....to feel that my grief is being demeaned?

(95 Posts)
PutDownThatLaptop Wed 17-Feb-16 10:53:21

My DF died a year ago. My DM and DF were together for 50 years.
I am finding it very hard to cope with the level of grief but every time I say anything about him to DM, such as "I miss him so much, I wish he was here" etc, she always responds with the same line: "It's worse for me, he was my husband. He was only a parent to you, but losing a partner is worse."
I feel as if my grief is being demeaned as not important, or as losing in a game of grief Top Trumps because she holds the better card.
I feel quite resentful about it - AIBU to feel this way?

CooPie10 Wed 17-Feb-16 10:54:07

Yanbu, she doesn't need to make it a competition.

PutDownThatLaptop Wed 17-Feb-16 10:56:15

Thank you CooPie10 that's it exactly, it feels like a competition.

juneau Wed 17-Feb-16 10:56:33

No YANBU. You are both grieving for him - it really doesn't have to be a competition. She is belittling your loss, which is crass and selfish of her.

angelos02 Wed 17-Feb-16 10:57:20

YANBU. 'He was only a parent to you'. I've never heard anyone say that before.

FredaMayor Wed 17-Feb-16 11:01:39

I wonder if she really means to belittle your loss. Could it be that she is struggling hard enough to cope with her own and fears having to cope with yours as well?

My mum is like this. When her sister died it was worse for my mum than for her husband of 40 years or for her two sons. Because my mum had known her all her life. When my brother died it was worse for her because she gave birth to him even though they had been nc for years...I was only in my mid twenties and his death was totally unexpected but she provided no support or comfort, and to this day will still phone on anniversaries, birthdays etc and, if I'm not upset because I don't so much think about him on specific dates as randomly when memories trigger, starts on about how is worse for her cos she was there when he was born.

Her competitive grief is fucking exhausting tbh.

liz70 Wed 17-Feb-16 11:02:33

Your mother is BVU but tbh with an attitude like that I wouldn't expect to be able to get her to see your POV. I would just leave the subject if and when she starts trying to get on over you in the grief stakes. Be the bigger person and leave your mum to her pettiness, although in mitigation grief can make people act strangely. Sorry for your loss. flowers

liz70 Wed 17-Feb-16 11:05:11

*On = one.

sonjadog Wed 17-Feb-16 11:05:13

My Mum is exactly the same. Yanbu. I just don't bring it up now.

PutDownThatLaptop Wed 17-Feb-16 11:12:39

Thank you all. I am glad it is not just me (though sorry it happens to others). I do love my DM and really feel sorry for her, but just wish we could share our joint grief and loss.

ImperialBlether Wed 17-Feb-16 11:17:51

I'm so sorry you lost your dad.

flowers

It sounds really hard having those conversations with your mum. You only have one dad, so I can see your point of view, but because she's lost her companion at home, I can see hers. I think she's being very unsupportive, though and silly, too, as it could make you less likely to want to visit.

Osolea Wed 17-Feb-16 11:17:59

It's sad that your mum is like that, but to be fair, losing a partner is worse than losing a parent. It's not a competition, and just because it probably is worse for her doesn't mean your own hurt isn't huge, but it might be better for you to find someone else to talk to about your grief for your dad, although it would be nice if you could both support each other.

Your mum probably doesn't mean to make you feel this way, she will just be overwhelmed with her own grief and the way her life has changed, and at only a year, it is probably in the forefront of her mind pretty much all the time. It will also add another dimension to her grief if she acknowledges just how big the loss is for her own child as well.

ImperialBlether Wed 17-Feb-16 11:20:26

The thing is that your mum's life has completely changed, in that she now lives alone where she hasn't spent much time alone in the last fifty years. In that generation they didn't tend to live alone before marriage, so she's probably struggling to cope. She must be very lonely now and that doesn't tend to bring out the best in people.

PutDownThatLaptop Wed 17-Feb-16 11:22:21

I am trying to see it from her point of view and imagine how awful it would be for me to lose my DH. I can't comprehend the pain of it.
I think maybe I should restrict talking about my own grief to my DB as he is in the same boat as me.

Heatherplant Wed 17-Feb-16 11:26:31

People grieve in their own very different ways and you'll all feel as awful as each other. Competitive grief only causes friction so you've the right idea in restricting conversation but you'll need to talk to somebody, hopefully there is someone else in your life who will understand you need to chat things over?

LaContessaDiPlump Wed 17-Feb-16 11:27:41

You poor thing op. My dad did this a bit when my mum died, I think he was just flailing tbh.

I was probably a bit unkind to him tbh. I sat there open-jawed when he said it, then casually commented on how he was right and how he must have not really been that bothered when his mum died 10 years previously.

He looked a bit stricken and has not said it again blush

thanks op

m0therofdragons Wed 17-Feb-16 11:29:05

Do you live at home? I think it's different rather than worse but losing a partner is something you wake up to every day - turning to see he's not in the bed, nobody to talk to unless you make an effort to call or arrange a meet up. No chatting to someone while still in your pjs.the reality slaps you in the face constantly with no escape. Would be similar for a child living at home. If you have your own place and partner, dc etc then you can go for moments without it being on your mind. That doesn't mean your loss doesn't hurt and it's more likely to hit you in waves where as for dm it's a constant. I imagine that's kind of what she means.
I'm sorry for your loss op. flowers

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 17-Feb-16 11:29:26

I got this in different circumstances , it did feel like I was being relegated to You're Not So Affected.

I sympathise but try not to let it get to you. For me it was that person's way of warning me they hurt too and could I please not expect them to take time out from their own grieving.

Ginkypig Wed 17-Feb-16 11:30:57

I'm not going into the details except to say almost exact same situation except they weren't together anymore. (But we're still friends)

My advice is don't use her for support, she won't and the hurt caused by her not being there for you will cause you more pain!

For whatever reason she has decided her pain is "worse" than anyone else's no matter their relationship to him and therefor she must at all times diminish all others who mention their pain.

If you can find somone else to help you in your grief. If you don't a few years down the line not only will you feel like you haven't been able to grieve but you won't be able to be around her without this tainting your relationship with her.

shovetheholly Wed 17-Feb-16 11:31:17

It sounds to me as though you need an outlet that is separate to talk about your loss and your pain. Have you thought about counselling? It might give you the space you need to deal with your side of it, so that you can then support your Mum. It's annoying that she is competitive about it, but perhaps that's because she's not as strong as you are or as self-aware?

shovetheholly Wed 17-Feb-16 11:32:01

Ooops, meant to add - many hospices offer grief counselling as a free service (at my local one, we do it over the phone). It might be worth ringing and asking?

GruntledOne Wed 17-Feb-16 11:32:27

Have you tried saying something to her, maybe along the lines of "Yes, of course it is hard for you, I just wanted to share our grief"? What's her reaction to something like that?

Ginkypig Wed 17-Feb-16 11:33:53

I'm not saying that she is not truly grieving though.

Her pain is as real as yours. That's why Iv suggested looking elsewhere as she obviously doesn't have the capacity to help you right now.

Indantherene Wed 17-Feb-16 11:37:10

My DM was very similar, although she never outright said it. Everyone else also has the attitude it's worse for her too, which doesn't help. IMO you can replace a partner, no matter how long you've been together, but you only get one dad.

Agree that you need to look for support elsewhere. Sorry for your loss.

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