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To expect more from my mum (very long!)

(24 Posts)
puzzledbyadream Fri 19-Feb-16 10:28:31

I tried to change my username for this but it wouldn't accept any password I've ever used but anyhow.

There is a long backstory here and I don't wish to dripfeed so here is a summary of the past 6 years or so... My parents' marriage fell apart in the same year I went off to uni (and it was a long time coming) and my mum had an affair with a man who is now my stepfather in all but marriage. Neither me or my siblings reacted well to this, especially as my mum lied and continues to lie about the affair. My dad went to visit relatives abroad about a fortnight before he moved out and my mum had my stepfather to stay that same weekend, before my dad had even moved out. This obviously upset all three of us and my mum has actually apologised for this but always in a sort of resigned way.

My youngest DSis had quite an extreme reaction to this and became very angry and stopped going to school (we believe she has Pathological Demand Avoidance syndrome). My mum was fined a lot of money because it was impossible to get a lumping great 12 year old to leave the house and this culminated in DSis3 pulling my mum's hair out during an argument and the police being called. My stepdad called the police and my sister was charged and received a referral order for Battery. This happened during my summer holidays from uni so I had to be her responsible adult in the magistrates court, something which literally made me throw up with anxiety.

I went back to uni, my sister broke her referral order, refused to go back to court and was arrested and kept in a cell overnight. She was given a conditional discharge and then my mum refused to have her back, hoping she'd be sent into care. Fortunately (sort of) my dad took her in. I don't think I have ever forgiven my mum for this or ever will, particularly as my dad is an alcoholic and my sister became very mentally ill after this and tried to take her own life twice.

Time has moved on, I live on the other side of the country and I am really struggling with my relationship with my mum. We were very close when I was growing up (something I think my mum almost resented as I had very few friends at school and certainly none who invited me out at weekends) but since all this has happened we are barely ever in contact. Occasionally I will phone her but she will never phone me as she thinks liking my statuses on Facebook is sufficient. In fact when I do see her (which is 3 or 4 times a year) she always says "You know I keep up on Facebook" as part of her parting comment.

My Middle DSis recently got quite upset because she felt I was the favoured child because my mum came to visit me (all of twice a year at most) and didn't come to visit her when she is not that far away. My mum has had to have a year off driving due to a seizure but also my Middle DSis can drive and has a car, which I don't have. Kind of on the fence with this one a bit, but she has taken the train to see my younger DSis who lives in the next town over to DSis2.

The crux of what's upset me really is the limited contact but also the fact my mum has said that none of us are allowed to move back home as we've all chosen to move out (I am 24 and moved out finally at 22, DSis2 is 21 and lives with my dad and DSis3 is 18 and declared herself homeless so she could live in a hostel and will probably get a council house soon). I don't think DSis3 has been back to my mum and stepdad's home since she was not allowed back at 14/15.

There's also little things like if I ever asked for help moving house or something like that my mum will either say no or ask for petrol money. I do live a fair way away, but we're talking a trip down the M4, not Aberdeen! I lived for a time in Dorset and had to pay petrol money for them to come and pick me up. What hacks me off about this is that my stepdad is quite well off and they can afford a trip to the same place in America every year as well as other expensive hobbies on his part. Obviously I wouldn't begrudge them the holiday (although not being invited is a first world woe I try to ignore) but I don't understand why I am not worth having a small amount of petrol money spent on me. (Gosh that sounds so whingey).

A lot of this is my stepdad's influence and my mum is very young to have an empty nest. I guess I just want to know if I am being totally unreasonable for expecting my mum to be a bit more, well, motherly.

rageagainsttheBIL Fri 19-Feb-16 10:35:51

YANBU to want more, but to expect it from her given her behaviour you are setting yourself up for a fall, it's clear who her priority is and it's not her children unfortunately. Sucks though.

You could try an impassioned plea - "I'd really like to see you more and for us to be closer again" - if that's what you want? my parents don't contact or visit me much because we are far away and they feel they don't want to impose (but they would never charge petrol money etc) and since we had an open conversation about it it has got better.

But in your case I'm afraid you may find the relationship does not improve, and you might be happier focusing on building a closer relationship with your sisters, or friend network.

LottieDoubtie Fri 19-Feb-16 10:37:48

No, yang but I'm afraid you need, for your own peace of mind to find away to disengage more from her. It doesn't sound like she is every going to revert to being the mother you want/need. I'm sorry flowers

ChemicalReaction Fri 19-Feb-16 10:40:46

I am a little confused by you post.

Why would you want to move home now you are an adult? I a confused as to how this upsets you?

If someone picks you up it is polite to offer petrol money, especially if it is some distance?

Also, it is your step dads money,not yours or your mums so why would he spend it On you? And why would you want to be invited on their couple holidays at your age?

Tbh it sounds like you need to realise you are not a child anymore, you are a grown adult, your mum is also entitled to lead her life how she wishes now her children have grown up.

ChemicalReaction Fri 19-Feb-16 10:42:55

Sorry, that sounds harsher than I meant! Sorry you are not as close to your mum as you used to be,that must hurt.

