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.
My mum has ruined my first days with my second baby. Long and moany.(58 Posts)
I had DC2 on Thursday and got home from hospital last night. My parents came to visit us on the ward at the first available opportunity on Thursday and my mum came in again that evening while my dad minded DC1 for us. That evening, it became clear my mum was intending for her and my dad to come to our house today, our first day at home.
I asked her to hold off and give us our first day to recover and be together at home as a family of four for the first time. She wasn't happy, kept pushing me and accusing me of trying to keep my dad out. I was WTF? at this until I found out yesterday that my dad hadn't even held the baby yet as my mum had hogged her the entire visit - I hadn't noticed. In spite of our conversation she then apparently informed my DH that they would be coming round on Saturday.
My dad came in to see us yesterday afternoon (Friday) while my mum was working so managed to get a good cuddle. Just after this DH reiterated to my dad about us wanting a quiet day with no visitors today. We were discharged late evening yesterday. She had texted me normally during the day and I had responded normally saying we were fine, waiting for discharge.
I thought it odd that she hadn't been in touch last night or this morning to ask if we got home ok/how the first night was etc. Then I had a panicked secret call earlier from my dad while she was in the shower. She was in a complete state all last night, crying, they are being denied access to my baby, nobody wants her or loves her, she might as well end it all. He was begging for them to be allowed to visit tomorrow as he couldn't handle this. I was so shocked. I had every intention of them visiting tomorrow and said this.
I was pretty angry too at what I feel to be a ridiculous overreaction to having to wait one day when they've already met her twice in her first few hours. I see it as emotional blackmail and manipulation, which she has a history of - her feelings have always been very easily hurt and I've always had to do things I didn't want to in order not to upset her. She does have a tendency to make things about her and has a set idea of how she wants things to be that you have to go along with, e.g. I'm her only DD so we always had to have shopping days together (never my thing), she had to do certain things as a grandmother whether we wanted her to or not, constantly buying stuff for the DCs meaning we couldn't.
Later this morning my dad called again with my mum's knowledge this time. He asked (performing for her benefit) about coming to visit tomorrow. I said yes, I had assumed you would be. He then asked after me and the baby very briefly and I heard him ask my mum if she wanted a word, which she refused! I said goodbye and hung up, upset.
Now I want to call her and say if you're not talking to me because I don't want visitors today, you're not coming at all. But this would inflame things and might make the situation irretrievable. However I am so angry and hurt that she has put her desire to be supergran and see my new baby as much as possible over what we want, and me, her daughter who has just had a second baby and is going through the first few newborn days again with DC1 to think of too. Is this really my mum, is this what she has always been? It's all I can think of when I should be enjoying my new baby, recovering and starting our new life with DC1 and DH. I don't feel I can let it pass. How can I when she actually refused to speak to me on the phone?
The comments about nobody loving her must refer to the fact that the extended family can't go away for her significant birthday this month as I've just had a baby, DB1 travels internationally for work and is unavoidably away, and DB2 has recently moved to the other side of the world and can't come back till later in the year for a delayed celebration. Bad timing but surely she can see we can't do anything about it and really the reasons are all positive things meaning her three DC are getting on well in their lives. Also, we live under an hour away and see my parents most weeks, at least once a week, so they are far from hard done by re contact with me and our DC1.
I know this is long, detailed and dull and really just needed to get it down. I don't know what to do now. Call her? Call my dad? (they are out so would have to call one of their mobiles). I am not apologising or justifying asking them to wait till tomorrow so what am I calling for? She's not going to accept she's behaved abominably, is she. And actually given what my dad said about her 'breakdown' last night I'm concerned about her mental health.
op I too think we are sisters and never knew it. I had the same experience with my first born only rather than threatening to end it (this time) she came to.the hospital and informed me she was leaving as felt pushed out, then flounced off. I got the call from DF about how I must sort it and she was devastated I'd made her leave.
I am only now 4 years after that incident (one of sooo many my whole life. I literally have no occasions left for her to ruin for me) starting to detach and not play along. The hurt your feeling is absolutely genuine and you have done nothing wrong. Counselling helped me I'd really recommend that, to give you distance. She will, with the enabling from your DF continue to be an emotional vampire forever. We can't change them only our reactions. The push for me was my DC's. I've recently witnessed my DM exibiting worry behaviour around my DC. I called her on it and she cried and all the usual crap. I stood firm and protected my babies. It felt good after 30 years! feel free to pm me if you want to chat.
For the poster who mentioned getting DM on jobs. Mine did fuck all and actually thought it was acceptable to hog DC and mother him. I had emergency CS, but that made no difference. Even when asked she avoided anything
My DM is like this. It is a long time since I had my first child but I still remember her visiting me at the hospital & spending the whole time talking about herself & how she nearly died whilst having me (not true) & about how many stitches she had! She is in her nineties now & I sorely regret not giving her a few home truths while she was young enough to understand.
