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Not really thankful to my Mum for anything.

(96 Posts)

Very obviously in relation to the 'thankful to Mum' thread but I didn't want to drag it down as it is a lovely thread at the moment!

It is making me realise though that I really don't think of anything to be 'thankful' for wrt my parents, especially my Mum. She's not bad or anything, she was just never a strong character, never encouraged me to be strong, always listened to my fears/upsets but always just said "Well, I was like that as a child and I grew up." so never actually helped me be constructive or did anything constructive about it herself.

I was bullied mercilessly both by teachers/adults around me and peers from the age of 5/6 to 18/19 in various fashions. I remember crying to her when I was about 10 saying that I only had one friend and she told me that she only ever had one friend growing up so I would be fine. I was always encouraged to brush the bullying under the carpet, to hide in a corner and not face it, I'd cry myself to sleep every night and I know that bothered her but she never actively tried to do anything to help. I'd cry to her most days but she always said that she couldn't do anything.

I eventually moved schools when I was 12 after a particularly bad incident where I snapped and ended up being bitten at school. She let the police talk me out of pressing charges and it was only because I refused to go to school when the school wouldn't even give the girl detention that I got moved. Second high school was just as fun. I should have been pulled out of school entirely. I still can't forgive her for her lack of trying to help when I was bullied through school.

When I finally told her, after a year of debating, that I was bisexual, she pulled a face, told me I'd grow out of it and that I shouldn't say anything to my Dad. When I tried to tell her that I was being sexually abused by my boyfriend she dithered and wouldn't talk about it.

She was a complete sap. No sense of strength in herself, no pride in her appearance (more pride in her refusal to be 'feminine'), never stood up for me, never helped me get my own strength or ability to handle situations.

She now says that my childhood/teen years have made me 'stronger' and the person I am today. It has made me who I am today, but I am not bloody 'stronger'. I'm a person who really struggles with relationships of any kind. I have no self esteem. I know nothing about how to look good and when I apparently 'look good' I feel ugly as muck. I feel uncomfortable wearing anything that is not jeans and a t-shirt. Cannot handle disagreements with friends so I just avoid having friends and up until recently fully accepted that my only friend in life would ever be DP, it didn't bother me too much as I didn't let it. I accepted that I should just lie down and not do anything about things in my life. Mumsnet has been more of a parent to me than my own mother, what a crock of shit, right?

My relationship with my immediate family is very blase. They are my family, but the relationships are entirely superficial. If any of them were to die tomorrow I would mourn for what I feel I should have with them, not them. It feels awful to admit that. My sister had an accident last week which could have ended horrifically, she's fine, but it did make me realise that I have no relationship with her and I was so upset by how close we came to losing her because of that, not because I love her so much.

Hissy Sun 19-May-13 23:09:19

"Mumsnet has been more of a parent to me than my own mother, what a crock of shit, right?"

You are not alone in this. MN is a great Mum though isn't it? smile

Have you tried getting counselling? I did and it really helped.

Do you post on the Stately Homes threads here? That place too is a godsend.

It is so sad to feel so cheated, but we didn't do this. THEY did. You can get through this, you really can.

sweetkitty Sun 19-May-13 23:14:16

I thank my mum for my total lack of self esteem and self worth
For never hugging, complimenting me or telling me she love me
For favouring my brother immensely over me
For telling me women are useless unless they have sons
For telling me never to earn more than my husband as he won't like it
For telling me its ok to get a slap every so often if your husband brings home the money hmm
For bragging about me to anyone who will listen as a reflection of her great parenting skills
For being a narcissist

I joined MN when I was 19, it has been great and if I hadn't have joined god knows how I would have ended up! I'm 24 tomorrow, so I've been here for at least three years if not more!

I have had counselling in the past though not recently. My holistic homeopathist gets a lot from me during our sessions though! Very cathartic.

Isn't stately homes for people who've been abused by their parents? My Mum isn't exactly a bad mother, just not a good one through lacking the ability to be one I think. She tried and did relatively well with my sisters. I think I was just a repeat of her and instead of seeing what was coming and getting me out of the situation she relived some of her childhood through me.

sweetkitty sad

forgetmenots Mon 20-May-13 09:02:06

Confused, Stately Homes is for children of toxic parents and this can include all kinds and levels of abusive and demeaning behaviours.

I would definitely take a look at it if I were you, the opening post always has handy links to other sites too which I found useful in helping my DH get through his issues with his DM. (They are no longer in contact).

Mantella Mon 20-May-13 09:34:09

Confused Pixie I know you say she isn't a bad mother but she sounds very bad to me (sorry). Inaction is a choice and she chose not to help you time and time again when you needed her. I'm sorry you're feeling so low about it flowers. I agree with forgetmenots, I think the stately homes thread might be a good source of support for you.

Sweet Kitty: flowers

forgetmenots Mon 20-May-13 09:40:34

Sweetkitty sad

I've bumped stately homes in case you had trouble finding it.

Cailleach Mon 20-May-13 13:50:41

OP, could you look up Asperger's Syndrome and see if anything you read about it rings any bells in relation to you and your family?

I am wondering if your social difficulties and your mother's odd lack of emotional engagement with you may be explained by an ASD (which is often hereditary.)

I have Asperger's and much of your post could have been written about me / my family..

Happy to be PM'd if you wish to discuss.

I will lurk the stately homes later on, I'm desperately trying to find somewhere to live at the moment and taking a few minutes break to gather my thoughts about places I've contacted so far!

Cailleach: I nanny for kids on the spectrum (one low functioning, one very high functioning) and have often wondered in the past if there is an element of it in my family as I see similarities between my charges and my family/me but according to that university based test I am not even remotely on the spectrum. I don't know whether my parents would be either and my sisters certainly are not.

AnyFucker Mon 20-May-13 15:46:40

Thanks for starting this thread

I too nearly dragged the other one down with a complete misery post

Sometimes I feel bad about saying how much my parents didn't do their job properly, because you often get "well at least you have a mum, you should cherish her, I lost mine last year" etc (not necessarily on MN, certainly in RL)

It sucks, don't it

forgetmenots Mon 20-May-13 16:08:45

I'd have said look up narcissistic personality disorder myself, but that's maybe a bit of projection on my part after I literally said 'fuck ME' when I read the description of it in relation to my MIL. And I'm not even that sweary. But it was dead on.

