Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
I need to talk about my Mother.(32 Posts)
When I was ittle she was abusive,
I never realised it at the time but she was very abusive.
I opened up about it on mumsnet some years ago and it helped me see how awful it really was and of course having children of my own has cemented that.
To sum it up, to the outside world she was an amazing mum, she let us have friends over constantly, sleep overs, when we were yound we had money (not rich but comftable) and she would allow us to bring friends on days out places, we would have all the latest toys and gadgets... christmas day would be manic!! Piles and piles of presents for us all!
However behind closed doors it was a very different story.
She was agressive, very aggressive. And had a very short temper. She says now its because my dad never helped out, he was always working ect ...
I don't know if my Dad knew how she was with us, I doubt it.
Anyways she used to snap so easily, we were good kids, always being praised at school but simple things like bickering set her off,
was the eldest so i got it the most, but i know the next down got it too (by the time the 3rd and 4th grew up shed mostly grown out of it)
Screamed in my face whilst spitting out her words (i remember her smelly breath in my face)
Smacked me with a rubber soled slipper
suffocated me (put her hands over my mouth and nose allowing me no air at all .... this occured when i was screaming because she was beating me and she wnted me to stop making the noise)
I'm 99% sure she bit me too.
So fast forwards to now,
she appears to everyone else to be the doting mum and nana.
Thing is she ISN'T violent or agressive much anymore.
she never laid a finger on my youngest sibling but it still gets to me.
Everything i SAY TO HER (THATS POSITIVE) she puts it down.
For instance if i say im doing 'xyz' and excited about it ... she'll say well i did 'xyzz' and it was awful/reallyhurt/wasn't worth it.
Just anything negativebut then says 'but it may be ok for you'
she has awful racist views
and we had a big argument yesterday about poor little April Jones as she said it was all her mums fault!
I said how about blaming the sick person who took her??
and she said that she was flashed at when young and it was her own fault for being there!?!
She does play a big part in our lives still and is helpful,
but she boasts to everyone how much she helps us out,
for example she will take me shopping but make me feel bad by looking at her watch the whole time saying she has to be elsewhere.
All she talks about is herself and her job... going on about all her collegues lives who I don't know and don't care about.
I don't know why I'm writing this down TBH, I suppose shes just been upsetting me lately and I needed to talk about it and the history we have.
Thanks for reading.
My first day f high school I ost my pencil case, I was a very shy child and scared to death of high school anyways,
al morning she beat me up, called me names because I couldn't find my pencil case.
She had me up against the inside of the front door throttling me and spitting vile things in my face,
my sister was screaming, she thought she was going to kill me.
I went to my aunts in tears to borrow a pen,
my mum then drove me to school and stood with the other mum saying how worried she was for me and how lovely i looked in my uniform
sorry for crap typing.
Carrots, you are in good company on MN - there are lots of us around with similar stories. I believe you and I'm so sorry for what you have been through.
'and we had a big argument yesterday about poor little April Jones as she said it was all her mums fault!'
I recognise this - so many times I have disagreed with my mum about stuff in the news or whatever and I felt totally overwhelmed and bullied into agreeing with her, like I just wasn't allowed to have any thoughts or feelings of my own.
It sounds like your mum is a very dominant controlling character. It sounds like she has difficulty seeing past her own needs and has difficulty supporting you with what you need. It's not surprising that you feel upset and unsettled by this.
Do you talk to anyone in real life about your relationship with her? As I say, you will get loads of support here on MN, there are lots of people who will recognise what you say and will give you space to share how you feel.
Having read your second post, Carrots I hope you know that what she did to you was wrong, very seriously wrong. And that the only person to blame for her behaviour is her. I feel so angry with her on your behalf
My husband had a very difficult time with his father, he doesn't see him now, and we talk about our parents often,
Thankfully our combined experiences have enabled us to be bloody good parents (if I do sy so myself) and although I know I inherited her quick temper I have learned to control it and have never directed it at my children, we never smack, not ever.
The pencil case thing affected me deeply Lotta, each time one of my kids has stared primary school its upset me, because they are leaving but also because I cant imagine doing such a thing on such a big and already scary day for them
And thankyou for saying you believe me.
I spend alot of time playing it down in my head but when its written down theres no getting away from it, is there?
