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Since my Dad died I am starting to hate my Mother....

(45 Posts)
DrNortherner Mon 15-Mar-10 13:12:06

In a nut shell, Dad was an eternal optomist, always happy, never moaned and took such an interest in my life. The void he has left has totally shook my world. I am still dealing with my own grief and know losing him has changed me forever.

My Mother has always been a moaner. She is a glass half empty person and critices everyone and everything. Since my dad died this has become much more apparant and I now dread calling her, visiting her and sometimes I actually want to slap her. (Then I hate myself for feeling like this)

She is a volunteer in a charity shop - she moans they let her do all the work and nobody esle does anything.

She moans that her Mother (my Gran) and her sisters do not support her. (not true)

She moans she never hears from my dad's friends - truth is she slated them all to other people and they heard about it.

She tells me that her friends think I am not supporting her enough and that she is so upset to hear this from them....

When I point out what she is moaning about is not quite true she cries and says I never support her.

She visits my dad's grave every week and crys to stragners who are also visiting a grave...

She slags off my Gran all the time, despite her being 85 and having 5 other daughters to deal with.

She always plasy the victim and uses words such as 'I can't take anymore', 'They've kicked me in the teeth' etc etc

I get a blow by blow account of her grief every day - I cried all day yesterday/I nearly collapsed in the kitchen/I broke down in the supermarket/I was walking the floors at 3am/I am not sleeping/eating ......she acts like I am so over dad dying and has never once asked how I am or how I am coping.

She never asks how I am, she knows nothing about my life she just talks about herself and how hard it all is.

I am an only child so no one else to share the burden, I was so close to my Dad and miss him terribly.

dad walked on eggshells around Mum and did anything to keep the peace, as did I when I was younger. She is they type of person who will not take criticism and she will end up in tears, crying louder than anyone else saying how much I have hurt her.

My Mum only has me and I want to improve things but need some advice.

Sorry this is so long.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 15-Mar-10 13:18:47

God it sounds so hard. It must be so difficult not to get really angry.

I don't know what to say, except that you won't be able to change her behavior, only your own. Could you think about some responses to specific things that keep coming up, and practise saying them to her?

If there any chance she would accept some kind of counselling for her grief, that might take some of the emphasis from you?

I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad.

GetOrfMoiLand Mon 15-Mar-10 13:19:31

Oh I am so sorry. You sound so unhappy re your dad. You have my sympathies - you must miss him terribly.

My mother is a professional victim. I would say that she almost revels in the hardships of life - nobody has ever had a worse life. I too had to walk on eggshells around her, couldn'r critisise an in way or she would kick off like a teenager - ranting and wailing. It is an sbsolutely exhausting relationhship to have and you are always feeling guilty about something.

There is no way that her behaviour will change - I think the standard advice is that you have to just manage your reaction to her behaviour. I just couldn't do this - I no longer have a relationship with my mother, due to her manipulative and cruel ways in addition to her selfishness.

So no useful advice whatsoever from me, but I do know what you are going through.

DrNortherner Mon 15-Mar-10 14:04:35

Thanks guys.

Getorfmoiland - what made you decide to cut contact with your Mother if you don't mind me asking?

I am beating myself up for feeling nothing for her, when in fact she has sucked all the compassion out of me there is none left.

People who don't know what she is fully like just keep telling me to talk to her about it, but I know too well how she will react.

I wrote a beautiful eulogy which I read at my dad's funeral, so many people said how moved they were. My Mother? She said 'you'd think I wasn't involved in your upbringing reading that'

I am frazzled.

DrNortherner Mon 15-Mar-10 14:06:05

If my Mum and Dad took us out for a meal, my dad would go and pay and my dh would thank him. My k=mum would say 'Don't thank him, it was my idea to come here' hmm

makealist Mon 15-Mar-10 14:24:07

How long ago did your Dad pass away?

DrNortherner Mon 15-Mar-10 14:25:38

He died in April last year, so coming up 1 year, which again is a tough time for me and her.

GetOrfMoiLand Mon 15-Mar-10 14:30:26

DRNortherner - with my mother it wasa cumulation of a lot of things.

She didn't bring me up, and I only got to know her once I was 17, so we didn;t really have a 'normal' relationship anyway.

However, it was always me trying to get her approval - I spent all my late teens and early 20s trying to get her to love me and not actually getting anywhere. So I would arrange to go and have coffee with her, and when I turned up she would be going out with someone else. If I ever complained about it she would start crying and say that I didn't understand, I was so selfish. Oh just thousands of tiny little things.

