Just spent the evening with my mother...(48 Posts)
And I am now very upset. DF has suggested I come on here and let it all pour out...
Right, back story. My parents divorced 20 years ago now and have both moved on since, mum and step-dad married for 14 years, dad and step-mum for 15 years with an 11 year old daughter, my half-sister (whom I love as much as if she were a full sister and am immensely proud and protective of).
My mum can be a strange one, she can be extremely nasty at times.
My dad has been very, very ill through stress. He has had a heart attack recently, and also suffered from severe depression. He was put on some serious pills that made him forget who his family were. A very upsetting time for all, especially for half-sis (DHS?). She was sobbing in my arms one day, terrified our dad was going to die.
Anyway tonight my mum and step-dad popped round, straight away my mum started bitching at me - why was the kitchen a bit messy, why had I already put DS to bed...etc, etc.
Step-dad asked how my dad was, I said he was much better recently thank you, and how much of a relief it was. I said that poor half-sis was a lot happier now that dad was better too. My mum suddenly hissed "Well, they shouldn't have had that child should they. Bloody stupid idiots having a child! She is a weird child as well, wierd looking"
I ignored her, saw my step-dad shoot her a look though.
The topic changed to losing things. I said how DF's mum had lost a ring, it had just gone walkies one day. My mum piped up that my dad and step-mum had apparently once accused my childminder/cleaner of stealing things from them. She took great delight in telling me that they had apparently been spreading malicious rumours about this woman and then, to quote her "when that stupid woman and your father found the stuff they didn't even apologise!"
Again, I ignored her, got up and fetched a drink. She came after me and asked if I was ok. I asked her not to be nasty about my father. Pointed out they had been divorced for twenty years, that I didn't care what happened and that it upset me to hear her talk how she did. I said that my sister had not done anything wrong and was only a child. She did not ask to be born to her ex-husband. Mum was un-repentant to say the least and spent the rest of the evening picking me, DF, our son and our house to pieces.
On re-reading this it seems really petty, I'm in two minds if I should just delete it all. I'm sorry it's long, and badly punctuated/worded. Really upset.
You say they divorced 20 years ago and have both moved on since - well, that's not really the case, is it? Your mother may have remarried but she hasn't moved on; there are still issues. Jealousy? Is there history with your stepmother? Did she want another child and was unable to have one, whereas your father could?
Whatever's going on - it's not down to you, it doesn't have to be your problem. Ignore. Your stepfather sounds really nice - appreciate that. Your mother sounds dissatisfied and unhappy (how old is she? menopausal issues maybe? That can affect mood badly - think teenager levels of mood swings), but you can't cure that or change her.
not a relaxing evening them. not surprising that you are upset.
What an awful thing to say about a child. YANBU for being upset.
Hassled - I get the feeling that she is a case of "Well, I didn't want him (she instigated the divorce) but I don't want anyone else to have him either." If that even makes sense?
She is in her late 50's. It could be down to the menopause, but, to be honest, she has been like this about the situation for many many years. It's like walking on egg-shells to be around her sometimes.
Thank you blackeyedsusan - I was worried I was being petty.
Sounds horrible. Her anger is not your problem - it's hers alone. She should have that pointed out to her. (And she should get some counselling - 20 years of bitterness!) I'm assuming there is no point in you talking to her and explaining how you feel when she insults your dad and your family? If so, can you speak to your stepdad and ask if he could have a word with her? If it happened again as you describe it here, I'd be tempted to ask her to leave. You don't have to listen to her bad mouth your sick dad, especially in your house. You're an adult, too and it's your house, your rules. You wouldn't go round to her house and insult someone she loves...
Oh floyjoy you don't know how tempted I was to tell her to get out. The only reason I didn't was because it is DF's birthday and they had bought his presents and a takeaway for us all round.
I have tried to explain how sad it makes me feel, but it's like she either forgets or can't equate to emotions, like she doesn't understand how it could possibly make me sad.
A year or so ago we had a bit of a barney. She snarled at me "You are just like your father, It's hard to love people like you. You just wait. DF will see sense and leave you, just like I left your father."
God you don't sound petty at all. Not one bit - you've very right to feel hurt and frazzled by it all. But short of urging her to get some counselling, there's very little you can do, except to restrict the time you spend with her when she's like this in a firm sort of way.
Maybe you should avoid contact with her for a bit? Lessen your stress levels. When you do see her, can you just zone out/get her onto other subjects? Is your stepdad sympathetic to you? I just couldn't take that TBH.
