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Help me, my heart is breaking

(41 Posts)
mamadrama1986 Mon 17-Jun-13 21:57:12

My mother dislikes my DP.
We have been together 2 years, engaged for 6 months. I've always known that he earns less than my parents would have liked, but ultimately I thought they liked him. They said they did.

My mother is very controlling, and I am well aware that I seek her approval for everything, she knows this too. Therefore, even though I am 27 she has a lot of influence. This is definitely partly my own fault.

When my DP proposed my first thought was that my mum would not approve. It was literally my first thought, as he was on one knee with a ring. I've cried about this a lot since and only told one person in RL. Then he said everyone at home already knew and I cried in relief (he thinks it's because I was touched that he asked my dad). My parents said they were happy, we had wedding discussions.

My DP and I both live at home. I am buying a house and we are going to live together. There is a difference in earnings and savings, hence I am buying the house. My parents have been fine with this for the last 10 weeks. I am a week away from completion and they have turned against my DP and have decided he's only with me for my money.

I have been good at saving, he has not. I went to university and I have a good career. I earn above the average wage, but it's by no means megabucks. I'm not going to paint myDP as a saint, he's a postman and currently works 29 hours a week, so technically not full time. He does need to pull his finger out and get a full time job. My mother has always known this, he's not hidden anything from them.

For the past 2 days I have been subjected to a torrent of venom from my mother about my DP. He's using me, he doesn't love me, I'll never be able to afford to have children and if I do they will be little chavs, they wanted better for me, I can do better blah blah blah.

They say he doesn't show me affection and our relationship is not normal. My DP is very uncomfortable around my parents because they've never hidden that they don't think he's good enough. So he isn't himself around them.

My mother wants me to find a man who earns enough that I can retire at 30 to have babies like she did. Never mind that my DP is warm, caring, trustworthy, funny, makes me feel loved and safe. She only sees the lack of pound signs.

I've had this none stop during breakfast this morning and for nearly an hour after I came home from work. Work was actually 10 hours of blessed relief.

I know they want what's best for me but this is making me miserable. I feel like any second she's going to hiss and spit at me that I have to choose. She said this morning that any inheritance will go to my children not me "because he's not getting any of it, so there's no use waiting for us go die". She can be very hurtful. It's not the money, it's they attitude behind this that upsets me.

The worst part is that she keeps saying that he doesn't love me and he's using me, so much that I'm starting to wonder, what if it is true? I've never doubted DP loves me and I don't think money has anything to do with that.

Sorry this is so long, I dont mind if nobody reads or replies,It was good just to get it out. I dont have any close friends and I can't talk to DP about it, I cant say all this hurtful shit to him.

I just don't know what to do.

MissMarplesBloomers Tue 18-Jun-13 06:27:51

I think your mother is being really toxic , TBH she cannot chain you to her indefinately and this scares her, she is losing control.

I agree about maybe getting some counselling to help you be more confident around her.

Move into your new home & enjoy your new life, don't rush to get married just yet. You need to build your relationship with your DP on your own & see how it goes together.

Re his work, if being part time gives him more time to do housework/garden/ cooking so you have time together when you are off,then what's the problem? You might be one of those households where Dad is the SAH parent & after Mat leave he does the childcare which would save you a fortune!

Whatever works for you & your DP and no-one else not even mother!!

fabergeegg Tue 18-Jun-13 14:31:18

You need to address your own need to please your parents. Yes, your parents sound demanding and controlling. It sounds like they've insisted on your being compliant, and you have just put up with it. But that's them. Unfortunately, changing them now will do nothing for the internalised parents you seem to have in your head.

I think it's worrying that you're unable to put your foot down with your mum. You seem to just take it - could that be learned helplessness? What is lacking is you explaining your position calmly and firmly and refusing to be drawn into an inappropriate discussion. If your mum is anything like mine, that would not be appreciated and there would be flouncing about and tears. Fair enough. Her decision. It's irrelevant whether she has your best interests at heart or not as that would not be a license to behave inappropriately and it doesn't oblige you to sign away your rights to being an adult.

I wouldn't be sure that marriage will change anything for you, either within yourself, about your parents, or with your partner, who hasn't bothered to get a full time job yet, despite having an upcoming wedding. How likely is it that he will get one in the future if this is not incentive enough? I'm sorry but I'm with your mum on this one, however inappropriately she has expressed it to you. I wouldn't care how nice he was, if he didn't show a desire to get out there and do an honest day's work - and handle his finances properly so there were savings, however small - I wouldn't marry him. Very unattractive.

