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To want to unchain myself from my Mother?

(17 Posts)
WanderingNotLost Mon 14-Dec-15 14:01:36

Bit of back story here but I'll try and keep it brief- my parents divorced when I was very young, I have an older bro who has 4 DC but he lives far away and he and my DM haven't really spoken in a number of years. My Mum and I are very close but I'm starting to feel slightly shackled to her!

I have spent every Christmas of my life with my Mum. Last year when my Dad was very ill I'd planned to spend Christmas with him as we knew it would be our last and even then she made me feel guilty about it (as it happened he died 3 weeks before Christmas so she had me anyway).

This year I'm finishing work this Friday- DP is working right up until Christmas Eve so I'm planning on going home on the 22nd. It will be just the two of us- DP will spend Christmas Day with his family and my Mum and I will pick him up and take him with us when we go to my Aunts on Boxing Day.

The day after Boxing Day however, DP and I have been invited to another Aunt's (on my Dad's side) for a family gathering. I told my Mum I'd like to go as I've never seen my Dad's side of the family near Christmas before. I could tell she was hurt; she's said I'm 'abandoning her' for my Dad's family and has suggested dropping me and DP off on the way back from her sister's and picking me up and taking me back to hers in the evening and having me there until New Year's Eve morning- but I was going to spend the bank holiday with DP's parents and go to hers after that, which I know will upset her as she wants me to spend the maximum amount of time possible with her.

I just feel like every Christmas I'm tied to spending it with my Mum because otherwise she'll either be alone or have to go to her sister's, which without me there she would probably still class as being alone. I know that if she had her way I'd be going straight to hers after work this Friday and not leave til I come back to work in Jan!

WanderingNotLost Mon 14-Dec-15 14:02:23

Wow that is way longer than is expected- sorry!

spad Mon 14-Dec-15 14:04:59

Be firm but fair. Explain your plans and make sure she knows when she's included.

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 14-Dec-15 14:20:40

"I have an older bro who has 4 DC but he lives far away and he and my DM haven't really spoken in a number of years."
Is there a reason for their estrangement? What are her feelings on it? Are you in touch with your brother enough to know his feelings on it?

WanderingNotLost Mon 14-Dec-15 14:25:23

WhereYouLeftIt that's an even longer story- there's a lot of hostility on his side and a lot of bitterness and hurt on hers- I'm not very close with him either as he has a tendency to punish people and hold grudges, and I'm sick of it! She misses her elder GC terribly (she's never even seen the youngest two) but there won't be enough of a reconciliation for her to go up there at Christmas any time soon- if ever at all!

Kintan Mon 14-Dec-15 14:27:17

Did she have a similar relationship with her mum? If not ask her kindly why she has these expectations of you, but if she did, she may need to seek counselling to help her let go of you somewhat. How old are you btw?

WanderingNotLost Mon 14-Dec-15 14:34:53

She and my GM don't have nearly as close a relationship as ours is- but my Mum is one of 4, whereas to all intents and purposes I'm all my Mum has. My Mum has said that in an ideal world I would spend at least one weekend a month with her! I'm 30 years old!

EponasWildDaughter Mon 14-Dec-15 14:45:02


It would be a good idea to gently begin to break the habit of pandering the emotional blackmail now. ''Abandoning her'' hmm Goodness me.

I've told my DCs if i ever start talking like that to shoot me!

Go to your Aunts and enjoy yourself. Tell her gently but firmly that she's being very selfish by guilt tripping you like this. What will she do when you have a home of your own and your own family?

WanderingNotLost Mon 14-Dec-15 14:52:40

EponasWildDaughter when I have a home and family of my own she'll just expect to come to mine instead of me going to hers. I'm not kidding.

I probably should have mentioned that she has severe anxiety and depression. There are times I've gone to stay with her and heard her break down in tears as soon as I leave. She has few friends, never goes out socially, it is an achievement if I manage to cajole her into going into town when I go to hers. So when I say I'm all she has... I mean it! The problem is, she isn't all I have, so it can feel very suffocating.

whatsoever Mon 14-Dec-15 15:00:55

Explain your plans to her and be firm. Depression and anxiety are horrible illnesses that make otherwise lovely people really selfish (I have both on occasion) but your life cannot be ruled by those illnesses, though unfortunately hers will be to an extent. I have an in-law relative who has very similar issues with their parent, it is incredibly stressful and restrictive. There has to be a certain amount of pandering to her/the way he is because she's ill (which you are already doing by having every Christmas with her and having to be apart from DP on Christmas Day) but she can't claim every day in the festive period on account of it.

