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Have just had the realisation that my mother hated me when I was a child.

(76 Posts)
dimsum123 Sun 03-Feb-13 23:43:04

We have never been close. I don't remember ANY cuddles, hugs or affection from her when I was very young. I DO remember plenty of times when she was cross, irritated, angry, annoyed and impatient with me. I have realised she probably had PND and never ever bonded with me.

But I have only now realised that she actually disliked and probably hated me. I have years of counselling about my relationship with her and I know that the reason she hated me was not my fault but due to her own issues.

I am finding it wierd though that I am not upset about this latest realisation about her. Or perhaps I am in shock just now.

It explains a lot though. Especially about the very horrible negative feelings I used to have about my own DD and still do sometimes. My feelings about DD never made sense as she is a lovely, kind thoughtful girl and yet I would sometimes have such strong feelings of dislike towards her that seemed so out of proportion to whatever childish misdemeanour she might have committed.

I'm not really looking for any answers. I just needed to say this out loud as it's been going round and round in my head all day. I don't feel I can talk to DH about it just yet. I used to be on MN a long time ago and found it so useful, indeed a lifesaver at times when I was in the thick of dealing with the effects of my abusive and dysfunctional childhood and family.

amazingmumof6 Mon 04-Feb-13 00:22:52

sorry to hear about your troubles.

do you feel relieved about the discovery? maybe you are not upset, because you are actually happy to put another piece of the puzzle in the right place.

I'm glad you have/had counselling, and if you think you have a lot of anger that still needs dealing with, I can recommend you a book called "Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way" by Gary D, Chapman.

there's another fantastic book he wrote called "The 5 love languages of children" - it could give you ideas to observe your DD (and yourself) and how to build a better relationship with her.

BTW the writer is a Christian, so if you are not a believer, please don't disregard his books based on that.
You don't have to accept his views to gain some insight about how to deal with your specific problems!

I suggest you have a little read of the "love languages" book first, I found it really interesting and useful!

I hope this helps

pollypandemonium Mon 04-Feb-13 00:30:03

That is one of the saddest posts I have ever read.
Sad because it may actually be as simple as that. A mother couldn't love her child. You go through years of turmoil and pain, your own daughter suffers just because of that fact. Thankfully this realisation may make you able to let go of your mother and focus on people that do love you.

Mimishimi Mon 04-Feb-13 00:32:01

Does she hate you now? Would you be able to talk to her about it? Some women just generally don't enjoy having small kids but did she get better as you got older?

KatyPeril Mon 04-Feb-13 00:32:10

I feel your pain! I think everybody should be loved by their mothers. Sadly some of us aren't. I've no idea what to say to help, just wanted you to know I'm there too xxxxx

RivalSibling Mon 04-Feb-13 00:33:31

Didn't want to read and run...

You poor thing.

Do you still see your mum now?

I think you are doing an amazing job of looking at difficult stuff and being honest about the darker things you feel yourself - that will have made a huge difference in stopping the damage being perpetuated.

The thing to hold on to is that your mum may have had trouble being a mum but a tiny baby can't do anything wrong and it wasn't your fault.

dimsum123 Mon 04-Feb-13 00:53:15

Thank you all for your lovely kind posts. I will look up those books, thankyou.

I still don't really feel anything after realising she probably hated. But it is true that it is like another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. Am sure the realisation came now, at a time when I am strong enough to cope with it.

I am amazed at how my mother's unspoken message to me came through loud and clear. Children are so sensetive and pick up on body language and facial expressions and tone of voice even though she never actually said out loud how she was feeling inside.

I am heartbroken that my DD has probably also picked up on similar feelings from me. Although I do try and hide them as much as I can. Fake it til you make it. I wonder why my mother didn't try to do that.

My mother did get better as I got older. But I'm not sure that she was better with older children because she obviously adored my little sister from day 1.

KatyPerry sorry you have experienced similar. It's hard. You only get one mother and if she doesn't love you and in fact hates you there is nobody else you can get that sort of love from.

I couldn't speak to my mother about this. I have tried in the past but she seemed to have totally forgotten what she was like and thinks she has been a brilliant mother. She really had no idea what I was upset about.

I've taken the only option I felt I had and stopped all contact with her and my dad.

Booyhoo Mon 04-Feb-13 01:25:06

oh OP. i am so sorry you didn't have a positive realationship with your mother. i hope you are able to use thsi realisation to start healing and improving your feelings towards your dd in future.

i have had similar but not identical realisations about my mum in the past few years/months and it has really helped me to be a better parent.

jacktarot Mon 04-Feb-13 09:41:08

There is a similar dynamic in my family except that I was the loved younger sister. I always knew our mother preferred me but only since starting therapy have I been able to admit that she did seem to strongly dislike my DSis - maybe even hate her at times.

My DSis has had a very troubled life & low self esteem and the dysfunction has also had a negative impact on me: I spent years feeling like I didn't 'deserve' my achievements and was an interloper in my life - it's only relatively recently that I've realised this stems from the awful guilt I feel toward my older sister.

We always since young children had a fairly one sided relationship - I would give and she would take... It was because we both felt I had to make some reparation for being the more loved child.

In recent years DSis has pulled back from her relationship with our mum and consequently also with me - I miss her but I can see that in her mind myself and our mum are inextricably linked. I feel so sad and that I've been cheated of a proper sibling relationship because my DM couldn't manage to treat us equally. I also have always had a very superficial relationship with my DM - I don't feel I can confide any upset in my life to her, as I guess deep down I'm afraid that if I'm not perfect she will treat me like my sister.

I hope you can find some peace with it OP and realise that it wasn't your fault - every child deserves to be loved by their parents.

jacktarot Mon 04-Feb-13 09:45:09

Gosh sorry didn't mean to write an essay!

snowshapes Mon 04-Feb-13 10:07:43

This is really hard. I'm in the same position, and to be honest, hard as it is, I think the realisation is important, because lack of love as a child shapes one's life in multiple ways. For me, I realise the desire for approval and to be loved has shaped all my significant adult relationships (in a fairly negative way). It seems to have other effects on you, for example, in your feelings to your own DD, but I guess the important thing is recognising it has an effect and trying to address that (because that is something you can change, whereas what happened with your mother is not).
Easy to say on an intellectual level, harder in practice sad

dimsum123 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:11:51

Thankyou again for posting.

