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To ask what your relationship with your mum is like?

(76 Posts)
MissPunnyMany Wed 02-Mar-16 20:12:44

I'm curious, because I only have my own to go on, and my siblings and I agree that our mum has alwas been emotionally unavailable.

Growing up I could never talk to her, she was never listening, always too busy, and if I said something she couldn't handle she'd just switch off. No discussions about anything sex or period related or anything 'important' ever took place. When I lost my virginity she just said 'oh [my name]' with a disappointed sigh. She was unavailable - present physically but no more than that. My sister took care of my physical needs like bathing (she was 11 years older) and I don't recall my mum ever bathing me. When I was ill I wanted my sister as she took care of me. She tells me she would get up to me in the night as a baby too. My mum fed us, did school runs until I was around 9 when my brother took over, and was present but she just wasn't 'there'. She never played with us or did stories, she was always busy with housework, I could be 'gone' for hours in a distant part of the house (town house) and she'd never notice.

I left home at 16 and went to live with my sister. She and her husband parented me. I don't recall missing my mum at all. I've never missed her. Is that normal? I speak to my sister every day, we're both adults with our own kids, we see each other 2-3 times a week. I feel so close to my own kids and hers, and talk about all sorts, even though they're only young. I love that intimacy.

Mother's Day is approaching and as usual I feel awkward as all the cards are so gushy and I just can't say those things. She's a really nice, kind lady and I love her, but I could easily not speak to her for months and it wouldn't matter to me.

I think the truth is I didn't ever really attach to her as an infant. Because I don't really feel attached. It's a very hollow relationship.

AIBU to ask how yours is....good and bad. One of my friends is literally best friends with her mum, who has always been completely involved in every part of her life. I can't imagine that.

DorotheaHomeAlone Wed 02-Mar-16 20:19:59

misspunny I came in here to gush about my lovely mum who is a real treasure but I don't think that will help you much. It sounds like your mum was wrapped up in something sad of her own that didn't allow her to parent you properly. I'm sorry gif that but so pleased that you're sister stepped in. She sounds like s wonderful person and your bond is clearly as strong and valuable as any mother/daughter one. Maybe flowers and a card for her this year instead?

EatShitDerek Wed 02-Mar-16 20:20:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Godstopper Wed 02-Mar-16 20:21:07

Non-existent. I'm the eldest of 11, and landed in foster care at 16. Remaining siblings are all adopted (some contact with the ones I spent a few years growing up with), and I will go as far to say that I have some doubts as to whether the last baby really did die from cot death before she was due to be adopted. It's that bad.

Just because you happen to be related to someone does not then entail you have further obligations to them, and simply giving birth to a child does not entitle you to call yourself "Mother." If you would not tolerate the behaviour from a friend, then there is no reason to tolerate it from a family member: not everything has to run smoothly, of course, but after years of stress, it might be time to take a step back.

BosomySusan Wed 02-Mar-16 20:24:01

Mine is similar to yours op, my mum was also totally emotionally unavailable. Not really sure why. I don't recall ever telling her (or her telling me) that I loved her. We have a cordial but fairly distant relationship. I'm terrified that my children will feel about me how I feel about her. sad

TheWitTank Wed 02-Mar-16 20:24:12

I'm lucky -my mum is a wonder and is one of my best friends. My sister and I have a very close relationship with her and each other. It's certainly not rare to have a distant relationship though -I know many people who are not close with their parents. My DH hasn't seen him mum for over 10 years now -they were never close when he was growing up and don't have anything in common. She's not a 'motherly' mum or very affectionate, but she isn't a bad person or unkind.

Seeyounearertime Wed 02-Mar-16 20:24:55

Strained, distant, tiresome etc.

When i was young, around 6 or 7ish, my mum took my two brothers and fucked off. I put that very bluntly because that is what she did. I have a memory of the night she left, going upstairs and finding my dad crying his eyes out.

My mum chose to take 2 of her 3 sons and left me with my dad. why? because she wanted a new life with a man she'd met. My dad, their 8 year relationship, me, left behind.

It may sound like i blame her, i don't, i don't hold a grudge. i had a decent-ish childhood. raised by a dad on the dole who was in his mid 50s. no car, no holidays, no central heating, no double glazing, no nice things. a treat for us was a Mars bar cut in half once a month.

