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My mother hates my husband (long)

(956 Posts)
badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 19:46:56

I don't live in the UK. DH is from the country we live in. Mum came to live here (divorced and then later my father died) some years ago in a house a short drive away. Soon decided it was a big mistake and that she hated it, then to complicate matters then injured her back and became really unable to manage living alone. We sold my house and we moved in with her. All coinciding with me starting a new business venture and DH becoing unemployed. DH has bascially been unemployed (except for a couple of short contracts) since then. When we all moved in together DS was 20 months (now 4.5) and we've since had another child who's 1.5.

Before we all moved in together I was about to go back after mat leave and all set up (at her suggestion) for mum to have DS while I worked and DH at work. DH lost his job three days before I went back but mum said she still wanted to come up in the afternoons cos she wanted to see DS. She (much later) claimed DH had sat on the coputer and let her do it all. He said (we had a big row about it then) he only sat on the computer while DS napped.

My business has been slowly dying a death so I'm going to be WOH from Monday (previously ran busness from home). Yesterday I had meetings all day. DH supposed to be looking after DCs for the afternoon while I'm out.
I told him not to let my mum do too much, to imagine she was not there as it's too much for her. When I came home I asked mum (who I saw first on coming in) how things had been and she pulled a face and said tell you later.
Asked DH if he'd let DS just spend the whole afternoon with my mum and he said, only a bit while DD asleep..she slept for almost 2 hours. Then I ask mum and she says that he'd sat on the laptop and told DS he couldn't play as he'd wake the baby up and she'd felt bad so spent 2 hrs entertaining DS while DH sat on laptop.

I was really pissed off as I'd asked him specifically not to do this and we had a row.

He says she's exaggerating and that he can't believe I'm questioning his parenting abilities/calling him a neglectful parent and talking about him behind his back. He says DS wasn't with her the entire time, he was in and out and he didn't tell him he couldn't play, just that he had to be quiet as the baby was asleep.

She says he's a lazy git and it's the same old shit as all those years ago, she's had enough and would go back to the UK if she had the money. They've been avoiding each other all day and I feel totally caught in the middle.

I'm so angry that he did exactly what I asked him not to but I can't stand this atmosphere, it's like I'm being asked to choose, my husband or my mother.

CailinDana Sat 15-Sep-12 19:57:06

You absolutely cannot dictate what your husband can and can't do while you're not there. That is incredibly controlling. Either you trust him to look after your DCs or you don't, simple. If you do trust him, then you have to accept that he won't do things exactly as you would like them done.

As for your mother, if she's not happy playing with the DCs why does she come over? Just to spy on your DH and make him feel bad?

Imagine if your own MIL did this to you - came over while you were alone with the DCs, then ran to your husband telling him you were lazy at which point, your husband, who is supposed to be your partner, not his mother's turned on you, believing every word his mother said. Would you seriously be ok with it?

CailinDana Sat 15-Sep-12 20:00:26

Oh and as for choosing, you choose your husband, because he is your partner. If you don't want to choose him for some reason then you have to question why you're with him at all.

izzyizin Sat 15-Sep-12 20:06:04

As I understand it, the OP, her dh, and dc, moved in with her dm and they're all living under one roof, Cailin.

If your dm has traditional views on men being the main breadwinners, it's not surprising if she views his long periods of unemployment as being more due to his idleness than it being difficult to obtain work, OP.

Could you clarify 'WOH' as I'm not familiar with that acronym?

PineappleBed Sat 15-Sep-12 20:08:20

Cailin is right you cannot and should not be pulling the "I'm the mum so do it exactly like I say" card. He is looking after his children and unless he's doing something actually wrong then you really need to get off your high horse.

xMumof3x Sat 15-Sep-12 20:09:24

Here lies a tale of why its really not a good idea to have your mum be so completely involved in your life that its driving a wedge between you and your OH.
He clearly feels hes being spied on and cant relax and parent as he sees fit in his own home (which is not a nice way to live), and your mum needs to back off with her tales of how crap he is. I would make sure your LO is looked after by one, not both at the same time. Just arrange some time for yuour mum to take your LO out to a park or her house/whatever and that gives your OH time to piss about on the PC if thats what he wants to do to relax. Then theres times he has your LO and he can play with him and interact as he sees fit.

It would drive me mental having my MIL constantly criticise my parenting skills and tell tales on me to my DH. YOu cant carry on like this. Get your Mum to back off, your loyalty lies with your OH

PineappleBed Sat 15-Sep-12 20:09:49

Since your mum hates him, your words, then why do you trust what she SAS about him not to be hugely biased?

PineappleBed Sat 15-Sep-12 20:10:09

SAS?? Should be she!

PineappleBed Sat 15-Sep-12 20:10:29

Argh "says"

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 20:27:47

My mum has always been a bit of a supermum, a perfectionist. She had a hard life, grew up poor, got herself a career and then had a useless alcoholic for husband who gambled all the money away. She did a v demanding job with no help from said husband and brought us up, worked full time and used to make a cooked breakfast everyday before work and read us stories. She thinks DH should be actively engaging DS all the time, talking to him. She claims he ignores him. I really don't think that's fair.
She says she doesn't dislike DH but is now saying he's a "useless oik" and he's ungrateful. I would say he isn't ungrateful but that we never asked to have my mother living with us (and I have struggled with it, it drives me mad sometimes..I feel like I'm 15 again).
Even though where we live is almost 50% unemployment she claims he doesn't look for work. It's true, he hasn't traipsed round everywhere with CVs for a while, but he does search online every week and has applied to the council job scheme.
He shares the cooking/cleaning with me or does whatever I ask him to do round the house or does what he thinks needs doing.

I asked him to be careful not to let her end up entertaining ds as we had this row before when we didn't live together when she claimed he let her do everything and sat on the pc. He would say that's untrue, that he used the pc while ds slept.
I find it hard that she comes telling tales instead of just saying, oi son in law, I've been entertaining your son for 2 hours, I'm tired. She says she was scared to in case he was offended or I was annoyed she'd "told my DH off". Admittedly I handled it badly as when she pulled a face I reckoned it was that she felt she'd been left to do it all and that was what I'd asked DH not to do. I'd had a long day...we rowed about it.

It's true she's far too involved in our lives, but I don't see how to sort that out, without her moving away, which isn't really financially possible and would somehow seem terribly final and like a sophie's choice.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 20:32:30

She's now crying and saying she's so alone as earlier today we were talking while DH was out and when he came back I said I would finish the conversation later as I didn't want him to think I was talking about him behind his back. She's taken this to mean I won't talk to her and am excluding her.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 20:37:51

Just to clarify, we all live in the same house, so I can't have one of them do it. DS loves his granny and she likes to read him stories, he often wanders into her living area and asks for a story or three. I don't mind that, he likes it, she likes doing it. I asked DH to make sure it was just that so she had no excuse to play the "you're so lazy and you expect me to do it all when I'm disabled" card. H said DS wandered between the two of them and that he never said ds couldn't play. She says DS came back looking forlorn and daddy told him he wasn't allowed to play (making a den) and she felt so sorry for him she spent ages doing it with him and that she wasn't up to it and hurt herself.

izzyizin Sat 15-Sep-12 20:37:56

So what's going to be happening from Monday? Are you going to be at home during usual working hours too?

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 20:42:58

I'm starting work on Monday. I will be out from early afternoon til ten pm. The idea was that DH would look after dcs and then mum would help with bathtie by reading ds a story after the bath while Dh dried and pj'd dd. Then dh would tuck them both in.
He says (in that, tight lipped, fuck you angry way) that what happened yesterday (Him on the pc while ds was with mum)won't happen again. She says she feels so ill with the stress of it all, she may well be in bed all day.
She says she's worried dh will take it out on her and ds by not letting him send any time with her at all, I wish they'd just make their fucking minds up and stop putting me in the middle of it all.
DH says mum is a drama queen and he knew she'd be on the pc looking for places to rent for one (which is what she did this pm).

CailinDana Sat 15-Sep-12 20:49:45

It really sounds like your mother is milking this for all it's worth. It sounds to me like she's trying to manipulate you by getting in the middle of you and DH and then acting the martyr. If she can't play with DS because it hurts her, then she shouldn't do it. Doing it and then moaning about being injured is ridiculous behaviour.

Your DH is the parent. You need to support him and tell your mother to wind her neck in, big time. My DS adores my MIL and if she were in the house DS would want to play with her all the time. I suspect the same is true for your DS and your mother. To me, the thought of having my MIL in the house all day long, judging what I was doing and expecting me to keep DS away from her would be absolute hell.

I feel sorry for your DH.

LydiasMiletus Sat 15-Sep-12 20:56:09

I agree with callin, completely.
Your mum is acting like a drama queen and is interfering. If my mil did this to me I would kick off, in a big way. She is bring very disrespectful and driving (or attempting to) a big wedge between you and your dh.
Either you trust him or you don't. You can't ban as from playing with mil. She needs to move out, or you do whoever doesn't own the house you are in.
She needs to back off.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:01:49

She has done this kind of thing before, been all martyr like. She quite often makes me feel I'm not up to scratch, she thinks the fact that ds watches kid's tv (in his minority language, to improve his vocab) for an hour at breakfast is a bit slack. I think she thinks I should be reading stories and interacting. I think, fuck off, I'm his mother...but I button my lip. Her bugbear before we lived together was that dh got up with early waking ds (6am) and put the telly on and occasionally fell asleep. This was crap parenting according to her, he should have been talking, playing, interacting.
I was just glad dh let me sleep in as I'd been out at work til late.

When dd was about 8 weeks we had this mammoth fight as she felt that the house was a sty and that dh wasn't pulling his weight, but I was shattered so left all housework to him and he was either doing the housework in the morning while ds was at nursery from 9-1 or looking after ds while I tried to look after dd or sleep. I've never really forgotten that, how she made me feel.

I know she's miserable here and wants to go back to the UK, she doesn't know anyone, she's practically housebound, she hates the climate. But I never asked her to come here and I never wanted to live together. She's always leant on me too much, it's always been a bit unhealthy in that respect.
Maybe I'm missing something and my husband is lazy, but I can't see it. But all this is destroying my relationship with her.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:04:12

She owns the house. I trust dh with the dcs, he's a good dad. He could be more chatty, he could do more plasticine/painting etc but then ds does that all day at preschool.

ChitchatAtHome Sat 15-Sep-12 21:10:46

You yourself have said that your mum is a 'supermum' type, and expects your DS to be entertained constantly.

Firstly, that's a recipe for disaster if your DH is a bit more laid back than that - and TBH it sounds like ANYONE would be more laid back than your mum.

Secondly, keeping a child entertained all the time isn't doing them any favours, it's good for them to learn to amuse themselves for periods of time. They need to develop their own imagination.

You need to get your DM to keep her nose out of it, and you need to stop taking her side all the time. By telling your DH what to do when your DM is around (which sounds like will be all the time) you ARE telling him how to parent. He's the father, your DM is only a grandmother, HE gets more of a say than her.

CaliforniaLeaving Sat 15-Sep-12 21:11:20

Maybe it's time to rent a place of your own, and move back out from hers, she sounds miserable, and can move about fine so why does she need you living there?

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:19:08

That's where it all gets really incestuous and far too complicated. Since my business folded, because I'm an expat, there's only really one thing I can do (tefl) and the pay is shit. It's also evenigs only meaning we need dh to look after them, if there were work in the mornings, ds would be at school and dd at nursery. We can afford to rent and pay bills and eat on my salary alone and dh's unemployment benefit has run out (you only get a certain amount here, then you're on your own til you find work again).
She can manage around the house, but can't drive or get shopping in or do much physically like hoovering, mopping, cleaning. She doesn't really speak the language much. That's another of her things, she says she tries to talk to dh but he doesn't really talk and never initiates conversation. He says he feels his english isn't good enough and he can't think of the words and can't follow the conversation.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:19:38

we can't afford

squeakytoy Sat 15-Sep-12 21:23:12

If she owns the house, why would she be looking at places to rent.

The situation sounds unbearable for all of you.

Would it not be easier to all of you move back to the UK, with her in a small flat, maybe in sheltered housing so that she gets some assistance, and then you and your husband can get on with being a partnership without her interference.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:27:03

She was thinking she'd rent a place on her pension in the Uk and let us stay in this house so as not to disrupt dcs. dh says it's just melodrama.
I'm sure she'd love to go back to the uk but it'd be near impossible to sell here, and prices have dropped massively ad gone up in the uk, also what would dh and I do for work? I have a job here. He speaks the language. Anyway, I like it here, I've been here 12 years, my friends are here. Things irritate me and I miss the uk but I live here now.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:28:07

I dream of winning the lottery so she can go back to the Uk. I feel awful saying that.

charlottehere Sat 15-Sep-12 21:28:37

Well somethings got to give bad. You and your family need to find away to live away from your DM cos it aint working. She reminds me of my evil mil.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:31:26

It's bad atm and has been like this twice before and then things settle. It's not working. She's really made me wonder sometimes if I'm lazy or blind or maybe dh is a tosser and I'm too close to see it, I'm so relieved you all think she's being a melodramatic interfering bag. I ask my brother and he just sort of sits on th fence, although he agrees she's a martyr about things.

charlottehere Sat 15-Sep-12 21:32:06

A plan is needed.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:34:05

If dh could get work at least we wouldn't have this current flashpoint as we'd get someone in to look after dcs (as she admits she can't do it). But there's so little chance the way this country's economy is now. Although, I expect then it'd be something else.

charlottehere Sat 15-Sep-12 21:35:50


Move out

move back to uk

ask dm to move out

tell dm to stay out of it wont work

charlottehere Sat 15-Sep-12 21:36:25

Can dm move back to uk and you stay there?

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:38:57

I don't think we could afford to live in the house, big heating bills etc and only me earning a shit wage. We manage now as she helps with bills. I earn about 1200 euros and rents are about half that. We could manage if dh worked, but there is no work.

charlottehere Sat 15-Sep-12 21:40:09

There must be a way op.xx

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:41:48

Dm can't go back to the uk without selling here, leaving us buggered. If we all went to the uk, what would we do for work? At least here I have a job. She says here only option is to rent a "hovel" with her pension and leave the house here for us to live in, but I don't think I could afford to live in this house on my wage alone.
she may butt out, but I doubt it. Things'll settle in a bit and then blow up again in a few months.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:42:25

her only option

charlottehere Sat 15-Sep-12 21:42:55

Go back to uk, look for work, in the meantime we have benefit system.x

charlottehere Sat 15-Sep-12 21:43:15

you can't carry on like this

NellyJob Sat 15-Sep-12 21:43:44

sorry but your mum sounds like an interfering burning martyr and had to follow you to (wherever you are) because she didn't have a life of her own so wanted to hijack yours.
She is treating your DH like he is not responsible enough to look after his children and shit stirring. Your husband married you, not your mum.

charlottehere Sat 15-Sep-12 21:44:16

agree with nelly

NellyJob Sat 15-Sep-12 21:44:42

tell her to go and rent a 'hovel' then - can you smell the burning while she is talking?

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:46:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RecklessRat Sat 15-Sep-12 21:47:56

Could your DH train to do TEFL too?

squeakytoy Sat 15-Sep-12 21:48:52

It depends on what work you both do, and which languages you speak too. There is work in the UK, plenty of people do find it, but you have to be prepared to perhaps do things that are not what you want to do until that job comes along.

NellyJob Sat 15-Sep-12 21:50:05

why does she hate it, it is the lack of old friends, the language, the climate?
Is she going through that phase that new emigrants go through when they hate where they are? I mean, that could pass....
don't feel guilty for leaving the UK, plenty of older parents have to deal with their children leaving.
If she does want to return to the UK, is there anyone there that could offer some kind of 'stepping stone'?

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:50:33

But I feel guilty that I accepted the help (admittedly to buy a house that I then had to sell at a loss to move in with her) and that I now effectively live off her money in that I don't earn enough to keep us all. This is what I mean about her saying dh is ungrateful, cos we live in her nice big house and we can just about manage to run the 2 (old) cars. But what are we supposed to do, go round bowing scraping and thanking her all the time?

pictish Sat 15-Sep-12 21:54:27

I agree with the others. the living arrangements are not working.
I see echos of my own mother in this, and she never lived with us, but did help with childcare.
I loved her very much but no way would I ever have lived with her.
She had me doubting my own judgement at every turn, particularly when it came to our son.
I understand that feeling of being perpetually 15.

Something's got to give, and one way or another it has to be the set up at home.

squeakytoy Sat 15-Sep-12 21:54:28

Is he being picky about jobs? Is there really nothing at all he could do to bring in some money?

NellyJob Sat 15-Sep-12 21:54:54

you are under so much stress with that situation and supporting the family....and your mother is adding to it.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:55:23

she hates the climate, the fact that she can't speak the language, the bureaucracy, she thinks the people are rude, noisy, unfriendly, it's a bit backward compared to the uk in many ways. She's been here 6 years. She hates the fact that she's so physically disabled (arthritis in hips, shoulders, chronic back problems, long standing neck issues).
No stepping stones, no.
Dh looked into tefl but to do it here, needed a degree, which he doesn't have. So many jobs are official civil servant type jobs and impossible to get into without corrupt family getting you in and the rest, well he has school leavers qualifications and v general xperience, poter, delivery, removals. The economy is shrinking and shrinking every month.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:57:32

He's not picky, he'd far far rather work than stay at home, it kills him that he's out of work, feels a failure. But there's nothing. When he has work he works hard, even she admits that.

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 21:59:19

And I can't believe this has all blown up just before I go back out to work. She knows I'm dreading it, fucking shit first day I'm going to have.

100mph Sat 15-Sep-12 22:03:21

clutching at straws a little bit but with TEFL is it worth contacting organisations that might still have some money (to pay you better) like big companies preparing staff to do more business with the UK, UK businesses that might want some general translation/ training which you could help with, private schools etc..?

badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 22:05:33

The school I'm at is one of the best payers and I've already been translating (that's the failed business...not enough work and taxes too high for self employed. I can do some translation of the side but only up to 3000 euros a year without paying huge self employed taxes, which I can't afoord to do. All v complex and bureacratic and unentrepenuery

SuoceraBlues Sat 15-Sep-12 22:05:47

This is almost spooky.

Me, from the UK, but living in DH's country of origin. Mum divorced, comes to live with us, spends energy not in building new life but making DH feel
like an unwelcome guest in his own home and critisises him as a parent. Which is outragous, cos if he wasn't my husband I'd have him adopt me. He is a fabulous dad.

DH never made me feel like I had to choose. My mum did though.

We haven't spoken since she left that night seven years odd ago.

Not always a good idea to force a daughter to pick husband or mother.

Heads up love, it may come to picking a side if one or the other is determined that choose you must.

LittleBairn Sat 15-Sep-12 22:07:26

Ok you know there is a problem so now you need to find a solution stop being defeatist.

Short term does she have any family in the uk she could vist for a month or two and give you all space? Plus it might make her more motivated to find a away of moving back to UK.

Could she rent the house your all in and move back to the uk and live off the income?
Can you come to a more formal arrangement that your DC are no longer freely allowed to go into your mums living area but maybe they could have a set time each day were they spend time playing together for 30 mins. That way your mum has no reason to play the victim.

squeakytoy Sat 15-Sep-12 22:07:57

Without knowing which country you are in, and the type of area (coastal, tourism, rural, city) it is difficult to try and offer any suggestions.

Does your mother not want to try and learn the language? Is there an ex-pat community that she could involve herself in?

100mph has a good suggestion there, have you tried looking on the UK job pages for jobs that are available in your country maybe?

NellyJob Sat 15-Sep-12 22:10:31

If you are where I think you might be, there must be other people from the UK around, does she have any social life? Could you push her out to language lessons? What would she think of someone who lived in the UK and didn't learn English? Without the language she will always be isolated....

NellyJob Sat 15-Sep-12 22:11:00

xpost skweekytoy

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 06:54:37

I'm not being defeatist, honestly but I don't see a way out. She did go to language lessons but they are too far away and now she can't cos she's not physically up to it. She understands a fair bit of the language and can speak a bit but not v fluent and can't really follow a conversation.
We've had another row this am (me and her) cos she says she'll agree to draw a line under it and get on with things but she fels she's being a hypocrite and I got annoyed, because it's more fucking shit stirring. What's the point of saying you'll agree to disagree and then bellyache about it making you a hypocrite? That's not really the spirit of it, is it?
The solution is that goes back to the Uk, but I'm not sure how.
I'm still annoyed with dh because if he'd just made more of an effort and been a bit more poractive this then she wouldn't have had the excuse. He says, and I suppose this is true, that it would have been something else. And it's true, she creates these rows every few months. There are no expats here really except my friends through work and she's not physically able to go out and do stuff anyway. It's what makes it all worse, she's totally dependant on me in every way.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 06:55:26

No social life, no..she hardly ever leaves the house. I'd be a fucking misery too if I were her tbf.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 06:56:30

SuoceraBlues that's what I'm afraid of.