I really am hoping this will make me a better parent to DD. I hate feeling like I do towards her sometimes but however hard I try I can't seem to change my feelings. And it's made worse because I never feel that way about DS. I just love him absolutely and at most sometimes get a bit annoyed frustrated with him but never hate.

I realise also that I have been somehow trying to justify my feelings about DD and blame her and her behaviour for my feelings of hate towards her. But she has never done anything to deserve hatred from. I feel sick just thinking about it. I hope to god she has not picked up on how I sometimes feel. I do try and hide it and we do also have many good times, chats, laughter, hugs and cuddles which I NEVER had with my mother.

Horrorvacui I am so glad you posted. It is really interesting to hear your perspective. I have stopped all contact with my sister as well as my parents. She cannot understand why I don't agree with her that our parents were wonderful. Unlike you she didn't notice at all that my mother treated me very very differently to her.

You must have been far less self absorbed than my sister to have noticed the difference like you did. Like your sister I had very low self esteem and only after many years of therapy and hard work have I come to value and respect myself.

It is interesting that you do also say that your mother did seem to hate your sister at times. Because it helps me to trust in my instincts that my mother did hate me at times (the rest of the time she was indifferent and disinterested) and that I haven't imagined or exaggerated it.

TantrumsandBananas Mon 04-Feb-13 10:13:13

Mother/Daughter Relationships...I posted briefly before about my own relationship with my Mother. It was on a thread where someone was terrified as they found out they were having a girl as opposed a boy when they were pregnant. I responded at the time, about being terrified when I found out I was having a daughter, was scared that history would repeat and I wouldn't beable to bond with her. I made a decision at that time. I am going to be the one who breaks the cycle. So far so good, she is 3, and I adore her.

My own relationship with my mother was horrific. I simply should have been taken into care. Emotional and Physical abuse were a regular part of my life. She had tried to abort me, and I ALWAYS knew this, I "ruined" her life. I was ugly/fat/stupid....dragging me out of bed in the middle of the night, simply so she had someone to shout at. I was a child. Leaving me to look after my younger brother from age of 8, he was 3. I could go on.

The thing is, I KNOW it has had a terrible effect on ME. But I don't want to pass on my issues to my beloved (and she is) DD. So, I try very hard not to.

Strangely enough I have had no contact with my mother since I was 17. 27 years! But its still there....its there with my inability to have close friendships with women. I don't trust women. Its there in my struggle with an eating disorder, either too much, or too little. These are things I am trying not to pass on to my DD. I see my DD's loving and trusting nature and VOW that I will not let anyone knock it out of her, like it was me.

Gosh, sorry, bleated on a bit.

The single most important thing I have learnt is, I am my own person, I AM NOT anything like my mother.

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 10:16:06

I could have written your post, I will definitely buy the books and come back to read and comment properly as I had this thread on my head but was struggling to find the right words

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 04-Feb-13 10:20:16

After years of counselling, you have realised that, through no fault of your own, you were emotionally short-changed. There is a strong chance your M had PND and yes, chemically out of kilter, she may have disliked you. Now, in what feels like a curiously detached way, you can acknowledge this because you know that her majorly flawed parenting was never a direct result of your doing. Her own mother your grandmother may have treated her similarly.

Your mother has probably no wish to go back and examine her treatment of you so prefers to paint herself as she now wishes she had been. That is probably as much as you will get. I understand why you feel it is better to disconnect from her totally. If your sister has no empathy for you then it's better to put that relationship to one side too.

Better for you to focus on your relationship with your own daughter. If you are able to discuss this with your DH perhaps he will be able to offer another perspective - you are worthy of love and you haven't repeated your mother's patterns regarding your own child. We all get irritated or cross with our own offspring sometimes but it doesn't mean we don't love them. Unlike your M you have put in place is a bedrock of love and affection so that your child can still feel secure and knows you and her dad do care about her.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 04-Feb-13 10:21:23

Sorry for typos this was quite difficult to read and answer as it also rings familiar bells.

Geeklover Mon 04-Feb-13 10:28:00

I had the same sort of relationship with my mother growing up. I spent my whole life wondering if it was just me until only 2 years ago I found out my sister had the same feelings growing up.
My brother didn't. Even now my mum speaks to me in a way that she would never dream of speaking to my brother.
I have tried to talk to her about it but it's futile. She doesn't seem to realise or chooses not to remember what she was like.
I do see her often as she is an amazing grandparent to the dc but our relationship is purely functional towards that.
I have tried every now and then to spend time with her but have ended up realising I just don't want to anymore.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Feb-13 10:29:23

Did you talk to your mum about this?

It sounds like you just suspect that she may have hated you when you were a child.

spiritedaway Mon 04-Feb-13 10:39:49

Sad post but really familiar. . i can't remember any hugs. I was told i wasn't an affectionate child and she didn't feel like a mother until my brother was born. I lowered my expectations massively over the years. She is ok with grandchildren but bare minimum of interaction unless a Granny audience is around. Her mum treated her badly.

dontsqueezetheteabag Mon 04-Feb-13 10:58:50

OP, how brave of you to come out and say what you have said. Personally, I have experienced similar thoughts and feeling over the last few months. My mother recently had an affair, left my father and abandoned myself and my sister. We are both grown up and away from home but abandoned is probably the right word. We now have no contact and this has brought a lot of old, bad feeling to the surface for me. I think my mother had PND after my sister was born, my father worked away and I bore the brunt of a very nasty lady, punched, poked, shouted at and one evening he shove my face into a boiling hot plate of dinner. All of these things make me think she hated me as a child and now she is gone she can no longer poison my life.

Good luck OP. x

dimsum123 Mon 04-Feb-13 11:18:13

I can't believe there are people out there who understand. I thought it was just me. Thankyou for posting everyone. It is sooo interesting and helpful to read all your responses. I could never have this sort of discussion in RL.

Tantrums, when I was pregnant with DD I was DESPERATE for her to be a boy but didn't tell anyone. But at that point I didn't know why. I was still totally embroiled in my family lie that we were a happy normal loving functional family. I only started realising and facing up to the truth about my family and my childhood a few years after DD was born.

