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What do you think of this re DM? So sorry about massive length

(34 Posts)
AlexMcLitty Wed 17-Jul-13 10:50:33

I am not sure what I am looking for with this post. I suspect it is for others to look and tell me what they think. I am also unsure if I can offer a fair representation of myself or DM as so much has happened that I will need to be selective in what I write or it will be a bloody book. It will be massively long even just with the snippets
I am married with one child I am close to my parents and they help out a lot.. I am in my mid forties. When I was a child DM was loving towards me but as I reached around 14 I felt completely smothered. Felt I couldn’t even have a thought of my own. She was almost obsessive in her love for me and was overwhelmingly affectionate. When I left home she completely changed. Would not touch me or be touched by me. Will actually flinch if I put my arm round her etc. She had a pretty rough time as a child but will not really talk about it and says she is the way she is and best to let sleeping dogs lie. I totally respect that.
My DD is 10. DM is obsessive about her. Some examples are when she was small I called her “my baby” in conversation with DM. She said “no she is my baby”. I laughed but the look she gave me made it clear she wasn’t joking. She has told my daughter she loves her more than she loves me. This upset my daughter to the point that she asked me if she was to have children would I still love her. She has also told my daughter that she loves her more than I do.
If I ask her not to do something with DD she will ignore. Gives sweets regularly when asked not to is an example. When it emerges that it has happened she will laugh or deny or huff.
She will undermine me when I dealing with behaviour issues with DD. Make excuses for her, talk over me to DD etc.
I have tried to talk about it to her but she either says I am attacking her or if I try to tackle it more generally she will agree but carry on as normal.
She sometimes calls me accusing me of doing something she considers bad parenting. She will be accusatory, tell me how upset she is, that DD has told her x,y,z and that I must not tell her she has told me. This will ring alarm bells for me and Obv. I speak to DD and she is shocked and hasn’t said anything like it. I know my DD is telling truth as she wants to confront my DM to ask why she is telling lies. I don’t let her because I know it will become an unmitigated disaster. If I try to confront the issue afterwards tactfully, I am told that I am being defensive/that I am the one who over reacted etc.
We are given help from them financially, even when unnecessary, and there is no way to not take it without a massive argument. Even trying to pay for a meal out becomes about sneaking payment to the waitress to the point it is competitive. If we are going out we often consider not asking them along as we know they will pay and we don’t want them feeling we have invited them for that reason.
There are times when it is a godsend as things are tough for us just now so I really don’t want to sound like I am ungrateful. But they give us so much that myself and DH feel we cannot challenge anything as we are beholden to them for their help. (God I sound like a spoiled bitch there)
They help out a lot practically too but often I feel judged. Will always come to house and then will start unloading dishwasher, wiping surfaces etc. This would be lovely but makes me feel like it is done to highlight that it should already have been done IYSWIM. My house is clean and pretty tidy too and I feel there is an element of looking for something that hasn’t been done, There are also lots of comments about why I haven’t done XYZ for my DH. DH wouldn’t dream of have me iron his shirts etc and we share household chores. I am SAHM now but have worked FT until last year.
I really love DM. And one to one she can be so lovely and funny. I don’t want to cause a rift in my family. DH family live other end of country and my side of family is small. My DH is treated like royalty by both my parents and he never really sees this side I describe but does see them being generous (which they are) and giving/buying DD too much. Anything that she evens says she likes in passing. I walk round on eggshells in case something I say is taken the wrong way or is a perceived slight. He sees it as spoiling.

If you have read this far thank you. Please ask anything you like as I don’t even know if what I have put here are the relevant bits. And be as blunt as you like too about me if you feel I need it.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 17-Jul-13 16:48:28

I was not altogether surprised to read that tbh with you.

Religion is often used as a cosh or weapon to beat their victims into submission, its often used as a tool for instilling a profound sense of guilt (utterly misplaced) into their victims as well.

AlexMcLitty Wed 17-Jul-13 17:26:47

I clearly need to do a lot of mulling over. I am able to be strong without doubt if it is to protect DD. But I also need to consider all possible and probable outcomes of such a discussion. DM is perfectly capable of cutting off her nose to spite her face to a massive extent. I know despite her being a grown up that this stems from her own warped relationship with own DM and that the smothering love she gave me (and nowDD) along with the need to control comes from this. It would break her to not have contact with DD but it is entirely possible she would put herself in this position.

