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My mum. Time to just give up?

(57 Posts)
Badvocsanta Fri 07-Dec-12 20:09:05

I will try not to drip feed but this has to be condensed or I would be here all night!!
I am the eldest of 3 of an Irish catholic mother (not that she is a practising catholic but we were all brought up in the faith)
Since I was about 10/11 I have been dealing - along with my dad - with my mothers mental health problems.
I nursed her through 2 breakdowns before I was 20.
My siblings were not involved really...I remember having to come home from work during my lunch hour to spoon feed her some lunch or she wouldn't eat.
My siblings seemed unconcerned she was below 6 stone at this time.
I was working part time from 13 and gave all my earns to my was what put food in the table some weeks.
And yet even though my sister started work at 16 they took no board from her until she was 20.
My brother has never really worked for any length of time and so has never contributed to the family.
Now I am a mother myself (2 ds's) I am getting more and more angry and upset at her actions both in the past (which is pointless) and now.
I invite set and my dad for lunch in Xmas day and an now really regretting it sad
She has a problem with her leg ATM and keeps telling me how bored she is, how much it hurts etc...and yet she can spend hours going around the shops with my sister.
I took her to the gp last week, even though my ds2 was ill and she knew that. I took him out in the wind and rain so she didn't have to walk to the gp surgery. The next day she is walking round sainsburys with my sister...
She is coeliac and will not stick to the GF diet. This means she has stomach problems most of the time.
She has always been far more partial to my siblings, ESP my brother.
Which is fine.
But she is now showing similar favouritism wrt the grandchildren.
My sis has 2 boys and my bro has a 1 year old girl.
We all now live in the same village and yet they never come to see my kids.
If we dont go there we don't see them.
I am so fed up. I know Aibu to expect her to change. She won't. But I am so tired and fed up and would love to have the kind of family that actually want to spend time with us.
My kids are so great, they deserve better.
Luckily pils are fab, which possibly makes the comparison harder to bear.
Wwyd re Xmas?
Just leave it as it is?
They will come, eat and leave anyway so won't be here long...

JoyceFIVER Fri 07-Dec-12 20:23:44

I'm sorry to hear about your burdens! I've not been through anything similar so I can only sympathise. However, if I were you I'd continue to invite them over. Personally, I'm one to believe that people can change in time especially family but it can be a long process of guidance.

Badvocsanta Fri 07-Dec-12 20:25:19

It seems pretty spiteful to uninvite them I agree but I am just so....tired.

BerthaTheBogBurglar Fri 07-Dec-12 20:33:36

Plan A) Tell them you've changed your mind. No reason, just have. Will there be a lot of fallout from that, or will they accept it because they're already have a low opinion of you / don't much want to see you anyway? You don't need lots of agro right before Christmas so don't let yourself in for any!

Plan B) Celebrate Christmas with your lovely family (you, your kids and your dp!) on Christmas Eve (how old are your dcs? will they notice?). Then let your parents come Christmas Day (and serve lasagne grin).

Plan C) Get norovirus on Christmas Eve and cancel then.

But in general - you don't have to give up as such. You can just take it down a notch. A big notch. No more running errands - be unavailable. And social visits only, and they have to take it in turns - you visit them once and then no more visits till they've been to you. Just don't visit, and every time they complain ask you to visit, repeat your invitation for them to come to you. My family dropped me like a hot brick once I stopped dancing to their tune, and its very nice.

Emotionally - yes, time to give up. You do have the kind of family that want to spend time with you, it just isn't your parents and siblings. Spend the time and energy on your lovely PILs.

FlyOverTheMistletoe Fri 07-Dec-12 20:35:39

Badvoc what does your DH think ? It is hard, but I'd focus on your lovely ds's, dh and pils, you can always lie say one or two of you are ill, just give them enough time to make alternative arrangements.

FlyOverTheMistletoe Fri 07-Dec-12 20:37:18

x posted ... so you know it makes sense smile

SecondhandRose Fri 07-Dec-12 20:47:55

It sounds like you are in a similar position to how I was 11 years ago with my Mother. She was approaching her 70 th birthday and her sought advice on here and I was amazed at the response and support.