I also have huge problems in friendships with women. I can't open up or truly trust anyone. I am drawn to the wrong people for the wrong reasons and end up being hurt. eg. I think I crave to be spoken to in a loving, soft and caring voice. My mother never spoke to me like that. So I have tended to make friends with women who are softly spoken who have kind sounding gentle voices. But even though they sounded kind, these 'friends' actually treated me really badly and it took me a long time to realise this and do something about it.

Donkeys yes I am sure my grandmother treated my mother in exactly the same way as she treated me. She never talked about her mother, only about her dad who she clearly had a better relationship with.

And my mother actually sees herself as a victim (I'm the baddie for cutting her off from her grandchildren after all she did for me) and yes my sister has no empathy for me. You are so right in everything you say.

Geek it must be good in a way to feel validated by your sister. Because it's only me I do question my perception.

Cote you're right in that I don't know for sure if she hated me. But she would NEVER admit it now even if she did as she wants to keep up the perfect mother image she has with my sister and wider family. And she definately made me feel as if she hated me and that is what is important here, my feelings as a child and now.

Spirited yes I was told I was a difficult child and that it was my fault that our relationship was so bad. And I also didn't feel like a real mother until my DS was born.

TantrumsandBananas Mon 04-Feb-13 11:35:02

OP Yes, amazing how they can rewrite history. My mother alternates between disowning me by sending weird nasty letters, or professing to anyone who will listen that "she doesn't know what she did wrong".

I too have had some counselling over the years. We came to the conclusion that she narcisstic, and probably a sociopath. A very sick woman. Loves playing the victim, and is very good at it.

I never thought I would have a child, had DD at 41, but you know, it was meant to be. I like to think, to right some wrongs? Does this make sense?

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Feb-13 12:27:44

dimsum - I think it is important for you at this point to word your frustration as "As a child, I felt as if my mum hated me" rather than "I just realised that my mum hated me when I was a child".

dimsum123 Mon 04-Feb-13 13:09:28

Cote probably that is more accurate but does it matter? Everyone on this thread seems to have understood what I meant.

Yes my mother is probably narcisstic. Everything is about her. My dad bullied us all but she only feels sorry for herself and has no concept of how his psycholigical abuse and bullying affected me. I don't think she ever even thought it might have affected me. She only ever thought about herself.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Feb-13 13:13:42

I wasn't trying to be pedantic. It's not about what is more accurate.

I was trying to say that it is important for you to think of that period as one where you felt like your mother didn't love you, rather than suddenly be so sure (without even any verification) that your mother hated you as a child.

I think it is important for your state of mind. You were of course loved. If you talk to your mum, you will probably see that she had some issues at the time and took it out on you - had no patience for you, she was short with you, etc - but she didn't hate you.

That is my two euro centimes. Of course you know your situation better than anyone else here. Just try to steer your mind away from the dark thoughts, is what I'm trying to say.

snowshapes Mon 04-Feb-13 13:15:06

>>dimsum - I think it is important for you at this point to word your frustration as "As a child, I felt as if my mum hated me" rather than "I just realised that my mum hated me when I was a child". <<

Sorry if this comes across as combatative, but why? Your re-formulation puts the onus on the OP. Surely, it is more like - I just realised my mum's actions made me feel as if she hated me. It's her mum causing the feeling, it doesn't come out of nowhere.

I'm reading your post as if you might be suggesting her mum didn't really hate her - maybe not, but the point is that her mum's actions (or lack of them?) made the OP feel like that. It's those actions the OP is seeking to avoid with her own DD. I don't mean it is a blame game, just that the point is surely that one's actions as a parent affect one's children positively or negatively.

snowshapes Mon 04-Feb-13 13:15:54

sorry, x-post

jacktarot Mon 04-Feb-13 13:37:03

It's such a shocking idea that a mother could hate her child - it's a very difficult thing to accept.

CoteDAzur I get what you are saying - possibly the OPs mother didn't actively hate her, or not all the time... But I don't think the whole concept is utterly impossible.

I believe that when we become mothers our relationship with our own mothers can be re enacted if we are not conscious of the dynamic, so I think it's really important that the OP is bravely facing up to what she experienced as a child.

OP I'm sure you won't have the kind of relationship with your DD as you did with your mother as you are so aware of it.

flippingflup Mon 04-Feb-13 14:08:33

Dimsum, I've realised the same thing about my mum. I believe you.

As a child, I thought it was my fault that she hated me. I thought that I was bad to the core. I find it helps now as an adult to look back and feel terribly sorry for the child I once was. I have enormous love for my children. And when they are naughty, I find more love for them, even when I am telling them off, because I remember how things were for me.
I think you know the hate you feel is displaced. You know your dd is lovely. You need to grieve for the love you missed out on. Hugs help with this!

dimsum123 Mon 04-Feb-13 14:24:09

Thanks again for your posts.

Yes despite the title, this thread is not really about the fact that i feel my mother hated me as a child. It is about my own simililar feelings occasionally towards DD.

Horrorvacui and flippingflup I think you understand what I mean. I do want to change my negative feelings towards DD but first I need to admit I have them and then work out where they come from because they are certainly not caused by or deserved by her.

Practicingtwinkletwinkle Mon 04-Feb-13 14:35:46

With regard to the post that suggested that the OP rephrase her ststement to read that the hatred was in her perception (only?), I'm afraid that I disagree.

OP, I think that the way you describe is absolutely fine. In my experience, people who are lucky enough and not have experienced such highly dysfunctional family relationships just simply cannot imagine that it is possible for parents, especially mothers, to not love their children. It's just not the norm, not what mothers are supposed to be like, nothing they have experienced themselves and therefore absolutely unfathomable for them.

I used to spend a lot of time and energy trying to make close friends understand what it was like. Yet, despite knowing all the facts, they always concluded by saying:"But they are your family! Of course they love you, and you must help them!"

Very frustrating, but some things are just beyond what people with "normal" upbringings can imagine. Now, I don't bother anymore and choose the people I talk to about family issues very carefully.

dimsum123 Mon 04-Feb-13 14:43:12

Twinkletwinkle yes, me too. Some people just cannot understand that a mother could hate her child. But you only have to read about the horrific cases of child abuse or even murder by mothers to know that it is true and I'm sure there are many cases that don't make the news or ever come to light because the hatred does not result in death but instead causes turmoil, depression and many other issues in the adult who somehow survived her love deprived childhood.

