Advanced search

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.

How much personal responsibility does she have for her actions?

(11 Posts)
docket Tue 07-Jul-15 13:35:24

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?

LazyLouLou Tue 07-Jul-15 13:41:08

Of course she can be absolved, forgiven, if you want to.

But she is 100% responsible for her own actions. She may well have a reason for her actions, but she chooses to act...

Do you want a better relationship with her? Or do you need to know it is fine to walk away?

Both are absolutely fine, if you want to. But, equally, both are unacceptable if you are feeling pressured...

docket Tue 07-Jul-15 13:44:32

I don't know Lazy. I am not sure I can build a better relationship because of the way that she thinks she is not to blame and just won't accept any responsibility.

Recently I have started to keep her at arms length, that feels ok.

LazyLouLou Tue 07-Jul-15 13:47:31


You may find you grow very long arms... and that too is OK.

You won't change her. She won't be able to see her actions the same way as you do. But you really should continue looking for the perfect length arm.

Good luck.

QuiteLikely5 Tue 07-Jul-15 13:51:05

There is no way a grown woman can be excused for having a nine year affair with her daughters husband.

The fact that she is trying to excuse it is pathetic and ridiculous.

I wouldn't waste me life on a person with morals like those. Sorry.

docket Tue 07-Jul-15 13:57:14

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,

midnightvelvetPart2 Tue 07-Jul-15 14:08:16

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?

docket Tue 07-Jul-15 14:21:33

Oh no, I haven't. Will have a look, thanks.

docket Wed 08-Jul-15 14:11:22

I'm just bumping this in case anyone else had any thoughts...

Norest Wed 08-Jul-15 14:32:37

I guess it comes own to how she behaves now? Does she still abdicate responsibility for things? Has she made efforts to sort her issues out and be a more loving mother?

Or is she still the same and still blaming all her poor decision making on others?

docket Wed 08-Jul-15 17:07:23

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.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now