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.
Help getting head round response to this email from DM(68 Posts)
Just been sent the email below by my DM. Running through various responses in my head but so upset can't think coherently - some perspective and objective thoughts would be very welcome
I am a 40 year old professional who works full time, DGD (my DD) is 4 years old and lives with me and DH.
DB is 36 and lives alone in the town where DM and DDad also live (50 miles from me).
Fiona is my oldest / best childhood friend and also now lives in same town 50 miles away.
DM and DDad have recently been on a weeks holiday. DM and I usually have a good relationship. Despite living 50 miles away she looks after DD one day a week at her own request and DD is very close to her.
I don't even know where / if to start and at the moment am tempted to smile and nod as much as possible. But that doesn't help my own emotional response. . .
"I would like to have a chat when I'm round tomorrow and thought it would be better to give you time to think about things.
Firstly I did not ask you to message DB when I was away but I thought you would. I suspect he would never contact you unless things were very bad because he probably would not dare just as I don't phone you because I feel it is an imposition.
DB is a good person and you used to seem to like him. He obviously loves DGD like all of us do.
I love all of you and don't want to be an interfering mother but I would like people to be a bit closer.
It hurts that you come to X town with DGD to see Fiona but never look near any of us.
Some day I will die and I would be much happier to know that my family felt close to one another. I am writing this now because one day it will be too late.
Please don't reply just speak to me tomorrow when I see you."
My own dm goes through stages like this although has never written it down.
Have a chat with her.
I think they go into panic mode when dc don't have a Famous five sibling relationship.
Do you see much of your brother does he visit you?
So... they were away for a whole week and you didn't call your brother?
Am I missing something here, or is she always the world's biggest drama queen?
I would also think there is a backstory to her writing such an e-mail to you in the first place. I also do not think that you telling her your side of things will go down with her at all well.
There is not all that much to go on but I think she is trying to impose her will on you all. And she is being interfering as well as laying on the guilt trip by stating that she will one day die.
Why is she seemingly telling you off for messaging your brother whilst she was away; what has this got to do with her?.
How do you get along with your brother anyway or is there no real relationship to speak of?.
Has she always favoured your brother more?.
She needs to realise that you cannot make people closer if the relationship is not there to begin with.
Hmm. I wonder what emails she sends your brother, or is it just you who's expected to do the running?
Why would you need to call your brother? Was there a reason? I don't understand as I don't call mine for months sometimes.
If she is normally reasonable and kind, I would take this as a flag that she is worried about something else (may be your brother?) but taking it out on you because it is her only route to vent.
I would not reply to the message, but listen to her comments when you see her and then try to find out what the real issue is.
She's obviously v worried about something or other, if it were my dm I would just calmly ask her what it was all about and try and unravel it and understand it, then see what needed ot be done. No big deal.
I ... actually think that's a rather tactful and nice letter. Could be slightly better but not bad at all, given that it's raising a difficult issue. She's also given you time to take it in and think about your response. It might have been a conversation that's easier face to face, but I can also see the point of giving you time to take it in and think.
I can see how it's a shock though.
You are very upset by it. May I ask why? Ie, exactly what it is that upsets you?
Is it that you thought you were very close already?
Is it that you hadn't realised your mother felt this way?
Does it feel like your mother is saying that you -aren't- close?
Is it just a shock that she'd say something like this at all.
If you feel you are close to them, then it sounds sufficient to say that you do feel exactly that - that you are close to them. That perhaps they would like even more contact but that you feel that you do love and are close to them, it just doesn't need or feel right to have to ring them/brother every few days. (and once a week seeing them sounds really quite enough to me).
Maybe when you speak with her, say thatthat contact between parents/brother can't healthily be forced, but you do love them and feel very happy with them and that when, eventually, your mother is no longer here you really anticipate that you and your brother will be fine.
Also that you don't feel that it is -necessary- to automatically see them just because you're in the same town, when you see them every week as it is!
Is it possible to take a level headed and reassuring tone with her, while standing your ground?
Then I also think that after you've had that conversation with her, then in a few days it might be worth ringing your brother and asking him outright if he's happy with the level of contact. ATM you are happy with it, but unless you've discussed it you simply don't know if he is. You can't necessarily assume, now that the question's been raised. It's worth asking. Then once you know the answer, you can decide to keep things as they are, or make an effort to see him more often. Or less even :p
I can understand how it's a shock, but your assumptions have been shaken up here and it's an opportunity to consider for yourself exactly how much contact you are comfy with - and reassure your mother that you won't drift apart.
Thanks for responses. Long term lurker, not usually a poster so hadn't really thought through other details I should share. Some backstory -
DB is kind and gentle but very shy and private. Works full time. Has only a handful of friends (although they are long term good friends). A long time ago, maybe 15 years ago or so he made a fairly significant suicide attempt while DM and DDad were on holiday. It wasn't linked to serious mental health problems but a culmination of situations and IMO not great choices. He took some time to get things together following that but for the last at least 10 years or so has seemed happy.
Before I had DD I spent about 10 years making the effort to be in contact with him, invite him over to stay and we would go out, we went on a couple of holidays together. Although we got on well, everything was initiated by me. He wouldn't ever get in touch but would respond to text, email, invitations. It wasn't a conscious decision at the time, but on having DD I had different priorities and less time and so since then I have had sporadic email and text contact and see him at family things - probably monthly, mostly either in our home with other family members or at DMs home.
Ah it was probably playing on her mind while she was away. It scars a motherships soul when one of her kids tries to kill themselves. Never goes away.
Let her talk bit be firm about how much arse wiping you're willing to do re your brother.. Give her the visiting thing though.. It's fair enough if she wants you to pop in if you're in the area.