You were of course loved. CoteDAzur you can't make that assumption.

Not all mothers love their children. They just don't. To be told that your mother must have loved you, and just had some issues, can make you feel as though you are the one at fault, that you should be feeling sorry for your mother, that, ooh here's the old chestnut - that you're over-sensitive and it wasn't that bad, of course your mother loved you really.

[Bertha projects madly]. My mother wasn't really capable of loving anyone except herself.

flippingflup Mon 04-Feb-13 14:48:31

Would it help if you saw your negative feelings towards dd as an echo of your mother's feelings towards you? So the feelings are pre-programmed rather than originating within you? You know you love your dd. The feelings come from your built in ideas of what a mother feels for their daughter. You can challenge these feelings because you know your mother was very wrong.

A very wise counsellor gave me the mantra: 'What is it and where does it belong?' For me, it was to try to get (fearful/hateful) feelings towards my dh sorted out and back where they belong, but I think you might find it useful with dd.

It is horrifying to think we might continue the same pattern. I agree with the previous posters who said if you are aware of it, it won't happen. So impressed with you for starting this thread, very brave xxxx

Seriouslysleepdeprived Mon 04-Feb-13 14:50:55

My mum also hated me as a child and still does. I have lots of memories of annoying her and being shouted at. She constantly talked about me, telling everyone how annoying I was. She would always make derogatory remarks about my appearance, especially in public. She would ridicule my ideas & beliefs, still does.

She never felt like this towards my sister. I can remember her getting quite tearful when my sister got upset or was left out at school. She's never had those feelings for me. It's really shit feeling like your own mum hates you.

It's only v recently I've realised it really is her issue & not me or anything I've done. I've had plenty of counselling over the years but not sure how you get past it tbh.

dimsum123 Mon 04-Feb-13 14:58:15

Sleepdeprived my mother was the same about my sister. She was beside herself with worry if my sister had problems at school or with friends etc. But it was as if I wasn't even on her radar and she could never do anything without always including my sister but the two of them were quite happy to go off and exclude me all the time.

I sincerely hope that facing up to the painful fact that my mother actually felt hatred towards me at times will help me in not feeling that way towards DD sometimes. It is displaced anger and hatred and it should directed at my mother and NOT DD.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Feb-13 19:01:32

"can make you feel as though you are the one at fault, that you should be feeling sorry for your mother"

That wasn't what I said or meant at all, Bertha.

Biscuitsareme Mon 04-Feb-13 19:44:25

Thanks so much for starting this thread, Dimsum.
I've just realised (bolt of lightning feeling really) that my grandmother disliked my mum. I don't know I'd go so far as to say she hated her, but she definitely excluded her and undermined her and openly preferred my aunt.

I'm now seeing my mum's feelings towards me in a different light. I sense that she loves me (I know, I am lucky), but the way she behaves is odd sometimes, like she emotionally withdraws from me and sort of rejects me temporarily. When I was little she would remind me a lot that I had things she never had, and why couldn't I be grateful. I feel sorry for her now.

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 19:49:04

I'm a middle child. My mum always loved my big sister and my little brother more than she loved me. This was very clear to me and I remember searching the house thoroughly at every opportunity for evidence that in fact, I didn't belong. I was hoping to find an adoption certificate or a documents saying I was swapped by mistake at the hospital. I longed to have another family waiting for me, I wanted another chance.
She still wasn't great with my siblings, but with me was definitely worse. And I was the only one she actually wanted to abort.
No need to say my siblings went on to achieve and be happy while I have been feeling miserable and useless all my life.
We had issues with Dad too, I'm surprised how I'm managing to be around tbh.
I'm waiting for the Nhs MH team to refer me to counseling and assessment, I'm starting to feel spaced out.

comingintomyown Mon 04-Feb-13 19:55:56

This is so timely for me.

I have issues with mine but far more low level which has meant its taken me until middle age to understand how emotionally detached she was from us and the impact this had on me

It came out whilst in psychotherapy and has proved to be a bit of a Pandoras box. On one hand I am so much emotionally healthier now but on the other I long to have some past incidents out with her but know she would axe our relationship which I wouldnt want.

She lives abroad and has set times of the year to visit and I had good reason to put her off last time but emailed yesterday to say I dont feel that I want anyone staying at the moment which is a big step for me so have now twice refused her visiting. I fervently want to get to a place where I can make peace with my grievances and just have a simple albeit slightly superficial relationship with her.

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 20:15:44

oh and my mum always very verbal about how bad my granny was towards her and how unloved and unwanted she always felt. I definitely need to break the cicle now for dd. Luckily, dH is a good father

spanky2 Mon 04-Feb-13 20:23:40

My dmum grew up with a mother who hated her. It isn't you it isn't my mum. I can offer you no more. Awful so sad.sad You can do what my mum did for me. Break the cycle . Be the mum you never had. I wish I could be your mum! I'dlook after you and cuddle you!

TheSamling Mon 04-Feb-13 20:38:18

I couldn't speak to my mother about this. I have tried in the past but she seemed to have totally forgotten what she was like and thinks she has been a brilliant mother. She really had no idea what I was upset about.


I really am hoping this will make me a better parent to DD. I hate feeling like I do towards her sometimes but however hard I try I can't seem to change my feelings. And it's made worse because I never feel that way about DS. I just love him absolutely and at most sometimes get a bit annoyed frustrated with him but never hate.


Can I just say thank, you, thank, you, thank you for posting tonight. You could be me. This is exactly how I feel. I think my mother 'loved' me... In her own way,, which has nothing todo with the rest of the worlds idea of love. she constantly tells me she diod...but I remember with absolute clarity the look of hate in her eyes so often when I was little. She constantly let (and still let's) me know how hard having me was, How much she went without and sacrificed for me. (ie how much a pain in the arse it was having a child.) she once told me 'you were always overly needy as a child, even as a tiny baby' wtaf???