My mum ran off with a police officer and they had cars, holidays, central heating and double glazing, with three annual trips to theme parks that i wasn't allowed to go on etc.
Still i got to see her and her nice house and decent life for 4 hours every Saturday, fab.

But, it's not any of that that matters, what matters is that i never had a close relationship with my mum. I grew up seeing her for a few hours a week, she was a shadow of a distant idea of what a "Mum" should be. What matters is that as i grew up i became introverted, cold hearted, misanthropic and distant, i believe that this is a natural mechanism to defend my subconscious from abandonment, learnt when i was a child.

now in my mid 30s i can understand why my mum left, i can understand falling out of love with one person, running off with another. i can even understand leaving one child to be with their biological father. I don't understand why she didn't try to see me more, why she didn't include me more. when I've asked her, a wall comes up and a silence falls over the room, i haven't asked for 10 years.

heavenlypink Wed 02-Mar-16 20:27:56

Ditto MissPunny I find birthdays and Mother's Day awkward I managed to find a card that simply says 'Have a lovely day

TopHat33 Wed 02-Mar-16 20:31:23

I also came on here to say I have a good relationship with my mum. But after reading the pp I'm not sure what I can add.

VikingLady Wed 02-Mar-16 20:37:09

My mum made it very clear throughout my childhood that she disliked me, that she preferred my brother. I was too clever, too tactless, too thin then too fat, too pretty as a child (aka conceited) then too ugly as a teen (a reflection of my personality), selfish, lazy... I could go on, but why bother.

I tried so hard to be good enough, but I never was.

Then my brother blotted his copybook. Now I'm favourite child. When she wants attention she calls me, when she doesn't need me I don't hear from her for months. When DF died she needed me and we were close; she visited for at least one weekend each month and made a fuss of DD. Now she has a new bf we've seen her for perhaps 12 h total in the last year.

I can understand why she is like she is (unbelievably bad childhood) so I almost forgive her. I accept how she is and do t dance for her the way I used to. But I can't bring myself to buy schmaltzy cards! She gets plain ones.

YoJesse Wed 02-Mar-16 20:37:20

Really good. Not in the 'I could tell her anything' way but she's warm and loving and would do anything for her family.

So scared of disappointing her though. My Dad on the other hand........

CabbageOfShame Wed 02-Mar-16 20:42:24

I'm no longer in contact with my mum as she turned a blind eye to her ex boyfriend emotionally and sexually abusing my sister and I for a number of years. She isn't respecting my request to leave me alone and still sends cards and presents etc for mine and dc's birthdays which pisses me off no end. I'm determined to be the type of mother I wish I'd had, and I'm fiercely protective.

bornwithaplasticspoon Wed 02-Mar-16 20:42:29

I lost mine as a child but from what I remember she was a loving mother.

Your sister sounds wonderful. I'd get her something to show appreciation on mothers day. There are some plainer cards in the shops if you don't like the gushy ones for your mum.

smallspikyleaves Wed 02-Mar-16 20:42:53

mine was similar except had no older siblings to look after me ...we got no warmth, no compliments, no hugs, were never, ever told we were loved, she always worked long hours and often was too tired to bother with us (obvs that part was not her fault) we never had family meals together or anything

I dragged myself up in a lot of ways and made a lot of mistakes as a teenager (sleeping with awful men that were much older, drugs, selling drugs, drinking from an early age, mixing with dodgy people - yet we were quite middle class

I do think she loved (and does love) us in her own way though sad

I sometimes wonder if it stems from how she was bought up...perhaps her parents were the same as my grandparents (they arent here anymore) while they were lovely to us and I loved them, i do get the impression from my memories they were very sort of british stiff upper lip types. although cant say for certain as she never talked much at all about her own childhood

but I try my hardest to break the cycle and shower my dcs with love and affection

greathat Wed 02-Mar-16 20:46:03

Oh some of these stories are so terribly sad. I hope those of you who had these terrible starts have lovely supportive families now xxxx

Donge13 Wed 02-Mar-16 20:48:11

Crap! I have not seen her for years!!
Her parenting style was borderline neglect.
We barley had food and I was not allowed to go to school on a Monday as I had to go into town to pay rent and run errands. At the weekend I had to do all the washing by hand so we had clean clothes. She never bought us San pro or deodorant and we never had a Xmas dinner.
I left at 16. My friends mum made my tea one day and told me not to go back and stay with them so I did!!

