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Its not normal for parents to say negative things to their child is it?

(100 Posts)
lottieandmia Mon 06-Mar-17 02:01:42

I'm an only child. My mother has always been very critical of me although she would fiercely deny it. Now that I have three daughters of my own I couldn't ever imagine saying the things that she did to me, to them. As a parent I never say anything negative to my children about who they are or what they do.


I was good at art. Not as good as my dd but good enough to have got an A at GCSE. My mum said I wasn't very good at it and it made me decide not to study it further. My dad was a graphic designer so it was normal that I should have been interested in it.

Always telling me other people were better than me at things.

At school I was in the choir and in competitions she would point at another school and say 'they were better'

In dance competitions she would say to me afterwards 'don't do X, Y or Z - it looks silly'

I ended up feeling that I would never amount to much. And my parents gave me no direction or support. Because of this I worry constantly that I don't give my children enough support or whether I should be doing more to encourage them. This is partly because I've had various mental health problems and one of my psychiatrists said that my problems are partly to do with lack of support/direction from my parents.

I always tell my children constantly how good they are at something or how well they did at it. I never, ever compare them to someone else. It just feels so wrong to me.

Is this something anyone else can identify with?

FreeNiki Mon 06-Mar-17 02:13:59

I could have written that. After any event that should invoke pride in a parent I was told that I could have done better or asked why I didnt do this and that. It was as if I'd embarrassed her.

She is the same in adulthood. My universities werent good enough. She wouldn't hear a good thing said about it because she knew people 30 years ago who hated it. It may not be oxbridge but it's always been top 20.

My jobs aren't good enough: Im a solicitor ffs. She always has criticism or says I should be someone other than what I am no matter what it is.

She said the most nasty things when I was growing up and it was totally uncalled for and random too. I once did my hair myself for the first time and found a new way to put a hair bobble. I showed her and asked how it looked and she looked at me with a really evil expression and said in a low toned malicious voice just one word silly.
I was so embarrassed I took it out.

It has put me off having children lest I become like her. But Id like to think if I did have them I wouldnt be like that. I mean why have children. I mean if I ever spoke to a child of mine that way or they to me: this world is already full of such nasty people that it shouldnt come from the one person who is meant to be your champion supporter.

I once saw a programme which involved a woman speaking about being her elderly mothers carer. She said of her mother, she never once did or said anything that was unfair to me and I trusted her. I realised that growing up and now I couldnt say that of my mother. She was so volatile I never knew what reaction I was going to get from her. I would hate to be like that to a child.

EatSpamAmandaLamb Mon 06-Mar-17 02:19:53

I can identify with this and it is part of the reason I have little to do with my DM.
I was always told every thing I did wasn't good enough. I wasn't bright enough (I got into medical school), talented enough (I danced for my region) and if I was worried about my appearance, as teen girls often are, then I would be told "sure who want to look at you anyway."

I am full of praise and hopefully build the confidence of my DC. I reward them and tell them how well they are doing on a regular basis. My mother didn't do that, she was incapable of praise even when it was deserved.
However I am realistic with my children, for instance DS13 wants to be a footballer but tbh isn't very good at it (he also can't stand mud hmm). I don't tell him he isn't good at it I just steer him in the direction of what he is good at (Cricket and music). I don't want to end up being one of those parents who lets their kids go on a TV singing contest despite a distinct lack of talent.

I will always remember winning an Irish dancing competition, all the other mothers (of the girls on my team) came running up to me with hugs and kisses and mine said "You were a step behind at the start and don't start thinking you're any good because the judges must be related to your teacher." I vowed that day to do every single thing I could to work my hardest and get out of her nasty little world.

Mental health professionals have also pointed toward her behaviour as an explanation for my mental health problems throughout the years.

MercuryInTransit Mon 06-Mar-17 02:20:01

My mum was a sour mouthed, jealous cow as well.
Everything I did was "well, so and so did that better". Or she'd cruelly delight in humiliating me in front of my friends so they'd laugh at my "unrealistic" aspirations.

She used to spit out "you're just like your father" and this was from someone who was 'happily married'. She was such a bitch to me.

I've spent years learning that I'm good enough. Her problems are her own.

I have to hold a very strong line with her, (low contact) and she's in my head much more than I'd like.

Hugs flowers you're not alone in this battle for honest (as opposed to dishonest/ critical) appraisal and positive self regard.

Some people shouldn't have kids- although it's paradoxical, my mum shouldn't have been allowed as she's cruel and jealous, and a vicious bitch.

I try very hard to catch my kids doing something good and praise them.
If I'm ever negative, I apologise immediately and remind my kids I was brought up to take shit from my mum, and sometimes come out with it as a habit, but they're not to take that kind of shit from me if I slip up.

I have a good relationship with my kids.
I have a very strained relationship with my mum.
My mum has no relationship with my kids- they can't stand her.

It's evolution, but it takes a lot of effort not to repeat the behaviour I find.

Billynoname Mon 06-Mar-17 02:20:42

Oh wow. These stories are heartbreaking and I count myself lucky that I don't share your experiences. My mum was and still is the opposite of this. I would never be negative to my daughters. I am probably guilty of the opposite to the point that my just 3yo often tells me "I am good at everything" in a very innocent way Xx

FreeNiki Mon 06-Mar-17 02:37:53

Ive had mental health issues (depression) over the years too. I wonder how much of it is related.

I got that too saying that I was nasty like other people she hated "you are just like so and so...."

I have a theory about it though: Ive had ex boyfriends who were the same too, put me down, etc. My theory is they put us down as deep down they know they are a piece of shit themselves. Thoughts on that?

