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Anyone who's mum passed away when you were in your teens?

(13 Posts)
Poiple Wed 25-Jan-17 14:22:12

How did you grieve? And how do you cope with growing older and remembering things and not being able to ask her anything?

I'm in my 30's now and lost my mum aged 17. She was a good mother and everyone loved her and I know she loved me dearly, but as I'm getting older with my own children I'm seeing her differently. She favoured my siblings over me and would tell my sister I was jealous of her. Her boys were her stars. She was overprotective of me and never let me have friends, talk in front of people or go out anywhere alone. It's affected me for life where I was shy and I don't have any friends and don't know how to have friends. I'm NC with my siblings because they've all at one time or another used me for their benefit financially or used my help and have never helped me when I've needed it.

I am getting more and more frustrated that I can't ask her why? I wish I could scream at her and tell her how well her other kids are doing but look what she's done to me. But I can't. I don't even though if this my teenage perception of her that has remained and if she were alive today we would've got on brilliantly as I'm older and more mature. Everyone who knew her who is older than me, tells me she was a wonderful woman who left a big gap in their lives upon dying.


AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 25-Jan-17 14:51:54

I am sorry for your loss.
My mum passed when I was 18 (I am 55 now). I didn't really have a close bond with her though, because she suffered with mh conditions, alcoholism.

Imho, your mum failed to nurture you properly, as mine did me.

I have to go; I will post again later...I didnt want to read and run.

Downanddowner224 Wed 25-Jan-17 15:46:50

Hello my mum died when I was 14 from breast cancer.
I'm now 31 and still suffer with grief.
She was overprotective too and I think that's why I'm so shy now.

Poiple Wed 25-Jan-17 16:14:52

Thank you for answering.

I'm just so confused some days. I don't know whether my perception of her is still of a teenage child who is pushing boundaries and wants freedom. I sometumes think if she hadn't died, I would never have grown any confidence to do simple things like choosing my own clothes or doing the shopping. It was horrible and a big shock when she died. She'd controlled everything in my life. She chose my shoes to my clothes and this is embarrassing but she never bought me a bra and I was given old ones that belonged to her that were 10 sizes too big. I had to learn how to dress at aged 17.

I feel guilty when I buy things now because she always told me we were poor. I have thousands of pounds in the bank but I always live within a tight budget as I think it's been instilled in me to not spend money.

I don't know if counselling would cure me because she'll never know how she's affected my life so much.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 25-Jan-17 17:51:31

How did I grieve? I didn't really as I wasn't that close to her. It wasn't until I had my daughter (14 years later)(after my son) that I felt sad about not having her around in a grief sort of way.

Remembering things- some good, some not so good and verified/validated by sisters (who may or may not remember the same way you did).

Not being able to ask her stuff- for me this is probably a good thing since she liked to laugh at me. There are so many resources with the internet and books that information is readily available.

I think that you need to trust your own judgement. You have been using coping strategies developed as a younger person that may be hindering your adult self. So it may be a good thing to re-evaluate aspects of your life and be open to letting them evolve into ways that will work better and be more appropriate as an adult. For example, you had no voice in money matters as a child so you had to exist with the choices that were made for you. That was then, this is now: you are in charge of your own budget and can decide that investing in clothes is appropriate.

A couple of books were helpful to me.
Motherless Daughters
Parenting from the Inside Out

Anlaf Wed 25-Jan-17 19:19:40

Me. At 16. flowers to you all.

Didn't really grieve, didn't know how, and the adults around me were not great role models. I just waited until I felt less worse. It's one approach!

Then in the last few years I've felt a need to to deal with it, and ended up beginning counselling.

I struggled with having no 'treasured memories' of the 'happy times', in fact very few memories at all. It also made me so angry/confused/irritated when the chorus was that she was a wonderful woman and such a marvellous person and how terribly sad blah blah. It just sounded so banal and unreal. It also shut off my ability to say "Er, actually, I feel like..."

Through counselling I've been able to explore the idea that she was a real person and a flawed person. I've been able to talk about the good things and the bad things and it has been very, very helpful. So I'm doing my grieving now in my mid-30s. Counselling hasn't cured me exactly, but it has been so beneficial in being able going through stuff that I'd locked away in a "DO NOT TOUCH EVER DANGER" section of my brain. And there are no bogeymen there after all.

Anyway, I might be rambling. I will come back. But agree, Motherless Daughters is a good book to start with. I also found lurking on the Stately Homes threads on here great for dealing with the -twattish- more difficult and living members of my family, so may be worth a look.

Poiple Wed 25-Jan-17 21:38:06

Thanks for the book suggestions I have ordered Motherless Daughters on Amazon. And flowers for all of you who've gone through this.

Anlaf, the thing you've written about your "DO NOT TOUCH EVER DANGER" section of my brain" thing has really struck a chord with me. I have this section in my brain.

I feel guilty for thinking she was different or more mean to me than my siblings because everyone tells me she was a great person. If she were alive id be able to talk to her and tell her she was being like this and maybe I'd be able to forgive her and I'd have nicer memories. When she died I remember loving and missing her so so much.

Over the years I've seen my siblings bully and belittle me and the only thing I can link it to is my mum raising them to be like this (they're all much older than me).

Sorry I'm not making much sense and its cathartic to write it down.