I struggle, massivelY with my DD the way you have described. And yet my relationship with my son is so easy and simple. I never stop feeling guilty for that, eso for dd's early years when my patience and love were not as present as they should have been in many ways. I hope I can do better, I know it's loads better now than it was when she was tiny but I'm so scared the damage has already been done. Thank heck she has DH who is marvellous with her and adores her.

You are not alone, and voicing it is the first step. The fact that you are even here being open about your fears a d regrets means you are already a much better mother to your DD than she was to you.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Mon 04-Feb-13 20:58:11

I can remember looking for adoption papers too. I desperately wanted to belong somewhere else or find a reason she was so horrible to me.

I also worry about history repeating itself. My mum hated her mum with a passion. She couldn't wait for her to die, went on about it constantly. I asked her once if she missed her after she had passed away, she said she was pleased she was dead.

Spanky - its good to hear these things can be broken. History repeats itself far too often. I have a DS but still worry I'll be abusive. I have PND & am serious sleep deprived which has shown me side to myself that are scarily like her confused Needless to say I'm having therapy... It's helping, thank god.

I would hate for anyone to feel worthless because of my issues. It's such a shitty thing to do to someone.

Biscuitsareme Mon 04-Feb-13 20:59:34

I can see why you're scared about repeating patterns with DD. But, as others said upthread, being AWARE of it already makes a HUGE difference. My mum, being disliked/unloved by her mum, for all her faults did a far better job with me than her own mum with her. And I hope I'll be able to break away from that mould even more.

Sorry, never introduced myself btw- am delurking and a newbie, but will be watching the thread with interest.

NewYearsEvelyn Mon 04-Feb-13 21:08:14

My mum had 5 girls and a boy. The boy was the apple of her eye. The other 4 children brought each other up as my mum went through PND and a valium addiction. I got her during menopause, coming off the valium, at a point in her life when she was totally fed up with small children. She'd thought I was the menopause and stated that she was gutted when it was another baby.

Growing up I didn't understand why my mum shook my hand off when I tried to hold it (this at around 4 or 5?). She cared for me in terms of ensuring I was fed, warm, clothed adequately, but she had no empathy for any of the situations I went through, spent most of her time saying how full of myself I was and the rest telling me how ugly I was and what a strange child I was.

I grew up o.k. despite her, rather than because of her. I still loved her. I made a real effort in my adult life to understand her and I read lots of books about improving my own self belief. One of the things that hit me as most likely was that my mum only had so much love for herself. She then shared it out between 6 children. Inevitably, there was only so much to go around. She had just run out by the time I came along.

I chose not to let her get to me. I chose to show her how good I was, rather than live down to her expectations. She never told me to my face that she was proud of me, but she did tell other relatives of mine that she was proud of me. Sad really that it took us so many years to get to a place where we could get along. Sadder still that she died with me knowing that she loved all of my siblings more.

I still love my family, and more importantly, I love myself. Most importantly of all I LOVE MY DAUGHTER!!! She is worth more than anything. And with the hindsight of knowledge, I realise what a crappy life my mum had and I understand how she could not love me.

I'd suggest counselling if you can't get over this alone and I'd suggest some positive thinking books. A guy called Brian Tracey, who does sales spiel on the whole, once said that we can't love anyone any more than we love ourselves. That's why it's so important to believe that you are worth something, your daughter is worth something and love is the key to overcoming your feelings.

TheSamling Mon 04-Feb-13 21:13:16

Its true Biscuits. My mum was physically abused by her mum, and though she smacked me, it never left marks and she never closed fist hit me. But I want to cut out the emotional abuse, the making a child feel every inch of the cost (financially and emotionally) of having been born. I think I have managed the latter, but i am still at times furious with DD and have feelings of dislike (not hate, but it is true dislike) towards her that I feel awful about once I have calmed down.
It's getting better. I hope that if she remembers the anger and frustration I felt when she was very small she will forgive me for it. I will certainly ask her too. I will never ever re-write history. For me that is, in many ways the worst thing about my mother and her biggest betrayal of the bond and duty of
Love she should have for me, her daughter. If she could just admit to me now that she WAS furious and angry and horrid, and asked me to forgive her, then I would find a way to. and it's the one thing I ALWAYS do with DD. If I get mad and catch myself going over the top in getting cross and having a go, then I instantly explain to her that it's my fault, not hers, and that I am sorry. I know that's not enough, but I feel it's a start.

dimsum123 Tue 05-Feb-13 09:52:53

Thankyou all for posting. And I'm very happy that you find this thread helpful.

Unlike some of you, I was wanted by my mother when she was pregnant. Although I know her relationship with my dad was not at all when she conceived me. But when I was born I think I was not the child she had imagined I would be. I know she thought I took after my dad and not her in looks etc and I suspect she might have taken out her feelings about my dad onto me...constant irritation, anger, hate, dislike.

And those are the exact feelings I sometimes have for DD but never for DS apart from occasionally being a bit irritated.

Someone mentione upthread about feeling loved by her mother but that her mother would sometimes seem to emotionally detach and withdraw from her. I do this with DD. We can spend time together and feel really close. But then later on I will feel the need to be by myself and I know I have pushed her away quite coldly at times. It must be so confusing and hurtful for her. Feeling loved one minute and the next wondering if I do actually love her.

I am by contrast so much more consistent with DS and that is how I want to be with DD. Consistent. Not sometimes loving, sometimes scarily angry, sometimes emotionally detached and withdrawn.

This thread has been good for me too as it has made me look at my behavior to DD in a lot more detail. I have been too scared to really do that until now. Thankyou all for talking about your experiences.

Aussiebean Tue 05-Feb-13 10:50:03

My mother actually told me she loved me....she didn't like me though... She made sure I knew that.

Everything that is written here I can relate to. I am worried I will be my mother to my children. And they arent even here yet.

A lot of our parenting is taught by our parents. Is it that you, as the oldest was hated and the second child loved... And now you to are dealing with the eldest in the same way while loving the youngest?

As well as the mental issues, sometimes I think the way I react to a given situation can be seen as a little narcasstic. Not because I am one ( did a lot of self reflecting there which is an indication in itself). But because as a child that was how I was taught to deal with the situation.

I am worried that when my children behave in a certain way I will feel hatred towards them, because when I did the same thing I saw the hatred looking at me.

