Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Dreading my mum coming back from holiday

(47 Posts)
Lulu1984 Thu 11-Oct-12 11:29:57

I've posted about my mum before. She really turned on me after DD was born and I got married (over 2 years ago now) and things have gone from bad to worse. I have been advised on here before to distance myself from her which I try to do but is hard as I work for her and she looks after my DD twice a week.

My parents have been on holiday for 2 weeks, due back this weekend and its been bliss. I feel guilty admitting to it but things are so much easier and calmer. We've been able to take DD to see my nan and grandad and other family without being made to feel guilty that we havent seen her. I can work without feeling like i'm walking on egg shells. They'll be back in a few says and its all going to go back to the tense crap it was before.

My mum hasnt been right for a while, and takes it all out on me. She has been on ADs but decided before she went away to stop taking them, i think my dad has also encouraged this. I have tried talking to them both saying I think she needs more help for her depression and they have both turned round and said shes fine and i'm the reason shes upset, if we came round to see them for meals etc everything would be fine! The reason we stopped seeing them as much was because they ignore my DH, undermine our parenting and even when we did make effect they still bitched and moaned.

I feel soo bad but i just don't want them to come back from their holiday, All they do is make me feel guilty and I feel isolated from the rest of the family as my parents play the victim to them so they stay away from us. I can't handle this anymore, they just make me out to be unreasonable and can't see it from any other view.

AnneElliott Thu 11-Oct-12 17:31:40

I feel for you as my mum is the same. Counselling helped me to see that her issues were nothing to do with me. I now take a bright and breezy attitude to everything she says and have a number of stock phrases such as " it all comes out in the wash" when she starts moaning. The secret is to never engage and move the conversation along.

Lulu1984 Thu 11-Oct-12 17:40:20

I guess you're right and when she doesn't get what she wants she throws a tantrum until she does.

Thinking about it do you think she's jealous of me a bit as well. The year I had DD and got married was when this all started. I don't like being the centre of attention much anyway but she's made a big deal and made these occassions all about her and what she wanted rather than me DD and DH.

I will have to try the breezy attitude anneelliott that might work well on her. She can't take offense and I wouldn't have insulted her but it would annoy her!

Lulu1984 Tue 16-Oct-12 10:24:33

Well shes back from holiday! She wants to meet up and talk about our relationship, just the two of us in a neutral place so we'll see what happens. I've decided this is the last time I'm doing this. We've had lots of talks between, me, mum, dad DH and they get no where.

I am going to make sure I stand up to her, get my views across and if she doesnt listen to me and just bitches about my DH i'm leaving. I'm not going to let her use emotional blackmail on me and i'm not going to make any agreements to do anything on any regular basis.

Any advice to offer. I'm really not good at getting my views across so this is going to be challenging for me.

Miggsie Tue 16-Oct-12 10:33:28

Talking to your mum will make no difference to her behaviour, she wants you obedient and fearful - all her life she has wanted this, nothing will change now.

You do need to read Susan Forward's book and understand your mother will never change, all she wants to do is control you and all your father wants to do is get you to shut up so he doesn't get ;picked on by your mum.
She is a bully - if you stop being her victim she'll pick on someon else - your dad. How pleased he must have been when her children came along and she could victimise them instead of him.
Your mother is a bully, your father is weak and spineless.

A website that is good is:

FOG which will help you understand you cannot do anything to please your mum, she will always require total obedience. Another one is narcisstic mums which may help you identify what is wrong with your mother.

Unhappily, the only way to deal with parents like this is to cut them out of your life - and your child's - they willuse her to manipoulate you, then pick on her when she reaches puberty, it's what my grandmother did.

Lulu1984 Tue 16-Oct-12 10:53:43

I know talking to her isn't going to accomplish anything but it will mean she can't bitch and moan that I haven't tried to sort things out. I'm going to make it clear to her how she is making me feel and if she can't change that then I'm not going to make the effort anymore.