CailinDana Sun 16-Sep-12 07:27:49

I'm not sure what you mean when you say if your DH had "been a bit more proactive" then things would be better. That doesn't make sense at all and you're still holding your poor DH responsible for your mother's awful behaviour even though you admit your mother is a shit stirrer. If you have genuine issues with your DH, fair enough, address those with him, but don't mix up your mother's and your DH's behaviour because it will lead to disaster. Your DH is not responsible for how your mother feels. She is an adult who can look after herself. If they don't get on very well, that's a shame, but expecting him to keep her happy by, what?, doing everything she says? is very very unfair. Unless you start genuinely supporting your DH there is a real danger that over time resentment will build up and it could do serious damage to your relationship. Don't let your mother do that.

As for practical solutions, they do exist, but at the moment you are not ready to contemplate them. You are still hoping to smooth things over. That's understandable, she's your mother, and you feel responsible for her. But it sounds like she's not willing to give an inch, she feels she's right and this is all going to blow up again. IMO if it carries on there is serious risk to your marriage. But for the time being, it doesn't seem bad enough to take drastic action. But eventually it will seem bad enough, and one or both relationships involved is going to suffer.

LittleBairn Sun 16-Sep-12 07:34:21

TBH I think no matter what your DH does she will take issue. Your mothers problems with your DH shouldn't be yours.
When you moved in together did you have any sort of agrement/ rules on how you would live together? Could you maybe reinstate them or make some in order to make sure all of you are happier with the living situation.
I would suggest a family meeting with all three adults to talk about it no matter how awkward.

Is it possible her critism of your DH is in order ( in her mind ) to help you see what he's really like that was if you were to separate you would be more likely to return to the UK with her?

Does she have any family she can visit in the UK?

LittleBairn Sun 16-Sep-12 07:36:59

If there is 50% unemployment then many families must be loving on one wage there will be properties to rent maybe not as nice as what your in now but surely better for you and your DH.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 16-Sep-12 07:45:14

I always think that living under the same roof as a parent when you're an adult is the sure fire way to falling out.

When dd was little I didn't entertain her all hours of the day. Firstly I'd have been bored with it, secondly as someone else said they need to learn to entertain themselves.

I should think (sweeping generalisation) that most dads wouldn't spend time painting, doing plasticine, etc. Even I never did. Well maybe once or twice. DD isn't scarred for life. However if we'd had a willing granny there I'm sure dd would have been running to her to see if she would do something. Kids are very good at unintentionally playing adults off against the other.

Ideallly you need your own house.

nkf Sun 16-Sep-12 07:47:42

It doesn't work so it has to be made to work or you need a different arrangement. 50% unemployment? Surely that means rents are low. She should probably explore returning to the UK because she prefers it.

AThingInYourLife Sun 16-Sep-12 07:48:15

"I'm still annoyed with dh because if he'd just made more of an effort and been a bit more poractive this then she wouldn't have had the excuse."

You want your husband to pre-empt your mother's criticism by not doing anything she might object to?

Good luck with your divorce.

Your son is 4, he doesn't need entertaining.

If your mother chooses to do that, that's up to her.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 07:57:59

Some serious food for thought here. Will be back later. What a fucking mess it all is.

BranchingOut Sun 16-Sep-12 07:58:03

I think your best plan is to take the risk of coming back to the uk. Rent out your house until it sells.

Use money from the sale of cars/furniture to put down rent.

Rent near a big city to give your husband a chance of finding work.

SuoceraBlues Sun 16-Sep-12 08:02:09


I'm too close to "the problem" to be much help, it's amazing how strongly things can rankle even years later, but...

<big fat hug>

You will find a solution, even it means your hand is forced into one.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 08:03:52

Did she storm off Suocera muttering about how her heart was broken?

2rebecca Sun 16-Sep-12 08:57:03

Agree with others that you have to look at not living with your mum. Moving in together was a mistake, her coming to the country where you live and she can't speak the language was a mistake.
You tried it, it didn't work. I would be telling her you won't be living together in future. She either has a place of her own or moves back to the UK.
When your mum injured her back and decided she hated the country that should have been when she moved back, not when you moved in with her.
You have turned her problems into your problems. For the sake of your husband and children you have to support the needs of them over your mum.
Let your mum cry, the alternative may be divorce and you your husband and kids crying. she is just one person.

colditz Sun 16-Sep-12 09:05:38

Let's try not to judge the ops mum too harshly, look at it from her perspective.

Her daughter, her beloved child, works her arse off while her daughters husband sits on his arse playing computer games and ignoring his son, her grandchild.

I think it would be very very hard to watch my child live the way the op lives.

colditz Sun 16-Sep-12 09:07:03

And while a four year old might not need entertaining, they don't need treating to the pleasant view of the back of daddy's laptop for two hours either.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 09:09:03

She leant on me too much when I was a teenager and during the awful years with my dad and the divorce. She had a breakdown then and had to be hospitalised. I've always felt responsible for her and we've always been too close iyswim.
She's being all angry-hurt this morning and saying she's confused and "on the edge" and it's because I pulled her up on this "I'll draw a line under it but I won't forget" shit, which totally defeats the whole point and is more guilt inducing mind games.
But I'm not getting involved, because it only makes things worse. I desperately want to smooth things over but she won't play ball.

SuoceraBlues Sun 16-Sep-12 09:09:59

She walked out in the middle of the fucking night. We live in a rural corner of nowhere. Down a track 4k from the nearest decent sized tiny town.

We searched, couldn't find her.

I slept not at all.

We left the house early to take DS to school, left the door open just in case.

Came back to discover more stuff gone.

Called my sister in the UK.

Some million phone calls and five hours later my sister reports she is at the airport, but there are no flights.

At midnight we get home from bringing her back to the airport. Not one word is spoken. After what felt like a lifetime with no sleep we entered the house, I spoke for the first time, told her to sit at my puter and book a ticket home.

Two days later took her back to the airport. She left.

There was a note on herillow. Telling me one day I would understand.

Well I'm still waiting to understand why she wanted to try and undermine my marriage. It's a good one. My husband is good man. He loves me. We mutually treat each other well. I couldn't keep paying the price of her marriage to my dad ending so horribly becuase in some warped way she wanted to normalise what happened to her, by trying to make the same thing happen to me, (dumped with kids and no money).

I don't know her address or phone number. She knows mine but thankfully took the message via my sister seripusly and has never tried to contact me.

I'm not the most forgiving person on the planet, I know that. But we reached out to try to help her. And she spat on us and tried to hurt us. I know it's not her fault. I know she broke when my dad left. But ...I don't have it in me to forgive.

I hope your end this end better. I waited too long love. I let it decend too far before intervening in a decsisive manner. I wasted time chuntering at my husband (unreasobanbly) becuase he was the more readonable of the two.

I could have saved my relationship with my mother by easing her home far earlier with a foundation for rebuilding the relationship once limited anger and upset had subsided.

But I didn't, and then it was all too late.

All the luck in the world sweetheart. So hard to juggle practical aspects and realities with people sticking extra nonsensicle spokes in the wheel, cos for some reason for them the apple cart overturning means shared, common disappointment and unhappiness makes life less painful in a warped and distinctly odd way.

SuoceraBlues Sun 16-Sep-12 09:10:40

sorry above response to this

Did she storm off Suocera muttering about how her heart was broken?

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 09:10:53

Well, you colditz, that's my problem, I'm annoyed with DH too cos he did what I specifically asked him not to and what DM claims he did in the past.

SuoceraBlues Sun 16-Sep-12 09:11:40

*Add message | Report | Message poster badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 08:03:52
Did she storm off Suocera muttering about how her heart was broken?*

Jesus. Seperated at birth ? Your mum and mine I mean.

I have goose bumps.

SuoceraBlues Sun 16-Sep-12 09:12:36

arrrgggg wrong paste job

She leant on me too much when I was a teenager and during the awful years with my dad and the divorce. She had a breakdown then and had to be hospitalised. I've always felt responsible for her and we've always been too close iyswim

That's what is giving me goose bumps.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 09:14:45

I just don't know what to do for the best...I slip between thinking she's being totally manipulative and awful to feeling sorry for her and understanding why she's pissed off. But I don't see what I can do to make her happy.

SuoceraBlues Sun 16-Sep-12 09:21:53

You have had a lot of training to feel sorry for her, to be responsible for her, to be the adult to her helpless child. It is hard to break the habit.

But it may be that you have to choose to force her give up the status of cheif victim of her own life and take the baby steps back to some semblance of responsibility (albeit hard at this late stage) or lose one of your relationships altogether.

And I'm so sfuxking sorry, heart and soul sorry, becuase I am under no illusions as to how hard this is going to be either way.

Christ on bike, leaky face hijacking me.

If I could reach through the screen and give you a real hug, I would.

Happypiglet Sun 16-Sep-12 09:26:13

But that is the point badtoworse you are her child. You are not responsible for making her happy, she is responsible for that.
I have this same guilt trip issue with my DM on a much lesser scale. DDad left when I was 16, I became confidant etc etc . All through my adult life I have felt in some way responsible for her as she is alone and so she needs considering in everything I do. Interestingly neither of my bros feel this way!
I know she is lonely etc but occasionally I do need to stop and say to myself that her ultimate happiness or lack of it are down to her not me.
On the other hand as a other I do in part feel responsible for my DCs happiness and hope I always will. It appears you DM has forgotten this.
I also agree with suocera that she may be trying to undermine your marriage either consciously or unconsciously to get you in the 'same boat'. I have had this too.
You have to try to live separately IMO.

Happypiglet Sun 16-Sep-12 09:27:37

As a mother

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 09:29:16

she says dh has ruined the relationship btw dm and me .

Dozer Sun 16-Sep-12 09:32:01

Your basic problem is that you and your DH cannot support yourselves financially independently in the area where you are currently living. So you either have to move somewhere with more job prospects and both apply for jobs you don't want, or accept that this situation will continue and bumble through.

You and your dh need to decide whether you are willing to care for your mother long-term in return for her money! As you have been doing so far. And if your marriage can survive it.

She sounds v difficult, imagine that she's v lonely, has regrets and in a lot of pain, that doesn't make it OK for her to be like that though.

In the meantime if your mother moans about your DH cut her off and tell her to take it up with him!

SuoceraBlues Sun 16-Sep-12 09:37:37

she says dh has ruined the relationship btw dm and me

Everytime she says it

"no mum, you are doing that all by yourself asking me to choose you or the man I love and have built a family with. And push comes to shove and you continue to try and make me choose, please know..I will choose him"

It will half kill you to say it, it will knock her for six to hear. But my sister chose to say (again and again and again until it sank in) this instead of being a bunny in the headlights like I was. She still has a relationship with our mum.

Shakey. But not hanging by a thread. And mum is a damn sight more careful around her. Lots of best behavoir.

Sad that she has to live scared of losing the last remaining child and tiptoe on eggshells. Sad that she broke to the extent that she strew her maternal relasionships with eggshells.

But better than the chasm that exists between her and I.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 09:39:28

I expect things will settle at some point the moment we're in the "my life is ruined, nothing can be the same again " phase.

2rebecca Sun 16-Sep-12 09:42:25

It isn't your job to make your mother happy, it's hers. She just isn't very good at it. Some people aren't good at getting the most out of life, that doesn't turn it into your problem. Of coourse your husband has affected your relationship with your mother, you married him. It sounds as though your marriage didn't affect your relationship with your parents enough if they came traipsing after you when you moved away. She is way too clingy.

LittleBairn Sun 16-Sep-12 10:17:53

I think Suocera is right you need to make it clear your DH and the family you made together is your priority and that you choose them. Make it clear if she continues to interfer that is her who you will leave not your DH.
Once she realise the power games won't work she may settle down.

quietlysuggests Sun 16-Sep-12 10:40:46

can I just say something about your husband being the computer - that bit.
You know it isn't actually important but I understand this part.
I have a sister exactly like your mother. So judgemental, always right.
It is hard to describe but when she is looking at me judging me, specifically my parenting, I shrivel up inside.
I am a very happy parent, always affectionate and kind, yes a bit of television is watched (like now) but lots of running round, building dens, painting, dressing up etc etc
All the normal stuff.
But when I am with her, I freeze. So she sees me being stiff and distant with them. It isnt a conscious thing at all. I just cannot be myself with her around disapproving. So she fusses over my children muttereing about how bad a mother I am and how she could teach me a thing or two.
So even though it isn't important, I understand completely why your DH would slink away from your mother and all her nasty sanctimonius judgemental opinions and do exactly the thing you told/asked him not to.
You have got to separate them. You cannot afford your current lifestyle - the price will be your relationship with your mother.
You cannot afford the country, the house, the area.
You need your mother too much, so you have to put up with this shit.
But if you keep putting up with this shit you will lose either your marriage or your mother (and then also her money propping up your family)
And I do feel very sorry for you. Some parts of europe are very different now to what they were 5 years ago. I know.

nkf Sun 16-Sep-12 10:48:15

Whoever talked about the money is right. You are all bound together by lack of cash. There are three adults in your household and only one is working. I don't see why, with two adults in the household during the day, two children can't be looked after fantastically well. Work with your husband to see what would be best for your family ie you, your husband and the children. You might be better off with a smaller house than this large one that you can only afford with help.

nkf Sun 16-Sep-12 10:49:30

Where are you by the way? I'm assuming Southern Europe for some reason.

Mumsyblouse Sun 16-Sep-12 10:56:56

I agree with everyone that the money is the issue. You are financially dependent on your mother, and this makes for a very uncomfortable situation all around. I would do what nfk says, and downsize to a smaller house or even a flat, just you and your husband and the children. Your mum can then choose to stay in this country or go back to the UK.

You cannot run a marriage with a third-party criticising on an hourly basis! if the price you pay for a nice house and two old cars is your marriage, it won't be worth it.

And, whilst it is a shame your husband can't find work (and to me, this is a separate issue anyway), you don't need someone calling you names/lazy/criticising your childcare. I would be livid if my MIL called round, saw me on the computer, then told my husband I was lazy or not caring for the children properly.

The only other short-term solution I can think of is to divide up the childcare hours. So, your husband does Mon Tue Wed, and your mother does Thurs Fri. If she is too disabled, then I would leave her out of the childcare altogether until you are back in the house (so they see Granny mornings). The children are muddled about who is in charge (this happens in our house too, with relatives caring), and so end up playing the adults off against each other, running to one with tales of the other.

Your mum should have said 'go back to daddy, it's up to him what he does this afternoon' and shut her living room door, not done the 'oh, poor neglected child, come and play dens with me'.

Being caught between two adults, and being emotionally manipulated is far more damaging than learning to entertain yourself for an hour whilst daddy is on the computer.

nkf Sun 16-Sep-12 11:00:19

Good point about the childcare. That's what I was trying to get at. I know it would drive me mad to come home after working and find two non-working adults complaining about how the children were looked after. Or one complaining and one defending.

Mumsyblouse Sun 16-Sep-12 11:20:30

nfk- actually, two people both parenting at a time is often a recipe for disaster. I have so many friends who say it is easier to parent on their own than when their husband is there, or mother helps out, and I know my parents love having the children on their own too as I am not constantly interfering or just asking about lunch. I think it helps to have one person 'in charge' in these situations, unless it is two people who are very synchronized (e.g. granny and daughter together). In this situation, asking them to negotiate who is in charge, and asking the children to keep trying to find out which parent is parenting is asking too much. If granny is doing bath times, she needs to keep her door shut, then come over and do bath and bed. You can't have two people managing that time, especially a MIL and SIL who are defensive/mum hypercritical.

nkf Sun 16-Sep-12 11:22:08

I agree. It sounds as if mum and dh both sort of think the other person should be doing something.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 12:01:38

am reading ....will be back later.

BranchingOut Sun 16-Sep-12 13:01:50

Sorry, but I think that where you are living is the biggest problem.

Your husband's job prospects are shit - what is that going to do for his health, wellbeing and self esteem in the longer term?

Your job prospects are extremely limited and in a sector renowned for bad pay and poor treatment of employees. Self employment has already failed. What happens if you become ill or cannot work for any reason?

Your mother is miserable and in poor health.

I think you need to make a plan to come back to the UK:

Your husband is likely to be able to pick up some kind of manual work, maybe take a college course or even re-train.

Your job prospects are significantly better.

Your toddler may be entitled to the new entitlement to 15 hours care for two year olds - beginning Sept 2013 and being extended to more people in 2014. That will solve childcare problems.

You will probably be entitled to some benefits/tax credits.

There may be some services that would support your mother. Even if she could get out to a day-centre or similar once a week (there is one around the corner from me and elderly people on my road love it), it would be better than her present situation.

Seriously, make a plan - sell whatever you need to get a few month's rent together and just do it.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 20:38:44

Yes, to whoever asked, we're in Southern Europe. DH cracked earlier and went and told her he was sorry if he'd upset her. She cried and said he'd ruined her relationship with me and that she hadn't done anything wrong and it had all made her want to go back to the UK. He left the room and said he couldn't cope with a conversation like that in a foreign language. I told her nobody was ruining her relationship with me but her.
We had to go out to see the PILs and everything seemed much calmer when we got back. I'm not looking forward to tomorrow, first day at work and they have to sort themselves out and decide how to handle the afternoon, but for now things have settled down, but I've been adding things up to try and work out how much we could pay in rent if push comes to shove.
I've been remembering stuff all day and there's all kind of shit like this she's been pulling for years. I think the next time there's a huge blow up I'm going to suggest she/we go back to the UK or stop living together. Although, the one thing I'm not doing under any circumstances is going back to the UK and ending up living with her anyway in an even smaller house, with all of us on benefits. I'm just not.

voile Sun 16-Sep-12 20:48:50

I agree OP with everyone who says to live separately from your mother.

She actually sounds quite toxic and is creating a kind of spiky triangle where she is in the middle trying to divide you and your dh.

You are afraid of confronting her and as such you are expecting your dh to cow tow to her as well. What will your dc make of this when he gets a bit bigger, the dynamic is unhealthy and it doesn't sound like she's about to change. I hope you can get out of this situation soon.

2rebecca Sun 16-Sep-12 20:52:41

Of course you aren't. Why would you live with your mum? She has a bad back she isn't totsally dependant and needing nursing care. The "poor me" stuff would just irritate me. "Of course my husband affected my relationship with you, he's my husband. Accept I'm an adult with her own family and stop trying to come between us mum"

voile Sun 16-Sep-12 20:54:15

Btw I'm not suggesting you are to blame for this, but just highlighting how you can end up behaving to accomodate others bad behaviour, and it all feels normal iyswim. You are really stressed about leaving your dh with your mother, you really shouldn't have to go through this at all and she is not your responsibility, you are not her parent x

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 20:57:49

I have wondered if she was "toxic" before. It's funny, she goes on about how my GM came to stay when my brother was born and I was 3. I was ill and my dad was back at work as soon as she came out of hospital (and was a useless alcoholic anyway). My GM took offense at something or other to do with my dad and stormed back off to Ireland, leaving my mum with an ill 3 yr old, a newborn and no help. She didn't speak to her for years after that.
And yet, when DS was born (before we lived together) she came and stayed and then took offence at something DH said about how DS cried so hard he looked like he was angry..something innocuous like that...turned it into this huge thing and pitted her and me against him and then stormed off, leaving me crying and begging her not to leave like that.
She'd say it wasn't the same though I'm sure.
She has ruined our relationship, although not in the way she thinks it's been ruined.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 20:58:38

though I'm not so sure

2rebecca Sun 16-Sep-12 20:59:34

Agree your mum is behaving more like a needy adolescent than an adult. She needs to take charge of her own life and her own happiness and stop trying to attach herself to your life as an unwanted second spouse by following you round the world and wanting you to prioritise her over your husband.
She needs to get out of your life and get more involved with bouiling her own life and steering her own boat not being a sulky passenger on yours.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 21:01:07

My plan is to try and get DH to get some way of earning, he says he's spoken to a friend who does telesales who might be able to put in a good word, although they're not recruiting. I'm going to take any translation I can manage and try and downsize as much on bills as poss, been looking into changing phone providers. All to try and position us so that the next time we are in a position to live apart if necessary.

2rebecca Sun 16-Sep-12 21:04:10

Must admit though if i moved abroad to be in my husband's native country and he then proceeded to fail to find a job for several years leaving me as sole breadwinner and unable to afford a house without moving back in with my parents I wouldn't be staying in that country but would be moving back to the UK.