And sometimes just realising what you are doing is so hard to see.

Would be interested in what others think.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Feb-13 11:38:28

Having had faulty parenting doesn't mean you are doomed or pre-programed to repeat the past. If anything I think you will listen out for echoes of it later on with your DCs, so you'll have a chance to avoid repeating those attitudes.

We do the best we can according to our experience and accumulated wisdom. Another factor is input from your partner, if you are not raising DCs on your own.

Aussiebean I bet most of us worry about how we're going to shape up as parents. Nobody's perfect. Believe me with my DCs I've often pondered have I done the right thing, I sound like my mother, crap, what next? I'm doing the best I can. There'll always be a question mark over parenting as much as with any other relationship. Does that put us off trying it for ourselves? I really hope you feel you're the lovely confident person you are, whose posts elsewhere always ring true with rational, good advice and a warm heart.

dimsum123 Tue 05-Feb-13 12:36:59

Aussie, yes I do seem to be repeating my mother's pattern of hating the eldest and loving the youngest. My reasons are also the same. My eldest does not take after me in any way whatsover, looks, personality. But DS is so similar to me in looks and personality. It does seem scarily like history repeating itself. It's so horrible to know that I feel about my DC's inside the same way my mother felt about me and my sister.

The difference is I do try and cover up how I feel and I do also show a lot of love to DD as well as the negative emotions. And she is definately on my radar ie I notice if she is not herself, seems upset and I try and encourage her to talk to me. My mother NEVER noticed if I was upset much less encourage me to talk to her. If I tried to talk to her about a problem she made it blatantly clear she wasn't interested so I soon learnt to bottle everything up.

StuckForAUserName Tue 05-Feb-13 13:31:06

I am going through therapy for similar so this thread is timely.

My mother actually strangled me enough for me to almost pass out when I was 12, then my stepfather pulled me up off the floor and ripped my best t-shirt off my body in the process so he could have his go.

I had said to my mother that I wished my father had taken me with him when they divorced (instead of abandoning me with her - did not say that bit). Had to wear polo necks for weeks. I was evil according to her.

I have always know this, and many other things that happened, but I had excused it as my mother had 8 children and it must have been hard. There is no excuse for that though is there?

I was talking with my counsellor about it that as a mother of 4 myself, I have experienced the death of my 2nd DC, financial devastation and homelessness and extreme anxiety (none of which my mother experienced) and I have NEVER EVER lost it with my DD (or my other DCs) like that. Surely I needed a hug, an explanation as to why they divorced (still don't know) and a talk about why I felt so hated that I would think that, not a near death experience?

I was terrified when I had my DC1 (DD) as I was sure I would not be able to cope as my family had led me to believe and and had terrible undiagnosed PND as a result but I am 3 times the mum my mother ever was. I apologise to my DCs for a start if I am wrong or impatient with them. I wish had the guts to tell her this but I love her too much to want to upset her. It's so bloody sad sad.

Biscuitsareme Tue 05-Feb-13 13:36:34

This must be so hard for you, Dimsum. I feel for both you and your DD. My mum was the under-loved eldest too, her sister the preferred youngest. I am the eldest- and as I said upthread, I can see now that my mum found things difficult with me at times, and would withdraw emotionally, but she got better as I grew up. She could/can be very loving too, and I'm definitely better off emotionally I think than my mum re her mum. So I'd say, whenever you're showing your DD love, you're doing something right there!
Would counselling help, you think? Just wondering, because I've often thought that my mum would have benefited from it, and it may have helped her be more consistent with me. As it is, it's an out-of-bounds issue. We never talk about it and I just try to show my mum that I love her (not always easy, I have a short fuse, and she does irritate me on a regular basis, but that's another thread!).

dimsum123 Tue 05-Feb-13 16:07:36

Tbh admitting it on this thread has made me feel so much better. I felt before that I was walking about with a deep dark secret that was too awful to tell anyone. And at the same time as feeling I hated DD I despised myself for feeling that way about her. Yes she can be very challenging at times, she's a preteen and hormones definately seem to have kicked in, although my negative feelings towards her go way back to when she was younger. There has been a big improvement since then, back then it seemed like the hate outweighed the love but now the love definately outweighs the hate.

The detached feeling I get about her sometimes also scares me. And sometimes I seem to feel nothing for her, neither love nor hate just nothing and again I definately think my mother felt the same nothingness for me too. If I occupied myself and made no demands on her she seemed fine ie was not mean or nasty or anything but she would never come and join me in playing a game for eg or just sit and chat. But if I made any demands on her eg if I was hurt, upset, unhappy, bored she would get angry with me.

To a certain extent I have been this way with DD. If she leaves me alone then those feelings of hate stay down, but if she needs me to actually be a mother in any way I would get angry. I was happy to clothe and feed her but could not give her any emotional nuturing.

And I am sure my mother did not get any emotional nurturing from her mother, nor much attention. And my mother in turn seemed like she didn't actually want to be my mother even though she had wanted to have a child. But she seemed to take to the role like a duck to water with my sister. And I did too with DS.

Aussiebean Tue 05-Feb-13 20:04:13

Thank you Donkey. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Great way to start my day grin

It's stood out to me op that you think maybe the reason for this is because your daughter is nothing like you. I taught special needs for a while and we has the beautiful girl in our class. I would adopt her if I could. She was so lovely. But her parents really struggled and raged. Because she wasn't like the other children. We kept trying to tell them. 'Look at what she can do, not what she can't' because if you did that you would see how much of an edge she had over the other special needs kids and would go way further then them.

Maybe with you, rather then think. I don't do that. Think how great it is that she can do that. Especially as I couldn't.

This maybe a long shot. But having been trained by your mother to think different is bad. Retraining yourself to see different as good may help.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Tue 05-Feb-13 20:55:16

So many bells ringing on this thread.

