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Have just had the realisation that my mother hated me when I was a child.

(76 Posts)
dimsum123 Sun 03-Feb-13 23:43:04

We have never been close. I don't remember ANY cuddles, hugs or affection from her when I was very young. I DO remember plenty of times when she was cross, irritated, angry, annoyed and impatient with me. I have realised she probably had PND and never ever bonded with me.

But I have only now realised that she actually disliked and probably hated me. I have years of counselling about my relationship with her and I know that the reason she hated me was not my fault but due to her own issues.

I am finding it wierd though that I am not upset about this latest realisation about her. Or perhaps I am in shock just now.

It explains a lot though. Especially about the very horrible negative feelings I used to have about my own DD and still do sometimes. My feelings about DD never made sense as she is a lovely, kind thoughtful girl and yet I would sometimes have such strong feelings of dislike towards her that seemed so out of proportion to whatever childish misdemeanour she might have committed.

I'm not really looking for any answers. I just needed to say this out loud as it's been going round and round in my head all day. I don't feel I can talk to DH about it just yet. I used to be on MN a long time ago and found it so useful, indeed a lifesaver at times when I was in the thick of dealing with the effects of my abusive and dysfunctional childhood and family.

snowshapes Mon 04-Feb-13 13:15:06

>>dimsum - I think it is important for you at this point to word your frustration as "As a child, I felt as if my mum hated me" rather than "I just realised that my mum hated me when I was a child". <<

Sorry if this comes across as combatative, but why? Your re-formulation puts the onus on the OP. Surely, it is more like - I just realised my mum's actions made me feel as if she hated me. It's her mum causing the feeling, it doesn't come out of nowhere.

I'm reading your post as if you might be suggesting her mum didn't really hate her - maybe not, but the point is that her mum's actions (or lack of them?) made the OP feel like that. It's those actions the OP is seeking to avoid with her own DD. I don't mean it is a blame game, just that the point is surely that one's actions as a parent affect one's children positively or negatively.

snowshapes Mon 04-Feb-13 13:15:54

sorry, x-post

jacktarot Mon 04-Feb-13 13:37:03

It's such a shocking idea that a mother could hate her child - it's a very difficult thing to accept.

CoteDAzur I get what you are saying - possibly the OPs mother didn't actively hate her, or not all the time... But I don't think the whole concept is utterly impossible.

I believe that when we become mothers our relationship with our own mothers can be re enacted if we are not conscious of the dynamic, so I think it's really important that the OP is bravely facing up to what she experienced as a child.

OP I'm sure you won't have the kind of relationship with your DD as you did with your mother as you are so aware of it.

flippingflup Mon 04-Feb-13 14:08:33

Dimsum, I've realised the same thing about my mum. I believe you.

As a child, I thought it was my fault that she hated me. I thought that I was bad to the core. I find it helps now as an adult to look back and feel terribly sorry for the child I once was. I have enormous love for my children. And when they are naughty, I find more love for them, even when I am telling them off, because I remember how things were for me.
I think you know the hate you feel is displaced. You know your dd is lovely. You need to grieve for the love you missed out on. Hugs help with this!

dimsum123 Mon 04-Feb-13 14:24:09

Thanks again for your posts.

Yes despite the title, this thread is not really about the fact that i feel my mother hated me as a child. It is about my own simililar feelings occasionally towards DD.

Horrorvacui and flippingflup I think you understand what I mean. I do want to change my negative feelings towards DD but first I need to admit I have them and then work out where they come from because they are certainly not caused by or deserved by her.

Practicingtwinkletwinkle Mon 04-Feb-13 14:35:46

With regard to the post that suggested that the OP rephrase her ststement to read that the hatred was in her perception (only?), I'm afraid that I disagree.

OP, I think that the way you describe is absolutely fine. In my experience, people who are lucky enough and not have experienced such highly dysfunctional family relationships just simply cannot imagine that it is possible for parents, especially mothers, to not love their children. It's just not the norm, not what mothers are supposed to be like, nothing they have experienced themselves and therefore absolutely unfathomable for them.

I used to spend a lot of time and energy trying to make close friends understand what it was like. Yet, despite knowing all the facts, they always concluded by saying:"But they are your family! Of course they love you, and you must help them!"

