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Can anyone explain why my mother did this?

(91 Posts)
Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 15:05:06

I'm very low contact with my mother, we communicate only when necessary, it's been like this for 6 months or so.

I'm trying to unpick our relationship and there's something that happened that I don't understand. She was very good with childcare when my children were tiny, and had no problem giving my husband a hand if I went to visit friends for a break. But if I was going to visit a friend to help them (I went to see my best friend when her mum was dying) or to a funeral she would be FURIOUS. Really angry, accuse me of lying, that I'm not really going to funeral etc. It's like I was "allowed" to go away on the piss but not to help anyone else because there's no way that could really be true.hmm

What's that about?

LurkingHusband Tue 28-Jun-16 15:09:12

When my MIL went batshit crazy (turned out she had always been, but we had no frame of reference until MN) one of the "triggers" appeared to be that we had picked up with some old friends of mine and started visiting for dinners, attending weddings.

My theory is (still) that she knew the more we spoke to "normal" people, the more we'd realise her behaviour was anything but.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Tue 28-Jun-16 15:16:01

Just from what you have written, I'd say that she likes being the rescuer and then turns it into a competition if you want to help someone out. She wants to win that competition.

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 16:27:38

Hmm that's interesting. She's not generally batshit Lurking, but she really doesn't do friendship so I wonder is there a jealousy thing.

Andthebandplayedon she doesn't want to rescue them though - she can't bear it that I'm helping. Like she can't bear to credit me with good but is ready to allow me to get drunk!

Last time she went loopy and kicked over the coat stand in the hall, shouting "I know you're up to something." I wasn't, I was going to see my friend's dad in a hospice.sad

ravenmum Tue 28-Jun-16 16:32:54

Did she maybe have a partner who used the excuse of "helping out a friend" to have an affair?

If she does it again, try making her be more specific and spell out what she means, and why she thinks that:
"I know you're up to something." --> "What exactly do you think I am up to? Why exactly do you think that?"
Maybe you can find out what problems she has that makes her act like this.

2ManySweets Tue 28-Jun-16 16:36:34

My mum was like this and had a undiagnosed Borderline Perzonality Disorder OP...

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 16:37:39

Ravenmum, her partner is her husband of 40+ years who is my dad!

I asked her at the time what she thought I was up to, and she said "I don't know but you're up to something. I just know it."

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 16:41:52

BPD? Gosh! That must be very hard to deal with!

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 16:43:28

Do you think that's what could be happening here? What sort of things indicate that?

2ManySweets Tue 28-Jun-16 16:43:37

It was. It was fucking hellish in fact. You can choose your friends....

ravenmum Tue 28-Jun-16 17:03:48

her partner is her husband of 40+ years who is my dad!
I'm sure your dad is lovely, but parents are not immune to relationship problems.

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 17:06:23

Gosh I quite agree and gracious knows they've had their problems but I don't think this is related to him somehow.

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 28-Jun-16 17:10:23

I suppose you are stepping out of the role she has assigned for you. Perhaps she likes to think of you as a bit needy or a bit wayward. The fact that you are a responsible person who others turn to for help does not compute. She could find that insetting and become anxious and angry. Does she normally have quite rigid thinking?

lydiarose Tue 28-Jun-16 17:13:35

Could you maybe ask your Dad if he has any idea why she behaves like that? It does seem very odd.

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 17:19:01

Tinkleylittkelaugh "does not compute" sums it up. Yes in some ways she does have very rigid ideas about things and has no problem sharing her views with people.

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 17:20:00

Lydiarose I did speak to my dad at the time (we are not in contact now, his choice) but he just denied she is like this.

bibbitybobbityyhat Tue 28-Jun-16 17:30:01

What aren't you telling us about the falling out with your parents?

Why are you no contact with your Dad?

Is this problem with her behaviour (whatever it is, its not entirely clear what you mean) nothing to do with why you are no longer close?

Any chance you've been taking advantage with her generosity over childcare? Who else does childcare when you are out?

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 17:35:33

We fell out because my mum said some really offensive vile things, and refused to apologise. The fall out had been coming a while and usually I would just put up with her literally constant criticism but the one time I pulled her up she lost the plot entirely and went into a rage like I've never seen directed at me.

She wouldn't apologise, I said I was very very upset, and my dad said I should let it go and she has the right to say and think what she likes and stopped talking to me.

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 17:38:07

She might well argue that she did a lot of childcare but it was without fail at her request because she was so (overly) involved in the children's lives. I lost count of the times when she said "oh don't send him to nursery, send him to me." And it was never for more than 2 hours st a time max.

user1465823522 Tue 28-Jun-16 18:06:08

she has issues that are not your fault,.

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 18:07:07


greenleaf1 Tue 28-Jun-16 20:46:21

She sounds awful, and yes she has issues that are absolutely not your fault. It's her not you. I'm sorry. I have a mother exactly the same and its grim flowers.

Smithofheavens Tue 28-Jun-16 20:50:22

It's very comforting to hear it's not my fault. Intellectually inknow that but all the same its good to hear.

Andthebandplayedon, thinking more about the competition thing, maybe that's it - that she thinks she's in competition with me. She's the only one allowed to do good deeds, not me.

I helped out at a PTA thing and she came along specifically to keep an eye on the kids, yet couldn't have been more obstructive and unhelpful. I'd forgotten about that.sad

And hated me going to activities with the kids. I paid for toddler gym and a sign and sing thing and she ripped them to bits, saying how stupid they were, and were for silly women with too much money. It was of no importance to her if the kids enjoyed it.

Liara Tue 28-Jun-16 20:53:03

She is one of those people who want to keep you 'small' so that they can feel 'big'.

You being a generous, giving person is not you being 'small' and 'hopeless' and that shows her up and is unacceptable.

The constant criticism is part of that. You standing up to her is a sign that you have grown too strong and independent to be under her thumb all the time, and as such is completely, utterly unacceptable.

Your father is an enabler.

I feel for you, OP. PIL are like this and I can see the strain it places on dh, and it is heartbreaking. But there is nothing you can go about it. That's how they are, and that is how they will continue to be until they die. All you can do is keep your distance.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 28-Jun-16 20:54:42

Batshit is batshit that's why it is called batshit.

I could cry thinking about how many hours of my life I've wasted trying to make sense of my DM's batshittery. I will never get those hours back.

Now I don't try to understand the batshit. It is better for everyone that way. It was driving me batshit myself.

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