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Relationship with my mother doomed

(9 Posts)
Bingbangbong Fri 02-Sep-11 15:17:43

Have name changed for this, mainly to protect my mother from being outed as several friends of mine use MN.

My mother is an alcoholic, and has been for years. She manages to function, barely, but has a lot of time off work due to sickness which I think is related to her drinking. She lives alone, and I can always tell if she has been drinking because on the phone her voice sounds thick, slurred, and bitter. I cannot speak to her when she is like this.

She has a real thing about me living so far away, and from time to time pointedly makes comments about not knowing her grandchildren. I've suggested lots of ways to address this, but she dismisses them all. I think she would only be satisfied if I took them to her every few weeks, which would involve staying with her.

I resent her drinking enormously. My DH is a recovering alcoholic (5 years) and she maintains that he isn't. Initially, she would bring alcohol to our house, even when my DH was in the early stages of recovery. I was very cross about this, but she dismissed my concerns as being over dramatic and that the rest of the world cannot stop drinking just because of my DH, which of course is true, but in the circumstances I was cross.

There are lots more things which have soured our relationship, but things came to head the other evening and I told her that I didn't feel loved by her. She immediately responded that I had no idea what is is like to try so hard to have children, and that she thought I'd be her only child. I have a brother, but I also underwent 3 years if fertility treatment which resulted in DS1. I was completely bemused by her comment, but to me it sums up her attitude to me, which is increasingly self-obsessed and bizarre.

I have reached a point where I cannot bring myself to speak to her and I wonder where to go from here. She cannot/will not talk about this without making bizarre statements about her fertility 30 odd years ago and the fact I went to my father's 2nd wedding a few years back.

It is a real mess, really. Any suggestions? I feel very ground down by it all.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Fri 02-Sep-11 20:14:34

No experience of alcoholic family members, but plenty of experience of self-obsessed, inadequate and hurtful parents.

The consensus from all the threads on MN on dysfunctional families is that you have 2 choices:

- detach emotionally, or
- go 'no contact'

Both are difficult, and have different sets of advantages and disadvantages. Your choice which, if any, feels right for you. It sucks to have to be in that situation, doesn't it? There is no ideal outcome. Only the choice of how to manage it.

bananatrifle Fri 02-Sep-11 20:24:20

Hello, funnily enough I'm feeling a bit the same myself, although there aren't the same issues with my mum that you're having to deal with your mum (her drinking).

For a long time now, I've realised that the way I was brought up wasn't the norm and that it's more normal to want to spend time with your children, and to like them. I think, looking back, my mum suffered from (and maybe still does) depression, and living with her was an unsettling business. You never knew what to do, and whatever you did do, it was wrong. There was a lot of emotional manipulation (which I didn't realise at the time) and I always felt guilty about her not being happy, for years and years.

The most recent thing is that she's saying she's not going to go to her granddaughter's wedding tomorrow, and throws up various reasons why not, despite the fact that everyone involved has tried their hardest to accommodate her in every way possible, to make it a stress free and as least demanding physically for her as possible.

I just feel very sad for my sister (the mother of the bride) although I have learnt to become a bit more emotionally detached as the years have passed.

Bloody families, eh?

bananatrifle Fri 02-Sep-11 20:28:26

Anyway, I think ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow's suggestion is right, really. I hope you find a way of coping with your situation and try not to take on any more of the crap your mum's putting your way. You owe it to yourself and your kids to be happy - we only have one shot in life and the best legacy you can leave your kids is to be happy and happy for them too.

Best of luck.

Bingbangbong Fri 02-Sep-11 22:38:16

Thank you for your thoughts. I have, perhaps unintentionally, detached emotionally but clearly I am still getting hurt and upset by her. The thought of never seeing her again saddens me. I am sad for my children, who really deserve a loving grandmother. As it is, she isn't particularly interested in them. She told me that this is because she doesn't really know them.

I am sorry to hear your story bananatrifle. I do hope that you your niece has a wonderful day tomorrow. I was interested by what you said about realising that your childhood wasn't normal. It is only since having my children that i'ce realised how odd my mother was. I'm certain that I would never encourage my children to drink spirits with me at 16 and get them drunk, for example.

NanaNina Sat 03-Sep-11 00:16:24

Bingbangbong - I wonder if the emotional detachment from your mother sort of evolved over time, without you really realising it. Have you any idea of the root cause of your mother's alcohol abuse. She sounds like a very unhappy, unfulfilled woman, who is bitter and thinks life has handed her a bad deal. It's very difficult for you I can see, and to be honest I can't really see how the dynamic between the 2 of you is going to change. I wonder what prompted you to tell her you didn't feel loved by her. You said "things came to a head" - it sounds a bit like she goaded you into making this comment.

You mother is not going to change now, and in fact I believe that we all get more like we are as we get older if you see what I mean. You must have some feelings left as you say you are still getting hurt and upset by her, but it's hard not to have those feelings in relation to a mother, isn't it, someone who should love you unconditionally and be a support to you, and that is certainly not your mother.

All I can think is that you try not to get into conflict with her and have big discussions/arguments over what did or didn't happen in the past. She clearly has a lot of resentment in her that spills out when she talks to you. Can you try "umming and arring" a bit in conversations, and if you could bring yourself to say something nice to her, I'm sure that would be the best way. Might even make her like herself a little more cus she certainly doesn't at the moment, and if you like yourself, you are more likely to like other - that's the theory anyway!

Bingbangbong Sun 04-Sep-11 23:12:02

nananina, I have found your post very insightful. My mother is bitter, and looking back she has always had a very negative outlook. One of the problems I have when talking to her is that she always brings a dark cloud to a conversation, so if I mention something she'll make a negative comment.

I decided a long time ago to bring conversations to a close very quickly when she has been drinking. I do find it very hard to say anything nice to her, or about her, but try hard to ask questions about things she has done. The drinking makes her very forgetful and I find the repetition hard going, to be truthful.

She hasn't rung me since our argument and I suspect that she will not. I do feel like a dark cloud has been lifted and I have had a very enjoyable week with my children and I keep reminding myself that I do not want to end up like her.

Thank you all for your input, I have found it really helpful.

LaMujer Sun 04-Sep-11 23:22:06

Over the years I have gone months on end not talking to my Dad, and whilst i initially got really upset over his lack of interest in me or my DD's, I have had to detach emotionally from it. He will never change, he thinks he is the most important person in the world, that no-one else has problems and that I should be the one to call, visit etc. Well, what is the point of giving if you don't get something back, anything, just a birthday card would be a start! The last time he saw me and my DH was when we went for business advice, and bared our souls to him. We left with him and his friend telling us the best thing would be to go bankrupt, as they couldn't see how we could turn it around. I haven't had so much as a text message since to see if I am ok?? Calls himself a parent???? I don't think so. Best off looking after Number one, let your Mum sort herself out. You will feel happier in the long run. All the best xxxxx

bananatrifle Mon 05-Sep-11 07:24:04

Good luck for the future bingbangbong x

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