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Need advice on issues with my mum and neglect

(11 Posts)
StellaRose11 Sun 05-Jun-11 22:18:18

Not sure whether this is the appropriate section to post..but here goes

I have trouble coming to terms with the way my mum failed to bring me up in a stable environment and when I confront her about it in a way to let her see how it's affected me emotionally and psychologically, she draws a blank, denies responsibility, seeks excuses and doesn't show any emotions except maybe annoyance. I have my own baby now and mental health professionals are surprised to see that I can actually develop some sort of bond, because to them, if mine with my own mum was dysfunctional, I wouldn't have the love to give. I don't want the mistakes to be repeated so am working hard to achieve that.

I want to know what fellow mothers think about this and whether it's reasonable for a mother to do this to her child and be ok with it. It would help me to chew over the issue in an objective way so I can move on.

Long story short, I was looked after by her Mum or childcare when I was 9 months old due to work commitments. Dad was a sailor and away for extended periods of time even before my birth. When I was 4, I was packed away and flown to my Dad's Mum in another city to be looked after and to goto a new school, and I also remember going to stay in some sort of nursery but can't remember if it was overnight boarding (Chinese system). My Mum flew to Australia to pursue some sort of life there because at the time it was seen as the cool and opportunist thing to do for one's life. So she was away for 5 years, visiting maybe once or twice. When I was 9, me and my Dad went to join her in Australia to live.

Throughout my childhood, for as long as I can remember, I have felt emotionally empty, sad and extremely scared of people and the world. I could not look anyone in the eyes. I couldn't talk to anyone on a social level. I have lots of blocked memories and hence cannot recall a lot of factual events properly, sometimes not even emotions. I don't remember the day mum left and the day of moving to live with Dad's Mum. I never had a friend for the whole 9 years I lived in China. I always wondered around by myself and talking to people was foreign to me. I wet my pants a lot, even during the day, at school, and would be ashamed and endured the discomfort until I got home because past experiences of being humiliated by nursery workers have made me cautious in letting people know. I knew that there was a mother out there but I didn't know who she was, not even how she looked like.

When I went to Australia, problems escalated, I truanted and isolated myself in school. I felt that I didn't deserve friendships and expected to be isolated by others and when that happened due to self destructive behaviour, I felt lower. I had absolutely no self esteem or confidence. I had a breakdown in highschool in front of a class during a presentation, shaking uncontrollably in my neck and head and this continued nonstop for a few weeks maybe months afterwards. I couldn't look at anyone, not even people on the bus without breaking out in a head tremour. This continued to the current day. I could only make the occassional friend and have extreme social anxiety/phobia and avoidant personality disorder. I feel that throughout my childhood no one helped me or noticed the severity of my problems and I had to deal with it all alone as a child and now as a dysfunctional adult.

I cannot get over the fact that my own mother thought that fufilling her sense of adventure in another country (when she had a secure lecture job at home) was more important than personally overseeing my physical and emotional wellbeing. As a child I experienced many incidents that destroyed me, such as wetting myself all the time and being humiliated for it, having nursery workers force me to eat pork fat or else I was not allowed to leave the table, and being alone, self destructive and starved of love and friendship. I just thought that from a mother's perspective, wouldn't you worry about your child too much to leave them in another country where a million things could happen to hurt them. In my case it formed the foundations for a lifetime of problems.

Sorry for the long and detailed post! But I reallywant to know what fellow mums think !

pudding25 Sun 05-Jun-11 22:27:12

You poor thing. What your mother did sounds awful and something that everyone I know couldn't even contemplate, just leaving their child. Have you had any counselling to help deal with this?

cookcleanerchaufferetc Sun 05-Jun-11 22:28:57

Sounds like you had a bit of a crap start to life. However, you clearly understand that a mother should be more caring, active and nurturing than what yours was and you seem to want to be a "normal" mother to your baby. I would try to ignore what you mum has done and just be the best mum you can be to your baby. It may be hard to not know why or how your mum behaved in the manner she did but I guess you will never know the truth at this stage. It appears you have no issues with loving your baby and I hope it all goes well for you.

BluddyMoFo Sun 05-Jun-11 22:30:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Needle Sun 05-Jun-11 22:33:41

I'm so sorry this post has gone unanswered when you sound so sincerely unhappy. I don't know if my input is up to much, but I know that I could never in a million years do to my little girl what you went through and you are totally justified in feeling betrayed. It must be even harder to come to terms with now that you know the intensity of feeling motherhood brings.

Have you sought any professional councilling to help you come to terms with this? I know it can be horrible to have to accept that you need outside help, but as you said, it's incredible that your ability to bond with your own child is intact. I hope you find the strength to do so, because this most be a terrible weight to live with. If your mother "draws a blank" when you try and talk to her, it may simply be that retrospectively the guilt is too much for her to deal with- I would like to think that rather than believe that she genuinely doesn't feel any regret for what you went through. Whatever happens, I hope you are able to continue forging a stong bond with your child and put the events of your childhood behind you.


