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Mother manipulating me? Is it me or her?

(9 Posts)
yestocarrots Wed 06-Jan-16 16:57:02

just wondered if anyone had any advice about this as i really don't know anymore if i'm going crazy or who's right. i'm seriously down atm.

my mother has over the course of a couple of years been trying to tell me i have autism and that it affects my ability to make decisions and read situations. an example would be when i am having issues with colleagues, a boyfriend or a friend and her advice is usually that my intuition or take on it is wrong/can't be right because i'm "naive"/"innocent" about people and i'm not socially good, or don't have empathy. i have been struggling for some time trying to figure out if she's right, in the family it has become accepted that my judgement or opinion won't be worth listening to or that i need help with my personal or work life but i'm beginning to wonder if this is manipulative behaviour on her part.

i've worked in very client/customer facing roles for the past 6 years and perform very well in job interviews and meetings, i love socialising, had a big circle of friends at school and uni which is less the case now because i'm a single parent and temped for a long time. i know this isnt the be all and end all but i took the baron-cohen "emotions in eyes" test and got an above average score of 30/36 which is also well above the average for adults with autism. i feel very tuned to the feelings of others- in fact too much so at some times as i often pick up on someone going cold, or being upset, or whatever in friendships and relationships before it's very obvious. i also acted for a while which involved a lot of emotional awareness of myself and others.

it has come to a head recently because mum has started getting involved in my personal life in a more controlling way. she doesn't like my partner (not dd's dad) and when i was moaning about him recently she started saying she thought he would hurt my child if he thought i wouldnt find out. he is looking after her for a few days (because mum is going away and usually looks after her) in a month and it is stuck on my mind, it never occurred to me that he would hurt my little girl or anyone. but i know mum doesnt like him and she in fact without my consent had a go at him about our relationship by entering our flat with her key when i wasn't there. she saw it as her obligation to "intervene" but in hindsight it feels controlling and i wonder if this is part of a big wider issue, in which case the comment about dp and my daughter shouldnt stick in my mind.

ironically i see my mum as the non-"Neurotypical" one. her empathy levels are very low. for example she refused to acknowledge my quite crushing postnatal depression as she "doesnt believe in it" and would often leave me sobbing in the flat with my distressed baby then "joke" to my sister the next day about thinking i might have "banged its against the wall". in the end i got counselling and support which she still scoffs at. she also took a month off from being a childminder at the very last minute to travel as she was depressed and i had to take unpaid parental leave off work that i cant really afford - when i asked her if she could be more sensitive in coordinating this stuff in advance due to my quite intense job and not much annual leave, she was angry and not for the first time told me i should just quit because i dont like it that much anyway (though i have to pay rent and bills and pay for my dd so this would be ridiculous!) she is very impulsive financially and doesnt see anything she does as wrong- the ends justify the means even in quite shady situations. probably the most massive thing is that when i was pregnant she told me my older brother was not my dad's child, she had an affair with an ex when they were first married and knew brother was his and always had, but my dad had never known- i find it hard to get my head round but she doesnt get the moral implications at all. i'm painting her to be a monster but she isn't, i know she's not normal - she is very very charismatic, people tend to be in awe of her especially in the family where my siblings quickly shut me down if i complain about her, her mum was a diagnosed bipolar and sociopath who killed herself through drug abuse. so either mum is very damaged or she does just have a different wiring to others...

i guess i just feel so lost. believing i am autistic has really hampered my confidence in relationships, at work, and has triggered depression. i know theres nothing wrong with being autistic but i feel like im being persuaded i am when there is no basis, to weaken me. i don't know if i can trust her, i don't know if i'm being very manipulated and i'm scared for my child because of what she said (see above) but i dont know if she's just a controlling person i shouldnt trust - in which case i'm scared that she will be such a big presence in my small childs life. i am seriously considering going NC if i can find a way with my daughter. or maybe i am wrong about this.

sorry if it's a pointless ramble. if anyone has any insights on this situation it would help.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 06-Jan-16 17:20:04

How old is your dd and do you pay your dm for her childminding services?

