Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Anyone else's DM and/or DF completely overbearing?(16 Posts)
I know in the grand scheme of problems it ranks pretty low, though recently I've been questioning a few things that have happened in the past with DM (and DF, too, to an extent, but he passed at the beginning of the year so it's less relevant I suppose), and although I wouldn't consider it bad enough for the stately homes threads, some of the behaviour certainly draws parallels.
Growing up my parents were always more "involved" in my life than my friends parents seemed to be in theirs. Although there was an eventual relenting of me having to go everywhere with my parents, and I was allowed into town and to the cinema etc with my friends, there didn't seem to be much else in the way of me, or my siblings, gaining independence. Things like having to know exactly where I was and exactly who I was with at all times. Obviously some of that is down good parenting, but it went as far as not being able to pop to the shops after school aged 16 without asking for permission and it being really deliberated over. There are a few other examples but I'm aware I'm waffling on now.
Her behaviour is still very controlling in that aspect and at nearly 30 I'm bit bloody sick of it. Today has just tipped me over the edge into posting this in the hope that other people understand how hard it is. I had a phone call from her about half an hour ago because I hadn't responded to her text earlier. DD has been ill (though was fine yesterday) and she'd asked how we were getting on, making sure none of the rest of us were sick. Fair enough to phone and check, but then it's actually just all about making me feel shit that she's been worried, like I have to respond to her messages as soon as they come in.
I explain that we're all fine and that I'd missed her text because it had woken me up, I'd gone back to sleep and by the time I'd woken I'd forgotten about the message. She then complains that she also text DH, and when I explained that he'd been driving she said, "Well, I didn't know that."
No fair enough, but why worry? And it's not just a normal level of concern. Last week my DSis had an appointment at the Drs for her depression. It was at 9.15. My DM rings me in tears at 10am because she had asked her to phone after her appointment and she hadn't heard from her. It's like she's incapable of controlling her emotions to any extent and thinking logically that Dsis either forgot or was running late for work and planned to do it later. Which wouldn't be bad enough in itself but she then makes everyone else feel guilty for her feeling that way rather than acknowledging that her emotional response is the problem.
I could transcribe our whole conversation on the phone and it wouldn't look too bad but it's the tone which she uses. I actually called her up on it today after she practically growled that she didn't know DH had been driving and asked her, politely, to stop talking to me like that. She shouted down the phone, "Like what?" In the same tone I probably used when I was 14. I said I wasn't prepared to be spoken to like that and ended the call. I am done taking responsibility for her emotional instability and apologising to her for perfectly reasonable things. I am an adult and if I don't message her back all day then I have that right.
I have so much more I could write as things have definitely been brought to the surface recently but this is now an essay . I know I haven't articulated my point very well but does anyone else feel like this? Do other people have parents like this (I can't be the only one ) and how do you cope with it as an adult?
Can't offer advice here OP, but will be hovering with intrest because my friend of 29yrs is exhibiting behaviour like this, & it is driving me threaders. I find this type of "demanding " behaviour is eroding my patience, self-esteem & generally not wanting her friendship. Whilst on the other hand, it is cranking up my stress/anxiety levels. I seem to be backing away.
She seems to behave the same way towards her D-il when she is subjected to similar behaviour for completely different matters.
its a mum thing, my mum still sees me as a kid at 32. Yes its highly annoying but I just let it go over my head. I find also being blasé about her and pretending not to notice when she is in a mood winds her up without making me look like the baddy (just to get my own back sometimes) lol
Same here and I'm 45!!! If you list what she does it sounds absurd, but it's the way it's done... waiting to see if anyone has any great ideas. Funny thing is she will denounce her own mother for exactly what she does and can't see the irony - only hope I don't repeat the behaviour
No, this does not rank pretty low in the problem stakes at all actually and I would also consider putting your post in the Stately Homes thread for further help.
And no its not a mum thing either. Not all parents by any means act like this towards their now adult children.
(Infact your sister's depression may well be in part due to her parents behaviours towards her if they have treated her the same).
Your mother, sees you as still incapable on some levels and not as an adult with her own feelings and opinions. Its their issue to carry, not yours and your late father went along with this out of wanting a quiet life. Its not your fault she is the ways she is, her own family of origin did damage to her.
Behaviour like this is about power and control and is therefore abusive in nature. Its not being done out of any real concern for your wellbeing, this is feeling and being overcontrolled and it is not healthy.
