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I'm feeling shakey and tearful and need some perspective-Mum.

(49 Posts)
HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Mon 26-Nov-12 11:41:20

I will try not to write an essay about my childhood, just the basic facts. My mum left me and my dad when I was 4. I don't really remember anything about the break up, and it wasn't discussed. I know she did move in with another partner. My dad raised me alone and I had no contact with her whatsover.

She contacted me when I was 16, I met up with her for one afternoon, and we visited my nana. I then didn't see her again until I was 20, she was engaged and wanted me to meet her fiance. We then sporadically had contact for about 18 months, I went to her wedding, she went to mine, we saw each other a lot in the middle of those as nana had cancer and eventually died.

After the wedding I rang several times, left messages, and posted a copy of a lovely photo of the 2 of us at my wedding. She never replied so I gave up. Being ignored by her was nothing new. I was 21.

At 22 I had my eldest dd, I was very ill, we both nearly died, and as she was born at 30 weeks this added to the stress. I was very angry that I didn't have a mum to support me, it kind of hit home once I became a mother myself how rejected I felt.

I suffered PND quite badly, had ds1 at 23 and then was crippled by PND. Finally got better, had dd2 at 25, and ds2 at 27. Just after ds2 was born, ds1 was diagnosed with high functioning autism. I have had several bouts of depression and anxiety problems. Ds2 has had a severe speech delay and has needed a lot of help, he and dd2 are currently being assessed for autism.

Basically the last 10 years (dd1 is now 10, youngest ds2 is 5) has been a whirlwind. A very stressful one, and had it not been for dh I don't think I could have coped.

On facebook last week (yes the dreaded FB, I know, I know) I saw a photo of my cousin's son's birthday, my mother was there, pics of her hugging her great nieces and nephews being the fab great Aunt. It was my ds2s birthday the mext day. It stung like you wouldn't believe and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all week.

I couldn't sleep last night and (foolishly) sent quite a bitter message to her via FB last night. She's not on my friends list but I could message her.

She has just replied with this

I have waited a long time to hear from you and despite your words I am pleased to hear from you. I feel that we have much to discuss and should meet as I do not think that you are fully aware of events many years ago and frankly, I am tired of being held responsible for everything that went wrong.
I have to go to Wales as it is my father in law's funeral today, but I did not want you to think that I will not reply. I will write more fully when I get back later today, in the meantime.....xxxxx^

I feel sick, shaky and confused. What should I say/do?

I feel so resentful towards her, and rejected by her. A lot of my insecurities and depression are down to this. Should I just move on, or find out what she has to say?

Or any other advice. Please.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Mon 26-Nov-12 11:47:29

I should add that the last time I saw her was 11 years ago at my wedding, She has never met any of my children, but she 100% knows about them.

Also, she had another daughter at 16. My nana adopted her as her own. So technically my sister was my aunty. I don't really know her. She has 3 children, and I feel like that's another bit of family I've missed out on because of my mother.

dequoisagitil Mon 26-Nov-12 11:50:08

I would be curious, I think, to find out what she had to say.

But if you do, I think you should protect yourself, maybe talk with a counsellor so that you have some skilled support to deal with any further rejection by her or any other issues.

Iggly Mon 26-Nov-12 11:50:59

Oh <hugs>

Yes I would talk to her. Maybe ask her to write you a letter first then read it with your DH for support.

It must have been difficult for her to leave her child like that - and being a mother yourself, you must find it hard to understand?

My mum walked out on me and my brother leaving us with her then boyfriend. She was mentally ill and an alcoholic but even then I find it hard to understand but I have forgiven her.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 26-Nov-12 11:55:05

I would listen to what she has to say but judge her words according to what you know pf her actions. She can doubtless rationalise everything that has happened over the last 20-odd years to her own satisfaction but it doesn't mean that your feelings of rejection are not legitimate or that you have to accept the explanation.

The facts are that you have been abandoned and routinely ignored your whole life. She has had every opportunity to be part of your life but has chosen to pass. She has chosen to be a bigger part of other people's lives for reasons best known to herself. So the 'I'm not the bad guy here' chestnut is already looking a bit thin.

If it was me I'd take the view that I had nothing to lose. So I would turn it back that she may be tired of being held responsible but, at least she had a choice. As a 4 year-old, you had none.

Newmama99 Mon 26-Nov-12 11:55:18

My god, this is a difficult situation you're in and I can understand to a level (as we each have our own personal and unique experiences). Without going into details, I have also suffered from my mother's behaviour towards me and my brothers and sisters. So, my mother was around, but she didnot give us the love, care, guidance and all the other stuff that you want to give to your own child.

Unlike you, but that's a different story, I do not have any contact with my mother anymore, and this has been my choice.

However, you have a contact and it seems to me you would like to ask her questions and talk to her. Why don't you? Tell her how the FB posting made you feel, tell her about your other feelings towards her. You have this opportunity, and she is open to talk and discuss with you.