Although your parents don't have a right to say it to you, I do wonder if they're simply sad for you at the thought of, down the line, perhaps not having the choice to return to work or not. This would be harder to take if they felt that your DP is a bit lazy as well as unqualified.

fabergeegg Tue 18-Jun-13 14:32:55

your perhaps not having the choice, sorry

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Jun-13 15:46:14

My thoughts are that you shouldn't rush into marriage just because your mother is making a big fuss about your choice of partner. Having been in a similar situation once I know how parental objection and being put on the defensive can lead to poor decision-making. Not saying you are making a poor decision.... just asking you to avoid the 'I'll show you' reflex. So how about buying the house and not getting married straight away? Live with each other and get to know each other for a while.

tobiasfunke Tue 18-Jun-13 16:00:04

If you love this man and you trust him then you need to tell your mother to back off. I would tell her if she says one more word she needn't worry about your children because she won't be seeing them if she continues to bad mouths your dp. You are 27 not 7.

Your partner is a postman- so what. It's a perfectly decent job and perhaps he can pick up more hours. You have a good job and have saved to buy a house but with all due respect unless you are Tamara Eccleston I doubt he is with you for your money.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 18-Jun-13 16:57:04

I had to 'have a bit of a go' at my mother over the weekend.
She kept going on about my DD schooling and I did shout.
She was a bit shocked and took stock for a couple of minutes then came over and gave me a hug and said she would support me in any way possible. Bless her.
Stand up to her - you may be surprised by her response.
By the way - it's taken me until mid 40's to do this!!!

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 17:42:32

Thanks for the replies.

We have no plans to rush into getting married, we want to live together for a couple of years first and it was my DP who first said there was no rush.

He has been working hard at saving and has saved an amount that is now more than he's ever saved up before. He is not working so hard at finding more hours and this is due to an element of laziness.

I can see where some of my parents' concerns come from. I cannot understand why thy have decided that hecnecessarily doesn't love me, just because he dared to put his headphones in the other evening when we were together. Apparently coming over just to ignore me is terrible... he put his earphones in so he didn't disturb their tv watching to listen to something briefly.

I don't feel able to stand up to her. She treats me like and child and I feel like a child. She thinks the relationship is flawed and that I'm flattered that somebody likes me. Any attempt to dispute that is met with the attitude of "be quiet you silly little girl, get back in your box!".

I'm not sure what learned helplessness is fabergeegg but it sounds like it might be something I have. I do feel helpless and I have a ridiculous need to please them and seek their approval, I always have done. I don't know how to stop, or what to do to gain my sense of self. I guess moving out will help but I've got a lot of shit to get through before then, as they don't want me to.

If they had their own way, I would give up my house, give my ring back to my darling DP (crying typing that) and remain at home saying "yes mum, no mum" until someone agreeable to he comes along.

But I don't want to lose the support of my family, but I can't bear this much longer. I literally don't know what to do, I will not just back down but I don't know how to stand up, iyswim.

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 17:43:41

Should say he definitely doesn't love me, sorry

tobiasfunke Tue 18-Jun-13 18:10:47

You will be unhappy forever if you don't stand up to her and you will let her ruin your life. You don't have to be rude just firm. She is already ruining your relationship. You are a grown up.

Sleepyhoglet Tue 18-Jun-13 18:25:06

I am a little shocked that although agreeing to marry someone, you still worry about your mother and seem to be keeping your future distance at arms length financially.

When I got married I had nothing other than a few thousand. My husband however, had paid off the mortgage in full on a cheapest house. He then sold that and we used the hefty deposit to buy a new place together 50/50. I would have been shocked if he had not done that with me. We are a team. A partnership. He is always very generous and fair with money even though I earn less.

My grandmother destroyed my parents relationship. Don't let your mother do the same to yours. When you are married, your partner must come first.

lemonstartree Tue 18-Jun-13 18:32:18

my mother is like this to some extent. She has never either liked or approved of any male partner I have had - I am nearly 50 now.

my advice. make a stand NOW. It will be hard but what is the worst that can happen ? Be clear about what YOU ant what what YOU are ging to do. Else she will ruin your relationship and the one after this too...

wrt your DP. Some of what you have written does concern me a little - lack of qualifications can be rectified, laziness is an unattractive character trait - think on a bit, don't get pregnant too soon and see if he can/ is willing to up his game

heritagewarrior Tue 18-Jun-13 18:44:08

I was in a very, very similar situation with my mother 10 years ago. I had 3 years of therapy to address 30 years of the same sort of treatment you describe. It worked! It convinced me that her opinion on things was just that, her opinion. I learnt to trust my own ideas and beliefs and to remember that I was not a child. It hasn't been an entirely trouble free road since then, but I have managed to weather some subsequently pretty appalling treatment from her since, particularly when my DCs were born, and come through with my core belief in myself still intact.