AF, I really hate it when people belittle things like that, of course for functioning families a bereavement is a personal tragedy, but IMO the best response would be to say - you were lucky to have a decent mum at all, which is why it hurts so much that you've lost her. People who've never seen a parent like this in action genuinely don't get it. I know I didn't (to my shame).

"Sometimes I feel bad about saying how much my parents didn't do their job properly, because you often get "well at least you have a mum, you should cherish her, I lost mine last year""

That's it exactly. I also find that when I try to explain that I don't really get 'love', especially wrt my family, people think that I'm really weird. I don't really get it at all, even when talking about DP. I absolutely adore him, he is my rock and I can't imagine being without him, but I know that I 'love' him because he's one of the few people I really feel anything more than a vague affection for. I don't have a burning desire for him, I just find him to be better than everybody else and very very funny!

PeterParkerSays Mon 20-May-13 17:27:16

I'm gald that my "D"M did a crap job, and put her needs before those of her two children - it has given me such a huge screaming incentive to give my boy more love than he knows what to do with.

"I can have all the hugs and kisses I want, can't I mummy?" Hell yes, kid.

Since DS was born, I've had periods of absoulte rage at that bloody woman and how she focused on material wealth and her own happiness, to the expense of her kids. My sister and I have so much work to do with depression and low self esteem.

I however have a 3 year old who knows that his mummy and daddy are so proud of him they could burst, and that will do me for now.

Sorry, I didn't come on this thread intending to post anything like this, but it's been very therapeutic blush smile

KittyVonCatsworth Mon 20-May-13 17:29:56

To reiterate what others have said, whether you see it as abuse or not, it's impacted greatly on your life, and dare I say, relationships. Weak / passive aggressive / narcissistic mothers may not scream or beat you, but speaking from personal experience, I'd almost wished mine had and then I would have known what exactly I'd done to deserve the treatment I did.

Fully empathise with the 'at least you've got a mother' comments, to which now I just reply 'who exists in my nightmares only', which is true. The only time she ever manifests herself.

Stay strong my lovely <virtual hug>

AnyFucker Mon 20-May-13 18:39:10

I guess it explains why I would never ever put my happiness solely in the hands of an individual, and that includes my husband

I have a very happy and long term marriage, but I know I would walk away from it if it ceased to be so. I often wonder if (some of) the people who had secure and loving upbringings find it very difficult to let go of bad relationships because they have literally no experience of being in one and can't understand that not everyone has your best interests at heart at all times

That is a massive generalisation, of course.

forgetmenots Mon 20-May-13 18:41:31

I think it's bang on the money AF.

Coffeeformeplease Mon 20-May-13 19:03:37

Pixie, I can relate to what you have written.
I never realised just how bad my home life was until I had my first boyfriend. His family virtually adopted me and I saw what a proper functioning family was like.
Needless to say my mother hated their guts.

And today she boasts about me. If I ever questioned her parenting skills she would say that I was what I am today because of her.
It took a long long time to realise I don't have to like her. And I don't have to argue with her, because she will never ever admit she did anything wrong.

When I had my children a lot of my past resurfaced, and made me very angry. I'm over that now (finally), and also over any wish to get love from her. It won't happen. I accepted it.

No, my upbringing hasn't made me stronger. It took me many years to recover from it.
You're not alone.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 20-May-13 19:09:54

Thats how I live AF. I hate it about myself.

AnyFucker Mon 20-May-13 19:15:16

Sorry, puds. I hope I didn't upset you x

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 20-May-13 19:16:54

It's ok AF, it's just something that has been at the forefront of my mind recently.

AnyFucker Mon 20-May-13 19:18:35


mouseymummy Mon 20-May-13 19:39:57

Af, you sum it up perfectly. I get a lot of the "treasure your mother" too. Recently, I challenged someone and asked the why the fuck I should... She's abandoned me physically and emotionally too many times, she has belittled my parenting with dd1 and has given me such bad self esteem issues and a lack of confidence that even my therapist was shocked... Well, needless to say, that person has never questioned my no contact again!

My dd1 is the age I was when my mother walked out on me and dbro (he was 4) no matter how badly behaved dd is, no matter how many times she is a clutz or makes a silly comment or asks me the same thing over and over. I would never walk out on her, I hate the fact that in the next school holidays, she's going away for 2 nights.

I thank my lucky stars I found mn, its made me realise that I'm not alone, I know that I can come on here and get great advice, a good laugh and people who are genuine and willing to help.

The stately homes thread is brilliant, I have lurked on there for ages! Still need to actually post though!

You are never alone with this amazing nest wink.

That op could practically have been written by me sad i was bullied for being tall, overweight, poor, smelly, badly dressed, having glasses, being dirty in all honesty i have no idea why ss let her keep me but took my sister sad on top of bullying from school kids/teachers/ street kids i also had my mum agreeing with them but not changing anything sad she spent my childhood getting highlights, drinking and chasing men.

We didn't speak from i was 16 - around 21/22 as i just was not strong enough to deal with her now we talk every week or two and see each other once a month or less. Now for some reason she thinks she is mum/granny of the year and is forever giving me 'advice' and hates when i say ''maybe mum but look how me and dsis turned out, do you think i should heed your advice?'' I get ''ooh well i'm older now i've learnt from my mistakes blah blah shite''

Dsis is a fraud, thief, shoplifter, emotionally abusive, drinks too much and has a massive hole in her desperate for love but she expects perfection and blows her top at the least thing. She is very hard to love.

I have ended up with social anxiety i'm never sure if someone is kidding or not, i often can't read peoples tone of voice so make silly mistakes/comments, i avoid my friends as much as possible because i can't understand why they like me, i worry about what i say/ what to say in every given situation and i try to people please and hate when people are not happy with me sad i, like my sister, have a need for perfection which can't be met sad but instead of blowing my top i more internalize it as in 'oh well' and shove the lid down on my feelings. If you didn t know me you'd think i was happy go lucky and so laid back but really i'm a fuming ball of stress/worry/dread all the time sad

I'm sure this post is epic i'm sorry to hijack i just wanted to say you're not alone, unfortunately.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 20-May-13 19:44:25

My greatest fears are that I will turn into my mother and that I will push away anyone who loves me.