Whatever the outcome, you would have expressed yourself and same for her. In itself, it should help you eventually to make sense of things and deal with your feelings.

My mother refuses until today to even acknowledge how she treated us, is denying it and dismisses it completely.

You have a chance to talk, hear her out, and also do tell her how you feel. There will be value in it.

take care.

HoratiaWinwood Mon 26-Nov-12 11:55:38

You poor thing, what a time you have had.

I don't get the impression from you that you want a relationship with this woman, and I don't think anyone, she least of all, should be putting pressure on you to do so.

But this might be an opportunity for you to find out what she thinks happened. You will have to protect yourself against hearing it, because she will give you her story which might include an unflattering picture of your 4yo self or your beloved father. And your 4yo self will be the one who hears it. Any blame she places on that child - a baby younger than your youngest - can be nothing but spite and false memory.

Don't forget that your experience of having no mother has informed your own parenting, and that more generally you are the person you are because of your past. You make the choices you make because of it.

A few more FB messages might give you some answers; if she turns out to be a heartless cow you'll know you aren't missing anything; and at any point you can block her and draw a line under it.

Good luck.

2blessed2bstressed Mon 26-Nov-12 11:55:40

Sounds as if she's going to tell you that she had to leave because of your dad doing x,y or z. However, whilst that may well be true I don't think that explains her behaviour to you since you became an adult.
I can completely understand why you're so upset about this, it must feel that you've been completely sidelined in her life, and she has grandchildren that she has chosen to have no relationship with at all.
I can't offer any advice as to how you handle it, but wanted to let you know I feel for you.

diddl Mon 26-Nov-12 12:05:52

I´d want to know.

But would be tempted to tell her that a message back "explaining" would do initially.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Mon 26-Nov-12 12:06:11

Thank you for all of the replies so far. It's difficult at the moment for me to formulate a rational opinion as to what to do, I feel very hurt and angry at the moment, so it's really helpful to hear others thoughts on the situation.

HeathRobinson Mon 26-Nov-12 12:11:52

I really don't understand why she put -

'I have waited a long time to hear from you'.

Surely she's had many opportunities in the past to talk to you? And she was the one who didn't return your calls. confused

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Mon 26-Nov-12 12:13:21

I did think that. If I were estranged from my daughter and she had a baby and I wanted to hear from her, I wouldn't be bloody waiting around to hear from her.

glasscompletelybroken Mon 26-Nov-12 12:15:11

I would say it's ok to contact her and hear what she has to say but only if you are able to do this without investing emotionally in the outcome, and this may not be possible for you.

This is a woman who let you down when you were a very young child and, although she may have had good reasons for this, she has not exactly come through for you since then either.

For your own sanity you must not expect too much from her - or indeed anything - as she has shown you that she is not going to deliver and if you let yourself expect more from her you will be setting yourself up for a further knock-back and disappointment.

I used to work with kids in care and it used to break my heart how these kids would repeatedly give their parents "chances" to come good in their lives just to be let down time and time again. Don't do it to yourself - if you want to contact her for an explanation that's understandable but expect nothing.

BitOutOfPractice Mon 26-Nov-12 12:24:01

Sorry if I'm not understanding fully but are the children she's hugging her biological grandchildren. I'm trying to work it out but my brain is not on full power today!

I felt so sorry for you reading your OP. When you're a mother, it's hard to understand how a mother could behave like she has

Is your dad still around? Could you talk it over with him of is it a taboo subject?

I don't think she's ever going to suddenly become the perfect mother but I do so hope you get some answers and peace

bringbacksideburns Mon 26-Nov-12 12:32:21

It's entirely up to you but what possible excuse has she got for not contacting you for 11 years? There may well have been reasons why she walked out when you were 4 and felt unable to see you but she's hardly made up for it since you've been an adult.

I really feel for you OP but i don't think she's going to give you the answers you need. Her actions speak louder and she has never been there for you to support and help you through the bad times or love you through the good times. She has been largely absent and if i were you i would be inclined to leave it for a while and focus on those people in your life who actively show you they care for and love you. She knows where you are.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Mon 26-Nov-12 12:35:34

No, they are her sisters (my aunts) grandchildren.

Her other sister that is biologically her daughter lives in Kuala Lumpur, she doesn't see her.

This is what I'm worried about, another knock back. I don't want her to swan back into my life, be the "cool" nana for 6 months, get bored then disappear again. I don't want that for my children.

Mil drives me crazy but she's always been there for the dc.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Mon 26-Nov-12 12:37:26

Yes, I need to use "actions speak louder than words" as my mantra if I do speak to her.

