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Is this a toxic mother?

(16 Posts)
ledkr Sun 09-Dec-12 16:11:56

Hi there I am thinking of how best to move forward with this so would welcome some thoughts on it.
My mum split with my dad before I can remember and was pg with my db. We all loved together for years and I think had a fairly normal childhood apart from being poor and my dad hardly seeing us. Mum was very bitter and never really spoke about our dad.
When I was about 12 she remarried a very nice but extremely passive man who was nice to us but made no attempt to actually parent us.
They had a baby boy who was stillborn. My brother and I were very upset but nobody ever spoke to us about it I just remember seeing mum sore and upset.
They went on to have my two sisters who I adored and spent loads of time with and love dearly but felt as though from their arrival I was completely eft to my own devices. I pushed boundaries but was pretty much ignored and given no help planning a future.
I became pg at 16 from an older not very nice man but was pretty much told I ended to leave ASAP which I did.
He was very violent some of which mum knew about but she never helped me and eventually I left at 19 with2 ds having suffered multiple injury s.
I've moved on since then. I trained to be a nurse then a sw and have been married twice with 5 dc.
My ex cheated on me after 18yrs and mum was slightly supportive but soon wouldn't hear a word against him and even gave him money for Xmas 3 months after he'd left me for ow. She gave him 40 pounds,I had a jewellery box.
She saw my violent ex once and chatted to him telling me what a nice bloke he is and that he'd offered to donate a kidney to ds who needed one. I pointed out that had he not beaten the hell out of me whilst pg with ds he wouldn't actually need a kidney. Mum told me I was making that up and it hadn't happened.
Over the years I have always accepted that my sisters get a lot more than I do because they were little but now they are 30 and 31 and still opens get lots more than I do as do their partners. Mum tells me what she's got them in their elaborate stockings and they get a large gift eg camera or I pod and other things. I get a small gift.
When I was a lone parent I spent Xmas alone as "we just like it quiet" but now the girls are adults they all get together for Xmas and never ask me.
When I got remarried 4 years ago on Xmas eve mum and step dad popped in for the ceremony but couldn't stay for the meal as "we are too busy with Xmas" I later found out from my sisters that it was my step dad who didn't want to come and mum said "I have to keep the peace"
Last Xmas it was suggested we do a secret Santa as we all have dc so a lot to buy for. This seemed a good idea until I realised that mum still lavished gifts on the girls during their Xmas together but I got nothing from her as was included in the secret Santa
I went Xmas shopping Friday with sister and mum and she blatantly bought sis one if her Xmas presents in front if me. I later said I didn't want to do secret Santa anymore.
I really could go on but I won't apart from to say that she is great at times, helps out with kids and buys them stuff.
I did once tell my sister how I felt but she dismissed it as we are all grown up now and mum is good to you.
They are all planning a holiday now to celebrate my sisters 30th. Openly discuss it in front if me but I'm not asked to go.
Sorry it's so long but if really love to hear what others make of this.
Dh says its just that she sees them as children still but still hurtful for me.

DeckSwabber Sun 09-Dec-12 16:27:09

Well it is a toxic relationship, from you say.

Perhaps she needs to think you are stonger than you are because she knows you had a worse deal when you were growing up and she was busy with her other children. Perhaps she needs to think your ex was lovely because that helps her cope with not helping you when you needed her.

Or perhaps she treats you differently to reassure her younger family that they are special.

She sounds quite weak to me, and is probably quite unhappy, but that doesn't stop it being incredibly hurtful.

Can you see less of them?

ledkr Sun 09-Dec-12 16:32:39

I've started to do that but it makes me feel so sad. I had breast cancer very young and also worry if I cut them off the children wouldn't have anyone.
Dh said she's in denial cos of her own guilt.
Interestingly her mother favoured her younger dd too.

ledkr Sun 09-Dec-12 16:34:33

Thanks for reading and replying btw I think that admitting this will help me to accept it. When we were shopping Friday I almost laughed about loud at her rudeness and ignorance towards me.