Hi Carrots, I have no advice I just didn't want to not reply. That's terrible - not a childhood at all, she sounds completely toxic. My parents behaved badly when we were children (beatings, sulks, shouting etc) and would probably be classed as abusive- but nothing as concerted or nasty as your mother. I would suggest counselling for you, possibly confronting her and distancing yourself if her behaviour continues. From reading on here it seems that family dynamics where one child bears the brunt of abuse is not uncommon.
Carrots, you and your DH should be so incredibly proud that you are parenting your children in a healthy and positive way, after all you have both been through. You have broken the cycle of abuse and that is incredibly difficult.
Just writing down these memories and feelings is incredibly painful but can be really healing, so long as you feel like you really want to do it. As for playing it down, when you grow up with a controlling and dominating parent, you grow up trained to neglect yourself, ignore your own feelings and minimise your own experiences. So it's a natural reaction to think about what happened to you and and to have moments of 'maybe it wasn't that bad'. I do this myself sometimes. Next time you find yourself playing it down, ask yourself how you would feel if a close friend told you that their mother had done those things to them, that will put things back in perspective for you.
Have you considered counselling at all? I have been seeing a psychotherapist for the last 2 years and it's helping more than I can say, while also being incredibly painful. I feel that I'm slowly coming to terms with my childhood and avoiding it messing up my current relationships with other people.
Minus the violence (which is completely and utterly inexcusable in any circs IMO) the things you have said about her when you are younger, could be describing me as a mother some of the time. I like to go the extra mile for my kids, let them have friends here, work hard on helping them have a social life and explore all their hobbies, put a lot of my time and energy into making their life fun. I have had kids say they'd like me as their mum.
But... and it's a big but, I know I can be verbally harsh and overly critical with my gorgeous DD. I was an only child and I struggle hugely with the bickering between my dc. I need silence and calm a lot as I am used to my own company and the flare ups usually occur when I am tired and stressed about things other than the kids themselves.
my mother was terribly restrictive when I was younger, often due to her relationship with her DP. I rarely had friends around, was always made to feel like a pita if i asked for something, had to be fastidiously tidy round the house or else. never physical violence, but certainly a degree of emotional violence.
Her mother was a complete bitch, verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. My poor mum didn't really stand a chance, her dad knew and did nothing to protect her and her siblings were much less picked on.
I'm ot trying to excuse your Mum. As an adult I believe we are all capable of looking at the mistakes we made and redressing the balance or saying sorry. I do this a lot with my DD, but I bet that as a teenager she'll post something similar to you. I know i make the mistakes, I try with ever inch of my being not to, but I don't always manage. I try most tp do the things for DD that my DM never did for me...say sorry and explain it's not her, but my fault, when I have been too ott in my telling her off, have our house as an open house for her and her mates, let her have a sense of freedom and choice.
Not sure where I am going with this, but I can see that, although she perhaps falls short of what I wanted and needed as a mum, mine probably did the best she could, and was fighting her own Deamons. Perhaps she had to fight herself not to use physical violence in the same way I have to not to use sarcasm with my DD? Perhaps because she was never shown the love every child deserves she didn't know how to love me? Is it possible this could have been the same for your Mum? It's DH that has taught me what unconditional love is, and helps me to work hard at changing my own behaviour. He helped me have the courage to say to her 'You know what, you tried hard but you exposed me to too much and it really crushed me as a child.' she has never ever really been able to respond in the way I'd have liked, but she did admit that she could see NOW how I might have felt then (though she denies knowing at the time, hmm). But at least I know she knows iyswim, that she can't pretend any more... and somehow that's been enough for me to move on and have some sort of relationship with her. Is that something you feel you could do???
Sorry I know how garbled this has been, but I mean to convey that although she is and has been wrong, she is also human, and I do feel that on the web it is all too easy to say 'she's a cow, cut ties' when the reality is very different for most people. and also that despite having what I consider a great deal more self awareness than her at the same age I STILL manage to cock it up sometimes. That parenthood is hard, we are never perfect and we work with the tools we have, unless we can get help to make new ones.
I really hope you are able to talk to her and work something through for yourselves
My response based on first post only, am going to read rest now as I was typing when you were...
Carrots that pencil case thing is awful, as is the violence, and I hope you don't think my post condoned that side of things at all, because as I said that side of things is never acceptable. I'm sorry the child that was you that day. I wish I could give her a hug and explain to her that it's not her fault. X
She definatly was fighting her own demons, I know that.
I have demons of my own but once I had children I took hold of them and a descision not to do to them, what was done to me.
She could have done the same surely?
