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My Mum is giving me actual anxiety attacks(58 Posts)
I have name for this purely because I have posted a fair few details about my life in previous threads and I want to keep this separate. Long term poster though.
My mum has been a huge issue for me throughout my life. She doesn't like me. She's picked on me, or swung from being nasty/ignoring me throughout my childhood. This intensified when my Dad moved out (at her instigation) when I was 11. I will list a few example for context but if you're kind enough to be reading I don't want to keep you all night!
When I was 9 she told me that I was very far away from the daughter she had imagined having. She didn't elaborate on that at all. I was a quiet, slightly introverted child but I had good friends and worked hard at school, liked riding my bike and looking after my animals. To this day I don't know what I was supposed to be 'like' to be closer to what she imagined.
She didn't buy me my first bra until I was already becoming developed abs she told me off for walking around the house 'inappropriately'- as in you could see I was starting to get breasts through my t-shirt. I was so embarrassed and walked around with a jumper on (it was summer) and my arms crossed across my chest until she went shopping at the weekend to buy me a bra (without me, and it didn't fit properly, but I knew I couldn't say anything so I put up with it until I could spend my birthday money on a new one)
Various things to kind of wear me down in confidence until I left for university, and I flourished there and did become confident while I was away from her. I then moved abroad for a teaching job straight after. She came out to visit me (and I was so excited at spending 'grown-up' time with her and thought, naively that we could have a proper-mother daughter relationship) and had me in tears most days- criticising the area I lived, my apartment, saying she'd 'wasted' all her holiday in coming out there and asking to use my computer to try and change her flights. She wasn't able to so was just miserable for the rest of the time, even though I tried so hard to make it work.
When I came back I had to move back home for a bit to save some money. In that year I became anorexic. I wasn't admitted as an inpatient but had weekly sessions and weigh-ins at a clinic. It was really hard and she refused to give me a single lift anywhere, or talk to me about anything, she just said how crap I looked and how haggered and tired. They had a family appointment thing and she stood me up and said she'd forgotten. I couldn't be around her anymore so I ended up going abroad again to try and get away from her but I was still very underweight and wasn't ready. I met a new boyfriend and with his support I got physically healthy again, mentally, I think I just patched things up.
I will point out that she's very clever at making everyone believe that it's all my fault we are not close because I'm stand-offish or have a chip on my shoulder. I'm pathetic sometimes as I still believe somewhere deep inside that it'll all be fine and she will be lovely to me one day if I just work out how to make that happen. She's fine with mr brother, he just thinks we don't get on.
I was seriously ill a couple of years ago in hospital and came home for a few days after to recover and she told me off for 'going on' about how poorly I was, so I left early and she said I'd flounced like the drama queen I am. I feel like she's holding me back in all sorts of areas of my life because I just don't feel like I'm good enough for anybody or anything most days.
I live quite far away from her but she still lives in the same town as my Dad, so I haven't escaped her totally. I see her for very short bursts but refuse to be alone with her. She messages a lot through Facebook though and tries to get me to join in on the odd family occasion, but I just can't do it. I got a message from her today asking me to go away for the weekend for her birthday celebrations. (With my DP and her partner and my brother and his wife and son) that message made my stomach churn so much I thought I was going to be sick. I just can't do it. I had sweaty palms and I was shaking. I have this awful habit where I pull hairs from my head, not like a clump but one or two I pick out, and I started doing that. She tried to arrange a birthday weekend away for my 30th last year but I just wanted to spend it with DP (we went away in the end) as spending it with her making me feel like shit filled me with absolute horror. When I said I didn't want to she called me an ungrateful cow and booked the weekend anyway with her partner and my brother and his wife and posted all the pictures on Facebook and said 'look what you're missing out on! Cut off your nose to spite your face!'