Hypermutley Tue 05-Feb-13 21:15:24

dimsum your post made me cry. I've know this all my life and my mom never admits it. I was DC2 my bro was 3 years older. 3 months after i was born i was deposited with my maternal GPs and brought back home just before my first b'day.....not her beloved son though, he had a nanny and was at home. (mom worked). My dad asked her about it one time when i was an adult, i never told him he'd thought he 'saw' it in our relationship. she denied it to him and then asked me if i felt that way, i shrugged it off because i couldnt speak about date (36 in a couple of days) i cry....and as i am now typing this. she tried to be a 'good mother' i know in my heart she didnt love me. she fobbed me off when i was a teen that her father told her to raise sons with love becuase they'd look after the parents later in life.

i am ttc for DC #1 and without telling my husband or anyone in RL, because i am ashamed to, i am doing all the things to have a boy. i cant live with myself if i cant love a little girl if one ever came into my life.

however, i am conditioning myself in my head repeating unconditional love in my head i refuse to let my past ruin my DCs. but in any case not for mine, but for their sake, i hope i have sons.

TheArmadillo Tue 05-Feb-13 21:30:46

Wrt parenting your dd someone on here recently recommended 'parenting from the inside out' by Daniel Siegel. I am finding it really useful. It's about dealing with your own issues in order to parent better. And also about how to deal with your children as their own people with their own emotions and how to connect with them better.

For me accepting that my mother didn't like me or love me was freeing after the initial devastation.

Herrena Tue 05-Feb-13 21:48:18

I could have written most of your posts Dimsum. I have two small DSs (both under 2 yrs) and there are times when I feel nothing for them at all other than frustration and anger. I find myself deliberately trying to engage with them, to play and be silly so that they won't just grow up wondering what they did wrong. They haven't done a thing wrong - they're babies ffs.

I am desperate not to be like my emotionally abusive bitch of a mother and I think hope that being aware of your own behaviour and motivations is a major positive step. Well done to you for having the balls to discuss it here smile

GarbledMessage Tue 05-Feb-13 22:10:35

Dim. Can I ask how was your pregnancy and birth with your DD? Were you settled, with friends around you could call on in those first difficult weeks?

You sound a lot like me, except I like ds because he's nothing like me. DD on the other hand is a carbon copy of me as a child, and I think part of the hate I feel is because I don't want her to be unhappy, picked on and desperate for love like I was because of my difficult relationship with my mum and stepdad.

I wonder if it's easier for me to love DS because he's my second. I didn't have to give up everything i was before for him, because by the time he came along I was already a mum. I was loads more settled, had lots of friends, and had a much less traumatic birth and MUCh better after care with ds.

I do blame a lot of my relationship with DD on my mum and our strange relationship (I recognise a LOT of your description of a mum who liked me when I was happy and taking care of myself, but who became resentful if I needed her in any way) but I wonder how much of it is due to these other factors too.

Keep sharing on here, ESP if it helps you to see it more clearly. The more you say the more I see my relationship with DD. It's such a relief to know I am not the only person to feel like this. You are not a bad person, you have just inherited wonky tools.

pollypandemonium Wed 06-Feb-13 13:19:13

Given that you now know that you are treating your children unfairly do you think you can change and make adjustments to the way you respond to them?

Are you being realistic about this - perhaps you are seeing your treatment as unfair as a way of minimising the damage done to you - it's a lot easier to accept a hateful mother when your own parenting involves hate (nasty word, but you did use it). What I'm saying is perhaps you actually don't feel the hate genuinely but don't want to nurture and love because a nurturing relationship would emphasise the fact that your relationship with your mother was extra bad?

I do think that now you have come to a greater understanding you will renew your bond with both your children and give them what they need.

dimsum123 Wed 06-Feb-13 16:22:21

Hello all, thankyou for your posts. This is a taboo subject, I could never admit to any of this in RL. But I think I do need to admit to all my 'crimes' before I can change.

I have given up on counsellors. I have seen quite a few over the years and only ever found them marginally helpful and some were actually causing more harm than helping.

Another way I've been a bad parent to DD is quite subtle. Nobody not even DH woukd have noticed. It's hard to explain but sometimes I would act like I didn't understand what she was saying, would make it known to her that I thought she was saying something stupid, not verbally but by body language and facial expression. I would say it was psychological abuse and undermining her confidence. I think I learnt all that from my dad as he was often verbally very cutting and cruel.

Someone asked about my pregnancy with DD. Physically I was fine. I know now though, but didn't at the time, I was suffering with severe ante natal depression to the point where I once contemplated driving off a bridge whilst around 5 months pregnant. I didn't know I was depressed and didn't tell anyone how I was feeling not even DH.

In hindsight I think I just wasn't ready to be a mother and didn't want to be a mother when I conceived DD even though she was planned. I had bags and bags of childhood issues that I should dealt with first but it would have been impossible as I was still enmeshed in my dysfunctional family and hadn't realised at all just how damaging they were.

So I think DD has been the innocent victim of all my unresolved issues. Our relationship has vastly improved since she was younger as I have resolved more and more of my issues. But there's clearly still some way to go as is obvious by my posts on this thread. I will keep on working on myself because DD deserves the best mother I can possibly be.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 06-Feb-13 17:30:28

...psychological abuse and undermining her confidence. I think I learnt all that from my dad as he was often verbally very cutting and cruel.

Not just problems with your mother then, dimsum sad.

forever39 Wed 06-Feb-13 18:16:20

I can relate to this too. My sister and I agree that as mothers of two boys each that we are secretly relieved that we haven't had daughters given the way our Mother was towards us in relation to her treatment of our brothers. The cupboard under the stairs was a good place to hide for us apparently (I don't remember myself) so that we didn't get in her way. I had a very very difficult time growing up and now at the age of 41 still find relationships hard. I definitely can't form close bonds with women either - just can't do it. The thing I find most difficult is the low level hurt and anger which never ever goes away. I envy those people who had a normal loving childhood who don't have that mantra of "I hate my mother for what she did to me" as constant background noise. In contrast I absolutely smother my boys with love. I will do everyting in my power to ensure they know emphatically that they are loved and worthy of love and never experience that feelig of being utterly alone that I had growing up.

Biscuitsareme Wed 06-Feb-13 19:27:58

Thanks so much for sharing gave me several lightbulb moments about the weird dynamics in my wider family.... sad

[goes off on a tangent] Isn't it awful that as women we find it so hard to trust, support and love our own gender? My dad doesn't have a high opinion of women, my mum had issues with her (now late) mother, and I wonder how that affected my and my DSis' sense of self-worth. Maybe it explains my feminist rage grin

dimsum123 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:41:49

Both my parents were abusive in very different ways. My dad was verbally emotionally and psychologically abusive and my mother was either indifferent or angry, annoyed, irritated or emotionally detached and withdrawn from me.