How could she have loved me if she could do those things to me, I look at my kids and I could never slap them in the face, or prevent them from being able to breath!
I could put them over my legs and slap their bare egs with the sole of a slipper till their egs had raised welts on them.
international, I do agree that its not easy to be a good parent,
like I said I have a really bad temper, but i went to the gp. I'm on medication for depression and anxiety that THANKFULLY (and co-incidentally) has improved my temper alot,
In fact almost all the problems regarding my temper have gone now but even before that it was never directed at my kids.
It wasn't a completely natural thing, I was concious of it, not to snap at them.
I would probably be capable of shouting too much, being too harsh, perhaps even a smack in really bad situations....
but nothing on the level she did,
if did it ONCE i would be devestated and look for help.
She did it time after time after time and never looked to seek help, or tried to stop it seemed.
The answer to your question is I don't know, I think perhaos your mother, like mine, didn't love you, or not in the way we love our children. I often wonder if it was because there was a lot more pressure in those days for kids to behave and therefore for parents to have control. The actions that you describe from your Mum cry out to me as those of someone wanting control at any cost.
I guess the question now is, do you want to continue a relationship with her? And if the answer is yes then I think you need to confront her on the things she did then.
I do love her.
and this may not be the right thing to say but I don't want to hurt her.
Back then she was a strong, nasty creature.
Now shes an older, softer, grandmother.
Shes not the same anymore and I don't know if I want to open those wounds with her.
I have mentioned it in passing.
She has made excuses and looked completely embarressed. But never apologised.
I know, I feel like you do about a lot of this. I think you should be proud of yourself for seeking and getting help. I'm not sure that sort of help was available for our mothers.
I'm not really sure why I am trying to defend her, her actions towards your were and are indefensible. But I know that a lot of my own personal journey of recovery on this side of things has been trying to understand why. I have been able to carry on the relationship by putting myself in her shoes and trying to figure out if she had the same tools I did to change. My answer is no, yours may not be.
Our relationship is not fantastic btw, but she is now on her own, and has grandchildren she wants a relationship with, so from that POV she has to play the game in terms of respect towards me and attitude towards my dc. i think in her heart of hearts she knows what she did and tries to be a better mum now and is a very loving grandparent. Again, to me this was better than no relationship, to you it may not be.
The strong nasty creature v soft older grandmother thing really resonates for me, as does the not wanting to hurt her. I feel responsible for her even though she is my mum, it's weird isn't it! I guess when she dies I want to know that I was the one who did it all right, who forgave and made piece, that way when she does go I can let all of it go with no 'what if'.
That should have been peace, doh.
I would never break contact with her.
She is only in her late 40s but life has worn her down, I think she could have gotten help but maybe didn't know how to.
I know my depression made my 'tolerance levels' much lower so seeking help with that in turn helped my anger problems.
Part of me thinks my anger problems stem fro my mother though, learned behaviour??
My DH got it bad from me alot of the time but thankfully he understood and we got through the worst together and are verry happy now that my behavuoir (and his) have changed.
Hi carrots- you could be describing my mother, although the physical abuse stopped at 18 when i left home but then the mental abuse started- UNITL - Christmas last year when she tried to stab me in front of my children.
I am not saying this to frighten you or to say your mother would do the same but more to say I feel for you.
The hardest thing is facing up to the past, understanding why, my mother has a narcissistic personality.
Be kind to yourself, maybe consult a counsellor, I am undergoing CBT which is changing my way of thinking and processing the events.
Much to love to you and you can pm anytime x
I'd say your anger issues undoubtedly came from her. Did she used to get annoyed or find it hard to handle when you cried or try to surpress you being emotional? I thikn a lot of adult anger comes from not being able to express yourself as a child.
I'm so sorry that happened.
I can say she hasn't been violent towards me for years but she did attack my sister last year (strangling again) in front of her 4 year old.
If it were me, rather than my sister, I would have pressed charges.
didnt want to read and leave but at work. There are some good books will i'll write later. I had a horrifically toxic mother who was amazing at face it have taken me a long time to realise how bad she is and instead of thinking my DF was ignorant it has been very resent that i have realised he enabled her to do this.
Think hard about your children what if she does it to them?
I thought long and hard and cut them out I now have no support network but me, DH and DDs will be better in the long run as she could fuck them up the way she did me.
If your not upset by what I posted I'll point you in the direction of some good books when I get home.
Join the discussion
Please login first.