Call her out on it OP, tell her & your DF that they are spoiling your time with your new baby. I really don't see why these drama queens should be allowed to get away with it. My DM has been enabled by all of us all her life & now it is too late to get her change her ways.
Matilda is spot on, OP.
I would say something like: "DM I am sorry you feel so left out but this is a very special time for me and DH. We want this time with just the four of us. You aren't being pushed out but you have to respect that we need time together. I will call you when we have settled a bit more and we are up to seeing you."
If she can't respect this then it's not about you or the baby is it but about her. In which case very clear boundaries are needed right from the get go.
And congratulations on the safe arrival of you LO.
You are NOT being unreasonable (and I am saying this as a GM) when my DD had her baby, DH and I checked with DD and SiL just when they wanted visitors as I know it is important for them to be together as a family.
Your DM needs to realise that it is NOT about her, she is not the centre of everything. Why can't she just be happy for you all and just fit in with your plans for once?!?
I do think she sounds like she doesn't respect your boundaries, however your dad was completely in the wrong for phoning you. It should be possible for her to have a weep and a howl in the privacy of her own home without this being reported while she is in the shower, however annoyed or distressed he is. He chose to land that on you, not her. Sometimes we don't act or respond rationally, she didn't, but that shouldn't have been passed onto you at all.
Sorry it's taken ages for me to come back. Thanks for everyone's responses.
Have heard nothing from her all day, not even a text asking how I am physically given that I had a baby two days ago and lost quite a lot of blood. I can only imagine she's telling herself I don't want any contact from them, deliberately taking that translation from me saying no visitors.
My dad phoned as he wanted to beg rather desperately for her sake to be allowed to come tomorrow. She doesn't know that I know about her meltdown, but she obviously knows I will be aware of no contact from her but will be telling herself that's what I wanted.
My not contacting her today will just confirm that whereas actually if my dad hadn't called me this morning I'd have messaged them and sent photos today while inviting them round tomorrow. The incident has reduced the contact they would have had, ironically.
I don't know what to do. I can't let it pass with no mention as I don't want her fuelling her fire with me not having contacted her today which would have been a bit off of me had I been ignorant of her behaviour. So I will have to mention it, thereby dropping dad in it and starting emotional WW3 which will result in me being accused of ruining their special moment visiting their new GC and a big scene with lots of "oh Postman why do you have to be like this" as usual.
Another thing with fits with her 'me, me, me' behaviour here that upset me at the time is that she showed very little interest when I was giving her the details of my labour - yes I know of no interest to others generally but surely your own mother is the one who would want to know that! I was pleased it had gone with minimal intervention compared to last time but it was bloody painful and I don't think she was even listening.
Some people have mentioned narc behaviour, sadly I think she has those tendencies. Her own mother was into emotional blackmail which she complains about. My mum has always been like this to some extent but I feel her behaviour here is quite extreme. She's only 60 so I don't think it's early onset dementia or anything like that. Her mother is deteriorating rapidly with dementia now and it has been a very stressful time for my mum.
I was not at all surprised unfortunately to see that you received no communications from them all day; this is how such emotionally unhealthy people really do operate. I would think your mother given her own poor relationship with her own mother, does not really care at all about her and any concern shown is for appearances. Image is all with such people. Narcissists also have no empathy for others hence her disinterest in your labours. You have all too clearly seen in these women how such dysfunction goes down the generations. But it has stopped with you; you are not like they are.
Run for cover when she starts being "nice"; she is likely setting you up for something really nasty.
I would consider now limiting all future contact your children as well have with your parents. If they cannot or will not behave civilly they do not see you all. You would not have tolerated any of this from a friend, family are no different really.
Your Dad again played the role of enabler here to perfection; in a straight contest between you and his wife he would choose his wife over you. He being weak will always do what she wants of him; he acts too out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. Women like your mother always but always need a willing enabler to help them; he is basically saying "I don't want to rock the boat here so you need to suck it up". He will not protect you from her.
I would suggest you read up further on NPD and re-raise those already too low boundaries. Not surprised either to read that she has always been like this. The birth of children too often highlights such dysfunctional behaviour that were previously unnoticed/unrecognised but always present.
I can only imagine she's telling herself I don't want any contact from them, deliberately taking that translation from me saying no visitors.
No. No no no no no. Your priority right now is your new baby, yourself, and your family, not trying to get inside the head of a crazy person in a desperate attempt to minimise damage. Don't waste energy trying to pick sense out of nonsense.
My dad phoned as he wanted to beg rather desperately for her sake to be allowed to come tomorrow.
And your dad can just knock it off with this bullshit. "Yes, thanks Dad, we're fine. Like we said, we're not doing a visitor day tomorrow. Love to you and Mum. Bye."
