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Help me think through this please, relationship with mum

(5 Posts)
kitXi Tue 07-Feb-17 15:19:44

Currently I'm at a bit of a crisis point with my relationship with my mum. It's not as cut and dried as her clearly being abusive, and I know I have my own issues so I can't see what's going on really, I need to work out how I feel.

The main issue, which affects other things, is her attitude/feelings about my mental health. This example happened the other day but it has been mentioned before and it hurts every time. The other day my eldest child was playing about with my sister who was visiting. She beat him at a card game and he joked "this is child abuse!" I laughed, and my mum instantly piped up "oh he sounds just like you! Wonder if he'll phone childline!". Now when I was a teenager I had a lot of mental health issues, stemming mainly from learning difficulties that went undiagnosed until I was in secondary school. I was angry and anxious a lot of the time, and refused school. I know this must have been an incredibly stressful time for my parents, and I have never tried to play that down. One time I had got myself into a complete state about school and was having a panic attack. Mum slapped me to try to bring me round. I shouted that I was going to call childline as she had hit me. Again, I make no excuses for this, I shouldn't have said it, and my mum would have been stressed herself as she was trying to get to work and I was playing up. I will stress at this point that I wasn't a "bad" kid, the school refusing was the worst thing. I didn't have wild parties, never smoked or drank, was respectful and kind. I left home at 17 so they didn't have years of me hanging around being a drain on them.

It really really hurts that she brings this up in a joking manner, as if it is comparable to my son playing around. It's one of many examples where I feel she devalues my mental health issues. It's not that she doesn't believe in depression/anxiety in others, just she thinks that I'm "playing up" despite being an adult diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My siblings have had depression and she is full of sympathy and understanding for them. "Oh poor D has had to get his medication upped, he's in a really bad way, he's taking the week off" etc. My siblings are all child free out of choice, I have children. I wonder if this might be a reason for her attitude - maybe she feels I should just get on with it since I have children?

Another issue, sort of linked to the above, is her "selective memory" when it comes to my childhood. I cannot ever mention that I am struggling with my children (not asking for help, she has spelled out to me that she will not be default childcare for my children and that's fine, I accept it) without her comparing my situation to hers. I mention that I'm tired, she will say "yes I was always tired when I was bringing you up, having kids is hard work isn't it, of course I worked full time as well which you don't..." I'm a SAHM. She was able to work full time because both her parents and in laws were retired and happy and willing to step in. They took us to and from school, provided childcare if we were ill, had us to sleep over at their houses so my parents could have a break, and were basically always there. In contrast, my in-laws live too far away to be of any practical help, and my parents both work full time and don't want to spend all their free time with my children. The thing is, I don't compare, I don't mention what help she had, how our lives were different. I accept that It was a different time, and my parents are younger than my grandparents were at any rate. I have never once expressed a desire for them to provide more help than they do, I greatly appreciate the fact that they will have them occasionally, because they are my children that I chose to have, therefore my responsibility. Yet I'm made to feel guilty on the rare occasions that we go out (I'm talking maybe twice a year, to things like best friends weddings etc, not every weekend out on the piss) that they're giving up their time and dealing with my children. My dad chose to get the youngest out of bed when he stirred last time we were away, and ended up sleeping on the sofa with him. I had said that he often makes noises in the night that don't actually mean he needs to get up, he's usually dreaming so we leave it to see if he goes back to sleep which he usually does. But dad got up and spent an uncomfortable night on the sofa, and my mum couldn't get back to sleep because she was "worrying" so their weekend was ruined all because we went away. And she offered to look after them in the first place! Pushed on me how I had a duty to my friend who had invited me to her wedding, I'd regret it if I didn't, don't come crying to her if my friends all fall out with me for not going. I couldn't afford to pay for childcare and she knew this and said she would have them. It's now nearly a year on and I haven't been allowed to forget it.

The childline comment was made on Sunday and I've been feeling off ever since. If anyone asks I will always say my mum and I have a great relationship and I'm very lucky to have her, those have always been my genuine thoughts. For the most part it's still true, I don't hate her, we rub along fine. I'm just really struggling with how to deal with the fact that she seems to think I'm a malingering piss taker.

pileoflaundry Tue 07-Feb-17 21:45:57

I'd have been hurt by those comments.

Do you think that your mum is nice to you? Kind? Do you enjoy her company? How do you usually feel after you have seen her?

What do your siblings think of your mum's attitude to them, and to you?

kitXi Tue 07-Feb-17 22:38:35

Thanks for the reply laundry smile

I think she generally is nice and kind yes. Usually when I see her I will end up being a little frustrated, the above issues occur at least once every time we see each other. Sometimes worse than others though, I have been left in tears sometimes but it's not the norm.
As for my siblings we aren't close (either physically or emotionally) so don't talk about that sort of thing. I do sometimes wonder if she talks about me to them the same way she talks about them to me. She'll "encourage" (harass me until I do it) me to phone them to congratulate them on a new job or whatever, but they don't send the kids happy birthday messages or anything really, and when I mention this she says I shouldn't expect it because they are both so busy with their jobs and lives. She does put a lot of importance on employment, and has admitted this herself. So even though she had children, she also has a career so that's OK, siblings have good jobs. I have children and don't currently work, and have never had anything that could be called a real career so nothing I do could ever be as important or interesting.

pileoflaundry Wed 08-Feb-17 21:15:59

Have you been able to talk to her about this? And why she thinks that looking after children isn't a full time job?

From the outside, it, err, doesn't sound as if she is being that nice... Hopefully she genuinely doesn't realise how it makes you feel.

fc301 Wed 08-Feb-17 22:06:18

Ok I'll be honest upfront I have my own emotional baggage (as we all do).
Firstly I think you need to reassure yourself that you are being reasonable.
Although you say you have a good relationship what I am seeing is :
Almost every visit she finds a way to have a little dig at you.
She is unable/unwilling to recognise and value your feelings, despite your attempts to explain yourself.
She treats you & your siblings differently and this may have contributed to your cool relationship with them.
As you are a SAHM you are made to feel never good enough / not successful enough for her.
In theory they like your DC but only if they don't become an inconvenience to their own lives.
If they had actually listened to you they could have avoided a difficult night.

This is all quite toxic actually. As evidenced by your anger /anxiety as a teenager. The fact that you've been diagnosed with anxiety & depression as an adult is a huge indicator of a dysfunctional background IMO.
In normal families one comment does not make you feel shit about yourself for 3 days.
Interesting that you "have a fantastic relationship /lucky to have her" ... whose words are these?
I'm afraid that she may be very selfish/ a narcissist as she does not/cannot make you feel valued.
The stately homes thread may be your new home!
I may be wrong of course. Try googling toxic parents - if it doesn't ring any bells that's good news 💐💐

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