2rebecca Sun 16-Sep-12 21:07:25

Why are you trying to get your husband some way of earning? Why isn't your husband getting his finger out? It's his country. You seem to be carrying alot of lame ducks around with you who are incapable of sorting their own lives out and having an independant existence.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 21:09:37

When we bought the house, it was with money I inherited from my dad and DM helped out too. We also had a mortgage. DH was working. The company then lost its main contract. He has had short term contracts since then, but nothing stable. If she hadn't decided to come here we would almost certainly have moved to the UK. We were thinking of moving to the UK or the capital but then I was made permanent (unusual in my field) and he got work and then she said she wanted to live here, it all seemed a good idea. Later, he lost the job, she got less and less able, I branched out on my own and did really well and then it all slowed with the crashing economy and ground to a halt.
In hindsight I should ever have bought the house and should have gone back to the UK before having kids, but hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 21:10:28

Sorry, phrased badly. I didnt mean I was going to be looking for him.

SuoceraBlues Sun 16-Sep-12 21:13:55

...but would be moving back to the UK

Your hypothetical ignores they are both parents of the children, but one of them is abroad and can be stopped from taking her children out of the country should the other not wish to go and live aborad or have his children go abroad.

Moving back to the uk is not just her descion to make.

Another reason why the marital relationship could do with not being put under additional pressure at this already difficult time. It's tricky enough when both parents are "at home". Lots more potential spokes in wheels when you are not.

2rebecca Sun 16-Sep-12 21:15:06

What were you thinking when you moved in with your mum though? Were you really planning to insist your poor husband lives with his mother in law for the next 30 years or whatever?
Moving in with her just seems strange as she doesn't sound like a frail 80 year old.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 21:17:24

I didn't see what else I could do, I thought it would be OK and I didn't feel I had any option. I've always felt this huge responsibilty to "look after" her and make everything OK, which isn't healthy and has got me into this mess. When we moved in I used to lie there thinking...oh God, this is for the rest o my life. But I was in too deep by then.

badtoworse Sun 16-Sep-12 21:19:39

She's only 68 but she's quite frail in that she's fairly knackered physically. Neck, knees, back, shoulders and can't walk far. fairly housebound. I'm not sure how she thinks she'd manange by herself in the UK actually, especially as she can't really drive any more.
The other hard thing is she's always been prone to depression.

I remember some of your earlier threads, and it is good you have permanent work now, that the translation is not going as well. Did you manage to set up a freelance web site? Are you offering your services in the UK? I am sure there are some uk businesses who might need translation into your language (which I imagine is very hard for an elderly lady to learn!)

I agree that the entire mess seem to be because you and your husband are tied to your mother for financial reasons. You are living a place you cannot afford, and where neither of you can find work.

We had to leave Norway and return to the UK because our work situation became difficult and intolerable. For many reasons, we would have preferred to stay, but everything became so difficult that we had to leave.

Incidentally, I have an old friend who is a "State authorized translator in Your Language to Norwegian, and vice versa, and she runs her business in Oslo". And just the other day I heard about a company who had been offered to sell their services in Your country, but decided not to because the cost of translation would be too tricky. Dont underestimate the need for translation - I suspect it might be a case of you not being able to market your freelance translation business well enough? If so, there are plenty of skilled mumsnetters you might be able to team up with, under the Freelance Topic.

Sorry, I am going off on a tangent, and replying to issues you had ages ago. Sorry! blush

2rebecca Sun 16-Sep-12 21:27:14

She's your mother. If anyone feels an obligation to look after the other she should be feeling it to look after you. Plently of frail people manage living on their own. If you weren't there your mother would have to manage. She could go on for another 20 years. Also the more you make her dependant on you the less will be able to do.
When your father died and she talked of moving back you should have helped her find sheltered housing in the UK and told her you'd visit. She has a house she can sell so still has the option of moving back and getting sheltered housing whilst you and your husband sort your own finances out.

SuoceraBlues Sun 16-Sep-12 21:33:13

I'm not sure how she thinks she'd manange by herself in the UK actually, especially as she can't really drive any more.The other hard thing is she's always been prone to depression.

My mum was early 60s when she left here. My sister ordered her to the council offices and told her to tell them she was homeless. Which she was, cos my sister is made of sterner stuff than me.

Becuase she was older, but not so old that she couldn't manage a single flight of stairs, they found her a place on the first floor of sheltered housing immediatly and sorted all her benefits for her. I was getting this all second hand from my sister, but I do remember it was all really quick. Later she came into some serious money. They let her keep the flat but she pays her own rent instead of housing benefit doing it. Or something along those lines.

Becuase quite a lot of older people can't manage stairs apparently there is not the same sort of shortage for the first floor flats. As an immdediate solution it worked out fine.

Might be worth looking into to see if the place she left has the same availability in sheltered housing. At least until she can free up the money from the house. But maybe by then she will have settled in to having the company of the other tenants and the security of the manager who checks up on every body to make sure they are OK.

CleopatrasAsp Sun 16-Sep-12 23:03:46

I think you need to stop all this. You've been your mother's confidante/shoulder to-cry-on/rescuer for far too long now. She is an adult and needs to make her own life - and not make you the centre of her whole world. When people concentrate all their attention on one person it never ends well because not only does the other person feel stifled and claustraphobic, the person themself feels resentful that they are so dependent, which means they often treat the other person quite badly. It is an unhealthy state of affairs. I feel really sorry for your husband and I believe that the poster above who suggested that your mother is trying to bring about her own circumstances in your life (no husband etc) is right. You need to protect your own family unit and please doen't give in to the histrionics and emotional blackmail You need to move heaven and earth to find a way to live elsewhere. Good luck with it all.

nkf Mon 17-Sep-12 21:41:55

I think the mother is getting a bit of a rough ride. She might very well be as difficult as a frail, elderlyish woman can be but the situation is terrible. There is not enough money, they're stuck together, a long way from "home," in what sounds like an isolated place. It would bring out the worst in anyone. Deal with the practicals I'd say. Identifying her as "toxic" isn't going to help you. Deal with what is real. You have used her money, you're an adult who can't afford to live independently and so on. Easy to see how it happened but no need to lay it all on her. It's bad luck really. Make plans. Practical plans.

badtoworse Fri 14-Dec-12 15:59:56

All kicking off again, similar to last time. She doesn't approve of DH's parenting in the evenings when I'm out and then tells me about it (won't tell him) but then forbids me to say anything, meaning nothing changes. I could see it coming as she's been a bit low just recently and this is what happens, she's gets down and it's as if she's almost looking for a fight.
I'm dong my best to not get involved this time but she's already said DH is a liar and that I have clearly "finished with her". Back soon.

Bproud Fri 14-Dec-12 18:22:58

It's the first time I have come to this thread and not read it all, but can you do anything to the house to make your living areas more self contained, then set up rules so your mother only enters your 'flat' by invitation or as a particular arrangement, eg specified babysitting times.
This would mean that she could 'visit' whilst you are at home in the mornings, but only come if your DH wants her to, when you you are not there. She could also 'invite' the DC for specified times eg for tea once or twice a week, which would give your DH a break and not be too tiring for her.

badtoworse Fri 14-Dec-12 18:57:40

she has been getting down about various health problems and this has turned into that she's decided she doesn't like the way DH parents while I'm out. She says DS is always wailing at bedtime, but she's in another room, not in the bathroom. DH said DS was sticking his finger up DD's bum and he told him not to and he started to cry, DM interprets this as the poor little lamb is being had a go at and seems to see any upset around bedtime as an example of DH's crap parenting. She's been disparaging about them playing up for me at bedtime before "^well^, you and your brother never behaved like that for me" etc. But instead of saying to DH, hey...have you thought about trying xyz at bedtie, or just butting out, she bitches about him to me but says I'm not to tell him, as it would make him feel got at.... which pisses me off for a variety of reasons...if she doesn't like his parenting skills she should tell him herself, not come running to me and then say I'm not allowed to say what she's said. So, I said she should speak to him and I didn't want to hear it, so she reckons I'm "abandoning" her and I've "made it clear our relationship is over" and that I'm calling her a liar and says that DH's a liar. And I just so cannot be bothered with it anymore.

I get tired of being told how to parent my own children and that their dad isn't doing a good enough job (he's very good with them...more patient than me a lot of the time) and that I'm a shouty mother "and I wasn't shouty with you or your brother and I held down a fulltime job with an alcoholic husband and made a cooked breakfast ad read you each a story every morning before school". That is verbatim, btw "DS is a little angel for me all afternoon" etc etc and tired of her offering to do things and saying she wants to do them and then when she's in a bad mood, having it thrown in my face. I am a disappointment apparently. Always good to hear from your own mother.

We have our own living room and en suite bathroom but it's a shared kitchen and other areas. It's a fucking mess. Last time, she got on rightmove and said she was going back to the UK, but reckoned she couldn't afford anything.

badtoworse Fri 14-Dec-12 20:16:12

what a mess my life is.

susanann Fri 14-Dec-12 20:38:03

I think you need to put some distance between your family and your mum. It sounds like shes good at emotional blackmail. Can she not come to the uk and stay with friends/family for a few weeks? Sounds like shes wrecking your life and certainly your marriage! Maybe its time to stand up to her and you and hubby tackle her together, united front and all that. Good luck

botandhothered Fri 14-Dec-12 20:39:38

I've just read the whole thread.
I think the only solution is for you and your DH to move out.
I just can't see the situation getting any better for you. I think if you do this, she will most likely return to the UK.
I know this will probably mean you moving to a small flat, and you will lose the space you have at her house. Really, is there any reason why you couldn't do that?
Yes things will be tight money wise, but your relationship with your DH is more important than anything.

badtoworse Fri 14-Dec-12 20:52:56

Yes, susanann...emotional blackmail it is..and she would deny it but all this is not really about DH and his parenting, it's about her sliding into depression again and lashing out. She's been down lately (which I understand...she has health problems that would really get me down) and I felt something was brewing. If I weren't out at work, it'd be something else, something to hang her anger and bitterness and general misery on.
She reckons she's too disabled to fly now. It's probably true, she can't walk very far or sit for very long without pain. I don't think she could live alone. And, the thing is, I wouldn't mind living with her if she were happy and would stiop trying to treat me like a bit of a stupid 14 yr old, it makes me feel like such a...well, like a disappointment, like she said. Ended up in a country she sees as shit, with a failed business behid me, earning a crap wage in a job with crap hours and an out of work DH and apparently we're both shit, shouty parents too.
At the moment I've said I don't want to talk about it and I'm pretending nothing has happened. She's lying down and we're being civil when we need to speak. If there's anymore "I'm leaving" histrionics I'll suggest she sells up and goes back to the Uk.

NettleTea Fri 14-Dec-12 22:15:14

Can you move in with your husbands family for a while, and try to find somewhere else to live - or send your mother to live with them!!!
Seriously though, she sounds toxic and as if she has conditioned you to put her first. Take a look at the 'daughters of narcissistic mothers' website and you may see some similarities.
She really wants to be the head of the house, and she comes to you because she knows she can control you. It's not fair for her to moan at you about him, if she has an issue she should speak to him about it, but I bet she knows he won't take it.

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 14-Dec-12 22:44:44

Nettle's right, this is screaming Narcissism!

Poor you, your poor H, your poor kids.

Tell your Mum to butt out, back your H, cos you know he's doing a good enough job. She's telling tales to score points, its pathetic.

Morloth Fri 14-Dec-12 23:03:23

I think you need to move out.

If my MIL was behaving this way and my DH was supporting her, he wouldn't be my DH anymore.

How he parents is none of her fucking business.

AutumnNowBleakMidwinter Sat 15-Dec-12 01:03:07

Until you are able to rid yourself of the guilt that your mother has carefully nurtured, regarding how she did everything for you growing up, you are never going to get off this roundabout. I do some work with Arthritis Care, and there are many men and women in their sixties, seventies, and even eighties, who undoubtedly suffer tremendous pain daily. They refuse to see themselves as totally incapable though, and with the help of good meds, and aids from the OT dept, they live fairly full, albeit much slower, lives, Granted there are some days when they are haviing flare ups, and will have to rest, but as soon as possible they are off again. Most of these people live alone, value their independence, and wouldn`t have it any other way.

I`m afraid your mother needs reminding that you and your family did have a home of your own, which you gave up to help her, and as a result of that, surely you have as much right to be in this house now, as she has. Please don`t alienate your husband by making him feel that you are siding with her, because, quite frankly, it does seem like that. How clever she is to never say anything directly to him. No she would far rather give you the bullets to fire, and so far, you`ve been doing a helluva job. I don`t know the answer to your living habits,, but I do know that you should be standing shoulder to shoulder with the father of your children, believing in him, and letting your mother know that you will not have any more of her oh so subtle trouble making. It won`t be easy as you`ve been very well manipulated for many a year, but, if you are to save your family - you, your husband, and children - it has to be done. Good luck.

olgaga Sat 15-Dec-12 02:40:19

So you've been living with your mum for a few years now. She can't afford to move back to the UK, rent somewhere and afford to live, and just give her home over to you. Not quite sure why you think she should "move away".

50% unemployment? I'm guessing you're in Spain.

So when are you and your DH going to get your act together and get your own place? Either in Spain or the UK, where your DH could find work. That would solve all your problems. Or you could find work while your DH gazes at the laptop all day "looking after the children" until you come home from work.

If you weren't all living with her, she wouldn't have much "hoovering, mopping, cleaning" to do. As for her being a "drama queen" perhaps she just stressed with you all living with her?

I think you should move out, get your own place - wherever. You'll probably find jobs a lot easier to find in the UK, and perhaps could find supported accommodation in the UK if she sells up.

It seems to me she is utterly fed up, and tied up, living where she doesn't want to be, simply because she doesn't know how you and your family would cope if she did what she wanted.

botandhothered Sat 15-Dec-12 06:21:57

I am quite sure your mother could find someone to live in and help around the house in return for free bed and board.
You don't have to make a drama out of moving out. Just say you think living with the children is too much for her, given her health problems. If you are in Spain, cheap rentals are very easy to find at the moment. I think you could manage it on your wages alone.
I think your husband has been very patient up til now. What happens when he decides he has had enough?

Mayisout Sat 15-Dec-12 07:00:18

Your mother sounds like one of those people whose whole life has been a trial. But when you look back at their problems thre are things that they could have done something about. I mean it is possible to leave an alcoholic husband, in fact imo it is the sensible thing to do.
And I think you said she worked. So she wasn't the dedicated and loving sahm she makes out, always putting her DCs first, playing with them and amusing them all day.

But the upshot was that you became the pillar she leant on. And talk of her making friends etc, ie getting herself a life, are unlikely to happen now if they haven't happened in the previous 68 years.

Do you realise OP that as DM becomes more disabled it is you who will have to give up work to look after her? Your future looks grim to me, and you seem frozen in some rabbit in the headlights situation with a wholly dependent and selfish mother who is going nowhere, or at least going nowhere without a blooming big push.

What i would do is approach DB. I'm sure he won't want anything much to do with a heavily dependent elderly mother but try to illicit some help, either financially or to get DM settled back in the UK. At least if she is in the Uk there will be some carers provided as her health deteriorates, I doubt that is the case where you are. Or he might help you all to move back where at least you should get benefit payments to tide you over until you find work. Anyway, I would tell him what a mess you are in and what can he suggest and see what comes up.

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 08:30:38

She says she can't live alone, I've said this morning We'll all move back to the Uk if that's what she wants and she can sell her and buy a place and we'll have to manage and get benefits til we're on our feet and she just says she'd rather kill herself "how would I get the shopping in, I can't drive, how would I look after myself?"

HisstletoeAndWhine Sat 15-Dec-12 08:35:28

You and your family appear to be trapped in a situation akin to an abusive marriage. You're so worn down by it all, overwhelmed with guilt, ladelled on thickly by her to maintain the staus quo.

She'll not stop. Not even when she breaks up your marriage, she'll keep on going, breaking YOU down until she dies. By which time, you'll be practically institutionalised, and emotionally crippled.
She has become her H to you, she is your cross to bear in her eyes. Your H is an outsider, capable of blowing her plans out of the water, so she is chipping at him until he goes.

Then she'll start glorifying him, and trashing you.

You HAVE to get yourself and your family OUT, by any means possible. Your DB has to help you in this, but ultimately, you need to do this, with or without him.

Telling her that the lot of you are clearly too much for her is your tack. Don't deviate and tell her that the family decision is made, for her... ;-)

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 09:39:23

I can't cope..I can't deal with any of it. I believe DH is a good man and a good dad. I can't live with this guilt and feeling like a failure. I don't know any more, don't know which way is up. I was OK, just not engaging but she draws me in every time and I start to doubt myself. Maybe I am an awful daughter? But I try to make sure she does as little as possible; she doesn't clean or shop or cook. She'll empty the dishwasher, but I try to pre empt that/DH does it. She does quite often say she's going to put some washing on and I say "right, but don't hang it out, Dh can do it later/ I'll do it" and she'll then put it out "you were working so hard planning and Dh was food shopping etc, I don't mind" "i like to have something to do" then there's a big upset and suddenly apparently I let her do the laundry.
She says DH leaves her to look after ds but then says he's her only company and she likes playing with him in the afternoons. I feel like she wants DH to do everything her way/read her mind and then she wants me to taker her side against him, but if I try to say anything, like leave him to parent his own way she says it's not good enough and she can't see that she's forcing me to take sides.
She's saying she's going back on her ADs, which she'd been without for a while.
Everything I offer, there's a reason why it won't work and then guilt trips me if i suggest living apart.

pictish Sat 15-Dec-12 09:53:25

Yes - that is because she wants it all her own way.
She will destroy your marriage to suit herself.

Mayisout Sat 15-Dec-12 09:56:28

Well, she could live in sheltered accommodation. She could easily live another 20 years so imo elderly rellies doing the 'poor old me someone has to look after me' tack is only acceptable when they REALLY can't manage on their own, not when they could manage with a helper popping in every other day.
There are meals on wheels and stuff. Unless she is at the stage where she cannot get to commode or out of bed there are probably ways she can manage living alone (like most elderly widows do). And in accomm for elderly she would be able to meet and socialise with others in a similar position to herself.

I'm not sure how the fact that you aren't resident in the UK will affect things. Normally the local authority would have social services who could advise you. But you can do alot from where you are. Phone/email Help the Aged, SAGA or similar for advice.

I would decide that the best is that she doesn't live with you any more. It doesn't suit her if she was honest, and it certainly doesn't suit you or DH, so that is the aim, and just start moving towards that, it will take a while to organise but start moving towards that. Then all the angst going on between DM and DH can be ignored as it doesn't need fixed because, in the long run, the situation will change.

Mayisout Sat 15-Dec-12 10:04:51

she'd rather kill herself "how would I get the shopping in, I can't drive, how would I look after myself

This is blackmail. A carer could easily get her shopping. Surely she can wash herself and put some washingoin. Really, don't be coerced into living with her, she is too manipulative.
And I'm sure she would be a happier person with the satisfaction of managing her own little house/flat (although she might still lay on the pity ploy to you OP).

HisstletoeAndWhine Sat 15-Dec-12 10:23:41

My love, something has to give, she's terrorising you all because she can.

Take your DH to one side, well out of her hearing, and talk to him about making a real plan, working with what you have, to get out of this.

This woman will poison your lives.

God how I wish there were a Children's Aid to offer children of Abusive Parents the same support as victims of partner DV have.

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 12:29:09

I can't move out here and leave her, she wouldn't manage here, that's why we moved in in the first place, cos she couldn't manage and her health's worse now. I offered this morning for her to sell this house and us all move back to the UK and she said she couldn't buy a place big enough for us all. I said it was her money and she should buy a small place for her and I'd live as near as possible, renting/working/some benefits, whatever. She then went all pathetic and said I was "throwing her out" and she couldn't believe I was so adamant (10 odd years ago) that I would never go back, so she "had to" come here and now I want to go back when it's financially ruinous to do so.
I don't want to go back, I'm trying to solve a problem and I expect in the end we'd be fine financially...(who knows, maybe even better than here as it seems there is more chance of work for DH there and I could translate more easily).
She's lying in bed playing the martyr atm. I've been and asked if she wants any food, but it's all monosyllabic answers.
DH says he's taking DS out for the afternoon on Monday as he's buggered if she's calling him a shit dad twice, so that'll kick things off again, you take my only pleasure from me...

catsrus Sat 15-Dec-12 13:12:58

If she returns to the uk there is the option of renting - not buying - a flat in an assisted living block. That's what my parents did when they didn't have enough equity to buy.

Much as you want to support her - she does sound toxic and you have your dcs future to consider. You love your dh and you want to stay where you are, if you return to the UK with her then I can't see it being any better.

Has she got any old friends or family in the UK? Siblings?

