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Had argument with my mother and now I feel horrible(22 Posts)
I'm 23 and currently living back home for a few months while studying. This has impacted on my parents of course and I'm really grateful for their support, they have been incredible.
Just watched an upsetting documentary with my mum and remarked on how lucky I am (and I know it) to be able to move home at my age, and receive their support. She agreed and sort of said I should use it to spur me on and that I should have been working full-time this year (long story, basically I'm taking another year to finish my uni education).
She seems to think it spurs me on to criticise me rather than praise: oh, you could/should have done that last year/your friends are leaving you behind/look how lucky you are/look what you should have been doing/look how successful you could have been
youre such a disappointment
She then began to shout at me as her and my dad had v kindly saved some money up, I think intending for it to be a housing deposit. I really don't want to sound ungrateful but I can't help but think such a gift would no doubt have something attached to it, and that if I managed to buy a house with the money, she would see it as "hers" or see it as her having helped me. She screamed at me that I should hurry up and finish studying so I could buy somewhere immediately, it was all my fault for taking so long to finish etc. etc.
Is it me? I feel like a selfish bitch: she means well and she is offering me this amazing thing (which I know she has worked hard for), but equally I feel like it comes with so many strings attached. I would so prefer for them to use the money they have saved hard for and do something nice with it. I would feel forever indebted to her if she gifted it to me.
She is furious with me for "ruining her evening" and making what could have been a nice discussion into an argument.
She had a tough upbringing and I'm well aware that in her eyes I am a privileged, pampered adult... Which I hate.
But equally whilst I have had great support from my parents over the years, I like the fact that I'm not materially spoilt and have worked since I was 16 to support myself (well apart from food and board whilst under their roof) and also throughout university, I didn't expect to or want to receive any allowance from them. Paid my own rent, living, holidays, food.
You are not performing according to her vision for you, and she is angry. Perhaps panicking as an anxious parent, perhaps raging as a controlling one.
Recognize this for what it is, but also recognize that YOU are the only person allowed to decide which direction your life is taking.
It sounds like you should do whatever you can to live independently, though. Living in someone's house DOES come with strings attached.
It's acceptable/appropriate for them to earmark cash for your future house deposit.
It's perfectly reasonable not to give you the cash to spend on something nice.
Only you know if there are going to be strings attached. However a lot of parents help their kids out with house deposits. It's pretty common and the norm in some circles.
Shouting at you and constantly criticising isn't acceptable.
Parenting needs to be about accepting and valuing a child/young adult for who they are.
Thank you RiceCrispie, you've got it in one. There have been a few incidents this year actually where she has properly raged when I have done something a bit off the beaten track - I am not performing according to her vision for me, you are totally correct! I think panicking and anxiety are at the root of it. But there is an element of control in there too (not malicious though I think).
Am planning to move out within next 2 months so fingers crossed will all work out. And am very aware of how lucky I am/how it is her house, and I am essentially a guest here...
Am I being selfish? She is really angry and upset by what I've done (i.e. veering from the "correct" path/rejecting her offers) and I don't know whether I'm doing the right thing.
At the end of the day you can choose to take the money and get a house or do something different and not have the money. Both are valid options.
Oh god Spandexpants I didn't explain myself well at all No, I would much rather they used their hard-earned cash to buy something nice for themselves!! I feel like a fraud taking it away. It's not mine!!
WHen my mum discusses it, she always talks about it angrily, almost bitterly. I know she doesn't mean it that way but I almost feel as if she regrets handing it over. I would rather it was given with good intentions tbh and, if not, then I'd rather she used it for herself and my dad - they don't owe me anything!
Oof, I get you OP. I have one of these mothers.
They do not do nice things for their DC because they want to and it's nice...they do them so they can hold it over their DC's head forever: look what I did for you! Implication: aren't you useless 'needing' me to do it! Even if you didn't ask, expect or even want the 'help!
Many people have had tough upbringings but they do not all act as your mother has done. Controlling parents act as your mother has done.; its all about what they did for you.
No you are not being selfish; your mother is controlling and her actions are all about power and control at its heart. I would not think you could rely on your dad either; he is a bystander and her enabler in all this and has likely acted out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He has failed to protect you from her mad excesses of behaviour.
I would move out asap and do not under any circumstances accept any financial "help" from them. That money will only further make you obligated to them. You need to put mental as well as physical distance between you and they now.
The "we took you to Stately Homes" thread is also worth posting on.
It feels like there's a missing step in your op. How did it go from you thanking them to her screaming at you? It is hard to have to accept help from people who don't seem to want to give it - you need to get away asap. And I agree that the money will come with strings. In your position I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
Maybe she's just struggling with having you back after you had 'flown the nest' and you both said stuff you didn't mean.
Mine are getting to the stage when they are ready to leave and want to do things their own way and it is very wearing.
I would have a chat with her again and reiterate that you are grateful to her for housing you while you complete your degree, and have a plan for when you have graduated.
You are me, OP. You are me. I was in a vey similar situation last year (although I am a fair bit older than you) and it has damaged our relationship. My mum is very critical of me, is very vocal about how I have disappointed her and is downright rude and nasty about my DP (who is lovely, very supportive etc)
She has given me financial help in the past and it 100% came with strings attached.
