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.

I can't understand my DM's behaviour (Toxic?)

(11 Posts)
yogababymum Wed 29-Jul-15 10:30:55


Dm is my adoptive mother which may be relevant. I was adopted at 16 months.

I am really struggling to understand my DM. Her behaviour is unbelievable (really people don't believe she's like this) very erratic, irrational and she behaves like a sulky teenager, she is cold and had never told me she loves me. For as long as i can remember and i am 35 my DM has been strange, we have never gotten along and she has made no effort to bond with me. When i challenge her behaviour she cant talk to me or look me in the eye, she tells me to go away or hangs up on me, ignores me for months on end. She has honestly never had a conversation about me or who i am, she dosent know me at all.

Here who she pretends to be and believe me it all an act.

*A good Christian woman who lives for her family, purely devoted to them, all of them her brothers/sisters and parents. She is obsessed with her sisters and brother and parents and every single minute is spent with them. She even left work to look after her parents and now looks like a martyr to everyone in our small town.

Its so complicated i don't know where to begin but ill try explaining as best i can. When i was a child she would say things that i didn't understand at the time but they had a lasting effect on me. She told me when i was 4/5 that she worked as a prostitute and went into graffic detail about what she was doing, in order to bring me up as my DF was a useless drunk. However this wasn't the case and a few years later i found out she worked as a night shift care assistant in the local care home and my DF as been in the same job going on 38 years so thats all a lie. i am sure you can see how this would effect a child, i would lie awake all night worrying and crying about DM. This had a negative effect at school and as a result i was badly bullied and fell behind in my work. I barley have an education.

As a teenager she would send me out with an older crowd into town to get drunk (yes that was her request) she would give me money and tell me to have a good time and i not realising that this wasn't normal fully went ahead and did it. So at 13 i was in nightclubs drinking and flirting with older men (no sex until i was 18 though as i was afraid because of what i was old as a child). Now i cant believe that any parent would encourage and enable a child to do this, anything could have happened me and i feel she wouldn't have cared. Her extended family saw me as the problem child, the odd one out and how could i cause my Dm so much bother. They would always make jokes at my expense criticise my looks/weight/clothes and call me a slut and a tell me i had no friends and was a failure.

I was different from them in every-way possible and still am, and honestly i am proud of it now.

At 21 i fell pregnant and my Bf left me when Dc was 8mths, my Dm insisted i returned to work and she would look after my baby. So i did it, thinking i was doing the right thing for my child. After a year of working it was revealed to me that DM was giving my DC to a neighbour to look after one day a week and her teenage daughter was taking my baby out with her friends like it was doll. I went crazy when i found out and DM couldn't explain why she was doing it and seemed to think it was ok, no problem deceiving me or putting my child in danger. I moved away to another town and we didn't speak for three years.

FF10 years In that time i changed my life completely. I got a great job purely by luck and was given the change to gain some qualifications (Which makes me a snob, a know it all, i think i am better than them etc) We now speak but she still behaves like this and her family have totally excluded me "I was never family and never will be" is what my Aunt said recently. My DH found this behaviour very odd and hints neither of us can comprehend her behaviour. After years of abuse DH & I want to go NC, we are both fed up with her lies, her awful behaviour and its driving us crazy.

Can anyone understand her, Why is she like this? i don't get it at all.

If you've gotten this far, thank you. I am going to work now so if i don't reply ill be on later.

Lottapianos Wed 29-Jul-15 10:40:38

Oh yogababymum, you poor thing. This woman has let you down so very badly. I'm not surprised you're considering NC - I can't imagine you get a single positive thing out of your relationship with her. You deserve so much better than her dreadful behaviour.

First of all, its truly terrifying that a person like her could be approved for adoption. She sounds like an utterly appalling parent - neglectful, abusive, controlling, possessive. She sounds jealous of you and any success you have and any good things you have in your life. She doesn't seem to be able to hold you in mind, emphathise with you or to nurture you in any way. It's horrendous, and flies in the face of everything we believe in our society about mothers. It's bloody unfair having a mother like this - it shreds your self esteem and makes you doubt your own sanity.

Hold onto the healthy part of you that wants to be independent and recognises that you don't need her any more. Letting go of the the hope that she will one day change and become a loving, supportive mother is so painful, but its the path to freedom and sanity.

As for why she is like this, I have tortured myself with that question in relation to my own parents. I have my theories but I'll never know for sure and ultimately it doesn't matter. What matters is the effect that toxic parents have on you and what you need to do to take care of yourself. I'm so glad that you have good things in your life now. You owe her nothing, don't be afraid to cut ties if it feels right to you x

Andro Wed 29-Jul-15 11:56:39

Toxic is one way of putting it, abusive would be more accurate!

To me it sounds as though she's punishing you; firstly for not being her bio child, latterly for being able to have a child of your own. None of this is on you, not everyone is suited to being an adoptive parent.

