This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
AIBU to not have a relationship with my mother?(19 Posts)
I am 28, when I was 16 I was forced to leave the family home due to my step father intimidating me, due to him having an affair. I told my mum about this and he was very angry that I told his secret. She stayed with him for a while but then things got worse and he was still seeing the other woman so she told him to leave, he became violent and abused drugs and has now been in prison for many years, he is also on the sex offenders register for violence against a woman he beat later on and attempts to hurt my mum. So she has been through a lot of trauma too and I understand that.
So going forward I managed to find a partner and I ended up living with his parents for years but we did eventually split in my early 20’s. I am married now and I have had cbt therapy for my anxiety and I take sertraline. My mother is and has always been a functioning alcoholic. Some of the falling outs we have had and the awful things she has said and done to me while drunk are shocking. We have stopped speaking a few times but I always give in and forgive her.
This time it’s been 3 years that I haven’t seen her but we have started to communicate via text in the last year. I am made to feel guilty by people who say you only have one mum etc.. my issue is what kind of mum have I had? An alcoholic who allowed me to become homeless at 16, never bothered to phone or text me only I would ring her, if I didn’t ring we didn’t speak. Threw me out in a drunken rage one night at 1am (I was sleeping over for the night). We had nowhere to go and had to sleep in the car. Watched her barely drag up my little brother and sister and I had to be a babysitter since I was a teenager for them, so that they could both go to the pub every day. She never really showed much interest in me once I moved out. I don’t actually want to see her again but my anxiety is making me feel guilty, what if she dies? She drinks and smokes heavily. My brother and sister are more used to her and try to make sure that they are out of the house or upstairs when she’s drunk. She’s ruined every family wedding or party because she’s got so drunk. I feel so abandoned I don’t have a mother or father or any grandparents. I kind of wish at age 28 someone would adopt me. I want to be a good daughter/friend to someone but just not her. I don’t know where it all went wrong but I will add that im a totally normal woman, I’m quite shy, not a trouble maker and would never have argued back to her growing up, I was brought up with respect. I am not sure how to let go of the trauma and the memories of what I went through in those couple of months when I was alone, sleeping at my friends house in secret because she rented a room and wasn’t allowed anyone to stay over, I went through some awfully traumatic things at 16, I am lucky to be alive today. I just don’t think my mother even knows... I would never tell anyone how bad things really were but I think she is naive to think that she is completely blameless. This is the issue with her, she never takes responsibility for anything. My sister told me that years ago when I was younger I found some strange photos on our shared computer (step dads work computer) my mum told her this story I had actually totally forgot until she mentioned it. Anyway I won’t say what the images were but it looked like porn, I was so young that I didn’t really understand, so I didn’t tell anyone. Then at some point after he left I must have told her. She told my sister last year that if I had of told her sooner she would have kicked him out years ago... I must have only been 11 at the time, I wasn’t even sure of what I saw until I got older and realised what sex was. Im pretty sure that comment is an example of her trying to put her inner guilt onto someone else, does that mean she accepts that she didn’t do her best by me? Or do you think she thinks I’m the one in the wrong for not having a relationship with her? I just can’t forget the past. Please give me some advice? x
Hi OP, you may get more constructive responses if you post in the Relationship section.
You don't need to have s relationship with anyone who makes you feel like this. She sounds like a toxic influence. Don't have any more contact, just walk away. It's hard but I did it and it gets much easier with distance. Therapy may help xx
@MRC20 thank you for your kind response x
pizzaalover, it made me sad to read your post. You sound like a good, loving and caring person and you have not deserved the kind of childhood you got. Please remember this: no matter who it is, do not let ANYONE, not ANYONE treat you like this, treat you badly. I suggest that you cut her out of your life as much as you can. You have nothing to feel guilty about, you deserved a decent mother and a decent upbringing, just like every child on earth! And she didn't provide that, instead she made your life hell. If you give in to guilt, and go back to her, she will only inflict more damage. Stay away from her!!! Now, I do realise that she is a deeply troubled person and in a way, her illness has made her who she is, and all that... In a way, perhaps if she was in a situation to get help at the right time, maybe she wouldn't have become what she has become. But, it doesn't matter to you. Her life is ruined - do not let her ruin more lives, like yours!
Perhaps, if it would make you feel less guilty, help her financially if you can, or some kind of other "remote" type of help. Maybe run her errands once in a while... But do not interact with her and do not let her do more damage to you. That is my opinion.
