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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.

pollypandemonium Tue 19-Feb-13 02:29:21

Hi sweetestB, try to remember that your child depends on you and will do anything to please you. She may be exhibiting difficult behaviours but that is only her response and not something you can blame her for. Try to spend time with her one to one, no telly, no music, just sit with her and play or read. Let her lead the game or choose what to do and keep everything calm. This will help you to build your bond with her. It only takes 15 minutes a day.

Take care of yourself also, try counselling if you haven't already.

sweetestB Sun 17-Feb-13 22:54:09

Hi, I needed to come back to this thread as I really struggled today.
My daughter is irritating me on so many levels, it's hard to keep all loving and cool when dealing with her, she has always being a difficult child but now nearly 6 and not getting any better.
Even my husband who is very patient, is having to take deep breathes and use a stern voice
Thanks God she is an only child and will remain so, I don't think I could survive having more than 1 child
Also I'm totally ignoring my mum, after started participating on this thread, can't help not wanting to have no links with her at the moment

But what is sad is that perhaps this is what my future is going to be like, as I'm not doing that much better than my mum either
I so want to be a better mum, I guess I just need to keep trying

sincitylover Fri 08-Feb-13 14:58:54

I was reading through this thread last night and felt I wanted to post.

I felt a bad vibe from my dm as a very young child and have had to endure constant criticism from her thoughout my life and scant praise and lack of support. I see my df as a weak man who has stood by and let this happen and sometimes joined in.

When I was in primary school our class teacher bullied and terrorised the whole class - some were slapped, others hit and screamed at or not being able to do their work. I was thumped in the back for not being able to do some advanced maths.

Ironically I was also the scholarship girl who won a free place to the local direct grant grammar school so I couldn't have been thick as I thought!!!

I used to wake up in the night shaking sweating and generally feeling unwell and panicky about going to school. What did my parents do - absolutely nothing. They totally let me down didn't they and my dad would have weakly agreed with what my mum had said.

When I used to get severe period pain she used to force me to school - I only found out years later that she had to be carried home from work with her period symptoms.

The thing I find amazing is how long is has taken for me (despite all the evidence) for me to realise that they were not able to show love and support to me and for me and the bullying incident was benign neglect. They are of a generation which was so in awe of authority and anti confrontation that they were prepared to put this over and above their child.

Because we are programmed to believe that our parents would put us first it really has taken me so long and I still find it hard to believe.

I have never had it out with them and never will but suffice to say I feel very cold towards them but also hurt. But I think I am finally beginning to realise that I am not the one at fault - I would never treat my own dcs like they did.

She likes to project as this sweet kindly thing - I would never dream of saying stuff to hurt her as she has to me.

Her own mother died when she was a teen and I can only think that she lacked mothering herself.

dimsum123 Thu 07-Feb-13 21:35:50

Hi all. Thankyou so much for your kind words understanding and complete lack of judgment or criticism towards me. I'm very glad I started this thread. Posting and reading all your posts has helped me SO much. I feel I can move forward now in my relationship with DD with more insight and empathy for her (and for myself as the child I once was).

I am going to leave the thread but I hope you will keep posting for as long as you find it helpful.

Thankyou all.

Middy86 Thu 07-Feb-13 00:20:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OutOnAWhim Wed 06-Feb-13 23:54:06

I am 43 and supposed to be intelligent and well educated. For most of my life I wondered "why did I get second hand toys from Santa, when my brother and sisters gifts were new?". And "why was I so dirty and smelly as a small child that no one wanted to sit next to me in class?". And "why was I spanked black and blue for tiny infractions?". Only this year, these past few months have I realised or admitted to myself that I was just not loved as my siblings were that I was chosen as a target for abuse by my mother. I admire you, OP for your bravery and courage to allow yourself to recognise how you did not get the mother you deserved but you strive to give your DC better

drjohnsonscat Wed 06-Feb-13 22:50:21

Sorry I had missed your post about how you have treated DD. It is very courageous of you to admit this. Really, really brave. You are obviously determined to break the pattern and I wish you honestly all the best in this.

drjohnsonscat Wed 06-Feb-13 22:47:18

pollypandemonium puts the sadness of this very well I think. It just is sad and wrong but how brave of you to explore it and realise it was her failing but not one you can be responsible for or carry forward into your future. You were robbed of what you should have had but despite that you are choosing to break the cycle through your own strength and clear-sightedness. It's obviously hard with regard to DD but you are choosing to challenge yourself and your thoughts and those are the actions of a loving mother.