AnyFucker Mon 20-May-13 19:53:36

I lurk on the Stately Homes thread too

Have never really posted there as I suspect if I started I would never stop smile

infamouspoo Mon 20-May-13 20:02:06

hugs pixie. I also lurk on the stately homes thread. I feel nothing for my mother and to be honest when she dies will feel nothing apart from relief. She never stood up for me against bullies, her abusive men, anyone really and like AF, if I started I'd never stop and this is your thread.
But you are not alone.
You can heal though and you wont repeat the pattern with your own children.

Mantella Mon 20-May-13 21:07:05

So sorry for everyone on this thread with terrible mothers. It's must be extremely hard to get your head around it all, especially when you are a mother yourself and would do anything for your DC. x

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 20-May-13 22:46:37

That's the hardest bit Mantella, knowing you would never do these things to your own child, but knowing she did them to you.

Mantella Mon 20-May-13 23:16:59


TigerSwallowTail Mon 20-May-13 23:32:45

I thank my mother for showing me exactly the kind of parent I don't ever want to be to my children.

springperennial Tue 21-May-13 00:30:06

I'm a former stately homes poster. I mostly lurk these days. This thread has struck a chime with me today.

My abusive mother died 18 months ago. I can say, with complete conviction, that her existence contributed nothing positive to my life. Her death was a release of sorts, I suppose. It was a way out of the FOG. Unlike so many valiant posters on this forum who try ceaselessly, but ultimately with futility, to forge some kind of meaningful relationship with their abusive parents, I know I emotionally withdrew from mine at an early age, and kept my adult relationship with them at a superficial level. I tried to present mine with things that might make them happy, a career, marriage, children; things that would allow them to bask in reflective glory, which is all they were interested in, their own status to the outside world, rather than their children's individual happiness. But I did not feel love for her or my father, either as a child or as an adult, and would never have shared any real intimate moments with them. And that is not normal, is it, because children are programmed to love their parents. They rewrote my software with their relentless emotional abuse. My overwhelming memory from childhood was the feeling of fear and hatred of them. I went no contact with my parents (and very limited contact with my toxic siblings) several years ago, and the hatred and fear gave way to indifference and relief that I no longer had to allow these people to pollute my life.

I don't think I know what "love" really feels like. I try to give my best interpretation of what I think it should be to my lovely DH and DC, but it always feels like I'm an actor in a play. Sometimes I feel like I need to be prompted to say the right lines, iyswim. I think (hope) they feel safe and loved, but I forever feel like I'm giving an unconvincing performance. The easy affection within DH's family baffles me, especially the easy physical contact, lots of hugging and kisses and easy intimacy. I recoil when they (in their lovely, welcoming way) draw me into this. I just instinctively don't trust it. At the same time, I long to be like them and long for my own children to have that security of feeling.

Today, I re-read a critique of myself that my sister, a carbon copy of my mother, sent to me a couple of years ago, when I'd gone NC. In it, she told me I needed to respect and forgive my parents despite their faults and failings. Why must we respect a person who has done us irreperable harm? Surely forgiveness and excusing their behaviour just leaves a void. A void that the victim has to fill by accepting the blame for the harm that has been done to them, because otherwise, none of it makes any sense.

forgetmenots Tue 21-May-13 04:41:36

springperennial I've nothing to say and an un-MN hug is possibly going to feel very uneasy. So just will say that I think what you did was strong, brave and above all respectful and forgiving to yourself.

forgetmenots Tue 21-May-13 04:42:15

Nothing helpful to say, that should read

AnyFucker Tue 21-May-13 08:23:17

Spring, I have shed a tear for you

AnyFucker Tue 21-May-13 08:23:52

(and for me of course)

Thank you for this thread. On my way into work and 30weeks pg so v v tearful so marking my place til I can come back and read the thread.
OP and others I started to read, I'm so sorry you went through this too but it's 'nice' to know I'm not alone. PG with DD1 and so utterly clear on what NOT to do, just need to figure out what TO do. Back later

Whocansay Tue 21-May-13 08:45:34

I'm fucking thankful I didn't turn out like her!

"If you can't be a good example, you can at least be a horrible warning."
That is my mother.

springperennial Tue 21-May-13 11:01:45

Thank you Forgetmenots and AF and everyone on this thread. Hugs and tears across cyberspace don't scare me so much, and I can accept gratefully and return them without embarrassment! Although I do feel undeserving - more childhood conditioning there, I suppose. I really feel for all of you that have been through this.

Remembering congratulations on your pregnancy, is this your first baby? Having a baby can result in your own childhood punching you in the face with huge force. It did for me. I suddenly really realised what they had done to a small, defenceless, utterly dependent child. Thank god for MN and Stately Homes, everything suddenly became clear when I started reading about toxic childhoods and FOG. It helped me to break the cycle of abuse I was falling into as a parent myself. I hope you are ok, Remembering do you have support? Keep posting here if it helps.

Thinking about what I wrote last night. I know I am not cold and unaffectionate with my children the way my parents were with me. With them, it's like my body knows what to do, there's an instinct there to hug and kiss and laugh and just be a mum with then. An then my brain catches up, and suddenly, it is like I'm an observer and I'm critiquing my performance, and analysing if I am being normal/convincing. Does that make any sense?

infamouspoo Tue 21-May-13 11:19:51

Remembering, I found when I had y own children it started the healing process but I do identify with what spring says. I still often feel I'm acting. Is this 'feeling' love? Because I never had any I dont know what it feels like. A damaged childhood leaves you unable to trust whats inside.

AgathaF Tue 21-May-13 11:29:07

MN has made me realise that there are lots of us with this similar situation too. I wonder where they all were when I was growing up though. It seemed that every other child in school had a happy childhood.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 21-May-13 11:38:02

Don't worry Agatha we all migrated to MN smile

AnyFucker Tue 21-May-13 11:41:43

Agatha, as a child, and as of now....none of us knew/knows what goes on behind closed doors.

AgathaF Tue 21-May-13 12:00:47

I know. I wish I had known that as a child and as a young adult though. Not that I want for anyone else to be or have been unhappy, but I suppose as a child I blamed myself.