How long have you been with your dp and has he looked after your dd while you've been out or busy in another room?

What issues in your relationship caused you to moan to your dm about him?

yestocarrots Wed 06-Jan-16 17:29:07

hi goddess, i pay my mum £150 per week - i'm on a low income so it's all i can afford but is not unheard of for childminder in my area.

we have been together since she was much younger, coming up to 2 years. i have also known him for 6 years. i was moaning about him being passive aggressive about some stuff, but nothing major.

DistanceCall Wed 06-Jan-16 17:36:43

To be honest, I think you need to disengage from your mother. Don't moan to her about your relationships (but then you should never do this - your family are not impartial). Find another childminder. And seek support from your partner and friends. NOT from her. It sounds like she seriously wants to undermine you to make herself more secure or something like that.

And please, pay absolutely no attention to her "diagnosing" you. Has anyone ever mentioned the possibility of your being on the autistic spectrum?

And by the way, she doesn't believe in your post-partum depression but she does believe in her own depression. How very convenient.

dodobookends Wed 06-Jan-16 17:36:57

Your mum is not a medical professional and is not qualified to diagnose anything, let alone something as complex as autism. She sounds horrible and seems to enjoy upsetting and demoralising you, and belittling you in front of your family. Please don't believe what she has said about autism. Is there any possibility that you could find another childminder?

FrogFairy Wed 06-Jan-16 17:49:59

If you are on a low income you may qualify for tax credits to help with childcare costs. IIRC they pay 70% of the costs so you may be a lot better off financially using other childcare.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 06-Jan-16 18:05:50

1) Get a formal assessment of your 'autism' if you can. There seems to be quite a lot of objective evidence that actually you don't have autistic traits; but an actual test will be even firmer evidence.

2) find a professional childminder not your mum. Seriously. There are at least 3 reasons for this. Not least, do you want your child absorbing your mother's beliefs about you?

3) Start telling her less. Sounds to me that everything you tell her, she turns against you somehow. Eg a moan about your partner -> feeding you the idea he'll harm her.

4) don't complain about her to your siblings. Talk to your partner or to friends, but not them.

5) take a mental step back from her. She's got the power to hurt you. Imagine her as a stranger and observe how she is with you - would you find her way of 'supportive parenting' respectworthy? Observe her.

6) read Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.

7) i don't know if i can trust her if you gut instincts are telling you to beware, there's a very good reason somewhere. Your insight and experience are maybe at war with your conditioning from her. Maybe write down all the good and bad things/incidents in yoru relationship with her and go back after a week and re-read it.

"i am seriously considering going NC if i can find a way with my daughter."

No one gets to this point without good reason. Take a long and hard look at what's underlying this urge and where those reasons are justified and not. From what you've said, there are certainly some things deeply wrong in the relationship.

PitilessYank Thu 07-Jan-16 16:20:01

I think you should read this description of psychological projection.

It can be really disorienting for the recipient. I suspect that your mother may be unfairly attributing some of her own personality traits onto you...

NettleTea Thu 07-Jan-16 17:08:25

I agree with what the others have said, she sounds controlling and without boundaries.
The eye test and enhanced empathy does not rule out ASD - I have 2 children, both at opposite ends of the empathy spectrum, and both with aspergers. The one scoring low on empathy is good at drama, precisely because she has a natural ability to role play. My son scored 34/36 on the eye thing using an adult version of the test, when he was 9. I thought he had them all wrong so was very surprised. (I obviously am rubbish at that test)
If you consider that its worth thinking about then make sure you see someone with alot of experience in dealing with women with ASD, as they often do not present in a stereotypical way, but if you dont find that you are experiencing problems in your day to day life it may not even be relevent one way or the other.
As another poster has said upthread, you can claim back up to 70% of OFSTED registered childcare, so you may save a great deal and not have to rely on your mum and her influence on your child, because people like her are quite likely to try to use anyone to put you back into the box she has assigned for you, and it doesnt sound a very nurturing or caring box.

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