MissLToeishavingsantasbabyboo Sun 09-Dec-12 16:43:18

It sounds like she does not want to acknowledge your situations or what you went through because that would mean acknowledging her part in it. I'm afraid while she is in denial you won't get anywhere with her.

ledkr Sun 09-Dec-12 16:49:42

She's 67 I can't see that happening ha ha

MrsFlibble Sun 09-Dec-12 17:07:56

I think she knows what a unsupportive mother she has been, and wont face up to the fact she was never there, so has to act like it never happened.

TBH, i would just see less of her, because its not doing you any good, worry about your life, and leave her out of it.

ledkr Sun 09-Dec-12 17:30:49

Yes that's true. She can't deal with emotion. My nan recently died and she is obviously upset as its her mum but has never spoken about it or cried in front of us.
I have cut back a bit but I really think she's not doing it to be nasty I find it hard to just drop contact plus my dds adore her.

MrsFlibble Sun 09-Dec-12 17:53:22

i think maybe you should write to her, asking her to acknowledge some things before you can have a good relationship.

Do your other siblings have children too?

ledkr Sun 09-Dec-12 18:18:20

My sister has recently had her first baby and even though mum has always been helpful and supportive when I've had mine it was still heartbreaking to see her get two buses to support her and stay the night when he was difficult. Even now it's obvious she sees him far more than mine.
I think if I wrote a letter it would backfire and I'd have no family at all which I don't want to do because of the dc.
Sorry if that sound pathetic but her and my sisters are so tight they would all stick together.
She's done a good job on us all really. My brother has hardly ever seen our dad. He lives in France and we are very close. He sees my point but opus for the "well you know what mins like" response. He really died t get affected by it because he's away.

MrsFlibble Sun 09-Dec-12 18:28:41

I just wonder if she will play favourites with DC's too, because it will just keep the cycle going, but you really need stop this dependency you have a mother who hasnt been supportive when you need it, it sounds like shes trying to make an attempt to make up for the past rather than to you.

You need to not cut her out, but make yourself less available to her.

ledkr Sun 09-Dec-12 18:32:52

Yes I do. I have been lately. I think that if she does that with dc it would be final straw for me and I'd tell her straight as well.
Dh and I both work shifts and she's always wiling to have dc so for selfish reasons I like to keep her around iykwim! Childminders don't keep them till ten and put them to bed.

DeckSwabber Sun 09-Dec-12 18:33:59

Ledkr, you sound like you have had far more troubles to bear than most people.

Good that you have your brother.

Is there any way you could shift the focus a bit and focus on developing a relationship with your sisters independently of your mum? Make a big thing of them being aunts and important people in your DCs lives?

cantreachmytoes Sun 09-Dec-12 19:39:19

Just because she's not deliberately doing it to be nasty doesn't mean that she'll change (and you pointed out she won't) or that the effects on you are significantly different. She is not putting you first, but you should. Do what suits you and don't overly worry about how whatever that is will make her feel - it's not as if she's paid you that courtesy for a very long time.

And yes, toxic.

AndrewMyrrh Sun 09-Dec-12 19:42:51

Ledkr, I'm so sorry to hear this. It sounds like your Mum is good in some ways - neither my Mum or my Mil are really able (in Mum's case) or interested (in MIL's case) to help with my DC.

Without wanting to sound defeatist, you probably can't change her. The present buying and Christmas celebrations are weird, but I wonder how much of this is fuelled by your step-father? Does he feel threatened by you and your brother, and so feels the need to exclude you in order to feel more secure about 'his' family?

My MIL plays favourites with her DC, and in turn, her DGC. DH had it out with her a few years ago, and it just caused a lot of aggro. She denied it, was very defensive, and there was a fall out for the best part of 6 months. In a way I am really glad my DH took her to task, because it needed saying, if only for our benefit. But it hasn't made one iota of difference.

The only advice I can suggest is to try to find a way so that you don't care anymore. Rather than feeling left out by being excluded at Christmas, try to pre-empt it by arranging to book a cottage over Christmas with your own family unit or something.

ledkr Sun 09-Dec-12 22:43:15

Thanks all it has been good to get this out and have also had some lovely pms too.
Yes I do have fab kids and dh and amazing friends so I'm very lucky it's just sometimes I see mums and daughters or sisters and feel sad I don't have that. I'm not going to lose my support network tbh I love my job and couldn't do without her at times and she may as well be useful in some ways.
It will show up as she gets older and needs help cos ill remember then.

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