Very frustrating, but some things are just beyond what people with "normal" upbringings can imagine. Now, I don't bother anymore and choose the people I talk to about family issues very carefully.

dimsum123 Mon 04-Feb-13 14:43:12

Twinkletwinkle yes, me too. Some people just cannot understand that a mother could hate her child. But you only have to read about the horrific cases of child abuse or even murder by mothers to know that it is true and I'm sure there are many cases that don't make the news or ever come to light because the hatred does not result in death but instead causes turmoil, depression and many other issues in the adult who somehow survived her love deprived childhood.

BerthaTheBogCleaner Mon 04-Feb-13 14:45:15

You were of course loved. CoteDAzur you can't make that assumption.

Not all mothers love their children. They just don't. To be told that your mother must have loved you, and just had some issues, can make you feel as though you are the one at fault, that you should be feeling sorry for your mother, that, ooh here's the old chestnut - that you're over-sensitive and it wasn't that bad, of course your mother loved you really.

[Bertha projects madly]. My mother wasn't really capable of loving anyone except herself.

flippingflup Mon 04-Feb-13 14:48:31

Would it help if you saw your negative feelings towards dd as an echo of your mother's feelings towards you? So the feelings are pre-programmed rather than originating within you? You know you love your dd. The feelings come from your built in ideas of what a mother feels for their daughter. You can challenge these feelings because you know your mother was very wrong.

A very wise counsellor gave me the mantra: 'What is it and where does it belong?' For me, it was to try to get (fearful/hateful) feelings towards my dh sorted out and back where they belong, but I think you might find it useful with dd.

It is horrifying to think we might continue the same pattern. I agree with the previous posters who said if you are aware of it, it won't happen. So impressed with you for starting this thread, very brave xxxx

Seriouslysleepdeprived Mon 04-Feb-13 14:50:55

My mum also hated me as a child and still does. I have lots of memories of annoying her and being shouted at. She constantly talked about me, telling everyone how annoying I was. She would always make derogatory remarks about my appearance, especially in public. She would ridicule my ideas & beliefs, still does.

She never felt like this towards my sister. I can remember her getting quite tearful when my sister got upset or was left out at school. She's never had those feelings for me. It's really shit feeling like your own mum hates you.

It's only v recently I've realised it really is her issue & not me or anything I've done. I've had plenty of counselling over the years but not sure how you get past it tbh.

dimsum123 Mon 04-Feb-13 14:58:15

Sleepdeprived my mother was the same about my sister. She was beside herself with worry if my sister had problems at school or with friends etc. But it was as if I wasn't even on her radar and she could never do anything without always including my sister but the two of them were quite happy to go off and exclude me all the time.

I sincerely hope that facing up to the painful fact that my mother actually felt hatred towards me at times will help me in not feeling that way towards DD sometimes. It is displaced anger and hatred and it should directed at my mother and NOT DD.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Feb-13 19:01:32

"can make you feel as though you are the one at fault, that you should be feeling sorry for your mother"

That wasn't what I said or meant at all, Bertha.

Biscuitsareme Mon 04-Feb-13 19:44:25

Thanks so much for starting this thread, Dimsum.
I've just realised (bolt of lightning feeling really) that my grandmother disliked my mum. I don't know I'd go so far as to say she hated her, but she definitely excluded her and undermined her and openly preferred my aunt.

I'm now seeing my mum's feelings towards me in a different light. I sense that she loves me (I know, I am lucky), but the way she behaves is odd sometimes, like she emotionally withdraws from me and sort of rejects me temporarily. When I was little she would remind me a lot that I had things she never had, and why couldn't I be grateful. I feel sorry for her now.

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 19:49:04

I'm a middle child. My mum always loved my big sister and my little brother more than she loved me. This was very clear to me and I remember searching the house thoroughly at every opportunity for evidence that in fact, I didn't belong. I was hoping to find an adoption certificate or a documents saying I was swapped by mistake at the hospital. I longed to have another family waiting for me, I wanted another chance.
She still wasn't great with my siblings, but with me was definitely worse. And I was the only one she actually wanted to abort.
No need to say my siblings went on to achieve and be happy while I have been feeling miserable and useless all my life.
We had issues with Dad too, I'm surprised how I'm managing to be around tbh.
I'm waiting for the Nhs MH team to refer me to counseling and assessment, I'm starting to feel spaced out.

comingintomyown Mon 04-Feb-13 19:55:56

This is so timely for me.

I have issues with mine but far more low level which has meant its taken me until middle age to understand how emotionally detached she was from us and the impact this had on me

It came out whilst in psychotherapy and has proved to be a bit of a Pandoras box. On one hand I am so much emotionally healthier now but on the other I long to have some past incidents out with her but know she would axe our relationship which I wouldnt want.