I'm not expecting to get through to her, nothing has changed, but at least I can come out of it saying I tried and have no reason to feel guilty about the way things have changed between us.

Can I ask anyone else who has issues with their mums, has it always been like this? I used to get on ok with my mum up until i was pregnant with my DD. As soon as she was born and we got married, thats when it changed. Is it because my position changed (eg im a mum, wife) so have people depending on me? Thoug I have noticed how I am with my DD, I tell her I love her every day, enjoy playing with her etc, I don't remember even cuddling my mum or her saying she loved me. I dont have a good memory though so I cant rely on it.

olgaga Tue 16-Oct-12 11:15:25

His are great, there for us if we need it, never hassle so we are both comfortable around them so see them more

Well can they give you a bit more practical help?

I don't see you're ever going to resolve this until you gain your independence from your parents, both in employment and childcare. Is there really no other way you can finish your training and study?

Yes they are dictating the terms of your dependence on them. That's unfortunate, but that's how they are. Realistically, you are not in a strong position to start dictating your terms to them.

Of course your DH doesn't care what they think of him - he isn't their son, why would he? I bed he'd care a whole lot more if they withdrew their support and left the two of you to struggle with your responsibilities on your own!

olgaga Tue 16-Oct-12 11:23:14

I used to get on ok with my mum up until i was pregnant with my DD. As soon as she was born and we got married, thats when it changed.

Well if you got on with her ok before, perhaps it's the fact that she had high hopes for you which has made her so unhappy at this turn of events. You say you have people depending on you, and imply she resents that. It does sound to me as though perhaps you have made choices you were unprepared and ill-equipped for, and she has found that difficult to come to terms with.

I take it your DH is in no position to support you, given your continuing dependence on your parents?

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Oct-12 11:35:37

"Can I ask anyone else who has issues with their mums, has it always been like this? I used to get on ok with my mum up until i was pregnant with my DD. As soon as she was born and we got married, thats when it changed. Is it because my position changed (eg im a mum, wife) so have people depending on me? Thoug I have noticed how I am with my DD, I tell her I love her every day, enjoy playing with her etc, I don't remember even cuddling my mum or her saying she loved me. I dont have a good memory though so I cant rely on it."

This type of scenario often plays out with children now adults who were and remain victims of such dysfunctional emotionally unhealthy parenting. Regarding your comment stating that you cannot fully remember being cuddled by your mother or her saying to you that she loved you, that often happens as well in toxic families. You're beginning to remember what your own childhood was properly like now you have a child of your own and you would not want to inflict what happened to you on your child now.

When you started a family of your own, your mother was no longer in the centre of your world so in her warped mind, her world collapsed with the subsequent taking it out on you.

I would certainly read Toxic Parents (your parents are within those pages) and look at the websites Miggsie suggests. Your mother is the driving force and your dad is her weak and ever willing enabler. Narcissistic women like your mother always but always need some weak enabler man to assist them. Such spineless men often act out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He has also failed you abjectly.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Oct-12 11:37:21


If you do meet your mother (and at the present time I would suggest you do not) you must be prepared to make a quick exit; she could well tear you to shreds emotionally. Such people never ever apologise nor take any responsibility for their actions.

olgaga Tue 16-Oct-12 12:16:29

Do you know what, toxic or non-toxic, I would really like to hear your mum's POV on this.

In the meantime, I don't see the point in treating her as the enemy when you are so dependent on her. Manage the present, and focus on planning for the future.

I would however recommend this book. It's an invaluable aid to non-confrontational communication strategies and a real confidence booster:

Viviennemary Tue 16-Oct-12 12:24:30

I don't know all the background but if you work for your Mum and she looks after your children nothing is going to change much. I don't want to be deliberately pessimistic but there is no way your Mum is going to change. You are the one who will always be in the wrong whatever the facts. This has been my experience. The only way is not to rely on her as much. She sounds like a manipulator.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Oct-12 12:56:04

"I would really like to hear your mum's POV on this".

