Is what I'm asking of my mum unreasonable?(23 Posts)
I am depressed, have struggled for a long time on and off (10 years) and am in a low spell.
I asked my mum for more support today. Currently we talk for an hour once a week. I would love to have someone to talk to every couple of days. She doesn't live near me, I see her about twice a year and we have a difficult relationship. I would love to build bridges and have a close mother-daughter relationship but don't know how.
She replied saying she wants to support me but just isn't good at talking or listening, and that 3 times a week would be fine if it wasn't for as long as an hour. But that she doesn't know what to say when my life is this bleak, and she doesn't know what I mean when i say I want more connection with her.
I feel a bit ashamed now, and I don't know how to reply. is this my depression making me a selfish cow?
I'm sorry you're struggling and also that your relationship with your mum isn't good - but she's telling you - as nicely as she can - that she's not going to be able to give you what you want / need from her. You can't hate her for that - some people just can't do support and long conversations. I don't know what to suggest - have you maybe got a couple of other friends so that you can spread your support needs a bit more?
I definitely don't hate her. I love her dearly.
Do have a few friends I can sort of talk to but...I want my mum I want her to want me in her life a lot more, because nobody does want much of me, and I can accept friends prioritising others. But wish my mum prioritised me.
Its better that your mum tells you honestly that she cannot give you the help and support that you need rather than you find out the hard way. I don't know enough about any of this but it seems like you need some real structured support in your life. can your GP put you on to a local support group. My experience of this is woefully limited. I had a friend with severe depression and whilst I felt I could be there once or twice a week any more was just too draining. I did help her to find other places and people to share the support and doing it made me feel guilty. but ultimately you can only give what you can give and for each one of us it is different.
She's being honest. An hour every day or so for someone who wants to moan about their life or talk about themselves is incredibly draining. You need to seek professional support through your GP to find someone to fulfil this role for you.
What do you think you could talk about for an hour each time? Is your aim to have a reciprocal relationship or do you just need to be listened to?
Could you start with a less demanding and more natural request? Perhaps a 10 minute catch up twice per week plus the usual phone call?
Honestly, how much of your current 1 hour phone call is spent listening and how much is spent talking? Do you talk about your Mum's interests, or does your depression dominate your conversation?
I have a huge amount of sympathy for what you are going through. But I don't feel you're looking for support in the right place. If you aren't close to your mum and the two of you talking through your problems doesn't come naturally to you both then you can't force it. The fact that you are almost creating a schedule of when to talk and how long for is reminiscent of a counsellor/ patient relationship. Have you looked into talking to a professional instead?
My DPs mother is like this. I may show him this thread, so he realises it isn't his fault.
Two things I feel compelled to write to you; it isn't you, or your depression - I personally believe you deserve your mother's support and so what if that is hard work for her. She is your mother. I also think she maybe has been brave and straight with you in saying she can't be that support for you. Still, I deep down think its kind of her duty.
The other thing is, I think I am like your mother. I find it hard to help my DD who has had a hard time going through puberty and has experienced anxiety. I hate it so much for her I almost can't bear to face it. I feel ashamed to say that but it is true, if I'm brutally honest.
I have to agree with the others. An hour on the phone is an awfully long time if the other person is looking for support. I can understand that she might struggle. I find talking on the phone difficult, despite being a great 'conversationalist', and indeed, good listener in a face to face situation - but I need the facial expressions and body language, and possibly even hugs. Maybe your Mum is like me and just finds it extremely difficult to know what to say to you on the phone. It doesn't mean sshe doesn't prioritise you at all.
Have you tried seeking support via your GP or possible local support groups ?
My mum loves me dearly, prioritises me highly but is utterly, utterly useless when I'm struggling. Same as your mum, she just can't do the helpless at the end of the phone thing.
Don't let it affect your self-esteem, just seek help and support elsewhere. Local to me there's counselling available for whatever you can pay. Search locally to you?
Do you have children? If so perhaps you could build your relationship with your mum by doing family skype chats to have a lighter contact with her?
Ahardyfool - I was going to say something similar to your second point but couldn't quite articulate it. I can't handle dealing with the emotions of people close to me and tend to shy away from facing up to what they're feeling. This doesn't mean I love them any less. Lostinaprivatehell - maybe your mother is similar?
RatherEmbarrassed,thanks for sharing that. It does feel almost shameful to admit and I think I have some very buried deep guilt about that reality. When the children get gory cuts and things, I feel the dread and wanting to escape feeling but get over it and can mop up head wounds that inky boys can achieve. Emotions? Just can't do it. OP I hope this offers a perspective that shows it diesnt equat to the amount of love that exists.
I have a counsellor. She is great. But still, I have a deep persistant longing for my mum. I just want her to love me so much that she calls me and engages with how I am. She will sometimes email to suggest a call but it's usually me who asks for it.
Yes. My depression probably does dominate. We also talk about a shared interest at times, but it's very difficult to connect. I feel perhaps my depression has ruined the whole relationship.
I have recently talked to her about the fact I think I was sexually abused. I have told her about being in violent relationships that were really screwed up (out of that cycle now) and all sorts of other things. I feel she can't cope with it, and I get that. But it leaves me very alone, no idea where to turn, and I panic and just want her.
