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Please help me understand my Mum

(115 Posts)
justaskingabout Mon 17-Aug-15 19:52:14

Can anyone help me identify what is really going on with my Mum. I feel quite bad about posting this because I love my Mother but I want to just get some feedback about what's really going on here.

Also as a disclaimed, I am temporarily living with my Mum right now, and I realise this is a really bad idea and that I need to move and that she is doing me a favour putting a roof over my head with DS but my husband just left and I had nowhere else to go.

What I really wanted was some reasons or support or suggestions for coping with all of this.

When I was a child my Mum was half lovely and half awful. Lovely in a lot of ways but I was terrified of her too. She was always angry. She hated my Dad and complained to the kids all the time about how she hated him and wished he was dead and all sort of scary things. She was always upset or ragingly angry about "mess" and the house and complainign about being a Mum. She calls herself "Cinderella" (and still does).

I grew up with a permanent knot in my stomach, always walking on eggsells, always scared to touch anything in the house, move anything, put fingerprints on something. She ironed our UNDERPANTS. I mean, we weren't allowed to touch or clothes or toys or anything. Nor have friends over. It was like she wanted everything to be untouched and if you messed it up she'd be angry, or cry or generally make you feel awful.

I left home as soon as I could at 16.

So anyway, fast forward and I have been forced to live with her for a little while, getting back on my feet.

I have one DS, aged 11, and in a lot of ways she has been amazing. She wants to do stuff with DS like go for walks and coffees, she comes to school things, we watch movies and have Mum and Daughter giggles.

But she is so controlling.

everything has to be done her way on her schedule. For example, laundry has to be done the same day, washed, ironed and back in the closet. I am scared to cook, scared to shop, scared to do anything really.

I am also constantly telling DS to stay in his room because she gets in these moods and all she does is shout at him exactly like she did at me. All you can hear all day is her screaming from one room that there's a fingerprint on something.

She also insists that he can't get anything -not even a drink of water -in case he makes a mess. So what she does is gets him a drink of water then shouts at me that she is having to do my job as a mother.

This morning is a prime example. I woke up and told him I'd take him out for breakfast and I got in the shower. When I got out, I heard her saying "your mother didn;t give you breakfast? Well obviously I am the only one who cares" and she gave him two croissants and then did not speak to me for the rest of the day ecause she had to give him breakfast.

All she does is complain about the things she "does for me", when most of the time those things are interfering and ruin my plans for the day and instead of telling her to fuck off I have to apologise to her for her doing something "for me" that I did not want her to do!

I work from home in a VERY busy and hard job that I am trying to do well at to save to move out and during my workign day she decides out of nowhere she wants to spring clean the house and if I don't drop everything, cancel my work for that day and do it -I am in the doghouse and she is crying and calling herself Cinderella.

I also know she phones family members and tells them I don't do anything and she has to do everything for me and complains about me, when really all I do is try and follow and her wishes to a tee, down to what I eat and where I go 24 hours a day.

If I lose it, she cries. She sits there sobbing about how hard her life is and that she is going to die of a heart attack and then I feel guilty.

All she ever dos is complain about her life, my Dad, her house, her work. Literally everything is so awful for her when I am currently...

1. Dumped by DH for another woman
2. Left without roof and needing to share a bedroom with my 11 year old
3. Devastated by the above
4. Walking on eggshells 24 hours a day.

She doesn;t seem to care about me at all, and also didn't when I was a child because everything was about her and what she wanted and when she wanted it and yet she somehow comes off as a martyr in it all because she genuinely is always cookign and cleaning and doing things for people but I don't want her to and never did.

I'd much rather have had a Mum that played with me or talked to me.

I can't ever even go out and see friends. She says she will babysit, but if I go out she won't talk to me for a couple of weeks and I know she rins all my aunts and family to say how cheeky I am for going out.

What is the deal here? I just don't know what this is and she is obviously so unhappy.

mrstothemr Mon 17-Aug-15 20:14:55

I don't have any advice, but some of the things you've said ring true about my grandmother. If at this stage of your life she's still the same it doesn't seem likely she'll change. My grandmother hasn't really, and she's well into old age now.

If you can't cope or don't want to cope with it any more, you'll have to make a stand (that endures her tears and stand off). If your relatives have any wherewithall they'll know what she's like anyway. She's keeping you in a submissive position, and whilst you let her 'win' her behaviour is reinforced. Bleakly, she sees it working, so why would she change. If the tears don't work she may well ramp it up though, so it may be tough. Good luck op x

category1 Mon 17-Aug-15 20:18:11

Er, she's pretty toxic, you might want to read the 'stately homes' thread.

I think focus on moving out asap. How come you're the one left homeless? Are you pursuing your ex for support for your dc?

justaskingabout Mon 17-Aug-15 20:20:11

I don't think it's like that.

I think she genuinely believes that she is the victim and that she is hard done by and used like a work horse or something.

All she does all day is volunteer to do stuff, or make extra work for herself, or do extra stuff she doesn't need to do and then complain and be angry about it.