Mayisout Sat 15-Dec-12 13:13:01

It's not worth discussing this stuff with her. I mean she 'had to' come to live there, no, I don't think so, what it should be is 'she can't make friends or a social life on her own so that left her no option but to inflict herself on you who she knew would step in to the role of companion, carer, devoted daughter etc'. Nice one.
Start looking into things and don't waste time discussing it with her.
You will probably have to live with accusations like 'you threw her out' but it sounds like you have given years of your life to support her, enough is enough.

Can't DB help? He might have more time available than you for phone calls etc

DontmindifIdo Sat 15-Dec-12 13:24:19

I think you need to stop planning around your mother and plan round what's best for your family - DH and DCs. I think if returning to the UK is best for you, then you should do it. tell her you are returning to the UK, and would she like you to help her move too? Then go.

If she "can't drive, can't get the shopping in" you can do on line shopping for her. You can arrange carers. She can look at sheltered accomodation. If you'd never left the UK you would have other options than her moving in with you.

Imagine she'd dropped dead and you didn't inherit anything from her, what would you and your DH do? Go to the UK? Stay and move in with your PIL? Then plan just what's best for you and DH (and DCs) then deal with how you help her as a separate decision, she doesn't get to make the decision about what you do. (and you don't have to live with her, she has other options)

goonyagoodthing Sat 15-Dec-12 13:24:59

Badtoworse I read this thread when you started it first, and I am sorry to see it has got no better. I am going to try not to say anything that will make you feel worse than you already do. But if you don't actually do something about this, your husband is going to walk away. And as much as I hate to say it, I can see why he would. This is a very unhealthy way to live for everyone - for your marraige, your child, your mother, your mental health, your husbands self esteem. There is a saying "If you don't want to be a doormat, get up off the floor". And I promise I don't want to sound patronising or mean, but I think you know that something has to be done now. I feel so sorry that you are stuck in the middle here and trying to please everyone is a thankless job. You will come out the worst of it.

You need to get out of this situation NOW, do something TODAY. Get in touch with an estate agent. Look up flights back to the UK. Don't leave it on the long finger so that when March comes you will be posting another thread about how bad things are. Even if it means being penniless for a while, get yourself out of this misery. The day you are on your deathbed you won't be thinking - "I regret we had no money for a few months in 2013". You will be regretting the time you spend unhappy or you will be sad it wrecked your marriage or you relationship with your mother.

I hope you are taking this post in the way it is meant, I don't want it to come across as nasty. I don't want to kick you when you are down, I would love to see you coming back in 6 months time with a good news update.

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 14:06:39

e mailed DB (he's in Ireland and works as a waiter and rents) he laughed heartily at her idea that she never shouted at us kids. His solution was not to engage and wait til it blows over. Easier said than done.
goony I'm not offended by what you say, you're right. Truth be told, I'm a bit scared of her. Scared of her reactions, scared of the guilt trips. I went out briefly today after she'd called me horrible and was a bit worried when I came back in case she'd started packing the house up or done something dramatic.
And I don't really know how to "make" her go back to the UK if she says she'd rather die than live alone. I sound pathetic, I know.
We used to get on really well. She tells me I've destroyed our relationship forever and it's true, it's different now, but it's how she's behaved. I can't forget her giving me a 3 day guilt trip when DD was a few months old and calling me a slattern and saying I was dirty.

AutumnNowBleakMidwinter Sat 15-Dec-12 14:25:59

Please take some action, and make it very soon. I have been thinking exactly what Goony had the courage to actually say. Your husband will eventually come to the end of his tether, and say......enough. In fact, if you were married to a British man, he probably would have gone long ago. Spanish men do tend to be more understanding of family, but he will reach breaking point. Also, he is in his own country, with family to support him. I suspect that is exactly what your mother would like to see, then you will be totally in her power again. Don`t throw away a good marriage for a mother who is never going to be happy, no matter what her circumstances are.

TooImmatureMincePies Sat 15-Dec-12 14:28:26

Oh Badtoworse, I don't have any specific advice to give, but I'm here listening. She sounds awful. You need to get away, somehow.

Can you move in with your PIL temporarily? Or find a flat?
Is there any support for your mother locally? If she needs help with shopping/cleaning etc, could you take her shopping round once a week and do a bit of cleaning for her? It would be better than living with her with the constant nag nag nag.
What support would there be for her in the UK? Start researching and go to her armed with facts. If you don't think she could fly, how would she get home? Is it possible for people to fly lying down? Could she sell her house and go and stay with your brother for a bit?

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 14:32:30

I don't know where even to start with the whole moving back. I don't know how it'd all work..I mean it took over a year to sell my house when we moved in with her (we moved in and it sat empty til I managed to sell it at a loss). I suppose we'd sell first, if we could get a buyer, and then she'd use the money to buy and we'd need to try to get benefits and rent. Would I even be entitled to benefits if I'd been out of the country for all these years? Is DH entitled to anything as a foreign national? (EU)
I'm surprised she reacted so badly "I'd rather kill myself" to the idea of going back and living separately but nearby, I thought that's what she always wanted, to go back.
But I'm not giving everything up and then living together again and having the same old shit.
Dreading Monday as DH says he's taking DS out when I go to work, because he can't win, if he lets DS spend time with her (playing cards, reading a story or DS playing on the floor with cars while chatting to DM) she'll throw it back in his face and say she's made to do everything, so from now on he'll do everything and that's that. DM will say DH is punishing her.
Sorry, I'm not being very coherent. Been crying on and off a lot. All my attempts have collapsed and it's another 3-4 upset again.

HoleyGhost Sat 15-Dec-12 14:38:11

She is extremely destructive. It will be damaging your dc and your dh.

You won't put your own interests first, but can't you see that you are obliged to prioritise your dh and dc?

You need to get out of this trap. Your friends and in laws are there, is there somewhere you can stay for a couple of weeks to give you a chance to get some perspective?

Tell your DB you are at crisis point. Ask him to help if he can.

TooImmatureMincePies Sat 15-Dec-12 14:40:34

Right, is there any way you could move out? Never mind her side of it for just now. Ignore her and concentrate on your own finances. Could you get somewhere to live for your family? Could you move in with your PIL/other family? Has your DH got any ideas?

I know she needs help to live on her own, but you can't carry on like this. You sound desperate. You can carry on giving her support from a distance, if you want, but you have to move out.

HoleyGhost Sat 15-Dec-12 14:42:49

Are you sure she couldn't fly using the assistance schemes? It is a very short flight and she would be driven to and from the plane.

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 14:47:56

DB rents a flat but he shares, I've never been but I don't think she could live there. He's not in Britain, he's in Ireland.
You know, she lies. She accuses DH of lying but she does too. I was saying to her recently that the kids play up a bit at bedtime the nights I'm home and it gets me down..I don't see them at bedtime 4 nights a week and then when I'm around they get silly and over excited and end up with (a bit of) crying just at bedtime. She agreed that they're generally as good as gold when I'm not there, i.e for DH but now she's says there's wailing and shouting every bedtime. I also said I didn't think it was fir to criticise DH's parenting when she's not even in the room. He's in the bathroom with them and she's in another room. So she can't see what happens or even hear properly (and she's a bit deaf) and he's talking to them in another language, so she misunderstands things and then criticises, she said I was calling her liar and senile.
She says DH ignores the children when they have their tea. They sit at the table and watch about 40 mins of octonauts etc while eating. DH sits in the room, but they're watching and it's in English so he doesn't say much. she claimed he was ignoring DS's request for a yoghurt and so DS went to get it himself. DH says he told him quietly in his language to wait til his sister had finished. She says that's an out and out lie. It's all so fucking petty. Then when I say I don't want to talk about it, he's a good dad and I trust him and don't want a fight she says she can't believe I'm so uninterested in my children's welfare.
Sorry, have nobody to talk to about it. I sometimes think I'm going mad, maybe I'm really awful to her and taking the piss, maybe DH is actually the opposite of what I thought???

HoleyGhost Sat 15-Dec-12 14:50:10

If you don't get out you will go mad.

Can't you go stay with friends or relatives for a bit?

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 14:55:05

Sorry, I must be terribly frustrating..feel paralysed. I think she could live OK in an assisted living place. I wouldn't even mind going back to the UK in some ways, would miss my friends and my life (of 12 years) here, but DH would probably have more chance of work and I would have more possibilities. She can dress herself, wash herself, do some very light gardening, she has a fireplace in her room and does the (wood burning) fire. She can put washing in the machine and hang it out, empty the dishwasher. Can't cook much as can't stand for long enough, can't drive cos of nerve damage to the foot. Can't sit for long or stand/walk for long.
Has good and bad days. Currently has terrible dry eye and can see/read/watch TV much.
Can't move in with Pil, they live in a little flat. They are 80 and 81, would kill them for us to move away with Dcs but Dh would do it if I asked him to.

TooImmatureMincePies Sat 15-Dec-12 14:57:15

You're not going mad. Trust in yourself and your DH - he sounds like he's trying hard in a very difficult situation. You aren't being awful to her. She's being awful to you!

HoleyGhost Sat 15-Dec-12 15:00:52

When I get paralysed by guilt and anxiety, I imagine my DD in my position, and think what advice I would give her.

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 15:22:46

It's just that Olgaga wrote that I was living off her and taking the piss, sometimes I wonder if i am being unfair on her.

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 15:24:58

argh, baby awake...have to go. Thanks for listening. Will try to get back on later.

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Sat 15-Dec-12 15:30:03

I don't know what to suggest, but I really hope you find a way through it all soon.

I am frequently 'piggy in the middle' between my mum and DH, albeit different circumstances, and I know only too well how horrible and exhausting it can be.

FWIW I would have a good look into your options re moving back to the UK, as although you are reluctant, it does seem that if this is financially viable it could be a better option in lots of ways - separate living, more support for your mum, better job prospects.

Another thing to consider - you are the main breadwinner now, but with your mum's health as it is, what will happen if it worsens and she needs care? Your DH doing it would presumably be a non-starter, which would mean you'd have to pay someone (I'm assuming there's no welfare state where you are) on your single wage or give up work to care for her.

We might all moan about the NHS but the UK definitely has its advantages on that score.

Karoleann Sat 15-Dec-12 15:30:32

I think my DH would divorce me if I moved in with my mother.
Just come back to the UK, rent something, our economy is picking up and there's more jobs. Move to a cheap area of the UK.

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Sat 15-Dec-12 15:31:43

I have to say your brother sounds as much use as a chocolate teapot - shame you can't pack her off to him for a few weeks and see if it helps him come up with some constructive suggestions!

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Sat 15-Dec-12 15:32:42

I think my DH would divorce me if I moved in with my mother.

I know mine would (but then so would I if the situation was reversed!)

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 15:45:19

I remember when my brother was here a while ago and she was giving me a hard time about something and he told her to get her beak out, that it wasn't her place. Can't remember what it was about. DH says she's manipulating me and blackmailing me, and that the whole household spins around her moods...if she's in a good mood all is well, if she's in a bad mood then all hell breaks loose.

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Sat 15-Dec-12 15:47:37

Well at least he stands up for you when he's there. Could he help with researching a possible move back to the UK?

stifnstav Sat 15-Dec-12 16:15:33

This might sound childish but if she turns it into a "taking sides" situation when you say you don't want to talk about things, have you tried responding with "Well if he ignored DS's request for a yoghurt I have no option but to divorce him immediately and return to the UK".

Sort of not engaging but also highlighting the pettiness at the same time.

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 16:57:35

She's on rightmove now. in answer to pp she has a brother in n america and has't spoken to her sister in years after a row. i think she'd do that to me too sad

susanann Sat 15-Dec-12 17:17:27

Get away from her sweetheart shes sucking the life out of you and your family.
Put your marriage and sanity before her, its the only way. She is poison, sorry to be blunt but its true. Your DH will only take so much and who could blame him for . ? Surely your husband and children should come first. You have bent over backwards to accomodate her. ENOUGH !

susanann Sat 15-Dec-12 17:18:03

If shes on rightmove call her bluff?

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 17:33:15

She said if she sells this house she could buy me a "horrible little house" but there would be nothing for her. I said I didn't want her money, if she wanted to sell then it was her money and any purchase would be for her. Then a bit later she said I wouldn't get housing anyway or it might only be b and b. I said I didn't know and now She's gone back to bed with "a migraine from worrying about it all"

susanann Sat 15-Dec-12 17:34:05

emotional blackmail again!!!!!

slambang Sat 15-Dec-12 17:35:40

God it sounds awful but reading between the lines you're trying very hard to placate your dm and perhaps in the process undermining your dh? Imagine living with a MIL who constantly bitched and criticised you. You would expect 100% support from your dh. He must feel fairly pissed off with the whole thing. What does he want to happen next?

Have you tried sitting down with both dh and dm and openly explaining that for you, the current situation is not working because you are being expected to take sides. Explain very clearly in short sentences that you trust your dh. That you do not want to hear criticisms of his parenting style and that you will no longer listen to any reports about so-called bad parenting. Explain too that if your dm wants to move back to the Uk you will do everything to support her that you can. But that if she wants to stay then she has to accept that things will not always be done her way.

Then the hard part - you will have to stick rigidly to the rules. If dm starts grumbling just repeat calmly I won't listen to complaints ' Repeat ad nauseam. If she sulks -ignore. If she tells you you don't care about your children repeat mantra. Do not rise to any stories about dh's slack-dadness. Repeat mantra. Accept that when he is with the dcs he makes the rules and if that involves too much time on the computer that is his choice.

Wishing you the best.

susanann Sat 15-Dec-12 17:37:58

good msg slambang!

DontmindifIdo Sat 15-Dec-12 17:55:26

I think you do need to sit down with your DH and ask him if he would like to move back to the UK, look for work and try to build a life without living with your mother. I bet he'd bite your hand off. You feel paralysed because she's taking away your options, if it wasn't for her, of course you'd go where work was.

Can you afford to send your DH back to the UK to look for work then follow him. If your mother can do some light housework and gardening, but not shopping and cooking, you could arrange to get something near her (you'd probably end up in B&B to start with until you can find a place to rent, that doesn't have to be dire though) - arrange food to be delivered (honestly, if you haven't been in the UK for 12 years you probably don't realise how much easier it is to get all your food delivered now) and if close enough to where you are living, arrange to go round with meals cooked that she just needs to pop in the oven (or she could pay someone).

It seems impossible because your mum is controlling your household and you feel like you have to put her first to avoid her being in a bad mood, but you need to see she's not the most important person in your life by a long way. If you didn't live with her any more her mood swings wouldn't matter anymore. Imagine how much better your life would be without them...

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 18:01:52

DH says he'd feel awful about leaving his elderly parents (80 and 81), his dad isn't in great health, he's an only child and the dcs are their only grandchildren (we see them every week) but that he'll go where I want, he wants to be with me above all and he'll support me in whatever I want to do. He never says anything against her but I know he hates all this. I would.
Where in the UK is not awful and deprived and there would be some chance of work, but house prices aren't too awful? I was thinking if she could sell here nd buy, maybe later I could get a mortgage and buy near her.

DontmindifIdo Sat 15-Dec-12 18:03:54

What do you think her budget would be and what sort of work does your DH do?

goonyagoodthing Sat 15-Dec-12 18:07:42

God I can feel the desperation coming from your posts. My Granny lived with my parents (and us as we were younger) and it put a huge strain on my parents, and she was in no way demanding. The fact that you are living in "her" house means theres a big hold over you, whether its ever spoken about or not. I can see this in my own life, and I often think people would be better off living in a shack than someone elses house. Could your brother go over to you and see if you can come up with something between you? If you told him you just can't cope anymore with it all what would he do?

goonyagoodthing Sat 15-Dec-12 18:10:11

And no matter how horrible and depressing this all is, remember the fact that you seem to have an absolutely fabulous, caring, loving husband who wants to stay with you through thick and thin and you WILL work it out x

NettleTea Sat 15-Dec-12 19:04:37

your husband is right, she IS being manipulative and blackmailing.
I think you need to sit down with him and explain that you are scared of her, she makes you feel guilty and terrible and has always been able to do so since a child. Explain that you want to be with him, that you are desperately trying to think of solutions to the problem but everything keeps being thrown back in your face - that she is using every technique in the book to play you, and that you simply dont know what to do.
Level with him that you dont want to live with her, that you acknowledge that she is trying to drive a wedge through you, so that the two of you can take a united stance to deal with this. Maybe see whether HE is willing to be the spokesperson. She has already decided she doesnt like him (probably because she cannot manipulate him, plus she sees you are loyal to him and that is a block against getting you to do what she wants)
She WILL split your marriage up if you allow it. Please please read Toxic Parents, and look at that Daughters of Narcisstic Mothers website. It looks as if noone else will tolerate her behaviour.
Just out of interest, how did she injure her back? Just seems very convenient.
And what happened to the money from your house sale - was that sunk into your business?
TBH I think that moving back to the UK and leaving the life you have built would be very sad. I dont suppose you asked your mum to move out near you, and she doesnt like it, but you do. why should you give up your life to live somewhere which she will inevitably choose? Why pass the control to her.
Is there ANY way you can stay with other family or friends- maybe others in a similar financial situation would house share? I think leaving her is one issue, her return to the UK another, and you can offer to help her with the latter, but the first one is a decision for you and your husband. She has effectively made it impossible to stay. I also think the very act of making a decision to choose, very clearly, your usband and family over her, would be good for you. (though read the pages on narcissistic rage carefully before you do, as you will need to be prepared, though you have seen it already when she stormed off before, or everytime she takes to her bed)

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 19:08:48

I've checked her browsing history on the family computer and the "horrible little house" she would "buy for me" looks to be between 100,000 pounds and 150,000. All I can think is if she would sell here and buy maybe an assisted living place and then we could move near and maybe get a mortgage later once on our feet. The thought of uprooting the dcs and leaving the place I've lived for 12 years and been happy, where my friends are, and above all telling my lovely MIL we're taking her grandchildren away, makes me want to cry it really does. MIL and PIL will be devastated. God, I hate all of this. I wish she'd never ever come. She wanted to live with me then, you know but I put my foot down and said no. If I didn't know better I'd almost think she planned it all.

HollaAtMeSanta Sat 15-Dec-12 19:15:05

Is your mum housebound by her condition? If not, try and structure the days a bit more formally so that they aren't getting in each other's way - e.g. agree that your DH will do the afternoons and your mum will do bedtimes, and whoever's not on duty makes an effort to get out of the house. If your mum is housebound, see if she can spend the afternoons resting/reading/watching TV in her room, while DH actively entertains the children or takes them out.

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 19:20:09

Finances are very complex, as is everything else.
My parents divorced very acrimoniously (he was a gambling, sometimes violent alcoholic) when I was mid teens. He then died about 7 years ago, leaving a flat and some debts. My brother and I inherited about 50,000 each. We put that money together and bought a flat on the coast here, with some extra money from my mother. It's in my brother's name.
My mother helped me buy a house here, giving me about the 50,000 I'd invested into the flat in my brother's name. I had a mortgage. I sold the house to move in with her and came out pretty much with my 50,000 intact. My mother then put in her will that I was to inherit her house on her death and my brother has the flat. But the flat is worth less than the house, so the idea was I would give him some of my money and she would save money for him in her lifetime so that on her death he's not left with a flat worth, say 160,000 euros and me sitting in a house worth 220,000.
So, I do actually have money in the bank, but it's always been mentally filed away as not to be touched in case I need to give it to my brother. Does that make any sense?
What I'm thinking now is that if the flat is sold, my brother has his money, she sells this house and buys something in the UK and I use my money, which certainly wouldn't be more than my brother would get for the flat, to do whatever.
that was probably way too much detail.

badtoworse Sat 15-Dec-12 19:31:55

DH has warehouse, delivery type expereince, but only a few years. He's trying to organise a fork lift truck driving course.
I could teach EFL, try to reboot freelance translation or try to get a job in materials development with an EFL publisher, saw one advertised in Cambridge recently.

NettleTea Sat 15-Dec-12 20:17:13

It seems that your mother, by involving her house and a will on her death, has managed to tie up all the money and taken control of it all, irrespective of what you or your brother might want now. That inheritance is yours to do with what you want. Your mum sounds so controlling that I dont think I would hold out on inheritance - she may yet need to sell it to pay for care if she becomes sick. The only money you should be counting on is what you have in the bank. you could upset her and she changes her will. She could meet a toy boy and leave it all to him. She could decide anything, and with her manipulations she is likely to hold it over you, as she has you all thinking that she holds all the cards.
How far away is the flat on the coast. Is it in an ex pat type place? If it is I would wonder whether there are carers around who could come and help her if she went there.
Or could you go and stay there?

HoleyGhost Sat 15-Dec-12 20:27:00

That money in the bank is your freedom. Use it to get out of the trap you are in.