Do you do transactional analysis work at all in your counselling? If not, it's worth a google I reckon
She was a big part of my life growing up, but not the resident parent. Our relationship has been a lot on the phone. I saw her every two weeks right through my teens but I can't really remember when she stopped hugging me.
Other parent is dead. We were very close.
Very pleased to hear that you have a counsellor and that you like her. It does sound like hard work trying to improve your relationship with your mum while struggling with the depression at the same time. Ironically you may be putting up barriers to your mother by talking to her about your problems. You may find that a happier relationship exists between the two of you if she doesn't feel you 'need' to talk to her but instead just chat. Could you try and keep the conversations with your mother light and short for a while and have your counsellor for the more insightful talks?
I might be well off the mark here, because I have no parents, and never did.
But, is it possible that she's giving all she can? I can completely understand your longing for your mum, but it must be very difficult for her to listen to you being upset, and hear harrowing things, without being able to help. She can offer no physical comfort because you're on the phone, and really, there are no words that could help. I understand that you just want to be listened too, but from her side, it's an awkward situation.
Has your therapist explored the possibility that you are trying to replace the close relationship you had with your other parent with your mum? It would make emotional sense to do that, but your mum can't be your other parent. It doesn't sound like she has the emotional capabilities to support you through this as much as you need her too. You can't force a closer relationship if it's just not there.
I'd speak to your therapist, and explore why you need your mum so much, and how you can replace that need as your mum can't do any more than she is.
I've done that for years, the keeping it light thing. It just ended up feeling like I had a fake persona I trotted out for my mother and other people I didn't trust, in order to keep them in my life instead of wanting to back away from me.
If she backs away, I am sad, but I cannot do anymore pretending to be ok.
I have spent a large part of the week having difficult abuse flashbacks. I don't want to talk in gory detail about that, but I need somebody to turn to. The Samaritans don't cut it for me. I don't know who else to turn to. I work very hard to stop myself from self harming after these flashbacks, I go for a run and if its still bad I take valium to numb everything. But I still have an overwhelming need for somebody to talk to, to not feel so alone with it that I'm going crazy.
I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this OP. I think you are really not BU to expect that level of support from your mum when you're suffering from something as serious as depression.
I have a very supportive DM and she'd do anything to help me in this situation even if it was very painful/difficult for her. I'm not being critical of your mum as she clearly feels unable to do that for whatever reason, but it's hard for me to imagine not at least trying to supporting a child through such a hard time, however difficult I found it.
I need her because I feel I never really had her, I suppose. She left very soon after I was born, but like I say she has always been a big part of my life, seeing her a lot until several years ago.
She has another family, of course they're not perfect but they are close because they're in each other's lives every day. I'm not and never was part of that, I don't know how to get over it. I don't know how to mourn it. I don't know what was so good about her other kids that she wants to look after them, and didn't want to look after me.
You really are in a horrid place aren't you? So sorry you're going through this. There is clearly a huge amount of emotion and confusion tied up with your relationship with your mother. My advise is to discuss that with your counsellor (side note: you say your counsellor is great, but are you exploring deep enough?). Top priority for now needs to be getting healthy, try and push your desire to build a relationship to one side for now as I'm guessing it's clouding the healing.
OP I don't think she ever didn't want to look after you - maybe she finds her relationship with you difficult because she feels guilty that she may not have always been there for you. We often avoid people that make us feel guilty, however close we might be to them.
I also don't think it's unreasonable to feel you want more support from her. She's your mum. Of course she will be always be that one person you will want to 'come home' to when you feel your most wretched. I feel like that about my mother, although she hasn't always been there for me. It's so so hard when you are going through so much. I expect all you want is a hug and an 'everything will be alright' from your mum. If you can get through these days, then you can get through anything. Just think one day at a time.
I have been in the position of supporting a friend who sometimes needed to chat. Often those calls could be over an hour, and at times 3 times a week was about what she called. Sometimes the first 45 minutes or more would be me calming her down
I would never have told her not to call, nor did I stop the call short unless there was a reason I had to go (like to pick dc up from school).
But at times it was very emotionally draining. There were times I came off the phone and sobbed at the unfair time she was having. There were times I came off feeling physically exhausted. At times I did have to slightly distance myself emotionally to give the support she needed. I don't think I would be able to do that for one of my dc, and in that case would be actually not very good at supporting them. I would be too emotionally involved to be able to help through the situations.
I also know that there is no way I could ask my dm to do that for me. I know she loves me and wants to be very involved in my life-as much as she can 200 miles away! But she wouldn't be good for me as she'd always see entirely my side and probably be more emotional than me.
For my friend, I have come much closer to her through this, and I have so much respect for how she handles things and works them through. I am proud that she gets up again every time she is knocked down. I am glad that I was able to help.
But at no point did she say "can I phone you up for an hour 3 times a week for a chat?" I think my heart would have sank at making it so formal-and then I'd feel guilty if I couldn't one week. However there were weeks when she phones more often than once a day, could be three times some days-I used to be swapping phones as one ran out of charge the next would come out! Did my heart sink when I picked up the phone to her for the third time that day? No it never did.
Maybe if you say to your mum, "Would you mind if I occasionally phoned you during the week for a quick chat?" Don't make it as formal as "I need to talk 3 times for an hour". Then she'll feel bad if she can't. And maybe work on finding another couple of people that would also be happy to be phoned for a chat. Spreading it around may well make people happier to talk for as long as you need.
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