As an example, yesterday she volunteered to babysit my brother's kids. I had to work -I had a very long standing meeting with a new and very important client and she was literally livid at me because I was not helping her babysit even though I'd told her ages ago about the meeting.

I raced home early and did everything she said but all she did all afternoon was complain about the kids and make underhand comments like "it's ok for some people who were out enjoying a meeting while I was here with the children".

WTF?!!! She was babysitting, not me!!! I was at work, not at a party! And somehow I am meant to feel guilty for everything.

justaskingabout Mon 17-Aug-15 20:21:38

category my son is not my DH's. And his own father has nevr given me any child support.

I was homeless because we lived overseas due to DH's job, so I came home when he left me.

Just getting back on my feet.

BunnyW Mon 17-Aug-15 20:22:56

I don't have any advice but have some similar issues with my mum - in a way its good to know there's someone else having these problems but sad that we both have them, iyswim.

Chin up, will have a think and post later if I can come up with anything helpful. x

justaskingabout Mon 17-Aug-15 20:23:37

I feel like she wants me to be miserable and have as bad a life as possible. I genuinely feel this is true because I look at my son and see how diferrently I treat him and just feel so confused over why my Mother just doesn't care about me properly and never really did. She dfinitely appears to be a great Mother, but I was always feeling guilty for being born mainly.

YokoUhOh Mon 17-Aug-15 20:27:34

OP do you recognise any of these 'sayings'?

www.lightshouse.org/things-people-with-ocpd-say.html#axzz3j6OHW5R3

justaskingabout Mon 17-Aug-15 20:28:11

What really pisses me off if I am honest is how much I care about how she feels and this is not reciprocated.

I just spent forever researching an amazing birthday present for her and sorting with my brother's and sisters. I try and think of stuff that would make her happy or make her smile and do it. I pretend I want to do stuff I realy don't want to do because I know she will like it. I listen to her when she is sad or worried or angry and try and help her. I let her live her life howevr it makes her happy.

She does none of that for me.

She never thinks, "oh maybe Vicky would cheer up a bit if she went out once in a while with her friends" or anything like that, or try and talk to me about DH, or about my life or about how I feel.

I cry alone in the bedroom after everyone is asleep. I feel invisible. Like I am the parent. I always felt like I was the parent.

does this mean she doesn't love me?

I don't get it. She seems to empathise with my brother normally, but not me.

YokoUhOh Mon 17-Aug-15 20:30:31

She is toxic and a narcissist. A much wiser person will be along in a minute to help you OP flowers

wizzywig Mon 17-Aug-15 20:31:48

where is this stately homes thread?

Tucktalking Mon 17-Aug-15 20:31:49

You need to start taking your own stand now that you are an adult. Keep telling her that you are here for a short while. Perhaps you need to let her know about how you have felt about her controlling ways. Maybe nobody ever told her. The results may not be too good either. She may get truly upset as she is your mum and has the right to say anything.
Apart from that you just have to keep on staying there or else apply for housing as you have a junior with you.

justaskingabout Mon 17-Aug-15 20:33:24

Yes Yoko she is a lot like that...but it's worse than that. She will get abnormally upset about something really small. She won't allow you to help with stuff because you "can't do it right".

Example: You eat dinner and you try and bring the dishes into the kitchen to help and she screams at you becaus you put them down on the wrong kitchen side.

She then says she can't breathe and has chest pains and makes you feel like it's your fault because you are so inadequate.

It's just unbelievable psychological pressure. you end up just locking yourself away or trying to stay out as much as possible. My whole life was like that as a child.

All four kids have anxiety attacks now. all four

I really do feel like I have been fucked up my whole life because of this (put up with an abusive husband I did not even realise was abusive beause at least he never shouted at me) and every single person looking from the outside thinks I have the perfect Mother. If they videotaped one day inside the walls of the house people would not believe it.

mrstothemr Mon 17-Aug-15 20:35:39

If you're really looking to understand her I think it's more a case for therapy than mn tbh, she sounds a complex woman

woowoo22 Mon 17-Aug-15 20:39:03

You have to leave OP. Have to. You can't subject yourself to her abuse again. Growing up, she was EA and that was replicated in your marriage. Please don't subject your child to it. How long til you get yourself sorted money wise?

justaskingabout Mon 17-Aug-15 20:39:24

I did just blow up at her before I started the thread. I just could not take anymore. Me and DS were locked in the bedroom to stay out of her way and she made some snidey comment to me about how I was a bad mother and didn't take care of DS properly.

I told her that I had my stomach in a knot because she was so controlling and that I grew up feeling like that every day an could not wait to move out. I said that while I don't have his laundry back the same the day or iron his underpants I love himput him first and care about how he feels more than I care about the laundry or fingerprints. I told her she had to choose between making everyone around her she is supposed to love miserable or having her house look like a mauselum. I told her the laundry basket was where laundry was meant to go, and the ksy would not fall in if it was not permanently empty.

She has been softly crying every since, is not talking to me (and won't for weeks) will phone everyone she knows to say how awful I am and she is making very loud sniffing noiss every few seconds.

