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Is this manipulative/controlling?

(8 Posts)
mermaid101 Sun 11-Jan-15 15:20:59

I have a difficult relationship with my mother and have always found her controlling. I'm in the process of "working" on this and trying to be more assertive with her and establish clearer boundaries.

I have 2 DCs: a 3 year old and a 6 month old. The baby is not a good sleeper and DH and I are utterly exhausted.

Last week my mum asked me if I had booked out annual holiday (1 week self catering in uk). I told her we weren't sure if we were going this year due to lack of funds and the fact that we are so tired and sleep deprived that packing up the car with all the stuff a bsby needs and possibility disrupting what little sleep we are getting wasn't very appealing. She then put on a "sad face" and said I HAD to go on holiday. I needed the rest (?) and it was wrong to deprive the 3 year old of a holiday.

Despite me explaining this to her, she then, several days later when I wasn't there, told my DH that she heard we were not going on holiday and that we MUST go on holiday to get a break. My DH just brushed it off and said we might not be able to afford it.

I don't think she should have done this. It feels a bit sneaky and controlling and bossy to me. I'm quite angry and was going to talk to her about it. My DH says not to bother as it will just cause a big drama and just forget about it.

What do people think? I find it very difficult to know what it normal in terms of both my mother's behaviour and my reactions.

In the interests of being complete, my mum loves going on holiday. She is a complete sun worshiper. She will not stay in accommodation less than 5 stars and often flys business class to long haul destinations.

Twinklestein Sun 11-Jan-15 15:26:23

Is the implication she would be going with you? Or does she just think you could do with a break?

Either it's none of her business of course, but fairly standard for mothers.
I certainly wouldn't bother confronting her about it, your husband's right it will just create unnecessary drama. If she mention it again just tell her firmly to mind her own business.

Twinklestein Sun 11-Jan-15 15:26:49

^ either way

AndTheBandPlayedForGingerbread Sun 11-Jan-15 16:14:45

Well, she didn't like what she heard so dismissed it and went fishing for a better answer. Well done for your dh to be on the same page and reiterated what you had already said.

She was disrespectful and dismissive to you. Going behind your back to your husband was rude.
You are perfectly right to choose what you and your family (you, your dh, and your dc) will and/or won't do. She really has no say in your decisions. She can choose her own level of disappointment, angst, tantrum, frustration, or whatever other emotion she could choose to, yes, try to manipulate you.

And you have nothing to feel guilty for...because only you can make you feel guilty. Don't fall for the manipulation of her believing that she can make you feel guilty. That was the function of "depriving a 3 year old of a holiday" , laughable because 3 year olds are not anywhere on the spectrum of caring about holidays, imho.

If she has funds for 5 star travel, maybe she can spring for an all expense paid holiday (and not self-catering) for your family...if it is that important to her and you all enjoy her company . wink

Wrapdress Sun 11-Jan-15 17:12:47

What does she care if you and your family go on holiday? Is she projecting her love of trips onto you? I don't get it.

With some mothers it is best to not provide any ammunition information about anything at all. "No" is a complete sentence. Reasons for the No give her an opportunity to wedge her way in to the decision.

mermaid101 Sun 11-Jan-15 19:37:49

Thanks for these. They are useful because I find it so hard to know what is "normal" and what isn't.

Wrap dress, I have no idea what her fixation is with holidays. I can see, with hindsight, that I have in the past, gone on holidays I didn't really want to, because she went on about it so much and was so manipulative.

I think it is a combination of factors. She really loves holidays and considers them absolutely essential. She cannot understand that not everyone is exactly like her and can enjoy different things and find things she enjoys stressful. I think there might be an element of "keeping up with the joneses". I can't imagine her telling her friends I wasn't going on holiday. It might imply I am short of money! (Which I am!)

SelfLoathing Sun 11-Jan-15 23:38:10

To be honest, it doesn't sound to me controlling at all.

Sounds like a mother who is worried about her daughter being exhausted and thinks that a holiday would be good for her.

So she is trying to encourage your husband to give you both a nice break.

I think you are over thinking it because of your background with her. I really disagree that speaking to your husband about this can be classed as "going behind your back" or "disrespectful and rude". Hardly! She's trying to encourage him to do something that she sees as nice for you. It's a complete over reaction to describe that in these terms.

Going on holiday is a nice thing!

And I also don't think that her daughter's physical and mental health (including proper rest/vacation) can really be dismissed as "none of her business" either.

Imagine this scenario:

mother in her 60s looks tired. daughter says "I think you should have a break. How about a weekend spa?"
mother says: well in an idea world, but your father and I can't afford it.
daughter goes to father and says: do you know what mum seems really shattered recently. I mentioned a break to her and she says you can't afford it. I'm just worried about her and think a break would do her the power of good. What do you think?

No one would start talking about that in terms of rudeness/disrespect etc.

LineRunner Sun 11-Jan-15 23:44:32

It always amazes me that anyone can think that going away with two small children can possibly be a relaxing break.

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