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To feel funny about this

(33 Posts)
Cake Sat 30-May-09 17:52:14

I don't have a great relationship with my mother. She was physically abusive when I was a child. We didn't speak for a while but after we had a big confrontation and 'chat' about the past, I allowed her to start seeing my four-year-old DD with me present. She's been seeing her regularly for a while now and is,I have to admit, generally good with her.

However, my mother is very physically affectionate with DD which often annoys me as sometimes IMO it is too cloying and I want her to give DD some space. Sometimes DD doesn't want to 'cuddle up' on the sofa or hold her hand and often my mother will pretend to play cry when DD says no. But what really bothers me is that I've noticed my mother likes to pat DD on the bottom. She does it A LOT. And I find it somehow inappropriate but I'm not sure whether that's just me. I want to point it out next time I see her doing it. But I don't know whether it's actually just a normal grandmotherly thing to do. But DH and I hardly ever pat DD on the bottom, so it seems wierd.

FabulousBakerGirl Sat 30-May-09 17:54:35

TBH I don't think it matters if it is apprpriate or not (not imo) but the fact that it bothers you is enough for you to tell your mother to stop doing it. I would also tell her to lay off the pressure with the affection and the pretend crying as she will push you both away otherwise.

hercules1 Sat 30-May-09 17:58:16

I agree with fabulousbakergirl. I wouldnt be happy with any these things and you need to tell her.

endless Sat 30-May-09 18:14:03

Yes i see your point.
How will she react if you take issue with her doing this?

Cake Sat 30-May-09 18:21:50

Thanks for the replies.

I've told DD in the past that she is free to say no to holding my mother's hand or having a cuddle, and that issue seems to have lessened.

I'm not sure how she'll react when I mention the bum patting. I will mention it next time it happens. Will say something like "you know, you do pat DD's bottom a lot, and I would be grateful if you wouldn't." I think she'll say sorry and probably laugh it off. But for me it is part of an underlying issue. I don't feel comfortable leaving DD alone with my mother just yet. Can't really put my finger on it other to say that I feel uncomfortable about doing that at the moment, and the bum patting is a big part of that. I think it's just that I have a problem with her being too physically intrusive, both in the past with me (in a negative way) and in the present with DD.

NationalFlight Sat 30-May-09 18:21:53

I think in the light of the other things she does, the bottom thing is probably not highly appropriate...however I do this to my ds as I chase him up the stairs, and hadn't thought it might be strange in itself. I adore my childrens' bottoms!

NationalFlight Sat 30-May-09 18:23:31

Yes you are right, along with her other behaviours it does sound intrusive.

I'm sorry you went through what you did as a child.

endless Sat 30-May-09 18:27:10

Well, if she doesnt kick off about you mentioning it, then perhaps you should do as you say and ask her not to do it any more.

I know what you mean, sounds very much like me and my fact sounds almost identical.
Its a horrid feeling that "uncomfortable" feeling isnt it.
When i listen to every one around me saying that thier mums do this that and the other with their children, i feel sad.

But at all costs, i protect mine from what i had to endure as a kid. Not even sure that my mother would be like that with mine, but i jsut cant tell.

singalongamumum Sat 30-May-09 18:28:34

It seems to me that your mother has an issue with finding appropriate physical boundaries- like you said, she was inappropriate with you as a child, and is now repeating this pattern, all be it the other way, with your DD. Of course, this will not hurt your DD in the same way it did you, but I think you are right to be wary and cautious.

My advice would be to speak out, be clear and concise and non judgemental- she sounds like she needs help to sustain this side of a relationship positively and you are in a position to help her do so. In the end, your DD will get uncomfortable with her, so you are doing her a favour really.

Good luck with it all- it sounds like you are doing an amazing job of maintaining a relationship with your mum under difficult circumstances.

Cake Sat 30-May-09 18:30:01

Thanks, NF.

I adore my child's bottom too, and have also patted it while chasing my DD up the stairs. But with my mother it isn't done as part of a game and I noticed her doing at least three times in half an hour the other day - the odd pat her, there, everywhere.

Thanks, this has helped me clarify things. I find it inappropriate and so will say something.

FabulousBakerGirl Sat 30-May-09 18:30:12

Cake, it sounds like you haven't dealt with whatever it was your mother did that you didn't like, but that doesn't mean the anxiety you feel now isn't wrong.

NationalFlight Sat 30-May-09 18:35:06

Singalong is probably right - she perhaps just ahs no idea how to be 'normal', which means it is unlikely to carry any sinister undercurrent, just that she is a bit rubbish at expressing her love for your daughter. Maybe this is what her parents did to her.