Can only imagine what that would sound like. Probably a long litany and laundry list of OPs supposed shortcomings.

The only point of view OPs mother is interested in is her own.

olgaga Tue 16-Oct-12 13:47:53

Well there are plenty of mums who don't like their sons-in-law, which actually seems to be the main issue between you and her, OP. You did say you used to get on OK until you got pregnant and married your DH.

Unlike other posters I'm not going to rush to judgement and diagnose her with personality disorders or mental illness, certainly not on the basis of what you have said here! It wonder how much of her attitude is based on dismay at your apparent dependency.

You said:

"if I just tell them to fuck off and I never want to see them I will then have no work, no childcare and we wont be able to afford our home. I cant get a new job as no childcare and cant afford to pay it. We aren't entitled to any benefits so I really don't know what to do."

Perhaps she just wanted better for you, and would like some kind of acknowledgement that what you have wouldn't be possible without her and your dad's support. Perhaps she genuinely does feel that your DH has been poisoning your relationship.

If she is being that unreasonable, I wonder why your dad is so supportive of her? I notice everyone is saying she is toxic, but he's barely had a mention.

How is it that you and your DH are in a situation where your whole life seems to rely on your parents' goodwill? Is your DH overtly snotty with her and your dad? Why is it they are so anti your DH?

However, it may be that she has come back from holiday resolved to adjust to the disappointing reality of your ongoing dependence of you and your DH on her and your dad, and is perhaps hoping for a fresh start.

On the other hand, she might be about to tell you that it's time you stood on your own two feet and looked for a job elsewhere. Have you thought about what you would do if that were the case?

"If I cut them out I wont get to see the rest of my family as they seem to side with mum for an easy life, I just don't know what to do. I dont want to lose everyone."

So your dad and the rest of your family seem to see your mum's POV. Is that really "for an easy life" - are they all dependent on her and your dad too? Or is it that you can't see their opinions any other way? If your entire family is so "toxic", why on earth wouldn't you want to "lose everyone"? What do they say when you complain to them about your mum's attitude?

It just seems to me there's a lot more to this than meets the eye.

Lulu1984 Tue 16-Oct-12 13:58:02

Olgaga I may have given the wrong impression but my DH doesn't depend on me, he works full time, unfortunately its not enouhg for us to love on. I'm also not sure what you mean by us being ill-prepared. I think i was being naive working for my mum, though the arrrangement was mutually beneficial. I was working full time before having DD and could have returned on part time basis, I re-evaluated my options on mat leave and choose to restudy to do something that in time I could so self employed. I did it at this time as my mum was having an op and needed me to cover her work whilst she was out of action. My mum was also not supposed to be looking after DD, another family member was, but she 'talked' to them and they suddenly couldnt do it anymore after looking after her for 6mths.

She has controlled and manipulated situations so i am in this situation and is still trying to control me more. She has offered to buy us a house (in the area she wants near her), rent it to us (at a price we cant afford or we would have moved from our flat by now if we could) and then we can buy it back when we are ready at the price she paid for it (which would be at least £100,000 more than houses we have looked at so we'll never be able to afford it). She thinks shes being helpful but I just see it as another way to control us, and we have a mortgage for our flat so don't want to give that up and rent. They just throw offers of money to try and control us and make us in debt to them, disguised as helping us out. We have never taken any money off them, all I have had is wages earnt as I never want to feel in their debt like that as they will use it to their advantage.

I will read that book Atilla, and I have heard people from toxic parents have bad memories, and I guess i'm remebering things as we are bringing up DD. I am going to meet her tonight but will make my own way and will leave if I'm not happy. I'm not going to sit there and take any crap and be made to feel bad. I haven't done anything wrong. All I've done is not go round to see her as much outside of work because of her attitude and behaviour towards me. She on the other hand has said nasty things, been delibertaley spiteful and just trying to control everything I do.

