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AIBU or is my mother acting like a child?

(60 Posts)
Enigmasaurus Wed 31-Jan-18 21:08:04

Long story so apologise for length.

I am the second of four siblings, my parents are divorced but on reasonably good terms now.

My mother has always been a difficult personality, and often has a little strop if things don’t go her way. There are a couple of occasions I recall where she has stopped talking to me or ignored me for a few days or weeks. Usually because I’ve done something she disagrees with or ‘disobeyed’ her. When she starts communicating again, it’s when she wants to (on her terms).

My maternal grandmother has been unwell recently and there have been lots of disagreements between my mother and her brother (my uncle) about how best to manage her. There have been many heated arguments and some unpleasant things said on both sides, culminating in them being NC for around 6 months now.

I am in my late thirties, married with 3 kids and live independently from my mother and siblings (and am financially stable). Due to her argument with her brother, my mother forbade any of us children from speaking to him, his wife or his children (my cousins). For various reasons I have had to have some contact but it’s been limited and she has been aware of it. Can’t say she was very happy.

A few weeks ago, he contacted me to say he had Christmas presents for my children. I suggested he drop them round. He came with the family (first contact for 6 months) and a lovely time was had by all. Somehow, my mother found out about this. She called me but didn’t ask me about it directly. Instead, she was more sullen during the conversation and spent most of the call interrogating my 4 year old, trying to get him to reveal some incriminating evidence.

Since that day she hasn’t spoken to me at all. Will not return messages or take calls. I have had the same treatment from my siblings and wider family. It makes me really sad as it’s DC2’s birthday tomorrow and I’ve had to cancel my original plans for a celebration as there wont be enough people. We’re having a small party at home instead.

I’m pretty sure this is not normal behaviour from a woman who is in her 60s, but having grwon up with it sort of skews your normality somewhat. Right now I have given up trying to make contact, told her she know where I am if she actually wants to talk and that I feel it’s really sad that she is taking this out on my child. I am flitting between feeling really sad and really quite angry. If she calls tomorrow to speak to my child I will not be answering the call. Does that make me as bad as her? My husband would happily cut her out completely over this but I feel a bit torn. Don’t really know what to do next.

Apologies for incoherent ramblings and thank you if you’ve read until the end.

saladdays66 Wed 31-Jan-18 21:12:14

Your mother was totally out of order for banning you from contacting your uncle and his family, just because she's fallen out with him.

Has she been gossiping about you to other family members too? She sounds toxic.

I have had the same treatment from my siblings and wider family.


If she rings tomorrow to speak to your dc, I'd let her speak to them but don't talk to her yourself. Then you need to think about what outcome will be best for you and your family in the future.

Sounds horrible. flowers

NerNerNerNerBATMAN Wed 31-Jan-18 21:14:38

Wow she's treating you appallingly! How on earth can she justify you going NC with your cousins just because she's NC with her DB?!?

I'd cut her out and be done with her. Sorry you're going through this OP.

BrieAndChilli Wed 31-Jan-18 21:17:13

I just leave it. I had similar with my mum. I decided to wait for her to ring me instead of me ringing her as usual. I sent her birthday and xmas cards the first year but not after that and 6 years later I’m still waiting for that phone call!!

Ljlsmum Wed 31-Jan-18 21:19:18

She certainly is being a child over this- you are a grown adult and can decide who you want to talk to and for her to have got the rest of your family on her side of ignoring you as well is really quite despicable!
If I were you I'd write her and the other family members a letter explaining that if they want to play games they can carry on without you. If they want to actually act like grown ups and that includes living with you being in contact with whoever you want then they can contact you.
It sounds like you are the only normal person in your family if they are carrying on the same as your mother. Who needs negativity in their lives like that?

Enigmasaurus Wed 31-Jan-18 21:21:47

salad once she decides she doesn’t want to talk to someone everyone ‘on her side’ must agree and do the same. I’m not supposed to have the ability to formulate a different opinion and even if I do the expectation is that I would do what she says. Otherwise I am not ‘supporting’ her.

brie the idea of NC long term would upset me. She’s still my kids’ grandmother and I’d hate to take that away for the sake of a stupid argument. Not sure I’ll ever forgive her for the way she hounded my child though. Or if she doesn’t even acknowledge the birthday.