Good luck - you're doing the right thing.

Cake Sat 30-May-09 18:36:59

Sorry, crossed posts with endless and singalongamummum so thanks for your replies too smile

Endless Yes, it is a bloody horrid feeling. And I also feel really sad, as friends get so much help from their mothers and mine is willing and able and would love to babysit DD, but I'm just not ready to cross that boundary yet. And this is very hard to say, but I do have a question mark in my head about whether she touched me inappropriately when I was a child above and beyond the hitting. There is nothing I can remember, but I feel uncomfortable. And it may jsut be as singalong put it, that I'm aware my mum as an issue with appropriate physical boundaries, and there is nothing more sinsiter behind it. Which is why I let my mother come back into our lives, as I was sure she wouldn't hit DD - it's a different relationship - and I would be present. Can I ask, endless, do you see your mother and do you let her see your kids?

RumourOfAHurricane Sat 30-May-09 18:41:16

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Cake Sat 30-May-09 18:41:34

Crossed posts again - funny that we've jsut said the same thing ,NF*.

Not sure what you mean by "it sounds like you haven't dealt with ..."? I am in therapy to deal with my childhood stuff. My mother was emotionally and physically abusive, very controlling and blew hot and cold. I have confronted her about this, I got some sort of acknowledgment from her that she was in the wrong, not completely at all but the main thing was that I said my peace. So I feel I have dealt with it, apart from as I've just said in an above post, I have a lingering question mark about inappropriateness, and no, I haven't dealt with that in therapy. But have made a mental note to raise it this coming week ...

endless Sat 30-May-09 18:46:17

After several years of not seeing my mother, we began to speak again.
her agression and difficult nature made it almost impossible to have a relationship with her as an adult.

She has no interest in my son now. I get the feeling that she doesnt particularly like him.
My 2 sisters each have a child and she is very hands on with them. She is a "dilute" version of her former self with them.
She is still overly agressive in nature, intolerant and raises her voice to them swearing at them etc.
oddly, my sisters are quite like that too with their children despite vowing to never be like our mum. They see it as normal.

I do not. It is uncalled for, innapropriate and very damaging.
We do not swear, and rarely raise our voices to him. I do not hit him.
I try not to be in her company too much so contact is maybe an hour once a month or so.

ChippingIn Sun 31-May-09 00:02:49

Cake - if this was the only thing to consider, I would say it's not abnormal behaviour (coming from a bottom patter ). However, clearly the issues with your mother go deeper... in your situation I wouldn't say anything to her, but I would have a chat to my daughter about being able to say no to any touching she finds uncomfortable (whether it's hand holding, bottom tapping, kisses, cuddles etc) and not name your mother specifically.

Clearly I don't know you or your mother, but from the little you have said, I wouldn't ever leave my daughter alone with her, not until she was a LOT older (mid teen) I would consider her too much of a risk.

Tortington Sun 31-May-09 00:06:21

erm....whats wrong with bum patting

there's a lot of bum patting goes on in my house.

RumourOfAHurricane Sun 31-May-09 00:07:13

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RumourOfAHurricane Sun 31-May-09 00:08:38

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3littlefrogs Sun 31-May-09 00:11:19

This pretending to cry when (your mother) doesn't get her own way (which is exactly what she is doing) is manipulative behaviour. My MIL was like this and it was/is a real problem that only got worse IME.

Tortington Sun 31-May-09 00:36:31

why woulod you let your child continue to have a relationship with a sexual abuser?

either the mother is a sexual abuser or she isn't.

if she is, if there are doubts then in that situation, i would sever contact. yes it is that simple.

if she isn't - then this is just rubbish quite frankly.

scrap that - the whole thing is rubbish

if you suspect your mother of being a child abuser - dont let her have contact with your child.

it really is that simple.

KiwiKat Sun 31-May-09 01:12:47

Custardo, I think the OP's mother hit her, rather than sexually abused her.

Tortington Sun 31-May-09 01:23:26

yes that was my thought.

but apparently, she isn't quite sure if there wasn't sexual abuse at one time, she feels uneasy and will discuss this with her therapist.

if it was physical abuse as a child - and they had a chat and they made up and she takes her daughter round - then the mum pats the kid on the bum - i think 'no big deal'

i think - is the op trying to equate the physical abuse o bum patting

ithink - its a bit ridic and far fetched to do so.

then SOCD pointed out that there may have been sexual abuse.

i re - read - and - yes - it's there in the thread.


i think - why would one take their child round to a house where there may be a child abuser

i mean you just wouldn't

KiwiKat Sun 31-May-09 15:12:09

Ah! Yes.

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