I wonder if you can also think in terms of being a mother to yourself now? Loving yourself as your mother should have done, giving yourself credit for the steps you are taking, nurturing yourself and the relationship you are reaching for with DD?

snowshapes Wed 06-Feb-13 22:32:50

The point about fathers is interesting. My father was an alcoholic, I remember things like putting him to bed when he was too drunk to stand, and things like that. He was verbally abusive too. But it is only recently that I have thought about that because most of my adult life has been about resolving issues ( or not) with my narc mother. I think it is when you have children and you want them to be safe and secure and feel loved, you realise you were not.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 06-Feb-13 20:59:22

Have you heard of families where close ties seem to skip a generation? My mum had a very close loving relationship with her grandmother. Her own mother, not so much. Of course after reading MN I now wonder what lay behind that. My great-grandparents seemed very gentle and genuine and they're all gone now so who can say what triggered my grandmother's character and nature.

As I get older I prick my ears up when I hear of a child being labelled difficult, or hard to get along with, especially when their siblings seem quite different.

dimsum123 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:41:49

Both my parents were abusive in very different ways. My dad was verbally emotionally and psychologically abusive and my mother was either indifferent or angry, annoyed, irritated or emotionally detached and withdrawn from me.

I was however fed, clothed and not neglected in that way nor physically abused although I did often feel threatened physically.

Maybe this is why I have never hit my DC's but I have damaged DD in other non visible ways.

And yes my ideal would have been 2 DS's but although having DD has been a huge challenge, the problems in our relationship have made me self reflect far more than perhaps I would otherwise.

I know I sound like a horrific parent from what I have written on here, but these days I actually like and respect myself and have the confidence to admit my faults and failings instead of putting on a front like I used to do for so many years.

Biscuitsareme Wed 06-Feb-13 19:27:58

Thanks so much for sharing gave me several lightbulb moments about the weird dynamics in my wider family.... sad

[goes off on a tangent] Isn't it awful that as women we find it so hard to trust, support and love our own gender? My dad doesn't have a high opinion of women, my mum had issues with her (now late) mother, and I wonder how that affected my and my DSis' sense of self-worth. Maybe it explains my feminist rage grin

forever39 Wed 06-Feb-13 18:16:20

I can relate to this too. My sister and I agree that as mothers of two boys each that we are secretly relieved that we haven't had daughters given the way our Mother was towards us in relation to her treatment of our brothers. The cupboard under the stairs was a good place to hide for us apparently (I don't remember myself) so that we didn't get in her way. I had a very very difficult time growing up and now at the age of 41 still find relationships hard. I definitely can't form close bonds with women either - just can't do it. The thing I find most difficult is the low level hurt and anger which never ever goes away. I envy those people who had a normal loving childhood who don't have that mantra of "I hate my mother for what she did to me" as constant background noise. In contrast I absolutely smother my boys with love. I will do everyting in my power to ensure they know emphatically that they are loved and worthy of love and never experience that feelig of being utterly alone that I had growing up.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 06-Feb-13 17:30:28

...psychological abuse and undermining her confidence. I think I learnt all that from my dad as he was often verbally very cutting and cruel.

Not just problems with your mother then, dimsum sad.

dimsum123 Wed 06-Feb-13 16:22:21

Hello all, thankyou for your posts. This is a taboo subject, I could never admit to any of this in RL. But I think I do need to admit to all my 'crimes' before I can change.

I have given up on counsellors. I have seen quite a few over the years and only ever found them marginally helpful and some were actually causing more harm than helping.

Another way I've been a bad parent to DD is quite subtle. Nobody not even DH woukd have noticed. It's hard to explain but sometimes I would act like I didn't understand what she was saying, would make it known to her that I thought she was saying something stupid, not verbally but by body language and facial expression. I would say it was psychological abuse and undermining her confidence. I think I learnt all that from my dad as he was often verbally very cutting and cruel.

Someone asked about my pregnancy with DD. Physically I was fine. I know now though, but didn't at the time, I was suffering with severe ante natal depression to the point where I once contemplated driving off a bridge whilst around 5 months pregnant. I didn't know I was depressed and didn't tell anyone how I was feeling not even DH.