Your family deserves a chance of happiness.

HoleyGhost Sat 15-Dec-12 20:32:51

This reminds me of a recent thread.


Not that you have suggested your mother revels in her health issues, but there is similar controlling behaviour, passive aggression and manipulation.

NettleTea Sat 15-Dec-12 20:33:49

And I suspect that she is going to prove very difficult to pin down as to where she wants to live. You are giving her too much control. I think you really need to stop thinking about going to the UK with her - its going to be same shit, different place if you do

HoleyGhost Sat 15-Dec-12 20:34:07
NettleTea Sat 15-Dec-12 20:34:45

And how did she injur her back? has she had scans, etc?

Phineyj Sat 15-Dec-12 21:57:56

This sounds like an awful situation and your M ('DM' hardly seems appropriate) sounds like the reincarnation of my late GM, who put my mother through a lot of this stuff, although thankfully not in another country. What worked for my mother -- and it did cost -- was getting a live in carer and then being able to disengage from the situation a little (she is an only child but had agreed this with my Dad, who made the whole thing work financially and was also adamant his MIL was not moving in with them).

My DM still had to make regular visits, be moaned at constantly on the phone and be the support for the carer, but at least she knew her mother was eating and being looked after. My GM did end up in a care home eventually but some years later than would otherwise have been the case.

I also have a friend who had to persuade her mother who was about your M's age and suffering Multiple Sclerosis, divorced, very angry and depressed, that she would have to consider some sort of supported living. Once the dust settled her DM did find some company and support at the care home and agreed it was better than how things had been before and their relationship recovered a little.

Where you are living, a helper/live in helper would not cost so much as in the UK with the employment situation being what it is? And could your brother contribute? I'd give your M that as one alternative, the other being that she moves back to assisted living in the UK (where she would be entitled to better health and social care anyway). I don't see why you should have to leave -- she made the decision to join you overseas in the first place.

Alternatively, if it is a big house and you are in a tourist area is there a possibility of renting 'your' part of it as a holiday apartment, bringing in some cash? (I quite see selling houses in Southern Europe must be very difficult at the moment).

Your DH sounds like he is making the best of a very trying situation and I can see why he wouldn't want to leave his own parents given their ages and warm relationship with the DC.

You sound at the end of your rope and your M sounds very, very difficult. I hope you can come up with a plan, with your DB's help. I also agree with posters above that if there is money saved then for goodness' sake come up with a plan with DB to use it in a way that's helpful now if that's possible.

slambang Sat 15-Dec-12 22:07:51

From what you've said you don't want to leave where you are now.
Your dh doesn't want to leave.
Your PILs don't want you to leave.
Your dcs would not benefit from leaving.

Returning to the uk would be extremely difficult. I'm not sure if you'd be eligible for benefits but it wouldn't be clear cut at least. Currently your dh as an EU national coming to live in the UK has to pass a 'right to reside' test meaning they are not eligible to claim income based benefits such as income based JSA. Plus you as a UK citizen would voluntarily be leaving a job so would not be eligible for JSA either. Housing allowance (if you got it) is capped which would mean you would only be able to afford to live in less affluent areas with higher levels of unemployment.

Economic times are tough here. Your dh is considering forklift/warehouse work. Last week I spoke to a warehouse employer who had closed his job vacancy early after receiving over 80 applications for a basic forklift role. There are some TEFL jobs but the great majority are part time and seasonal only. There are a lot fewer students here than there used to be and language schools are struggling (not helped by Dave Cam making student visas a lot harder to get).

Everything you write shouts that you don't want to leave but you are considering it to mollify your mother. Please think very carefully.

botandhothered Sat 15-Dec-12 22:25:33

Op. You have a way out of this and you are choosing to stay? Why? As I said before your mother would easily find someone to provide the care she needs. I am presuming, as she lived alone before, she has a pension. There are people that would jump at the chance to provide her with the care and support she needs for free accomodation.
You could live reasonably close by.
Why are you choosing to put your poor husband through this?? You have enough money to to support your family for quite a few years. Yet you are choosing to make your husband unhappy. You are being very selfish.

olgaga Sat 15-Dec-12 23:04:31

Olgaga wrote that I was living off her and taking the piss, sometimes I wonder if i am being unfair on her

Well I didn't mean it to sound so stark, but it does rather seem to me that the money issues are clouding your judgement. Can't you just take the money you have in the bank and leave the rest to your DM and DB to sort out?

There's no point carrying on like this if you're going to end up hating your DM, despite the financial benefits you have enjoyed through living with her. Let's face it, that's why you still have money in the bank.

Would your husband like to come to the UK and find work? Or go to another part of Spain to find work? Why can't you tell your mum you need to buy yourselves a family home of your own? Let her make her own decisions about her living arrangements - obviously help her to consider her options.

It seems to me you have plenty of choices. The real problem is you're quite happy living with your mum, because it suits you all in terms of finance and convenience. If only she wasn't such a pain in the arse!

It's your choice isn't it. Stay with her and put up with it, or move out and bear the financial burden of housing your family yourselves.

botandhothered Sat 15-Dec-12 23:17:18

Agree with Olgaga. It does seem that you have alot more choices than you initially said. It really is not a hopeless situation. You have options. You can stay in Spain. So can she. Though I am sure once you and you DH and Dcs move to a little place of your own, having put care in place for her, your Mother will realise she has lost all control and move back to the UK.
You just have to put your Dh first, be brave. You are the one who has control. Not her.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 07:06:55

I don't think she could manage here on her own, that's why we moved in in the first place. Last night she said I was driving her to suicide. I think she may just stop speaking to me altogether. She says I hate her, I told her I love her but she has to let DH do the parenting. She says he does nothing, but then if he says, right DS with me then she says you're taking my grandson. She's been on rightmove and says she can't get anything decent for herself even with selling this house, and then how would she manage on her own as she can't drive, shop or cook? I don't have enough to buy and looks like I wouldn't get benefits either.
I mentioned assisted living if she wanted to back and she said I wanted to put her in a home.
I do understand she's miserable but I can't undermine my husband (who is a good dad) about him not doing things to her satisfaction everytime she gets down about her health and living situation.
If I take the money and leave her she can't get food in or cook, she can't clean the house (it's 4 bedrooms). I can't just abandon her.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 07:09:05

If DH were workuing then we would probably have to have someone in for an hour two to put the kids to bed, then at least it wouldn't be DH she'd be complaining about.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 07:11:31

And I am putting up with it, but I can't do what she wants, i.e tell my DH off for things she doesn't like and that one day apparently are fine and the next are not, or try to constantly disentangle things she's up in arms about that never happened cos she misheard, when I'm not even here to know what is going on anyway.

stuffthenonsense Sun 16-Dec-12 07:56:00

Can you use your money to do some internal restructuring of your house so that your mothers area is a totally separate space. With locks. Then she can't keep interfering with your DHs parenting, and your DCs can't just wander in to granny. Then, if she wanted to see the children they could go to visit, and if you needed her to babysit (so DH could spend time job hunting online) she could be invited over with the full knowledge that she would esokecare for that agreed time.

stuffthenonsense Sun 16-Dec-12 07:56:57

Esokecare is meant to say be sole carer

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 16-Dec-12 08:27:04

She absolutely would be fine back in the UK. There's online shopping, meals on wheels , a variety of schemes the disabled can use which will take them places. You're driving her to suicide she says. Stop and think about that one, would you ever in any circumstances say that to one of your children?

Parents often rewrite history and always in their favour. My MIL did the I've raised 4 children on my own with no help - forgot she lived with her parents for the first few years and said she didn't know what should do without them. My Mum was telling me when my brother and I were little she had no time to watch TV and anyway my father hogged it. Reality was he wasn't home till 7. At 6pm every night she sat on arse to watch the News and wouldn't be moved.

I guess she enjoys gardening. Funny how she can do light gardening but not cook. My FIL is 86 and living on his own in Spain. He has paid help to help him with the bits he can't do in his flat he moved into with MIL when she was still alive as they realised the house nd garden would become of much. Everyone ls is settled , just your Mum who is really manipulating you. My mother pulled the well I'll just have to look at going to a Home when she pulled the you're not helping me card when I was trying to get her to see she was capable of doing things ( she now isn't and has carers but this was some way back). I just calmly said 'ok shall we look at some' and she soon changed her tune. Do not engage and do not believe that the only solution is you looking after her. Step back and imagine you were advising a friend in her position.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 16-Dec-12 08:31:12

Please understand this is NOT about you, your behaviour, your H, your situation or your finances, this is about control.

She is intent onthe destruction of your family unit, so that she can keep you where she wants you which is dependant on her and stuck.

If you won the euro millions tomorrow, employed a team of staff and had a house made for he from solid gold bricks, it'd not be enough.

The twisting of you offering a solution of assisted living you apparently 'putting her into a home' is classic, the suicide threat? Absolutely text book Narc.

You HAVE to work with your existing resources, you have to get your family out, AT ALL COSTS. Cos she won't stop until she's crippled the lot of you.

DontmindifIdo Sun 16-Dec-12 08:45:59

As everyone keeps repeating, in the uk she wouldn't need to drive to shop (there are very good online deliveries and if she lives in a town, public transport), there are companies like meals on wheels, if she's disabled, there are carers who will come in to clean/cook. You are letting her tell you something that is perfectly possible is impossible. (plus I find the idea she can garden but not cook surprising)

Stop letting her shut down options. Don't treat that money as anything other than your family escape plan. Talk to your db, sounds like he'd support you.

botandhothered Sun 16-Dec-12 09:38:28

I don't understand, op. Why can you not move out and rent nearby with your money?
Why can you not get someone to live in with her to help her clean? Someone would bite you hand off for a free room in the current climate .
You can take her shopping each week and you can visit with the children, and be nearby if she needs anything.
She says she wants to go back to the UK and that's fine, but it will take time to sell the house and put a plan together with regards to care and assistance she needs.
Please explain why that would not work.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 16-Dec-12 09:47:43

your mother is young, she could be making your lives miserable living for another 30 years.

your brother isn't doing what you are doing, so tbh, if he's not prepared to put his hand in his pocket and help you out, either to save your family, or to pull his weight with caring for HIS mother.

your mum could sell up and blow the lot in Vegas if she felt like it, and eventually die penniless, its totally up to her.

the money is another manipulative technique.

this is emotional terrorism, please see this?

you have to take the decision that's right for your family, you have to do what's best for them, and for you.

moajab Sun 16-Dec-12 09:48:33

You need to stop listening when she criticises your DH. It doesn't matter what he does - she will find some way of criticising him. So every time she does it you need to just repeat like a broken record 'I trust DH'
Assisted living doesn't mean a home. My MIL lived in her own flat until the day she died, but there was a warden on site who could help as necessary.
My 95 year old GM still lives on her own. And I bet she's not as mobile or healthy as your mum. (infact if your mum is capable of looking after a toddler then she's definitly not!) But she manages with someone coming in to clean. Her children live nearish (about 30 min drive away) and they do the shopping for her. She can cook things that just need heating (ready meals, soups, meals already made etc.) And they drive her to doctors appointments when necessary.
Your DH sounds liek a saint! But in a way I think him saying he'll back up what ever you want maybe isn't helping. As it just leaves you with no other point of view than your mums. Talk to him and find out what he really wants. I suspect it will be to stay near his family. Then use your money and move. Your mum wont kill herself. You can help her with her sale if she needs it, help with other things if she needs it. But when she starts criticising you can leave and go back to your home.
But while you live there she's not going to change - why would she when she has you exactly where she wants.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 16-Dec-12 09:50:07

sorry, distracted, i meant to say that if your brother's not helping, and you need to use YOUR money to save YOUR family, then get on with it.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 11:13:01

She said this morning she was going to pack a case and go and stay in my uncle's house in the UK until she can get sorted, says I obviously hate her. Is now saying DH is not a bad parent but ignores the DCs at teatime cos he's on the laptop (while they watch tv and she chats to them) and is impatient at bedtime. (He's a very calm, laid back person). she can't see that it's small fry, and it's NONE OF HER BUSINESS and not her place to criticise. Then she says I'm poisoning DH agaist her and that's why she can't stay. I'm doing my level best not to rise to it, which she can't stand.
last night she said I was driving her to a breakdown as I told her i loved her and wanted her to be happy but she had to leave dh to parent how he sees fit or tell him herself if she doesn't like it. I said that was emotional blackmail. Then she said she could never forgive me for saying it was all her fault and that she was emotionally blackmailing me and that I was drivig her to suicide. which isn't emotional blackmail at all, is it?
She won't go anywhere, she's too scared of livig alone.

susanann Sun 16-Dec-12 11:48:09

im sorry I know youre in a very difficult situation but you are allowing it to continue! You cant be a victim if you dont give the other person the power! So take back your power, live your life and let her get on with it. Shes manipulative! If you dont where will it all end? Divorce? You having a breakdown? Both? YOU HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILTY FOR YOUR LIFE. PLease do something to break this cycle.

HoleyGhost Sun 16-Dec-12 11:48:09

You will have to call her bluff or she will get worse. Let her go to your uncle's.

goonyagoodthing Sun 16-Dec-12 11:53:06

I actually came back on here to say that from reading your posts that you are happy living there so shouldn't even consider returning to the UK. But I see some other people have got there before me. Theres loads of suggestions here now about what you can do to improve things. This thread could go round and round in circles for the next 20 years so the big question now it - what are you going to do?

NettleTea Sun 16-Dec-12 12:15:56

so she HAS got somewhere else to go, somewhere where she COULD go - her uncles...
You need to listen to what people are saying to you here.
She is being abusive to you. She is manipulating you and she wont stop until she has you, on your own, fulfilling every one of her demands and being her whipping boy.
If she is as disabled as she makes out she could go to her uncles and be assessed for disability benefits - Im not sure what it is for the over 65s. My MIL has this and it pays for a cleaner to come in and for some other stuff. She does online shopping and has a few meals on wheels type stuff. TBH as a pensioner with a fair income she may have it better than alot of working people.
Trouble is her demands and your conditioning over your lifetime means you are not seeing this straight - she has thrown you into a panic and you are still thinking that you need to put her first, or feeling bad if you are considering your own feelings.
What is happening to the brothers house?
has he offered to help?

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 12:16:35

Will try to write more later. Thanks for ideas. Have told her if she wants to go it's up to her .

DontmindifIdo Sun 16-Dec-12 12:29:19

I'd encourage her to go to your Uncle's. A bit of space might be just the thing you need and you need to see that she won't fall apart without you. She's expecting you to try to talk her out of it. Because if she behaves badly she's got 2 things to threaten you with when you call her on it, that she'll kill herself (she won't, if she really felt that way, she wouldn't say anything, she'd just do it) or she'll go live with your uncle and you'll try to talk her out of it.

Stop playing her games. You need to accept she could probably cope fine without you. You need to realise your DH and your DCs come first. You need to realise that you can put yourself first and it doesn't make you a bad person.

NotDavidTennant Sun 16-Dec-12 12:33:31

I don't understand how your DM is able to will your share of the flat to your DB. It sounds like you are letting her divvy up property that doesn't even belong to her.

AutumnNowBleakMidwinter Sun 16-Dec-12 12:36:31

I truly feel for you. This over inflated sense of duty yiou have, has been instilled into you so deeply that you are probably imagining - aided and abetted by her threats - all the "what if" scenarios, if you leave her on her own. This is precisely why she does it, to feed that guilt, and keep you tied to her. I truly believe, that with a little practical help, she could not only manage on her own, but it would do her the world of good. She isn`t unhappy because of her situation. She is unhappy......full stop.

However, you seem to have accepted that this is your lot. In that case, your only hope of regaining control of your life is to sit down with her, and spell it out loud and clear exactly what YOU will allow, from now on. That you will NOT listen to criticism of your children`s father. If necessary restrict whatever she does for the DC, allowing a small amount of time for her to play with them. Make it quite clear that your husband is in charge where they are concerned. Then - and this is the hard part - swallow your fear of her, because in essence that`s what it is. Stick to what you have said, and ignore her ridiculous threats and rantings, Walk away if necessary. She`ll soon get fed up talking to thin air.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 14:43:52

Yes, I'm too scared to just move out and leave her to it, as if she might top herself or something. I am being very nice and pretending nothing has happened and she's being all tight lipped and mono syllabic.
My uncle (her DB)'s house is in NI. he rents it out to holidaymakers. She's threatened to go there before but then said she couldn't get there (2 short flights) and couldn't manage once there. Also her sister (the one she cut out years before) has a 2nd home on the same street and she always says she'd be terrified of meeting her. They had a relatioship a bit like me and my mum come to think of it, her sister dominating and bullying her and guilt tripping her. Funny how she can't see any of it.
went to see a friend last night who knows us both (but is unfortunately about to go abroad for work) and she thought it was all emotional blackmail and guilt tripping. i told her exactly what both DH and Dm have said in case maybe it's me and he IS a lazy bastard but she knows them both and although a bit shocked about the suicide threats, wasn't surprirsed. V surprised DM was saying DH was "sergeant-majory" with DCs at bedtime, as would anyone else be that knows him.
I'm trying to get my courage up to stay firm and let her play it out herself, keep wanting to go and try and make peace with her, but I can't say she's right all along and give her what she wants. Maybe at some point I'll manage to get something concrete done, and I know I'm driving you all mad, but when I started this thread I thought you'd all come on and tell me I was being awful to my poor mother and my DH was a lazt twat. I'm still getting my head round the idea I can stand up to her and not give in and grovel and that I don't have to apologise for not wanting to str it all up and discuss it...that's what kicked it off, I said I didn't want to talk about it and she should tell him if she wasn't happy with what he was doing.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 14:46:31

trying to get some things done, like get more of a handle on rents here and try and cut outgoings (worked out how to reduce phone/internet deal by 30€ a month from February) so that I know where I am if push comes to shove.

NettleTea Sun 16-Dec-12 15:05:23

have you spoken to your DH yet about what to do? Can he take it in hand so that its not YOUR actions/deciosions
My mother is a narc - not a malignant one, but I can see that she could do what yours is doing if her back was up agaisntt the wall. DP listens and supports, but would be willing to step in if I gave the word. after all, its not just you who is involved here - You, he and DC are a unit. If there are renegotiations to be done about changing stuff, then there is no reason why you need to be doing it, especially if she has got an unfair emotional hold over it - he would be able to step in and deal with her without all the emotional baggage.
Letting it blow over wont help either - you are going to constantly be walking on eggshells afraid of when its going to kick off again, and she will simply retreat, gather strength, and prepare for a new assult from a different angle.
Are you sure there is noone who would be willing to live with her, as a carer, but for free accomodation. She obviously doesnt need full time care, but maybe a student, or another family/couple who are starting out. Their own free apartment in return for a bit of shopping/DIY/ cooking. Again, no emotional baggage involved with whoever is doing the caring. much healthier all round, and with a 4 bed she has plenty of room.

NettleTea Sun 16-Dec-12 15:07:21

there are opportunities like that offered in 'The lady' all the time. someone would even be able to work and do it I am sure - you do.

maybe even someone like a postgrad student, a writer, an artist, or someone who works via the internet. I think they are often called 'ladies companions'....

HoleyGhost Sun 16-Dec-12 15:07:26

Change your user name it doesn't have to be badtoworse, when you take responsibility it will get better. Your dc can grow up in a happy home.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 15:20:15

I'm not sure it's fair to ask DH to talk to her, she'll see it as an attack. She's already said this morning she wants to talk to DH; said something like "to make him see what he's done"..not sure what that means. Hasn't actually said anything yet though.
Before we moved in, we were trying to sell my house and had a viewing and I asked if DH would mind taking DS (no DD then) out while I showed the house and he said he'd take him when the people arrived. I didn't really want that, would rather DS was out so no fuss, just as people arrived. DM buts in and creates a whole enormous fucking row, guilt tripped me, said he was selfish and lazy and unhelpful and I can't even remember the details but it ended with both DH and me in tears, her in a rage and he apologised to her (I'm not really sure what for) to put an end to it all. Oh God, I am so stupid to have ever ever agreed to live together.
I'm scared of her, truth be told. Sorry, I'm pathetic, I really am.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 15:21:46

And I've let her browbeat me into dominating me and making me feel like it's my fault or DH's fault she's unhappy and I can't keep doing that, have to break that cycle. <small attempt at strength emoticon>

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 16-Dec-12 15:26:34

Honey, you could get The Pope to tallk to her and it'd make no difference.

It's not about anything other than her control. Please see this, please don't have the fight, just make the decision you need to make, and get yourselves away from her.

This is not your fault, none of it. The only way you can 'win' is to refuse to play.