And yes, I do feel really guilty now.

cozietoesie Mon 17-Aug-15 20:43:13

I think I'd try and understand her only from the perspective of not living with her anymore. Is there absolutely nowhere that you can go? (Another relative or a friend for example.) Imagine what all this is doing to your poor DS who also has to live through this. I'd get out fast.

justaskingabout Mon 17-Aug-15 20:44:49

I don't know with the money. DS had a school trip, then he starts big school and needed all the kit and uniform and all that and I just keep getting setbacks. Realisitically I don't feel like my income is stable enough to move out yet. I emailed the council a few weeks ago to ask wheteher they could help me. I did read that if I am sharing a bedroom with DS they have to treat me as a priority. I find the whole thing really confusing and embarrassing and I am working my backside off to try and sort it all out but it's not that easy. I did realise today I can't take anymore and will have to just look into options.

Weirdly DS is not at all scred of her. He just answers her back nicely and tells her to chill out then forgives her immediately. He seems to accept she has something wrong with her and doesn't let it affect him emoitonally at all. He's obviously grown up well adjusted.

It's really just me sitting there saying "please don't do that, Granny will get angry" and he rolls his eyes.

Most of all what I feel scared of is that something bad happens to her and it's my fault. She does geneuinely make herself ill with anger

cozietoesie Mon 17-Aug-15 20:44:50

Stop that feeling 'guilty' right now. You have no reason to.

cozietoesie Mon 17-Aug-15 20:46:39

Just because DS appears to be letting things flow over him doesn't mean he isn't being affected underneath - think how your childhood affected you after all.

cozietoesie Mon 17-Aug-15 20:48:02

...She does geneuinely make herself ill with anger...

She sounds as if she's relishing it all to be honest.

FelineLou Mon 17-Aug-15 20:49:25

These are mind games and you can only beat them by upsetting her which i think you don't want too often.
Pick your battles and point out her more serious irrational pronouncements. Choose a sentence and keep repeating it. Broken record technique blocks this type of stuff.
For that last babysitting thing, "I have to work to earn" "You offered to babysit, I did not".
Stay calm and factual; don't let her get you upset just state the obvious truths. Try to feel amused rather than get upset. Think "Typical Mum behaviour"
Its good you are able to earn and will escape this manipulation soon.Hold on to that.
If you seem less affected by this behaviour, she may ease off. Drama llamas need a response. It is difficult though. You have my sympathy.

justaskingabout Mon 17-Aug-15 20:50:26

Yes but Cozie I was terrified as a kid. I spent my while life trying to please her.

He could not be less interested! He's so much more stable inside than I ever was, and I think he feels like he is protected by me. I had no one to protect me and talk to me and tell me I was just fine.

I genuinely don't have anywhere else to go. It really is a shit situation but I'm going to talk to the council as I said.

Moving back has been hard. Hard to get a bank account, hard to get a mobile phone, now I have no proof of income (and only a very low one supplemented by tax credits) but I do have big improvements on the horizon and am close to doing very well with work.

It's just been hard.

quimcunx Mon 17-Aug-15 20:52:28

I'm at a similar place with my mum who, it has taken me nearly 40 years to realise, is a complete control freak, and I've been playing into her hands for years. I'm interested to follow this thread, and to read the stately homes thread (if I can find it). I recently bought a book called When you and your mother can't be friends, and I am interested (but afraid) to read it. I havent yet read it, but have flicked through. Kind of weird how its freaking me out that I might have to acknowledge some home truths about our relationship. But seeing as how I am currently having to have "counselling" about all the issues my realisation about her have brought to the surface, I guess there are a lot of issues that I will have to confront. I look forward to seeing the progressing of opinions and feelings in this thread.

BrandsHatch Mon 17-Aug-15 20:53:38

My mum is exactly like this. She volunteers as a driver, in the church, she makes a cake if it's anyone in a 10 mile radius's birthday, Al ways always doing things for other people. Which is nice...but then she spends her life complaining about it all, it drives me insane, don't bloody do it then! But...she needs to, she needs to feel needed, it stems from her own very lonely childhood.
She is on the edge of tears the entire time too, very emotionally sensitive and everyone, including my dad has to toe the line or she'll be in tears about ow awful we all are.
At its worst when we were teenagers she'd threaten to kill herself if we didn't tidy our rooms/whatever what was annoying her at that point.
Anyway I couldn't imagine living with her, I don't know how you are coping with that at all, is there absolutely no way you can live elsewhere? It sounds very damaging for you and your son. I toyed with going nc but things have massively improved since I took a giant leap back. I don't tell her specific things about my life or dc's life- I just keep it all very general. She makes up her own narrative anyway but these days I just let it go. I lie a lot also. No we can't come for dinner ds has a cricket match etc. she thinks we're mad busy but I just enjoy the peace and closeness Im lucky enough to have with my own dc in my own home. She may not have changed but I'm changing as I get older - I'm getting wiser, harder, like I said I enjoy my peace and I'm not going to have my life constantly interrupted by this bat shit crazy lady just because she's my mother!
Have you read Toxic Parents? Your dad is the monkey btw, very enlightening, definitely read it to help you sort out your feelings about this. Good luck op x

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