Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Should I give up *long and sensitive sorry*(11 Posts)
First time poster but long time lurker who is in desperate need for advice..
I'm trying to decide whether I should stop all contact between my mother and myself. Our relationship has always been difficult but I'm at the end of my rope with her and don't know if the pain is worth it.
I had a difficult childhood, parents split when I was 9 and DM moved away to live with her new partner immediately. Later it was decided that I should live with her at weekends. DM has been verbally abusive for as long as I can remember (her favs were "waste of space", "bitch" and "liar") but her new OH only made that worse. He was a drug user, regularly cruel and inappropriate so weekends were hell for me.
I experienced some horrible abuse from strangers around this time too and tried to tell her twice but was punished for being stupid and letting myself get hurt.
Ran away at 16, found myself in an abusive relationship and didn't have much contact with my family until I escaped back to her house years later. She was less then pleased to have me back I can tell you! Thankfully I manged to move in with a friend not long after, went to college and met my wonderful OH. I should be happier but my past is haunting me, I've never received an apology and she says she can't remember most of it .
Recently, after a therapy session, I decided to sit down with her and tell her everything (including the bits about my step dad) in hopes that she'd see how much pain I was in and help me. Stupid in retrospect, considering her past behavior but I had nobody else to talk to.
She defended him, returned home to him and we had barely any contact beyond a few texts from her saying she "had no credit to ring". Since then we've had two arguments over the phone, one in which she stated I was being all "me me me" and the second in which she told me she "didn't deserve my abuse and wasn't going over the past 25 years again".
So shes staying with my step dad for now, refusing to accept responsibility for what shes done and is showing no remorse. It may sound very cut and dry but despite this, I love her and want her to be there for me. She can be incredibly loving at times but her lack of empathy right now amazes me.
My brother insists I give her time, shes just too stressed right now to support me and she'll eventually come around but he's always been her golden boy and can't see how hurtful shes is. This is the first time I've ever sought help from her or opened up about my past so the rejection is incredibly painful for me.
My dad knows nothing, hes quite old and my mother says "it'll kill him" if I tell. Shes probably just trying to protect herself but I don't want to hurt my poor dad who's only crime was being too heartbroken and lonely to notice something was wrong.
Should I give her more time or am I dealing with a narcissist who will never admit her faults? I can't help but yearn for her love and validation but am I being stupid?
"My brother insists I give her time, shes just too stressed right now to support me and she'll eventually come around."
Has there ever been a period when she was unconditionally supportive, kind and selfless towards you? Because, from your post, it doesn't sound like it. It doesn't sound like there is a good relationship to "come around" to. It sounds like she knows there was fault on her part (the not wanting to go over it) and guilt but no remorse or will to change.
You won't change her. All you can do is change your reaction to her. She may well change but it will take time and effort on her part. It doesn't sound like she wants to right now.
No, there was never a time when her love didn't come with conditions if I'm honest. There were times when she was kind but not if it meant putting herself out for me.
Could you explain "change your reaction to her" a bit more please, I'm not sure how to do that.
You're not being stupid, as we all want love and validation from our parents, even as adults.
Sadly, you have to realise you won't get it from her and you do need to detach.
Don't expect her to understand or make it better. She won't or he will not want to.
I think you've tried as much as you can with this woman (I hesitate to call her DM). She has been treating you like shit for ever so its come to the point where you have to move on to your own life.
My mother is exactly the same and I'm just on the point of cutting contact. Just can't put up with being treated like a bit of dirt on her shoe anymore.
I have had to change my thinking of that if I am nice I will get respect in turn. Just doesn't work like that when dealing with self-centred people ... and I got all the name calling as a kid too 'stupid', 'useless' 'never amount to anything'. Its hard to stress enough how soul destroying it is to hear this everyday and its something you carry into adulthood.
there is a 'stately homes' topic if you search for people with unfortunate families
Many children, now adults, of such toxic parents like your mother have what is known as FOG - fear, obligation, guilt. You likely have all three of these in spades.
Many children now adults too keep trying to approach such damaged toxic people in the hopes of a thaw in relations or to get their approval; this though never happens. Approval is always but always given conditionally. Like all toxic parents as well your mother has and continues to take no responsibility for her actions nor apologise for same; it will be ever so. She is not and will never be the mother you want her to be but it is NOT your fault she is like this. Pound to a penny she was emotionally abused by one or other of her parents, they did the damage.
Your brother would say "give her more time", after all he is her golden child. Take no heed to such nonsense. The golden child status is a role not without price though he does not realise it.
You need to detach and keep detaching. Have a look also at the website called daughters of narcissistic mothers.
People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles; your brother was golden child, you were scapegoat and your Dad was perhaps the bystander who acted out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. Such women also always but always need a willing enabler to help them. Children of narcissistic mothers often get such ill treatment.
I think its a waste of time having any contact with her to be honest because if you have contact it will be, "come closer so I can hurt you again". They also have a marked lack of empathy.
I would suggest you read "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward as a starting point and read the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages. I would also suggest you read "Children of the Self Absorbed" written by Dr Dan Neuharth.
You could also try 'will I ever be good enough' by Karyl Mcbride for a basic understanding of Narcissistic mothering.
I'm sorry but she will not change and you need to grieve for the mothering you never had. You'll need to reach an acceptance of your mother for who she is and to end the hoping for the mother you want her to be.
If you keep approaching her hoping for empathy, love and contrition and it is met by further denial you will keep hurting yourself.
It is possible to have a relationship with your mother moving forward but you'll only save yourself from further hurt by reaching this acceptance. I'm very sorry you did not receive the mothering all children deserve, grieve for it, cry for yourself but accept it and you can move on.
Well, I was falling short of saying not to see her ever again. That is one way of changing your reaction to her. I can't tell you not to see her again, it's too difficult a thing to do because some know-it-all stranger on the internet tells you. As greeneyes says, there is the option to accept what she is willing to give and protect yourself emotionally. Horrible choice really.
IMO parents like this sometimes change when very big life events happen ( you leaving home, having a first child, a bereavement) but that change is as likely to be negative as positive. However, she hasn't changed at all, has always been conditional and selfish. Maybe the only change you can make is not seeing her.
Also, with time, reading some of the suggested books and space you may come to see that your DB has a rotten role as well. In some of the families I know like this the Golden Child is either very unsuccessful (because of of spoiling and low expectations) or so desperate to keep the Golden role that they will never challenge the party line, even if they have to accept ridiculous things to do it.
Thank you all for the replies and book recommendations, I will look into them now. I've also started reading the "Stately Homes" thread and I'm shocked at how much I can identify with the posters.
MrsTerryPratchett you've described my brother perfectly, he's been spoiled and doted on his entire life but must visit my mother every day to listen to her problems.
I will take on board everyone's advice and begin detaching from this woman, I'm too tired dealing with the SA and DM in therapy to deal with her emotional blackmail as well.
callme you've been dealt a shitty hand in life. You can't change the past but you can change the future hope the counselling helps x
Join the discussion
Please login first.