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to not understand my mother?

(30 Posts)
wellfuckit Sat 26-Oct-13 23:28:46

Name-changed but I am a regular.

Obviously, there's a back-story to this but this is a brief synopsis and I am begging for help because I am acutaly pretty distressed about all of this...

I stood up to mum and her undermining me with my parenting and as usual it went tits-up. She decided she wanted to drag up the past - Im gathering from her response that she hoped to get a different-than-usual response from me. She asked for an honest answer to the question, how do I feel about my childhood. I tried to leave the room and she wouldn't let me so I answered as truthfully and neutrally as I could (though how does one be neutral when one is faced with the memory of feeling like a blight on her mother's landscape?) She didn't like my answer so she showed me and the kidlets the door at which point I lost my shit due to the fact that she was choosing to ruin A's half term because she was not happy with me. She told me this evening that its obvious I don't like her, shes waited since I was a small child to show her the love and respect she deserves, and since she's not going to get that she no longer wants anything to do with me. I pointed out that the way I felt as a child had more to do with her actions than mine and that I wanted a relationship with her, I wanted her to see her grandchildren and that couldn't we leave it in the past. She said she was sick of people not liking her and that we should not have contact anymore and that she might see the grandkids from time-to-time. Im speechless to be dad hasnt even bothered calling me.

What do I do? This is just a drop in the ocean that is my relationship with my mother, and I realise that this is just from one side but seriously what do I do? I dont' know where to go from here...

WestieMamma Sat 26-Oct-13 23:32:54

Crack on with your life and enjoy being a better mum to your kids than your mum has been to you. Leave her to wallow in her self pity.

Jolleigh Sat 26-Oct-13 23:36:25

Sounds heated OP. Give yourself some time to calm down first. How likely is she to get in touch if you stay away for a month or so?

Twitterqueen Sat 26-Oct-13 23:39:52

Gosh, this may be way out of line, but...
Sounds like she doesn't like you and never has.

She wans you to say what you don't/didn't like so she can put the blame on you.

I suspect she should never have been a mother and doesn't know even now how to be one or to be a grandmother.

She's waited for YOU to show her the love and respect she deserves??
I don't think so. We all have to earn love and respect - if you can't meet her expectations on that front the responsibility is hers not yours.

I'm so sorry that you seem to have such a cold and unloving mother who clearly doesn't understand how to love a child.

enriquetheringbearinglizard Sat 26-Oct-13 23:48:06

I might be imposing too much of my own experience here, but it sounds like you're well off out of it.
I think I'd either speak to her if you can, or just drop her a card keeping it brief and saying that regardless of anything you want to keep a relationship open and for your children to know their Grandmother - something pretty non committal like that and then you have your peace of mind that you've done your best for them.

She only pressed you on how you felt about your childhood because she knew it wasn't great. Then she didn't like the truth.

Really sorry it's like this. I know how it feels and it's not nice. But we can do better for our kids and that's the priority now.

Jolleigh Sat 26-Oct-13 23:57:32

Not sure if I'm being soft but I feel really sorry for her. She sounds really insecure, especially when it comes to how she's been as a parent.

And unfortunately, if she wasn't a good parent, it's a huge thing to move past and it's probably going to rear its ugly head frequently.

Do your children see this behaviour?

HopeClearwater Sun 27-Oct-13 00:00:33

watching - because I'm interested to know how people deal with their mother acknowledging that she might not have been a good mother.

maras2 Sun 27-Oct-13 00:01:28

She sounds toxic.Please don't be upset by her ramblings,stop the cycle now by not communicating with her whatsoever.She doesn't deserve to have grandchildren.Have you looked at the ' Stately Homes ' thread? I think that you'll find plenty in common with the posters there.By the way,if your childs real name is the one mentioned in your OP,you may want to ask for it to be either changed or removed for privacy.Best of luck.

Trills Sun 27-Oct-13 00:08:24

YANBU to not understand your mother.

Being related to someone does not necessarily mean that you will have much in common with them, including having similar thought-processes or similar opinions on child-rearing.