As many have already said, I think addressing your own relationship with your mother is the key here, and I would strongly recommend a 'talking cure' as a way to do this. Good luck, OP!

skyeskyeskye Tue 18-Jun-13 18:50:02

I bought my own house, when I was 28 and single. When I met my (now XH) partner and he moved in, he paid half of all the food, utilities etc and I paid the mortgage on my own because I did not want him to have a claim to the house. When we married and moved house, I paid for a third outright and we put it in joint names 50/50. This backfired when he walked out because it meant that he was entitled to 50% of the equity even though he had put nothing into it. So just make sure that you protect yourself as much as possible when you do actually get married. If he doesn't contribute in any way, then he cannot claim on the house before then.

You need to tell your mother firmly that you are a grown up, that you can and will manage your own life. Move out asap, and start your new life in your own home in peace.

Remind your mother that things are different now and that while she may have been happy to sponge off your dad for 27 years, you like to pay your own way grin.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 18-Jun-13 18:53:59

Never discuss finances. Until we had dc I earned more than dh - my parents don't know this as our finances are not a topic of conversation, similarly I have no idea how much my parents have.

mamadrama1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 19:04:57

skyeskyeskye that's exactly what I'm trying to protect myself against by buying the house. Originally we planned to buy in joint names but with me putting down the deoosit but realised that I would be risking what happened to you if he upped sticks.

I wish I'd never discussed finances Princess, I really wish I hadn't.

fabergeegg Tue 18-Jun-13 20:21:22

OP I'm so sorry that you're feeling helpless re: your mum. Like other posters, I went through this really badly in my mid-twenties - just the time when you're ready to be truly independent, I guess. I'm going to describe it in case there is something here that helps.

Looking back at what my own mum was like back then, there was no one conversation that could have helped her see why her controlling behaviour was inappropriate. I paid a high price for her support, though - always having to worry about whether she'd approve of things. For me, having 'learned helplessness' meant that I felt paralysed and guilty about issues that adults are supposed to be able to handle - making decisions, problem solving, even forming an emotional response. It could feel desperately painful and often left me calling for help because I didn't feel able to change situations for myself. Maybe a little bit like your thread title. Sometimes I'd be gripped with anger towards her, when it occurred to me that she had a right to make her own decisions, but she was getting my life too!

There were a couple of really severe incidents that highlighted the fact that her 'love' was becoming less and less like parental love should be. (E.g., when I was suffering from depression, I was briefly admitted to a psychiatric unit. I didn't even stay the night. Couldn't call my mum to let her know because she was thousands of miles away at the time. Later that week, I visited to fill her in. She heard the first sentence - the bit about being admitted - yelled 'thanks!' and stormed out of the room. When she came back, she was furious to have been left out).

At the urging of friends, I went to see a counsellor. It helped to identify the people-pleasing bits of my personality. Just becoming aware of them helped to take the pressure off a bit, though it's a bit of a self-sentence in some ways. It was also really helpful to practice standing up to my mum with a counsellor. I discovered I couldn't say 'no' without qualifying it in some way. All very intense and hard work. And after all that work, my mum couldn't cope with it. Her instinctive reaction was to cut me out, and that is what she (pretty much) did for a while. It was incredibly hard to lose that support and know that I had made her so unhappy. It was also very hurtful to be effectively without a mum, and to realise she didn't love me that much when I stopped doing what she wanted. Looking back, I wish we'd also gone to cognitive behavioural family counselling (if there is such a thing!) so that somebody else would have backed me up and reassured my mum she wasn't losing me (not that she seemed to care much, given that she couldn't have control).

Things turned a corner after a few years though it was hard not to grasp that reconciliation with both hands and slip right into it again. When I had a pretty wedding and a baby she seemed to return.

I found Christianity helped because of the emphasis on freedom and having accountability for your own life. I found John Powell's Why am I afraid to tell you who I am? very helpful for this, but other posters are sure to know more.

Hope something here might help you. Be happy smile

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