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Is my mother toxic or am I just oversensitive?

(21 Posts)
MumsMunchkin Fri 03-Dec-10 11:49:22

Brief background - parents divorced when I was 6 (I was youngest of 6 of that point). Have vivid memories of my father beating up my mother in drunken rages although later told it was not what it seemed, mother will not discuss what happened or my real father at all. My mother immediately remarried and had 2 further DCs who I was extremely jealous of. Real father visited sporadically for the 1st year after divorce then never saw him again (until last year after 30 years).

Now when I was growing up my mother used to constantly tell me I was 'evil', 'weird', 'a bit touched', 'nasty', that I looked like my paternal grandmother who was an 'evil, fat, stinking bitch' and she would have to take me to a phychiatrist as I was 'looney'. My teenage years were hellish (I could not even tell her I had started my periods, I used tissue in my knickers until my older sister 'ratted' on me - to get me into trouble in her eyes hmm). My siblings viewed me as the 'black sheep' and I was blamed for everything. I spent a large chunk of my formative years laying on my bed listening to the world carrying on around me as I was always being sent to my room - the sound of the rest of the family laughing and me not being a part of it haunts me. She did used to whack me but it was mainly physchological attacks including calling my a 'slut' on my 16th birthday and slapping my face because I had put makeup on that I had be told I was allowed to wear until then confused.

I left home at 18 to start a live in job (quickest way to escape), got a slap round the face and called an ungrateful cow when I told my mother but still went home regularly to visit confused. Since I have lived away from home and am an adult, I get on fine with my mother. She has been there for all the major highs and lows in my life and I don't really bear her any malice for my childhood.

BUT she seems now to picking on one of my DTSs. SHe has called him ugly (to his face) a few times while calling his brother 'handsome' and she and my stepfather show blatant favourism to my other DTS (one time taking my DS2 on a walk and leaving DS1 at home without asking if he wanted to come, by the time DS1 got his shoes on to go after them, they'd gone).

My CBT therapist does not understand why I am in contact with them quite honestly and feels I should confront my mother about all the stuff that's happened but I can't as I don't want the confrontation but I cannot allow her to do to my DS what she's done to me - I have no self esteem or confidence, suffer from social anxiety, OCD, panic attacks and depression and therefore feel that I have not achieved in life anything close to what I could have been capable of if I did not have these issues.

I really can't understand why I still love her either and wonder whether I was just an oversensitive child who took everything to heart. My 7 other siblings are quite well rounded and do not have any of the issues I have so perhaps AIBU to think that it's me with the problem not her??

MrsTedHughes Fri 03-Dec-10 11:51:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MumsMunchkin Fri 03-Dec-10 11:53:24

Gahhh, loads of typos!

She did whack me but it was mainly psychological attacks including calling me a 'slut' on my 16th birthday and slapping my face because I had put makeup on that I had be told I was NOT allowed to wear until then.

MumsMunchkin Fri 03-Dec-10 12:00:18

I was an extremely unhappy child MrsT but I did not realise it until the last year unfortunately when I started getting help for my mental health problems.

Kids are excited about spending Xmas with them at their house FFS.

MumsMunchkin Fri 03-Dec-10 12:02:50

OMG I just realised this is in Adoptions instead of AIBU. Sorry.

AllarmBelly Fri 03-Dec-10 12:04:22

MumsMunchkin perhaps you could ask to have this thread moved to Relationships. There are experts there on toxic relationships. I'm not an expert but there is a classic pattern of taking out the frustrations on one child and treating them badly, while the other siblings are treated well.

Your mother sounds like an absolute nightmare. I would not put her anywhere near children. To call one twin ugly and the other handsome? sad

droves Fri 03-Dec-10 12:04:25

OMFG ... You could be me ... even down to the ocd... Your mother is as evil bonkers as mine.

None of this is your fault . She is a bitch.
I know you still love her ,its whats kept you near putting up with this shit. (could be stokholm if you keep trying to please her and gain approval/love btw).

You need to step back from her.

Understand this are no longer a child/confused teen that she can bully easily.