I also don't understand why she can't be proud of me, I have always worked since finishing uni, buy my own things, bought my flat with DH, and never have to borrow money from people. I'm doing a good job raising our DD, shes such an amazing little girl and so clever and bright. I can't imagine ever feeling anything but love and pride for my DD.

Lulu1984 Tue 16-Oct-12 14:11:49

olgaga I have been with DH for over 10 years now, married for just over 2. There has never been a problem between them before this. My DH used to often help my dad with odd jobs at the weekends, and if we were going to a restaurant he would ask me to ask them along as well.

As I said in my previous post she has manipulated the situation so we seem to be reliant on her, this is her doing, not ours. If she turned round and said they wont look after DD I would get the first full time job I could and then would prob be able to afford to pay childcare whilst just getting by.

She doesn't have any idea on our money situation. She knows we aren't struggling so thats not an issue for her. We would struggle with just DH wages. We dont get benefits as our income is over the certain limit but only just.

I think my dad just does what she says for an easy life though hes had enough and has told me hes thought about leaving. The rest of my family see my mum more so are fed info from her, again not one of them has bothered to ask me about the situation so maybe it is best not to bother with them, though its not what I want. I think they are just takinmg a backseat and hoping it will blow over. They all have their own kids as well so are concentrating on them anyway, which also pisses my mum off.

I do have a bro and he has been supportive, him and DSIL have been through the same crap with my mum, though my mum refuses to believe any of the problems they have was anything to do with her. My bro lives several hours drive away though and is not about much so this is all down on me.

I don't think there is anything more to the situation. Thats what I can't understand. Within the 2 weeks after our wedding she started saying all the things I've done wrong (all petty) and hasnt stopped since. I've backed off a bit as she was effecting my mental health and she won't stop giving me grief. She wants to play happy families but its all fake. She can't stand being around us when we did do things, its all about how she looks to others.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Oct-12 14:17:50

Hi Lulu,

Many people fortunately come from emotionally healthy families so such dysfunction is thankfully unknown to them.

Do not ever enter into any financial arrangement with your mother. She will use it as yet another stick (the control one) to beat you with. She is not being helpful at all as you rightly state.

re your comment:-
"I also don't understand why she can't be proud of me, I have always worked since finishing uni, buy my own things, bought my flat with DH, and never have to borrow money from people".

Simply put its because she chooses not to be proud of you; you're competition to her, a rival and you do not want to do her bidding anymore. Its their scapegoat wanting or trying to break free of being controlled and ruled over that riles these people no end so she lashes out. Also such women always but always need a willing enabler (in your case your Dad) to assist them.

You did not do this to your mother, her own birth family unleashed all that emotional damage on her with the results apparant now. BTW what do you know about her own childhood, that will give clues.

" I'm doing a good job raising our DD, shes such an amazing little girl and so clever and bright. I can't imagine ever feeling anything but love and pride for my DD".

Excellent, a massive shame (understatement) that your mother has never been able to do the same for you. The birth of your DD is likely why you have started to think about all this and related childhood issues more carefully.

You can break the cycle and with your DD you will. Yuo won't act to her like your mother did and still does to you.

If your mother does start on the attack tonight Lulu as she could well do, leave smartish and do not look back. I also think that you got on "okay" (I use quote marks deliberately) with your mother prior to DD being born because that relationship with you was all on her terms. Its all about power and control.

olgaga Tue 16-Oct-12 14:28:37

Thanks for your reply.

It does seem to me that you are doing what you wanted to do - as you say the arrangement was mutually beneficial. Now you are finding it's not so beneficial so you are entitled to make new plans. I'm a little surprised at comments like "My mum was also not supposed to be looking after DD, another family member was, but she 'talked' to them and they suddenly couldnt do it anymore after looking after her for 6mths."

I don't know what to make of that. Are you saying your mum took this decision? Got at this other family member? But doesn't your mum also work? Childcare for your child is your decision, and I do wonder why you simply allowed your mum to make these decisions for you - you did have a choice at that point to say "OK this isn't working out".

Have you spoken to your former employer to see if they have any part-time vacancies?