Over the following 11 years I have found the courage to step back from my Mother and now have a more distant yet still regular relationship with her. Strangely enough she has never said a word about the shift!

You need to make yourself less avaialble and let your siblings sort things out. Get a call minder so you can see who is calling. Dont be at her beck and call. Your own children come first.

Dont expect anything from any of them and you wont be disappointed when thrymess you about.

Badvocsanta Fri 07-Dec-12 23:22:58

You are all right.
Will chat to dh and go from there.
Thank you x

SecondhandRose Sat 08-Dec-12 08:17:19

I used to invite my Mother places and she would basically say yes unless she got a better offer! One year she went to Scotland on holiday for Christmas (on her own) rather than come with us on a trip we had invited her on. I ended up going for counselling and was given some great advice.

To communicate better with her, find out the facts and dont let her get away with not giving answers.

To stop involving her in my life so much.

Expect nothing so when something good happens you are pleasantly surprised.

Stop putting her first. She comes after your children and DH.

SecondhandRose Sat 08-Dec-12 08:20:42

And, sorry to go on. A lot of these things are happening because your compassionate personality is allowing it to. Obviously it is great to care but not at the expense of your sick child. Put your foot down, stand up for yourself and make yourself less available and see what happens.

Badvocsanta Sat 08-Dec-12 09:08:19

Yes this is totally my fault....I see that.
I am a lot better than I used to be actually smile
I will go my own way this Xmas.
It is about me and dh and the dc.
I won't retract the invite unless - as you say - they get a better offer.
This is the woman who - with my sis - booked a 2 week holiday a week after my due date with my first dc(her first gc)
So nothing would surprise me tbh.

3b1g Sat 08-Dec-12 09:16:31

Take a step back.
Set boundaries and stick to them.
Try to keep the emotional stuff to one side (I know it's hard)
And have a very unmumsnetty hug from me.< >

FlyOverTheMistletoe Sat 08-Dec-12 09:43:13

Badvoc this is not your fault, you were being nice. Its all that catholic guilt - hmm the church has soooo much to answer for. I hope you and your family have a lovely xmas. I totally understand as we have a fucking wanker relative who is trying to destroy upset our christmas and I will not let them smile

noddyholder Sat 08-Dec-12 09:46:21

I think you have to put your own life and family first. I have a similar mother and have taken her crap for years. About 6 months ago I asked her quite politely why she kept it up all the time and she cut me from her life! My siblings have all had the same I was the last and so this year we are having xmas together without her and everyone is looking forward to it as every year she ruins the day! She sounds narcissistic

Badvocsanta Sat 08-Dec-12 11:08:16

Thank you.
I have always been The family scapegoat...that goes for my bro and sis too.
I remember trying to move out twice in my late teens and early 20s after awful treatment from my sister (thats a thread in itself!) and each time was told by my dad that I was "tearing the family apart"
I stayed, obv.
It really hurts to admit this but it wasn't me they would miss, it was the money I brought in sad

janelikesjam Sat 08-Dec-12 14:37:08

Your kids are so great, and they have you too smile.

Personally I think its hard to "undo" things when things are arranged without creating more ill-feeling, unless something has dramatically changed. If its a brief visit maybe this year you could grin-and-bear it and be clear not to make any future offers.

After that I agree with others would distance myself from mother, energy wasted on her is just that. I would focus on living your own life, and what you can for your children.

fiventhree Sat 08-Dec-12 15:38:22

Have you considered counselling?

You say it is OK that she prefers your siblings, despite your efforts, but that would not be true for anyone - nobody wants to feel second best, and especially in their own family.

Is it possible that you make far more effort than you need or want to (or than is appreciated/valued), because you want to win her approval?

I think it's possible that you wont, whatever you do. You will just become more frustrated and resentful.

And she may decide to value you more if you are more selfish. It is her problem not yours.

