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Was this normal behaviour?

(31 Posts)
mermaid101 Sun 17-May-15 19:33:25

I have a difficult relationship withy mother. I'm starting to do some "work" on this; I've been lurking on the stately homes thread and reading some of the books suggested. I've also slowly started re-drawing some boundaries.

This has led me to revisit/remember some incidents from the past. One which has troubled me a bit is this one.

When I was about 16/17 I went to a music festival with a group of friends. We came from a small village, so to get there we had to get a train to the nearest city (about a half hour journey) and then get another train to the festival.

On the day, my mum drove to the station in the city, hid in a corner and watched myself and my friends until we caught the train. I was not aware she was there. She told me she had done this a few weeks after I returned.

I remember being very upset and unsettled about this. I tried to explain this to her, but as a teenaged, didn't really have the vocabulary or ability to articulate my disquiet effectively. She brushed it off.

Could people give me their opinions on this? It was a long time ago and I suppose it doesn't really matter, but I would be interested to know what others thought. I have my own DCs now, but they are young. I'm not sure if this would be a normal thing to want to do if you had teenagers?

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Sun 17-May-15 19:38:29

It's controlling/stifling and crossed your boundaries. Spying on your near adult child is not ok.

yellowdaisies Sun 17-May-15 19:38:30

Did she have any reason to not trust you? If she did, then I would say she was just checking up on you. Though why she later told you about it when any suspicions were clearly unfounded is harder to explain. Is she a very anxious person?

StrongAsAnOx Sun 17-May-15 19:44:56

Maybe she just wanted to check that everything was legit and that you got off safely but stayed out of sight so that she didn't embarrass you. Is that so strange? Not all 16/17 year old are street smart, especially if they are from a small rural community and if it was the first time you had done this...then I guess I can totally understand a little maternal anxiety.

StrongAsAnOx Sun 17-May-15 19:47:53

Also, if you had missed the train, she knew she could help sort out a crisis and give you a lift somewhere maybe?

FolkGirl Sun 17-May-15 20:11:12

What reason did she give for doing it when she told you?

'Knowing' you couldn't be trusted; 'knowing' you were "likely to get yourself into trouble"; or 'knowing' you were incompetent in some way (the reasons my mother gave for unreasonable behaviour) is very different to "I was worried that something would go wrong and I wanted to know you'd be ok if it did, but didn't want to embarrass you".

Did she tell you to show you she cared (in a clumsy way) or becaise she couldn't let it go unsaid that sje thought so little of you?

TurnOverTheTv Sun 17-May-15 20:17:42

I'm really sorry but I don't find it odd at all, as a mother to a teenager who is fairly rural I'd probably do the same.

Joysmum Sun 17-May-15 20:21:26

Don't see the problem myself. As my daughter has hit older and been allowed more freedoms I've needed to be sure she's being sensible.

flumperoo Sun 17-May-15 20:30:24

I don't see anything particularly odd either, assuming she was just looking out for you and checking you were safe. Why do you think it is troubling you?

Cherryapple1 Sun 17-May-15 20:30:35

I guess it depends on her motives? If protective I can understand, if controlling then it is not acceptable.

I used to walk my DD half way to school then wave her off but lurk peeping until I knew she was safely there.

brokenfresa Sun 17-May-15 20:42:08

my paretns would certainly have done this! in fact i know they used to and it annoyed me!!

as an adult i can see they were just making sure i was ok, though.

so im sorry but i dont find it odd and definitely dont find it controlling!

what did your mum say about it when she told you?

gatlinout Sun 17-May-15 21:04:27

It's odd.

If the motivation was to keep you safe then surely you were more likely to get into trouble at a music festival than on a 30 minute train journey into the city?

The hiding and then telling you about it later is also odd.

I have a very strange, boundary-crossing mother too and the full realisation of it has only just hit my now very recently in my mid-30s and this is the kind of scenario I am revisiting in my youth.

Examples - they opened all the post that came to their house in my name from the University. Including my exam results, as in - I, and they (because I'd told them) already knew I had got a 2:1 but they opened the breakdown of everything I got for each individual module (some of which I didn't know) without asking and then just waited til I next visited to tell me and 'let' me see.

gatlinout Sun 17-May-15 21:08:15

To all those saying it's just keeping an eye out for her - how?? How did it keep her safe?

Why would you spy on a late teenaged child? Totally different from keeping an eye on a child who is just starting to work to school alone.

CarbeDiem Sun 17-May-15 21:09:40

It does sound a bit odd and/or controlling but maybe she was just checking that you were safe.

