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Am I being unfair towards my mother?

(12 Posts)
grobagsforever Sun 22-May-16 07:19:27

Apologies if this is long...

My parents split when I was 4. Until I left home my had 4-5 relationships. There was never any pacing in these relationships, men were introduced to us/stayed over almost straight away. Boundaries were very poor - she'd often use me as a counselling service when things were going wrong. One relationship in particular was poor - she was with this DP from when she left my Dad until I was around 12. In this time he had several affairs and one of the women lived with us for a while - so my mum, her on/off DP and this woman all under the same roof with me and my sibling who were 11 and 9.

Another incident I recall is when I was around 14 her boyfriend had stayed over (they'd been together a few months and we knew him well). I walked into her bedroom around 9am to ask if she wanted a cup of tea. The door was ajar. I walked in on them having sex. She was angry with me for not knocking etc - but in retrospective what the hell was she doing having sex with the door ajar with teens in the house on a Saturday morning?

Two years ago my DH died whilst I was pregnant with DD2. She was a good practical support to me at the time - staying for two months and dping childcare/housework. But emotionally she was unable to put her own emotions aside. I was (as you can imagine) very difficult to live with in the weeks before DD2 was born (5 weeks after DH died). She accused me of 'abusing' her and said 'I'm grieving too' etc. Her emotions dominant everything.

I am now made to feel guilty for being a bad daughter and 'shutting her out' since DH died. For the record before he died I was an outstanding daughter. No teenage rebellion, I counselled her, went to great lengths over her birthdays/mother's day, offered her financial support when she needed it etc.

She has always told me what a hard life she has had and gone on about how lucky I be so loved. Guilt trips.

Now I find myself a lone parent and I'm completely paranoid re ever introducing a boyfriend to my DC. I cannot bear for them to go through what I went through but equally I do not wish be alone for the next 20 years (I'm mid thirties and DC are little).

I'm not sure what I am asking - maybe I just want some perspective and sympathy!! It's the two year anniversary of DH death soon and I just feel consumed by anger around her behaviour.

grobagsforever Sun 22-May-16 07:20:20

That first sentence should read 'my mother had 4-5 relationships'

Scarydinosaurs Sun 22-May-16 07:26:01

That sounds very difficult, you must have had a lot to deal with as a teen, and it sounds as if you dealt with it very well.

You are not your mum. You are nothing like your mum. The two situations are not comparable.

When you're ready to start dating, you can set your own boundaries: no meeting the child until X months, no over nights until X point, introductions are to be short at first, if other children are involved you'll take it even slower etc

It must feel really scary and worrisome, but it needn't be. I'm sure you'll find someone just right for you, you come across here as a really lovely person - and I hope it all works out for you.

Chasingsquirrels Sun 22-May-16 07:31:08

I'm am so sorry to hear about your DH.
I don't know what to say wrt your mum and hopefully others will be along with more thoughts.
I just wanted to say wrt to a potential future partner, your own childhood experiences will guide you in how to approach this. You wouldn't dream of doing it in the sane way as your mum, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it at all when you feel ready.

If/when it happens you can take it as slowly as you and the kids need.

I know its a different situatuon but my exH left when our kids were 2 and 5, I met DP a few years later and introduced him very gradually. We went from meetings, to trips, to him spending the night, to him moving in.
My kids have been fine through it all and we haven't has any problems at all.
They are now 10 & 13 and we have been living together for 3.5 years.

I wish you all the best.

chakachumchom Sun 22-May-16 08:03:52

She's a narcissist and you're much better off without her. Do a bit of research and get counselling to help with the grieving for the loss of a selfish mother.What an awful thing to have to go through, losing your DH whilst pregnant xxxxxxxxx

springydaffs Sun 22-May-16 08:26:31

I don't agree she's a narcissist but she is very self -absorbed. She's like a wet paper bag emotionally, no structure. Her emotional and behavioural incontinence was because back in the day people had no idea about the things we know about today re how to handle relationships when children are in the house. These days children come absolutely first but back in the day they didn't at all: parents came first. It was for children to fit in with the parents. So in that sense it's not fair to judge her by contemporary standards because they didn't exist back in the day ; the knowledge simply wasnt there.

