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
Adult daughter struggling with mum(5 Posts)
Hi everyone, I'm an imposter! I'm not a mum, but I'm the 23 year old daughter of a mum and our relationship is terrible. I've looked around for advice forums but there doesn't seem to be anything appropriate so I hope you don't mind me posting here. To put things in perspective I'll give you all a little background info:
I'm 23, my brother is 24. Our parents have been divorced for nearly 20 years, we both live with our mum and our father lives nearby (they have a hostile relationship). My relationship with my dad is great, my brother doesn't talk to my dad much, but both of us struggle with our mum's behaviour. We both went away for uni at 18, we both dropped out. I stayed away for four years working full time and returned home followed shortly by my brother and we both pay plenty of rent, we do not expect, want, or receive any financial help from our mum. I am now in full time education again and my brother will be moving out soon having saved enough for a house deposit.
Our mum is in her mid fifties and works full time as a salesperson and she lives for most of the week about an hour away, and returns home on her days off. She has a partner, but it's iffy.
The problem is that my mum comes across as selfish, hostile, cold and just mean at times. My brother and I are exceptionally house trained, we clean every day as we have both kept our own homes in the past and have high standards, however my mum will always find a problem and cause hell.
When she comes home after a week away I always make sure I'm at home to make her dinner and chat about her week, but she makes it clear that she's not interested in how I am or what I'm up to. She's never impressed with anything I do regardless of my acheivements and it's so upsetting. As an example I've recently been asked to go and speak at a national conference for the Institute of Chartered Foresters (a big deal in my field) and I'm being flown out to Germany to start a new position on an international students committee. My father, brother, lecturers, friends, are all full of praise and very pleased for me, but my mum just scoffs because it doesn't pay anything. Despite getting a first in my first year back at uni she doubts my commitment (even though she's not around for the hours of work, tears, etc) and takes no interest in my life at all. She will however insist on ranting AT me about her week and all her problems and if I show the slightest disinterest she'll go on one of her famous screeching fits. I dare not raise my voice to her because it's just not worth it, her anger frightens me. There have been occasions recently where I've slept in my car because I don't want to come home.
As a teenager my mum was very controlling and had little respect for my privacy so I ended up keeping a lot of secrets in a bid to have a life like my friends and still not anger her, which caused a catastrophic breakdown of our relationship and I moved in with my dad for a few years aged 15. I therefore decided when I moved home that I would be totally open with her about everything, tell her my problems, successes, etc, but I'm struggling with her constant criticism and negative outlook. As a teen I struggled with depression and had to seek help I'm secret as my mum openly talks about how mental illness is made up. I'm well now but I struggle with abandonment anxiety sometimes, so when she really kicks off I get terrified she's going to leave and never speak to me again; it causes my physical stress and I have even thrown up in fear before.
She's very selfish in that she tries to control her partner's relationship with his daughters and other family functions and doesn't see the problem with it. She comes home to a clean house but has recently begun to criticise how we don't do the "big stuff" (she wants a new garden, and she wants the house decorated) but we both work/study full time and we don't know what she wants specifically and we dare not get it wrong, and the house was decorated only five years ago and neither of us see the issues. She often leaves the house unclean when she leaves for work again, and the whole week feels like a battle to keep the house immaculate for her return.
I have talked to her about me moving out but she then criticises me for making a "bad financial decision" and also using her place as a "stop gap" (Ive been here two years) and constantly tells me she doubts my ability to manage my money despite the fact I've supported myself independently since I was 18, working all the time, never touching an overdraft, always being financially conscious.
She often compared me to her friend's daughters because they seem to have good relationships and she tells me her friends can still influence their daughter's decisions (she often influences mine) but she doesn't see it! She often makes hurtful comments about me. I'm overweight and she asked me if I'd consider gastric surgery (which she had ten years ago). It bothers me that the way I look offends her to that point when it has no affect on me.
I want a better relationship with my mum, and I love her, but I don't like her at all. I just want her to recognise me as the put-together, mature and intelligent person I am rather than just a lodger. Can anyone give any advice? I'm at my limit.
Move out asap. Are you able to move in with your father? Friends? Buy your own place? Rent? Sometimes we just need to see & accept how things actually are and grieve for what we don't have - a mother/daughter relationship. Enjoy the conference and being on the students committee.
The bad relationship with your mum is all coming from her side (from what you've said) so there really isn't anything you can do to change the dynamic You've done your bit and then some. It sounds like her personality, and possibly mental health (but at the very least negative mindset) is the barrier to a better relationship.
What's your dad's perspective on her behaviour and negativity? Was she like this when he and her were together?
I would agree with the advice above to move out asap. The toll of being berated and devalued will have on your own mental health and confidence is not worth the financial advantages of renting with your mum. Your relationship also stands it's best chance in short doses and away from the pressure of sharing a home.
I would question why so feel so keen to get the relationship you crave with her though. You don't like her that much (understandably), and she doesn't behave like she likes you. It's OK to just decide you aren't bothered about pleasing her and focus on positive people in your life. I don't mean cutting her out, just in terms of investing your emotional energy somewhere you might actually get something back in return.
You sound very thoughtful and lovely, and a caring daughter.
I can't put my finger on why I want it, just it'd make life easier if things were ok and I don't want to hurt her. My dad is very understanding and knows what I'm going through. She was like this with him but she's a very different person nowadays and used to be a lot more mellow. I'll put some more thought in to moving out, it's just difficult affording somewhere in my area. Thank you for your kind words, I don't want to sound like I'm perfect because who is, but I try so hard to make her happy
Tbh I don't think she'll appreciate what you two do until you've moved out. I echo what pps have said, your relationship also won't improve until you move out. Even then it could take years and sadly you may never live up to her expectations. Id be prepared to accept that for your own sanity but that doesn't mean closing the door to a positive relationship in the future. Good luck op,