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I wish I had a family who I could rely on . Loooooong story....

(9 Posts)
TooMuchCaffeine Fri 07-Oct-11 14:28:08

I am in my 40's. My mum is still alive but retired and emigrated back to her birth country with my dad 15 years ago. It is 4000 miles away, and I have been there to see them four times since they have been there. They are both elderly but in good health.

I feel as though my mum doesn't know anything about me. I have never felt able to tell her anything or go to her with problems. She can be critical, sarcastic and obtuse - in an ignorant way. SHe was not at my wedding, did not come over when I had DS. She is retired and I would have paid for her to come (although she could afford it and came back to the UK for a medical check up!) I feel as though I have had to go through all my major milestones, all my ups and downs without her. If she has ever given me praise it is done in a backhanded way - for example once I cooked a lovely soup - everyone loved it. She said: "Hmm, it's OK". A couple of days later I made a different soup - she said "This one is OK, but not as nice as the one you made the other day". Head fuck or what? That's the sort of thing I have had to put up with. SHe always criticised me for being fat when I was around 10, 11, 12. When I lost the puppy fat and was slim in my teens - she said I was sick - anorexic. She used to tell me I had cancer and was going to die. Now in my 40's I am plagued with issues surrounding my weight - currently 3.5 stone overweight and have real issues around my self-image although everyone thinks I look "gorgeous". My mum never calls me - or any of us for that matter. We have short cordial but neutral conversations every few months or so. She didn't even send me a birthday card this year. She doesn't even know what I do for a living. SUre she took care of us - she worked hard in a factory, she clothed us, she fed us and she sent us to school. As a teenager she restricted my movements so much that I did not have the same opportunity to explore and form friendships and go clubbing, etc that a lot of my peers did. She had her first child at 17, perhaps she felt that would happen to me - but she never sat me down and discussed this, she just didn't trust my judgement. I am sure she would say she cared about me. I just don't feel she cared in the way I needed her to. When I visited her before I was married - she used to criticise me for going out and having a good time - she talked about me in a derogatory way - right in front of me to another family member but in her mother tongue.

I have four sisters and two brothers. I can't get on with my youngest sister and one of my older sisters. We just don't talk. My older sister did something to me which I find hard to forgive and I have not spoken to her for over ten years. My youngest sister and I have always argued on and off since we were very young. She is demanding and selfish. When I was growing up there was always conflict between the sisters - usually I was not involved - but I had to listen to it all the time I feel my mother should have done more to help sort out conflicts in the family and now when there is a conflict it just ends up with people not speaking. I am not close to my sisters - I left London and hardly see them, and one lives in America and barely contacts the family. My mum won't ever hear my side of the story of what happened between me and my eldest sister - preferring to see me as unreasonable instead and yet everyone I have told understands why I chose not to talk to her. I feel that what she did shows a fundamental disrespect for me as a person - she will never ever see it that way.

My dad has always been emotionally unavailable - like my mum, and chose my older sister, (the one who I haven't spoken to for ten years) to lavish all his attention and affection upon. Consequently she now feels she is better than all of us. I get on OK with my dad now but still would never go to him with any problems.

I just get on with my life and try to build a network with friends because if I am to be myself I can't be with them, because the moment there is any sort of disagreement, any questioning of their opinions or if I do something that is not what they would agree with - it becomes a major issue of dissaproval and I am always in the wrong. Recently my cousin has been on the receiving end of this too and I feel so sorry for her. Now they don't talk to her either! So it's not just me!! I do miss having family around - certainly in the past ten years, I have lost touch with my neices and nephews - apart from occasional Facebook contact. They all pander to my selfish younger sister, with whom I did have a brief spell of getting on OK, but then her selfish ways started to creep in - she never considers the other person - it always has to be all about her. An example - she had three children (grown up now) I have one. If I say something like "OMG getting DS to sleep yesterday was a nightmare, I'm shattered" she would say "Well you should try getting three little ones to sleep". She always tries to "trump" you with her problem and won't hear what is going on for me, even a passing remark like that. Or she'll phone and demand I come down to London immediately because of some crisis with her teenage son - and not have a care about my little son aged 7. Once I had to go round to a family member whose son had died. This sister had to drive from North London to SOuth London. I have to come from the East Midlands! She was going to make arrangements to stay at this family members home in the one spare bedroom that night because the drive back to North London would be "too tiring" - what about me and my 80 mile trek back to the Midlands???

I have been in so many relationships that I deeply regret - looking for love in the wrong places. I am now in a good relationship for the past 10 years with DH. Finally I am not this flighty emotional person, but I am settled have my own house, just starting out as self-employed, etc. But they just don't want to share that with me. DS never sees his aunties. All his cousins are in their 20's and doing their own thing in London. He didn't really like my mum all that much and anyway they live far away. Sometimes I just feel so unhappy. I wish I had sisters who would drop by and have a chat over a glass of wine, instead of all this spitefulness and ignorance. I wish I had a mum who cared about me. What is the point of having all this if there is no one to share it with. I see lovely gifts in the shops that I would buy for my sisters for their homes, but I don't have that kind of relationship with them.

I just wanted to get this off my chest and reach out to anyone else who might be going through similar. Thanks for reading!