AutumnNowBleakMidwinter Sun 16-Dec-12 15:36:45

And I've let her browbeat me into dominating me and making me feel like it's my fault or DH's fault she's unhappy and I can't keep doing that, have to break that cycle.

Once you truly accept this, she will start to lose her power over you. She is a very cruel, deeply scarred, unhappy woman, and actually cares nothing for yours or your childrens happiness. You have a husband who loves you enough to leave his own elderly parents to make things better for you. What does that tell you about the difference between him and your mother? Please don`t let her destroy you and your family.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 19:04:34

Putting myself first does not make me a bad person
I will not listen to criticism of my children's father
Repeats to self.
This thread has opened my eyes, I really thought you'd all say I was a lazy cow, married to a feckless arse and my poor mother was right about the pair of us. I am studiously refusing to engage and so far today it's been quiet. I'm not ready for a big talk about the future with her yet, still scared..but I'm beginning to see that her life is her own responsibility and I won't burn in the eternal fires of hell if I don't jump when she says. It has been a revelation. I used to read threads like this about people's husbands and wonder how they couldn't see it, but this happens every so often (although with increasing regularity) and is cloaked as about something different each time. I think I've only been able to see it for what it is this time as she's gone for the same issue twice in 3 months.

NettleTea Sun 16-Dec-12 19:29:46


sorry to be bossy

you need to get out

TooImmatureMincePies Sun 16-Dec-12 20:12:48

Side issue, but why isn't your name on the deeds to the house that you and your brother bought together?

Use the money you have in the bank and get out! It's not your brother's money, it's yours. Rent somewhere, as cheap as you can, and then let the dust settle a bit.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 20:21:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 20:21:56

She thinks we should sell DB's flat now (even if at a loss) so he can buy himself a flat.

badtoworse Sun 16-Dec-12 20:23:47

I'm too scared to move out and leave her to it atm. Not sure what I'm scared of, but I am.

Bobyan Sun 16-Dec-12 20:29:08

Sorry to be harsh, but at this rate she'll drive your DH away and your be stuck with her as a single parent living in the same house.
You either grow some balls and use your savings to move out and safeguard your marriage. Or accept the situation and suck up her emotional poison and hope it doesn't damage your DCs too much.
Your choice, albeit a hard one.

NettleTea Sun 16-Dec-12 21:02:37

As I said before, this idea about the money not being yours is ridiculous. The pie in the sky future house is fantasy, and is keeping you caught up with her.
What is the worst that can happen if you move out.
Why did she buy such a huge house when it was only her, when she moved out? Did she 'know' she was going to need you to come and live with her? It's looking increasingly like she didn't want to be on her own and she orchestrated the whole thing. And she never even liked living there in the first place. It's all a big mess.
You don't want to stay living with her, and yet you won't move out. You don't want to leave Spain and yet you are thinking about moving everyone to the uk just to facilitate her, yet there is other family over there.
You don't want to let your husband take her on because she ranted and cried last time. What has happened that you are prepared to sacrifice yourself and your family just to prevent a scene with her. She doesn't care about creating a scene with you. She has created a situation which is beyond awful, your family are unhappy, but you won't do anything about it and just let her walk all over you by sticking your head in the sand and hoping somehow it will go away and be ok. It's gone beyond that point, and it will be horrible and it will be upsetting, and you will feel sick and scared but you must stand up to her, or get your husband to and stick to it, however much she rants, cries and threatens to kill herself.
In fact if she threatens to kill herself I'd consider telling her you will call the police/ambulance because she needs professional help. That's what's suggested if you have an abusive partner who does this. It may seem a bit left field, but I'd be considering a call to women's aid - it may not be a partner, but the toxicity and abuse is the same, and they might have some pointers for you

NettleTea Sun 16-Dec-12 21:04:23

And of course she wants you to sell your brothers flat - she wants it gone so you can't suggest she lives there, or you go there, and she wants the money tied up so that you can't access it to get away. Classic control

AlmostAChristmasHipster Sun 16-Dec-12 21:07:51

I'm a very bitter and twisted, twice divorced and still-smarting person with not a very high regard for most men I've ever met BUT your poor, darling husband is a veritable saint!

I simply cannot imagine how awful this situation is for him and bless him, he loves you enough to put you first every time. Have you any idea how lucky you are? Most men would tell her to fuck off and pack a bag.

I honesty completely understand the difficulties with your mother. I really do. You have to stop making excuses for her and yourself. This is a deeply unhealthy environment for your children - rent a house for yourself and your family and move out ASAP before your children start displaying signs of anxiety and depression.

If you have money in the bank then stop faffing around and get yourself out. Either your mother makes a miraculous recovery and starts looking after herself or you get her into a more successful care programme. Don't even think of coming back to the UK if everybody else is happy where you are.

Sorry to be blunt but you need a kick up the arse, girl, before your lovely man fecks off and you're left to rot in your mother's poisonous grip.

HoleyGhost Sun 16-Dec-12 21:14:29

If you are worried that she might follow through on a threat to kill herself - you should get her psychiatric help.

A friend of mine in the UK recently had her mother committed when she made such threats. Her mother got the help she needed and is now happy and able to cope.

It is either a genuine cry for help or manipulation. If the former she needs to be protected from herself. If the latter, you should cut all contact. It would be evil ti use such a threat for control.

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 06:18:05

You're right... it's going to me ill at the very least. Don't get annoyed with me...I'm taking it all in. Just all hurts to hear.

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 17-Dec-12 07:20:52

Love, we're not going to get annoyed with you, if anything it's exasperation at your situation.

You are in an abusive relationship, and some of us know how hard it is to come to that realisation, and how it is to do something about it.

Most DV victims are alone, isolated and unsupported, you have your DH and you have us.

You can do this. It takes on average 2yrs from point of discovery/realisation for a DV victim to extricate themself, but with support, with help from your H, you can do it more quickly.

Yes it might be tough, you'll have to dig deeper than ever before, be focussed and yes, selfish, but that's OK and long overdue, it has to be done, you know what you'll lose if you stay.

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 07:23:31

you're making me cry. But thank you. xx

TooImmatureMincePies Mon 17-Dec-12 08:47:12

Have you had a long talk with your DH about options? I think you should sit down with him and say you're unhappy with the situation and you don't want to live with your mother anymore and start from there. He may have some good ideas - he'll probably move heaven and earth to come up with somewhere else to live! I would, if I were him.

But you are progressing. You've identified that you don't want to live with her - that's great! You know that you don't want to leave Spain - some of the decisions are starting to fall into place.

HappyAsASandboy Mon 17-Dec-12 08:56:44

I don't have any advice about your mother (though I think I have a similar one at home), but I just wanted to say some stuff about your finances.i might have got the wrong end of the stick, but it looks to that when your dad died:

Your brother got:
- a flat in Spain (that might be worth €160k)

You got:
- €50k in money
- the promise of a house when your DM dies (that might be worth €220k)

But in return for the promised house, you have to a) look after your DM for 30 years and b) save all the money you can to compensate your brother for the difference between the two property values.

This is crazy! He has a saleable asset, in his name, that no one can take from him or dictate how it is disposed of. You have a 30 year caring commitment, the promise of an asset one day (that she could still leave to the cats home or need to sell for care home fees) and some money that you're told isn't really yours.

If I have got it right, can you see that your DM has really shafted you with this arrangement? Could you talk to your DB about this, or just cut your losses and take the €50k and do what's best for your family?

AlmostAChristmasHipster Mon 17-Dec-12 09:07:34

Nobody's cross with you, OP. Hissiltoe is right - a lot of us have been in emotionally abusive situations and need an objective view to help us see a way out.

Nothing you do will please your mother. Nothing. So move out and make arrangements for her to see the kids on a regular basis. Take meals to her. Do what you can for her as you would any elderly relative but try to disengage from her emotional blackmail. You can do it.

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 09:52:00

I've just had a look at that stately homes thread and this jumped out at's almost word for word her reaction to me saying I didn't want a fight because I trusted DH to be a good dad and it wasn't her place to criticise;

"How can you do this to me?" Some parents act like martyrs. They'll collapse into tears, wring their hands, and express shock and disbelief at your "cruelty". They will act as if your confrontation has victimized them. They will accuse you of hurting them, or disappointing them. They will complain that they don't need this, they have enough problems. They will tell you that they are not strong enough or healthy enough to take this, that the heartache will kill them. Some of their sadness will, of course, be genuine. It is sad for parents to face their own shortcomings, to realize that they have caused their children significant pain. But their sadness can also be manipulative and controlling. It is their way of using guilt to try to make you back down from the confrontation.
it's scarily exact.
I feel a bit of a fraud reading it as she didn't abuse me as a child. She leant on me too much, especially as I got older, let me be too much of a confidante. I remember once a girl at school's mother killed herself and was found on the school playing field (took sleeping pills) DM made me watch her flush her sleeping pills (that she'd been prescribed) down the loo, because she wanted me to know she'd thought about killing herself but she would never do it and leave me like my friend's mum. I would have been in my early to mid teens. I can sort of see why she did that but it scared the beejesus out of me. Made me feel like a I had a huge burden...she was only not killing herself because of me.

AutumnNowBleakMidwinter Mon 17-Dec-12 10:01:46

We could never get annoyed with you, we all see too clearly how you have been destroyed......almost!!! I feel in your last posts that you are seeing that little light moving closer. The light that says.....I`m not letting her get away with any more. Whatever the end result is regarding where you live - and it will take time to sort it out - PLEASE KEEP THAT THOUGHT IN YOUR HEAD AT ALL TIMES. If you do this, you will have removed the power that she has held for too long. I suspect that as you start to get emotionally stronger, you will question a lot of what you believed/were told by her, regarding other aspects of her life.

Above all, keep your husband and your little ones close to your heart, tell them how much they mean to you every day. They are your future. Only you can make it a good one.

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 10:11:27

I said to DH, it's like the scales are falling from my eyes. I can't believe I couldn't see it. I'm sure some people think I'm sponging off her and I live with her because it's financially expedient to do so, but it's not that. I haven't left because I don't want to abandon her. I would rather live anywhere than go through this every few months but I can't just leave her to sink or least that's what I've always felt and that has seemed so final. She'd never ever forgive me.
None of it makes me angry (yet), I was angry on Thursday/Friday, but the more it goes on the more I just feel so so incredibly sad.

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 10:13:09

And I look at my beautiful children and I think, how can she says she loves me and then be so horrible. I swear, even if DH left me and they both grew up and decided to live in Australia, I'd never chase after them, ever. Nevermind chase them and then guilt trip them about going.

AutumnNowBleakMidwinter Mon 17-Dec-12 10:15:44

I feel a bit of a fraud reading it as she didn't abuse me as a child

Darling, of course she did!!!! Maybe not physically, but in every other way she could. Please don`t cherry pick the "good bits". You have to be brave enough to look at the whole picture, and process it all......and it will hurt, but not as much as losing your family.

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 10:51:19

She's just come down from sulking in her room and set off for the pharmacy with her walking stick cos apparently I said I would go for her, but I never bother (I said I'd go on Friday but this blew up thurs night and I had a meeting Fri all morning and then forgot fri afternoon cos of all this.) Was supposed to go Sat am but forgot again, offered to go to emergency pharmacy sat afternoon, she said it didn't matter, it wasn't urgent. Seems she can walk there perfectly well herself. Says I don't care how she is and that I'm a liar, that I never used to be but I am now. Has stormed off into her room.

TooImmatureMincePies Mon 17-Dec-12 11:39:47

Well, I'm sorry, but if she can walk to the pharmacy she can cook for herself and do a little light housework. She will be fine on her own!

OP, you are a star. You are doing the right thing for you, your DH and your DC. Keep thinking it through -you're doing brilliantly.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Mon 17-Dec-12 13:30:08

OP, your mother sounds very much like mine. The difference is I live several hundred miles away and that isn't going to change, no matter how much she guilt trips me. Whenever I feel guilty about supposedly being the worst daughter in the world, I imagine putting one of my sons in that situation, then I realise just how unreasonable she is.

Saying that I know it is hard. My brother never managed to break away from her, even after she wrecked his marriage and tried to alienate him from his children. Even then, he still succumbed to the pressure she put him under because she played with his emotions and made him feel like a terrible person for daring to have a life of his own.

You really need to bite the bullet and use the money you have to move out. It won't be easy, she'll crank up the manipulation if she sees you trying to get away. But your children shouldn't grow up in this atmosphere. In a few years time she will be pulling their strings too.

And you shouldn't have to move back to the UK. Why should you, your DH, your children and your PIL all suffer because of one spectacularly selfish person? Find a flat of your own then tell her she has a choice: she can stay there and you'll help her with stuff she can't do; or she can go back to the UK and you'll help her find an assisted living flat. And she will cope, plenty of much older and more frail people live alone, both in Spain and the UK.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Mon 17-Dec-12 13:46:26

Hello OP. Reading your posts three things occur to me.

First is that you come over as very passive in the arrangements. You hate the situation you are in and yet feel trapped by it and unable to move. There are a number of options open to you but you have to be proactive and choose to change things. I hope this thread has give you a shake out of the trance you have been in.

Second is you’ve written little as to how this must be hurting your husband. And it must be. If I were forced to live with a toxic MIL who was monitoring my every move and waiting for opportunities to bitch the second my back was turned and I didn’t have 100% support of my other half I’d be desperately hurt and want out big time.

Finally whilst I get that you want to stay in Spain, given that you have low paying work and your husband has no work how would you support yourself if you are somehow able to disentangle yourself from your mother but remain where you are? It has been three months since you started this thread and presumably there has been no real movement on that front? So what is Plan B? I know the UK is not in the best financial state but its not that bad, certainly nothing like the 50% unemployment rate you’ve got locally. I can only really speak for London/SE but whilst things are tough there seem to be plenty of opportunities for couriers/delivery drivers and failing that there is always lots of turnover in chains like Pret and Starbucks – as long as your husband speaks decent English and has a really good attitude I imagine he could find work. You can of course do TEFL in the UK and having experience is a bonus but what did you do pre TEFL teaching? Why not have a look at some areas and research carefully what you could rent (forget buying for now) and what jobs you might be able to do plus what benefits if any you are entitled to. Maybe start some new threads if you think it may help get input. You don’t want to rush into it without thinking but in the UK you could probably both find jobs of some description which is at least an improvement on what you have now.

NettleTea Mon 17-Dec-12 13:54:24

with 50 grand in the bank they may find that their access to benefits is severely limited, as well as any complications to do with having lived abroad.

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 13:58:18

She left. Has driven off, bags packed. Will try to write later, Ds crying for granny and have to go to work.

DontmindifIdo Mon 17-Dec-12 14:08:18

oh wow (thought she couldn't drive, is she safe?).

Don't chase after her and beg her to come back, that is what you are supposed to do.

susanann Mon 17-Dec-12 14:10:10

let her go

AutumnNowBleakMidwinter Mon 17-Dec-12 14:28:05

Uh Uh, she`s cranked it up a notch, having realised that there has been a drastic change in you. THIS is where you really will have to show your mettle. If you back down now, it`s over, she`s won. When she comes back - and she will - please stay calm and tell her that you refuse to go along with these mind games any longer. It is going to be so hard for you, but it really is the only way forward for you and your family. Here, hold my brave.

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 14:38:07

Parked outside work...Won't be online now til later...will come back on here after work. Supposedly She's housebound and can't drive but today managed to storm off to pharmacy then back then off to bank and has now apparently managed to drive 90 mins to the beach.

susanann Mon 17-Dec-12 14:42:46

funny what she can manage when she wants to! catch you later x

NettleTea Mon 17-Dec-12 14:49:14

she's a bloody fraud.
I suspected it from the moment you said she had injured her back - its such an easy thing to fake, and such a fantastic thing to be able to pull in order to incapacitate yourself. Plus its recurring.
Not saying its 100% made up but your previous references to her doing gardening and its all the 'essentials' she cant manage - like cooking/shopping...
bah. she's been playing you for years, crafty, manipulative old witch lady.

she will crank it up. She will probably threaten to sell the house from under you. Or create some story about an awful near miss accident that happened. Or just disappear for long enough for you to hopefully start worrying about her. Or something. She is plotting while she is away. I suggest you and your husband use this time to reinforce your resolve, because she is going to use every trick in the book here and there mustnt be a single chink in your joint armor or she will try to split you. Try to make sure your DH is present whenever she speaks to you, however tricky that might be, or she will try to play you off against each other. Dont believe anything she says, unless it can be verified by a 3rd party.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Mon 17-Dec-12 15:14:51

Another one offering a hand to hold.

I had a feeling she was embellishing her symptoms too. Don't fall for it OP, she's realised her usual tactics aren't working so she's trying something new.

DontmindifIdo Mon 17-Dec-12 15:44:33

Oh, I'd definately use this time she's gone to make your own plans that don't involve living in her house or you not feeling you're allowed to spend the profits from selling your own home to house your family.

She has proved herself capable of looking after herself. You need to take notice of this. Don't believe her when she says she couldn't cope without you, she just doesn't want to, not the same thing.

goonyagoodthing Mon 17-Dec-12 15:58:56

I am so sorry you are going through all this upset. I am hoping that this will be a turning point for you all now and things will get better. When she is not there with you, you might see things a bit clearer. And please know that there is no need to feel bad about all this. There is no doubt at all about the fact that you love her, thats clear. But you need to make a happy life for yourself and your little family x.

2rebecca Mon 17-Dec-12 16:53:05

If she really had gone that would be good. Don't chase her, I'm concerned that you know where she has been which suggests you aren't able to let her go. She's your mother not your 12 year old daughter. if she wants to go let her and don't check up on her, although as it is her house I doubt she will just leave without a fight and it sounds as though she is just having a nice day out.
Stop contacting her.

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 19:25:32

am at work, will try and write more later. This is all so fucking horrible.

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 17-Dec-12 20:44:16

oh, she'll be back, people like this don't give up THAT easily!

B2W, above all, see and understand this: this is a game of chicken.

Don't blink, don't flinch, don't waver. Don't react, and above all else, don't PANIC.

When you remain this calm, it'll freak her out. When she starts to freak, know that you are ahead, and that the cooler you stay, for longer, the closer you are to coming out the other side.

The more she loses it, tells you the stronger you are. Don't back down, don't give in, don't cave.

The strongest point of negotiation is to state the facts, state your intention then say NOTHING.

It will be the scariest thing you ever did, but it WILL grant you freedom in your life. Your H will be happier, your DC.

Understand the path ahead of you, and take it step by step.

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 17-Dec-12 20:46:20

Yes it is fucking horrible, but you didn't do any of this.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Mon 17-Dec-12 22:11:05

Stay strong OP, this is your opportunity to get out

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 23:27:06

I'm back from work. Read all your messages, thank you for all the handholding. I have such a headache. Work was OK, took my mind off it all a little, although my boss (who is also a good friend) sensed something was up and said quietly, "is everything OK?" just before my last class and I burst into tears and mumbled something about a big row with my mum. She went and started the class for me while I washed my face.

To update:
She stormed off to the pharmacy and then came back. I went in to ask if she wanted a cup of tea as I've been trying to be civil and polite but firm about not backing down. Said she wanted to talk to me and basically said that she wasn't the type to kill herself but this was driving her to it. I said there was no need for that but she had to stop saying DH was a bad dad. Denied she'd said that. I said "well, you don't think he's a good dad", and she admitted that no, she didn't but she'd never said shit dad. What's the difference? Said he uses the laptop too much, I said he uses it if DD is napping and you're playing with DS and asks at frequent intervals if all is OK, you say you're quite happy. He uses it sometimes when they're watching tv and you're wittering talking away at them. I said, it's all irrelevant anyway...he's their dad, it's his decision to make. I told her she had to butt out and stop coming btw us. Are you calling me interfering???? Yes. That seemed to send her over the top. Said, "I thought you liked me helping, I thought you liked talking to me about it" I said that doesn't mean you can criticise DH and tell him what to do. Said at one point she does all the childcare???? WTAF?

Said she'd have to leave as I'd shamed her in front of DH, couldn't live with interfering branded across her forehead.
Started storming off, saying she was going to DB's flat on the coast. Said "you were happy enough for me to interfere when you wanted help with a new baby". I got annoyed then and said, "that's it, throw it in my face" cos she does that, helps you then throws it back at you later. Then she said something really martyr like (I can't even remember what) and I said "that's it, play the martyr". She shouted bitch at me and "you're nasty". all this in front of the workman who'd come in to fix the leaky pipe in the kitchen. Not my finest hour.

Said she was going and wanted the car keys. I thought she meant there and then so said I'd take the other car to work and she said, "oh, you want me gone now?", right, I'm leaving before DS is back from school. I went to fill the car up for her and she drove off. I said 3 or 4 times (calmly) that she didn't have to do this, that she just had to get off DH's back...No no, you've said I'm interfering and poison (never said that) I have to go.