DP says I need to talk to someone about her, a counsellor or someone. It's starting to impact on our lives as whenever she gets in touch with me or I know I have to see her I'm nervous, defensive, and short and snappy with him. I feel like I can't handle her being part of my life anymire but how the hell do I deal with it? Would a GP even be able to help or refer me or do I need to think about paying for therapy? I'm not very well off at all but I think I could afford a session every two weeks perhaps. Is this something therapists deal with? I already think it's trivial in the grand scheme of things but I can't cope with the feelings anymore. If any one can offer any advice at all I'd be really grateful.
Argh. Bumping for you until the right folks come along. Have you visited the stately homes thread? It sounds like you'll be welcomed there with open arms. So sorry - this sounds totally horrid for you.
My mother hasn't been as bad as yours but quite bad.
I'm 43. Last week I realised (1) I hate her (2) she makes my flesh crawl...
You're not alone. It's not you. It's not your fault.
I think some kind of talking therapy would help.
I've had some, not loads, could probably do with more. Some sessions/types more use than others, but every scrap of insight helps.
You are not alone.
OK re her invitation for her birthday whatever: send her a one word reply:
Then ignore further messages on the subject
Other than that, you need to come to some sort of acceptance and understand that she will never ever ever be the mum you want and need. It sounds from your post that you kept on thinking as years went by that she would change. But she won't. She sounds evil, sorry to say that.
She sounds also like a twisty little drama queen. People who post stuff like you detailed on Facebook are unhinged and most sane people reading the bit about "cut your nose off ..." would think, fucking hell not surprised HakeLively didn't go away with that piece of work.
A counsellor would deal with this sort of thing. Either GP for referral (will be aaaaaaages or pay for sessions privately). But, you can essentially get free counselling from posters on here on a thread like this!
In your postion Id go very low contact. Only see her if necessary, see her with your dp suporting you. Ignore messages, ignore rants.
Oh and I struggle with NC idea cos she will (and has) feel suicidal
Try LC? X
First of all you get big hugs as I totally understand your situation. Today I have wrestled my borderline-personality disordered elderly lionness of a mother into hospital for a scheduled hospital appointment. She throws tantrums, screams insults at me and makes sure the spot-light is firmly on her by causing chaos where-ever she goes. No one else will deal with her in my familiy and my Dad has sadly died. I am the lion-tamer, but at considerable personal cost - she abuses me, blames me for everything, says I don't deserve any happiness and should die alone...why? It took years and years to figure it out and learn how to 'manage' her and a lot of emotional scars along the way. Firstly she is jealous as I have had education and career opportunities that were denied to women of her generation. It gives freedom and personal independence. Secondly, she perceives me as a threat as I am strong and say 'no' when she is being ridiculous...she is manipulative, abusive, a liar and will try to get at anyone perceived as a threat (...that is most people). When her insults fall to the floor rather than penetrating my now-finely-tuned shield, she cries in frustration and throws things about in total loss of control over the impact of the emotional abuse. My enforced dealings with her now (as no one else in the family wants to) have impacted on relationships with other people as I trust so few people, and it upsets my kids to see us in gladiator-style battles.
Like you, I have had eating disorders and I think it is probably common coming from this sort of family background. The solution is to stop seeking validation and approval from your mother. I suspect a therapist would tell you that. You have to understand that nothing is going to improve relations with your mother, and she enjoys hurting you. You can go on being subjected to abuse, or take control of the situation. Block her on social media, minimise your meetings with her and stop worrying about what other people think. You can build an adult life without the toxic mother putting you down, and when you are older then you can re-enter her life on your terms...in a detached, indifferent kind of way that means her sticks and stones won't hurt you, and the threat that you have the power to leave if she does not behave herself. This is all about taking control of an adverse situation and accepting the mum you got wasn't the mum you needed. If you want therapy, you can ask a GP to refer you to a counsellor, or you may find therapists available through local charities. However, this might give you chance to 'off load' your thoughts about your mother, but only you have the power to change how you interact with her.
Thanks for the advice so far and I'm really sorry for those of us who have shit mums I don't think it ever stops just being really sad. I don't even feel angry, I wish I did. It's just a sadness.
