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AIBU to Hate how my Mother bigs me up in public but is hostile in private?

(29 Posts)
speakout Fri 06-Oct-17 12:26:37

Just that really.
She tells her church friends what a wonderful mother I am, hardworking, a great cook.
Yet in private she is so passive aggressive " ah well you were always a bad judge of men " , criticises me for being too assertive, for not ironing my OHs shirts ( " I would never have sent your father to work looking like that"), starts conversations when she is watching TV then blames me for interrupting her programme.
She is very elderly and a little frail, direct talking to her is not an option.

Outsiders tell me what a wonderful person person she is, and I find myself smiling but grating my teeth.

MrsLupo Fri 06-Oct-17 13:07:24

She sounds like my mother. Being elderly and frail is no excuse for being nasty. Once I realised that and began speaking more directly to her I was much happier. We're not in contact anymore because she didn't care for the direct speaking. Being elderly and frail didn't stop her moving hundreds of miles to be nearer a family member who was not so direct, which made me happier still.

speakout Fri 06-Oct-17 13:10:43

That's so interesting lupo. Unfortunately she has no other family members around apart from me, and she needs support.

SecretSmellies Fri 06-Oct-17 13:18:05

You can support her while still pulling her up on things though that cross the line. I would recommend it highly.

takesnoprisoners Fri 06-Oct-17 13:18:10

Sounds like my mum, OP. Hugs. Not sure anything can be done/said about this. I learned to live with it and smile and grit my teeth. I do miss her, now that she is gone.

KimmySchmidt1 Fri 06-Oct-17 13:49:12

Of course you are not being unreasonable.

But it won't stop until you start calling it out. Next time she says something unpleasant, you say "why did you say that, it was unkind and makes me feel unhappy with you and that you do not like me. what is wrong?"

until you get it out in the open there is absolutely fvck all point moaning about it on here.

KimmySchmidt1 Fri 06-Oct-17 13:50:22

Absolutely baffled by people who don't politely give other people boundaries.

Lots of people are hopeless and become monsters when other people don't help them with what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. Why on earth grin and bear it - especially if they are dependent on you.

Aperolspritzer123 Fri 06-Oct-17 13:54:16

My mum's a bit like this too. I hear certain things from her friends like 'oh your mum said you're doing so well with your business' and stuff like that and she never says anything remotely positive to me! It's not bad enough that I would feel annoyed about it as she's not that critical to me and I just dismiss anything negative she says to me but it must be a common thing!

toomuchtooold Fri 06-Oct-17 14:29:39

Absolutely baffled by people who don't politely give other people boundaries.

To have good boundaries you have to have the emotional skills to establish them. You're much less likely to have learned those skills if, as a child, you grew up with parents who didn't respect your boundaries. If the OP's mother has been like that he whole life, then the emotional skills the OP learned from her were ones like hypervigilance and how to calm down a crazy person - basically the opposite of what you need to have good boundaries.

OP, speak your mind. Your mother needs support, you say: then she is the one with something to lose, not you. If you enforce some boundaries with her (e.g. telling her "I'm not going to speak to you if you're going to be unpleasant" the chances are she'll start being nicer to her. IME people like that operate in a sort of hierarchy - someone's always got to be on top, and someone on the bottom. Be on the top smile

SecretSmellies Fri 06-Oct-17 15:40:41

I agree with toomuch. Don't let another second of your life be wasted trying to bend over backwards and cater to your mother. She's bullying you. She needs you more than you need her so she can start behaving.

Being old and frail is no excuse for her behavior and for how she makes you feel.

RhodaBorrocks Fri 06-Oct-17 15:55:02

I could have written your post OP, except my DM is a very hale and hearty mid 60s. She bigs me up to everyone, on social media etc. And to be fair she goes do a bit of that in person too, but she also says things that are subtle criticisms - my weight, my hair, my clothes, my parenting. The other night she implied I took up with an abusive man because I was desperate. I call her out more now - she comments on my weight I remind her I've lost a stone so far (size 12 again!) and how much more than me does she weigh again? Pointed out my ex wasn't abusive at first and I left him as soon as I realised what he was doing. Luckily she responds quite well and backs down when I am firm with her.

I think with my DM it's well intentioned but she does like to be the one in control. Sometimes her advice is good. Other times it's ridiculous. I think she is also beginning to feel a little resentful of mine and Dsis relative youth. She was always the life and soul but now she's an old dear (her own words).

But it does grate when others go on about what a great Mum you have and how lucky you are - I feel like saying to them "Oh ok I'll let you have her grab your bum and remark how fat you are and then see how you feel!"