Some people are just like that. If my mum lived by the phrase "if you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all" she would be mute. My dads family seem to be the main focus of her displeasure.
Hope the rant has helped you feel a bit better.
Did she also want to have more kids when she remarried and was unable? (Or, as was the case with my mum, my step-dad didn't want to and so they agreed not to). Certainly no excuse for her behaviour but worth a thought. My mum would never speak ill of my half-sister on my dad's side, even when she was an appalling brat as a child - which I'm not suggesting your dsis is, I should add!
I think you need to tackle it head on. When you asked her not to criticise your dad's family, she moved on to yours. I would have shown her the door - thank goodness your DS didn't have to witness any of this If she wants to play passive-aggressive bingo, let her do it at her house, then you can choose when and for how long you visit.
When she badmouths your DF and his new family, rise above it.
When she badmouths you/your family/your house, feel free to wade in and challenge her
if you can be arsed
Take some comfort in knowing you've had the last laugh tonight as I can't imagine that she'd be overjoyed that you've given her age away!
My step-dad is sympathetic, but he tries to keep out of it all. I could never ask him to intervene as I don't think it would be fair (although, I think he is going to say something to her tonight - just a feeling from the looks he was giving her).
Actually, I'm surprised you haven't told her to ram it. "You just wait. DF will see sense and leave you, just like I left your father." Jesus. Wide berth needed for a bit...
That sounds very, very draining.
You did the mature thing - saying you didn't want to hear this and so on. I'm guessing it's not the first time she's been like this? Or is it up and down? Do specific things (maybe going on elsewhere in her life) trigger worse monologues? Is it getting worse?
<sigh> I had the joy of one of my mother's episodic outbursts about a family member this week. One and a half hours (I started timing it when I realised it was one of those) of bitterness and spite without a break. Really. The first time she paused I brought the conversation to a close - it was on the telephone. About a woman she hasn't spoken to for over twenty years. Really. Still going on about her sex life (full of [imaginary] details my mother fills in for me - graphically) and much, much more.
I am soooo full of sympathy.
One of my friend's mums has a remarkably long bitterness capacity - 40 years on and still listing every complaint about her ex. telling strangers about him, etc. I'm looking forward to being able to behave like this.
<gasp> @ unloveable like your father.
Vent all you like, sweetheart. I'm loving WhoAteMySnicker's comment, though.
Some people really don't seem to think through the impact of what they say, do they?
You've made me feel a whole lot better WhoAteMySnickers - I've got a relative who is undoubtedly your mum's twin
Oh thank you all! Tribpot - the wanting more children thing could be a factor as she was sterilised after she had me, however, not at my dads insistence, but because I "damaged her and she couldn't face another one".
izzy - - just read your post out to DF and he has not stopped laughing yet!
I don't think you're petty either, and your poor step-dad, if he's shooting her looks to STFU he must get it in the ear all the time.
"You are just like your father, It's hard to love people like you. You just wait. DF will see sense and leave you, just like I left your father."
That is such a spiteful thing to say to someone, designed to hurt in the worst possible way.
If you've picked her up on bitching about your Dad while she's round you, I think you're going to have to step up on the amount of times you say it to her, eg every fucking time she says something negative around the subject.
'No, I'd prefer you not to talk like that'
'Please don't talk in that way about my Dad'
'You're doing it again Mum, please don't'
Always in a very measured, low, calm voice, just keep repeating the same shit over and over.
If she chooses to have a tantrum then that's her lookout, don't get dragged into her assigning you responsibility for the way she behaves.
She's fucking angry and seems to enjoy the leeway she's given from people trying to be 'understanding' about why she's like that.
Treat her behaviour like the 5 YO it should belong to, and have none of it
I'm amazed she would have the energy to be so bitter about your Dad over 20 years later.
Could you say "He may be your ex husband but he's still my Dad. I don't expect you to feel fondly towards him but I do and I don't wish to listen to this". Perhaps just keep repeating yourself until she stops. Or go to see her in her own house so that if she keeps going on about it you can get your coat and leave - this would give you a bit more control.
Horrible to make that comment about your half (step?) sister - that was out of order
'because I "damaged her and she couldn't face another one". '
What a horrible, horrible thing for you to have to hear.
I don't think you are being petty at all. You sound like you handled it pretty well, tbh
What is it that keeps you tied to this emotionally abusive woman LadyF?
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