In hindsight I think I just wasn't ready to be a mother and didn't want to be a mother when I conceived DD even though she was planned. I had bags and bags of childhood issues that I should dealt with first but it would have been impossible as I was still enmeshed in my dysfunctional family and hadn't realised at all just how damaging they were.

So I think DD has been the innocent victim of all my unresolved issues. Our relationship has vastly improved since she was younger as I have resolved more and more of my issues. But there's clearly still some way to go as is obvious by my posts on this thread. I will keep on working on myself because DD deserves the best mother I can possibly be.

pollypandemonium Wed 06-Feb-13 13:19:13

Given that you now know that you are treating your children unfairly do you think you can change and make adjustments to the way you respond to them?

Are you being realistic about this - perhaps you are seeing your treatment as unfair as a way of minimising the damage done to you - it's a lot easier to accept a hateful mother when your own parenting involves hate (nasty word, but you did use it). What I'm saying is perhaps you actually don't feel the hate genuinely but don't want to nurture and love because a nurturing relationship would emphasise the fact that your relationship with your mother was extra bad?

I do think that now you have come to a greater understanding you will renew your bond with both your children and give them what they need.

GarbledMessage Tue 05-Feb-13 22:10:35

Dim. Can I ask how was your pregnancy and birth with your DD? Were you settled, with friends around you could call on in those first difficult weeks?

You sound a lot like me, except I like ds because he's nothing like me. DD on the other hand is a carbon copy of me as a child, and I think part of the hate I feel is because I don't want her to be unhappy, picked on and desperate for love like I was because of my difficult relationship with my mum and stepdad.

I wonder if it's easier for me to love DS because he's my second. I didn't have to give up everything i was before for him, because by the time he came along I was already a mum. I was loads more settled, had lots of friends, and had a much less traumatic birth and MUCh better after care with ds.

I do blame a lot of my relationship with DD on my mum and our strange relationship (I recognise a LOT of your description of a mum who liked me when I was happy and taking care of myself, but who became resentful if I needed her in any way) but I wonder how much of it is due to these other factors too.

Keep sharing on here, ESP if it helps you to see it more clearly. The more you say the more I see my relationship with DD. It's such a relief to know I am not the only person to feel like this. You are not a bad person, you have just inherited wonky tools.

Herrena Tue 05-Feb-13 21:48:18

I could have written most of your posts Dimsum. I have two small DSs (both under 2 yrs) and there are times when I feel nothing for them at all other than frustration and anger. I find myself deliberately trying to engage with them, to play and be silly so that they won't just grow up wondering what they did wrong. They haven't done a thing wrong - they're babies ffs.

I am desperate not to be like my emotionally abusive bitch of a mother and I think hope that being aware of your own behaviour and motivations is a major positive step. Well done to you for having the balls to discuss it here smile

TheArmadillo Tue 05-Feb-13 21:30:46

Wrt parenting your dd someone on here recently recommended 'parenting from the inside out' by Daniel Siegel. I am finding it really useful. It's about dealing with your own issues in order to parent better. And also about how to deal with your children as their own people with their own emotions and how to connect with them better.

For me accepting that my mother didn't like me or love me was freeing after the initial devastation.

Hypermutley Tue 05-Feb-13 21:15:24

dimsum your post made me cry. I've know this all my life and my mom never admits it. I was DC2 my bro was 3 years older. 3 months after i was born i was deposited with my maternal GPs and brought back home just before my first b'day.....not her beloved son though, he had a nanny and was at home. (mom worked). My dad asked her about it one time when i was an adult, i never told him he'd thought he 'saw' it in our relationship. she denied it to him and then asked me if i felt that way, i shrugged it off because i couldnt speak about date (36 in a couple of days) i cry....and as i am now typing this. she tried to be a 'good mother' i know in my heart she didnt love me. she fobbed me off when i was a teen that her father told her to raise sons with love becuase they'd look after the parents later in life.

i am ttc for DC #1 and without telling my husband or anyone in RL, because i am ashamed to, i am doing all the things to have a boy. i cant live with myself if i cant love a little girl if one ever came into my life.

however, i am conditioning myself in my head repeating unconditional love in my head i refuse to let my past ruin my DCs. but in any case not for mine, but for their sake, i hope i have sons.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Tue 05-Feb-13 20:55:16

So many bells ringing on this thread.