I also dislike it when other adults downplay it. A friend of mine said that it was normal in the 70s to get the odd smack. She is very close to her mum. She really doesn't have a clue. I tend to only talk about it with people that I know have had a similar experience, because they are the only ones who really understand.

forgetmenots Tue 21-May-13 12:11:22

The other adults will always downplay it because as a society we do not talk about this. I honestly think the more this taboo is discussed the better.

Before I met my DH's family I thought there was my parents and there was Fred and Rose West, with very little shade of grey in the middle of that spectrum. I was wrong and incredibly naive, and AF is right when she says people from very positive families often can't recognise a dependent or unhealthy relationship. Spot on.
I encouraged my DH to build bridges with his abusive mother because he was too ashamed to tell me the whole story and I was too naive to see there was more to it. I feel awful to this day.

The more people can be open about families not being perfect, the more we will all understand I think.

tangerinefeathers Tue 21-May-13 12:15:57

spring that is such an eloquent post, I had to write. I know where you are coming from, I still have some sadness about my father but my mother just fills me with despair and anxiety and I often wonder if I'll feel relief when she's gone, it seems so wrong, but I suspect I will.

It's only since becoming a parent myself that I've realised what I missed, before then I genuinely thought she was a saint. In a way it's a relief to know the truth, but I also feel so much bitterness and anger at her behaviour [I vented on that other thread blush]. Threads like that sting because they make me wonder about what I missed out on, and what's missing from me, having had such a cold mother.

I did read that you start processing feelings like this when you are ready to, so maybe it's good to get angry/sad, think about it and vent on MN. Better than burying it all. I think it's telling that both of my sisters, who are very close to my mother, are on anti-depressants, whereas I am almost constantly pissed off with her blush but not depressed.

I think it's normal to feel like you're performing as a parent, though. You have too, at times, because it's a job and you have to keep doing it even when your head is somewhere else. Sometimes it comes easily and sometimes you are just acting the role of a mother, I think most mothers would do that. You may have meant something different, but for me there's definitely an element of faking it and I think kids don't know.

I think an open, non-abusive atmosphere in the home is the most important thing. When I think of how my mother's moods governed our home that is the thing I try most of all to avoid, by managing my own moods as best i can.

ConfusedPixie I know what you mean about Mumsnet being more of a mum. This site has changed how I think about women, I trust and like them more purely from reading the words and thoughts of strangers I'll probably never meet. I've also been told 'you're mother is nuts' on here which was, in a fucked up way, incredibly helpful to me grin.

spring the feeling of acting 'catching up' is bang on for me. I remember dd having a fit from a fever age 19 months ish and though i was phoning an ambulance and packing her bag with nappies and clothes part of me afterwards realised i was thinking through what i'd said on the phone to see if i had sounded 'concerned enough' which is utterly ridiculous. My PFB was having a fit, i was terrified of coarse i sounded flipping concerned!

On a day to day basis i often have to remind myself to 'mum' the dc - lets draw/paint/go to the park etc - all things my mum didn't do she did feck all the hungover tart i do forget a lot but they are told daily they are beautiful, precious, wanted, loved, adored and needed by both myself and dp. Not to an over inflated ego sense just so they know we think the world of them. My dd is a cheeky moody pita at times and ds drives me up the wall on an hourly basis but so often my heart just bursts looking at the little people i made and whilst i'm not perfect my littles love me anyway smile and that feels good. I prefer my kids feel able to mouth off/run riot around the house within reason because i don't want them meek like me - forever shushed and ignored.

My mother was/is a shit parent and worse grandparent

But to listen to her talking she is parent of the fucking century!

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 21-May-13 14:32:54

I miss not having a mother. I will never speak to my mother again, but sometimes long to have that relationship, and it has been a struggle to accept that I can't.

I think the legacy of being raised by my abusive and awful gran, and being left to rot by my mother (and my mother being a professional victim about it) is that I don't trust anyone wholeheartedly, and am pretty much a cold fish. I quite easily walk away from things and shy away from developing strong relationships. Apart from some people I cherish I can take or leave people really.

My overwhelming fear is that I am a terrible mother to dd. my mother and gran never realised how awful they were - what if I am the same? I just want to break the cycle of terrible motherhood in my family which has been going on for generations (my great gran was impriosoned for child cruelty in the 20s). And I don't want to end up bitter and misanthropic. But I fear sometimes when I feel very down about it that I am halfway there,

Waspie Tue 21-May-13 15:53:20

My mum appears to be a good mother - to everyone except her children of course.

Her world is herself. She is a self indulgent, stupid, drama queen. People think she is caring but if you actually listen to her what she is actually saying is all about her. e.g. "I feel so helpless to help X". "I'm so worried that X is ill". She is a manipulative bully. My sister is still scared of her.

When we were children she would throw a tantrum and leave for days at a time, leaving my dad to look ofter us.

I found out last year that she actually hit (punched, slammed into walls) my sister several times when she was little. (She has never touched me, my sister thinks that this is because she knew I would tell). I couldn't speak to her for months afterwards and even now I have difficulty not telling her just how revolted I am at her violence towards my sister (my sister has asked me not to tell her that I know).

If it weren't for my dad (who enables her) I would have nothing to do with her.

My dad doesn't bother even trying to temper her more outrageous and bizarre behaviour anymore. He just says that he's too old now. I despise him for this.

When I was a teenager I wished they would split so that sis and I could live with dad and have a "normal" stable life.

I too worry that I'm going to be a crap parent to my son because I don't know what a balanced mother/child relationship is like.

And, obviously, I feel a complete cow for not loving or respecting my mother.

DP's mum died when he was a small child and I can't help thinking that I would have been happier if mine had done the same [guilt, guilt, guilt overload]

infamouspoo Tue 21-May-13 16:05:33

'But to listen to her talking she is parent of the fucking century!'

Indeed. My mother rewrites history and says I'm lying about what happenend. Then bleats to my sister who sends me vile emails about how dare I upset a vunerable old lady with my poisonous attention seeking lies when our childhood was blissful. Fucking what!

RabbitFromAHat Tue 21-May-13 16:09:13

I know I don't really belong here as I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful mother, and I'm so grateful to have her in my life. I am so sorry that you've all had to go through this.

