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Anyone else find their DM exhausting?

(33 Posts)
Yukky Mon 20-Jul-15 13:41:49

I feel AWFUL writing this but I find interactions with my DM so draining. She's not mean or unkind but can be difficult and outspoken and I just feel so wiped out after seeing or speaking to her. She's very intense with my 2 dc and I tend to sit there like a spare part most of the time whilst she gets them all hyped up and overexcited. Most of the conversation revolves around whatever she's got going on and sometimes she doesn't even ask how I am. For example when we got back from our holiday she texted to say "are you back? I need to come and use your shower because ours has broken" and when I called her to discuss it was only as we were about to hang up that she said "oh and how was your holiday?" as a complete afterthought. I know how petty that sounds but that's pretty much how every conversation goes.

I spend time with my DF (my parents are divorced) and it's lovely. Relaxed, easy going, fun, light hearted and I enjoy his company. With DM it's intense and feels much more of an obligation.

I don't dislike her and can't quite pinpoint what makes it all so full on but I never come away particularly happy or at ease or satisfied from the conversation or visit.

She has to be the life and soul and centre of attention of any occasion and the way she dominates a situation makes me cringe and want to run a mile.

I'm sure I'm going to hell for saying all this but I needed to vent. And I feel incredibly sad for feeling like it's easier to keep her at arms length. I see my friends with lovely, easy relationships with their mums and realize that I simply do not have the same with my DM.

BolshierAyraStark Mon 20-Jul-15 13:52:23

Sounds like my DM, tbh I don't like her very much-it's more a case of tolerating her as at the moment DC love her-this may change as they get older & hopefully wiser.

Yukky Mon 20-Jul-15 13:55:44

bolshier sorry to hear you feel similar. Sometimes I think it would be easier if my DM was horrid and nasty as it would be easier to dislike her and justify staying away.

But subtle annoyances are tricky to handle as I can never tell whether I'm being unreasonable or not in getting frustrated.

BolshierAyraStark Mon 20-Jul-15 14:38:36

I just tend to avoid her as much as possible, makes life easier & tbf we lead quite a busy life so tend to have valid excuses for not seeing her or just let her spend time with DC without us there-far less exhausting that way.
My lovely friend regularly reminds me we can't choose our family, which is sometimes unfortunate, but you can choose fab friends.

Yukky Mon 20-Jul-15 14:53:35

Yes I find it easier to let her see the dc without me being there though they are still quite little and a few run-ins with DM over the children in the past have made me a bit wary.

I just hate gritting my teeth all the time and feeling tense.

I really hope my dc don't feel this way about me in 30 years time.......

LuckyBitches Mon 20-Jul-15 16:56:23

I feel this way about certain family members. I too was trying to work out what it is about them that I find so stressful. I've realised that it's the obligation (due to their health problems) to see them regularly that does it. Obligation is such a horrible thing - I can't stand them now.

Fuzzyfelt123 Mon 20-Jul-15 18:48:43

Yukky - I think you feel drained by your DM because it is a one way relationship - it's all about her and what you can do for her.
A two way relationship is mutually supportive, hence you don't feel drained with your DF.
What do you get from the relationship with your DM?
Try googling 'narcissistic mothers' and see if it rings any bells. flowers

Yukky Mon 20-Jul-15 18:57:26

You're right fuzzy, it is one-way.

I think I'm in denial about the narc stuff. It's really hard to admit that she fits some of the descriptors. Kind of easier to think it was probably just me being a Bad Daughter.......

Fuzzyfelt123 Mon 20-Jul-15 19:09:17

You don't sound like a bad daughter to me Yukky!
It's really tough having a self absorbed mother and I think that all of us who do have them are in denial about it until we have our own children.
With my DM I saw 1) how wrong the dynamic had always been - the parent / child relationships is about putting the child first, always and
2) (this is true for me so sorry if I'm projecting) how my children, even when small, have more empathy and emotional intelligence than my DM.
Also, your comment about run ins with your DM and children alarms me a little.