Needle Sun 05-Jun-11 22:34:46

(How odd, when I first saw this, it was all lonely and unanswered. I'm glad there have been some responses now!)

StellaRose11 Mon 06-Jun-11 09:08:12

Thanks for the support and i'm glad to know the general consensus - that's to be expected, but it helps me to be confident in my feelings and not doubt myself as if it was all my fault for being defective, which my mum has a way of making me believe.

To answer BluddyMoFo, I was brought up by nan1 for 5 years combined with some nursery for when she couldn't cope, and then moved to another city to be with nan2 for another 5 years.

I did have a lot of counselling for social anxiety, depression and anger on and off with different people, using CBT, ACT and psychotherapy. I am not as depressed but I still feel worthless and I think my mum's attitude stops me from self acceptance and love. If she had apologised or showed empathy then that lessons the blows of my past.

Needle, my bf thinks that her 'drawing a blank' seems more like she can't empathise and comprehend why I would be affected like that, rather than guilt. I can see you like to believe in the good in people. Whatever happens at least she gave me a big lesson in what not to do as a parent.

lechatnoir Mon 06-Jun-11 09:58:10

Sorry to hear what a crap start to life you had but big respect for wanting to break the cycle & give your own child a proper loving & caring family environment.

Do you really need or want your mother in your life? She sounds horribly toxic and given your lack of confidence & (understandable) insecurities it sounds like you might be better off without that sort of negative influence in your life especially now you have your own family to think of.

whymumwhymum Mon 06-Jun-11 10:04:05

Hello OP

I have been through some similar experiences and was wondering about the Psychotherapy you recieved.
After some very tough years in my early 20's i found a therapist and saw her for nearly three years which i found invaluable.
Although It wasn't obvious to me at the time she assumed quite a (healthy) 'parental' role in my life for much of this time and the focus of a lot of her work was in helping me learn to 'parent' myself (something which most children who are adequately parented will learn automatically).
Sometimes i became quite angry with her as what i wanted to to learn how to make others (my own mother!) take care of me, but of course as an adult myself this was never going to be an option!
Sometimes now when I am upset/scared/ill etc etc I can 'hear' my therapists voice saying 'what do i need to feel happier/less scared/well' etc and I am ususally successful in meeting my own needs.

My point is that you will never change your own history, more than likely your Mum will not acknowledge how her actiions have affected you. It may be that she is in 'denial', such a powerful defence mechanism and one she may need to use to maintain her own sense of herself.
Or it may be that she has her own 'issues' which whilst not obvious to you could have influenced her decision to abdicate responsibility for you until you were 9 (am thinking PND/ 'normal' depression/ loneliness/ immaturity / her own experiences of being poorly parented etc).

Ultimately unless she engages with you you won't know, but the main thing is for you to find ways of nurtuting yourself and the 'childlike' part of yourself that feels lost and abandoned .

I found transactional analysis really useful, have you heard of it? It looks in detail at childhood experiences and ways of moving on from traumas'

Sorry got to dash, screaming baby!

Piccadilly Mon 06-Jun-11 10:25:43

I don't know if the "stately homes" thread in the "Mental Health" Talk forum would be useful for you??? Have a look if you haven't already.

StellaRose11 Mon 06-Jun-11 17:45:15

lechatnoir I have considered cutting her off my life. I don't know if I need that break to heal or if I can accommodate her presence in my life and be healed down the line sometime (though healing may be too much of a strong word, i'm trying not to get my hopes up).

However, I have to weigh the pros and cons of having her as an involved grandmother..And if she really has some issues herself that she doesn't know how to deal with, then there is a chance she might come around as she ages and realises what is important in life.

whymumwhy I can relate to your post. I first received therapy aged 17 and from then on the therapists all focused on my immediate social problems and also assumed a healthy upbringing and family life. I guess I never joined the dots, and neither did they. It is only in my early 20s when I met my bf, who told me that my Mum was the cause of all this. From then on, I mention my background in detail, and therapists have emphasised my lack of an ability to self sooth.

I am also angry at the world and at my mother when I am in emotional distress, and perhaps also angry at myself because I know I am vulnerable and helpless. I think your suggested approach is probably the healthiest, because it puts me in the driving seat and her role in my life diminishes, without disappearing completely. I will look into transactional analysis. I have had psychodynamic therapy and found that to be useful with depression and anger. My problem with therapy is that I am always asking for answers from other people to explain my past and the way I am. I have no sense of self and I think it takes a bloody good therapist to bring me to help myself.

Piccadilly, I am having trouble returning the right result for ''stately homes'' in that forum. Will look at it again when I have time. Thanks.

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