DameDeepRedBetty Sun 27-Oct-13 00:14:43

If you report your own post, MNHQ will be able to remove the mention of what I suspect is the real name of one of your children.

There is no rule that we have to like, or even love, the people who gave birth to us, if they failed to like or love us in return.

And we do not have to carry on faked-up Happy Families just to make them feel less shitty about their cockup.

ghostonthecanvas Sun 27-Oct-13 00:19:11

My mother has the good grace to be embarrassed when I talk about my childhood. She won't ask that question cos she doesn't want to hear the answer. It has taken us a long time to get to this acknowledgement but we are here. Your mother sounds like she isn't able to accept her role in your formative years. Don't give her a role now. She sounds very self centered. Tell her to go away. too polite me

Bettercallsaul1 Sun 27-Oct-13 00:32:28

This sounds terrible, OP - you have my complete sympathy. There is nothing worse than having a stressful and unhappy relationship with your mother - she plays such a pivotal role in your life that whether good or bad, it is very difficult to escape her influence. Your mother is your first , and most important, carer and the treatment you receive from her shapes your view of yourself, often permanently.

It sounds as if she has not given you the best childhood - possibly for a variety of reasons - and is aware of this herself. Her attempt to blame you for not giving her the "love and respect" she deserves - even as a small child! - sounds like a defence mechanism to excuse her behaviour, at your expense. It is also possible that seeing you now , with a family of your own, has awakened her memories - and conscience- and she is behaving aggressively towards you through renewed feelings of stress and guilt. You sound as if you are doing an excellent job of mothering your own children, so it is quite possible that she is feeling envy and some resentment at the fact that you are succeeding at motherhood while she failed. She, of course, will repress these feelings as much as possible as they are not pleasant and will deny them if challenged, transferring the responsibility and guilt to you.

You obviously need time to calm down and get back your equilibrium before attempting to communicate with your mother again, about anything. Do you have a sympathetic partner or close friend who you can confide your feelings to and who will support you whenever you need to talk about this? A mother is such a powerful influence that you really need strong support not to be sucked into feelings of guilt for asserting yourself against her.

I think, after your last confrontation with her, that you need to regroup and refuse to talk to her until you are feeling confident about dealing with her. You need, hopefully with the support of others, to feel sure of your own position -that you have done nothing wrong and are certainly not responsible for your unhappy childhood or your relationship with her when you were younger. When you are feeling strong enough, I would sit down and have a talk to her with the purpose of expressing your views calmly. When she expresses hers - probably less than calmly - I would listen, allow her to say what she wants and then say "Well, I'm glad you''ve got that off your chest - let's put the past behind us and look to the future." Don't get into an argument with her - it will only be futile and exhausting. By refusing to argue or dispute with her, you are regaining control. It may be that quite a long time will have to elapse before you can have this discussion, but do not have it until you are ready - until then, keep conversation light and about everyday matters - don't get drawn into arguments.

This situation is really about you gaining confidence in yourself, OP, and refusing to be saddled with someone else's wrong perception of you. Good luck!

AgentZigzag Sun 27-Oct-13 00:46:32

You were a child, it was your mums responsibility to try and find a way of making you feel loved and secure, and she failed.

Even if you didn't feel loved/secure, just seeing that your mum did her best given whatever circumstances she was in can make all the difference.

It's not your fault.

She's probably feeling guilty that she didn't do all that she could and wants you to make her feel better.

You don't sound as though you like her though, why shouldn't you say how you feel?

What's she like with your DC? If she's making them feel the same as you did then you have to protect them from her.