Aussiebean Tue 05-Feb-13 20:04:13

Thank you Donkey. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Great way to start my day grin

It's stood out to me op that you think maybe the reason for this is because your daughter is nothing like you. I taught special needs for a while and we has the beautiful girl in our class. I would adopt her if I could. She was so lovely. But her parents really struggled and raged. Because she wasn't like the other children. We kept trying to tell them. 'Look at what she can do, not what she can't' because if you did that you would see how much of an edge she had over the other special needs kids and would go way further then them.

Maybe with you, rather then think. I don't do that. Think how great it is that she can do that. Especially as I couldn't.

This maybe a long shot. But having been trained by your mother to think different is bad. Retraining yourself to see different as good may help.

dimsum123 Tue 05-Feb-13 16:07:36

Tbh admitting it on this thread has made me feel so much better. I felt before that I was walking about with a deep dark secret that was too awful to tell anyone. And at the same time as feeling I hated DD I despised myself for feeling that way about her. Yes she can be very challenging at times, she's a preteen and hormones definately seem to have kicked in, although my negative feelings towards her go way back to when she was younger. There has been a big improvement since then, back then it seemed like the hate outweighed the love but now the love definately outweighs the hate.

The detached feeling I get about her sometimes also scares me. And sometimes I seem to feel nothing for her, neither love nor hate just nothing and again I definately think my mother felt the same nothingness for me too. If I occupied myself and made no demands on her she seemed fine ie was not mean or nasty or anything but she would never come and join me in playing a game for eg or just sit and chat. But if I made any demands on her eg if I was hurt, upset, unhappy, bored she would get angry with me.

To a certain extent I have been this way with DD. If she leaves me alone then those feelings of hate stay down, but if she needs me to actually be a mother in any way I would get angry. I was happy to clothe and feed her but could not give her any emotional nuturing.

And I am sure my mother did not get any emotional nurturing from her mother, nor much attention. And my mother in turn seemed like she didn't actually want to be my mother even though she had wanted to have a child. But she seemed to take to the role like a duck to water with my sister. And I did too with DS.

Biscuitsareme Tue 05-Feb-13 13:36:34

This must be so hard for you, Dimsum. I feel for both you and your DD. My mum was the under-loved eldest too, her sister the preferred youngest. I am the eldest- and as I said upthread, I can see now that my mum found things difficult with me at times, and would withdraw emotionally, but she got better as I grew up. She could/can be very loving too, and I'm definitely better off emotionally I think than my mum re her mum. So I'd say, whenever you're showing your DD love, you're doing something right there!
Would counselling help, you think? Just wondering, because I've often thought that my mum would have benefited from it, and it may have helped her be more consistent with me. As it is, it's an out-of-bounds issue. We never talk about it and I just try to show my mum that I love her (not always easy, I have a short fuse, and she does irritate me on a regular basis, but that's another thread!).

StuckForAUserName Tue 05-Feb-13 13:31:06

I am going through therapy for similar so this thread is timely.

My mother actually strangled me enough for me to almost pass out when I was 12, then my stepfather pulled me up off the floor and ripped my best t-shirt off my body in the process so he could have his go.

I had said to my mother that I wished my father had taken me with him when they divorced (instead of abandoning me with her - did not say that bit). Had to wear polo necks for weeks. I was evil according to her.

I have always know this, and many other things that happened, but I had excused it as my mother had 8 children and it must have been hard. There is no excuse for that though is there?

I was talking with my counsellor about it that as a mother of 4 myself, I have experienced the death of my 2nd DC, financial devastation and homelessness and extreme anxiety (none of which my mother experienced) and I have NEVER EVER lost it with my DD (or my other DCs) like that. Surely I needed a hug, an explanation as to why they divorced (still don't know) and a talk about why I felt so hated that I would think that, not a near death experience?

I was terrified when I had my DC1 (DD) as I was sure I would not be able to cope as my family had led me to believe and and had terrible undiagnosed PND as a result but I am 3 times the mum my mother ever was. I apologise to my DCs for a start if I am wrong or impatient with them. I wish had the guts to tell her this but I love her too much to want to upset her. It's so bloody sad sad.

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