I have a good relationship with my DM and I'm certain she would never email me in the terms yours has. Your DM's email to you is rather manipulative, does that characterise your relationship with her? Does she have anything to do or is she bored? It's also odd that she told you not to reply by email but wait until you are face to face. It has the hallmarks of someone wanting to have a go at you, IMO.
A long time ago, maybe 15 years ago or so he made a fairly significant suicide attempt while DM and DDad were on holiday.
Ah, that explains a lot.
I still think gentle reassurance is the way to go. But also, stand your ground.
You can also point out exactly what you've said here - that it's always you making the running with him, but that now DD is here you don't have quite as much time. That you will have more as you get older. He is an adult himself though and that he too can make an effort. You won't let him drift away though, even if it's not a twice-weekly contact but one that feels more sustainable for you.
MiddleAged Hullygully think you are right about her worrying about my brother and yes that I should listen and find out her concerns.
Meerka I'm upset about the email rather than a conversation in the first place, the controlling instruction of not replying, the suggestion my brother doesn't contact me because he wouldn't dare, that DM doesn't contact me because she feels it is an imposition (although she is here once a week and we are usually in touch during the week also), the suggestion that I don't like DB anymore, the observation that when I'm in town X for the afternoon once every 2 months or so i "don't come anywhere near" DM DDad DB and the "one day I will die"
Cross posts. Thanks for perspective all. Having had this vent I think I'll manage to listen and reassure / support while standing my ground.
Email is always dangerous because tone isn't there - but I think she had good intentions, she wanted to give you a chance to absorb what she was saying and then talk about it, rather than initiate an email exchange or risk a row by just saying it.
I would imagine (wild imagining) that you are very busy with work and dd and have less time and thought for other things, but poss your dm, who does look after dd, is hurt you aren't reciprocating by stepping in with db when she is away. And probs hurt that you didn't think to do it as it may have made her feel you weren't thinking about her or db as she does about you both...
I adore my mum who is a sensible good hearted woman.
I can absolutely see her writing an email like this because she would worry about phrasing it wrongly
My mum tried for years to get all her children to love and care for each other - I think as we get older we get more anxious about our children even though they are adults.
You don't have to change your relationship with your brother but I would kindly draw out her anxieties and let her express them.
yes, the 'dont dare' thing is a bit much! that needs talking about, maybe; why does she feel like that. Hurtful.
It sounds like a fairly level email. She was obviously worried about her son whilst she was away. It sounds like something has occurred though in this time or maybe he has been unhappy in some way recently. Its not wrong for her to want her kids to get on. We all want that and want to know that they will always be there for each other when we are no longer here. Trouble is life isn't that way is it. We all get busy with our lives naturally.
As you get older though you do start to realise that life isn't for ever especially when friends or family die and that the time we have now is all there is. It sounds like your mother has some issues with not wanting to bother you. Maybe she feels that you feel she imposes on you and this makes her reluctant to bother you. Same as your brother. If she is driving 50 miles to look after your daughter (what she wants to do) then from her point of view she doesn't understand why you drive the same 50 miles but have no time to drop in on her or your brother.
I think asking you to not answer straight away is to give you time to think about things rather than reacting off the cuff. She sounds like she is trying to communicate her own feelings to you that she has kept hidden for a long time.
Obviously you have your own thoughts and feelings on the matter but I think taking some time to let this marinate in your thoughts is not a bad idea so that you can have a more reflective conversation.
Hmmm, I can't help wondering whether your DM has recently had a close friend who has died, or had troubles with their family relationships, and it has got her dwelling on things?
Or maybe a pal of hers has said something like "Oh!!! So your DD brings your GDD here to this town to see her friend, and doesn't even bother to drop in and see her own mother or brother? Well!!! I think that's really rude/inconsiderate/bad manners. MY children ALWAYS come and see me!!!"
I can see your mum's point, tbh. She must be terrified about going away in case the same thing happens again (no matter how long ago it was) and she would be hoping that you would keep an eye on him during that time. But you had no contact with him at all?
If your mother comes to you every week, and yet you don't call in to see them when you go to see your friend I can see why that would smart a bit. I think it just all feels a bit one-way for your mum at the moment (as Hullygully mentioned, she was probably just looking for a bit of back-up and is feeling stressed).
Hope the chat goes well.
I do pop into DMs almost every time I am in town x. Recently I had an afternoon with friend and no DD who remained here with DH. It was in my head a special luxury, we had lunch and shopped. I could have have spent less time with friend and driven to DMs and had a cup of tea. I had seen her the day before at my house and tbh the thought didn't cross my mind. I see friend maybe every 4th time i am in town x - other 3 times I see DM and DDad. The reason I wouldn't usually go to DMs if seeing friend is that it is a 20min car journey between them and my afternoon visits are usually timed between nursery pick up here and leaving x before rush hour so I had thought would make everything rushed (and had seen DM 1 or 2 days previously).
Although I didn't have any direct contact with DB in the week DM was away, she was in text and email contact with me and I assumed also with him plus he was present on social media, liking photos etc. I didn't have any cause to worry about him.
Hullygully - I suppose this is an issue for me. Why would I step in to look after a happy 36 year old adult? I feel that DM maybe expects a mothering role from me for DB rather than a sibling relationship.
I'm afraid I see nothing wrong with your mums actions.
She's understandable worried and has given you the courtesy of a heads up about her fears before speaking to you.
She's allowed to feel concerned and she must think a hell of a lot of you to want to discuss it.
It's worth having the conversation with your DB about your mums concerns that the family isn't as close as she'd like and whether that's a view he shares.
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.