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To feel inedequate compared to my own mother :/

(12 Posts)
Odaat Wed 19-Mar-14 20:33:54

My mum is a very strong character. In so many ways she is my hero (so corny, but true) She has endured so much and is very a successful, confident, influentual, extremely intelligent and exceptionally beautiful woman.
I am extremely prou of her, but as a teen i found it very hard as I was an ugly duckling with braces etc and painfully shy. I remember everyone at my school etc going on about how stunning my mum is and I was just there feeling like a right tool as I knew they would have been looking at me thinking, 'what happened!'
I know its not all about looks- but on every other aspect of life my mother supersedes me ( and everyone really!)
I have since grown up and got confident, a man, better looking, a degree etc but no career a of yet and confidence is still rather low at times.
I just hate myself for being so jelous of my own mother at times! I hate always being in her shadow. I feel like i am a disappointment to her as I am not as pretty, intelligent , confident / i genuinely feel like an embarraent to her. Now I have my own dd - obviously my veiws change as I am not so self centred etc and dont focus on all this half much as I did, but every now and then it comes back and beat myself for bein so unreasonable as to envy her and even feel angry at her! Sometimes i do think se could have been kinder to me and less critical, perhaps I would have felt more cofident and not as much of a dissalointment? Maybe when I get a career I will gain more confidence? Sorry to blab on, I am crying as wrote this! So therapeutic! I am quite open but hae never really discussed this with friends / family as I am embarrased by it sad

mumatwork999 Wed 19-Mar-14 22:22:43

You sound like such a lovely person - whatever you think your mum might think! When I was 6 months pregnant a health visitor asked me about my relationship with my mum - was it good, did i see her still, etc. I must have looked confused, so she qualified it by saying sometimes becoming a mum opens up memories and feelings of how our own mum was when we were little - not all of which are good to remember. Can you speak to your health visitor? Sounds corny too - but just voicing these worries to someone who won't judge you can make them diminish in an instant.

missymarmite Wed 19-Mar-14 22:34:46

Yanbu. I feel the same about my mum. This is amplified by the fact that she died many years ago. But I always felt inferior to her, even though I know she'd be horrified to think I felt that way. When I was little she was the most beautiful woman alive. As a teenager I thought it was just a kid thing, but looking back at photos of her when she was the age I am now, she was very beautiful. I just look like an ugly version of her. She was very clever, very intelligent and very, very strong. It is very hard to live up to that.

My one consolation is that my DS has inherited the good looks and charm of his father.


I am just as happy, if not more so than my mum ever was. In that at least I have succeeded.

Dahlen Wed 19-Mar-14 23:39:54

Sometimes i do think se could have been kinder to me and less critical, perhaps I would have felt more cofident and not as much of a dissalointment? Maybe when I get a career I will gain more confidence?

Obviously I don't know you and don't know if this is insecurity talking or a fairly accurate reflection on your childhood, but if it's in any way true I would suggest that your mother's criticism has a large part to play in why you feel the way you do. In which case perhaps anger would be a more appropriate emotion rather than inadequacy. No parent should make their child feel inadequate.

Thetallesttower Wed 19-Mar-14 23:48:01

My mum is an extremely patient motherly type of mum- and I'm not. I have just had to get over the fact, really, otherwise I would tie myself in knots over not being as good a mother myself.

I think at some point you have to realise your mum just a human being with flaws, I think I do see my mum like that rather than an ideal lovely being like I did when I was a little child (you sound a bit stuck at the child stage of adoration tbh).

I'm not sure of the way forward except to say that perhaps talking this out, with a good friend, your husband, a counsellor might help you see her for the real person she is rather than as an ideal hero. Perhaps your husband might be able to point up your talents and best bits, whilst gently point out your mum's flaws or slightly less great sides (she must have some)- my husband while very nice about my mum has pointed out she's not perfect and in some funny way that helped- and I love my mum as much as ever despite the fact I don't think I idealise her as much now- she's more real to me I think since I've become a mum myself (rather than just an ever sympathetic adoring fan club for me which was nice but perhaps a bit unrealistic for everyone).

innisglas Thu 20-Mar-14 04:39:20

Even if she is your mum, it's a hide onto nothing to compare ourselves with exceptional people. I have a friend who I used to compare myself with and end up feeling so inadequate. You was doing her Masters' degree, sailing through as top of the year, had a small child who she spent tons of quality time with, gave classes, had a good husband and her flat was always impeccable. There are special people in this world and why do we have to martyr ourselves because we aren't as good as they are.

cory Thu 20-Mar-14 06:33:08

I am thinking along the same lines as Dahlen here. There is no reason why being successful and stunningly beautiful should make someone unable to boost their child's confidence. If your mother was over-critical of you, then she failed in an important part of parenting.