It sounds like something my sis would do with her daughter (who's 10) she's so overprotective but there's time for her yet to get used to her dd going out etc.
Even her own dh calls her the sMOTHERer smile

mermaid101 Sun 17-May-15 21:17:19

Thanks for all these. To answer a few questions: when I asked her why she had done it, she said she just wanted to watch me and see how we were all getting on. I don't think she had any real reason to worry. I was no worse than the rest of the girls I was with. Few smuggled bottles of cider and one or two sneaky ciggies was the height of our antics.

Folk girl, what you said about the idea of just "knowing" I wouldn't manage or just "knowing" I would do something wrong resonates so much with me. This has pervaded my life with my mother.

I'm not sure why it has bothered me now. I had actually forgotten about it until a few days ago.
At the time I do remember feeling horribly stifled and oppressed and wishing so hard I had parents who were normal and would just let me "get on with it". But maybe that's just teenagers for you?

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Sun 17-May-15 21:22:08

I think Folkgirl has got it really - it's kind of impossible to know what herr motivation was without knowing a lot more about your mum and your background and relationship with her.

That story on its own does not ring alarm bells with me or think she was being unreasonable, but it does depend on her motivation.

gatlinout Sun 17-May-15 21:22:40


If it helps at all I understand exactly what you mean.

I've recently been in counselling over a lifetime of this and my mother is still like this now. Constant fault-finding, belittling, being on tenterhooks waiting for me to do something 'wrong' (i.e. not the way she would do it), constantly trying to 'rescue' me from my own idiocy.

Questioning and undermining every decision I make, coming into my home and undermining me in front of my children.

My mother will come into my home and rearrange my cupboards because I'm too incompetent to have arranged them correctly.

Is this the kind of behaviour you mean?

The list goes on and I am at the point of no longer being able to bear it. If you want to talk please do PM me. It is exhausting, upsetting and relentless.

gatlinout Sun 17-May-15 21:25:08

Also, if I am along the right lines it is also a total mindfuck situation because the individual incidences are so small as to be called out on and if you try to explain it to people with normal mothers they will not understand as they will view it threw the lens of their own, supportive relationship with their mother and dismiss it as kind heartedness and you will end up wondering what the fuck is wrong with you because nobody else gets it.

SistersofPercy Sun 17-May-15 23:35:56

I know where you are coming from because my dad used to do it to me. Is have been 15/16 just hanging out with mates on an afternoon in our local town and is see his car.
One night he followed me to meet a friend as well, I was 18 at the time.

I'd guess he did it frequently and probably at my mums behest. I was an only child though and very much bubble wrapped but to this day I still feel weird about it all.

Jux Sun 17-May-15 23:51:12

My dd is 15, and I am facing a similar situation. She is off to a gig on her own next week. DH will drive her there and pick her up, but she'll be on her own for the actual gig. It's unlikely to be rowdy, she is very sensible and will not just go off with a stranger, but I wish to heaven we hadn't said she could go. I am so tempted to secretly buy a ticket and go myself.

SistersofPercy Mon 18-May-15 00:24:19

Jux, please don't. I'm 42 now and as I say the whole thing still doesn't sit well with me.
It's something I couldn't have done with my children (both grown now) and I think as tempting as it is we need to take a step back and trust them.

In your scenario of a gig she'll be in a room with a few hundred like minded others who are only interested in watching the band. She'll be just fine. Imagine the mortification of spotting your mum in the crowd though, followed by the thoughts of 'she doesn't trust me'.

PeppermintCrayon Mon 18-May-15 01:43:52

The problem with starting a thread about one thing in isolation - this or any other - is you will get people saying it sounds fine as they're disregarding the context.

It felt odd because it was odd.

SelfLoathing Mon 18-May-15 02:18:46

On the face of it, nothing odd about it at all. It's normal for a parent to want to check their child is OK. It's equally normal for a parent to think (at that age) openly checking (or forcing checking "I must drive you to the station dear") is likely to be resisted or embarrass their child.

So I say "not a problem". The first reply you had

"Spying on your near adult child is not ok." is possibly one of the worst examples of overdramatic LTB-style posting ever seen. Checking your child is safe and ok without embarrassing them in front of their friends is not "spying".

All of that said, I totally agree with the previous post. If it felt odd to you, it's likely there's more to this than you've disclosed in your post.

RedRugNoniMouldiesEtc Mon 18-May-15 03:31:01

Do you have children? Teenagers? When teens start to go off to things like this it is worrying as a parent. Watching to be sure your teen gets on a train safely really isn't out of the bounds of normal behaviour. I know parents who have followed their young teens on that first walk alone to high school amongst other things (and they are usually totally sane I promise!). However it is entirely possible that it is one incident in a long line that adds up to behaviour that isn't ok. As others have said, if you feel uncomfortable about it you probably have good reason.

Jux Mon 18-May-15 08:14:50

SistersofPercy, don't fear! I am also very strongly of the opinion that we have to loosen the apron strings and trust our children. I won't follow her, but I do oh so badly want to.

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