Love and happiness to you
I had a similar toxic relationship with my mother as you did with yours; the parallels are striking. I made the conscious decision to cut ties with her about 10 years ago. It was a carefully considered decision, thinking of times like if I got married, if she died etc and just played them out in my mind. There was no big discussion, no big drama, nothing on cutting contact just let it naturally conclude. In essence, I kind of ghosted her in respect that I didn't take her calls and didn't respond to texts. And, to be fair on myself, it took all of 2 ignored calls and maybe 4 texts for them to dry up on her side too, so it demonstrated to me that it was right for both of us.
I made sure that my relationship didn't affect the relationship my brother and my daughter had with her and there was never a wrong word said about her to them.
She died just over a year ago very suddenly and very unexpected. I got the call from my daughter that she was critically ill and life support would be stopped in 48 hours. There was no question in my mind that I needed to go and say goodbye. Of course it was upsetting but more that she'd changed so much and I didn't recognise her. Did I feel guilty, no. My husband was concerned that it would hit me later and I honestly can say that it hasn't and it won't. I think about her occasionally and I still continue to share stories and memories with my daughter with no anger or regret. As I said to my husband, I said goodbye to her 10 years ago and made peace with my decision.
The only advice I can give is don't rush into any decision, take some time. Don't do it out of anger and do it out of self preservation.
Take care ❤️
I’ve just woke from another bad dream, I have the same dream all the time. I dream that my mum has an argument with me and tells me to leave her house. So I go through the dream being so scared, not knowing where to go or where I am going to live. Towards the end of the dream every single time I remember that I’m actually married and I have a home to go to... or the dream will twist around somehow so that I realise I can stay with my husband. Then the dream ends.... it’s so strange. Does anyone else keep re living traumatic memories through their dreams? Since I’ve been taking Sertraline I’ve been having some very strange dreams! It’s an awful side affect.
does that mean she accepts that she didn’t do her best by me? Or do you think she thinks I’m the one in the wrong for not having a relationship with her?
In the nicest possible way OP, if you don’t have the answers to why your abusive, alcoholic “mother” treated you so appallingly, and still does, how are strangers meant to be able to answer that for you? I personally would confront her, because if I was in that situation and she died and left me hanging with all those unspoken things I wanted to say and questions I wanted to ask, it would gnaw at me for the rest of my life. If you’re not up to that though, the second best thing is to walk away and not feel guilty about doing so.
Don't believe everything you hear about "You only have one mother", "You will regret it if anything happens" etc.
I suffered similar to yourself, OP. I was kicked out at 15, was left to babysit a 5 yr old and a 6 month old from being 11 etc. I finally cut my mother and all her family off 30 years ago. Best 30 years of my life!
Unfortunately, one half sibling passed away 3 years ago - found out by accident on the internet - and although I felt sad there was no overwhelming emotion and this half sibling would have been the only family I would have kept contact with had it been possible.
Not sure whether my mother is actually still alive - she will be late 80's now but has longevity on the female side of her family where they all lived until late 90's. Sorry but I feel it is nothing to do with me anyway.
You have tried your very best but now, imo, is time to let go for your own health and well-being.
@Pizzaalover for you. Your post is so sad. I have had similar experiences and as a result have no contact with family members. It is natural to feel guilty, but distancing yourself can sometimes be the only way to stay mentally healthy.
You deserve better. You deserve love and kindness - we all do. Try to do what you need and ignore feelings of guilt. That is the child in you making you feel bad because no one helped you to feel worthy. More for you and every good wish.
Thank you all for the lovely comments of support and advice. 💐
I wrote her a birthday card and she gives me a Christmas present and I do her, we pass it on via my little sister. She text me last month asking if I want to come for Christmas dinner. I genuinely don’t have it in me to be honest, but does she really think that I would come for dinner? Firstly she will have been at the local pub all day and then when she comes home to finish off the dinner by the time she has also had a few glasses of wine... we are back to square one... her ruining Christmas day without even realising it because she is so drunk. She has done this on every Christmas, when I was a child Christmas day was spent at the pub. She would wake up to put the turkey in the oven at 5.30am, peel and prepare all vegetables etc. We would all wake up to open our presents and she would cook us a nice breakfast. At lunch time we all went to the pub. We then came home in time for her to finish preparing the Christmas dinner. By dinner time she’s so drunk. It amazes me that she thinks I'm going to go around for Christmas dinner it’s like she has learned nothing. As you can see she is functioning well, we had a lovely dinner every year and presents 😊 but... it all revolves around her alcohol. I remember my partner and I showing up for Christmas one year and no one being home... turns out she was at the pub. We either had to also go to the pub or wait outside until she decided to come home, god forbid she excused herself and came home to see her family who have visited and been invited for the day. She invited us for Christmas day and wasn’t even home. Didn’t even tell us, I was naive enough to assume she would be at home. She’s never at home, she literally lives at the pub.