Pannacott Fri 19-Feb-16 10:48:52

She sounds rubbish. She sounds like she doesn't really care about any of you at all. I'd suggest that the best thing you could would be to massively lower your expectations and become a bit more cynical and hardened to her, to protect yourself from more disappointment. Maybe read the Stately Homes threads about narcissistic parents. Maybe think about a bit of counselling. It is really sad that you've not had a loving kind sensitive mum.

Finola1step Fri 19-Feb-16 10:50:40

There is a very good book called "The Emotionally Absent Mother" by Jasmin Lee Cori. I've read it and recommend it frequently.

I can understand your frustration. And your hurt. But this situation will not change. She has a new chapter in her life. She has made herself unavailable to all of you on some emotional, nurturing level. She cares. She loves you but she may well be saying to herself "Buy I'm still young to live a little. They are all grown. I did my best for them" etc etc.

This will go round and round in circles in your own head until one of you breaks the cycle. I will put money on it not being her. It's rubbish, it really is. flowers

MatildaTheCat Fri 19-Feb-16 10:53:35

Another one who sends sympathy but a reality check about wanting other people to change. She sounds as if she struggled with parenting full stop. She was 'resigned' about being close to you, that's quite strange TBH. She clearly had a difficult marriage and in leaving that behind has also left mothering behind as well. You don't really discuss your stepfather you actually like him? Do you even want to go on holiday with them? Does he have any DC? Maybe he really doesn't want all the drama you describe and she has found life easier in checking out.

Stop asking her to do things like giving you lifts, call her regularly and maybe suggest meeting for lunches etc. In other words try to establish a new relationship of adult child/ mother which doesn't seem to have evolved naturally due to the family breaking up. I reckon this could be achievable and mutually good but sadly I don't see her suddenly becoming a 'motherly' sort of mum because perhaps she just never was.

Good luck, it does sound hard.

Btw my parents moved a long way away when my brothers and I were very young adults and there was an absolute expectation that none of us would live there. All our stuff either came back to us or was dumped. I'm ok with that but for them at the time it was quite a selfish move. Of course now they are getting old and too far away for me to give any practical help.

puzzledbyadream Fri 19-Feb-16 10:54:23

[B]Chemical Reaction[/B] I don't want to move home but if I lost my job or ended up in a violent relationship or some other worst case scenario it would be nice to have the option. It's more that my sisters don't have the option, particularly my middle sis who is realising the realities of living with an alcoholic parent (but I have told her to move out!).

I have had a fair amount of counselling, I've moved on a lot from the earlier things that happened but the lack of contact still really bothers me.

puzzledbyadream Fri 19-Feb-16 10:59:15

Matilda I hated my stepdad in the earlier years because he really resented us and we couldn't do anything right by him. For example I was unemployed for, oooh, all of a month and he would shout at me to "go out and not come back in until I had a job". Which is obviously unrealistic. I was paying rent at this time and applying for loads of jobs online! His son (he has a daughter who's my age too) took his own life a couple of years back and we actually became far more amicable because of this and now get on quite well. It's interesting that when I am visited he is quite happy to pay for meals etc but my mum always insists I chip in, which I always do.

puzzledbyadream Fri 19-Feb-16 11:01:22

Oh I don't ever ask her to give me lifts any more! This was only really when I was moving and really struggling to find an affordable way of doing it (they have a van). I ended up paying £90 for a man with a van, which was quite reasonable in the end.

ricketytickety Fri 19-Feb-16 11:07:28

yanbu to want this, but in reality it isn't going to happen. Also, your dsis' mental health issues are more your priority. You're all so young and still need parental support which you're not getting. All I can say is it's not your fault. The book suggested above is brilliant and will help you get it in perspective. Also there is great advice on the stately homes thread.

Fairenuff Fri 19-Feb-16 11:07:44

OP I think you need to accept that your mum considers her children independant adults now and she is not going to parent any of you any more.

In an ideal world yes, she would make more effort with you and possibly want to help you out financially if she could but presumably she has been through some unhappy times herself and now just wants to live her life with her partner and find some happiness.

If you can accept that I think you will be able to make your peace with it.

Build yourself a network of friends who you will be able to rely on in a crisis and try to come to terms with your mother's choices as they are her choices, not yours and all you can do is accept that and move on.

CooPie10 Fri 19-Feb-16 11:18:15

Yanbu, the bottom line is she isn't a good mother at all. From what you've described she sounds like she failed you all especially your youngest. Seems like her priority at that time was her new man rather than supporting her child who had a mh issue. A good mother does not do that.

It's all good and well now that you are all adults that she has that as an 'excuse' to not help grown children. But any parent who unconditionally loves their child will help in whatever way they can. Your dad may be an alcoholic but at least you all were welcome to live with him. She chose her path, I think you need to as well.

ricketytickety Fri 19-Feb-16 11:19:04

Is there any way you could move in together - you and your sisters? It would mean caring or your younger siblings though and might be too much...just it is an option to consider.

eddielizzard Fri 19-Feb-16 11:37:02

your mum sounds very resentful.

i agree with the others that the best thing would be to not expect anything from her, and then you can't be disappointed. she's a shit mother. you have choices now: you can choose to continue to try and get her to be something she never will be, or you can choose to put her out of your mind and concentrate on more beneficial and healthy things for yourself. ie. move on with your life and let it go.

