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.
Ugh. I sympathize Postman. Narcissistic / emotionally manipulative mothers seem to just go into overdrive when a grandchild is born. What was she like when your first was born? Same manipulation but less drama because you played along with her game?
This is what my mother is like too. Everything is fine as long as we all play along with what she wants. If you don't, then the tears start, the recriminations, the 'I've wasted my life' stuff. When my DS was born she got the hump because my ILs saw the baby first. Which might have been reasonable if they both lived down the road but my parents lived in a different country while ILs live about a 3 hour drive away.
I (stupidly) mentioned my ILs to my mother and her voice turned to ice on the phone and dark hints of doom were made. I had been holding off on my parents' visit as long as I could because they are hard work and I had had a hard birth but eventually I relented under the pressure so they came to visit a week after the birth. As soon as she was there, my mother was in the sulks, sat there angrily making passive-aggressive comments about everything, snide remarks about how spoiled the baby was etc. Eventually both of them blew up at me and accused me of being selfish and entitled and not putting them first.. so upsetting when I had a newborn to take care of. I still blame the stress of it all for my inability to establish bf properly with DS.
Suffice to say that because I didn't do things like she wanted, my mother ended her trip after 3 days, screaming at me on my doorstep that the next time I'd see her would be her funeral... . It was all incredibly traumatic at the time but now I live very far away from them, see them at most once a year and that's fine with me.
I think there are certain women who invest a lot in the role of motherhood and become obsessional about it. It becomes all about them and control rather than nurturing their children. It's a very sick dynamic. The best thing you can do is detach, refuse to play her games and then just remain civil while ignoring the tantrums. Kind of like you do with toddlers really...
What a headfuck. I would try to be serenely detached and let the game play itself out in your mum's head. Don't be drawn in.
My Mum is lovely but she did go a bit barmy when I had my kids. She was ridiculously emotional rather than being unpleasant but I did find her extreme gushiness and fussing tiresome. I was quite blunt with her and would tell her to butt out as she had already had her chance to be a mother with me and my siblings and now it was my turn. Luckily we get on well but she needed to be told to back off a bit.
I imagine she told your dad to secretly call you. It's all part of the plot.
Ohh yes, Billy - that is the perfect thing to say! It compliments them and doesn't allow her the leeway to complain about being excluded! Inspired!
Don't give in to her emotional blackmail. Ignore her meltdown. Say thank you for coming today and leaving us in peace yesterday, it was very considerate of them. If emotional blackmail pays off for her she'll keep doing it. If it doesn't then she'll either stop or 'punish' you by going no contact. What is difficult is she will take it out on your dad so then he'll be pleading with you to comply with her.
I'd be tempted to work on your father. Maybe refer him to the mankind website. If you can persuade him to leave his abusive wife then you can cut contact with her if you so choose while still maintaining a relationship with him!
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.
It sounds like your mother rules you and your father!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.