Lots of MNers are in the position of having been parented in a way that they recognise was not ideal. They deal with it by resolving not to carry the problems onto the next generation. Try to see yourself in this light: as somebody who succeeds in something your mother was not perhaps that good at: somebody who manages to build up her own child's confidence. It's a skilled job. And one well worth doing.

ocelot41 Thu 20-Mar-14 06:40:11

I am like Tallesttower. My mum is a treasure - kind, generous and patient, always. Immaculate house, neatly dressed, slim, home made meals on the table every night, made lovely clothes (by hand), great gardener, regularly took meals to all the older folk in the neighbourhood. All that stuff, a lovely lovely woman and the heart of our home.

In comparison, I feel impatient, snappy, always rushed, a mess and God knows how many times I serve fish fingers. I have a very old lady living opposite me who is well cared for, but I have deliberately not got involved with because I know I would end up running meals over several times a week.

I know it is silly to make comparisons because I work fulltime and my mum was a SAHM but I often like I am total cow in comparison. So do you know what I did? I talked to my mum about it.

Who then burst into tears and told me about how she had hid her depression for years because of all the pressure heaped on women who grew up in the fifties to be perfect - always looking great, show home, ever loving and giving to anyone who needed it, never selfish.

She talked about how she had missed, missed, missed the career that she had trained for, and wished she had been able to be like me - let things go in the house a little, not worry so much about watching her weight, set some boundaries on the endless stream of people she was expected to care for. sit on the floor, play with your DC, and if that means there's only fishfingers for tea - sod it. It was quite an eye opener of a conversation!

Do you have that kind of a relationship with your mum where you could talk about this stuff OP? Or do you think it would be a bad idea?

Odaat Thu 20-Mar-14 06:55:24

Thanks so much for all the messages back. It has honestly made me feel a bit better about the whole thing already!

It is so good to know I am not the only one who compares myself to my mother either! My mum does have her faults ! She is very domineering and argumentative - she has fallen out with lots of people, she has also has an eating disorder for years ... So I think I know already that I have her on a pedestal that is rather unrealistic and as a op said- childlike.

The looks things is what I struggled the most with as it played such a big part in our family, all the women are very strong but rather shallow ( myself included I am ashamed to admit)

As I get older I struggle more with the career part though... I feel I need to do somethin eventually to feel strong in myself and proud of me.

My mum is forever complimenting me (on looks, not so much my personality these days- she tends to criticise that actually!) but I know he thinks I woul be better thinner - as I know I would. It hurts though, as I am not fat! I wish se would be one of those mothers that would say you are fine a you are. Maybe I am expecting too much. My dad isnt overly complimentary either and favoured my brothers (m mum even says this) so I think that doesnt help my confidence.

God the mre i go on the more awful this alls sounds! I am very loyal to my parents and feel guilty talking this way but I have to get it out... I am looking to start counsellig soon.

ocelot41 Thu 20-Mar-14 07:07:33

Sounds like a good idea OP. Take care

Odaat Thu 20-Mar-14 09:00:54

As for talking to her I have tried once but it just came out all wrong ... I think I am starting to see she doesnt have it all and most of the time i am happy for her to have what she does. She doesn't have it lucky with my me and my siblings as there has been a lot of stuff over the years in our life. Also she has never had a good rlship with any of her family as they are all deeply messed up people. As a pp said, I think it is goo to remember this when i start feeling sorry for myself! As it makes me feel happy for my mum about all her attributes, rather than inedequate -or angry for that matter ...

EverythingsDozy Thu 20-Mar-14 11:11:04

I like to think of these things as "she is years ahead of me, I have time to catch up".
I know this is a crappy example but it applies to me and is all I can think of but my husband left on NYE and people who have been in similar situations keep telling me it'll get better and there's light at the end of the tunnel etc and I just can't see it. But then I think that they're years ahead of me and I have my own time for things to get better. smile

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