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Feeling "unsettled"; after seeing my Mum

(14 Posts)
mermaid101 Mon 12-Nov-12 19:14:13

This isn't a particularly "bad" problem as they go, but it is starting to really get me down.

Every time after I have seen my Mum, I always feel quite "unsettled": sort of anxious and nervous.

I haven't had a particularly good relationship with her, but now I'm in my mid 30s and have a DC, I see her a good bit more, and on the surface, we have a fairly amicable relationship. I just always feel like I have to sort of "talk myself up" to her (although this is absolutely not in my nature to be like this) and be overly polite with her. When she leaves, I have a sort of unspecific feeling of dread/worry.

I just wondered if anyone else had any idea what I mean and if so, what you do about it.

This all sounds a bit vague, but hopefully someone might have had a similar experience?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 12-Nov-12 19:45:51

Do you feel you need to win her approval?
Does she withhold it?
Has having your DC awoken feelings that she may not have been as brilliant with you at their age as you now are as a Mum yourself?

mermaid101 Mon 12-Nov-12 19:53:33

Oh my, HotDAMN! You are good! Yes! to all these things.

I feel a bit bad about feeling like this, because she is very pratically helpful. She came to my house to day and looked after DD so her Dad could work and she got shopping in for us, tidied up my kitchen and did a washing for me.

But all that you said, especially about winning her approval really struck a chord with me. And i know it's pointless. She is a very negative person. Nothing is every good enough for her and she always looks on the worst side of things.

But if i know this, why does it bother me? And is there a way to stop it?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 12-Nov-12 20:01:44

Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and if you understand that she is a negative person and that you will never, in fact, succeed in winning her approval, then you are halfway there. Complete acceptance is the way to detach emotionally and no longer be bothered by this stuff, but it can be a long and hard road. Worth taking, though, so that you avoid passing on any unresolved issues to yet another generation.

The reason you keep trying is that deep down you believe that she withholds approval because there is something wrong with you, so you want to change her mind about you, and gain her approval, in order to feel worthy. The day you you manage to change that to a belief, deep down, that she withholds her approval because she chooses to be negative, and that there is in fact nothing wrong with you, then you'll be ok. It's tough because of the primal connection we have with our parents, and the way their behaviour towards us as children reflected our self-worth to us.

I recommend you read "When you and your mother can't be friends" by Victoria Secunda.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 12-Nov-12 20:08:56

When you and your mother can't be friends

Will I ever be good enough?

Good luck!

mermaid101 Mon 12-Nov-12 21:06:44

Thank you so much for this. And doing the links/searches for the books. that's really kind of you!

Everything you say makes so much sense to me. I can see it will be very hard to change the way I think, and actually feel and know that it is my Mum and not anything wrong with me. However, that will be so liberating and make such a difference to my life.

I really feel like you understand. Thanks for replying. I was a bit worried no one would have any idea what i was on about.

Thank you.

nitrox Mon 12-Nov-12 21:17:55

But all that you said, especially about winning her approval really struck a chord with me. And i know it's pointless. She is a very negative person. Nothing is every good enough for her and she always looks on the worst side of things.

This is the same for me.. I used to love seeing my mum, even though I move away from my home town when I was 18 (I'm 29 now), but in the last few years she has really grated on me..

I've come to realise that she is negative, hardly ever praises me, and she wasn't all that great when I was younger! I always said and thought that I had a great childhood, but as I'm getting older I think of having my own kids and the things I'd like to do with them and can't help but feel like my parents failed me alot.. sad

I always feel like there is something wrong with me, and I'm realising it comes from my mum..

The worst thing is, I'm just like my mum, but I'm going to try and make small changes smile

mermaid101 Mon 12-Nov-12 21:52:32

Nitrox, that is so uncanny! I too, am just like my Mum in the respect that I am very pessimistic and find it so hard see the positive side to things. I think i do a good job of pretending to be otherwise, but even when I'm being all "Bright and breezy" because i think that's how i should be, underneath I am all doom and gloom like my Mum.

Are you adopting any particular strategies to make these changes?

nitrox Tue 13-Nov-12 14:47:24

Hey Mermaid!

Yes, pessimistic is how I would describe myself. I don't want to be like this though! confused I just seem to be turning into my mum and I'm going to try not to, mainly by being positive about everything lol.

I have only just come to this realisation myself, so I haven't implemented any strategies yet.

I find it affect friendships with others as I generally find them irritating and see faults in them blush, do you find this too? I have one great friend luckily, but everyone else gets on my nerves.

I don't feel supported at all and I feel judged a lot of the time, my self esteem is poor..

Just got off the phone to my mum moaning about all and sundry again, and I started doing it too blush must stop!!

nitrox Tue 13-Nov-12 14:48:58

Also, I find I'm quite cold towards my partner, I struggle to show affection or to empathise and take interest in things that are important to him.

Are you the same?

mermaid101 Tue 13-Nov-12 17:40:25

Nitrox! I am almost exactly the same as you - especially about my partner. And he is such a lovely man, and would really benefit from me being much more positive and supportive towards him. Sometimes I have to tell myself to say a nice thing to him and it feels difficult.

I would say the only way we differ is that this doesn't affect my friendships in the same way. I tend to be very over accommodating with my friends and really go out my way to make sure I don't upset them. I rarely express an opinion, and regularly put myself out for them. I don;t often talk about myself, but spend hours asking about their lives/families/jobs etc.

Do you have any siblings? Are they the same as you?

Thanks for replying so honestly. It's very helpful to speak to someone who feels the same.

nitrox Tue 13-Nov-12 18:30:13

Hey again grin

It's nice to know I'm not the only one..

As for friends, I also do go overboard with pleasing people I like.. I just tend to want less and less close friendships as I get older. Maybe it's an age thing, rather than anything else? I do however, quite happily, talk about myself to my friend blush I don't get on with females that often, my best friend is a man. But I am a tomboy, so that may be why.

My boyfriend is also very lovely (most of the time), very attentive, affectionate, will sit and listen to me and try to help me all evening if I needed it. I also have to "force" myself to be positive sad, this is definately something I get from my mum, and I think it causes people to feel insecure around me. My partners however thinks I'm amazing and wonderful and always praises me, but I find this hard to accept sometimes and feel crowded and claustrophobic.

I have a sister, she lives in Australia now, she's the total opposite to me and isn't like this at all. She is a party animal, very social, very much a positive energy and will always see the good in people/things first. Like I say, total oppsite grin lol. The big difference is when my parents split up when I was 12, I stayed with mum and she stayed with dad. She has more of my dads looks and personality and I'm like a clone of my mum, so I guess I've inherited her emotional side too.

I just listen to mum and think 'is that what people hear when I talk?', and I get all embarrased and then I just think I don't want to be like this!! I want to be happy and not negative and critical about everything.

Funnily enough, everybody else seems to think I'm great, I'm the brainy one in my Uni class, run a sucessfull business, and if you saw my FaceBook profile you would think I was a totally different person to how I actually feel sad

Have you thought about counselling? I've been considering it recently, just to talk about emotions, negative feelings and my childhood..

Do you have much contact with your mum? and do you have siblings?

Salbertina Tue 13-Nov-12 19:02:38

Been lurking, relate v much to what you're both saying re female friends, pessimism and always having hated dm's negativity yet have turned out the same. Probably too old to turn it round, more realistic to take the edge of it somehow sad

nitrox Wed 14-Nov-12 10:50:47

Hey Salbertina

I don't think you are too old to change! don't be so pessimistic wink grin

I think I'm just going to try and change gradually, but it's hard, it doesn't come naturally envy

One day at a time..

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