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How to deal with my mum?(7 Posts)
Growing up my sister, my mum and I were all really close. My parents divorced when we were children, and my dad was awful to us after the divorce, so the 3 of us sort of formed a little team of us versus the world.
In the last few years we've all grown apart a bit (I'm mid-thirties now) partly due to geographical distance making it hard to meet up, and partly due to the fact that my mum almost never rings either of us, or replies to texts, and frequently when we ring her it's not a good time and she never calls back. She will, eg, say she can't talk because her boyfriend is on the other line - her boyfriend who she speaks to twice a day and sees three times a week, whereas it is not unusual for us to go 6 weeks between chats.
Anyway, I do love my mum a lot, and I think she did a great job as a parent taking into account the massive struggles she had to deal with (health, financial, emotional, and she had had awful abusive parents herself, so it's a miracle she was able to do even a half-decent job with us).
Anyway recently the 3 of us were together for the first time in a few years. We had all been looking forward to it.... but also secretly dreading it. My mum is very blunt and open with her criticism with us 2, and growing up we all were like that with each other. However, now she gets really upset if we are like it with her - although she is still the same with us!
She was really upset the first day of our time together and told us in tears that we made her feel like shit, she was on the point of leaving and not spending time with us, and we talk to her like shit. We all ended up crying and apologising - although the things she picked up on were mostly in her head to be honest. The problem as she sees it is that my younger sister is extremely protective of me and leaps to my defence whenever she perceives me as being attacked - I can quite often be oblivious of the whole thing. And my sister is overprotective of me, but we had a really tough time growing up with both my mum and my dad being terrible to us, so we got into this habit of looking after each other.
However, that happened on the first day and me and my sister made a massive effort - and my mum was still the same as normal with us! Demanding, extremely brusque and dismissive, dismissing our preferences and thinking it was a huge joke to do things we were both really uncomfortable with (she has poor boundaries too)... she is the worst with my sister, which is strange because growing up she was much harder on me.
If we sit her down and explain how horrible she is being she starts crying and saying we gang up on her. But that's because she's being horrible to both of us - we're both nice to each other, because, errr.... we're both nice to each other!
I just don't know what to do. I do love my mum, but some of the things she says are really awful. Any ideas?
Not sure what could be going on there...
Are you now the age she was when she split up with your dad? Could something like that be unsettling her?
And what's her boyfriend like? Is he nice or is he jealous of her relationship with you? Do you ever see them together?
I suppose I'm coming up to that age yes. I've not really met her boyfriend.
Pop over to the stately homes thread. Im sure youll find some help in there.
Your mother sounds very manipulative. She wants to be free to dish out criticism, as she has done your whole life, but she does not do well with you and your sister standing up to her bullying.
She did better with you two than her parents did with her, but she still was and is kind of a shitty mom, no? Sometimes acknowledging that can be freeing.
I went through something very similar, and I even had to examine my own contention that I loved my mom, and I was surprised to find out that not only did I not love my mother, I barely liked her, and that was okay. That was when her criticism and poor treatment lost its power over me.
I think it might help if you can identify when things changed, which might help identify why things have changed.
Family relationships are complicated, and she's experienced abuse by her own family and your family, so maybe she doesn't know how to have a healthy relationship with adults? Maybe she feels subconsciously more comfortable in a conflict-driven relationship? If so, you and your sister may need to devote lots of time and effort to the relationship, with lots of little 'kindnesses'.
How often do you see her/communicate with her?
Think your mum is probably still the same as she always was but as ye get older ye are letting go of the idealised picture ye had of her when ye were young and so dependent on her. We all come to a stage when we see our mums through adult eyes. Sometimes we have to wake up to the fact they are not who we thought they were. That doesn't mean she is a bad person but a mixed up one who has suffered a lot in her own life and is only able to be who she is. I had to do this with my mum. When l accepted she was quite a broken person l found it easier to deal with her and her carry on didn't affect me. I can actually laugh at her drama now as not expecting anything else. I think you may have become more mature than your mom and that takes adjusting to.
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