Have you discussed with your education provider the possibility of putting your studies on hold? You might tell them that your current employment is at risk and you might have to find full time work, for example. They are bound to take your circumstances into account, and make allowances for parental responsibilities.

Simply ignore the offer of the house purchase, and any other financial offers which would make you further obligated to your parents. If it's not a gift, given freely, just say it doesn't fit in with your plans and you don't want to be financially tied down in that way. Repeat as and when necessary!

You talk about the possibility of emigrating but moving away doesn't need to be that drastic. You are entitled to move for employment opportunities, better schools or childcare, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to move away from their influence if you find it impossible to assert yourself.

You are a working, studying parent. You're entitled to decide what you do with your free time and how frequently you want to see your parents!

Do read that book I linked to above, it sounds as though you would find it very useful. And good luck tonight!

olgaga Tue 16-Oct-12 14:48:00

Attila I am simply more interested in techniques for dealing with the situation that wallowing in the past. You cannot control other people's lives or personalities or futures. You can control your own.

I have my own experiences to fall back on too. Just because I am concentrating on what can be done, rather than what should have been done years ago or how other people should have behaved years ago doesn't mean I don't understand.

I understand only too well. I also understand that the only way OP is going to break free from this cycle is to empower herself - not to continue to be dependent on the very people who are causing her such misery.

You are saying the same thing, but disregarding the consequences. I am simply trying to explore the practicalities.

If OP is saying she can't afford to pay the mortgage without the employment arrangement with her mum, then she can't "just walk away". She needs to employ reasoning. strategy and assertiveness.

And Lulu, it might help to prepare yourself for tonight's meeting just as you would if you were in a professional situation, dealing with a difficult client.

Do some preparation in relation to what might be discussed and what your response will be. You can't depersonalise your relationship with your mum, but you can depersonalise the discussion by keeping the focus on practicalities.

You obviously won't have time to get and read that book I linked to before tonight, but here is a pretty good summary of how to assert yourself and say "No" without aggression, manipulation or submission:

Lulu1984 Tue 16-Oct-12 15:44:14

Thanks Attila I think you’re right that our relationship was all on her terms before and its only now that I’m doing things she doesn’t like that she’s started getting upset.

Olgaga I’m not entirely sure what she said to the person that was looking after my DD but I know she adored having her and still does on the odd occasion when I’m stuck for childcare. I don’t know why I didn’t stop the take over there, I think I just let it go as it was nearer the start when things were going bad and we were trying to keep the peace. My mum does work but only 3 days a week. I work 3 days as well, only 1 the same as her so she has DD on the other 2.

I am close to a lot of people at my old work and I know they have just gone through a huge redundancy so it doesn’t look possible to get work there at the moment.
My education isn’t a problem as I distance learn in evenings so don’t need any childcare to do this. Its all off my own back, no lessons etc so whatever I do I can still continue with this. I should be finished by the summer anyway.

I am making a list of the main things I want to say tonight so I don’t forget as she has a habit of making me forget things or turn round what I say so I will go prepared

Thanks for both of your inputs it has really helped. xx

olgaga Tue 16-Oct-12 16:04:34

Can't you get on to the person who was looking after your DD and say you want her and only her to do the childcare? It really is your decision. If you are happy then your daughter will be happy - and that's a good enough reason to want to change things back to how they were. I'd look into it again if I were you. Tell this person you felt the arrangement with her was by far the most preferable and see if she would be prepared to do it.

Your mum might well be upset, but no more upset than if you organised any other childcare.

HissyByName Tue 16-Oct-12 17:33:23

The meeting will be for her to pressure you to get back in line. Not for the benefit of your relationship, but for her benefit only.

I'd refuse to meet her alone tbh. Take your DH.

BessieMcBean Tue 16-Oct-12 18:14:05

Have you checked that you aren't entitled to any benefits that you so far aren't receiving.

Clutching at straws but it would make such a difference if you didn't have to depend on her childminding.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now