WE had a falling out last year just one thing too many, about a promise which she made to me and reneged on. I just walked away. Haven't spoken to her since last Octover, other than a few texts to organise times for when my dd can go and see her.

I tried to call on her birthday (late October) however she sent a message via my brother saying that she wanted nothig more to do with me. Christmas, my birthday and mothering sunday were hard, but I am now resigned to the fact that I will not see my mother again.

Lemonylemon Mon 15-Mar-10 14:35:58

The first anniversary is a very tough time. The lead up to it can be very wearing.

DrN I feel for both of you - my Dad died a few years ago and my OH died a couple of years ago, so I get how things are from both your perspective and that of your Mum IYSWIM.

My Mum is also a glass half empty kind of person and it does my head in. I did have to stop contact with her when my daughter was born as she was so unkind.

People like this turn situations into something that's all about them - I really don't know what you can do about this, other than to see if you can get her to see her GP - she may well be depressed. But sometimes people are quite happy with being unhappy and don't want to be helped!

I also know what you mean about having all the compassion sucked out of you!

I hope that you can work it out without cutting contact, but you could take a step back and not contact her so often if that would help....

ChickensHaveSinisterMotives Mon 15-Mar-10 14:36:48

My MIL is like this. My FIL died 9 years ago. DH has just recently begun to lose patience with her. It is very difficult to approach MIL, and if you are having a hard time about anything she plays her trump 'But my husband's dead' card. She told DH that losing your father was 'different', and that he'd 'get over it'. Rubbish, of course. I often think that if she were my mother, I would tell her how her behaviour made me feel and have it out. However, she isn't so I bite my tongue and try to stay neutral. My sympathies.

HappyWoman Mon 15-Mar-10 14:46:57

DN
I think I could be the same as you.
My parents are both still alive but i imagine i will feel the same as you if my dad were to go first sad.
I had some counselling a while back and it really helped me to ditch the guilt.
My mum has always been the victim and then wonders why she has no visitors hmm. She is such hard work.

How about finding some ways to 'answer' her complaints.
When she says no-one helps - say here is the number of a berevement counsellor she could try.

Always ask her what she thinks may be the answer - so when she moans about work - say 'I would imagine they would miss you - how can you get them to take on some of the work?'
Ask her to be direct about what you can do - always put the ball into her court as it were.

It has helped with my mum - she is diabetic and used to 'allow' others to manage her drugs/food - but now if she moans i just say 'so tell me how i can help'
I usually get the response 'oh no-one can help me' and then i feel i am off the hookgrin.

Anyway really feel for you as it is not a nice feeling to have the life sucked out of you.

karen162 Mon 15-Mar-10 15:13:02

Hi Dr. I know it's different but we lost my brother a year and a half ago, and I've found myself kind of re-negotiatin the boundaries with both my parents. I am now the only child, and my brother was really the determined, positive one who helped unite the family (parents separated a long time back).

My mother is also prone to also telling me how hard it is for her and how she can't cope. She isn't undermining about it, but I also feel like I'm all she has, and she no longer seems to have any ongoing close friendships to share it. I know the she missed my brother terribly, as I do. She doesn't ignore or dismiss my own feelings, but at first she wanted me to be able to tell me every detail of her grief regardless of how able I was to take it, and also to have a go at my dad in the same breath. There was just no way I could deal with it, and I had to tell her so.

She has accepted counselling (me too)for quite a while and that is helping, but she won't accept any further suggestions for how to make things a bit better - seek her old friends out or take antidepressants, or whatever else - I'm not saying she has to of course, but what I mean is, she has made her own choices of what to do and I can't change them. Just like it seems your mum has, and you really arent' responsible for how she has chosen to deal with things.

I honestly think that you will have to make limits to help sustain yourself here, and allow yourself to disengage from your mum, maybe only partially or even more so. HumphreyCobbler is right, you can't change her behaviour; perhaps she will still tell her friends how you are in the wrong (along with everyone else), but it sounds like she would do that whether you exhaust yourself trying to help or not. Maybe going to see her a more limited number of times a month, and reminding yourself that you have no need to feel guilty when you know you have done what you can to help.

Please take care of yourself, I know it sounds like a right cliche, but really it's true; you absolutely deserve positivity, friendship and support here as much as your mum does, and this situation isn't helping you. My very best wishes to you.

DrNortherner Mon 15-Mar-10 16:23:33

Thank you all for your kind comments, it really does help. I have been feeling like I am going mad and my disdain for her has shocked and worried me, but I am starting to realise why I feel like I do. I could give you hundreds of examples of her behaviour.