She lives abroad and has set times of the year to visit and I had good reason to put her off last time but emailed yesterday to say I dont feel that I want anyone staying at the moment which is a big step for me so have now twice refused her visiting. I fervently want to get to a place where I can make peace with my grievances and just have a simple albeit slightly superficial relationship with her.

sweetestB Mon 04-Feb-13 20:15:44

oh and my mum always very verbal about how bad my granny was towards her and how unloved and unwanted she always felt. I definitely need to break the cicle now for dd. Luckily, dH is a good father

spanky2 Mon 04-Feb-13 20:23:40

My dmum grew up with a mother who hated her. It isn't you it isn't my mum. I can offer you no more. Awful so sad.sad You can do what my mum did for me. Break the cycle . Be the mum you never had. I wish I could be your mum! I'dlook after you and cuddle you!

TheSamling Mon 04-Feb-13 20:38:18

I couldn't speak to my mother about this. I have tried in the past but she seemed to have totally forgotten what she was like and thinks she has been a brilliant mother. She really had no idea what I was upset about.


I really am hoping this will make me a better parent to DD. I hate feeling like I do towards her sometimes but however hard I try I can't seem to change my feelings. And it's made worse because I never feel that way about DS. I just love him absolutely and at most sometimes get a bit annoyed frustrated with him but never hate.


Can I just say thank, you, thank, you, thank you for posting tonight. You could be me. This is exactly how I feel. I think my mother 'loved' me... In her own way,, which has nothing todo with the rest of the worlds idea of love. she constantly tells me she diod...but I remember with absolute clarity the look of hate in her eyes so often when I was little. She constantly let (and still let's) me know how hard having me was, How much she went without and sacrificed for me. (ie how much a pain in the arse it was having a child.) she once told me 'you were always overly needy as a child, even as a tiny baby' wtaf???

I struggle, massivelY with my DD the way you have described. And yet my relationship with my son is so easy and simple. I never stop feeling guilty for that, eso for dd's early years when my patience and love were not as present as they should have been in many ways. I hope I can do better, I know it's loads better now than it was when she was tiny but I'm so scared the damage has already been done. Thank heck she has DH who is marvellous with her and adores her.

You are not alone, and voicing it is the first step. The fact that you are even here being open about your fears a d regrets means you are already a much better mother to your DD than she was to you.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Mon 04-Feb-13 20:58:11

I can remember looking for adoption papers too. I desperately wanted to belong somewhere else or find a reason she was so horrible to me.

I also worry about history repeating itself. My mum hated her mum with a passion. She couldn't wait for her to die, went on about it constantly. I asked her once if she missed her after she had passed away, she said she was pleased she was dead.

Spanky - its good to hear these things can be broken. History repeats itself far too often. I have a DS but still worry I'll be abusive. I have PND & am serious sleep deprived which has shown me side to myself that are scarily like her confused Needless to say I'm having therapy... It's helping, thank god.

I would hate for anyone to feel worthless because of my issues. It's such a shitty thing to do to someone.

Biscuitsareme Mon 04-Feb-13 20:59:34

I can see why you're scared about repeating patterns with DD. But, as others said upthread, being AWARE of it already makes a HUGE difference. My mum, being disliked/unloved by her mum, for all her faults did a far better job with me than her own mum with her. And I hope I'll be able to break away from that mould even more.

Sorry, never introduced myself btw- am delurking and a newbie, but will be watching the thread with interest.

NewYearsEvelyn Mon 04-Feb-13 21:08:14

My mum had 5 girls and a boy. The boy was the apple of her eye. The other 4 children brought each other up as my mum went through PND and a valium addiction. I got her during menopause, coming off the valium, at a point in her life when she was totally fed up with small children. She'd thought I was the menopause and stated that she was gutted when it was another baby.

Growing up I didn't understand why my mum shook my hand off when I tried to hold it (this at around 4 or 5?). She cared for me in terms of ensuring I was fed, warm, clothed adequately, but she had no empathy for any of the situations I went through, spent most of her time saying how full of myself I was and the rest telling me how ugly I was and what a strange child I was.

I grew up o.k. despite her, rather than because of her. I still loved her. I made a real effort in my adult life to understand her and I read lots of books about improving my own self belief. One of the things that hit me as most likely was that my mum only had so much love for herself. She then shared it out between 6 children. Inevitably, there was only so much to go around. She had just run out by the time I came along.

