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Having a pretty crap, but not abusive mum?

(11 Posts)
Sonders Tue 23-Aug-16 14:16:09

I've posted about my mum a fair bit on other people's threads, but after this weekend she's made me quite upset and I just want some advice I guess. It's a long introduction so I don't want to drip feed, apologies!

My relationship with DM is very superficial. She likes everyone to think we're really close but in reality, we barely talk and although I visit them maybe once every 2-3 weeks, my parents have visited me once in 5 years.

We live in the same city, about 7 miles apart, I'm about one mile south of the centre and they are 6 miles north. They drive whereas I don't have a car, so it actually takes 2 buses or 2 trains and about 70 minutes to get to them.

DF and I share a couple of hobbies, so we see each other more frequently.

I've been engaged since last August, getting married in 2 weeks in the city centre. Just after Christmas, DM asked me if I had a plan for the actual wedding day. I told her we'd be getting our hair and makeup done in my cousin/her niece's salon in town, then getting dressed either in my flat or a hotel suite before going to the venue.

About 3 hours later (bearing in mind how little we talk), she called and said she had a great plan, that we should all get ready at their house and then I should hire some vintage cars to drive us to the venue. I said that's not going to work (classic MN response!), and listed off about 8 reasons why.

I didn't include that she's a really heavy smoker and has 2 massive dogs that are totally untrained, and I don't fancy smelling like dogs & fags and being covered in slobber. She said ok, and nothing more.

She asked a couple times over the next few months and I say the plan hasn't changed, we're just trying to find a bargain hotel room to get ready in.

Anyway, this weekend she asks again, and I said the plan still hasn't changed but we've now booked a massive suite in a hotel opposite the wedding venue, more than enough room for all the women to get ready in. She said, "Ok, well I want to get ready at home so what time shall I get to the venue?".

I then said it would mean a lot to me if my mum was there to help me get ready on my wedding day, and she said she would, but only if I got ready at their house. She mentioned that she wanted to arrive with my dad, and I mentioned he will be there early anyway. Then she said she had to arrive with my brother and his DP, and I said they can share a taxi with my aunt and uncle who live between us all. Then she said someone would need to let the dogs out for a wee, and I mentioned that she'd already told me she's paying a teenager in the village to check on them every 2 hours.

So I stopped asking about it. I know it's not the end of the world but I thought she'd want to be a part of my day.

I said in the title, I don't think she's abusive but has a history of just being crap. Never visiting, making excuses not to see me, putting me down every now and then and little inconsiderate things.

What do I do? Should I just give up?

Lottapianos Tue 23-Aug-16 14:22:17

'Never visiting, making excuses not to see me, putting me down every now and then and little inconsiderate things.'

Apparently we have the same mother sad This is just not what you expect from your mum, is it? It hurts, terribly. You're looking for someone who will be a rock for you, a great support, your biggest cheerleader and you're let down every single time

Her behaviour around your wedding is extremely controlling. Do you think she's jealous of you having a big day? I'm not surprised you're feeling upset

When you say 'should I just give up', do you mean give up on the idea of your mum being there for you on your wedding day? I think the answer is sadly, yes. Or do you mean give up on the idea of her being there for you in general, in the way that you would like your mother to be there for you? Detaching has been the way forward for me in my dealings with my mother, and extremely painful as it has been, I'm much better for it

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 23-Aug-16 14:28:28

Congratulations to you on your forthcoming wedding.

Re your comment:-
"Never visiting, making excuses not to see me, putting me down every now and then and little inconsiderate things".

If a friend of yours mentioned this about their mother would you not consider that behaviour of her mum's abusive?. What would you call it, calling it crap is minimising it to make it more palatable. You would not tolerate this from a friend, your mother is really no different.

Parents do not have to hit you to hurt you and I would call her behaviour abusive in nature. My guess as well is that she has always been like this; they were not good parents to you when you were growing up either. She is still not a good parent to you now is she, its not your fault she is like this. You did not make her this way and she probably treats her dogs like children. I would suggest you read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward.

Abuse is about power and control; your mother wants her own way over your wedding plans. She keeps putting conditions on your wedding plans to suit her but its not her day. Your dad likely enables your mother in all this by keeping quiet out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He therefore cannot be at all relied upon either, he has not been able or willing to protect you from her.

What boundaries do you have with regards to your mother or have you really been encouraged by them not to really have any?.

Sonders Tue 23-Aug-16 14:38:57

It just sucks, it's only the last 18 months or so I've really noticed how bad our relationship is. I don't think she is jealous of me, from her reactions she's just really not that fussed about being part of the day, but every time we talk (again, not often) she posts on Facebook like she's a key part of it. I don't really use Facebook so it's not for my benefit.