DS came home about 30 mins later and wanted to know where she had gone, so I told him for a holiday. He cried and then kept asking, will she be back at teatime, at bedtime? sad DH said DS was ok at bedtime but that he's been very huggy and saying he loves him all afternoon, so I know he senses something's really wrong. Like, he thinks someone else might disappear sad.

Spoke to DB who was really angry with her, but we've agreed he'll not get involved atm. Sent her a text at 3.30 which said I'd rung and not got thru and hoped she'd got there ok and that I loved her. Got one back at 830 saying she'd arrived but couldn't light boiler so not hot water. Sent text msg instructions, she responded, couldn't read msg, doesn't matter. I sent the msg again at 1030 and she sent back doesn't work. doesn't matter. Guilt tripping again.

I would like to point out that she left here with 2 ikea bags full of stuff, and a 6 pack of uht milk, drove 90 mins and apparently carried all that from the underground car park to the flat.

I cannot believe it has come to this.

fosterdream Mon 17-Dec-12 23:31:30

OP I have that toxic parents book, if you want I can send it to you? It really helped my DH and even I read it think it'll help me be better parent too. Not that I could ever be toxic after knowing his "family" just pm me you're address

HoleyGhost Mon 17-Dec-12 23:33:59

Change your username - you can choose for things to get better.

With this repeated suicide threat - if you think it serious, inform the relevant authorities. Get her the psychiatric help she needs.

If you don't want to do that because you think she is just being evil, cut her out of your lives. She will be doing your dc a great deal of harm.

Remember your own post about how you would not do this to your dc?

badtoworse Mon 17-Dec-12 23:49:45

Might ask for this to be moved to OTBT as she knows I use MN and although she has no internet access atm, I don't want to take any chances.

AutumnNowBleakMidwinter Mon 17-Dec-12 23:54:12

Well done, you should be proud of yourself. If nothing else, today has shown you beyond any shadow of a doubt, that she has been lying about her capabilities - or lack of them. Be prepared now for the sob stories about how the drive has "finished " her off, that she can`t get out of bed, can`t make a meal for herself. All you have to do now is stick to your guns, swallow that ever rising guilt that she has bred into you, and refuse to engage in her mind games.......Easy?.....Nah, but it will make yours and your families life so much easier if you do it. Still holding tightly to your hand.

HoleyGhost Mon 17-Dec-12 23:55:38

Why? What difference would it make? You don't need to be scared of her.

Her choices are not your responsibility. You don't need (and will never get) her approval

Aussiebean Tue 18-Dec-12 06:22:41

She is playing you Op. what she expects you to do is beg her to come back. Beg her for forgiveness and grovel. ( it's all a power play. My mother is brilliant at them) (not anymore)

Keep I'm contact with your brother. It is good that he got your side first. Tell each other what she has been saying so you know what is a lie.

Next time she says she has a problem with the your brothers flat, tell her to call him. Its his flat after all.

Dont let her back in. Pack up her stuff and send it to her at your brothers flat.

She has played you your entire life. And you are about to go against 30/40 years or more of intense brainwashing. This will be hard. Lean on your DH, he sounds lovely and enjoy coming home to a peaceful house.

Remember also. She has had 30/40 years of getting her own way, so be prepared for her to up the ante. Just like a toddler being told no for the first time.

Like I said. I have this type of mother and I have little to no sympathy for any mother that does this to her children.

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 18-Dec-12 07:37:45

Bang on aussiebean!

OP, enjoy the peace of today and however long you have, imagine what it'll be like when your family is out of there.

Don't contact her again. Leave her to it. Don't beg, don't react.

That was a dealbreaking row. Don't ever let her back into your lives again. Get out and stay out. She has chosen to make it impossible for you to stay.

In the Economical climate that Spain 'enjoys' at the moment, a job is gold dust. This nonsense could end up costing you your job. You can't allow that to happen. Although you could then come home for a better chance at things?

Get angry, defend your life, you H, your DS , your family.

Oh btw, your son's reaction is disturbing. A confident boy would be more relaxed about her not being home. He's soaking up all the tension in your home, from her, and knew that when she was not there, the atmosphere had changed. He's behaving like the child of an abuse victim.

Perhaps because he IS one.

Google traumatic bonding. A person as abusive as your mother is so terrifying, he's formed a traumatic bond, trying to be closer to her than anyone or anything, so she won't hurt him the way she hurts YOU and his DAD.

Get this woman out of your lives, she's damaging all of you.

goonyagoodthing Tue 18-Dec-12 07:52:18

I am so proud of you OP, and I don't know you from adam! The easiest short term thing might be to break and beg her to come back and things return as they were. But in the long term if you Stay strong, your husband and children will thank you for it, and it will break the cycle of misery you are all living in, you will be happier and your mother will probably be happier as well. I keep checking back here to see if you have updated, and I really am proud of you!

2rebecca Tue 18-Dec-12 08:29:22

I think the days of playing happy extended families are over. Even if she comes back in a few days which i suspect she will you need to think of you your husband and kids being financially independent from her and having your own home. Your current lifestyle doesn't sound sustainable. your mum can live in a small flat or sheltered accommodation independantly quite easily, if you didn't exist she would be managing, people in their 90s manage to live independantly, with social services help if need be. It sounds as though she needs to go back to the UK to develop a social network, you should have let her go years ago. Your husband probably does need to sort out a job.
Things do seem to be progressing though even though it is traumatic at the moment. Your mum is starting to see that you can't continue to live together and she needs to start taking responsibility for her own life and happiness and behave like your mum not your granny.

RabidCarrot Tue 18-Dec-12 08:47:42

Leave her house and let her get on with it, your DH can manage child care

Herrena Tue 18-Dec-12 09:27:30

Delurking to say that you need to stay strong OP! So much of your last long post really resonated with me - I have a 'D'M who was a nightmare to live with and I was glad to escape her. The pathetic attempts we make to try and make mummy happy - staying polite, taking her a cup of tea, asking her how she is and receiving monosyllabic answers, grumpiness and eventually ridiculous trumped-up inaccurate outbursts in return - I've been there.

Have to say that your M sounds far worse than mine though - she is trying to destroy your marriage whether she consciously knows it or not. Stand firm, LET HER LEAVE and under no circumstances let yourself get back into the same situation (all living under the same roof). Move out of her house if you can because then she won't be able to claim you are taking advantage of her and you won't 'owe' her any gratitude at all.

I know the horrible feeling that you're being bad and that you should be making mummy happy and that you are a bad person. It is not factually correct - she is making you feel that way. And I am deliberately using the childish word mummy because she's using the control that was laid down when you were tiny. You do NOT have to try and improve her life for her. She is an adult and can do it herself. Would you treat your son this way? Of course not.

Stand firm - you can do this!

badtoworse Tue 18-Dec-12 12:04:14

Finally went to bed at about 130 and slept, think I was just wiped out. DS normally sleeps til 7am but didn't wake til 745, quite unusual for him. He didn't ask after her though, so that's good.

Been at DD's nursery xmas pageant this morning and had a long long talk with my friend who knows us both. Said she thought my mum had gone a bit mad but that she's gone too far this time. I can't decide whether she's totally manipulative, childish and controlling or actually maybe going a bit mad. Depression, lashing out...I've wondered about the beginnings of dementia. friend says on balance she thinks she knows what's she doing/is in her right mind...just won't back down.

It's weird being in the house, every sound I'm jumping in case it's her returning, although I expect she'll stay away over xmas to punish me.

Do you know what saddens me, apart from all the other shit? She kept going on about how DS is her only pleasure in life and she loves him so much. She hasn't even asked after him. sad One of my worries is that she would turn on him he becomes less of a darling little 4.5 yr old..I can just her it, "you're just like your father". She used to say that to my brother. Argh the more I think about it all, the worse it is.

There's a estate agents in the village, I'll try to get there tmrw to see what there is to rent.

I feel so awful for what I've made DH put up with over the last few years I really do. I have apologised to him. Been putting her first in everything for too long, and that's not right.

In answer to the back thing; she has had ankylsying spondulitis I think it's called for about 15 years, but managed OK. About 3 years ago she thought she'd pulled a muscle but it got worse and worse (while still living alone) and she ended up in a and E and it turned out to be a hernia of a disk in the lower back. She was bedridden at first, so came to my house on leaving A and E. She lived there for a while and I'm not sure how but it was decided we'd move in and look after her. I'm not sure why she didn't stay with me until she stabilised (which she did) and then move into her own house with help or go back to the UK. Spain moves very slow for backs and it took about 3 months to see a specialist who said surgery, but there was a waiting list. Eventually she was operated on about 18 mths later. By this stage she was not too bad and should probably not had the op, but it became a kind of obsession for her. She had some stenosis of the spine and it seemed they touched a nerve, so she's had pins and needles/numbness in one foot since. She had some physio after the op (but not til 2 months later). it helped. She seems to have forgotten that I looked after her, helped her wash and dress after the op and then took her to physio EVERY DAY FOR SIX WEEKS and I was at the time, pregnant with DD (and had hyperemesis).

I look back at myself and can't even understand how I got into this mess? Why did I do things the way I did, what was I thinking. I just walked my family, trance like into this and I don't really know why.

lizzypuffs Tue 18-Dec-12 12:36:45

Hi just delurking to say you have been so brave and please stay strong. You have not walked trance like into this - remember you have been groomed and conditioned into your thinking for a long time. Its not your fault. At the moment it will be v hard because of this thinking but just remember you have done the right thing -for your own mental health and wellbeing and that of your family for the future. And the benefits will be felt sooner rather thanLlater

AutumnNowBleakMidwinter Tue 18-Dec-12 13:22:09

I feel so awful for what I've made DH put up with over the last few years I really do. I have apologised to him. Been putting her first in everything for too long, and that's not right.

THIS is all you need to keep saying to yourself, and together you will be able to deal with everything.

Take a look at the Arthritis Care Forum, when you have a minute. Read about Ankylosing Spondylitis, and the wonderful people on there who suffer from it - many much older than your mother - who have no one, and cope perfectly well on their own, despite being in constant pain. Then others, who often have several of the 200 forms of crippling arthritis, including children as young as two. Your mother has made a career out of this to suck you in to her life. It`s not good for her, and, as you are realising, it certainly isn`t good for you or your family. Stay strong, I`m still hanging onto you!

badtoworse Tue 18-Dec-12 13:57:01

Thank you, I don't know what I'd have done without MN. Well, I do..I think I'd have doubted myself and caved in again. Not a peep from her today.

badtoworse Tue 18-Dec-12 13:57:22

Have to go to work, will try to check in again later.

solittletime Tue 18-Dec-12 14:32:32

If she sold the house would it be enough to buy a one bed for her in the UK and a two bed flat for your family? It is possible for a family of 4 to live happily in a smaller flat. And invaluable to all your sanity.

Is your Dh family around to help?
For now they need to improve communication with each other, and not put you in the middle.

A simple 'right, i'll do this and this, do you mind doing this'd conversation will go a long way.

I had very similar when I lived abroad and my mum came over to 'help'.

I found my Dh became more and more useless and disempowered as the weeks went by.

He improved once she left.

I feel for you. Sounds exactly like it would be for me if my mum moved in.

solittletime Tue 18-Dec-12 14:41:59

Oops, I obviously missed 10 pages of posts! Ignore, and btw looks like a great outcome.

badtoworse Tue 18-Dec-12 14:47:25

solittletime when I suggested that (and it's her money if she sold the house, not sure why she should use it to house me) she said I was abandoning her and that she would rather kill herself. Now that she has stormed of to my DB's flat an hour and a half away we're a bit beyond a quick, "you do this and I'll do that" conversation. And she doesn't stick to it anyway...gradually does more and more "oh, I don't mind, I like to help, I like to earn my keep" and then WHAM! "I do everything, you treat me like shit, why can't I interfere in every aspect of child rearing and insult my son in law". It's like a game that the rules keep changing for or I've never been told the rules. I can't keep playing it. Sorry I know you're trying to help. x
Will have to go as first class in a few minutes.

badtoworse Tue 18-Dec-12 14:47:49

x posts!

Herrena Tue 18-Dec-12 15:03:57

It is a game you will never win OP - the only way out is to refuse to play. You're probably right in anticipating that one day she will turn on your DS; best not to give her the opportunity IMO.

You sound really sure that she should not be pushing you all around anymore, which is a mega-positive mental step.

Stay strong and don't give in!

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 18-Dec-12 19:16:10

OP, I want you to relax, and take an hour or 2 to concentrate on how it is without her in your business.

If she does stay away till Christmas, it'll give you a chance to see that the FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) will lift.

The mind bending game? All of us have been there, we all know how it feels, you're so dizzy, you feel sick with all the twists and turns. That's part of the abuse. Right there.

Refuse to play, don't rise, stay calm and ride out whatever she tries to use to destroy you all; cos she will. Know this, know that she CAN'T defeat you, and know that you and your family WILL get through this, stronger and closer than you were before.

You're on the right path now, nothing will divert you. We won't let it. smile

TooImmatureMincePies Tue 18-Dec-12 20:06:54

Thank God she's gone, even if it is only temporary. Yy to her somehow being able to carry 2 Ikea bags of stuff and drive for 90 mins.

OP, you are amazing! Stick to your guns and go to that estate agent as soon as possible.

solittletime Tue 18-Dec-12 20:11:25

Sorry about answering before I read through! I hadn't realised there were 10 more pages.

I vaguely remembered you posting a few months ago as I had read it and it sounded so familiar!

Didn't realise it was the same thread!

Aussiebean Tue 18-Dec-12 20:36:56

Hate to say but she is sane. It is just her sense of entitlement out ways any love for you.

We to had the thought that mum was starting to lose her mind. But that was. Before we worked out the mind games and gas lighting. It is all about control. And yes. It is childish.

I notice that that she goes on about you DS but I don't recall her gushing about your DD. this may not apply but my mum thinks very little of girls. Said some horrible things about girls when my niece was born. And she would say some really awful things to me about my skin, hair, weight and clothes that my brothers never got. Something to think about for you. Although may not be the same

badtoworse Tue 18-Dec-12 22:29:11

It is lovely to wake up in the morning and she's not here, that's true. The rest of the time I'm jumping at shadows as I have no idea when she'll be back, so every noise and I'm terrified it's her and it'll kick off or she'll beg for forgiveness and I don't know if I can give it.
Aussie I don't think it's a boy or girl thing, just that DS is 4.5 and DD only 18 mo so she can talk to DS and do stuff with him, so he's more of a little person to fuck up like she fucked me up I am concerned about her turning on DS in the future, especially if he's not a totally angelic teenager (and who is?) I'm worried he'll turn into a disappointment "just like his father" or she'll be guilt tripping him too.
She seems to see DH as competition. She's said before to DB or someone that we, meaning she and I are doing something to do with child rearing like "bad and I have been trying to ignore tantrums" (not a real example), as if she's the other parent. I remember one ages ago, it really stood out and I didn't know what to say and DH says she did it in Sept, when DB was visiting after the last big row.
What do I do about contact? There's been no contact since I texted the boiler istructions. I know you'll all say, keep it up...but it feels so weird. Although I do't know what I would say anyway..seeing as there isn't really anything left to say. I worry a bit about what she might od, but I suppose that's what she wants.
DB says he's going to try and get some counselling in Ireland in the new year as it's all stirring up a lot of emotions for him. He's my little brother, feel for him too.

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 18-Dec-12 22:49:45

Leave her be. Don't call her, or text. She knows where you are.

Abusers like to isolate their victims, she would definitely drive your H away, and anyone else who comes close. They are afraid that they'll be shown up.

Your H will help you, focus on the calmness you feel when you wake up in the morning. That's what normal life is like! Enjoy it, there's a lot more coming your way!

badtoworse Tue 18-Dec-12 22:53:01

Thanks Hissy DH said the same.

Aussiebean Tue 18-Dec-12 23:01:16

I'm glad it's not a boy girl thing. But agree don t contact. This is a power battle that she is used to winning. So will get harder. I think you should pack up a box of stuff and send it to her. No note, no explanation. Keep some of that power.

Or you could start to plan with your DH, so when/if she turns up you tell her (tell her not ask her) that you are moving out.

Keep talking to your brother. Mine have been great as We lean on each other for support. We are all on different stages of dealing with mother and it takes a long time. One brother detached years ago, even before we realised what she was doing. I am in the anger stage and have very little to do with her. And my eldest sees what she is doing but is struggling to detach from her. So we talk and support and keep moving forward.

You have just started, the road is hard and long but SO worth it.

Aussiebean Tue 18-Dec-12 23:05:17

Oh and tell to your brother about using the money you have in the bank. So she can't use him against you. 'I have spoken to DB and he is fine with our plans'

Our mother has disinherited us in favour of the 6 grandchildren ( there are only three grandchildren but she has decided that is how many we are having) so she is also trying to control us beyond the grave. We have our own agreement.

Aussiebean Tue 18-Dec-12 23:14:03

Oh. And my mother hates my sisters in law. Will speak about them behind their backs. Spread lies about them and undermine them.

They are competition for her. Have taken her sons away from her. They arent available for when she wants them to do things for her.

Your thread has hit a nerve with me I think. Sorry.

But good luck xxx

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 18-Dec-12 23:14:31

MummyDearest drove herself, and her 2 Ikea bags an hour and a half. I think she can work a boiler, given the instructions.

Sheis only in her 50s, she's more than capable when it suits her.

Carry on sweety, keep on as you are.

badtoworse Tue 18-Dec-12 23:15:43

She has stamina, that's for sure. She used to say to my father (he was a useless alcoholic) that if he kept lying to her, one day she would just stop speaking to him, because there was no point. That day came and sure enough she never uttered another word to him and he died without her ever speakig to him. When she stopped speaking to him they were living in the same house and she didn't manage to get him out of the house for months (years maybe, I can't remember). So, who knows how long she'll keep this up for?

badtoworse Tue 18-Dec-12 23:17:43

She's 68. Yes, you're right. I think she's lit that boiler before. DH said she's probably lying and has lit it and anyway if she hasn't, she's a grown woman and will have to manage. He said she'll soon get fed up of cold showers and sort it out.

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 18-Dec-12 23:23:55

ah, thought 58, but still...

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 18-Dec-12 23:26:56

There'd be someone in the building to help... Don't worry about a thing.

CoolaYuleA Wed 19-Dec-12 00:46:24

I agree that you don't need to worry about her - she is and will be absolutely fine. And you will all be the better for her not being there.

Make your plans and get them rolling and building momentum so if/when (I think when) she does come back they will already be unstoppable.

I do have to say I can sort of see your Mum's point re childcare/DH only a tiny bit! as in your earlier posts you said that your children watch an hour of tv at breafast and 40 mins of tv at teatime. That's a LOT of tv for children their age - tv isn't recommended at all for children under two although I do think the odd 10-20 mins often has it's uses. But an hour and forty minutes a day is excessive according to current guidelines.

You also said that DH had been on his laptop for two hours in the afternoon, and again during the 40 minute teatime.

So the kids watch an 1hr 40 mins of tv a day, and in the afternoons when DH is looking after them he spends 2hrs 40 mins on his laptop - including a mealtime. IMO that is excessive tv and laptop using.

Recommendations also state that meal times should be tv free to allow for family communication and attention to what is actually being eaten to prevent over or under eating. I do find it very odd that rather than sit and engage with his children over a meal he sticks Octonauts on and they eat watching that, whilst he sits on his laptop. I can understand why your DM would sit and chat to DS in that situation - because that particular aspect is not good.

I am sure your DH is a great Dad - but family meal times and not having the tv on during meals is, in our house at least, massively important. My Mum would kick my ass if I stuck my DC in front of the tv to eat whilst I sat on my laptop - and my Mum rarely says anything is lovely. So in this I don't actually think your DM was wrong (just in every other way ever ever ever.)

Aussiebean Wed 19-Dec-12 02:23:36

Unread that differently Cool. I thought she said her husband only went on the computer because her mother was playing with the children.

AutumnNowBleakMidwinter Wed 19-Dec-12 03:48:13

The thing is Cool, that on it`s own regarding TV time, could be broached in a quiet way, like it would be in your house, it could be dealt with quite easily. From what I picked up, however, this woman appears to condone things one day, then they are the work of the devil the next. All designed to confuse the poor dad, who, apparently doesn`t always pick up on everything, as he is not using his first language. For now, I would forget the TV/lLaptop,situation, which is probably nothing as bad as she claims......Hell what is? Get rid of the elephant in the room, THEN they can impose their own rules, agreed jointly, and hopefully peace will reign.