Trying to understand the mindset of an adult who abuses a child for not being what they (the parent) actually wanted is a task for a therapist, not the abused child.

If there is no value to you in interacting with your parental unit then going NC may well be the best thing for you and your family. Your past may shape you, but it doesn't define you. You have moved on and succeeded in spite of her, take the win!

Zillie77 Wed 29-Jul-15 12:04:21

Your mother is a disaster! You, however, are a marvel, very resilient, and strong, having been able to build a life despite your upbringing. I think you should unceremoniously eject her from your life and not look back.

Aussiebean Wed 29-Jul-15 12:21:34

Don't try and understand it. You won't

Also go have a look at the stately homes thread. It may help.

yogababymum Wed 29-Jul-15 18:50:20

Thank you all for your replies. I am on a lunch break so I'll try to respond as I can.

Lotta; thank you. That's it, it's torture trying to understand. Only others who've been treated the same way can believe it. It's very hard for other people to understand this behaviour. As you say it's goes against the whole maternal/nurture thing. Which is why I think I try to excel in what I do now, like I need approval for everything.

Although I feel independent I am still very afraid to go NC & be on my own with only DH & kids. I've no other siblings & my DFs side of the family live in another country so I don't really know them/ have a relationship. Plus I've no friends because I've moved around quite a bit. Will I be ok never having extended family? Will my kids be ok without a granny? it really scares me.

Andro; I did consider those reasons once & maybe that's it. But jealously is an emotion I don't connect with & I can honestly say I've never really been jealous of anyone. So again I find it hard to comprehend.

Zillion; thank you so much. I try to believe in myself regardless of what I was taught as a child because I know it's wrong now. I can listen to her words but I don't take her opinion on board anymore. It's invalid because I've no respect for her. I actually despise what she's done to me.

Aussie. Your right I don't understand now & prob never will. I sometimes imaging her on her deathbed apologising or at least acknowledging her actions and giving me peace/sanity but she's never once tried to rectify anything, so it's prob wishful thinking.

MagicalMrsMistoffelees Wed 29-Jul-15 19:36:28

Well done on making a success of your life despite your mother.

Your mother (and the rest of the family!) sound awful. Please don't worry about 'only' having your husband and children. I'd say it's better to be without anyone at all than with people who make you feel crap about yourself.

Have you ever thought about tracing your birth family? I have no idea if this is a good or bad idea though!

yogababymum Wed 29-Jul-15 22:02:31

Magical; I did find my BM on facebook a few years ago. I was young and looking for someone to save me I suppose. I never contacted her & I don't think I want to now. I had limited details about her but it all seems to messy for me to handle. I couldn't face another disaster for a parent, that would tip me over the edge.

Andro Wed 29-Jul-15 23:17:49

You will probably never understand, purely because you are actually an emotionally mature person.

I don't understand what drives my mother, why she would prefer me dead/aborted just for being female, how she could justify telling my dh (then fiancé) that he could do much better and should look for a real woman. I've long since given up trying, it's a futile quest.

I also think there comes a point where the reasons don't matter, you just have to act in your own best interests and stop the poison filtering down any further.

yogababymum Fri 31-Jul-15 09:34:25

I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday. It's really the first time I felt that I couldn't cope with what she's done to me. I've always been determined not to let her destroy me but recently she has been truly awful.

I met her in town she was with her two brothers & she didn't speak to me. I stopped & spoke to DU (small talk) & then she came over & gave my kids £5 each & said "now to can buy whatever you want, SHE (me) never has any money". I was mortified a few people could easily hear her & to say that in front of my kids really hurt me.

I took it so bad I had a panic attack on the way home. I had to pull the car over & my kids where really upset seeing me like that.

So NC is the only possibility for me. Although it's very complicated.

Lottapianos Fri 31-Jul-15 09:44:51

yogababymum, please don't feel bad about reacting like that yesterday. You can only carry on forcing yourself to be strong and determined for so long. The panic attack was likely your anger and sadness and rage coming to the surface because they couldn't be bottled up any longer. Panic attacks are hideous but they are a sign that you have been too strong for too long and that you need to start being a bit more gentle with yourself.

You have survived a seriously traumatic childhood and come through as a thoughtful, functional, caring, reflective person - that is a huge achievement. She hasn't destroyed you - not even close. You are not made of stone though and you're not immune to the dreadful hurt and pain that she has caused you. It will take time, a lot of time and a lot of healing, to come to terms with having such a dreadful parent.

And yes, NC is extremely complicated. It gets trotted out on here by some people as the answer to everything - just go NC - as if its like flicking a switch. It can definitely be a really good thing but its not as simple as binning someone and moving on with your life without a backward glance. So its entirely normal for it to be a painful process, even if you know deep down that its the right thing to do.

Go easy on yourself today, panic attacks are really upsetting and can leave you upset and exhausted for a while x

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