I was however fed, clothed and not neglected in that way nor physically abused although I did often feel threatened physically.

Maybe this is why I have never hit my DC's but I have damaged DD in other non visible ways.

And yes my ideal would have been 2 DS's but although having DD has been a huge challenge, the problems in our relationship have made me self reflect far more than perhaps I would otherwise.

I know I sound like a horrific parent from what I have written on here, but these days I actually like and respect myself and have the confidence to admit my faults and failings instead of putting on a front like I used to do for so many years.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 06-Feb-13 20:59:22

Have you heard of families where close ties seem to skip a generation? My mum had a very close loving relationship with her grandmother. Her own mother, not so much. Of course after reading MN I now wonder what lay behind that. My great-grandparents seemed very gentle and genuine and they're all gone now so who can say what triggered my grandmother's character and nature.

As I get older I prick my ears up when I hear of a child being labelled difficult, or hard to get along with, especially when their siblings seem quite different.

snowshapes Wed 06-Feb-13 22:32:50

The point about fathers is interesting. My father was an alcoholic, I remember things like putting him to bed when he was too drunk to stand, and things like that. He was verbally abusive too. But it is only recently that I have thought about that because most of my adult life has been about resolving issues ( or not) with my narc mother. I think it is when you have children and you want them to be safe and secure and feel loved, you realise you were not.

drjohnsonscat Wed 06-Feb-13 22:47:18

pollypandemonium puts the sadness of this very well I think. It just is sad and wrong but how brave of you to explore it and realise it was her failing but not one you can be responsible for or carry forward into your future. You were robbed of what you should have had but despite that you are choosing to break the cycle through your own strength and clear-sightedness. It's obviously hard with regard to DD but you are choosing to challenge yourself and your thoughts and those are the actions of a loving mother.

I wonder if you can also think in terms of being a mother to yourself now? Loving yourself as your mother should have done, giving yourself credit for the steps you are taking, nurturing yourself and the relationship you are reaching for with DD?

drjohnsonscat Wed 06-Feb-13 22:50:21

Sorry I had missed your post about how you have treated DD. It is very courageous of you to admit this. Really, really brave. You are obviously determined to break the pattern and I wish you honestly all the best in this.

OutOnAWhim Wed 06-Feb-13 23:54:06

I am 43 and supposed to be intelligent and well educated. For most of my life I wondered "why did I get second hand toys from Santa, when my brother and sisters gifts were new?". And "why was I so dirty and smelly as a small child that no one wanted to sit next to me in class?". And "why was I spanked black and blue for tiny infractions?". Only this year, these past few months have I realised or admitted to myself that I was just not loved as my siblings were that I was chosen as a target for abuse by my mother. I admire you, OP for your bravery and courage to allow yourself to recognise how you did not get the mother you deserved but you strive to give your DC better

Middy86 Thu 07-Feb-13 00:20:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dimsum123 Thu 07-Feb-13 21:35:50

Hi all. Thankyou so much for your kind words understanding and complete lack of judgment or criticism towards me. I'm very glad I started this thread. Posting and reading all your posts has helped me SO much. I feel I can move forward now in my relationship with DD with more insight and empathy for her (and for myself as the child I once was).

I am going to leave the thread but I hope you will keep posting for as long as you find it helpful.

Thankyou all.

sincitylover Fri 08-Feb-13 14:58:54

I was reading through this thread last night and felt I wanted to post.

I felt a bad vibe from my dm as a very young child and have had to endure constant criticism from her thoughout my life and scant praise and lack of support. I see my df as a weak man who has stood by and let this happen and sometimes joined in.

When I was in primary school our class teacher bullied and terrorised the whole class - some were slapped, others hit and screamed at or not being able to do their work. I was thumped in the back for not being able to do some advanced maths.

Ironically I was also the scholarship girl who won a free place to the local direct grant grammar school so I couldn't have been thick as I thought!!!

I used to wake up in the night shaking sweating and generally feeling unwell and panicky about going to school. What did my parents do - absolutely nothing. They totally let me down didn't they and my dad would have weakly agreed with what my mum had said.

When I used to get severe period pain she used to force me to school - I only found out years later that she had to be carried home from work with her period symptoms.

The thing I find amazing is how long is has taken for me (despite all the evidence) for me to realise that they were not able to show love and support to me and for me and the bullying incident was benign neglect. They are of a generation which was so in awe of authority and anti confrontation that they were prepared to put this over and above their child.

Because we are programmed to believe that our parents would put us first it really has taken me so long and I still find it hard to believe.

I have never had it out with them and never will but suffice to say I feel very cold towards them but also hurt. But I think I am finally beginning to realise that I am not the one at fault - I would never treat my own dcs like they did.

She likes to project as this sweet kindly thing - I would never dream of saying stuff to hurt her as she has to me.

Her own mother died when she was a teen and I can only think that she lacked mothering herself.

sweetestB Sun 17-Feb-13 22:54:09

Hi, I needed to come back to this thread as I really struggled today.
My daughter is irritating me on so many levels, it's hard to keep all loving and cool when dealing with her, she has always being a difficult child but now nearly 6 and not getting any better.
Even my husband who is very patient, is having to take deep breathes and use a stern voice
Thanks God she is an only child and will remain so, I don't think I could survive having more than 1 child
Also I'm totally ignoring my mum, after started participating on this thread, can't help not wanting to have no links with her at the moment

But what is sad is that perhaps this is what my future is going to be like, as I'm not doing that much better than my mum either
I so want to be a better mum, I guess I just need to keep trying

pollypandemonium Tue 19-Feb-13 02:29:21

Hi sweetestB, try to remember that your child depends on you and will do anything to please you. She may be exhibiting difficult behaviours but that is only her response and not something you can blame her for. Try to spend time with her one to one, no telly, no music, just sit with her and play or read. Let her lead the game or choose what to do and keep everything calm. This will help you to build your bond with her. It only takes 15 minutes a day.

Take care of yourself also, try counselling if you haven't already.

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