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Am I overreacting wrt my mother

(21 Posts)
sincitylover Tue 25-Oct-11 11:54:51

I don't see her often and we haven't had the best of relationships over the years. TBH felt bad vibes from her even as a child.

This could be explained by her mother dying when she was a a teenager and her father favouring boys (he didn't have any - he had two girls and wanted boys).

She was also brought up to be quite religious didn't really approve of sex before marriage, divorce and so on. She met my df when she was young and they have been married over 50 years - both each others only partner and have lived a slow paced, frugal life in a bit of a bubble. When I was teen other people's parents seemed more 'normal' in comparison to mine (although I realise many teenagers think this)

She has never told me that I look nice or attractive and is overly critical. I can't see why anyone would do that - I frequently tell my boys and other people if they look nice.

Anyway fast forward to Friday and on a rare visit to them we watching a chat show with a fairly bland english actress and she launches into a venomous rant against her - married twice, two children by two different men and now has a toy boy. I said to her 'oh hoist up your judgeypants why don't you?' followed by well she's a young woman why shouldn't she have a further relationship. I have to say I was really quite shocked by her outburst.

I'm thinking that by judging this celebrity like that she is judging me really - one live in relationship, one marriage ending in divorce and plenty of boyfriends generally - i'm quite old). Oh and add to that a working mother and living in London (the root of all evil in her opinion).

Or am I overreacting? (as my male friend thought I was). I have accepted that we will never have a close mother daughter relationship but it still hurts to be honest.

sincitylover Tue 25-Oct-11 11:59:32

my db is also divorced but I don't think she gives him such a hard time!

Pancakeflipper Tue 25-Oct-11 12:03:41

oh we share the same mum. Great isn't it? No chance of having a large ego.

I don't think it is totally directed at you. I think she just likes to put people down and this is all she knew about this actress to have a go about.

She probably secretly admires you and is jealous. But she is never ever going to say so.

CailinDana Tue 25-Oct-11 12:16:46

You have every right to be hurt. However, after years of struggling with how shit my own mum is I have come to learn that I either have to accept the way she is an not let it get me down or cut her out of my life completely. Constantly wanting hoping and wishing for her to be different is such a massive waste of energy. I am still hurt by her but it doesn't get to me in the way it used to.

You know your mum is a bit odd, and possibly as pancake suggested she is actually quite envious of you. I know for a fact my mum is envious of me. Rather than feeling angry at my mum I feel quite sorry for her. I have changed my attitude from one of wanting her to take care of me and love me to giving her my time out of pity and duty. It isn't great but it's better than it was.

sincitylover Tue 25-Oct-11 12:17:42

yes I do wonder if she is jealous but when I first thought this I found it really hard to believe she would be.

Also and all of this has been going on years - I tell myself she was the adult and I was the child - I couldn't imagine ever doing this to my own dcs.

Sorry to hear your mother is similar. I think I've largely come to terms with it by distancing and also time but it's almost as if I can't accept that the situation is toxic.

Just as I find it hard to believe that my exh was ea. When these things happen do you think you almost can't believe its happening to you and you try to deny it or doubt your own judgement?

CailinDana Tue 25-Oct-11 12:22:07

Of course you doubt your judgement OP, it's very hard to believe that someone you genuinely love and care for could treat you so badly. It took me years and years and rejection after rejection for me to finally accept that my mother won't be who I want her to be. And yet, deep down I know there's a tiny part of me that hopes one day she'll change. I think that's totally normal and understandable.

Out of interest, what was her response when you made the "judgeypants" comment?

Pancakeflipper Tue 25-Oct-11 12:26:00

I so relate to that...
I used to think I was a horrible person. I must be horrible because all mums love and support their children don't they? They don't make snide digs and chip away their confidence, never praise, alter school report grades to lesser grades so the kid thinks they are really thick even though they really try..

I have been through so many emotions and the only person I hurt more and more was me.

The tactic I find that is working the best is to not forget but I am trying to forgive. And it's taken me ages to get to this stage.

When I do see her and that cat bums mouth appears and she gets into her stride on examining my failings, I have my own voice in my head and it usually goes like this: "I feel sorry for you. I don't know why you find it hard to enjoy me warts and all. I know you find some temporary joy in slagging me off but I am so sure you go home and there is a little part of you ashamed with yourself. I forgive you because there is obviously something wrong with your life that you need to invest so much time being negative about mine. Which is a happy life. I won't feel anger anymore because it's a waste. It's all very sad but I cannot change you. "

sincitylover Tue 25-Oct-11 12:27:45

when I said that to her she just backed off - verbally

JosieRosie Tue 25-Oct-11 12:37:43

Similar mum here. Not at all surprised that you feel hurt OP, and not at all surprised that you're doubting your reaction either! You say she has always been overly critical of you - that sends you the message over years and years, in hundreds of little ways, that what you say and think and feel is utter rubbish. Both my parents did this to me and my siblings and it's horrible, nasty abusive behaviour.
She probably is extremely jealous of you and you're probably right that her comments about the actress were veiled insults that were really meant for you. Again, horrible abusive stuff. Pancake's talk that she gives herself is a great one - you can't change your mum, and there is something very wrong with someone who has to be so horribly negative about their own child. My parents are two of the most miserable people I know, but I've stopped feeling that it's my responsiblity to make them happy.
I know it's not for everyone OP, but I cannot recommend psychotherapy enough - my self esteem is growing by the day and I'm learning that it's ok to feel hurt and upset and to put my feelings first, rather than kow-towing to other people all the time smile

sincitylover Tue 25-Oct-11 12:51:26

thanks all - I can see that I have trouble really validating my own feelings and need to work on that.

