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Mum has changed, not sure I know her anymore

(13 Posts)
Lilybugbrain Mon 19-Sep-16 09:08:35

DM left my father after 28 years of marriage a few years ago after meeting someone else. Her marriage to my father was dysfunctional and revolved around alcohol so I saw her decision to leave a healthy one, however I'm not sure her current relationship is much better.

The relationship with her new man moved pretty swiftly and she moved 150 miles away to move in with him within 18 months. This was during my pregnancy with her first grandchild and I admit I felt a little abandoned by her as a result. She didn't tell many of her friends and family that she was leaving and they were shocked to discover the fact once she'd gone.

It has been 3 years since then and DM has changed a lot. She lost her job (a very good job) as a result of moving away and was unemployed for 12 months. She is now working again in a low paid job and her boyfriend does not work at all. She appears to pay for everything and spends her time driving his children around (he doesn't drive).
She's developed a crude sense of humour, wears revealing, tight clothes and smells of stale cigarette smoke. She's massively different from the mum my brother and I once knew. My brother has recently gone NC as he can't quite fathom what has happened to her.

I spoke to her about this politely and she said that she was never herself with my father and that this is the real her. So the mother I knew for 25 years wasnt her at all? This upsets me to think.

Her boyfriend seems ok, but very quiet and difficult to make conversation with so I don't leave DCS alone with him as I barely know him. Mum has noticed this and regularly complains about it telling me I need to 'accept' her new life and him. I accept it, but just don't really know or understand it or him. I don't stop her from visiting or seeing DCS and never would. However, she constantly turns up late when she visits and gives us just a couple of days notice. Ive since stopped her staying over at our house as shes just so unpredictable and often ignores my DH which I find rude.
Now and then she stays over and looks after DCs for us but i dont like her boyfriend staying over with her; I just dont know him. She gets angry about this which I do understand. I'm struggling to spend time with her at the moment and I feel like there's a big fall out brewing.

We cannot visit her easily as her and boyfriend live with his elderly father so we have to pay out for hotels when we visit. The expense puts us off entirely and the area they live is hardly the place you would like to spend money on visiting. It's well known as a rough area, but mum appears quite deluded about it.
She is helpful with childcare when she visits, but very unreliable in terms of much else. She will turn up late for birthday parties etc and doesn't help with the preparation at all, although she tells me she's coming early to help. I've since learned to expect very little of her. My DH thinks she's a waste of time, my brother struggles to be around her full stop and my SIL often goes out when she visits as she finds her crude sense of humour offensive.

I'm just not sure that a relationship with my mum is going to be easy to continue as time goes on?

Lilybugbrain Mon 19-Sep-16 09:20:00

She's also drinking with her new boyfriend I should add who is also partial to alcohol. I wouldn't say they're dependent but they do drink too much.

Iamthinking Mon 19-Sep-16 09:55:55

How much do you think she is drinking, as far as you can tell?
My immediate thought, reading your first post and before reading your second post, was that she was drinking and hence the unreliability. Was it just your father with the drinking problems in her first marriage, or was it both of them?

Your mother has simply moved from one type of dysfunctional relationship involving alcohol to another emotionally dysfunctional one also involving alcohol.

BTW what if anything do you know about her own childhood, that often provides clues.

She was not a good parent to you, what makes you think she could at all be a decent sort of grandparent to your children?. Such people like your selfish mother rarely if ever change and why would you want her around your children anyway given her behaviours?. She has ignored your DH and has let both you and the children down more than once. Children need healthy role models and your mother is clearly not an emotionally healthy role model.

There is nothing you can do to make her see sense. All you can do is protect your own self and your children from her and this man she has hitched her wagon to. You will need to further raise your own boundaries with regards to her. Other people in your family have backed away from your mother for good reason, you will need to do the same.

"I wouldn't say they're dependent but they do drink too much".

What is your definition of dependent?. You perhaps would not want to think of them as dependent but they may well be so. They are drinking too much and that in itself is a problem.

Lilybugbrain Mon 19-Sep-16 13:37:18

I would say that DM and boyfriend probably drink most evenings, perhaps a couple of glasses of wine each, sometimes a bottle each. It doesn't sound a lot, but DM is generally very drunk after just one glass of wine as she doesn't eat in the evenings very often and so drinks on an empty stomach. They also smoke a lot.
My brother and I are a lot different in comparison to both our parents and lead generally healthy lives both emotionally and physically. We feel a lot different to our parents and often feel quite ashamed of where we come from. We support each other and don't go to our parents for any form of support, other than myself for childcare on occasion when DM is visiting.

It's difficult to judge DMS upbringing as I had a wonderful relationship with my grand-parents growing up. They didn't smoke or drink so I was always a little confused as to where it all came from, I think she copied my father a lot. Her own DM was a little neglectful of her during her teens as she had a nervous breakdown, I guess a lot of it stems from that. My DM has never forgiven my grandmother for that, so I don't really understand why she's emulating the same behaviours?
DM is quite fickle and unsure of herself I feel, she often changes her personality depending on whose company she's in at the time. I once had a posh Aunt and DM used to change her accent whenever she was around and wear her best conservative clothes!
I've not got much respect for her and I feel she has no loyalty towards her own roots or family. It has been quite a shock for me to discover actually.

wizzywig Mon 19-Sep-16 13:41:17

I think (because i did the same when i was younger) that perhaps she has moved from one volatile relationship to another. She thinks because her boyfriend isnt an alcoholic that its somehow different to her relationship with your dad.

Lilybugbrain Mon 19-Sep-16 13:45:24

She claims that she's in a wonderful relationship. That they never argue, that her boyfriend is romantic and kind and thoughtful, but from the outside looking in, she's exhibiting a lot of negative behaviours. It doesn't make a lot of sense to us as surely if she's in a positively emotional relationship then she wouldn't prioritise it over all else and everyone else?

TheBouquets Mon 19-Sep-16 13:57:49

This post is very familiar to me only being different in the generations. I will be watching to see what views are put forward. I do not understand why people change because surely what they were was the thing that attracted their partner.

Lilybugbrain Tue 20-Sep-16 11:17:41

Bumping up

BombadierFritz Tue 20-Sep-16 11:25:53

becoming much more drunk than seems reasonable on eg a glass of wine can be a sign of long term alcoholism
i'm sorry op, it does sound like the road ahead is difficult.

keepingonrunning Tue 20-Sep-16 11:32:40

Possible explanations
- emotional baggage
- alcohol
- weed or similar
- dementia, sometimes first noticeable because of personality changes
I'm sorry your DM is not emotionally 'there' for you and your DC, OP.

Lilybugbrain Tue 20-Sep-16 13:48:41

I think she has a lot of unresolved issues involving her marriage to my father and there wasn't a break before meeting her boyfriend.
I often feel like she's the teenager and I'm the adult! She sulks if I explain why we can't visit her easily, as if I'm supposed to somehow wave a magic wand and make it happen. And she acts like a child much of the time, talking in silly voices with boyfriend and telling me silly stories. She used to be a high-flying business woman, I find it utterly bizarre to see her like this.

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