PomBearWithAnOFRS Sun 27-Oct-13 01:14:03

If your relationship with her as a child was so bad, why on earth would you want to make your children have a relationship with her?
Ask at your local CAB or library and see if there's an "adopt a granny" scheme you can join, and find someone to help out via that if you really feel your children need a gran.
If your mother ever says anything just calmly say "Oh, when you said you wanted nothing more to do with me, I took you at your word - why would I doubt you?" and if she says she wants to see the children without you tell her to fuck right off to the far side of fuck and when she gets there fuck off some more just say "no thank you, we're busy" and no matter what she says after that, just calmly reiterate "no thank you, we're busy" or "that doesn't work for us" or similar.
If she can't love you for who you are, how can she expect to have a relationship with your children? confused
Try not to let her get to you, she sounds like one of those sad, strange, small minded people who just isn't happy unless she's making someone else miserable.
Try not to be too hard on your Dad - I take it they've been married for quite some years since they're grandparents, and he is probably so used to her that he just doesn't notice anymore or is too under her thumb cowed to say anything confused

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 27-Oct-13 01:25:18

What twitter said. I have had almost the same verbatim conversation with my mother. She rewrites history because is an asshole and I am meant to respect and love her and leave her alone with my children. Well fuck that. I wanted to give her a chance at being a grandparent..because it is easy. Just not be a passive aggressive narcissist asshole. She couldn't do it.

I had a fab relationship with my nan who by all accounts was a shit parent to my mother. Some people can do granny but can't do "mum".

It sounds like your mother (like mine) is shit at both. Cut ties. You will feel so much better.

Boardingblues Sun 27-Oct-13 01:25:25

Oh, I love the "adopt a granny" suggestion. YANBU. You have probably missed out on having a positive and good relationship with you mother and therefore why would you expect her to be a better GM as already stated earlier. So "adopt a granny" might be good for you, your DC and the granny. Perhaps someone of your mothers generation might also be good to help you to cope with your mother too and I think you will need it!

Your mother sounds like a narcissist, do you have any aunts or uncles (i.e her siblings) who could help you to understand her behaviour?

Don't be undermined by a woman who failed in her basic duty to you.

CanucksoontobeinLondon Sun 27-Oct-13 01:58:33

OP, a parent has to earn love and respect by good parenting. I'm not saying they have to be perfect all the time, but you do not owe her gratitude or love simply because there's a blood tie there. I would take her at her word and simply get on with your lives without her. She will either come around on wanting to see you and your kids or she won't. There's nothing you can do to change that outcome. The best thing you can do is to be a caring and proactive mom yourself.

I'm sorry about your dad as well. That must be tough with him be taking her side.

littlewhitebag Sun 27-Oct-13 07:59:13

OP - you have name changed but i think you have named one of your children in your post. You need to ask to get this changed.

wellfuckit Sun 27-Oct-13 12:43:30

DameDeep and littlewhite - thank you. I saw it as soon as I'd posted. have let MNHQ know.

Jolleigh - she's pretty stubborn so I doubt she'll get in touch except to bring down Christmas presents to the kids. I feel sorry for her too, but I can't work out whether she's like this becsause she cant see how she is or because she refuses to back down and apologise when she's in the wrong. On the rare occasions she does apologise it's not a proper apology - it's delivered with an air of great personal pain and indignation and the words "if" and "but" are included as a way of transferring blame - I actually don't think I've ever had an apology that feels real from her. No matter how you try to approach her when you feel you need to talk to her about her behaviour she always twists things and denies things and somehow you end up being this awful person who is causing her great pain and after all she's done for get the picture. You try to tell her honestly how you feel and you are basically told your perception is off, that you don't know your own mind, that you are mistaken, that you need to be less sensitive/selfish/hone your skills to see her side of things - she almost never says these things directly, they are often implied.

Twitter - I don't know what she thinks of me - I've never really known where I've stood. One minute I've been wonderful and amazing (when everything's going her way) and the next I'm a pain and ungrateful and am causing her great personal pain. From what I understand if she used three words to describe me they probably would be something like: stubborn, difficult, selfish. She can be good fun so long as you agree with her 100% of the time.