Don't accept it.
I am a mother in this situation. You sound lovely and taking nothing for granted. I am looking forward to my daughter being independent but circumstances prevent it just now.
My husband finds it harder than me. He feels anxious about her future and this can come out as being overly critical.
Maybe she is a fretter who had thought when you went to university your future was sorted and she had no need to feel responsible any more. But the uncertainty and need for support might have gone on longer than she prepared for. You are getting the backlash of her anxiety.
Forget about the money. Whatever you say could be misinterpreted. Do some nice things like cook meals or ironing to show your appreciation.
Thanks everyone, some really good advice.
Argh just had argument no 2! Perhaps am over sensitive. Was showing her some baby photos of someone I know's children: he got married at 23, has three kids under 3, bought own house and car... Mum then started waxing lyrical about him, how mature he akways was, how he self-funded...
FUCK OFF. I can see I am probably being over sensitive. But I just feel like everything she says is a way of passing comment on me! I got top grades all through school, held down a demanding job and have received a job offer when I finish uni. I just feel like nothing I do is ever enough!!! I don't have children (she had children late in life so wants me to have them young), I don't have a boyfriend right now anyway and certainly don't envision children for the next few years! She's so so so critical.
As soon as you are no longer living under her roof I would start saying the phrase "This is my life not yours, I need to live in the way that is best for me even if it's not the way you want"
I don't think I'd be taking any money from them unless she learns to reign in her attitude & entitled to run your life.
Thank goodness you've only 2 months left under her roof!
IS there any way you can move out? I think living so close to eachother is confusing her. She wants to mother you yet you want to be independent from that. Her 'should have could have' argument is going nowhere and will only lead to you being frustrated. Somehow I would find a way to move out. Is there a room you could rent from a friend?
For you this would be good too. Then you won't feel you 'owe' them anything. Once your relationship changes from dependent to independent (in both your eyes) she should shift to seeing you as more of an equal. She won't be able to shout at you if you live elsewhere and so she'll have to moderate her behaviour.
Am I being selfish? She is really angry and upset by what I've done (i.e. veering from the "correct" path/rejecting her offers)
your parents bring you and nurture and love you so that you can grow your own wings and fly. They should not run your life for the rest of Time, which it sounds like she wants to do, even if she means well.
It's not reasonable of your mum to explode in anger when you deviate from HER path. You have to make your own decisions at some point, or you'll end up an adult of 35 still afraid of her mum.
You are not a bad person for walking your own road in life. It might be a disappointment to her, but it's YOUR life and not hers. Not now. she can offer advice, but that's it.
It might be an idea to turn down the money (you do have that right!) if you'd like her to spend it on herself, or you think there are strings attached. Something that comes with strings is almost never worth the cost.
I took a significant amount of money from my parents to buy a house a few years ago and I was so so so so so grateful, it was all fine to begin with. They were delighted I had a place. I was delighted and grateful. But recently I had to explain to my father that he was confusing obedience with gratitude. Obviously it would have been nice if I could have said this calmly and not in anger but it was something I shouted at him in a row. He'd given me advice. I'd ignored it. He gave it again. I ignored the advice. He rang me. I hung up. He came round to my house to ''talk about it'' and I said do you mean talk me out of it?! He sighed like I was a bold girl, so I shut the door. He was upset. I was upset myself. So things got really heated and somehow I was cast in the role of ungrateful tantruming spoilt brat when all I had done was disregard their advice on a fairly ordinary mundane matter. I made a decision that they didn't think was the right one. So. I would advise you to take the money but only if they understand that although you will be eternally, and extremely grateful, gratitude and obedience aren't the same. I think my parents do get this now. But it's been awkward, and I've felt bad, and they've felt upset and aggrieved and yet, I did nothing wrong. Another thing that could happen if there are two of them (your parents I mean) is that they will be ''united'' in their wounded feelings. This happened with my M&D. When I rejected my dad's advice, I had my mum ringing me to tell me that she and my father were united. I couldn't get her to understand that although they should unite if I were attacking one of them, they were uniting to undermine me and berate me. There is only one of me, and I have nobody to stand in for me and say ''hang on, all she did was MAKE A DECISION!! WHY ARE YOU BOTH UNITED WEEPING AND MAKING HER FEEL SO GUILTY, THAT IS NOT ON". But basically one of them was undermining me and the other one was ringing to say , you upset my husband, you upset me!
I would like to think that this is behind us now. I should have said to my parents before I took the money that I would always be grateful (which I am, i truly am) but that if we disagreed about things in future, and if I decided to do what I thought was best despite the fact that they believed another course of action was a better decision, that that would not mean that I was ungrateful.
ps, I do see this as a wrinkle though. My parents aren't intentionally controlling, they genuinely believe for some reason that they're better equipped than I am to make the right decision for ME which I know is bonkers, but they don't mean to be controlling. They genuinely did confuse obedience and gratitude for a while I think, and I think, they get it now. I like living near them and I like the security and I know they did an amazing thing for me which has made us all (me and my dc) happier and more contented. This was just a wrinkle, a misunderstanding which did need to be addressed. Maybe more skillfully, but it's hard!
I think the money thing is a bit of a red herring as it hasn't been given, but waved around as a bit of a guilt-trip.
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