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Has your mother affected the way you deal with relationships

(17 Posts)
DaughterDismissed Sun 21-Jun-20 10:01:16

Hi. I will try and keep this concise.

Fostered child, from months old. Never had a close relationship with my FM. Never met my bio parents, but both dead now.

I felt love from my FM until I was around 12 years old. Around this time, according to her, I became 'difficult'. I was then the 'problem child'. It affected my relationship with other family members, even though I can never remember what I did wrong. They tell me they reacted to what mum told them.

When I look back, I remember being caught smoking. Nothing else. Yes, I was opinionated, but not rude, not 'sweary', not aggressive.

I was bullied at school and also bullied by some of the other children who were fostered. My FM didn't particularly like one of the other Foster children and they were hit. A lot.

I moved out, late teens. 100s miles away. I felt like I was a burden to her. First my bio parents didn't want me, but neither did she. Foster father was fine; we had a close relationship. I do think she was jealous of that. He just 'got' me.

Anyway, it was her dismissiveness. She never showed any interest in me. Yes, in the clothes I was wearing 'you look nice' or my hair in a certain style. But never any interest in my thoughts or feelings, unless I was happy. She could deal with happy, anything less than that would annoy her.

Falling pregnant and partner leaving after confirmation of pregnancy 'life isn't fair'. Finding out a bio relative was killed 'well, you never knew him'.

* When I was pregnant, she rang social services and asked them to put me on their books. All the while, telling me I'd be a great mum.

* Got my sister to come over and have a go at me, because I'd rang my mum in tears. I was a new mum and exhausted. My sister ended up slapping me and calling me selfish.

* Telling me to 'shut up' during labour, because I made too much noise. Can you believe that, days after giving birth, I was ashamed and embarrassed because my mum had told the whole family. I think that's what started the post natal depression rolling..

* I was raped and didn't want to keep the baby. Rapist was jailed. But she told the family about me having the abortion, even though I told her not to. I didn't feel it was anyone's business. Especially telling family members I didn't get on with hmm

* Refusing to answer any questions, when I would bring them up, about my birth parents.

As well as being completely dismissive of anything that happened in my life.

When I was a child, I would go to other friend's houses, and marvel at the relationship they had with their mum.

Anyway, the final nail in the coffin was refusing to distance herself from a man, in authority, who had tried to kiss me, when I was a child. The response, when questioned, 'people change'. hmm

As an older adult, I made sure that I was there for my parents; never asked them for anything, never let them know of any sad/unexpected news, always showered them with gifts/time because I was so afraid of being that 'selfish' child..even though I still don't know, to this day, what I was selfish for.

In return, I was never invited to Christmas/ birthday Do's. I never made anything if it, because I didn't want to appear 'selfish'. Although I was upset and confused.

My thing is, as a result of this, I really struggle with personal relationships. I struggle to express myself, I am always on eggshells, I don't know how to manage conflict, manage pain, manage arguments.

I'm easily offended, and I'm pretty sure I look for the negative, when there is no negative to be found. I often don't speak up about my own needs, for fear of being branded selfish, so I end up being a kind of martyr, but through fear and conditioning, rather than willingness.

My question is, has anyone else had experience of a mum like this? And how did you navigate it?

OP’s posts: |
hadtojoin Mon 22-Jun-20 13:44:37

My mum has affected my relationships though not as directly as you. I never felt that she knew the 'real me' either. Even now I doubt she knows my favourite colour, film or what my opinons about anything is.
I also though my friends mums were really nice though didn't realise at the time how mean my mum was.
When I was growing up she always made me doubt my friendships. Telling me 'she's only friends with you because you let her ride your bike' or 'she is only friends because her other friend is on holiday' etc. She would also stick up for my friends rather than me. If anything happened she would beleive my friends and not me even though they were lying. If someone was mean or bullying me she would always say 'What did you do to them, they would not pick on you for ne reason. My elder brother was always her favourite but she told me all my life that my DB was my dads favourite which affected my relationship with my dad as I never though he liked me.
I am still (at 50) very wary of making friends and always have the thought in the back of my mind that they probably don't really like me, just putting up with me.

Daughterdismissed Tue 23-Jun-20 00:32:07

hadtojoin Oh, that sounds terrible, and it seems like your mother was very direct, whereas, mine would get others to do the dirty, on her behalf.

She just wasn't interested, unless it was good news she could pass on!

How do you cope with it? Have you forgiven her?

GhostCurry Tue 23-Jun-20 00:37:16

OP I just wanted to say I am sorry for the way you were brought up, I want to give you a big hug.

AIMD Tue 23-Jun-20 00:44:55

Op I’m so sorry for how your fm treated you. It sounds like she was horribly abusive to you and it’s no wonder if it has impacted on your relationships and how you feel about yourself.

My relationship with my mother isn’t as difficult as yours but my mum is very negative and anxious. This has for sure impacted me. I find I am prone to be very negative and struggle to manage my own anxiety.

As children we get a sense of who we are from how we are treated by those who care for us. If we are treated badly and called bad names, belittled or abused it affects they way we see ourself.