Be warned, whatever time you claim back to see others you will feel a certain amount of guilt. But on the other hand if you don't see anybody else you would like to see, you will feel resentment which isn't much better.

Best of luck whatever you choose to do and I hope you enjoy your Christmas.

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 14-Dec-15 15:02:52

Ah, that's what I suspected. So she clings all the tighter to you sad.

You're 30 now, she divorced when you were young, I'm presuming she has been single all that time? She's being unfair, expecting you to be her companion rather than her daughter. Daughters (and sons) grow up and form their own nuclear families and she's frankly trying to put the kybosh on you doing that.

It's interesting that you say she would class being at her sister's, without you, as being alone still. As if you are the only family that she counts. That's very unfair of her, making you responsible for her. You aren't. She's had over 20 years to forge a place for herself besides being your mother. She doesn't seem to want to be sister or daughter, only mother. Is she 'friend' to anyone?

She needs to accept that you are no longer a child. (Yes, you are her child, yadda yadda yadda, but still, not A child.) So you too have roles in life beyond daughter. In this thread alone you are also employee, partner, niece, sister, granddaughter, potential daughter-in-law.

Be kind, but firm. Your father's family is your family. Your DP is/will be your family. She is welcome at her sister's and it sounds as if her mother is still alive(?) so she is not alone despite her efforts. You want to connect to your wider family, and you have every right to do so. She is wrong to make you feel guilt about that.

Do not forego spending time with your DP's family to appease her. Be calm and clear, but tell her that that is what you are doing. Ask her what her plans are and if she pulls the 'nothing' card, calmly tell her that that is her choice and suggest she seef friends, her sister(s?), her mother. Stand firm. It's not only best in the long run for you, but also for her. She needs to broaden her life (consider it a Christmas present from you to her [wink) and you need to live your life on your terms not hers.

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 14-Dec-15 15:07:56

Big old cross post (I type far too slowly)!

My suggestions still stand, even taking account of her depression and anxiety. You are not responsible for the choices she makes. You are your own person with a right to have a future beyond her.

WanderingNotLost Mon 14-Dec-15 15:41:15

I think she'd quite like me to denounce my Dad's side of the family the way my brother has done hers- it's true I'm not as close with them as I am my Mum's family, and she's quite bitter and hurt about my Dad's place in my life (before he died) after the appalling way he treated her when they were together and his absence for large chunks of my childhood. But I'm over all that, and in the last few years he and I had a great relationship. Hence why even though he was dying she was still upset by the prospect of me spending Christmas with him last year and not her.

Her own Mum (my GM) is still going- early 90's- and spends Christmas Day at my Aunts (the one we're going to for Boxing Day). The difference is my Aunt has a husband, two adult children and dog and has an enormous house in the country, so there's plenty of people to talk to. Christmas Day for me is just me and my Mum in her tiny flat.

potoftea Mon 14-Dec-15 15:58:06

You are young yet (my dd is 25 so you aren't that much older) , and if you don't start breaking the chains that your mother has put in place, its going to get harder.
Most of us love to see our grown up children, would love them to live nearby, be delighted if they wanted to spend loads of time with us, etc....but if we raised them properly we want them to be able to go out and grab everything the world has to offer them. If that means living far away, or having friends or holidays that take them away from us, well, we miss them, but that's why we put so much effort into bringing them up. I feel its incredibly selfish to make you feel so much responsibility for your mother's happiness.
I strongly urge you to do something about this before your mother becomes an old woman, and I think working through your relationship with the help of a counsellor would be good.
But above all, realise that none of us are responsible for another's happiness.

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 14-Dec-15 16:33:35

"I think she'd quite like me to denounce my Dad's side of the family"
That's very selfish of her sad. They are your family too.

I sometimes wonder what people like your mother want for their children - to live their lives pandering to their parent's preferences, and then on their (the parent's) death being totally alone because they never got the chance to have their own family angry? Presumably they don't see it that way, because they don't actually see their children as separate people at all sad.

Wandering, you ar 30. You are a big girl wink. Time to assert yourself and try to build an adult-to-adult relationship with your mother. Her depression and anxiety are hers and hers alone. She doesn't get to make them yours too.

Aeroflotgirl Mon 14-Dec-15 17:13:26

She sounds very controlling, very much like my dear mother. you need to nip this in the bud and be firm. Tell her your plans, if she starts this woe is me nonesence, you set her straight and be firm. You have to give her short shrift or she will run your life.

Aeroflotgirl Mon 14-Dec-15 17:15:13

It soaks volumes why her mother is not spending Christmas with her, she sounds utterly toxic.

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