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Blow up with martyr complex mum

(134 Posts)
Mamaka Wed 07-Sep-16 19:39:42

Lots of history with my mum from when we were growing up. Dad was physically abusive and mum turned a blind eye. I've grown up to see her unfortunately as weak and a bit of a martyr. She gets her self esteem from looking after everyone else but herself, in fact it seems she likes to run herself down a bit so everyone will tell her how hard she works and how strong a person she is. You get the picture, yes I know how bitter I sound.

She looks after my 2 dc 2 days a week, it will go down to 1 dc 2 days a week as my eldest has just gone to school. I've pulled her up before on her lack of boundaries with them and also for undermining me (talking over me when I arrive and am sorting them out, telling them to get ready etc) she improves for a bit then goes back to how she was. I can't afford to pay for childcare, it wouldn't be worth me working and I also want to facilitate the dc's relationship with her.

Today she was changing my very tired 2 year old's nappy and he was kicking her arms so she couldn't do it. I asked her to let me take over and she said no she was fine. She then continued to struggle and get kicked. I said again, let me do it he's tired, she said in a snippy voice no I'll do it and carried on, holding my son's leg quite roughly, so I got up and grabbed the nappy and sort of barged her out the way. She tripped over a box of books on the floor but didn't fall and didn't hurt herself, she just stumbled and then huffed oh for goodness sake and went to pick up my dd, who really didn't need to be picked up. After I'd put them in the car I asked her if she would have ignored any other parent asking her to let them do their kid's nappy. She didn't answer but sort of blustered about saying things like I was only trying to help and you're overreacting. I got angry and shouted at her that she was always undermining me and disrespecting me as a parent and she shut the door and told me to stop shouting. I think all she was thinking about was if the neighbours could hear. She said she would never have spoken to her mum like that at my age and I said she needed to stop trying to portray herself as "good" and better than everyone just because she never gets angry.

Eventually I left. I didn't feel bad immediately afterwards but now I feel awful, guilty, anxious and ungrateful. But then I think, she's got me right where she wants me hasn't she?! Indebted to her eternally and never able to pull her up on anything because she looks after my dc and is the mother Theresa of her village.

Sorry this got so long.
Did I overreact? If so, how can I deal with it better next time? If not, what do I do to stop it happening again?

ASAS Wed 07-Sep-16 19:44:24

This seems far more complex than today's nappy.


Mamaka Wed 07-Sep-16 19:48:01

It is yes, sorry didn't really need to dwell on the nappy for quite so long but wanted to know how to deal with a million little situations like this that add up to a huge resentment.

PalaceResident Wed 07-Sep-16 19:49:52

I've often felt similar about my mum to how you're feeling. Recently however I have realised she can't be any other way and I try to take some moral high ground approach about being patient and thinking only kind thoughts.

I do envy you that she lives close enough by to look after your DC and I think you should be really grateful for that. She is your mother and probably wants to help. If she didn't mind taking the kicking why didn't you just let her after she's refused you twice.

Although I sympathise I do think she's doing you a huge favour/service by looking after your kids. I'll probably get blasted for this but I think you need to apologise.

Froginapan Wed 07-Sep-16 19:50:35

So on a scale of 1-10 how manipulative and gas lighting is she?

QuiteLikely5 Wed 07-Sep-16 19:51:02

Is there more to the story? Mothers often put themselves out to help their family.

I don't see any huge problem with her wanting to succeed in changing the nappy.

Where is your father?

Mamaka Wed 07-Sep-16 20:07:57

Palace - I know I am lucky in that respect and I agree that I need to apologise, I just don't want to! I will in the end though and I could do with a bit of your patience and moral high ground.
Frog - she is definitely manipulative and gas lighting but only around a 2-3 I reckon. It's very subtle and I believe that it's accidental. She does try to be objective and make very tiny changes in how she is around me with the dc.
Quite - maybe I should have let her do the nappy but it felt like yet another time where I let her take over. It sounds silly but I feel like she wants to be the parent. She used to gush when my dc accidentally called her mummy.
My father has remarried (someone half his age that he can bully!) and we have no contact.

PalaceResident Wed 07-Sep-16 20:19:34

Please don't misunderstand me I do feel your frustration and annoyance. My mother can be really goady at times but when I pull her on it she absolutely won't take any responsibility.