If anyone has experience of this on particular- your wedding day. God did you handle it? DP and I want to get married in the next couple of years. I want to get married in my home town but I have no idea how to handle her. She'll try and be a big part of the day (she loves the 'show' of being a good mum and the Facebook pictures) but I don't want her involved in getting my dress sorted or getting ready on the day and I just know she will try and manipulate her way into these things. Or if I tell her she can't she will find a way to make me feel crap.
I have deleted her on Facebook in the past (and felt happier for it!) but she changed her profile picture (she was still coming up on mutual family feeds) of her holding me as a baby and she was telling my brother how sad she was that I'd shunned her and I cracked..)
I have lurked on the Stately Homes threads. I've never posted as they've been going so long I don't know if I can sort of just launch in!
I've only just got in touch with a little anger.
I got married last year, I didn't let her be part of plans.
She did some little annoying things in the day.
If I had my time again I wouldn't have the same wedding, but I can't say she ruined it.
But if you feels yours might, think about doing things differently....?
This is exactly the kind of thing a therapist would deal with OP and you deserve to get this sorted!
You sound like you can articulate yourself well and have a successful life despite your treatment from your mum.
Mums are the people who are supposed to nurture and support us, and you had the opposite of this so I say credit to you!
You do seem to have a lack of healthy coping skills though and probably struggle with confidence I'm guessing. Please get help...you deserve it. I'm not willing to give advice about what to do about your mum and your relationship because I think that's something you need to decide for yourself and something which you might want to set as a goal for therapy.
I think it would be good to talk to someone with experience of narcissists or BPD. You are traumatised and you can't escape her. I think you need to go NC even if it means losing other people. But you sound absolutely lovely and I'm sure that's apparent to your friends and family.
It is not your fault your mother is like this; you did not make her this way. Her own family of origin did that; what if anything do you know about her own childhood. That often gives clues.
You do not need your mother's approval any more; not that she would ever give it to you anyway. You are still very much in a fear, obligation and guilt state with regards to her.
I would get married without your mother being at the wedding or at all being involved in any of your preparations; she could well ruin your special day otherwise. Have the wedding day you as a couple want without her or your dad being present.
Such disordered of thinking people as well use FB as a tool against their chosen scapegoat.
I note she and your dad are still together; he is probably just as awful as she is or is otherwise a weak bystander acting out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He has abjectly failed as a parent as well and has really acted as her hatchet man here. Narcissistic women like your mother always but always need a willing enabler to help them and these men often need someone like your mother to idolise.
Your brother is the golden child but what he does not realise is that his role is a role not without price. He does not yet realise.
BACP are good and do not charge the earth; they probably have some therapists in your area. Counselling re the GP is limited in scope and number of sessions and will take an age to arrange.
Do post on the Stately Homes thread and write as much or as little as you want. You will be welcomed there. There are also some good resources to read at the start of that thread. I would also read the Out of the Fog website as that would be useful to you as well.
Go to gp ask for referral for free sessions initially. See how lo g wait list is.
Renner you are not responsible for her mental health. Only yours.
If she feels suicidal she can seek help. Or tell your dad to call 999 for her.
hake you sound very much like her whipping boy. If that's the case then that's your role and nothing you do will change that. She has too much invested in pouring her own dissatisfaction and need to hurt.
You said you wanted to have the wedding in your home town, but that she'd be a consistent source of hassle and dismay. It might be an idea to weigh up if it's worth staying and having that sour it, or if you might want to get married privately elsewhere with a few friends and not tell her til after. It's not what you want, but sadly you're not going to be able to have things the way you would really like them anyway. Which option is better?
Attilia my mum and dad are long divorced- but they still live within a few miles of each other. Mum met her new partner when I was 13. He definitely enables her to act however she likes though. In fact she told me once she deliberately chose him because he's quiet and (her words!) a few leagues below her in the looks department so he'd always think she was a catch and be grateful. My Dad is very much a part of my life but has a very old fashioned viewpoint on discussing feelings and usually says 'that's just what she's like' if I bring up anything about my mum. So I don't tend to discuss much with him.