Strangely though she never criticises me to my face, she says she loves me so much and gets so upset if we 'have words'. I now realise her getting upset allows her off the hook for what I said in the first place.

She has already said to me that it's OK for me as I have ds and dh but now she has no one. And she has said it's nice to see me getting on with my life - going to the gym/going to work etc hmm

Someone she knows lost their dad six months ago and has been off work sick ever since, she said I am lucky as I went back after just one week. She has no idea how tough that was, and how I cried all the way to work and had to compose myself in the car park evey day. She has no idea because I don't ever tell her, don't ever cry in front of her because I do not want to be like her.

It's so hard. Thanks to everyone, and sorry to all ogf you who have lost someone you love and those who are delaing with similar people to my Mum.

DrNortherner Mon 15-Mar-10 16:26:47

Oh and talking of trump cards - My Mums sister is going through a divorce and my Mum saiod to her 'Well at least you can still see him, I can't see my husband'

My aunt replied that she wished her dh was dead and that they had been married for 40 years like my parents rather than him leaving her for another woman.....(i know, both as bad as each other?)

My Mum is so hurt by what my aunt said she is refusing to speak to her.....

BendyBob Mon 15-Mar-10 17:00:21

So sorry about this DNsad

I have no wise words but am also an only child and worry about being in this situation too.

My mum and dad can be tricky in other ways (your eggshells comment rings bells) and I do wonder how it will between us should one of them be left alone. It's frustrating sometimes not having a sibling to understand the dynamics of it. Outsiders only see one facet.

I think once you know she's as ok as possible, then try to limit the phonecalls and be less available. As suggested if you can encourage her to have grief counselling of some sort, she may find that an outlet.

I don't know about you, but my mother probably wouldn't be told something she doesn't want to hear from me (she gets feisty and v argumentative), but she might take advice from a professional.

DrNortherner Mon 15-Mar-10 17:14:21

She has tried grief councelling, but stopped it as the councellor was a load of rubbish hmm I've suggessted asking for someone different but she said she wants to work through it on her own.

She never goes to see her GP as aparantly he is useless and never listens, sha has always said this despite having the same GP since I was a kid. But she won't change GP either...

If she's having trouble sleeping I suggest sleeping pills but she doesn't like them....

See a pattern here? grin

My dad did everything for her. She has even asked me to cut her toe nails because Dad used to do it....and the other night she wanted praise because she made an omelette for the first time in her life.

Elzy Mon 15-Mar-10 17:30:35

This is an interesting subject for me, as I am currently watching my own mother go through something similar.

She has always loved both her parents but she idolised her dad - I mean literally worshipped the ground he walked on.

He died last October, and as the patriarchal figure in the family, his passing left us all devastated.

My nan, bless her, is obviously very upset but she also suffers from something called Münchhausen's Syndrome (it's like extreme hypochondria). This is extremely wearing for my mum (and auntie) to deal with, as every time they visit her, she has a new ailment and is "off to join your dad" IYSWIM. She is of course, absolutely fine - strong as an ox, but her negative attitude is becoming quite trying and she particularly takes things out on my mum. The thing is, I think I know why.

My nan is an intuitive woman and must have known deep down that my mum favoured her dad growing up. This has probably left her feeling jealous, resentful and hurt - as it would anyone. (For example, if a parent favours one child and scapegoats another, then no one would blame the scape-goated child for becoming bitter).

My mum describes her parents in a similar way to how you describe yours. The thing is, she's not taking on board a piece of her own advice that she bestowed on me whilst younger. It was; "no one is as good as you think, no one is as bad as you think". (Always served me well that one)!

Whilst I loved my granddad, I could point out glaring faults within him that she couldn't see. I could also tell you hundreds of lovely things about my nan that my mum is missing.

What I am trying to say OP, is that whilst I have no doubt that your father was a wonderful man and your mother is most probably a royal pain in the arse, you polarising them is only going to make things worse. Could your ma not be picking up on the bad vibes, therefore making her act out even more? She might possibly be aware on some level, of your dislike of her/adoration of you dad and if so, she must fell very hard done by. Without wishing to sound callous, it's very difficult to compete with a dead man on a pedestal.....

I would suggest bereavement counselling to her. Also, try and think of one nice thing every time you go to visit her and focus on that (I'll start you off; she works in a charity shop voluntarily, which is a kind thing to do). If she really is too much to bear, then perhaps suggests that she comes to the cinema/theatre with you when you go for a visit (places where she can't moan)!!!