I chose not to let her get to me. I chose to show her how good I was, rather than live down to her expectations. She never told me to my face that she was proud of me, but she did tell other relatives of mine that she was proud of me. Sad really that it took us so many years to get to a place where we could get along. Sadder still that she died with me knowing that she loved all of my siblings more.

I still love my family, and more importantly, I love myself. Most importantly of all I LOVE MY DAUGHTER!!! She is worth more than anything. And with the hindsight of knowledge, I realise what a crappy life my mum had and I understand how she could not love me.

I'd suggest counselling if you can't get over this alone and I'd suggest some positive thinking books. A guy called Brian Tracey, who does sales spiel on the whole, once said that we can't love anyone any more than we love ourselves. That's why it's so important to believe that you are worth something, your daughter is worth something and love is the key to overcoming your feelings.

TheSamling Mon 04-Feb-13 21:13:16

Its true Biscuits. My mum was physically abused by her mum, and though she smacked me, it never left marks and she never closed fist hit me. But I want to cut out the emotional abuse, the making a child feel every inch of the cost (financially and emotionally) of having been born. I think I have managed the latter, but i am still at times furious with DD and have feelings of dislike (not hate, but it is true dislike) towards her that I feel awful about once I have calmed down.
It's getting better. I hope that if she remembers the anger and frustration I felt when she was very small she will forgive me for it. I will certainly ask her too. I will never ever re-write history. For me that is, in many ways the worst thing about my mother and her biggest betrayal of the bond and duty of
Love she should have for me, her daughter. If she could just admit to me now that she WAS furious and angry and horrid, and asked me to forgive her, then I would find a way to. and it's the one thing I ALWAYS do with DD. If I get mad and catch myself going over the top in getting cross and having a go, then I instantly explain to her that it's my fault, not hers, and that I am sorry. I know that's not enough, but I feel it's a start.

dimsum123 Tue 05-Feb-13 09:52:53

Thankyou all for posting. And I'm very happy that you find this thread helpful.

Unlike some of you, I was wanted by my mother when she was pregnant. Although I know her relationship with my dad was not at all when she conceived me. But when I was born I think I was not the child she had imagined I would be. I know she thought I took after my dad and not her in looks etc and I suspect she might have taken out her feelings about my dad onto me...constant irritation, anger, hate, dislike.

And those are the exact feelings I sometimes have for DD but never for DS apart from occasionally being a bit irritated.

Someone mentione upthread about feeling loved by her mother but that her mother would sometimes seem to emotionally detach and withdraw from her. I do this with DD. We can spend time together and feel really close. But then later on I will feel the need to be by myself and I know I have pushed her away quite coldly at times. It must be so confusing and hurtful for her. Feeling loved one minute and the next wondering if I do actually love her.

I am by contrast so much more consistent with DS and that is how I want to be with DD. Consistent. Not sometimes loving, sometimes scarily angry, sometimes emotionally detached and withdrawn.

This thread has been good for me too as it has made me look at my behavior to DD in a lot more detail. I have been too scared to really do that until now. Thankyou all for talking about your experiences.

Aussiebean Tue 05-Feb-13 10:50:03

My mother actually told me she loved me....she didn't like me though... She made sure I knew that.

Everything that is written here I can relate to. I am worried I will be my mother to my children. And they arent even here yet.

A lot of our parenting is taught by our parents. Is it that you, as the oldest was hated and the second child loved... And now you to are dealing with the eldest in the same way while loving the youngest?

As well as the mental issues, sometimes I think the way I react to a given situation can be seen as a little narcasstic. Not because I am one ( did a lot of self reflecting there which is an indication in itself). But because as a child that was how I was taught to deal with the situation.

I am worried that when my children behave in a certain way I will feel hatred towards them, because when I did the same thing I saw the hatred looking at me.

And sometimes just realising what you are doing is so hard to see.

Would be interested in what others think.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 05-Feb-13 11:38:28

Having had faulty parenting doesn't mean you are doomed or pre-programed to repeat the past. If anything I think you will listen out for echoes of it later on with your DCs, so you'll have a chance to avoid repeating those attitudes.

We do the best we can according to our experience and accumulated wisdom. Another factor is input from your partner, if you are not raising DCs on your own.

Aussiebean I bet most of us worry about how we're going to shape up as parents. Nobody's perfect. Believe me with my DCs I've often pondered have I done the right thing, I sound like my mother, crap, what next? I'm doing the best I can. There'll always be a question mark over parenting as much as with any other relationship. Does that put us off trying it for ourselves? I really hope you feel you're the lovely confident person you are, whose posts elsewhere always ring true with rational, good advice and a warm heart.

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