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My mother...WWYD?

(7 Posts)
jenbird Thu 11-Apr-13 00:03:45

I have a very fraught relationship with my mother. Basically she was crap. She left me when I was 14 with my EA alcoholic father and has since played an intermittent role in my life. Since I have had my own 4 dc's I am incredulous as to what she thought was acceptable parenting.
By chance, for the last 6 years I have lived 4 doors away from her. Her house is a hovel, filthy and with junk everywhere. Four years ago her and her partner were trying to sort it out a bit. I had popped round for a cup of tea and made a comment about the state of it (in a non confrontational way). She turned round and said she wasn't prepared to keep it clean and tidy on the off chance that I might pop round to off load the kids. As far as I was aware I only went round for a chat and a cup of tea. The kids were confined to a square meter of space which meant it was always a bit hard but she never ever looked after them. I have never been back, with or without the children.
Our relationship has continued on a very superficial level. She comes over to my house occasionally but will generally use the same crap excuse and leave within half an hour. She has no interest in my life or the childrens. Having become very reclusive she no longer has a life of her own so we don't have anything to talk about. I ask her for very little but when I do she will somehow manage to let me down. I feel our relationship is pointless.
Today we fell out. Last week I asked a favour off her. Once again she let me down. As a family we are having an incredibly stressful time at the moment. We have great friends and other family who are all rallying around for us but my own mother did nothing to help at all or even call to see how we were. When she phoned today I basically lost it and told her.

I feel so much resentment towards her. She adds nothing positive to our lives and I am fed up of always being let down by her. She is not going to change though. She is just not interested. Do I just accept that and continue with this pointless, superficial relationship or should I just drop her? I worry if I go for the latter that I will be overwhelmed by guilt when she dies as she literally has no one left.

Sorry this is long and disjointed. There is a lot more to the story but I have tried to keep it as basic as possible.

Tia x

spiritedaway Thu 11-Apr-13 00:57:46

I think you answered your own post at the end...i think you would feel overwhelmed with guilt. I don't know where you got your strength and your capability but it sounds like your mum may be vulnerable and not have much strength. If you pity her you may feel less angry. It really doesn't sound like she is in a position to do you any favours. Maybe, as i have done, you need to lower your expectations of your relationship with your Mother, dramatically. Sorry OP.

Wylye Thu 11-Apr-13 01:21:26

I think you need to stop seeing her, but not nec to the point of cutting her out entirely - as you say, that would cause you repercussions as you clearly do care.
Avoid as much as possible, and be unavailable if she puts you on the spot. Easy for me to say, I don't live 4 doors down from her! But, you don't have to have someone you don't like in your house - just keep saying no.

You need to revise your expectations of her whatever you decide, she can't be relied on, and it upsets you when she inevitably lets you down.

Once I understood that my dad was crap, would never change, and simply didn't understand that he been anything less than the perfect father, it stopped bothering me so much - he wasn't being shit to piss me off, he's just not capable of being a better person. I was using up all my energy caring about something that couldn't be fixed.

Your mother isn't (as per your OP) caring, thoughtful, or responsible. You getting upset will not change her or her behaviour.
You don't have to cut her out entirely for her to stop hurting you - you just need to stop letting her have power over you. Now that you're an adult with your own children, you can take the power back - she needn't have such a hold over you.
Hope you can figure out a way to reduce contact with her.

PurplePidjin Thu 11-Apr-13 01:49:31

You can't change someone else's behaviour, only your own reactions.

Manage your expectations of how she will be. She is self-centred and unreliable, so don't ask her for emotional or practical support.

Harsh but protecting yourself from further pain is an adequate objective here

smearedinfood Thu 11-Apr-13 08:42:08

I've had my Mother staying with us for two weeks who also normally lives in a hovel (hoarder) as a recluse.

She loves stating her children's partners all have mental health problems - when really we are all limiting contact with her because we know what she's like.

That and she's a bore because she's desperate to talk but gets facts wrong and hasn't really socialised properly all her life.

I think you can't allow yourself to take what she says seriously. Period. And treat her a bit like a toddler, ignore the bad stuff, encourage the good stuff.. Easy for me to say as we normally live far far far away from each other...

Counting down the 6 days left she is here...

OhLori Thu 11-Apr-13 16:27:10

Do I just accept that and continue with this pointless, superficial relationship or should I just drop her? I worry if I go for the latter that I will be overwhelmed by guilt when she dies as she literally has no one left

Your call. Another possibility is to keep in touch but at a distance that suits you. Since her previous remark, as you say, you have never been back. Agree, its a waste of time asking a favour. If she comes round and is boring rude or self-centred, just get on with your housework i.e. don't indulge her. Don't feel bad about losing it with her either, sometimes its good for nightmare parents to be told the truth. And most of all, let her do most of the work in the relationship. God knows, she owes you.

jenbird Thu 11-Apr-13 23:33:46

Thank you for your replies. Definitely seems like one of those situatios where I can't win regardless. I think I will try and keep her at a distance - certainly not hard despite her actual proximity.
Thanks again x

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