I know she will never change but I suppose it would be nice if she acknowledged that she is an alcoholic and always will be. That might help, she said to my sister a couple of years ago that she doesn’t understand why I won’t speak to her, all because she got drunk at a family wedding. The truth is she’s done this at every family occasion, she ruined my cousins wedding! I had had enough and told her that I couldn’t do it anymore. It’s not a one off, it happens every time and I am not the only person to stop all contact with her. My uncle and my cousin (who’s wedding it was) have not spoken to her since. I just don’t really think she cares about anyone but herself, alcohol and cigarettes. Anyone who dares to stand up to her is cut out of her life. I’ve been persistent this time and I cut her out of mine 3 years ago. She doesn’t like it. Now she asked if I wanted to come for Christmas. I appreciate the gesture and the effort, but i feel like it’s too late. I feel like I don’t even know her, I have nothing in common with her and no bond. She is merely someone I know rather than a mother or mother figure. She thinks inviting me around for dinner will mean forgetting everything and forgiving her. We’ve been here many times before and I always forgive her and it never gets mentioned again. I don’t want to do that again...
Does anyone understand where I'm coming from?
Hey OP. Those of us who have or have had estrangement from family get this. It can be very difficult when others who don't get it wheel out the 'you only get one mum' lines. You have to make the best decisions for you. I have low contact with my dad after years of no contact. It works for me. I keep the contact up because it makes me feel better. You do what works for you. Your mum is damaged but it's not for you to fix her or to endure the hurt that would come from watching the car crash.
I spend the time and emotional effort I would have spent on my dad on friends or other family members. I appreciate them more and the bonds are stronger than they would have been.
Give yourself permission to have a relationship with your mum that works for you or no relationship at all.
My mother wasn't very nice.. I left home at 17. Saw her for a few years when I had kids, she hadn't changed so went nc for 10 years. Saw her for a couple of years then couldn't take it any more. Back to feeling like a naughty child when I was a dm with kids. Been over 8 years now. No regrets. No letters /calls /texts at all. I ignored the last woe is me letter 8 years ago. Imo grieve for the dm you wish you had had. Then move on and don't let her ruin another second of your life.
You are allowed to omit her from your life guilt free.
Your mum, for want of a better word, chose her life. She didn’t act like a mum, and so yanbu to go no or low contact. Do not feel guilty and ignore others who are oh so righteous.
I feel so much better now. I think it’s just nice to hear someone tell me it’s not my fault and I have nothing to feel guilty about.
Thank you guys 🌸
It also works the same in the other direction. It is not always the parent who is/are difficult. The main thing is that is someone is making your life difficult or unbearable none of us should have to go on like that. If they are aware that they are big drinkers while others drink little or nothing (alcoholic drinks) this seems to be a huge difference in the relationship dynamic.
We can not live our lives in uncomfortable situations
Fuck those who say she's your mother so you should have a relationship with her.
You're her daughter and she's not shown you a good relationship - in fact she's royally fucked you over since you were a teenager.
If she was a colleague, or a random person you knew, would you want a friendship with her based on her attitude? Cut yourself some slack op. It's hard to let go of the perfect family ideal and find your way without her.
You do only get one Mum and her impact can uplift you, mould you into a secure and stable adult or, it can devastate you with no sense of self worth or sense of belonging.
A toxic parent can truly blight your life for decades and those that say, 'she's your Mum', did not live your childhood and are not living your trauma years later.
You absolutely have the right to set a boundary and enforce it. Giving birth does not give anyone a lifelong right to destroy you. For your own sanity, step away and look further into some therapy.
This book is fantastic, 'Complex PTSD, from Surviving to Thriving.' Give it a go. She will not rescue you,
She will not realise the errors of her ways and she will not be able to rectify the damage.
You can do this.
Please login first.