RemainOptimistic Wed 31-Jan-18 21:24:39

I’d hate to take that away

It's her own actions which would cause this.

She's a grown woman. She's somehow got to her 60s without putting two and two together that this type of strop isn't getting her anywhere! If she's anything like my DM she hasn't noticed she's the common denominator of all the drama in her life hmm

Enigmasaurus Wed 31-Jan-18 21:26:39

Ljlsmum I think what I’ve said already is pretty similar. I know she knows about the meeting with my uncle. She knows that I know she knows (!). But I haven’t and wont apologise as I don’t feel I’ve done anything wrong. I’ve put the ball in her court and said I wont be contacting her again. Not sure if I’ve done the right thing though!

WhiteWalkersWife Wed 31-Jan-18 21:35:58

The fact she would punish her dgc along with her dc would be enough to make me say go fuck yourself.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 31-Jan-18 21:58:06

Your mother certainly has trained you well. There you are trying to jump through hoops in order to appease her fragile ego. I think you need to fully admit that your mother is NOT a good person. That's a bitter pill to swallow, but it's true. A good person does not use emotional terrorism to dictate and control the lives of everyone around them, just for some perverse feeling of power and superiority. Your mother has abandoned not just you, but her own grandchildren, because you had the "audacity" to have a relationship she has deemed off limits for everyone.

It's time to take off the chains and stop this madness from infecting your life. FUCK your mother. She is a wretched, pathetic abuser.

Enigmasaurus Wed 31-Jan-18 22:17:36

Remain - it’s funny as my father said pretty much the same thing about my mother when he found out (that she was the common denominator).

White and Aqua
I think it’s the impact on DC that is upsetting me. It seems so cruel to ruin a child’s birthday (though he probably wouldn’t know any different). I think the training point is definitely true - this has become so normal, so usual that making a stand feels really uncomfortable even though I know it’s the right thing to do... The emotional blackmail feels so childish, like something primary school children would do in the playground! Probably as no-one has really challenged her before, or if they have, they’ve been ostracised.

Enigmasaurus Fri 02-Feb-18 06:47:41

No contact for DC’s birthday sad I feel so hurt

ChasedByBees Fri 02-Feb-18 06:54:09

I’m sorry OP. flowers this is not how a living mother behaves. Earlier you said this:

the idea of NC long term would upset me. She’s still my kids’ grandmother and I’d hate to take that away for the sake of a stupid argument. Not sure I’ll ever forgive her for the way she hounded my child though. Or if she doesn’t even acknowledge the birthday.

If she’s prepared to ignore her grandchild on their birthday because of a pathetic argument then she will only hurt them if they don’t exactly toe the line. It might be better for them not to be close.

She is completely in the wrong here. She has no right to demand you cut contact with your uncle. I’d celebrate the birthday with your uncle and cousins.

ChasedByBees Fri 02-Feb-18 06:54:28

Living = loving

Gide Fri 02-Feb-18 06:56:22

What about the rest of the family? Any word?

Thurlow Fri 02-Feb-18 07:06:27

Just what the others have said.

You're so used to this you are still questioning whether you have done something wrong by seeing your uncle. There's still a part of you that believes that you have done something wrong, and as such it's your fault.

You haven't done anything wrong and your mother is acting like a child. Sadly maybe there isn't much you can do right now about the other family members who still follow her lead - they need to come to their own realisation as you are doing. But you can stay in contact and drop occasional friendly message so they know the no contact isn't coming from you.

But it should come from you to your mother. Tell her calmly, politely but firmly that you are not prepared to accept her ignoring her own DGC's birthday because she is in a mood about something else, and when she has stopped behaving like a child she is welcome to come and see everyone. If she carries on like this then this is NOT a loss to your children to see her leas because they, like you, will just learn to jump to her time and see this as normal

UpLighter Fri 02-Feb-18 07:11:41

Happy birthday DC cakestarcakegrin

The shroud of bollox has lifted and now you and your family are free from her.

Many people are on this world to love, the rest to learn from.

LaContessaDiPlump Fri 02-Feb-18 07:14:47

With this sort of grandparent, I think that the net happiness over a child's life is not high enough to justify all the hurt, stress and confusion the grandparent causes. Sure, there's the occasional nice party, but there's also the years and years of living in fear of granny getting pissed off at you. Do you want that for your DC?