I just wanted to say that my mother was abused and neglected terribly by her mother, and she tells me that she (as did my dad, who came from a different kind of abusive family) struggled awfully with the idea of becoming a parent, and relived an awful lot of her own awful childhood when she became a mum.

I know she always has and sometimes still does struggle to feel 'the right way' about her kids, and worried greatly about what she was doing right/wrong. However, she has always loved us extra-fiercely and she worked extra hard at being the most loving and thoughtful parent she could be. I can't say how grateful I am for that, and sometimes I have a little weep for her, although I would never say it.

It's a cycle that can be broken, and I promise you that your own children will have nothing but total respect and love for the fact that you're all doing that, every day, even though it must sometimes be immensely hard. I hope to be a mum soon, and I will be so proud to take her as my example. Have some flowers from me, and for my mum too.

Badvoc Tue 21-May-13 16:14:33

One of my greatest fears is that I am like my mother.
I don't think I am, but the thought terrifies me.

tangerinefeathers Tue 21-May-13 16:18:17

rabbit that is a lovely post, thank you. There is something about becoming a mother that brings up so much shit from childhood. I always thought I didn't understand my mother because I wasn't a parent myself, I had no idea how hard it was and how much she suffered. But then I became a mother and got the shock of my life at how badly she'd behaved and continues to behave. I would hate myself if I treated my son like that.

But I read every post on these kinds of threads and there's a lot of just saying 'this is what happened' which I think is very helpful, breaking the silence and knowing that others are reading and understand, even if you don't respond to every post. I find it helpful to 'tell on her' here because if I'm honest I'm still scared of her in real life and her ability to reduce me, to turn me back into a frightened little girl, even though she can't physically hurt me anymore. And it is amazing when you read others stories how much these kinds of mothers have in common. All selfish, all cruel, all utterly unsuited to being responsible for small and trusting little people sad

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 21-May-13 16:21:26

Oh rabbit. Your poor mum. And what a lovely post.

One thing that I am constantly surprised about on mumsnet is the amount of women who have terrible mothers. It is very taboo to not speak to your mother in real life, people look at you as if you are mad.

I totally agree that people in normal families don't really understand what a pernicious family is like. Thank god for their sakes that they have been spared. I am very, very fortunate to have a close relationship with my lovely MIL - thank god for her.

Shodan Tue 21-May-13 16:23:26

It seems that having a mother who believes ( and tells everybody) that she was the best mother ever is not as uncommon as I thought.

I have also lurked on the Stately Homes threads but never posted- I don't know why. Possibly because sometimes she tries at least to make an effort? But always (as a pp said) it's always with herself as the central theme. Or perhaps because, once you let some of it out, it all comes gushing out as an unstoppable force.

The one thing I did learn though was that when I had my DC, I could change the pattern. I could praise them and hug and kiss them and make them feel like there wasn't anything in the world they couldn't do. I didn't have to follow Mum's way. I could consciously choose to give them self-esteem, to not make it all about me.

And that has helped me.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 21-May-13 17:48:41

Badvoc that is my nightmare also! I can see certain things in me that remind me of how she was eg. I find it really difficult to play with children, however I know how much it hurt me that she never wanted to play with us, so I push myself to do it.

Sorry I haven't come back. yesterday was my birthday and things were hetic enough after a weekend of no sleep thanks to the cockhead I live with and desperately trying to find a new home between work and scouts (dropping a deposit off tonight and move in this weekend thank fuck! The first place we saw yesterday was great, after months of being unable to find anything 100 offers have come at once!) so the last thing I wanted to do was come on the thread and make things even worse for myself mentally.

My worst fear is turning into my Mum or Dad. I'm terrified of it. DP keeps promising me that I won't but how does he know? I'm already a bit of a hoarder like my Dad and when I get annoyed or angry I sound terrifying just like he did when I was a child. I'm already overly loud like my Mum, I've worked for years to learn how to keep my voice at It's embarrassing. I know that from my own childhood and experiences in school that there is no way I will ever send my children into the conventional schooling system. maybe not at all. I could not think for one minute of my kids going through even one bit of what I went through. They will be ding self defence classes to learn about respect of others and themselves, how to look after themselves and how to stand up for themselves and will not be dropping out like I did. I will not let them quit something they enjoy when it gets hard like I was allowed to either. And if they get ill like I did I will not be trusting doctors to do what right for them, I will be pushing and pushing for every test I can get to ensure that it's handled efficiently from the start and not get to a point that my health is at.

It's hard to realise how much your parents have failed you.

AnneElliott Tue 21-May-13 18:10:48

I also grateful for this thread. I have felt this way about my mum for as long as I can remember, but I know no-one in RL who has the same problem.
Does anyone else have issues with buying cards? For mother's
Day or her birthday? They all say stuff like "to the best mum in the world" and I just can't send her stuff like that as it is not true.

VenusStarr Tue 21-May-13 20:03:31

I have no affection for my mom. It has got worse as I have got older. She has never told me she loves me or that she is proud of me. We have no relationship. It makes me sad that I don't have a caring mom.

I'm very angry with her (and my dad). My sister had her first baby last year (first baby on our family) and my mom took no interest. None whatsoever. Her eldest daughter's first baby. I couldn't get my head round it. Luckily my sister and I are extremely close, so I had more than enough excitement and interest in her growing tummy and kicks from baby. My niece had a very traumatic entry into the world and ended up in SCBU for 2 weeks, 72 hours she was on a cooling mat. My parents don't drive, I left the hospital at 3am, cried on my own, devastated for my sister, her partner and my poorly niece. The next morning I spoke to my mom and said I would collect them to take them to the hospital. My mom said she was going food shopping first and did I want lunch sad no I want to be at the hospital with my sister.

I feel that parents really let my sister down. That is just one example. Thankfully my niece has recovered well and is nearly one. In the year that has passed they have seen my niece less than 20 times. They take zero interest in her, my dad called my sister last week and didn't ask about my niece.

I just don't understand their behaviour. I certainly don't respect them, like them or love them. It makes me sad that I haven't got a good relationship with them. I could quite easily never see them again.