Ipsissima Thu 18-Jul-13 10:32:34

The thing is Alex is HER nose and HER face. Toxic parents make their children responsible for all the woes, sufferings and emotional issues that the parent has.
Her actions are not your responsibility. Or your concern, if they are damaging to her.

Your DD is your responsibility.
Your own ability to be free to make your own choices, and live as you wish, is also a responsibility you owe to yourself.

Dahlialover Thu 18-Jul-13 12:04:40

re: money - you need to work on not feeling over grateful/guilty about accepting it. If she wants to, that is fine. It is her choice and her money. Accept it and say thank you and stick it in an account somewhere. If you were going to buy something, put the money you would have spent into the account, or buy something else. Think of it as tax planning - handing inheritance over before she dies - rich people do it all the time.

With her past - can you start a family tree, that she can put photos and personalities to? It would be a good project for your dd as she is now old enough to be interested in who is who in the family. It might be a way of making a sideways approach to the past which will help her think, without the confrontation which she obviously avoids. It almost becomes like characters in a book and allows her to detach a bit and assess them from a less interpersonal and painful view. If it doesn't help with her behaviour, at least you will have the family tree/history.

Ipsissima Thu 18-Jul-13 12:12:16

Sorry "dahlia" I disagree.
The OP doesn't need to work on accepting something she isn't comfortable with. That just perpetuates the abusive situation.
It is the parental behaviour which needs to be modified.

Dahlialover Thu 18-Jul-13 12:26:30

Sorry "Ipsiss" I disagree.

You can't change other people.

Ipsissima Thu 18-Jul-13 12:31:55

No, but you can stop being responsible to them for their excesses.

Am guessing you do not come from an abused childhood, dahlia?
That is not in any way meant to be rude {smile} but really does alter the way these matters are perceived. What seems simplistic to someone from a non EA background, is fraught with meaning and manipulation to those on the receiving end of EA.

AlexMcLitty Thu 18-Jul-13 13:25:07

I really like the idea of family tree and think you might be right about it being a non threatening way for her to acknowledge it. It would also be really beneficial to DD - she finds that kind of thing really interesting. DH's family have done a bit of family tree and she laps it up.
DM has occasionally spoken about it but it is clearly very painful for her. She goes all kind of stiff upper lip and says its just the way things were in that era. (it really isnt)
Ipsissima - I totally agree with everything you have said..I just would ideally like to do something in a way where she isnt backed into a corner.
By posting on here and reading the advice I have been able to see things in a clearer way. and more able to sort out my thoughts
1) people acknowledging that it is not right makes me feel more sane
2) I am going to deal with money issue first as not so emotive as DD and it will be first steps to putting some boundaries in place. From what people have said this is a much bigger part of the situation than I had recognised and I have been nodding away when reading posts as sums up a lot of how I feel and the intentions behind it.
3) DD - I will not make an attempt to confront this until a situation comes up (and it will) If I try to do it without something concrete and in the here and now (rather than bringing up situations from before) it will at least be real to her (IYSWIM) I can give examples of previous issues if totally necessary. This will also give me the ability to cut it dead rather than get into "that didnt happen" territory and hopefully shut off any roads that could become an invitation to manipulate/deny/make it ALL my fault.
4)I am going to at least try to stop second guessing everything I say. I dont hurt or irritate anyone else in my life by speaking without overthinking so I KNOW I am not a hurtful person.
5) The things that I keep repeating in my head that have been said by posters are - I dont need approval, I dont need to feel guilt or fear, it is NORMAL to put boundaries in place. The big one though is the bit about DD already being damaged by no other way for it but to stand my ground.

You will not know or probably understand what your posts have done for me. In bed last night I felt "lighter" thinking about it. It was like being given permission to have felt the way I did and dealing with it.
I do love DM and I really feel for her in why she is this way. But I also accept I need to deal with it.
Thank you for your kindness and advice

AlexMcLitty Thu 18-Jul-13 22:59:40

Off to stay with inlaws for couple of weeks which will give me space to gather thoughts and courage! x

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