It's sad that the rest of your family have decided to live like this sad

S0upertrooper Fri 02-Feb-18 07:16:29

How sad that you have a Mum who sound emotionally unstable. This kind of toxic parenting really does mess with your head and it’s easy to say you’re better off without her but really difficult to do. How about a bit of counselling to help deal with the very understandable hurt and anger and prepare you for her inevitable next drama? Meanwhile your dad, uncle and cousins sound fairly sane, maybe spend more time around them. Good luck and stay strong

FallenAngel89 Fri 02-Feb-18 07:17:42

I wouldn't have my DC growing up around her poisoning their minds. Imagine the stress it will cause them in later life if she tried the pressure them not to talk to their family etc. I've been through the same with my family for different reasons and I only now have 1 sibling out of 5 and 1 parent but I am so much happier and content for it and my DC adjusted just fine smile

vdbfamily Fri 02-Feb-18 07:19:48

I think you have to be honest with her. Tell her you love her and you want your kids to grow up with their grandma but you are an adult and as such will make your own decisions about who you have contact with family wise and will not be dictated to. Then it becomes her choice. See your family/cousins/uncles all you like and continue to invite your mum over. These family patterns of going NC with family over control issues are so unhealthy. If you want to break the cycle , your kids need to see you behaving differently so just keep 'spreading the love' !! and being assertive with your mother. I can't help thinking about your poor grandmother feeling unwell and having her children squabbling over her care etc. It is not going to aid her recovery if people don't pull together.

Cantshedmymuffintop Fri 02-Feb-18 07:20:21

flowers this is a horrible situation for you, but definitely not your fault. If I was in your shoes I would consider writing a letter to your family, including the siblings who have been told to ignore you and let them know why their actions have saddened you. Make it as neutral and non-accusing as possible, but if they won't speak to you I don't know how you would get through to them. You sound like a level headed sensible person and I'm sure you could say some sensible things, and if they all got the same letter she couldn't pretend you'd been horrible as they would have all read the same thing.

saoirse31 Fri 02-Feb-18 07:23:02

Surely your DC are better off without her in their lives?

EssentialHummus Fri 02-Feb-18 07:23:54

I'm so sorry OP.

The way your mum is acting is not normal, for all the reasons others have stated. In your shoes I wouldn't send her a letter, make an announcement, declare your disappointment etc - she'll just feed off the drama. Just withdraw from her, to your own family and friends.

As for the wider family, I agree with this: Sadly maybe there isn't much you can do right now about the other family members who still follow her lead - they need to come to their own realisation as you are doing. But you can stay in contact and drop occasional friendly message so they know the no contact isn't coming from you.


PostNotInHaste Fri 02-Feb-18 07:25:23

My Mother was like this. She insisted that when we all moved no address was given to her sister or family over huge row she had about their deceased sister ‘s house. Her sister doesn’t speak English and all contact was through her . I missed my cousin nad aunt and found my cousin’s address so sent a Christmas card.

It did not go down well, lots of ‘you should have waited till I died’. I know why she didn’t want me talking to them now, what they said plus papers I found when clearing her house has exposed the massive lies she had been telling me about everyone. I had a horrible month when realisation dawned as she’s said lots about my Dad which was bollocks and my Brother has gone NC with him.

She’s dead now and my one regret is that I was never able to look her in the eye and say ‘I know about all the lies’., she had Dementia by the time I found out. Off to celebrate my Aunt’s Wedding anniversary later this year nad in regular contact with her and my cousin, working round the language barrier (thank you Google translate). Brother now reconciling with Dad before it’s too late thank goodness.

You don’t realise how abnormal someone like this behaviour is when stuck in the middle of it. So sorry she ignored your DC’s birthday but i’d take this time to reflect on her behaviour in the past, the current family dynamic and what you want for your family going forward.

The first big warning I had about my Mother was from her Care Home. The manager asked if I realised she would tell me one thing and my Brother another, as they had heard her in the phone. She then said it’s surprisingly common but people don’t realise as they don’t expect their parent to lie to them and trust them. That has always stayed with me, she abused my trust and I did nothing to warrant that.

This is long but I hope there is something in here that you find useful.

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