She's never played the sucidal card, but I did once try and call her out on some of her shit and she had a fainting episode because of the stress I was putting her under then text me after to say she was being tested for bowel cancer. Nothing came of that so I don't know if that was true or a way to deflect me.
I've debated whether or not to get married in my home town but my grandparents live there and they are getting older and frailer and I want them to be there but not have to travel far. I think my mum will have to be sort of 'staged managed' on the day. Interestingly my mum has a difficult relationship with my gran and never has a nice word to say about her but I get on very well with my grandma. I worry that if I ever have a daughter I'll just be horrible to her I don't think that would happen but it does scare me.
I asked my GP for help when my abusive parents went through a particularly bad patch. I got CBT, and then more intensive therapy, and it's been brilliant. A life-saver, in fact.
My parents are very similar to yours. I ended up going no-contact with them over three years ago and although it's been hard, it has been a good thing for me. Yes, they have flurries of outrage where they still try to phone or send abusive emails, but overall things are easier. Yes, I'm sad that things are as they are but I can't change them, and they are the ones at fault, not me. Not seeing them is how I protect myself and my children from their abuses. And having realised how much damage they did to me, I realise it's necessary to stop them hurting my children now.
I was still in contact with them when I got married, and I knew that they would ruin the day for me. So we got married very quietly: we told two friends, and took our children, and after we all went for a late lunch at a fab restaurant, then our children had a party in the evening (it was just before Christmas, so it worked very well). Then a few days later we told both sets of parents, and it was fine.
If you don't want your mother to ruin your wedding, don't invite her. Don't tell her you're getting married. If you think you have to have her there (and you really really don't) then assign a team of friends to manage her and to keep her away from you at all costs.
CaptainAwkward.com has lots of good advice on handling difficult and abusive family members. Good luck. I know how hard it can be dealing with this sort of thing, and can only encourage you to protect yourself, no matter how hard it is.
NettleTea I've only just started reading that website and it's like turning on a light! Thanks.
I've found out that you can self-refer for counselling in my area without going through a GP appointment so I've filled in the form and will see how it goes.
Glad it is helpful
I have a 'not TOO bad narc' and a 'really bloody awful' Narc in my family. Its tough
but I get on very well with my grandma. I worry that if I ever have a daughter I'll just be horrible to her sad I don't think that would happen but it does scare me
You won't trust me.
I know the place you're in.. you can go no contact or come out of the FOG. I chose the latter and it took a lot of work.
Dive in the stately homes thread, you'll be welcomed and I think it'll help you.
sometimes good people have children who turn out less good. There's no point judging; sometimes things have happened the old parents never know about. Sometimes it's choice. The new parents pour all their unhappiness onto the children.
But their children have enough nouse or luck or enough loving people to know it can be different and to parent their children much better, and far more healthily.
At an educated guess, you're one of those. You;ll make mistakes, but you want to do better. Your own parent is stuck; you are not.
I cannot believe some of the things I'm reading on here! They are so far removed from anything I know. I couldn't imagine having a relationship like that. My kids (adult) are my world..I just don't understand it. My heart goes out to all of you suffering this abuse. I think, if it were me, I'd have to cut loose, it's the only way I'd stay sane. However, I've not been in this position, so really don't know what I'd do..
It's hard, and rather lovely, to remember that some people don't live in this sort of world.
The world you live in, howlong, is a kind and sympathetic one. it's .. .normal. It's what it should be. People struggle with the grief and pain that it isn't always that way. But we want, and want to give our lovely children, the loving world you live in
I hope that makes some sense.
seaeagle yes it makes sense, and I can understand people are shaped by their experiences.
OP I think some counselling may give you the strength you need to deal with this. I have no real advice to give, but just hope you find peace from this emotional struggle..
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