AnyFucker Tue 21-May-13 20:25:15

it takes me ages to choose a greeting card, I will literally be stood at the display for ages

I have to make sure the verse/greeting is appropriate (or rather, not inappropriate )

Skinnywhippet Tue 21-May-13 20:40:36

I thought it was just me that had an uncaring, disinterested mother. I am more jealous now of my friends and their relationships with their mums. Now that I don't need her in a practical way, I realise I am missing out much more by not having an adult daughter to mother relationship. I feel cheated also. OP, I think the important thing is to make sure you don't repeat her failings with your own children.

My mum rarely remembers to ask about my dc venus, when she does it is only about dd, ds is an afterthought sad

I'm very jealous of my best friend and her mum - her mum is very old fashioned i.e girls don't talk loud, drink, swear, sleep about, bare their shoulders etc etc and my friend well, did/does all that, she is definitely her fathers daughter grin They had a strained relationship till my friend had her dd 3 years ago. Now it's still uncomfortable for my friend because they have nothing in common but her dd brings them together, her mum pops in and takes her dd twice a week for the day and calls at least once a week to see everyones alright. Her mum bakes for her and does special baking for her dp she even buys them wee anniversary gifts it's so sweet smile

I look in from the outside thinking how nice it must be to have a mum so caring even if she was always so suffocating in our teens. She was just caring for her dd, she's a good woman my best friend is lucky.

alcibiades Tue 21-May-13 22:03:36

I, too, lurk on the Stately Homes threads. Those threads, and this one, reassure me that I'm not the only one. And I've understood how difficult it is to get the point across to people who don't come from dysfunctional families. Or, maybe, some of them are still in the FOG. Or, as forgetmenots says, it's a taboo subject. If we try to explain to people from normal families what it's like, they'll try to find a normal explanation. VenusStarr's story is an example of that. "Oh, they're probably so anxious/worried that they can't cope emotionally; give them a break." Instead of the reality known to us, that actually they couldn't give a flying fuck. (But you shouldn't say nasty things about Mummy, should you?)

Also, one of other issues is that because the abuse wasn't of the kind that left physical scars, but was the kind of drip-drip abuse/neglect over the entirety of our childhoods, most of the individual examples we could give can seem very trivial to those who came from normal families. They only react to that particular anecdote, they can't see it as part of a lifelong pattern of unacceptable behaviour.

I'd like to relate one anecdote about my mother. While I was growing up, she often regaled me with stories about how she proved other people wrong. One story in particular was very important to her, and she repeated that story to me several times. When she was pregnant with her third child, she was warned several times by both her GP and midwife that this baby was going to be small, certainly smaller than her first two. She was adamant that they were wrong, and this baby was going to be bigger than her first two. Lo and behold, she was right. Her first two were 8-2, then 8-4 (me), and this one was 8-6, exactly as she had predicted. Cue smug face. And cue the retelling of that story to me several times, because that proved she knew better than the experts.

Fast forward to when I had my children. Bear in mind at this point that she was taller and bigger than me. My first was 8-0, my second was 8-4. Oh, look, mother, my second child was the same weight as your second child. Oh, no, she said, (staring determinedly at me), all my babies were over 9 lbs. I was taken aback by that, because I hadn't realised that birthweight was a competition, but clearly it was for her. On its own, that example is trivial. But it was the start of realising that she had a need to be better than anyone else, including her own daughter. That was when I began to parent my children differently; in particular, I decided it was important to say sorry to my children where necessary, because she never did.

She's dead now. I can't remember what her date or even year of death was, because I had gone no-contact a long time before and only found out by accident. I think I've got it written down somewhere.

Thank you for starting this thread, ConfusedPixie. I have wanted to tell the story about the birthweights, but felt it wasn't really appropriate for the Stately Homes threads. Of all the stories I could tell about my mother, that's the one that hurts the most.

Hissy Tue 21-May-13 23:19:20

Buying cards is horrific!

i wonder, should we stop the anguish, the pain at the counter and actually by the MOST vomtastic one we can find?

IF anything is said, say, oh, I didn't read it, just thought the picture was nice... <whistle>

AgathaF Wed 22-May-13 08:07:01

Oh yes. Buying cards ........

VenusStarr Wed 22-May-13 11:42:28

alcibiades yes! It's the embarrassment of having to try to explain to someone who has a healthy relationship with their parents that my parents seriously just don't care. At all. I don't understand it, so it's hard to explain to others. And they then try to normalise it, but there's no way to normalise that a mother takes no interest in her children or grandchild, no explanation at all.

Waspie Wed 22-May-13 12:02:29

Oh buying cards.... I have taken to buying the generic cards with no writing inside. I cannot bring myself to buy the "most wonderful mum" type cards.

In fact my mum threw a huge sulk/wobbly at Christmas because the card my sister sent her wasn't gushy enough. My sister was so upset and told her to do one (yeh, first time, I was so proud of my sis for finally sticking up for herself smile)

Perhaps we could start a new range of greetings cards for toxic parents?! (sorry, bad joke).

Xiaoxiong Wed 22-May-13 12:13:51

I've been lurking on this and the stately homes thread for a while - my mother is not as bad as many so I feel a bit blush to presume to compare her to the behaviour described here. Thank god she doesn't do cards or mothers' day and her birthday is a day which shall not be named so at least I don't have to suffer that awfulness.

However there is much in common as well that now I have DS I just feel is the height of cruelty. No expressions of love, pride, encouragement or affection - in fact, she has always said explicitly that if she did praise me or DBro this would reward us for just "doing what we were supposed to do" and any praise or affection would cause us to immediately stop over-achieving. Of course we were over-achieving to try and get praise and affection - it never worked, the bar was always raised just as we jumped high enough and we were a disappointment yet again.

But to the rest of the family and the world, she is a wonderful incredible mother because she raised two incredible kids and she apparently gushes about us behind our backs. No one believes me when I tell them what she says to my face sad My DBro tells her nothing and has an incredible ability to ignore her when she is speaking directly to him, and ignore everything she says - I react every time and then get accused of being thin skinned, taking things personally, being a drama queen.