BruciesDollyDealer Fri 07-Oct-11 14:31:46

not being funny but i think when someone says oh i dont get on with mum, or dad or sisters or neighbours, or workmates etc etc etc, there is an underlying issue probably with them one way or another

Cheeseandharps Fri 07-Oct-11 15:00:00

TooMuchCaffeine it sounds like you were/are the scapegoat. You wrote 'the moment there is any sort of disagreement, any questioning of their opinions or if I do something that is not what they would agree with - it becomes a major issue of dissaproval and I am always in the wrong'. It's the same with my ex-family which is why I have no contact with most of them.

If you haven't already read it, Susan Forward's 'Toxic Parents' is a good, useful book.

pugmill Fri 07-Oct-11 16:16:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TooMuchCaffeine Fri 07-Oct-11 16:40:58

Thanks for all your comments. Bruciesdollydealer are we related. You sound like one of my sisters! I am not an angel but I am intelligent enough to know when behavior is unreasonable.

PeppermintPumpkin Fri 07-Oct-11 17:03:02

TMC Please come on to the Stately Homes Thread. Your post could have been written by me, and quite a few others I suspect. I often long for the loving supportive contact you might expect from close(biologically)female relatives. It IS very very hard to realise that this is just not on the agenda for you.

My mother, I have come to realise through reading and research, and from talking on here, is a classic narcissist. She is utterly self absorbed and lacks any shred of empathy. She will never walk in my or anyone else's shoes simply because she can't(not letting her off the hook btw!) It sounds like your mum is the same. I totally recognise the description of family "trumping" you with your problems. Well, actually, the blunt truth is that they are not listening to you when you talk, it is all about them.

My mother prefers dogs and small children. My father used to say that was because they did what she said and couldn't answer back. He loved her-we all make mistakes, but I was lucky to have him-he was emotionally available and I feel that you've got a very raw deal with two useless parents (as far as your emotional well being goes)!!

I credit my Dad, and of course myself with teaching me about myself and my emotional life. So, it sounds to me like you have often felt very alone, the stranger in the family, the scapegoat? These are all things that are explored on the above thread(I'll try and link but I'm a bit shit at it).

What about your friendships? I have a good and true circle of friends, who help take the sting out of a lack of close family. Can you cultivate your friends? They have taken the place of the "sisters who would drop by and have a chat..." for me. Plus of course you have your relationship(so you know, you are able to give and receive love).

The fault is with them, and who knows where it started. But you are different as you sound to me like someone with empathy. I don't accept at all the rather catty comment upthread about there being something fundamentally wrong with you in this situation. Patently rubbish.

Oh, and if you feel so strongly about sending a gift, well-send one! Might knock 'em off their perch for a bit...!

TooMuchCaffeine Fri 07-Oct-11 19:46:40

Thanks PeppermintPumpkin. In friendships I find that I am always the mum -I am the feeder, the looker afterer, the one who listens to others both in my personal life and in my job. I recognise I have been the scapegoat in the family. The middle child. I sat and observed, and listened and watched them all when I was growing up, and in between I used to wish my "real family" would come and get me. sad My circle of friends is small - unfortunately I seem to attract friends who are very needy and/or envious of what I have to give - kind of like biting the hand that feeds, or who repeat my family dynamic. But slowly and surely I am recognising these traits and staying well away.

doigthebountyeater Sat 08-Oct-11 10:27:12

Bruciesdollydealer, that is a really irritating comment. So if someone has been scapegoated/abused/neglected in their family then it is HIS/HER fault? Don't be ridiculous. People get abused in family situations all the time. The abusers are always to blame.

ToomuchCaffeine, I read once that if you have not been nurtured as a child then you will spend the rest of your life trying to get that love and approval for your 'inner child'. It is tough. Truthfully, I would say that therapy is the only way to make peace with that sad little girl inside who never got the love she craved. I don't think we can grow into healthy adults if the inner child hasn't been allowed to develop in a positive way. Try counselling.

togetherwehaveitall Sat 08-Oct-11 18:01:15

Awww TMC I really felt that post. My advice to you is to grieve it all as a loss and start building up girlfriends as sisters.

My sister and brother are similar. I am the middle child and was badly beaten as a child. Brother 'out of it', usually watching TV, sister supervising the beatings and saying when enough was enough!!

Obviously this led to some strained rels as I grew older! My brother sided with my mother when I started getting therapy, and my sister then grew more f'ed up than me. Endless bfs, an eating disorder, always moving, very selfish.

With brother out of the picture (and mother), it was just Dad, sister and I to try and get along, but I couldn't get along with any of them either! My sister was selfish and mean. She once read a child abuse book when at my house and asked to keep it. When I said no, she shouted that she had to go now because she had to get 'My F'ing book now since you won't give me yours!!!!' Another time she wanted to come and stay because it would be cheaper to get into London from mine (nice) but when I said she and her bf could not sleep in my bed, she didn't show up and didn't even ring to tell me!

Anyway blah blah blah.

What I did was stop trying with the lot of them. It led to a great deal of healing on my part. It is sad though and that is an issue. You sounded very sad at the end of your post, and it was that bit I was writing about. I would advise you to grieve the loss of your family. Then the reality won't hurt as much xx

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