There is part of her that will be wary of your size as an adult and this is why she has switched to abusing your son .


Do not allow this.
Keep your dtwins away from her.

Just because she gave birth to you does not give her the right to be abusive to you and your children.

You had the right to be loved , im sorry you didnt get that.sad

Come over to stately homes thread.


DrSeuss Fri 03-Dec-10 12:13:15

You are me a few years ago. Please, please, sever cotact right now before she damages you any further. My mother is dead now, a fact I can honestly say I do not regret at all. Sorry if that shocks anyone but it's true. I don't have to deal with her delightful version of Mindfuck anymore and nor do my husband and son. It has taken me a long time to get to where I am and I still have a long way to go. When she died, my son was 15 months and she had already started on him. What she could have done to him by now I hate to think. Drop her now, before she damages you or your kids any more.

KristinaM Fri 03-Dec-10 12:59:28

Why are you letting her treat your kids like this? It's damaging BOTH of them

sparklyjewlz Fri 03-Dec-10 13:11:12

Please take your therapist's advice and sever contact. You have your own lovely family now and she doesn't deserve to be part of it.

FetchezLaVache Fri 03-Dec-10 13:16:22

I'm with your CBT therapist on this one. Don't let her repeat history with poor DT2. You're definitely not over-sensitive. She sounds vile.

monkeyflippers Fri 03-Dec-10 13:40:14

Oh my! She's an evil woman! It's hard to think badly sometimes about someone that we are blood related to but your mum is poisonous. No one should ever say anything like that to a child, she's is really hideous.

I imagine there is a part of you that feels sorry for her (because of the beatings) and excuses what she does but she really isn't good for you or your children to be around. I do really think you should stop seeing her and stop your children seeing her. She is a bad woman and she will mess up your child (the one she called ugly) if she is allowed to keep seeing them. You said something about having low self esteem and anxiety and I'm not surprised. If I were you I would take all the counselling and therapy I could get. It really helps and after the way you have been treated you will need it in my opinion.

So sorry that your childhood was so terrible, you didn't deserve it and I feel so sad for you. Focus on making your childrens life a happy one and bringing them up equally and with love.

droves Fri 03-Dec-10 14:00:31

she will mess up both childen .

The one she called ugly will end up with no confidence and the one she calls handsome will end up with either ...
(1)an over inflated ego , and a self belief that he`s better than his brother
or (2) will end up depressed because gets a shock when he finds out that a persons worth is not about how they look.

or 3) "handsome" ends up bulling his brother.

She is trying to repeat what she did to mumsmunchkin. I have no doubt this is how she treated her own children would have been the "ugly" one.The half siblings would be "handsome".

Its downright evil.


hairyfairylights Fri 03-Dec-10 17:01:28

How can a person be over sensitive? this is a ridiculous thing to say.

It's a good thing to be sensitive.

Abusers and toxic parents often accuse us of being 'over' sensitive to excuse their behaviour.

My Dad used to scream at me and threaten me ( 'I'll break your fucking legs' ), then call me over-sensitive for being upset.

Your mother sounds horrible. Break ties if you can, but definately keep your DC away from her.

maltesers Fri 03-Dec-10 17:20:39

My heart goes out to you MMunchkin. Not had the childhood you had but my Mother is no apple pie mum, she is a bad tempered , critical, unloving bitch of a mother. I turned u[ today to shovel snow from their drive way and steps, and all i got as she welcomed me form the window was, "I cant get my car in to the garage because you have put all your Fathers stuff in there". There was no, " Hello, how are you ? thanks for coming round to sweep our driveway and step free of snow and change your Fathers bed ". It makes me cross. . . . I am so depressed and have made a mess of my life. 3 beautiful children, 2 of whom are grown up, and DP away working 90 miles east. He cant get back cos of snow.
You are sensitive and why not MMunchkin. Your mother was nutty and you did nothing wrong, you are a good person and put up with so much awful treatment. You are special, brave and wonderful and like me didnt deserve to be called a" Slut", (yes here too ), "hoare, traitor, fuck off",no good DD , selfish, thick, unintelligent " etc
YOU are NOT the problem, she is the problem and you must realise just that. You are a good person, like me and deserve to feel good aabout yourself. Things , i beleive happen for a reason. . .you are growing so strong as a person, cos of all this. Treat your kids in the way you wanted as a child and they will be well rounded and know in their hearts as they grow that you are and were a good Mum.
My DD 20 yrs is so mixed up and i left her Dad wen she was 3 yrs . He is hopeless, shows her no love or attention (£ only) and now she realises i am the one who really cares and is there for her.
Hugs to youXXX Stand tall, you are a good Mother . . smile