Anlaf Thu 26-Jan-17 08:53:06

No, lots of sense! I was terrified of remembering anything, or really exploring how I felt, in case I lost all of the memories of her. I was clinging on to a thinly sketched version of her because it was too scary to admit she was a real person.

And of course because talking about her with people who knew her would bring up the "oh she was such a delight, how wonderful she was". Which in many was is true, but not real.

I have also been furious with my mum for abandoning me, which (possibly) sounds terrible, but she did die without preparing me for her death or for grief. And she didn't make sure I had anyone around who would look out for me. But being angry with her has felt very healthy, because now I'm an adult I can see where she screwed up. I can also understand why she did, but I'm still allowed to be furious with her for it.

I'm finding this cathartic too! It's nice dreadful word choice I know for me to know there are others out there who have had similar experiences.

It's a long road, I expect. I only started on it a year or two ago, but it's really helped me in all sorts of other areas: relationships with family, DP, even with work. I'm much less vulnerable to stress, and much better at naming my emotions. Actually, there's a quote which I liked a lot....

Anlaf Thu 26-Jan-17 09:10:46

... which I now cannot find, from Alan Davies, who it turns out lost his mother as a child.

I think he said something like (after dealing with his mother's death thru therapy) it helps you to notice your emotion before it takes over the room which I very much identified with - I used to have no way of understanding my emotions because I was too scared of looking at them. The big "DO NOT ENTER HERE" thing again.

fuck's sake google I still can't find it but I did find this interview which is very worth a read:

I am not a Jonathan Creek superfan or owt, it just happens it's so rare to hear people talk about these things.

Poiple Thu 26-Jan-17 10:00:10

Ive just read that article and God...this line at the end:

"He used to be destructive when it came to his own happiness."

This is me. This has been me for years and years. I feel guilty when I'm having happy days/moments. I always find something to ruin a good time and I wait for something bad to happen if nothing has happened for a few days/weeks. It's a horrible anxious feeling because good things don't happen to me.

Anlaf, I feel furious at my mum too. Like you, she didn't prepare me. She knew she was dying and didn't tell me or give me any last pieces of advice or anything, so I understand how horrible that must've been for you flowers. Like in the article I wasn't told mum was dying. So it was a massive shock to the system when it happened. I had severe PTSD for months after. No one gave me the support I needed as older siblings were all busy in their own lives and my dad was too depressed to help me.

Also the thing you've written about people saying she was a lovely person, I agree it's not real. I do go along with it and say she was a brilliant mum, but she messed up a lot with me and I don't remember her much, because 17 years isn't much...12 if you consider memories start from aged 3/4.

Thank you for replying, it's really kind of you flowers I'm glad you're gradually getting your life sorted.

OutsSelf Thu 26-Jan-17 10:21:38

I hope I'm not speaking out of turn, as I'm speaking from the point of view of someone whose DM is still alive. I just want to comment on your feeling that if your DM was still alive, you'd be able to talk this all out with her. I'm not sure that it is the truth, or if it's necessarily helpful for you to believe that it is. Maybe you would be able to raise it with her, I suppose it depends on where your relationship went. But I think it's probably quite rare for parents that have set up these dynamics to be able to have insight into their own behaviour, or to want to see themselves as responsible for how dysfunctional dynamics have played out between them and their children. I know mine aren't able to, and I'm now not sure I would want them to, as it would devastate their sense of themselves and wouldn't really change the hurt, which wasn't really malicious but very low self-awareness.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is, thinking that the only way to get resolution would be from your mum saying or doing something - that's the way to drive yourself to despair. Even if she were alive to say or do it, and she was able to say or do it, the person who would have to process, resolve, and change how they felt about things would still be you.

flowers for all those grieving their parents

SeaEagleFeather Thu 26-Jan-17 12:29:57

I have also been furious with my mum for abandoning me, which (possibly) sounds terrible, but she did die without preparing me for her death or for grief. And she didn't make sure I had anyone around who would look out for me.

Same here. For some reason I'm not furious with her, but I do wonder if she realised what a useless sodden straw of a parent my father would be. I wish she'd ensured there was someone to look after me, yes. The grief and the consequences of her loss, and no one to support me after she died when I was 11, have been severe.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sat 28-Jan-17 03:38:17

I think I was used to not having her nurture me, so I didn't really feel the deprivation after she passed (suddenly). This doesn't mean that I found nurturing elsewhere-my dad solved problems (I wasn't a problem) but wasn't proactive with guidance. There is only so much you can do with etiquette books-and humiliation (from so many mistakes) as an instructor just sucks. I don't need any further recommendations for solitude, sad as that sounds, I am content with it.

I agree with the above poster who said imagined conversations may or may not have followed/satisfied one's wishes of fulfillment. I imagine my mother would have made my life hell as I dared to have dc before her golden child, my middle sister (who never had dc at all). And I just don't think she liked me very much as I was an athlete back in the days when it wasn't acceptable for girls to do that with so much enthusiasm .

But with that said, I think the Inner Child work by John Bradshaw is valid and helpful for addressing the void of nonexistent or misapplied attention that every child deserves. That is something we can give ourselves, from ourselves, rather than from an imagined (projected/extrapolated) relationship from beyond the grave, iyswim.

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