My mum has a pretty chequered past. She had an affair whilst with her first husband, got pregnant and when the baby was born gave it up for adoption. Years later ahe had a 9 year sexual relationship with her son in law. There are more things but these give a flavour. In both instances she claimed that she was powerless because of he men involved, the husband made her give up the baby and the SIL was predatory and abusive. She says that she was abused as a child and that because of this she can't help being subservient to men.
I really struggle with this version of events and my relationship with her isn't too good anyway (background: she was not the best as I was growing up, she had severe OCD (cleaning related), was generally cold and found her children irritating).
I guess I'm interested to know what people think about personal responsibility. Could she be as absolved from blame as she claims, because of what happened in her past?
Don't be sorry. This is pretty much the conclusion I have come to. I do think personal responsibility is on a continuum, in some instances we may be more constrained than others. But I don't buy the not having any argument,
I'm not sure you will ever know how the childhood abuse affected her & how much of her subsequent behaviour was influenced by it or can be excused by it. The childhood abuse may well have had a lasting effect & distorted her view of a normal relationship, equally she may be rewriting history & presenting it as fact, as she prefers her version. Maybe its true that all of her actions are her 100% responsibility & there are no extenuating circumstances, that people get what they are given & its up to them how they live with that. I don't know.
But you need to look after yourself, perhaps stop trying to understand her & her motives & focus on protecting your own wellbeing. If you want to keep her at a distance then its absolutely acceptable yes. You do whatever is comfortable for you as you're the one who's had to grow up with this mother & therefore you are best placed to decide how much time she gets in your life now.
Have you seen the Stately Homes thread, for people who grew up with dysfunctional families? Posters on there may have had a similar experience & can offer more thoughts?
She has made efforts and in her mind I think she has resolved things. I don't feel that she has, she isn't loving and the way she is with my kids really brings back memories of how she was with me. She's superficially 'nice' but cold and impatient.
ultimately I don't think she has or can change. I suppose I just have to come to terms with it.