I don't know what to do.
Yes you do. Look after your new baby and your family. You owe your parents basic respect but after that it's a two-way street.
They want to be grand-parents? Then they can start acting like grand-parents. Right now they're acting like a couple of crazy assholes. No need to guilt-trip yourself for giving them a wide berth.
My mum has always been like this to some extent but I feel her behaviour here is quite extreme...it has been a very stressful time for my mum.
Extreme situations can really bring out someone's character, I think.
OP, the way I'm dealing with my DM is that I will not let the next big palaver be because of me. I will do/give/say just enough to keep things sweet so she has nothing to use against me.
You don't need to ring her. They know they are coming over tomorrow so what more is there to discuss? Let her scratch her arse and get tame again. You are setting boundaries by doing this, do not now pander to her sulking. You have done nothing wrong and don't owe any further explanations for anything. If she wants to turn this into a fuss/sulk/row let her but don't get caught up in it. If she kicks up a fuss, she will show herself up. Of course, she won't see it like that but you will know the truth - which is that you stood up to her and she sulked.
Learning to recognize my DM's patterns has really helped me know when to step back. It's very hard because that goes against what I've done for the past 30-odd years but it works.
Your point about the irony of the fact that it actually means contact is less rather than her desired more is so so true for us too.
Here's to a peaceful night - and good luck with tomorrow.
Ps. My mum isn't the "helping" kind either, pointless expecting it. Try to keep their visit short and again get your DH to help out with this bit.
Oh tell her to sod off this is supposed to be about you and your brand new baby not her attention seeking antics. I'd tell her she can't come until you've rested!
I know from experience that it is really hard to stop "trying to get inside the head of a crazy person to minimise damage" but you must stop it. You must leave her to it. She tantrumming and the best thing is to ignore it and detach. She is behaving outrageously and you must try to insulate yourself from her drama. Your little family of four needs you now, not your batshit crazy mother.
OP - my mum is also like this and was a nightmare when I had DC1, then made my MC all about her, then tried to be a nightmare when I had DC2, however, after the being a cowbag over the MC thing, I decided I would ignore the family 'rule' that mum must be kept happy no matter what.
You are still in this mindset that her tantrums matter - they only do if you join in with your Dad and act like her emotions are everyone else's problem to control. They are not.
So don't ring, if your dad does a secret call again, cut him off and say that you aren't interested as it's not your problem that she's being rediculous and you refuse to join in acting like it is.
I understand you feel the need to "sort the problem" but the best thing to do is to nothing and step back.
You need to put out of your mind that fixing her drama is your job. I'm in my mid-30s and I've only just got this. My dad enables my mum's bad behaviour and we (me, DB, dad) have been 'trained' to prioritise keeping her from being upset. It's hard to undo your whole life being told to put this person's feelings first, but it can be done. My DCs and DH come first now. Interestingly, since I've taken this stance, there has been far less "drama". She's beginning to realise it doesn't work with me, I'll just distance myself. (I'm sure there's still drama, but it's not aimed at me).
attila describes the enabler perfectly - certainly a perfect portrait of my father.
one thing to bear in mind if she is a narc is that if her mother was the queen, queen bee she's about to take the throne with her demise. some narcs apparently become far far worse after the parent dies.
i'm no contact with my family by choice after putting up with all the crazy for way too long. start with boundaries. and observe and start seeing the patterns and crazy merry go round. try to detach a bit and just watch the show without letting it bother you too much - as in ohh now she's doing that, right ok so i bet next will be x and if i dont bite or cave then it will be y and so on. it helps to see it for what it is and start being aware of their next step before it comes.
I agree with Matilda and others on here. You are in danger of being as much of an enabler as your Dad. Understandable as it is though. Forget her for now, concentrate on your lovely new family. In a few days she may realise what a twat she is or if not, does it really matter in the long run. She sounds dreadful to be honest! The 5th paragraph of your OP shows you know her so well but despite that, ignore ignore ignore.
Oh dear, she sounds awful. You poor thing. I feel really sorry for your DH too, he must be livid.
I think you have had some great advice on this thead. I thought nearlyreadyforstatelyhomes post was really good, although I liked TequilaMockingbirdy's advice too.
I think you just have to try and not let it bother you too much. I know that's easier said than done but you know you can't change her or make her see the error of her ways. It does sound like you see a lot of her. Maybe now you have two kids you will have less time. I think it might be worthwhile having a long chat with your Dad. It was very unfair of him to get involved and pass on all the drama. Tell him that you don't want to know anymore.
I hope you can put this aside and that you can enjoy your new baby.
It sounds so difficult. How old is your mum? Mine (60) didn't use to be like this as far as I remember, but in the last ten years or so has become very self righteous about certain things, and any minor disagreement with her can lead to strops and 'everybody hates me / thinks I'm stupid' diatribes...it's quite exhausting and very frustrating. There is just no reasoning with her at all. But I don't think she's as bad as yours...yet!