I'm so sorry you lost your husband and at such a vulnerable time. I'm not surprised you are extremely angry towards your mum, you are grieving. She tipped up and did what she could (many mothers wouldn't..) but she is a fragile soul and you could do without that when you are so vulnerable yourself.

If possible get some counselling so you can hash out your intense anger towards your mum.

springydaffs Sun 22-May-16 08:35:31

Edited that badly! I am not saying her emotional etc incontinence is because of standards back in the day - I mashed up two thoughts there. I'm also not overly sympathetic towards her when I say she is a 'fragile soul', just stating a fact.

It can be easy to project the intense pain of grief onto a parent, especially a parent who was far from perfect. She got a lot wrong and still does - that alone is enough to feel an intense anger ; add intense grief to the mix and it gets into molten territory. flowers

pallasathena Sun 22-May-16 09:42:39

Trust yourself and trust your instincts. You will know when is the right time to test the water and when its right for you to get romantically involved. And I'd just add that with your high levels of understanding, self perception and yourstrong desire to do the right thing by your child, I don't envisage that anything could go horribly wrong for you. You just need to believe in yourself.

RandomMess Sun 22-May-16 09:48:31

A good therapist will help you hugely!!!

There is a lot going on there and they are all interwoven emotionally.


Somerville Sun 22-May-16 11:28:57

Hi again grobags

I second RandomMess. Find a good therapist. Might take a few tries to get someone who is the right fit for you, but it's worth it. aNd if your kids need it at a later stage, perhaps try to find someone who would see you all for family sessions, too. That can really help with the whole when-to-introduce-dilemma, ime.

Mine started when I took my kids (older than yours when DH died) for a family grief counselling session, that our local hospice offered. I really liked the therapist and started seeing her on my own.

I stopped seeing her 15 months after he died. And then met someone and restarted, as it brought so many more feelings up in me. Because she also sees my kids (one of them 1:1 but my others attend groups she runs for bereaved teens) she gets a whole picture of whats going on with my family.
So when I said 'I'm seeing someone and I'm scared of even telling the kids in case it looks like I'm betraying their dad," she replied that it would be fine to tell them, because a lot of kids in our situation are sad that mum is lonely, and they'd welcome her having a boyfriend. I knew she would know if my kids were feeling terrified by the thought of me having a boyfriend, and wouldn't then give me the opposite advice, IYSWIM?

In the end they met him quite quickly because it came out in a family session that they really wanted to! And that they were hanging expectations of getting a new dad/me never being sad again onto my relationship - the therapist suggested that meeting my boyfriends (only one so far!) fairly early on would help them to remember that dating is about getting to know people and seeing if they're right for you or not, and this takes time and isn't the same thing as people being their dad.

He doesn't stay over, though. And we don't do anything more physical than a peck on the lips or a hug in front of them. Because although we feel very seriously about each other, it hasn't been that long, and I think it would confuse them if we were overtly loved up. The really physical and emotional stuff is private for now.

I'm not saying that this approach would be the right one for everyone. But that getting someone with a bit of emotional distance to help me traverse this tricky area has been invaluable.

Somerville Sun 22-May-16 11:34:24

Another thing.

The anniversaries are so hard. I'm already dreading the point, later in the year, when it will be two years since DH died.

Try to be kind to yourself at the moment. And try to distance yourself from your mother for now, as best you can.

I used to be able to deal with people in my life who are drama llamas quite well. But since DH got ill I just can't. And the ones who think their own grief about DH trumps mine are the absolute worst. I've cut them all out, tbh. I know it isn't that necessarily as easy as just going NC with a parent though.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 22-May-16 13:07:33

from what I can see in your post your mother reversed positions with you as a teen, she did step up but know has reverted to (what is to her) a safer a know position in the relationship.

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