Santawontbelong Fri 06-Oct-17 15:58:28

Sounds like she is envious of you and is making little digs at fictitious 'faults' trying to take you down a peg or two. .
Tell her she may be your dm but you won't have her treat you like this. . You don't have to 'hang out' with her just because she gave birth to you. .

manglethedangle Fri 06-Oct-17 16:00:56

My mum's the same. It's as though anything I do that might be perceived as not wonderful by her friends is completely dismissed and not talked about but I'm berated for it in private. She seems to have to present this perfect version of all her family to outsiders and can't stand that we're not actually like that.

I am think she thinks that her worth is judged on our success.

speakout Fri 06-Oct-17 16:03:01

Thanks everyone.

Thing is, I am no walk over when it comes to other people. I am quite assertive, speak out, I don't allow myself to be controlled by men etc.

It just seems so hard when it comes to my mother.

An example was the other day she decided to tell me a " big secret".

My neighbour ( a busy body but my mother always chats to her) had apparently told her last year how sad she was for my children because OH and I were not married.

OH and I have been living together for 22 years, have two teenage kids together, a very happy stable relationship, and a great family life.

My mother, now sobbing, said how sad she was too, and couldn't stand the fact that other people were talking about " her daughter" and how her grandchildren were illegitimate, and it was never a situation she wanted to be in.

Now if neighbour had said this to me I would have told her in one syllable words where to go.

But my mother is now pulling hankies out of the box in quick succession, tears streaming.

I am left angry, unable to really communicate with my mother because she is so upset.
Pissed off with the neighbour ( in fact I really don't give a toss about the prattling neighbour) and left with a mother who is uspet " on my behalf"

Fairly typical of the types of scenario I have with my mother.

HeebieJeebies456 Fri 06-Oct-17 16:08:01

Tell her you don't like nor appreciate her two faced behaviour.

She needs to make her mind up - are you the person she sings praises of in front of others, or not?

I have a narc sibling who behaves like this.
It's a ploy to make you feel insecure, unsure of where you stand with them and eager to please/seek their approval (easier to manipulate)
Also, it serves as a means of discrediting you and making you look unreasonable if/should you ever challenge or criticize them

You could play your own passive aggressive game back....fake concern about her mental health. You're worried that the behaviour/attitude she's displaying may have something to do with bi-polar/schizophrenia and you'd like her to get 'checked out'.
She will hate this! grin
Bring up this narrative everytime she makes digs at you.

She will then either switch to criticising you in front of others - which risks her getting trapped in your narrative...or hopefully she will cease and desist.
Somehow, i doubt she's going to change her ways so you need to toughen up grin

mrsRosaPimento Fri 06-Oct-17 16:14:24

Classic narcissist.

speakout Fri 06-Oct-17 16:22:59

mrsrosa- I don't know much about that term.

Wormulonian Fri 06-Oct-17 16:48:55

My "MIL" (DP's mum) - total narc was like this. Saying how wonderful I was to guests, for example -at Sunday Lunch- and then coming in to the kitchen to drip poison in my ear!

Try to emotionally detach and go as low contact as you feel comfortable with.

Speakout we have also had the tears about not being married and the DC not being christened etc - My DP says that MIL and his siblings never set foot in church. Do you think she gossiped with the neighbour and that actually your DM was the one who brought up "living in sin"?

speakout Fri 06-Oct-17 16:53:47

* Do you think she gossiped with the neighbour and that actually your DM was the one who brought up "living in sin"?*

Nothing would surprise me.

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Fri 06-Oct-17 16:54:16

Are you sure the neighbour said that? My mum has a fantastic way of attributing her nasty opinions to someone else. E.g. "Auntie Emma was saying what a shame it is that you don't get to raise your children and have to pay someone else to do it so you can work. I told her that this is what feminists are allowed to do but she wouldn't listen to me" and one phone call to Auntie Emma reveals that she never said any such thing...

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Fri 06-Oct-17 16:55:30

Cross posted with Wormulonian

speakout Fri 06-Oct-17 17:02:33

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest that sounds very familiar.

toomuchtooold Fri 06-Oct-17 18:43:05

I just came on to say what worm and dodo said. I wonder if that conversation took place anywhere other than your mother's head.

Danceswithwarthogs Fri 06-Oct-17 19:11:20

The public and private comments all fit together really... she sees you as an extension of her self and takes personal pride in anything you achieve (as a positive reflection on her superior mothering), it's likely that a lot of the public "bigging up" has a competitive edge with her friends/neighbours. In the same way she is probably snipping at you to try to make you more like the daughter she would consider perfect rather than accepting you as you are or giving advice that benefits your health/happiness rather than trying to make you fit a rather uncomfortable mould. Not sure if this is narcissism or just an old lady with not enough going on in her own life vicariously tweaking yours... was she always like this?

saoirse31 Fri 06-Oct-17 19:33:38

That's so familiar, sadly. Mangle esp what you said.

I've found tho that she's so negative about my Ds, for no reason, that I'm actually finding it much easier to withdraw a lot. Just can't put up with it.

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