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Need help to process things with my DM(9 Posts)
I have name changed. I really need some help trying to establish the problems I have with my DM and what to do next. This is long, sorry.
In a nutshell my DM has always had what I can only describe as a chip on her shoulder, she has never been happy with her lot even though she by all accounts has had a pretty good life. This manifests itself with her having an argument with my DF (although usually the argument is only perceived) and then a period of anything from a few weeks to months of ignoring him and usually me and my DB.
The latest incident occurred as she told my Dad she didn't want to go out on NYE, fine, she then said (after 4 days of ignoring him) that she did and he should have insisted, this is a typical trigger. She has now not spoken to my Dad, me or my DB since. I have two small DC's (the eldest of whome loves their granny) she has not even texted to ask after them. I have called her but she grunted at me a few time, barely spoke then I gave up and said my goodbyes, that was the 4th January, nada since.
This is not unusual and this type of behaviour to be honest ruined my childhood, I don't know why but this time I feel thoroughly wrung out with it and like I just want to go no contact. She has some mental health problems I'm sure but also feel like this has become a 'habit' for her and I don't feel like I want to continue to feed it by pretending nothing's happened when she decides she's ok again.
I don't know what goes through her head or how she justifies this behaviour, she has suffered with anxiety and had some CBT a few years ago which she seemed positive about and did seem to help for a time.
As I said the 'arguments' tend to be centred around my Dad but not always it just needs to be someone, it almost feels like she's spoiling for a fight and desperate to find anyone who has wronged her. We had a big heart to heart a few years back when I voiced a lot of this and I think she was shocked with the level of clarity I remembered certain incidents right back to childhood, again I think this resonated for a while but now she's back to same old same old.
Sorry for the ramble, any advice or experience would be helpful as I really am at a loss of where to go from here.
Have any of you actually confronted her with this behaviour as in ' why are you behaving in this weird/appalling way'? Or do you all just tiptoed around her and let her get away with it ? Personally I would have my say direct to her face. If she is so self absorbed as have no reaction/not change then I would cut contact. (Your poor dad, how does he deal with it ?)
My mother has a martyr complex, which in her mind justifies her behaving horribly to others - especially my Dad - as she believes that she is just retaliating against the great wrongs that have been done to her.
I cut contact with her for about a year and a half, at a time when I realised how her behaviour had blighted me. I needed the time to be angry at her.
We're back in contact now, and it's fine. She's not horrible to me anymore, and I accept that there is nothing I can do about how she behaves towards others, save walking out of the room on occasion. She is the way she is. I accept it, I don't share any of my personal thoughts and feelings with her, and only see her for short periods on her own turf, where she feels more in control and therefore acts out a bit less. I do also love her and see her qualities. And I've made my peace - and established my limits - with her faults.
So in short, I recommend whatever amount of physical and emotional distance works for you, and time out to be angry if you need it.
Marilyn, we largely let her get away with it. She's very strange in that she can be very outwardly angry/mouthy when it's a stranger or behind someone else's back but when it's someone close she reverts to the ignore tactic.
My Dad has dealt with it for over 30 years, I would have walked out by now. They get on very well when she is 'good' but their life sort of stops when she is having one of her episodes. He walks on egg shells it's fair to say.
I have been reading about passive aggressive personality disorder, a lot of the traits resonate.
I assume your children are too small really to know what's going on. You need to put a stop to this before it affects them too. And I think that means no or very low contact. She can't be a part of their lives if there is a risk she will behave this way.
I'd imagine what normally happens is by the time she breaks the silence you are so pleased to be able to revert to normality that you don't want, at that moment, to bring up the hurtfulness of the behaviour and so the cycle continues. On this occasion I would either write to her to make clear you will no longer tolerate it, or call her on her bullshit when she does get in touch.
Tribpot, yes on both counts. I think it's the realisation that it might affect them that's made me feel very differently on this occasion.
Could you keep contact with your Dad. I feel really sorry for him and I think you are open with your kids about Granny's behaviour so 'Granny's going through a silly stroppy phase so we are ignoring it. Her right mind will come back one day but we need to show her she's being very badly behaved'. That way they get nice Granny and then have a reason for no contact with bad granny. However, I think your Dad needs all the help he can get.
Flapping, totally agree, he has his faults but if you tell him he is behaving like a fool he takes it well and modifies his behaviour. The scale of the triggers is ridiculous. Many years ago when I was at university I tried to call to say I had arrived back safely etc and their line didn't work, I tried twice more and assumed there was a fault and they would call me. She knew there was a fault (she reported it) but didn't speak to me for 6 months because 'I should have tried harder to get a message to them'???. The bizarre nature of all this has only just really hit me 18 years later.
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