Yukky Mon 20-Jul-15 19:21:02

Thank you fuzzy.

DM has said and done a couple of things that have undermined me or given me opinions when not asked, nothing too major. I've worked on setting boundaries and she basically hasn't liked it. She, I think, finds it hard to see that I have my own life now and that DH and the dc come first and not her. She doesn't get that I consult DH on things before just giving her an answer (ie weekend plans) which makes me feel that she doesn't really respect our relationship (mine and DH's) and that she thinks because she's the matriarch she holds the trump cards and can overrule anything.

Yukky Mon 20-Jul-15 19:22:21

I think she's a bit of a bully actually sad. It's hard to write that.

Fuzzyfelt123 Mon 20-Jul-15 19:22:39

Also google 'FOG' - fear, obligation and guilt. If any or all of these form the basis of any relationship (yes even with your DM) then it is not a healthy relationship.

MustBeLoopy390 Mon 20-Jul-15 19:27:11

This is what I have with my DM. She rang the other day to bitch about family I have NC with and didn't once ask how her two week old grandson, her dd and son-il or her other two grandchildren are! I don't really have any advice on how to deal with it, I'm still figuring all that out myself but just thought I would offer you a rather un-mumsnet-ish hug. X

Baddz Mon 20-Jul-15 19:31:56

My mum rang me at 8.30 this morning to tell me it's too hot where she has gone on holdiay with my bro, sil and dn.
She is in Majorca.
In July.
<rocks in corner>

Fuzzyfelt123 Mon 20-Jul-15 19:34:07

Well it's great that you're setting boundaries then Yukky.
See her as often as is comfortable for you and pull her up, kindly but firmly, on all her unwelcome comments.
If she's a narc, then she won't accept this. If she's not a narc and just needs a nudge in the right direction with boundaries, then things may improve.
You sound lovely Yukky, I'm sure it's not you. It's hard to face up to these things about our DMs but is best to in order to protect our selves and our DCs. It has to be on your terms now.
With my DM things have been more complicated and I've had to put boundaries up after a period of no contact. But things are better now and I no longer feel guilty about it being on my terms - it's best for everyone, even DM.

Fuzzyfelt123 Mon 20-Jul-15 19:38:56

Boundaries! All of you with mums like this! Don't take the phone call at 8:30am! Tell her please not to bitch about people to you, you don't live like that! Reduce contact, spend more time with positive people who make you feel good.
You wouldn't put up with this from a friend, so why put up with it just because it's your mother? There's no law saying you have to!
flowers to all! X

Yukky Mon 20-Jul-15 21:18:12

Sounds like you've had to armour yourself fuzzy.

It's nice to hear from people in a similar boat (though sorry you have rocky relationships with your DMs too) as a lot of friends IRL can't comprehend my gripes when they all have lovely, non-invasive, sweet, helpful DMs, and I just wonder whether I'm being super-critical.

I don't think my DM does like the boundaries and is prone to cats-bumming when she doesn't get her own way.

After seeing her today I just felt sad because we have a distance between us and neither of us get what we want out of the relationship and I think we both know we never will sad

Fuzzyfelt123 Mon 20-Jul-15 21:59:44

You're not being super critical.
Lots of people are in the same boat as you but society does not encourage talking about it.
We're also raised to believe it's all our fault if the DM / DD relationship is not working. We're too sensitive / difficult.
Your posts are full of self blame, but it's very difficult to have a healthy relationship with self absorbed bullies!
Does your DF say why they're divorced?

stepmothersknockers Mon 20-Jul-15 22:33:04

Mine is the same. I feel bad because she has no friends and is also divorced from my DF. I really can't stand her though. I dread her getting old and I'll because I will NOT look after her. She makes me feel so miserable.

Yukky Tue 21-Jul-15 07:54:58

The thing is it's all so discreet/petty.

No one looking in would ever think she's a "self absorbed bully" and wonder what the hell I was on about.