PalaceResident Wed 07-Sep-16 20:21:06

Oh and I should say. Although I talk with my mum everyday we live very far from each other. I don't know that I would be able to exercise said patience if I saw her everyday grin

embo1 Wed 07-Sep-16 20:24:27

Maybe you should apologise for the shouting and pushing.
But you need to tell her calmly and clearly how she made you feel. You are the mother and if you say you'd like to take over with the nappy, then she has no right to overrule you. You are incredibly lucky to have her help - I would kill for that kind of assistance (so that I could work), but she needs to understand that you are the parent and what you say goes. Her advice is welcome, but you make the decisions. This chat is probably best over a cup of tea, or glass of wine.

QuiteLikely5 Wed 07-Sep-16 20:27:06

With all due respect op I asked about your father because I did think your behaviour towards your mother was unpleasant and you described her in a very derogatory way.

It is very interesting that you call your father a bully and I wonder what he did to your mother and if what you think of your mother now are related.........

Mamaka Wed 07-Sep-16 20:34:58

Quite - I know what you mean and I agree with the point you're making. It might have been unclear in my op but my father was physically abusive to us all, not just her, and she let him do it. They only divorced because my sister ended up calling the police and they would not drop the dv charges despite my mum wanting to. So yes I do think his attitude towards her has affected my attitude, but so have her actions. I don't think I've forgiven her for leaving the room when he hit us.

Collarsandcutoffs Wed 07-Sep-16 20:39:24

I appreciate the history and that clearly adds a lot of context but on face value you behaved horribly today.

You demanded she step aside then when she said no I'll carry on you pushed her physically and shouted at her even tho it sounds like she was trying to defuse it. You said some rotten stuff.

You are also very lucky to have two days free childcare for two young kids and I think that is actually pretty hard work for your mum.

However I get you have issues regarding her not protecting you from your dad.

Maybe look to get some help with those so you can try and see where and how your relationship with her actually is?

Letseatgrandma Wed 07-Sep-16 20:44:59

I think you should use alternative childcare. You have lots of issues with your mum and shouting at her after she's looked after your children for free is not nice.

Mamaka Wed 07-Sep-16 21:41:51

Ok looks like I do need to apologise, mainly for the shouting and shoving (it wasn't a push I was trying to get to my son so stood where she was standing so she kind of stumbled to the side) and I've spoken to my sister now who agrees I need to apologise but also said she sees that our mum treats me and my dc differently from her and her dc.

rollonthesummer Wed 07-Sep-16 21:49:32

If you pay for childcare, then to a certain extent you get to call the shots. That's not really the case with free childcare.

pallasathena Wed 07-Sep-16 21:51:21

I feel sorry for your mum. You are minimising your reaction and maximising hers.
You should be ashamed of yourself for treating your mum so horribly and then trying to justify your behaviour by labelling her a 'martyr'.

QuiteLikely5 Wed 07-Sep-16 21:53:14

Your mother was in an abusive marriage and you cannot understand her position in that regard unless you have been there.

I can understand your anger towards her for allowing the abuse but maybe you should talk to her about that. Perhaps she was very afraid, maybe he would have hit you harder if she had stuck up for you?

It's telling that you felt brave enough to mind her out of the way isn't it?

She was a victim of DV and your opinion of her is pretty low.

I don't know the answer.........cut her some slack and have a think about how you treat her or rather why you treat her/see her the way you do.

QuiteLikely5 Wed 07-Sep-16 21:56:12

Another thing to note: you keep trying to justify your behaviour- just decide if it was wrong or not. You need to work on your feelings towards your mother.

You need to make sure you are not seeing her through your fathers eyes.

Mamaka Wed 07-Sep-16 22:00:41

"Your mother was in an abusive marriage and you cannot understand her position in that regard unless you have been there."

Quite - but I was there.

Mamaka Wed 07-Sep-16 22:04:01

Quite, I really agree with what you are saying about seeing her through my father's eyes. It comes into my head sometimes and I don't know what to do with it.

Plaintalkin Wed 07-Sep-16 22:04:25

If it hadn't been your mum would you have shov d paid childcare out of the way?

I think you totally over reacted and your mum definitely deserves a apology.

You seem angry with her and determined to find fault. Maybe you ( and she) should sit down and address those issues first.

Mamaka Wed 07-Sep-16 22:06:04

I am angry, really really angry with her and I have been for years and I can't get rid of it because it's always brushed under the carpet. She's terrified of anger.

Mamaka Wed 07-Sep-16 22:07:02

If it had been paid childcare they would have handed over the first time the parent asked them to!

Mamaka Wed 07-Sep-16 22:08:29

I sound defensive I know. I don't mean to try and shirk blame but I cannot ignore this anger any more. She neglected me when I was tiny and needed her!

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