Even today are you still afraid of expressing your true feelings around your mother?. it would not surprise me if you said yes to that question.
I would read "If you had controlling parents" written by Dr Dan Neuharth.
I used to get this all the time, from my mother, it is exhausting. I once foolishly asked Her to wait at home from my son to come in from school. I had to go to the hospital for a routine heart test. She went on and on and on about how I don't take care of myself, don't t eat enough, how worried she was about me. She could not sleep for worrying about me.
When I got home, they left and my son was very upset. She had told him that I was very ill and he had to take good care of me. he was 10.
People like this are exhausting.
Set your own boundaries with your parents and stick to them. Just don't engage. No one can make you pick up the phone, respond to the text, answer the door, etc. When you do talk to them, tell them what you're prepared to tell them and no more. If they won't stop harping on about it and try to guilt you with tears/shouting/etc, end the conversation/visit and say you have to go now and hang up/walk away. Every time. It is the only way.
Yes my dm is like this. It's why I never tell her any of my problems. She would just call/text continually. After my miscarriage dh had to ask her to give me some breathing space. After the birth of dd1 she would call me to beg to come over at 8am. Even if she'd seen dd the day before.
I feel really guilty writing that now as she can be so helpful in other ways
I have this with a colleague. We're working very closely at the moment and your description of your mother and the way she speaks to you (especially the shouting of 'Like WHAT?!' when challenged) is spot on. I have absolutely no idea how to handle it. I've raised it to our bosses but they seem to want 'evidence' and it's difficult to have evidence of a tone / someone's demanding nature. Especially as on the surface her concerns are for the good of the project... (but I think they are actually about control and status - 'I care the most and that's why I'm concerned / more invested than you are').
I'd love some strategies.
Is it all about her?
Can you tell her much less of what you are up to? Or even nothing? Never tell her about appointments, illnesses, plans, holidays, or anything else. I found bland, positive answers work well, so that there is nothing for the other person to grip.
I've been manipulated like this by a parent, being told (or asked in a whiny voice) when to call, how worried she is, etc. She roped in family members to pressure me too (like your DM is trying to get you to do with DSis?) It was really empowering to stop saying yes, and to say firmly, "I don't know when I will be able to call." No question, no opening for argument, repeat over and over. It was hard to do the first few times though. Would your DSis be looking to have a bit less hassle too?
Thanks for the replies everyone. It's both reassuring to have my feelings acknowledged and sad that it's clearly more widespread than I thought.
My DSis certainly gets fed up with it sometimes, but in many ways she's quite similar. If people have made plans that don't include her she will say, "Where's my invite then?" Although she had this happen back to her once and acknowledged how annoying it was. They are both similar in a lot of ways and I definitely used to be the same way before I left home. I look back on how I used to act and I'm so ashamed that I thought it was ok to act like that, but then I tell myself I just didn't know better.
What some of you have said about them complaining about their own parents rings very true. DM actually ended up going NC with her parents (and it was definitely her parents fault, not just her acting to 'type').
I don't just think my DF was complicit. I think if I analysed it objectively he was probably as bad, but it's been too soon since he died and although I have put him on an untouchable pedestal, I'm still not quite ready to address all of that.
Thank you all so much for your responses. I definitely have a lot to think about. And for you all for putting up with this shit, too.
DM messaged me to apologise if she was snappy. I was on speaker phone and apparently she was frustrated because she couldn't find something she was looking for, hence the snappy tone and huffing Of course.
I replied acknowledging her apology, and even apologised for hanging up. I went on to say that I'm trying to help with her anxiousness and her worrying as its not healthy for her and that if I say sorry for not replying straight away then all I'm doing is reinforcing those feelings.
Well, she's not even bothered to open the message, so I assume this is my 'punishment'. She's probably going along the route of "This'll show her what it's like to worry when someone doesn't reply." But I don't worry because it's a perfectly normal thing!
My mum is like this. Less controlling with needing to know whereabouts, instant replies etc, but she talks to me and my sister like absolute shit. If she's in a mood, we're all fair game. But woe betide us if we ever so much as snap or raise our voice a tiny bit - she's then outraged that we would dare talk to her like that. She does a fantastic line in being a victim then, it's rather wonderful.
She also never, ever says sorry. The closest she'll get is to say 'sorry you were upset'. She also sulks and ignores.
I've lost masses and masses of respect for her and have got to the point where unfortunately spending time with her on certain occasions has become an endurance rather than a pleasure.