Pom - why do I want a relationship with her? Because she's my mum and I keep hoping one day she will change (just like she keeps hoping that I'll turn around and tell her that I've been making it all up and I felt wonderful and loved and secure as a child because, you know, all the dresses she made for me and the nights she stayed up with me when I was ill and the meals she cooked for me and the clothes she put on my back and the way she worked herself into the ground for me....that makes me sound ungrateful, but I've always felt that her believing how much she did for me somehow gives her a free ticket to speak to me how she feels and impose her opinions on me however she feels and to expect me to not challenge her on anything without risking an all out war)
There have been a few things these past few months that have really bothered me about how she treats one of my children and that's what I was trying to tackle her about..and all I got was diversion tactics and personal attacks followed by "How dare you try to lecture me" and her flouncing off up the stairs.

A lot of my problem is that, having experienced her being disrespectful, angry and downright rude and cruel towards me, my father and wider family that that is what I learned - and I treated her in kind without knowing why I was doing it - and in her eyes that doesn't give me a leg to stand on because I did it too....and that's the argument you get from her whenever you try to talk to her about something that's bothering you about the way she's behaving, "Well, you do it too, and I'm sorry I'm sooooo RUDE but...."

I'm just gutted to be honest - when she called last night there was a tone in her voice that was different than usual to the strained, disdainful, I'm-only=talking-to=you-because-you're-my-daughter-and-I-have-to-maintain-my-personal-belief-that-I'm-a-saint, and for a few seconds I actually thought she was going to tell me she actually heard me and saw the pain I had experienced and that she accepted she was responsible and was sorry - more fool me for hoping for a moment that was going to happen.

I think I just might see if I can find an adopt a granny scheme.

HoleyGhost Sun 27-Oct-13 13:18:03

My mother is like this. Nowadays we have a civil relationship as she finally understands I won't accept bad behavior.

I think she feels that she martyred herself for us. I feel she was cruel, disrespectful and incredibly bitter towards us. But she has never taken responsibility and in her head the fault is always with someone else. Usually me.

theboutiquemummy Sun 27-Oct-13 13:44:35

Sounds like you gave her the excuse she needed to throw you out n go no contact making it all your fault typical Narc behaviour enjoy your freedom and independence

It's going to hurt for a bit but remember you are grieving for a relationship that you wanted not what actually happened focus on your children and as you come out from under it you may find you will feel relieved you can breath again

Good Luck

MrsCakesPremonition Sun 27-Oct-13 13:49:00

It's not a child's job to make their parents feel loved and happy. She's got it completely arse about face - she should have been building your self-esteem.

I hope you find a way of moving past this - so very sad.

SharpLily Sun 27-Oct-13 13:57:14

"She said she was sick of people not liking her"

Maybe it's time she asked herself why people don't like her. In my experience, when someone is generally disliked, there's a reason - as in they've made themselves thoroughly dislikeable. You have no need to be around such a person. Step back and if she sees the error of her ways and takes the initiative to make amends and rebuild the relationship, fair enough. Otherwise it doesn't sound like you or your children are missing out on much.

wellfuckit Sun 27-Oct-13 14:38:00

This isn't the first time she's done this - it's at least the 3rd, the first time she "ran away" saying that she couldn't take living in a house where she wasn't liked and appreciated anymore. She phoned us from a public phone box sobbing saying she'd left and not to worry, she'd be ok and that we'd be better off without her anyway.

Thank you for the advice and support - I'd never dream of just brushing my kids off if they came to me saying that I'd hurt them - I think that's what hurts, I finally told her exactly how I felt and she not only minimised but actually kicked me out. That hurt more than anything she has ever done.

ishouldbecleaning Sun 27-Oct-13 14:45:49

Firstly. Your post could be mine. My mother was also handy with her fists and nasty verbally and emotionally. At 21 I cut her totally, had 2 kids of my own. 4 years went by with varioua family members bleating that I was horrible and unfair etc etc. At 25 I let her in to be grandma. At 26 I cut her off as from Jan 13 till July 13 she saw my kids ONCE. Yet my nephew is spoilt rotten by her and sees her regular she takes him out etc. She wont admit to anything she did to me as a child insists it was my fault etc etc. My kids dont like her. Dh despises her even thp hes only met her twice.

The 4 years without her were amazing. Incredibly freeing. Had that feeling back within a week of telling her to get the fuck out of my life and stay there permanently this time.

Some people are just poison.

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