Re psychotherapy - I have had counselling on and off throughout the years but nothing as intense as that. I wouldn't rule it out in the future but at the moment am full on with job and dcs.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Tue 25-Oct-11 13:06:31

Another daughter of the same mother here, also still struggling.
(((Hugs))) for your unmothered inner child.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 25-Oct-11 13:16:49

Mine's pretty rubbish as well, in a different way but have had raging row with her today when it became quite obvious that she will not put herself out to help me - even if it is to rectify a situation that came out as a result of me doing her a favour in the first place <and breath> Sorry, that was a bit ranty.

No, you are not over reacting and lots of sympathy from me as well. I just take comfort that I have the rest of my life to live and shall do so making sure I don't alienate my children in my old age and I will be all the richer for it, unlike my Mum.

sincitylover Tue 25-Oct-11 14:12:03

Could it partially be a generational thing ?- ie stiff upper lip, no praise etc my mum is early 70s

ItsMeAndMyPumpkinNow Tue 25-Oct-11 14:29:29

No, I don't think it's generational. My mother is younger than yours and from a different culture. Same neglect, put-downs, and occasional nastiness though.

Thzumbazombiewitch Tue 25-Oct-11 14:39:28

I believe it is a self-esteem thing - my mother was rather like yours too but she had dreadfully low self-esteem herself, so she liked to make sure no one else's got above toe height. sad

My mother also had a very narrow world view - anything outside of her direct experience was "weird" <sigh> - and if she didn't agree with something then of course she was the one in the right and the others (up to and including the entire world) were Wrong.

But - she had a terribly chauvinistic father who put her down all the time, wouldn't allow her to do what she wanted to do (wasn't the Done Thing when she was young for girls to go into engineering so she was 'forced' into secretarial work instead). She was utterly discontented and wasn't the sort of person who could pull herself out of that feeling.

The thing that helped me most was counselling and then training in NLP - the former helped me to understand our relationship dynamic better, including my role in it - the latter helped me to understand better where her behaviours came from and helped me choose different ways to deal with her.

JosieRosie Tue 25-Oct-11 14:46:51

Thzumba, your mother sounds a lot like mine re self-esteem issues, everything having to be 'her way' or it was just plain wrong, generally very dissatisfied in life. My therapist and I have been working on the theory that both my parents have Narcissistic Personality Disorder - looking through the symptoms online was one of those OMG, lightbulb moments for me. I laughed out loud a couple of times because they could have been describing my parents exactly. It was a huge help to me to realise that their behaviour is not normal, and even more importantly, I am not abnormal and over-sensitive and wrong for being hurt by it. I'm sure not everyone who behaves like the parents described on this thread has NPD but I highly recommend looking it up if you think it may relate to your family.

babyhammock Tue 25-Oct-11 14:54:30

I don't think its a generational thing either.

Both my parents are like this. My dad very obviously (regularly told me and my bro when we were young that he'd wished he'd never had us, we'd ruined his marriage, wished so and so daughter was his instead etc) and my mum (who always privately maintains she goes along with my dad because its easier hmm) is more passive with it.. i.e never says anything nice and agrees with my dad in front of him....

Still don't know what the answer is...still hope that they'll decide that I'm not so bad after all and that they quite like me really...
I'm wanting to just cut contact right now but that comes and goes x

JosieRosie Tue 25-Oct-11 14:57:57

'still hope that they'll decide that I'm not so bad after all and that they quite like me really'

It's so horrible feeling like this babyhammock sad The no-contact thing comes and goes for me too. It's hard to wean yourself off the feeling that you are 'supposed' to behave in a certain way. Whatever you do for people like this, it's never enough. Lots of luck to you x

Thzumbazombiewitch Tue 25-Oct-11 15:05:46

I'm pretty sure my Mum didn't have NPD - she wasn't really that bad. Although she was very self-absorbed and had very little ability to put herself in other people's shoes, she did try to be nice and my sister once told me that Mum tried so hard to get me to like her but she just didn't understand me (whereas she and my sister were very much more alike and got on fine) - and that made me sad really, because I didn't like my Mum very much and it obviously showed. Poor woman. sad Shocking waste of a relationship - starting from me not being a boy, I think and just dragging on from there. Hey ho - she's gone now - been dead for 4 years and I still don't find myself able to grieve properly.

babyhammock Tue 25-Oct-11 15:45:14

Thanks Josie smile you too x

I think my dad has npd without any doubt, as for my mum confused

Thing is my mum was always saying that when I had children of my own I'd appreciate all the sacrifices they'd made for us (btw I was very appreciative), but it was having DS and how I felt about him that made me realise just how rubbish it all was.

Birdiegirl Tue 25-Oct-11 15:47:10

I can totally relate to this post and I can honestly say I'm really shocked by the amount of replies - I thought that I was the only person with a mother like that!

I'm pregnant at the moment with my first baby and it's really got me thinking about my own mother and her behaviour - I can't ever imagine treating anyone, never mind my own child, the way mother treated me!

Seriously I sometimes wonder did my mother miss out on the 'How to love your Children' talk somewhere along the line!

Anyway I vow to do the very best for my own kids and love them with all my heart - I can't change the past but I sure as hell can change the future!

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