I sometimes deal with it as I would a sulky child. You know they won't listen to reason. I calmly state my point of view, say I understand she doesn't agree, detach and leave her to calm down. Then don't punish her long term by holding whatever issue it is against her, just resume normal contact without mentioning said issue but acting as if I assume she has understood and accepted my point of view about whatever it was. But you have to be careful not to be seen as patronising, if my mum feels she is being patronised that is sure to start a rant! It's a fine line to walk...good luck!
I am no expert - but I would really advise you NOT to bring up your dad's call, and the fact you know about her meltdown - that will be just feeding into the whole thing. I just don't see any way that discussion can go well. You have every right to detach yourself from their emotional dramas and focus on your own family - and I think that would be the best thing for you.
First, focus on yourself, your baby and your family for a bit and don't get drawn in. For the visit, would your partner be able to help you to keep the visit short? Perhaps when you've had enough just disappear into the bedroom for a feed and then he can tell them you've fallen asleep?
Second, make a bit of a fuss of her. If she is truly NPD, not being valued will drive her crazy and actually you don't need this right now. Pick your battles.
Later could you talk to your dad? He really hasn't helped things by telling you about her meltdown. It spoiled a special time for you.
Finally, enjoy your lovely new baby and try not to let this spoil it.
Congratulations on the new arrival!
Your DM sounds incredibly self-centred. My DF is the same and sadly I know from experience that you can't do anything to accommodate these kinds of people. The more attention DF gets, the more he wants. The more you try to be reasonable, the more he huffs and makes everything about himself.
I think you are better off putting your foot down and setting your rules. If she doesn't like it, her problem. If your DF suffers for it it's very sad, but remember he is enabling her as well.
There is a really dysfunctional setup here, and your parents have no interest in that changing.
Your mother is at the top of the heap, her needs and feelings are paramount, and yours - even at this vulnerable and precious time of your life - don't count for anything. And you are supposed to accept that and facilitate it, while simultaneously pretending that that isn't what's happening at all, and that they are in fact good and devoted parents to you and grandparents to your DC.
That's the headfuck.
You will want to reason with them because you are reasonable, but they are not, so it's doomed to failure. The question is, how much more of this are you willing to take? What boundaries do you want to set in place? How much energy can you spare from looking after your own family and yourself to keep accommodating their warped prioritising of her over you?
Really shit to have to be dealing with this at this time. But the fact they've done this now could be the spur you need to see them as they really are and start changing your behaviour around them accordingly.
Take care of yourself and your precious little new one, for you all.
She sounds a total drama llama. I think you should just ignore every time she has an attack of the amateur dramatics & if she won't stop tell her to get in contact when she's calmed down & can behave like an adult.
Yes just put your foot down & establish very clear boundaries
I really feel for you op. My mum is exactly the same and I wish I was stronger where she is concerned, instead I end up ranting and teary with OH in private whilst always towing her line. I don't have any answers, sorry, I am though rooting for you and wish you many congrats on your new baby.
Talkinginthedark is absolutely spot-on about any attempt to reason with them being doomed to failure, because they are not, nor do they want to be, reasonable. That's why I think you should totally ignore the whole issue of the meltdown, and the fact that your dad rang you, so you know about it.
Don't feed the drama-llamas.
It sounds like your mother rules you and your father!
Congrats on your new baby!
Your Mum sounds like a controlling narc. I have now gone no contact with my mum and step father after many years of abuse, I wish I had done it a lot earlier. I think something in my Mum's head completely flipped when I had children and she thought she had the perfect right to be as nasty and abusive as possible.
Just wanted to saw that my Mum ruined the day my DD2 was born by bringing 3 year old DD1 at 9pm to visit instead of of 4 or 5pm when she was expected to arrive. Her excuse was that she got on the wrong tube and then the tubes were not working and she couldn't get a cab because I had told her that black cabs were safer than mini cabs which she interpreted as not being allowed to take DD1 in one. DH and I were out of our minds with worry.
When DH, DM and DD1 went home that night she spent hours telling him what an awful parent he was.
A couple of weeks later she went mental because although I had phoned her asap after the birth, I was so traumatised from the C section etc, that I had forgotten to tell her DD2's name. SIL had rung our place and she had learned it from her. She was screaming at me, why? why? why? had I done it. She stormed off but rang to apologise a few weeks later as she wanted to be involved in DD1's birthday.
Frankly OP I would enjoy the first few days with your baby and your own family and leave your mother to stew in her own juice. I predict she will come crawling back full of apologies in a few days. I would strongly consider limiting or going no contact as I don't think her behaviour will improve if my own experience is anything to go by.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.