It's quite strange in that she has literally no interest in actually helping, but the tiny parts that affect her day are going to be done to her routine.

My DF stays relatively silent on everything, DM literally blows up anytime someone calls her out and says things like "I don't know why everyone is attacking me" or my old favourite "it's not my fault I'm not a perfect mother, I tried my best". I don't know why DF doesn't get involved, I thought we were close but to be fair, we probably aren't either.

We had an awful relationship when I was a teenager and I really, really wasn't that bad - never stayed out late, never drank/smoked/touched drugs, had really good grades, been employed in some form since I was 16. She still made me out to be some kind of hell child.

Nobody has said she's not abusive. I think I say it because she never battered me (although I got slapped maybe every 3 months from age 5 - 14) or insulted me to my face, although now thinking about it she called me a bitch a lot.

Lottapianos Tue 23-Aug-16 14:44:37

It's all about her, isn't it OP? It sounds like you're not allowed to have any feelings of your own. Any challenge is met with martyred comments about how she wasn't a 'perfect mother'. Terrific way to shut down conversation and make herself out to be the victim. Been there and done that and got the t-shirt. Its incredibly wearing.

Slapping you regularly from age 5 - 14? Calling you a bitch? Do those sound like appropriate, non-abusive things to do to a child / young person? I get it - whatever sort of messed up family you grow up in, to a certain extent you accept it as normal because its the only 'normal' you've ever known. Getting to the stage in your adult life where you question what happened can feel very unsettling and frightening

I think her behaviour sounds dreadful - both her current behaviour and her past behaviour.

Sonders Tue 23-Aug-16 15:57:03

I do think it's all about her, but when she's not interested, it doesn't exist.

You're right about not knowing what is 'normal'. I've been finding out a lot of things recently that I had no idea I was missing out on as a child. For example, I was never a member of any kids club, didn't have any sport or dance lessons, we had one day out to the beach every summer but nothing else, mum never took us to a park (when she was SAH, nan took us when she looked after us).

I remember in primary school (around 7) I was asked if I wanted to join some kind of gifted programme that involved one piece of homework a week that turned into a big end project. I remember clearly mum told literally everyone how smart I was. Now, although I was bright, a lot of times I did the homework wrong because I'd misunderstood (I rushed without reading the whole description). They brought my mum in and said I needed help because I was doing the wrong work, she said she didn't realise and I'd never told her about the programme (lie) and that she'd help me from now on. She didn't. I had to leave the programme because I wasn't keeping up with the other kids.

I did have trumpet lessons at school though, even though I really hated the trumpet and always said I didn't want to do it.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 23-Aug-16 16:19:38

"Nobody has said she's not abusive. I think I say it because she never battered me (although I got slapped maybe every 3 months from age 5 - 14) or insulted me to my face, although now thinking about it she called me a bitch a lot".

She is not being just crap.

She hit you and verbally abused you as well. What she did to you back then was abusive in nature. She wanted you to fail so she could come in and rescue you and act all saintly in the process, she has made everything all about her. Your father, for his own reasons, has failed to protect you from the excesses of his wife's behaviours. He has enabled her, women like your mother always but always need a willing enabler to help them.

People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles; what is your role here in all this?. What sort of a relationship does your brother have with his parents these days?.

I would read up on narcissistic personality disorder with regards to your mother and see how much of that fits in with what you already know about her. She has made your life all about her; you are a bit player in her universe and she wants to be at the centre.

I would keep her well away from your wedding day.

Lottapianos Tue 23-Aug-16 16:38:27

I second the advice to read about narcissistic personality disorder.

Sonders Tue 23-Aug-16 16:53:42

My brother has no real relationship with either parent, we've only really become friends ourselves as adults. He's a total introvert but he's chatty enough with me and my friends away from the family. I don't tend to see any interactions between my mum and brother, although this Christmas they'd had a falling out for some reason and I didn't get involved.

My half-siblings (dad's side, a fair bit older than us) are even less close. They don't visit my parents - sister doesn't want her DC around dogs & smoke, brother doesn't own a car - and my parents make the same amount of effort with them as they do with me.

My DM has no real-life friends in the UK and sometimes it seems like she lives her life through Facebook. I guess because I know she doesn't really see anyone else, I need to make the effort to visit.

She tells me every time we speak that she loves me and she's proud of me, but at the same time she doesn't know who I am or what I do - and doesn't want to invest time in finding out.

Sonders Tue 23-Aug-16 16:54:17

I'll read into the narcissistic personality disorder, thanks so much for your responses too! I'm trying not to well up over my desk at work!

Lottapianos Tue 23-Aug-16 17:01:06

Come back if you need to offload after you do a bit of research. Your mother sounds very similar to mine and reading about NPD was one big lightbulb moment for me

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