maltesers Fri 03-Dec-10 17:22:26

Keep posting MM. . .we are here to support you . . .
<<<<hugs>>>>>>>> xxx

MadamDeathstare Fri 03-Dec-10 17:26:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MadamDeathstare Fri 03-Dec-10 17:26:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DrSeuss Fri 03-Dec-10 18:05:15

I fully understand the "this time it will be better, this visit she will be nice, this time she will see how hard I try to please and will reward me by being pleased with me and showing me affection" that probably goes through your head everytime you are due to see her. As I said, that's me a few years ago. I still fantasise about my mother realising how unfair she was and seeing me for the dutiful daughter I have been told by others I was and she's been dead 3.5 years! On her death bed she found new ways to judge me as inadequate, even as I cleaned up her vomit and liased with the nurses on her behalf. It hurts like hell, less than it did, but it hurts.
Please cut this woman out of your life before she damages you more and really damages your children. You owe her no explanations, just do it. If your siblings object, hard luck. If she writes to you, return the letters unopened. Block her number from your phone. Do everything I didn't do and should have done. those beautiful children do not need a toxic grandmother who will hurt them the way you were hurt. Please do it, if not for you, for them.

crystalglasses Wed 08-Dec-10 16:04:40

Mumsmunchkin - "this time she will see how hard I try to please and will reward me by being pleased with me and showing me affection"

the above brought back some very painful memories and has made me cry. I have spent years getting over the hurts of my chlidhood and have done my very best to ensure my own dc are demonstrably loved and nurtured. I think you should try your utmost to prevent history repeating itself on your dc.

papertiger Tue 21-Dec-10 21:23:55

Hi Mumsmunchkin

I don't think you are being oversensitive and I feel I know a bit about how you feel.

I was unhappy as a child also although it sounds like your mother was worse than mine! My parents divorced when I was 3, but whenever they then met up it would end up in horrific arguments, mum throwing dad's stuff out the windows or dumping him on hard shoulder of main roads etc, no physical violence but very distressing as a young child. I missed my Dad a lot but rarely saw him. My mother and I never had a good relationship, she was very cold to me, would accuse me of being just like my father, expect me to do a lot to help out but was completely the opposite with my brother, I remember being sent to my room a lot too and having my books confiscated as I liked to read on my own a lot. She did hit me, although not regularly, would also trash my room in a temper or throw things at me but like you I feel the most harm was psychological/emotional neglect and as an adult I feel she must have known how unhappy I was but never wanted to do anything about it.

I left home at 18 to go to uni, deliberately choosing one a 4-5 hour drive away, which did help our relationship to some extent, but I guess the past then caught up with me and I became very depressed and attempted suicide. I ended up physically disabled because of this but it doesn't cause me a major issue day to day. I'm now 33 weeks pregnant and married, still living 4 hours away which is how I want it. My 'accident' and subsequent disability has in my opinion led to my mother feeling very guilty about the past and trying to over compensate. She says she wants to be 'a better granny than mother' but I find it hard to let her get more involved. Our relationship has become formal, we speak for half an hour the same time every week, yet somehow she thinks she is going to come and stay for a week to 'help out' when the baby is born, which clearly I don't want.

I would agree with others on here who say to cut off contact, but like you I know that's impossible, I also don't want the confrontation and for the rest of the family to think I am mentally ill and over-reacting. I would say do what I am planning, ie. limit contact and keep it formal just to maintain sanity all round but to limit damage she could cause.

Sorry to hijack your thread with my 'issues', like crystalglasses it has touched a nerve.

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