Honestly I wonder if you get anything positive from your relationship with your mum....because from what you’ve written above it sounds awful. Have you thought about stopping or really limiting contact with her? Do you have other, more supportive, friends and family too?

Daughterdismissed Tue 23-Jun-20 00:46:20

Thank you, ghostcurry. smile

The funny thing is, she never hit me, or particularly shouted at me. It was the absence of interest that made her abusive, I think.

On a positive note, I started counselling, before Covid, so, hopefully, that can resume.

CandyLeBonBon Tue 23-Jun-20 00:49:06

I'm sorry you went through that OP. Those early bonds are what cause so many problems if done badly. My mum affected me yes. I'm now diagnosed with EUPD, have a fearful avoidant attachment style and have suffered crippling bouts of depression all my life. I'm amazed I'm still in a relationship as I'm sure I'm not an easy person to be with. I love my mum but she made some shockingly awful life choices when I was growing up and it has definitely had an effect. thanks

Daughterdismissed Tue 23-Jun-20 00:57:48

AIMD, thanks. My father passed away about four years ago and, since then, she gets on okay with me, actually asks about my life, although I don't really elaborate because it feels really uncomfortable and I'm not sure I'd know how to (my fault).

But, it got me thinking the other day, when she said she felt like [insert family members] weren't keeping in contact a lot. I realised then, that she probably plays us all off against each other hmm

I wanted to say 'life isn't fair..'. Of course, I didn't smile

AIMD Tue 23-Jun-20 01:01:22

@DaughterDismissed ....erm no it’s not your fault you feel uncomfortable talking about your life with her. That is the situation she created.

From what you’ve said it does seem likely that she might play people off against each other .

Honestly op what do you get from seeing her? Do you come away feeling better when you talk to her or do you feel awful?

zeddybrek Tue 23-Jun-20 01:03:18


I'm sorry for all you have been through.

And also thank you for sharing your experiences. It is only recently I am looking back at my relationship with my mother and I realise the huge deep impact she has had on my personality and how I am with people. Your post has really resonated with me.

My mum doesn't want to hear anything negative about my life. In the past if I failed an exam or anything bad happened it was always my fault, and then I would suffer so much worrying how much she would shout at me and almost interrogate me as to why this bad thing had happened.

When I lived with my best friend for many years I would often hear her share her struggles with her mum and it made me think. What a loving relationship they had for my friend to feel safe, supported and comfortable sharing her feelings without judgement.

As a result of this I am very reluctant to share anything negative with anyone for example I find it hard to say to DH I am tired and struggling with xyz.

I am also a massive people pleaser because of the lifelong conditioning. Must please her must please her.....

The really sad thing for me is that everyone around me thinks my mum is the world most supportive and wonderful mum because she does do a lot but there is no emotional support.

It has taken me a while but I think she is this way because of her own mother.

In terms of coping. Well I have come to the conclusion she will never change. I don't say anything and carry on only sharing positive things about my life and generally only talking about non personal, non contentious topics. I can't see any other way.

It's good to hear you are talking to someone in RL and seeking out help. You have inspired me to consider the same. I wish you all the best.

Daughterdismissed Tue 23-Jun-20 01:03:18

AIMD, When you mention anxiety, I wonder whether my mum suffered some sort of anxiety, also. She was always on edge but moody-on-edge.

I'm not surprised it's had an impact on you flowers

Yes, I have supportive family/friends, luckily.

AIMD Tue 23-Jun-20 01:10:11

Zesdybrek people think my mum is great too because on the surface she looks really loving and nice. Everything is for show though, nothing is ever good enough and she really in all honesty can’t see beyond her own anxieties and needs.

My mum is getting less well and practically totally immobile. I’m finding I’m now starting to feel angry about the proximity of having to provide any care for her when her care for me as a child and as an Adult was not great. Feel the need too ah that y father is similar so I feel similarly towards him.... it’s not all on the mother.

I’m just trying to do better with my kids. Even I find myself edging towards similar patterns I push myself out of it.

Daughterdismissed Tue 23-Jun-20 01:15:29

CandyLeBonBon, yes, you are right about its effects, and it sounds like your mum's behaviour had a negative impact. I'm sorry to hear that.

Saying that, though, my FF loved me to bits (even past 12 years of age). He took an interest in me, always, but was overridden by her.

The contrast, looking back, was shocking.

Daughterdismissed Tue 23-Jun-20 01:17:19

AIMD, I think I feel guilty because she is now on her own.

Daughterdismissed Tue 23-Jun-20 01:23:15

zeddybrek, wow! Do we have the same mum? Yours sounds just like mine!shock

People think mine is amazing, too. But that is the image that she has created.

Thank you all for your kind words, I really did think that maybe it was me flowers

Daughterdismissed Tue 23-Jun-20 01:24:52

Even I find myself edging towards similar patterns I push myself out of it.

Yes, to this!

CandyLeBonBon Sat 27-Jun-20 20:58:55

People think mine is amazing too. Always gushing to other people but she's very controlling and things get very tense when she visits because she insists on things being done her way in spite of the fact that I've been looking after myself since I was 18 and I've single parented my kids for 10! Apparently her way is always the best way. If you tell her no or get firm with her she cries and threatens to go home because she's obviously not wanted. It's exhausting

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