GetorfsaMotherfuckingMorrisMan Sat 08-Dec-12 15:44:38

noddy I am sorry to hear that about your mother. And badvoc that sounds really grim.

Sometimes mothers just aren't mothers. I have nothing to do with my mother any more as dealing with her nonsense was just too upsetting. It is very sad not to have a mother, but I couldn't have her in my life.

It's a hard thing to come to terms with, but sometimes some mothers just don't warrant the effort. I wouldn't bother, and would just say that you have changed your plans. If you are going to make a change, you may as well start now.

Abitwobblynow Sat 08-Dec-12 16:10:35

You are the designated 'responsible one'.

Really really good luck with facing this pain, setting boundaries and withdrawing into your real, present day family.

It is very hard but I hope you set yourself free.

Badvocsanta Sat 08-Dec-12 16:50:17

Thank you for the replies. It means a lot.
I don't really have a parent/child relationship with my parents.
I tend to be the one they come to rather than the other way roundiyswim?
It was so bad when I was a kid - the favouritism - that I Honeslty thought I was adopted! It just didn't make any sense to me. Still doesn't. Whenever I would get the courage up to complain I was told that I would understand when I had children of my own. Well, I i 2 children and still don't.
In Irish families, quite often the eldest daughter I.e. me would stay at home, look after the parents in their dotage...I didn't do that.
I stayed on for a levels after 16 even though my mother was very against it. Uni was never an option for money! But I saved up enough from my babysitting jobs to send off my UCAS application.
Pride I suppose.
To prove someone wanted me? That I was good enough?
Who knows...
It's strange isn't it? I can cope with her treating me like this. It's all I have ever known after all, but I draw the line at her doing this to my kids.
That is not going to happen.
They deserve so much better than that.
I will speak,to dh later on and see what he thinks. He never really knows what to say to me wrt my family. And there is a lot I have not told him. Pride again, I guess.
I have never had counselling. As unhappy as parts of my childhood were I wasn't abused, I just wasn't loved as much as my siblings.

Badvocsanta Sat 08-Dec-12 16:52:13

Getorf...I will admit to gp feeling very envious of the relationship my sil has with mil. Which is so pathetic.
I have a good relationship with mil, but no me loves me like a mum should.
And some days - just some days - that's hard to bear.

CleopatrasAsp Sat 08-Dec-12 17:20:09

You know what? You sound lovely and congratulations for not capitulating to family pressure and staying on with them as some sort of family slave - well done! You sound as if you have done very well getting your A levels despite opposition from your mother and there is always time to do a degree at some point, don't give up hope on that score as you are obviously capable.

You don't need these people. I know you want to have a 'normal' relationship with them but it's never going to happen, they are self-absorbed and, as harsh as this sounds, they just don't love you. They see you as an asset to use and exploit and have no concept of being kind to you because they care about you.

You have a lovely DH and two lovely children and you also seem to have very nice in-laws. Build on those relationships and phase out your blood relatives as much as you can. They make you feel bad and it's not necessary to love them just because you are related to them, there's no law saying you should.

It is a big deal to have come from such a dysfunctional background and yet to be so sensible and to have managed to build a lovely family of your own. Concentrate on what you have achieve for yourself because it's not to be sniffed at but most of all try to protect your children from all this. In my experience and opinion dysfunction bleeds from generation to generation unless you put a stop to it. You can do this.

CleopatrasAsp Sat 08-Dec-12 17:21:45

achieved not achieve.

bringbacksideburns Sat 08-Dec-12 17:26:52

You know what? Sod em.

Have Christmas for yourself this year. Contact them and say that you've decided to have it on your own this year. If they start moaning say ask your sister to do something. There is plenty of notice.

I would be slowly withdrawing so you are no longer expected to shoulder everything whilst your siblings don't. And now she is picking favourites with the children that would be enough for me. No big rows are needed.

Badvocsanta Sat 08-Dec-12 17:38:16

Cleo...thank you for that very kind post x
I will try and extricate myself wrt xmas day.
Thanks again

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