DH gets it, thankfully.

neverputasockinatoaster Tue 21-Jul-15 09:49:32

I find my mum exhausting too. I love her dearly, she is very supportive and would do anything for us but when she is here or I am there I am on tenterhooks in case I upset her in some unspecified way and get the silent treatment...
As a teenager that was how I was disciplined - I did some unspecified thing wrong and she would go silent on me. Then I would have to guess what she felt I had done wrong, put it right and apologise!
I have 2 children with ASDs and my DD also has ADHD. You can just feel my mum wanting to say it's all down to me. I know she feels she would parent them better than me although she is now starting to admit it might not be as simple as she thinks so that's a bonus!
My DH says she is high maintenance!
She and my dad are divorced. She claims my dad was EA but looking back I suspect she was just as EA to him as he was to her. They were not suited, pure and simple. He has a partner, my SM, and there is no hint of strife. I love going there, even with my 2 DCs, as we are accepted and not judged.
My mum remarried but my SD died about 4 years ago and I am an only child so I feel a lot of pressure to make sure she is OK.

You have my sympathy.

Baddz Tue 21-Jul-15 13:04:32

I took my shopping a couple of weeks ago.
I have just started a new medication and it's not agreeing with me and I started to feel really ill (in asda of all places)
I apologised and said I would have to drive home.
She didn't speak to me the whole way back.
Didn't phone or text to ask how I was.
I know she is lonely since dad died but she is the reason he was still working ft at 67...he couldn't bear the thought of being stuck at home with her.
My siblings both work so it's down to me.
She makes no effort at all. She has a free bus pass she won't use. She has plenty of money but moans at spending it. She moans people don't keep in touch but won't phone or go and see them.
She is driving me demented.
I need a job!

Lottapianos Tue 21-Jul-15 13:12:14

'Kind of easier to think it was probably just me being a Bad Daughter.......'

And every single one of us who have mothers like this have believed the same at one point or another! We've all done the self blame and the minimising ('well she's not so bad really....') and all that. It's how we've been trained by her - to always put other people first, and most especially her.

Its intensely painful to realise that the person who is supposed to love and support you most in the world is actually not that interested in you, or jealous of you, or invested in undermining you, or can't really see you as a separate person. It sounds like you know in your gut that your mother is not treating you in a loving, healthy way, but actually getting your head around it and believing it in your gut is a tricky business. You sound like you have a huge amount of guilt about your relationship, and that's totally understandable, but a relationship takes two people to make it work.

I really don't like my mother and have minimal contact with her. When I do see her, I tell her absolutely nothing of any substance because it either gets ignored, minimised, ridiculed or used against me somehow. I can never ever rely on her to be happy for me or to share in my pride or joy. And yes it is truly heartbreaking when you see other women enjoying their mums and having (mostly) good relationships with them. I promise you it gets easier with time though - it never becomes what you want it to be, but you can get to a place of accepting things the way they are.

zoemaguire Tue 21-Jul-15 13:13:48

My DM is genuinely lovely, loves me dearly and will do anything for me, but I really relate to the self-absorption. She'll start any conversation with a whole great avalanche of words about what she's been up to, various goings on of friends and relations (and cousins/aunts/partners/milkmen of said friends and relations), then as an afterthought say 'so how are the children', let me speak for 30 seconds, then say 'right well nice to chat, see you soon.' I went on a course the other day and she looked after the kids for me all day. When I walked in at dinner nobody said a word, not 'how was the course', or 'did you have a nice day' or anything. It's only recently that I've realised how weird the dynamic is. I don't know if she is like this with everyone or just me, she does seem to have lots of friends which suggests the lattersad

Lottapianos Tue 21-Jul-15 13:14:04

Baddz, that sounds unbearably exhausting. I do think that some people just don't know how to be any way other than miserable, and are actually never 'happier' than when feeling wronged and hard done by and put out. Its unbelievably wearing to be around sad

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