I am pregnant with DS2 and she hasn't spoken to me since I got my BFP - but no one believes me!! Conversation with my aunt (her sister):

"oh your mother must be over the moon"
"well I don't know, she hasn't spoken to me since February"
"oh come on, don't be silly, she must be so happy!"
"I'm telling you, I really don't know as she isn't speaking to me"
"oh please, she wouldn't do that, why don't you just call her?"
"I have tried, she won't pick up the phone to me or answer emails"
"oh I'm sure that's not true, she's just busy probably"
"for the last 20 weeks??"
"well she's probably just worried about you, why don't you give her a call"


AgathaF Wed 22-May-13 13:11:12

Xiaoxiong - congratulations on your pregnancy flowers. Her non-acknowledgement must be so hurtful.

Xiaoxiong Wed 22-May-13 14:16:06

flowers Agatha and you have just proved ConfusedPixie's point again: MN is a better mother than my mother in showing me what the right reaction should be from her. Her behaviour is still hurtful but not soul-destroyingly hurtful like it would have been just three years ago before I started lurking and then posting here.

(Thankfully my wonderful MIL is also a better mother than my mother.)

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Wed 22-May-13 18:47:07

I send all cards to her from my DD. I don't send them from me.

FuturePerfect Wed 22-May-13 18:57:33

Alcibiades, what makes me sad about your post is that you were still trying to make some connection with your M, seeking some kind of bond over the weight of your second babies - and she rejected that. I remember hearing about a scientific study where baby apes would still cling to a stick covered in fur, in the absence of real mothering, even though it could never suffice.hmm

TheArmadillo Wed 22-May-13 19:37:23

One thing I struggle with, having come to terms with my upbringing and having been non-contact with my family for years, is not people disbelieving me but people being very shocked and appalled by 'anecdotes' about my family/upbringing. This is stuff that doesn't reach my top 10 of crappy stuff they did.

They often get upset or angry and tell me how awful it is, and I don't like it. It makes me feel bad for upsetting them (though they don't mean to make me feel like that). Also my dh believes I still don't comprehend quite how bad it/they all was/were, and I think this is a factor. I think it's an interesting anecdote and they think it is horrendous and I find that difficult to deal with.

I try not to let it put off me being open about what happened to me though and I think it helps me understand how what I was brought up was very not normaL. Also it stops the secrecy families like mine love as it protects the abuser and keeps the victim from building support or realising what is wrong. I think talking about this stuff is important.

AnyFucker Wed 22-May-13 20:10:48

a stick covered with fur sad

and sad again

GetOrfMoiLand Wed 22-May-13 20:21:48

Oh bloody hell I remember reading about that study on monkeys. They must have experimented in the 60s or something, it was a really old book when I read it as a kid in the 80s. Some of the mother monkeys had been xperimented on themselves and wee terrible mothers, beat the baby monkeys aeverely. I remember that the baby monkeys would keep going back despite being beaten, didn't lose their faith in their mother. I remember feeling sickened when I read that as it made me remember my childhood thrashings and pleaing for them to stop, and I also remember wanting a cuddle afterwards. Bloody horrible memories. And yes the baby monkeys would cuddle a stick, or pretend monkey mother in the absence if anything else.

God I hadn't thought of that in years,

Yes to the grimness of buying Cards. My gran was the type of person who would be furious if she didn't get those monstrous cards with sentimental verses of devotion etc, and even though she was my gran I had to call her mum, so the cards had to say 'wonderful mother' or something. Strangely even after I left her (moved out when 16 And got in contact with my actual mother when I was 17) I then somehow had to do the same for my mother to 'make up' for lost time. So another set of cards with sentiments I didn't mean.

GetOrfMoiLand Wed 22-May-13 20:21:59

Bloody hell, essay.

AnyFucker Wed 22-May-13 20:41:54

Getorf sad

Lizzylou Wed 22-May-13 20:57:22

I completely relate to so many posts on this thread.
Finally, at my grand old age of 40, the scales are off my eyes and I realise that my Mother ( and Father, but I never had great expectations of him anyway) were not all that. It spurs me on to be a better parent, same with my brother ( who has always been bemused by my steadfast stance of supporting my mother no matter what, according to my sil). I dunno.
All I know is that I will never be put behind her partner again, that myself and my brother are better parents and that she verily showed herself up for what she is over Christmas.
I only suddenly snapped because she put a man (and such a feckless one at that!); before my children. She did the same throughout my childhood, but my boys will not be snubbed.
I am horribly vindictive and that will never happen again.
Just wish I had woken up beforehand.

Lizzylou Wed 22-May-13 21:06:59

Oh Getorf, you are so fabulous. Despite them all, you are sad

pointythings Wed 22-May-13 21:35:40

This is sad.

But you can overcome your mother's failures. My own mum is proof of that - my gran was a weak woman, always avoided conflict, never stood up for her DDs against a bullying narcissist husband who was my mother's stepfather and who ruined one of my aunts and scarred the other for life.

My mum overcame all those things, because she had the insight to see what her own mum had done wrong and to do things differently. You, OP, sound like you are cut from the same cloth. You have the same insight and understanding. It is sad that your mum did not give you anything to thank her for, but you have made yourself what you are now and you should be proud.

AnyFucker Wed 22-May-13 21:44:50

Pointy, that is a good thought

I can categorically say that everything I have achieved in my life and all the good things I have now are all down to me

I can be proud of that. For not repeating the pattern, for not going under.

alcibiades Wed 22-May-13 21:48:20

I took so long writing my response that I got logged out. Fortunately I copied what I'd written:

Xiaoxiong - that conversation with your aunt really encapsulates how people try to normalise such behaviour. Assuming that your aunt is a kind person, it shows how difficult it can be for some people to actually understand - it's almost as though you were each talking a different language. But in some families, people choose not to hear, preferring instead to sweep things under the carpet.

FuturePerect - yes, what I thought was just an interesting and somewhat trivial thing to note, she had to tell a blatant lie in order to be superior.

I've read about that experiment before (it was carried out by a psychologist called Harry Harlow). But strangely enough, I hadn't actually connected that to myself. That experiment was cruel (and wouldn't be allowed these days on ethical grounds) but did help to bolster the growing view at that time that more was needed for an infant to thrive and grow into a confident adult than just the basics of food and shelter. I guess that's probably why I've had issues of low self-esteem at times - it's difficult to love yourself if you weren't loved as a child. God, what a legacy these people have bequeathed to us.