SaucyJack Fri 19-Feb-16 11:37:56

Your mum is a crappy parent.

For your own peace of mind you should accept this ASAP, and either build a relationship with the person she actually is, or go no contact.

Sorry dude.

zzzzz Fri 19-Feb-16 11:38:59

If your sister has PDA and your father is an alcoholic and your mother was her daughters punching bag wasn't it right for that set up to change?

Given that things had been going down hill for some time in your parents marriage, do you think maybe they were waiting for you to go to university and not really "together" for the last few years anyway? If that's the case it is perfectly possible that your mother met someone else and while it looked unduly hasty to you actually they were already a couple and had been waiting for you to have space at Uni in case you and SF didn't get on.

Asking someone to help you (in effect pay for the transport) when you move house is fine, but they must be able to say "no" surely? They offered the use of their vehicle and their time but asked you to pay petrol. Is that so bad?

Asking you to pay your chare at meals is fine if you understand that's the set up. I should think SF feels uncomfortable about asking so your Mum tries to deal with that side of things.

You say she should have dsis home with her, but would this work? She has been taken to caught for assaulting your mother. SF called the police. HOW would that work as an adult house share?

Your mother is being very clear that she wants you stand on your own feet now. You are so that is all good. If you want more telephone time, just call more. Make the move and set the frequency of calls. Telling you she is watching on facebook is probably her clumsy way of saying she is still interested in you and your life daily.

zzzzz Fri 19-Feb-16 11:40:16


wallywobbles Fri 19-Feb-16 11:45:46

Please ask for this to be moved to relationships you'll get more support there.

Your really did badly in the parent lottery I'm afraid. An alcoholic father is really bad enough for anyone to have to deal with but when the other parent is someone like your mother then I'm afraid the outcomes for the children are unlikely to be good.

You sound like you have done amazingly well but it will stay with you through your life and will impact on everything you do. Which can be a force for positive.

When you are in a LTR with someone from a normal family the contrasts are likely to shock you and bring up a whole host of difficult feelings.

It is difficult to value yourself when your parents have shown you so little regard.

For your own well being it might be best to step as far back as you can from your family dynamic.

theycallmemellojello Fri 19-Feb-16 12:00:47

This sounds like a tough situation growing up. But I wouldn't be too harsh on your mum. Having an alcoholic partner must have been very difficult. Having an affair is not great, but it sounds like circumstances with your dad were very hard and so I struggle to judge her for this. In any case it's clearly worked for her. I don't really think it's right to be angry at her for this still. It must have been very hard for her that all her kids blamed her for the breakdown of the marriage. It's probable that the biggest problem in the marriage was your dad's alcoholism.

In any case, saying she "continues to lie about the affair" sounds like you expect her to be apologetic for her relationship with her DP or confess all or something. Clearly she's well within her rights not to do this - she does not owe you all the details of her marriage breakdown.

Regarding your little sister, sadly, if the relationship had deteriorated to this extent, it probably was not right for her to live with your mum after the assault; your mum might not have felt it would be safe for her or potentially for your other DSis. Your mum is not to blame for your sister's MH problems.

Having said this, your strained relationship with your mum does suggest she has not done a great job.

I definitely think it is not realistic to expect to move back in with her, or have her drop everything to help you move house etc. Sadly her behaviour shows that this is not what she wants. So if you hold out for it, you will continue to be disappointed.

The relationship she wants is presumably the one you have - low contact, but still keeping in touch a couple of times a year. YANBU at all to be sad at this. But you are only going to cause yourself more anguish if you hold out for something more. She's not going to give you it.

TesselateMore Fri 19-Feb-16 12:01:37

Are you having counselling at the moment? I would take your questions there really. Because there is no right answer to how much mothering you should expect from an adult mother.

Also, even if we all agreed your mother was unreasonable it might not change your feelings about the situation. It certainly wouldn't change her behaviour.

I think you would benefit more from putting your energies into getting support, love and care from yourself and the people around you. You are young and there are plenty of years left to work on the relationship with your mother once you feel strong in yourself.

Good luck with everything. It's tough when you have an alcoholic parent.

junebirthdaygirl Fri 19-Feb-16 17:00:45

I have a dd nearly your age and we are constantly helping her dropping her off etc and never expect payment. I feel for you. But lm afraid your mom is who she is. It's like she associated all of ye with your dad and got rid of ye all in one swoop. It's hard but l have learned in life that facing the reality is better than living in a fantasy. She is never going to be that mum. But if you look at the situation face on and accept her just as she is maybe ye can come to some kind of a relationship. I feel you are young to be so aline in the world

puzzledbyadream Mon 22-Feb-16 16:57:08

Thanks everyone. I have good friends and the like, it really is the parental support I'm missing.

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