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Relationship with mum worse after baby

(5 Posts)
cantreachmytoes Thu 11-Oct-12 16:14:57

My relationship with my mother has been marred, on my side, by my childhood. She had a tough time, which I understand, but took it out on me (and my brother), which has left me with some problems in adult life. I have sought out counselling before to help with these issues and it has worked. Then I had my son and a whole new host of issues came up. Back in Feb (he was 4 months old) I started having flashbacks to when my mother rubbed my brother's dirty (poo) nappy on his face (because she was fed up of him poo-ing in his nappy - he was about 2, not that that really makes a difference!) and things like how she used to boast about putting my face under a tap on a train once to get me to stop crying when I was 18 months - apparently it worked really well. She went beserk at me once when I was 5, no idea why and I don't actually remember it. What I remember is just her laughing at the bruises a few days later when helping me to the loo. There were quite a lot more physical things too.

On Skype (luckily, she doesn't live near), she says things like, "Your DS is SO like you when you were younger". It kills me inside, because I couldn't ever, ever imagine doing any of the things to him that she did to my brother or I. I used to be able to tolerate her (well, for short periods), but now I just want to cut contact. I know that I won't, but I'm just wondering if this sounds familiar to anybody else and if so, what you have done. I am having counselling again, but just looking for some other ideas on how to deal with this.

Also, does what she did sound like abuse? Just those incidents? I kind of think it it, but it's so close to home, I'm not sure if I'm being overly sensitive.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 11-Oct-12 16:50:11

Many people who were and remain victims of such abusive parenting from the very people who are supposed to love them often think that they are being overtly sensitive. Its something I have also come across on the "Well we took yot to Stately Homes" thread on these pages. Many people who have started to write about their experiences often downplay or minimise what happened to them.

She may well have had a tough time but that was still no excuse for the physically abusive ways in which she treated your brother and yourself. There is never any justification for abuse.

What happened to you is not your fault - you did not make her that way. BTW what do you yourself know about her childhood (I would put money on it that her own childhood was itself abusive).

You do not mention your Dad, is he still around?.

I would raise your already high boundaries with your mother even higher than they are now. I would not skype her. It is more than okay to cut contact with someone like this, was wondering what has prevented you from doing that to date. Is it FOG - fear, obligation, guilt?.

Read the stately homes thread along with "Toxic Parents" if you have not already done so. That may also help. Re counselling, do continue with this.

janelikesjam Thu 11-Oct-12 21:24:58

Yes, in my book, what she did definitely abusive, and a bit bonkers tbh.

Agree about keeping away from Skype as much as poss. Maybe say you don't like Skype very much (it makes me dizzy), and just stay in touch with odd email or phone call, or not, if you don't want to.

I think relationships between daughters and mothers often take a nosedive when a baby comes along if they have not had a great relationship to begin with.

Re-establishing a relationship when the mother is feeling vulnerable and needing support from her own mother can bring up all sorts of issues, in the present and from the past. The new mother may also be looking at her own mother with new eyes and perhaps be reflecting on her own childhood more.

It can make for a very turbulent time IME. My relationship with my mother has calmed down now somewhat, but still remember really awful rows.

janelikesjam Thu 11-Oct-12 21:29:01

P.S. My mother was such a nightmare I did cut contact a couple of times and felt fine about it, almost a relief, though we did become friends again in the end.

But most of all I hope you enjoy your relationship with your new baby, don't let any of her problems interfere with that.

cantreachmytoes Thu 11-Oct-12 21:46:32

Wow, Atilla, FOG - yes! Never heard that acronym before. She lives alone in a country where she has limited friends and does not speak the local language. I generally don't get in touch with her much, especially since I started being innundated with memories and questions earlier in the year, but FOG is definitely a part of it all. A part too is that she seems to on some level have been making an effort to be really nice over the past few years, but the nasty side is never far away and if it is, I can't tell just how far, so I'm still scared.

I read through lots of Toxic Parents threads this evening and she doesn't sound as bad as some others, but she's definitely in the toxic category! You're right about her childhood, and that has made and makes me feel sorry for her - she couldn't/can't help it, she's obviously in some pain too - so I'll be the bigger person and act 'mature', but the fear just doesn't go away and the disgust and disbelief seem to be mounting!

It's strangely good to have my judgement of some of the things she did affirmed. She always told me I was "overly sensitive" and somehow it undermines my analysis of my childhood.

I have no contact with my father. If I cut contact with her, I'll cause problems with my brother and I don't have any more close family on my side really.

Thanks too Jane. Before DS was born, I already knew that I wouldn't turn to her for any form of support (although she was around at the time) or advice. Just as well really, because as predicted she was just a big PIA to both my husband and I.

I keep saying to my DH that if this was a friend, well, she wouldn't be. I don't want to disown her, but somehow I need to get a grip and limit her exposure to me even more. She is, though, sickly sweet to my DS. As I have no contact with my father, I don't want him to have no grandparents on my side at all, and so far, she hasn't set a foot wrong with him.

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