Oh and she`ll be fine with the boiler. I regulary stay in a lovely apartment in Southern Spain. The owner makes sure everything is spot on for me, but once when I was there, the boiler needed re-setting, and I had lovely people from the neighbouring apartments, falling over themselves to help me.

badtoworse Wed 19-Dec-12 08:50:48

I do see what you're saying about the tv, they should probably watch less, but that's NOT what she's complaining about. What she does is sidelines DH and then says he's useless. She has sporadic outbursts when she has a go at him and then complains he's not very chatty (in, what is a foreign language for him to a woman who he knows thinks he's a waste of space...she's said as much more than once). For instance, the row about taking DS out while the people came to view my house. It was MY house that DH and I lived in. She was there as she supposedly couldn't live alone. She said DS should go out as it would be distracting (not sure why really now...he was a toddler at the time, but not badly behaved especially). DH said he'd wait til they arrived as people are often late or simply don't turn up for that kind of thing and where we lived there weren't really any parks, so would have been traipsing round really. She got really annoyed that he wouldn't do what she said (and I'm not sure really why it had to be her and's all this pushing him out again) he wasn't rude but said he wouldn't be told what to do in his own house and she ended up screaming that it might not be her house but she was paying for it (the translation took about 3 months to build up, so I only had part time work so she helped me with the mortgage for 3 months). Ended up with more threats to leave and "finish with you forever" I cracked and ended up crying and DH got upset and told her he was sorry for upsetting her.

id like to make it clear about childcare. She does NOT do childcare.
In the afternoon, I go to work at 3pm and DD goes for a nap. She sleeps for about and hour and a half. DS often goes into DM's living room and sometimes she reads him stories, more often her plays with a dolls house she has in there or plays with toy cars. She lies on the sofa. They chat a bit. DH pops his head in from time to time and asks if they're OK, she always says yes. When this blew up in September I said, fine you think Dh doesn't lok after his own child, enough of this...DH is to play with him while DD naps. She says I'm taking her grandson away from her, taking away her only pleasure in life, punishing her.

Then, after about an hour and a half asleep DD gets up or is woken and 2 or 3 days a week dh takes the two of them off to ds's after school sports. If it's not a sports day they go for a long walk/to a park. They come back and have tea and watch some carefully selected programs in their minority language. The tv with satellite is in her room, so that's where they sit. The programs are in English, so not DH's language. DM likes to do "educational" chat during them..."what's that, is it a squid..would you like a squid for a pet?". What's DH to do? They're watching tv, she's talking to them, is he supposed to chat away in another language on top of that?

Then they go for a bath and bed and DM (at her insistence) sits upstairs and when DS comes out of the bath she helps him with his pjs (he can mostly do them's not toddler wrestling, he's nearly 5) and reads him a story. But apparently DH does that all wrong too because sometimes DS plays up a bit and cries.

badtoworse Wed 19-Dec-12 08:53:04

The children are out in the morning too, from 9ish til 1.30 for DD and 1.50 for DS. DH does the shopping, cooking and the vast majority of the housework.

badtoworse Wed 19-Dec-12 08:57:49

I am struggling with not contacting her, it all seems so final. But I don't know what to say if I were to contact her either.

badtoworse Wed 19-Dec-12 09:01:46

And yes, he's on the laptop because DD is asleep and DS is playing with DM, if he offers to take DS away she says he's punishing her, DS is "no trouble" and she likes their time together. Then suddenly DH "leaves a physically disabled women to look after a child all afternoon with no help". He's been making a papier mache octonauts guppy with DS, over the weekend but said it felt like he should ask DM's permission.
It's like she wants to be the other parent with me and wants DH out of the way.

BelleoftheFall Wed 19-Dec-12 09:03:57

Every time you think about contacting her remind yourself of how she's trying to destroy your husband's confidence one parenting jab at a time. You don't want to be in contact with someone like that.

Don't blink. Keep on going like you are, remember how nice this morning was. She's waiting for you to give in and invite her back and then it'll be back to normal again.

Phineyj Wed 19-Dec-12 09:34:34

Your DH sounds lovely!

Also re the laptop thing...I presume the poor guy is looking for work at least some of the time when he's online. I imagine, like many of her generation, your DM knows little about how one actually finds work these days (or maybe he's on the Spanish equivalent of Dadsnet posting AIBUs trying to keep sane?).

My DH constantly retreats to the laptop when faced with his DPs or mine or horrors both at once - it's like his comfort blanket.

ThreeTomatoes Wed 19-Dec-12 10:30:46

This really isn't about TV or laptop. That's a matter of opinion or taste. You guys watch less TV and spend less time on the laptop than we do here, and so what?

It's really shocking reading about your mum's behaviour, I have no experience of this myself. You have no idea how twisted and screwed up it is! I really do believe the only thing you can do is cut contact or at the very least keep to absolutely minimal contact. Well done for not caving so far!

The link NettleTea posted is great- read this page, it's your mum to a T!

badtoworse Wed 19-Dec-12 11:01:24

Had a read through, she doesn't have all those traits and I'm not sure she has NPD, as I understand it's actually really rare as a personality disorder, but I think she has elements of what might be described as narcissistic traits and she's quite manipulative. There is quite a lot that could have been written about her though and the parts below in speech marks are things she says, word for word, which is quite freaky.

She will deliver slams in a sidelong way - for example she’ll complain about how “no one” loves her, does anything for her, or cares about her, or she’ll complain that “everyone” is so selfish, when you’re the only person in the room. As always, this combines criticism with deniability.

She makes you look crazy. If you try to confront her about something she’s done, she’ll tell you that you have *“a very vivid imagination”+

She didn’t do anything. She has no idea why you’re so irrationally angry with her. You’ve hurt her terribly. She thinks you may need psychotherapy. She loves you very much and would do anything to make you happy, but she just doesn’t know what to do. You keep pushing her away when all she wants to do is help you.

Narcissistic mothers infamously attempt to damage their children’s marriages and interfere in the upbringing of their grandchildren.

She spins what you said rather than makes something up wholesale.

Older narcissistic mothers often use the natural limitations of aging to manipulate dramas, often by neglecting their health or by doing things they know will make them ill. This gives them the opportunity to cash in on the investment they made when they trained you to wait on them as a child. Then they call you (or better still, get the neighbor or the nursing home administrator to call you) demanding your immediate attendance. You are to rush to her side, pat her hand, weep over her pain and listen sympathetically to her unending complaints about how hard and awful it is. (*“Never get old!”*) It’s almost never the case that you can actually do anything useful, and the causes of her disability may have been completely avoidable, but you’ve been put in an extremely difficult position.

Since narcissistic mothers often play the martyr this may take the form of wrenching, self-pitying dramas which she carefully produces, and in which she is the star performer. She sobs and wails that no one loves her and everyone is so selfish, and she doesn’t want to live, she wants to die! She wants to die! She will not seem to care how much the manipulation of their emotions and the self-pity repels other people

She is insanely defensive and is extremely sensitive to any criticism. If you criticize her or defy her she will explode with fury, threaten, storm, rage,

She’s infantile and petty. Narcissistic mothers are often simply childish. If you refuse to let her manipulate you into doing something, she will cry that you don’t love her because if you loved her you would do as she wanted. If you hurt her feelings she will aggressively whine to you that you’ll be sorry when she’s dead that you didn’t treat her better.

Above all, you were always her emotional caregiver which is one reason any defection from that role caused such enormous eruptions of rage

She is never wrong about anything. No matter what she’s done, she won’t ever genuinely apologize for anything. Instead, any time she feels she is being made to apologize she will sulk and pout, issue an insulting apology or negate the apology she has just made with justifications, qualifications or self pity: “I’m sorry you felt that I humiliated you” “I’m sorry if I made you feel bad” “If I did that it was wrong” “I’m sorry, but I there’s nothing I can do about it” “I’m sorry I made you feel clumsy, stupid and disgusting” “I’m sorry but it was just a joke. You’re so over-sensitive” “I’m sorry that my own child feels she has to upset me and make me feel bad.” The last insulting apology is also an example of projection.

As a last resort she goes pathetic. When she’s confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behavior, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. It’s all her fault. She can’t do anything right. She feels so bad. What she doesn’t do: own the responsibility for her bad conduct and make it right. Instead, as always, it’s all about her, and her helpless self-pitying weepiness dumps the responsibility for her consequences AND for her unhappiness about it on you. As so often with narcissists, it is also a manipulative behavior. If you fail to excuse her bad behavior and make her feel better, YOU are the bad person for being cold, heartless and unfeeling when your poor mother feels so awful.


badtoworse Wed 19-Dec-12 12:26:39

She texted about an hour ago, asking if there were any towels (they were all brought back here after the summer, or most of them, to be washed because I didn't have time to wash them all and dry them all before leaving the last time. The next person to go there was supposed to take them). Said I didn't know and asked if she had hot water.
She replied that no, she'd followed my instructions but no gas, it didn't matter as she couldn't step over the bath into the shower (she can when she's here) and she'd just boil a kettle and sponge bath so she could at least change her clothes.
I told her there were towelling robes in the bathroom, said it doesn't have to be like this, I love you.
No response.
She's still playing chicken.

TooImmatureMincePies Wed 19-Dec-12 12:29:56

See, look at her ailments changing! I bet she has hot water. Ignore ignore ignore. Sponge baths never killed anyone even if she hasn't got hot water.

How's your exit strategy going, OP?

Herrena Wed 19-Dec-12 12:46:03

I may be a bit too entrenched in my own baggage here, but I will say this: Please stop trying to make her 'forgive' you by reassuring her of your love and acceptance. You have not done anything wrong.

When you say things like that (regardless of how true they are) then you're just reaffirming the fact that she has got you on a very tight leash. Do you think she doesn't spot that? If you want her to realise that you're not all just going to return to the status quo then you need to break away from the status quo and stop giving her the standard reassurances of love and devotion.

Just don't say anything like that for a while and see what happens. Bet she steps it up a notch and becomes incredibly pathetic-sounding in an attempt to prod you into the 'correct' behaviour.

Herrena Wed 19-Dec-12 12:48:51

Why would she need to respond to your last text? She's got you where she wants you - emotionally hand-wringing.

1charlie1 Wed 19-Dec-12 12:50:44

Have just read your thread. I'm sorry you and your poor DH are having such a bloody awful time!
Please, STOP TEXTING. She knows there are towelling robes in the bathroom. She probably has hot water too. Stop replying to her texts. You are providing her with a forum to keep invoking your guilt (she's without adequate water, she's too debilitated to shower etc). At the moment, you should be avoiding contact (I love that she's had a huge strop and left, but is making sure you're still right there at the end of the phone when she 'needs' you to, um, find her a fricking towel.)
Expend your energies on finding alternative accomodation options, and solidifying plans to extricate your family from this awful situation. Next time she texts, either IGNORE IT, or reply 'I think it's best we leave it at the moment. We both need time to cool down. I'll be in touch at some point.' TAKE BACK YOUR POWER. As things stand, with you texting things like, 'I love you, it doesn't have to be this way', she knows she's holding all the power, as usual, and thus has you right where she wants you. She won't change. You need to be the one to signal 'Things are going to be different around here.'

ThreeTomatoes Wed 19-Dec-12 13:01:28

If I were you i wouldn't be replying at all, she's drawing you in by these poor-me texts (that, as others say, are probably not true). Why on earth do you feel you have to keep telling her you love her, too? There's no context here for that.

badtoworse Wed 19-Dec-12 13:03:31

You re all so right. It's so hard to break the habits of a lifetime. <mans up> Will write exactly that 1charlie1. Have found out some info on flats in the village, looks like we could get somewhere for btw 400-500 euros. I earn 1100 euros after tax and have savings.

NettleTea Wed 19-Dec-12 13:06:43

Not everyone has every trait of narciisim, and its hard to get a diagnosis simply because narcissists dont think they are wrong, so very very few would ever go to therapy.
And there is a sliding scale - my mother, for instance, can be lovely alot of the time. She wouldnt see herself as nasty at all. She helps out (if it doesnt inconvenience her) and she will say stuff which would have you questioning her narcissism. But she is, and it only shows when she hasnt got the attention she thinks she should have, is contradicted or criticised, someone answers back, she loses control of stuff or the upper hand, or her plans for what she wants to achieve are twarted. And then she reacts in a typical narcissistic style, probably without concious thought - its like her natural defence for being mentally backed into a corner - she comes out fighting in pure narcissistic style. But alot of it is the dynamics within the family, the way she parented, and the way her children feel as a result of her behaviour as a mother.
So, just because you dont recognise all the traits doesnt mean she isnt a narcissist. You highlighted a pretty big chunk of it. If it looks like a shark, smells like a shark and behaves like a shark, apart from the fact that it has a pretty hat on, its probably a pretty good bet that its still a shark disguising itself with a hat.
Try not to get too involved in these text exchanges. dont ask any questions. dont tell her you love her (its like you are desperate for her to tell you the same in return, it makes you look weak) dont expect replies. Dont reply straight away - it makes you look as if you are waiting for her texts.

1charlie1 Wed 19-Dec-12 13:10:14

I agree with ThreeTomatoes. Why are you sending 'I love you' texts? When I argue with my mum, or DH, I don't pepper it with lots of 'I love yous'. It's just not appropriate, unless it's in the context of APOLOGISING because I am in the wrong. Is this how you feel? That actually, you are in the wrong?

It's not how I see it, or how other posters on this thread see it. She is screwing with your marriage, and continually belittling your DH, OP. Among myriad other manipulations. You need to get a bit angrier.

2rebecca Wed 19-Dec-12 13:10:55

I'm glad my dad rarely texts and phones me if he wants something. I'd stop putting emotional endings onto any texts. As its your brother's flat I'm not sure why she's texting you about it anyway. Remeber she is your mother not your daughter and stop fussing over her. You need to let her try to be more independant. She can always call a plumber, that's what people do when their hot water doesn't work.

1charlie1 Wed 19-Dec-12 13:15:13

You are right, OP. It IS hard to change behaviours to which we've been conditioned. But you CAN do it! Brilliant that you've found some affordable accommodation!

ThreeTomatoes Wed 19-Dec-12 13:26:17

Yeah, re anger. I wouldn't be telling someone who had behaved the way your mum has, and made me angry, that I love them, until perhaps everything had been patched up, full apologies given and all that! Makes no sense. I tell people I love them when I actually feel that way about them. And actually my "I love you"s are mostly confined to dd and DP - and i have the most wonderful mother in the world. We're best of friends, there just never seems to be any need to say 'I love you'. Messages in cards say as much, but that's about it.

Your texts will be coming across as though you feel bad about the fact that she's had to leave and that you want her to come back "It doesn't have to be like this" - when you should be relieved (you do want her out, don't you? Have you ever actually told her that?) and using the time to get out so that even if she does come back you won't be there to enter back into the same cycle as before.

Herrena Wed 19-Dec-12 13:39:16

Well done on finding affordable accommodation - sounds like the start of a plan!

Good on you. DO NOT TEXT HER (apologies for shouting the last bit but I'm feeling emphatic about this) wink

badtoworse Wed 19-Dec-12 13:56:10

Ok, thank you...I need these vrtual kicks up the backside. I find it so so so hard to break out of the role of child and to stop trying to please her at all costs. Will not text. Will not text. Will not text. she's still controllig it all from afar.

goonyagoodthing Wed 19-Dec-12 13:56:19

I think if you rent the accommodation you have found, everyone will be happier, including you mother. You are too much in each others company, and a bit of distance will hopefully improve things. Absence makes the heart grow stronger and that sort of thing. Good on you for having the strength to do this, you probably feel a bit in limbo now and unsure of what to do or what will happen, but you have come too far now to allow it to go back to what it was before.

goonyagoodthing Wed 19-Dec-12 13:56:45

*Grow fonder I mean, duh

badtoworse Wed 19-Dec-12 13:56:58

Off to work, will be back around 11pm my time. Will check in then. thank god for MN.

DontmindifIdo Wed 19-Dec-12 18:32:25

Don't text her. If she contacts you, answer any questions she has but do not ask her anything - don't ask her if she's got hotwater, assume she's sorted it, don't ask if she found the dressing gowns, don't ask if she's ok. Dont keep telling her you love her and "it doesn't have to be this way" - she knows it doesn't have to be that way, she's chosing it, you don't have to remind her it's her choice, she knows it, it just gives her an opening to say that in her opinion it has to be this way (so that she can punish you).

Just back off a little - it's probably good for your family that she's there, best she stays there.

Those flats sound like a good budget for you.

AutumnCameUponTheMidnightClear Wed 19-Dec-12 19:22:26

Like the others, I`m a bit worried that you are sending the wrong signals. She is punishing you, and the text was her checking whether or not you are getting back to how she wants you to be. She is biding her time, judging how you seem to be reacting. You saying "I love you and it doesn`t have to be like this" will be read by her as you starting to crack, and feeling guilty. PLEASE, having come this far, don`t give up now.

Make arrangements to take one of the flats, and present her with a fait accompli. Be ready though for her biggest meltdown yet, once she realises that you are breaking free. I suspect you`ve seen nothing yet, but if you want a life for you and your family, it has to be gone through. I truly feel for you. You are such a lovely person, and lovely people are always the ones to get hurt, but you have to do this, for your own sanity, and for your lovely family.

badtoworse Thu 20-Dec-12 07:00:45

Going to have a long chat with my brother again today. He says he's worried she'll come back and then lash out, maybe even violently. I don't think she'll do that, although I do agree with him that we're well into unchartered territory now. I still am just totally open mouthed that she went like that and is still down there, sulking like a little kid. She's never once asked after the children either, so much for all her concern for DS. I still think (and hope to be honest) that she'll stay there all over Christmas. I don't see that she'll miss the opportunity to play the martyr "you abandoned your poor, invalid mother over Christmas with no hot water or towels".
Still trying to keep my head above water at work..had the staff xmas meal last night so I feel knackered and a bit queasy today.
A lot of the bills in this house are in my name (stooopid emoticon) so, need to have a think about things. Need her to come back and have a sensible discussion about how to proceed but don't see that happening either.
But you are all so wonderful and my lifeline (along with DH and DB), thank you and I have stiffened myn resolve. No more contact. DS seems to have stopped asking about her for the time being.

HisstletoeAndWhine Thu 20-Dec-12 07:25:44

Bills can be transferred, especially if you are the name on the bill.

I was worried your DB wouldn't get it, but he's totally on board, sounds more traumatised than you by all of this. Perhaps he came to the realisation that she was toxic before you, but couldn't say anything.

There's a fairly relevant discussion going on atm on the stately homes thread if you're interested.

I really think you need to go and see the other rental places, just so that you can put things into motion. There is no way back, you are all feeling better in only a few days, this is exactly what a DV victim feels when her abuser leaves.

Yes things might get crazy, but that'll be HER crazy, not yours.

Aussiebean Thu 20-Dec-12 07:33:53

Well done op. this is hard and quite a few people here know what you are going through. They also know that it is ok that you are doing it. You are not being mean, not being horrible and you are not being ungrateful. You are protecting your marriage and your children.

Ring up the companies and enquire about changing the names.

I would also start planning your Christmas. The way you want to spend it. Introduce new traditions and enjoy your family. She can only join you if she promises to behave. Although don't be surprised if she stays away and blames you.

NettleTea Thu 20-Dec-12 08:28:19

well done. I am glad your brother agrees, that will make life alot easier. I too recommend taking a look at the Stately Home thread. Christmas is throwing up alot of stuff on there at the moment!

badtoworse Thu 20-Dec-12 08:53:22

I think she'll stay away over Christmas. It's a brilliant opportunity to beat me forever with "you threw me out at Christmas". Yeah, right. DB's thinking is she will come back as she'll know he will ring and her own DB (my uncle) will probably ring and she'll want to pretend all is hunky dory. DB reckons the fact he's heard nothing from her means it's basically a giant tantrum, that she's thinking it'll all go back to normal, she just has to wait for me to back down.

badtoworse Thu 20-Dec-12 08:54:45

She's supposed to have a hospital appointment today for a follow up with her surgeon, that she's waited over a year for. Obviously won't be going to that.

DontmindifIdo Thu 20-Dec-12 09:25:49

Get on with your own plans, so when she does decided to flounce back you can say "oh, by the way, we're moving out on the Xth January. Think it's best for everyone you have your own house back."

She can only beat you forever with "throwing her out" if you let her, the answer is "do'nt be stupid, it's your house, you ran away in a tantrum, I just didn't beg you to come back like you expected." Call her on her behaviour, don't worry about not upsetting her, tell her the truth about her behaviour.

Most of all, move out.

DontmindifIdo Thu 20-Dec-12 09:26:43

oh and don't worry about her hosptial appointment, she's expecting you to be stressed about it, as if it's your responsibility to fix it. Do'nt call to cancel, don't do anything about it. She's capable of sorting her own life out.