Of course your family would want you where they can see you regularly but your DM and DSis are acting like idiots. Give them what they want and leave them to stew in their own bile. You're able to speak to your dad so that's what's important right now. I can imagine how hurtful you're DM's behaviour is but it sounds like she has form for high drama and manipulation when crossed so you'll have experience of how best to handle her if you want to resume communication when the dust settles. Good luck!
They've done you a favour and set boundaries for you. You need not speak with them, but you still can have a relationship with your dad. Win, win.
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