TheArmadillo - I applaud you for telling others and educating/enlightening them, but all of that comes at a price. People do have problems in coping with their own feelings when a victim reveals their story, but that's often because society hasn't yet got to grips with situations like ours. It's a taboo subject, but a taboo that needs to be broken, and it's mostly us who are having to do that. A double whammy, in a sense.

For some reason, I've been thinking about the physical response to an infection. Sometimes the body creates a wall around a site of infection, resulting in a cyst full of pus. That cyst can start off being very small, but with each repeated infection it grows a little bit larger. Eventually, it'll grow so big that it bursts. And that's when others see the grossness that's been lurking there all the time.

Xiaoxiong Wed 22-May-13 23:25:11

Yes they are all in denial. Everyone sweeping it under the carpet and refusing to believe me.

Just got an email asking when she can come round tomorrow to see DS. She is making a point of bringing her PA. We haven't spoken in 6 months and yet I bet she will arrive as if nothing had ever happened because her PA will be there watching. Means she doesn't have to apologise too as she is adamant you don't air family problems to outsiders hmm

AgathaF Thu 23-May-13 07:58:03

Xiaoxiong you don't have to see her tomorrow, you know. Or if you do want to see her, why not make it at a different time, so hopefully she arrives on her own?

forgetmenots Thu 23-May-13 08:46:19

Xiaoxiaong just say no - or better still ignore the request and be out!

doodleloo Thu 23-May-13 10:12:22

The cards thing is very pertinent. I remember reading a Mother's Day card from my sister to mum where she actually wrote the words ' I love you' - I was shocked, wondering how my sister could write those words. Those words that were never ever uttered to us. They just seemed so alien.

Card greetings for toxic parents." thanks for keeping my body alive throughout childhood, while causing irreparable damage to my psyche."

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 23-May-13 10:20:27

Thanks lizzy - that's a lovely thing to say. smile

Bloody mothers day gets me down. It always had to be a big performance. Never used to get the flowers right.

It is astonishing looking back how similar my mother is to my gran, with subtle differences. I almost had to break with my mother in order to be able to see it. My gran had 5 children (plus me) who she raised, and she died alone, none of her children spoke to her because she was so awful. My mother now only speaks to one member of the family (my brother) as she has alienated all the rest. The similarity is that neither of them were to blame - my gran went around telling everyone (small town) that her children were selfish, wicked, awful, insane, and my mother is doing the same. Everyone else is to blame.

xiao - that is bloody telling that she hasn't seen you in months and emailed you to arrange it and is bringing her PA.

it's difficult to love yourself if you weren't loved as a child - that's bloody true. And difficult to expect it from others as well. Causing harm in relationships - on one hand you never really believe that you are loved, so constantly challenge it, and then if you do believe that your partner loves you you will end up staying with that partner even if the relationship is flawed or damaged because you can never believe that you deserve anything different.

Mollydoggerson Thu 23-May-13 11:17:00

Powerful thread.

Xiao - Either ignore her or else respond saying you would prefer if she came on her own. Bringing her PA to a private family home would be uncomfortable for all involved. (It's clearly her security blanket - insecure woman).

Xiaoxiong Thu 23-May-13 12:11:55

Thanks for the push everyone. I've emailed to say I will set up a meeting with her PA separately if she wants to see DS. I bet she still arrives with the PA anyway sad I often think she wishes I was like her PA - thin, "interesting", eager to please and ready to pander to her every whim for a salary.

God I've dodged a bullet with cards though it sounds like. Thank goodness we don't do cards in our family, sounds absolutely awful forced hypocrisy.

I would be very wary and infact I would now cancel any such meeting saying that you've changed your mind and that its not acceptable. If these people are too toxic for you then they are certainly too toxic for your children to be anywhere near.

Some parents should really not have any access to their grandchildren.

SkaffenAmtiskaw Thu 23-May-13 16:32:44

Thanks for this thread. I have also lurked on the stately homes thread, but not felt able to post as my childhood doesn't seem to have been as bad as some on that thread.

My mother did love me in her own twisted way, but she always prefered and prioritised my brother. For instance, talking, some years later, about a house move we had when I was 13, she said she'd regretted moving because my brother didn't cope very well and "retreated into his shell". Erm, excuse me mother, did you not notice me going completely off the rails (bunking off school when I had been a straight As pupil, drugs, alcohol, underage sex, you name it)?

I never had cuddles because she had decided that I wasn't a cuddly child, and I don't remember her ever telling me she loved me.

I remember writing a poem for her when I was about 15, one that went "you're such a lovely mum, always there for me etc" and crying buckets while I was writing it. I didn't understand why at the time, but never gave her the poem. I realised much later that I was crying for the mother I didn't have sad

My mother is dead now, and I sort of miss her, although again, I think I miss the mother she should have been rather than the mother she was.

Hissy Thu 23-May-13 20:11:02

Xiaoxiong Her PA thing is so that you don't take her to task about anything. Classic manipulation.

Do you have the number/email of the PA? Seeing as diary management would doubtless be one of her tasks... contact the PA and say you are going to have to reschedule.... and that you won't be able to make the visit after all.


GetOrfMoiLand Thu 23-May-13 21:32:48

Oh skaffen sad heartbreaking the thought of the 15 year old you crying over that poem. I a, sorry.

poppysays Thu 23-May-13 21:54:43

Are you me? Or are several of you reading my mind? I've just plucked up the courage to post a mother related post on here, it took me nearly an hour and several edits to click post message. However now I realise I've missed so much out of my thread that is mentionned here. I was dreadfully physically and verbally bullied at school and mother said "don't make such a fuss" when i broke down in tears in front of her.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE said:
My greatest fears are that I will turn into my mother and that I will push away anyone who loves me.

This is my fear entirely that started my own thread. I'm sort of relieved I'm not the only one, I think thoughts like this and then reprimand myself, feeling this cannot be normal, as my mother would say "don't make such a fuss"......

SkaffenAmtiskaw Fri 24-May-13 16:50:24

it's difficult to love yourself if you weren't loved as a child - that's bloody true. And difficult to expect it from others as well. Causing harm in relationships - on one hand you never really believe that you are loved, so constantly challenge it, and then if you do believe that your partner loves you you will end up staying with that partner even if the relationship is flawed or damaged because you can never believe that you deserve anything different.

This ^. So true. I ended up in an abusive relationship.

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