Half of me wants to jump at the chance, the other half is trying to run away screaming.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Mon 26-Nov-12 12:40:38

I find talking to my dad difficult, especially about this subject. I was wondering to whether to contact her sister, my aunty, she is a lovely woman. I know she found my mothers action hard to understand, she has 2 dds herself. Myself and my dad were always included in their christmas celebrations, they always visited me at birthdays etc. My aunt mother didn't speak for over 10 years after she left me. My nana didn't speak to her either.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Mon 26-Nov-12 12:41:27

*My aunty and mother

Frontpaw Mon 26-Nov-12 12:45:38

I wouldn't reply via Facebook. It sounds as if she is wanting to speak to you. Can you don't far to face, or at least over the phone?

I would write a line back to say that you are interested to hear what she has to say and thatcher is a lot you would like to say to her. I wouldn't expect her to get back today if she's been at a funeral - they are quite draining.

Write what you want to say to her/tell her, and what you'd like from her now, and how you want the relationship to go on from here.

Her relationship with the great nephews/nieces takes nothing away for your relationship with her. I would imagine the is a fair amount of guilt on her side and fear of anger/rejection.

Steel yourself for her maybe not wanting to be mum/grandma, but if you don't try to start a relationship, you will never know what could have happened. I imagine it will be hard, but you are an adult now, and have a lot more control over your life than you did as that 14 year old she left.

blisterpack Mon 26-Nov-12 12:49:55

She'll probably put a completely different spin on things to how you know it. But you know how she's been with you. I would listen to what she has to say and then decide how to go from there. Don't forget how she's treated you upto now (i.e. horribly) and be careful that you might need to keep her away so that she can't hurt you by abandoning you again. <hugs>

EscapeInTheCity Mon 26-Nov-12 12:55:53

I am getting the feeling that you now have little contact with any of your mum's family is that right?
You could try and contact them, esp you aunt if you did use to get on well with her. Major family issue aside, I know with my family, that if I want to stay in touch with cousins/aunts... this has to come from me now, not my parents iyswim?
Anyway, your relationship with them isn't linked to your relationship with your mum so if this is something that would feel nice, then it's worth pursuing.

re your mum, I would see what she has to say. The 'I have waited a long time to hear from you' makes me wonder too and I would want to be really sure that there hasn't been any misunderstanding after your wedding re the no contact. In particular, because you don't really know what has been the cause of the break up with your dad and the fact that other members of the family didn't speak to her either, I am wondering if there hasn't been some 'external influences'.

Are you an only child?

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Mon 26-Nov-12 12:56:19


I am very sorry. You must feel so angry and apprehensive at what bombshell she may unleash on you.

Please take care of yoursel. I second reading her 'revelations' while in a friends' or DH's company.

I delurked because her response to you reminded me of my DF family. My parents divorced and later my DF died. My DF family basically gave me, a mere child at the time, the cold shoulder. Not turning up for pick ups. Not answering mail. Making nasty comments when they did have me around. The onus was always on me to make contact/be perfect.

Very unhealthy. Retrospectively, I think that it was initially a way to get back to my DM for the divorce and then loss of their son (maybe your DM is getting back to your DF via you - mad I know), coupled with a very strong sense of entitlement (well if Random wants us in her life, she has to make the effort) and a misunderstanding of human emotions (that child Random is not nice/polite/tall/yellow/like us/whatever enough, let's just ignore her/not pick her up/make her work for our attention).

Later, I think they got stuck in their web of emotions and did not know how to pedal back without losing face.

Whatever she has to say, it will be something that to her (and presumably to the wider family - she must have been spinning them a line too to brush off comments or questions) has justified her behaviour so far.

Just remember you do not have to accept her justification.

I would not be surprised if she had some senseless comment like: ''I thought you did not care''.

I had some pearls like this by family members. Some people as just not ready to face to the decisions they made as adults and blame the child/young adult.

Protect yourself emotionally.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Mon 26-Nov-12 12:56:59

I was never angry with her when we met when i was 16 and 20/21. I had already forgiven her for walking out on my 4 year old self, and gave her the opportunity to be part of my life. I didn't try and make her act like a mum either iyswim, I was just happy to have a friendship with her.

Something I thought I should add. When she contacted me at 16 it was because she had split with her partner, had moved back in with her mum and, in hindsight, felt sorry for herself. When she contacted me at 20, it was because she had a new fiance she wanted to show off. I didn't realise these things at the time, it's only looking back i do.

When we have met previously she has acted like nothing has happened. I didn't dare question her absence as I was afraid it would make her leave again, or make her feel bad/guilty. When nana died and my sister/aunt flew over for the funeral, we were all at my nanas house making arrangements and she loudly said, "Look at my girls and me all together sitting in the same room" with a big grin on her face. We were both uncomfortable with her attitude. But again I didn't want to rock the boat.

If she thinks I'm still that quiet, fragile 21 year old I was 11 years ago then she will have a shock.

HeadfirstForAMistletoeKiss Mon 26-Nov-12 13:00:24

Basically I have never made her justify her actions. But after 10 years of being a mother, and being on the roller coaster of parenthood and pissed off and don't revere her as I did when younger.

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