PoshPenny Wed 02-Mar-16 20:55:11

My mothers a very difficult woman. The older I get, the more I realise that I didn't have a very "normal" or "happy" time of it growing up. She's very self absorbed, prone to hysterical behaviour when it's not going her way. No friends or interests of her own. It's always somebody else's fault, never hers. She's fallen out with pretty much everyone. I was controlled and had to do things her way or there would be hell to pay - what I wanted never came into it. There is no other point of view apart from her own. She makes everything about herself. So I go through the motions on Mother's Day because it's easier that way.

MissPunnyMany Wed 02-Mar-16 20:59:15

I'm kind of relieved to read these but sad too, some of them are heartbreaking.

My mum had a really shitty childhood so I do understand why she is the way she is, I guess its just that my childhood was also shit (abuse etc) and I've worked so hard to break the cycle for my own dcs. I wish she'd do the same.

IgnoreMeEveryOtherReindeerDoes Wed 02-Mar-16 21:04:54

I feel very lucky to have the mum I do and wish I didn't live so far away from her. I haven't been the best daughter I've put my mum through some real shit over and over again but she always been there for me and it's only in my later life I have realise just how much she means to me. We are close and I'm her favourite out of my siblings which we joke about. I tell her almost everything not everything as some things a mother should never know, so that's where big sister comes in handy.

I have great parents and elder sister without them I have nobody as have no friends or partner

breezydoesit Wed 02-Mar-16 21:05:27

The best woman I know

TreeHuggerMum1 Wed 02-Mar-16 21:08:08

I live quite far away from my mother by choice.
Left home as soon as I could.
She has reinvented herself as a doting grandmother now but as a mother was a raging alcoholic who put alcohol and cigarettes before food in the cupboard.
My teenage years were awful and I resent her for blocking it out.
I speak to her every week / 10 days, generic BS of no importance and dread when she wants to visit and play happy families!
I'm one of 4 and we all feel the same.

bubblesMcgraw Wed 02-Mar-16 21:08:18

It's true - you can't choose your family! I was never close to my mother, I liked her but I don't think I ever loved her (it was reciprocal - no hugs etc). Being Irish, my father was always her priority. When she found out she was dying from lung cancer I nursed her to the very end (she died in my arms frightened after I took her off the commode). I was in the room on my own. My Dad was next door watching TV, he was recovering from a brain tumour (i know, what a family!). I remember looking at her lying in the bed thinking 'Shit, well, that's that then. What shall I do now? Dad's going to go berserk'. Afterwards, I spent weeks hunting in every draw because I was convinced she would have left me a note, perhaps saying how much she loved me? All I found was I list of my Dad's medicines and what time to give them. I've never cried over her death and I feel guilty of how I feel, especially as we don't talk about her or my Dad. Never written or talked about this before but the post's just hit a nerve.

TimeToMuskUp Wed 02-Mar-16 21:18:30

I was adopted at 10 by an odd couple; my Mum was very selfish and very jealous that I was closer to my Dad, my Dad was (and is) a salt-of-the-earth type who'd call me a bollock then let it go.

Dad had older children before they adopted me which helped him bond with me. Mum used to say to me "my daughter would never do that" if I misbehaved, as if she had some imaginary daughter in her mind who was a much more perfect creation. So I struggled, and so did she.

She's continued to struggle at times; when I had my DCs she said she couldn't be around because it bought back all the pain of not being able to conceive her own child and even now she sometimes goes for months without contact.

I'm quite pragmatic and think I've used my own childhood as a template for how not to raise my own DCs. So far it's going quite well; they're the centre of my universe (one of the very first conversations I remember having with her went along the lines of her saying to me "You'll never come first in this house, it'll always be me". My own DCs know I'd go to the ends of the earth for them. Exactly as it should be). So in some ways, I am grateful to have had her as an example of what not to do. That sounds awful, doesn't it?

PollyPocket100 Wed 02-Mar-16 21:22:15

Haven't spoken in years. Stood next to her in a queue the other day. We both pretended not to notice.

MiamiNaice Wed 02-Mar-16 21:30:59

I get where your coming from OP and also some others. My mum had mental health issues since I can ever remember and I also feel not very attached to her and also let down by her. All these feelings only came to me when I had my own child 2 years ago and I can't help but struggle with it now. I know it wasn't her fault but I hate all these cards saying your the best, I love her but I feel sad and let down (by what I don't know anymore!) I hope my daughter doesn't feel this way about me.

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