I hope to god I don't become like this with my dc.
My DM is like this, It's why I moved 200 miles away aged 18. I couldn't cope with her demanding to know every single thing about my life. She got much better when she had to put up with a weekly call from the halls of residence payphone.
She was much, much better for years - although I still wouldn't tell her my problems as she'd massively over worry about even minor stuff. She was absolutely horrendous after I had DS1 though. Phoning and texting constantly, wanting to know about every nappy change and feed (really!).
I had to be very firm with her and she did improve, though still tends to catastrophise things if I don't reply to a text within an hour or two. Still better than the time she sent the police out to do a welfare check on us, because I hadn't spoken to her for 48 hours. Or when she made my Dad drive 200 miles to doorstep me because although she'd spoken to me the night before, she'd decided I sounded 'off' so there must be something awful going on that I wasn't mentioning.
Her excuse is that I should know how anxious she gets, and how she lays awake at night worrying, so I should do her the courtesy of replying to her immediately. I have explained that I cannot have my phone on at work, and am a single parent of 2 kids so am rather busy in the evenings. If something awful were to happen, she'd be the first person I notified. Still have to repeat this occasionally.
Yes, I think it's definitely the 'being a victim' thing. I totally get where you're coming from. I think DM was/is so used to being the victim with her parents that I think she just plays to type now. I don't even think she's aware of it.
I admire your ability to disengage from it, it must be very difficult. I think I would find it too difficult, especially as most of the time we get on.
That being said I had an interesting conversation with DB today. He lives with DM so experiences her the most, though he has had more support from her also, for issues that are probably too complex and personal to get into here.
He's good at staying on the fence. I think he understands things from my point of view, and generally agreed with what I had to say today about what had happened this week, and he's not someone to agree for the sake of it. I mentioned to him that although DM had been texting me both today and yesterday (we've kept things civil) that she hadn't acknowledged my text where I explained how I felt (and I think I've worded it nicely). He said she saw it as an "attack" I'm so sick of any small criticism of her (perceived or real) being taken as an attack by her! How the fuck is that normal?
He said to her "You do have to remember that Tantrum is very depressed at the moment." As a way to explain my behaviour/reaction I suppose. Which I am, and I'm pg which has compounded that feeling of failure that so often strikes when you're depressed because of course I feel I should be overjoyed but I can't be right now. I've openly admitted to my DM that at the moment things are so bad that I have no motivation to do any housework, to cook, to clean, I just about wash myself. I make sure the DC are well cared for but other than that nothing really. I'm getting there, but it's a hard climb and thank god DH is here to support me. I do need to visit the Drs but I'm trying to find the courage. It's very hard.
My DM's response to DB? "Well, I think I'm depressed, too." Yes, I think she is, too. But I've spent years trying to be overly understanding of her and her issues but there is fucking nothing from her for me . She then went on to say that, "Tantrum really should be doing something about it. I know she can't go on to tablets, but still." That's so clearly said not out of concern. If she was concerned, actually genuinely worried about me instead of her faux worry she likes to beat everyone with, then maybe she'd offer me support, advise me to go to the Drs, offer to just keep a quick eye on DS while I phone to make the appointment, offer to come with me. ANYTHING! But no, nothing.
I have never had any support from her with regards to my mental health (starting with PND after having DD five years ago). And yet she'll still ring me about being "worried" about DSis. She'll say shit like, "I meant to text her before she went in to the Drs wishing her luck, but I didn't have time." And when I try and reassure her, snap at me, "well, you need support in situations like these." Really, mother? I never knew
I really just don't know what to do. Although my siblings also suffer from the way she can be I know that if things came to a head I would be seen as the unreasonable one. As I said previously, DSis is quite similar to DM in a lot of ways and although she finds DM's behaviour annoying I don't think she sees it as unreasonable as she also exhibits the same behaviours. Like finding it odd that her 15yo DD doesn't want to spend much time with her (duh, she's a teen) and making her feel guilty for it. And DB is like my DM in other aspects and even if he agreed with me deep down he wouldn't admit it because he needs my DM too much (again a bit personal, and identifying, if I go into details). So then I really would be isolated. I'm also used to things being pinned on me by DM (whole other thread) and I've always been anxious about people thinking ill of me and I just don't know if I could stand it.
Sorry, I'm getting all garbled now. I feel like I'm almost treating this as a diary as it's nice to just get it down.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.