Sorry for rambling on and best of luck! :-)

SallyRivers Mon 15-Mar-10 17:52:52

Have changed names for this DN as I never normally post anything really personal, but it's the older sister of Sally here
DN, I really feel for you
Death of a loved family member effects the dynamics so much of those left behind and seems to amplify all the worst parts
Not the same as you, my brother died 2 years ago, and left both my parents torn apart.
I have another sister (thank goodness) and I think I am going to need to explore my feelings with regards to my mother soon with my sister.
My mother has always been a little controlling and rigid, but before she used to have a joi-de-vivre which balanced this out
With the loss of my brother, that has gone.
Her grief has altered her
The thing is my mother tries hard, but i don't think she can ever know how much she has changed.
So what might help your situation.......that has helped mine
I hope that time will help as her grief and your grief do decrease, really one year is only a short period of time
And looking after my dog on a long term basis also seems to have helped, it has given her something to focus on, would this be an option????
Try and share your feelings with third parties, such as mumsnet, as this seems to help

Ripeberry Mon 15-Mar-10 18:17:09

My parents are still alive, but I worry about my dad. They are both 65 and my mum has always been 'hard work'.
Whilst my brother and I were growing up, she had regular episodes of Manic depression and would be hospitalised for a few months.
She would then come out and spend most of her days self-medicating with beta-blockers and cider and then take to her bed for weeks on end.
My dad, was working at home, running the home and looking after us (the kids).
Now they are retired, she has basically ruined their nest egg. She had a big episode of 'Mania' and managed to spend £30,000 in a couple of months on total rubbish from the TV sad.
She also has some kind of dementia, but the GP says she knows what she is doing. She smokes non-stop, uses up all the household money on her ciggies, my dad can't cope and the house is falling apart, they don't have any mains lighting upstairs as my mum decided one night to try and hang herself from the landing light and totaly wrecked the wiring.
My dad is too ashamed to let anyone in the house, he won't even let us (me and my brother) clean it.
She just sits in her chair, issuing orders to my dad all day long and screaming if he does not come quickly enough.
I visited them on Saturday and I ended up having an argument with her and told her to just DIE!
Very nasty I know, but I could not hold it in any longer, she is just sucking the life and hope out of my dad.
He is a highly inteligent man and has a doctorate in Physics, but he is reduced to this sad
I worry so much about the future.

fifitot Mon 15-Mar-10 18:26:24

OP - I think I can see my mother in the description of yours. Both my parents are alive but my mother's behaviour mirrors yours in so many ways. Professional victim, really negative and bitter about everything.

I don't know how you can manage things though so not very helpful. I am struggling to manager my mum now tbh so reading this thread with interest.

DrNortherner Mon 15-Mar-10 19:13:19

Just quickly checking this before serving dinner. Thanks guys so much.

Ely, your post has struck a cord, I will read it again later and digest it properly. She has actually said to me ' I always knew you loved your dad more than me...'

But it was easy to because of the kind of man he was. My Mum has heaped her emotions on me all my life. As a teenager she cried if I went out on an evening with my mates because she missed me. When I met dh I tried to do things with her and mil but she got upset because apparantly I was nicer to MIL....

Really I can't thank you all enough.

After dinner I am caling my cousin whom I am quite clsoe too. I will have a good chat with her. She is in a unique position as her mum is my mums sister and her Dad is my Dad's brother!

DrNortherner Mon 15-Mar-10 19:16:21

Sorry, I mean ELZY.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 15-Mar-10 19:22:32

It all sounds unbelievably difficult. How on earth do you keep your temper?

DrNortherner Mon 15-Mar-10 19:44:08

My temper is being pushed Humphrey, I am scared I will one day let rip and cause irrepairable damage to our relationship sad

She has 5 sisters and at some point in her life has fallen out with nearly all of them over something. Nobody ever really knows why but she is always the victim, they exclude her, cut her out of the family. She moans she is the last to hear about anything that happens, she cant say the name of one sister before putting BLOODY before it, and at Mt Grans suprise 70th birthday party all of the other daughters lined up at the doot to greet her but My Mum stayed sitting at her table, of course my Gran arrived and kissed and hugged the daughters that were at the door. My Mum had a face on all night and actualy cried becasue my Gran said hello to her AFTER all of her sisters.

My Dad would just agree and say 'never mind love, they are not worth it'

HumphreyCobbler Mon 15-Mar-10 19:59:30

Oh My. I am truly shocked.

The thing is, with people like your Mum, the truth is the ONE thing that will definitely set them offsad.

I have experienced some of the behavior you describe in my family set up, it is impossible to reason with people like this. It is almost as if they don't believe other people have feelings, and they judge other people's motives by the effect their behavior has on them - however unreasonable that may be.

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