ControlledAdultChild Mon 06-Mar-17 07:24:48

My mum was and is the same. Can't remember a single kind word, growing up. In fact I was well into adulthood before I understood that not all parents were like that. I could never understood friends going home for the weekend to see their parents and I thought they must be gluttons for punishment. It was years before I finally got that their parents were nice to them!

They have brought me up to have no self belief, undermining me at every opportunity, and ridiculing and belittling me in front of others. They can't understand why I have no confidence and am a failure in life.

My mum goes round sighing "I don't know where we went wrong" all the time. Trying to at least pretend you liked your child might have been a start.

I am very worried about the way my upbringing is affecting my children. I do my best but I have never experienced what a parent child relationship should be so I am just going through the motions. I don't feel I have developed any kind of bond with them.

I am still negatively compared to other people. It gives me the rage.

As I get older I want a mum and I haven't really got one sad I used to know someone who lost her mum at a young age and has done a course about mothers without mothers and she reckoned I was a mother without a mother too, even though I have one.

I have a hospital appointment next week for a health scare I am having. Instead of having someone to confide in I am skulking about trying to make arrangements to get to the hospital without her finding out. She would say something horrible, or accuse me of being at the hospital for some other purpose. I just want a normal mum who would give me a hug. It isn't right. I am terrified she will find out I was even at the GP!

flowers to everyone with parents like this. It's awful.

DevelopingDetritus Mon 06-Mar-17 07:32:30

Your mothers job was to encourage you and build your confidence, she did neither. I'm sorry this happened to you. You sound like a wonderful mother, you've broken the awful cycle that could have continued but you broke it. Your daughters will love you for it, just as you've given them so much love.

lottieandmia Mon 06-Mar-17 09:37:23

I'm sorry to hear that other people also have parents like this. Now that I'm an adult she now tells me I'm not a good mother and I should never have had children - which is a case of projection if you ask me.

Growing up I was always told 'anybody else would say/do X but not you'

I can't ever imagine saying to my daughters these things. I suppose her mother treated her this way and she's never had the self awareness to do anything about it. But it feels alien to ever have that approach with my girls.

herdingmonkeys Mon 06-Mar-17 10:29:23

Please can I join. Ive had most of the experiences on this thread. I'm in tears. I'm so confused. I love my mum . She was generally a good mum. But said some vicious poisonous things to me. She wasn't educated, she thought she was doing her best surely. What kind of mother calls their daughter "thick" though. sad

herdingmonkeys Mon 06-Mar-17 10:32:54

She joked, in front of people, that I was "too fat for normal clothes" (I wasn't. But so what if I wassad

FreeNiki Mon 06-Mar-17 11:04:15

Growing up I was always told 'anybody else would say/do X but not you'

I got that one too.

I finally gave her it full throttle and told her what a lousy mother she was

Was anyone else's controlling? The weird combination of not liking you much but at the same not letting you do much without her as a child.

I also got the grandiose displays of rage in being slighted by something screaming and shouting and storming off slamming the door and leaving us alone for hours not knowing when she was coming home.

You had to walk on eggshells around her lest you set her off.

TerrorTwilight Mon 06-Mar-17 11:07:19

This is sadly not uncommon at all. My DW's mum was awful to her growing up - maybe not this poisonous but still said some pretty shock things to her on a regular basis.

My mum was pretty nice to us, on the surface, but that was badly undermined by her status obsession and her unpredictable moods. My happiness was never a factor: it was "is this the right thing to turn you into the boastable little establishment trophy I want?" So my interests were "silly" or "not good enough" or "not suitable". Our GCSE options were dictated to us. Art was "silly". She was insanely overprotective and possessive. She knew that creativity is everything to me but no: I was to be academic. To go to Oxbridge. Become a lawyer. Hobnob with the elite.

I didn't do any of those things. And a few years ago, when drunk, she let me know just how much my life sucks and what a disappointment I am. That hurt and still does.

FreeNiki Mon 06-Mar-17 11:16:24

TerrorTwilight I am actually a lawyer and yet Im still a disappointment. My university wasnt good enough, Im a crap lawyer, she's had crap lawyers just like me (during her divorce) and Im a disgrace.

If you'd been what she wanted she'd still find fault.

I finally told her to fuck off and said at least I work whereas you do nothing and you're not even a good mother.

nigelforgotthepassword Mon 06-Mar-17 11:22:54

Yep, my mum is hyper critical of me and always has been.I didn't realise it wasn't normal until I saw other people with their mums and had my own children.
I've tried raising this with my mum gently-she can't see it and just got hyper defensive.
So now I just live with it-she's great in other ways.
Sometimes I can't deal with it-yesterday is a case in point-had a ten minute phone call with her where she did nothing but question a choice I had made, (not in a helpful way),and say vaguely critical or negative things. I pretended to lose reception and put the phone down to avoid a row.I will get a telling off next time I speak to her but I feel that's better than me losing my temper or getting upset with her, as that never does any good either. She has no self awareness on this so there is no point in trying to handle it via talking or whatever-I've tried and failed.
The only time I don't let her do it is when she starts being negative to my DD's in which case I tell her that that isn't how I speak to them, firmly but as politely as possible. She told dd, just 11,that she wasn't washing her face properly and that's why she had a spot-it was rubbish-she washes her face as much as it needs and that isn't the reason she had one bloody spot-and why point it out to her-she isn't bothered by it-so I just said that to her and asked her to stop.She got affronted but I don't care-it's one thing to be me like it with me and after all this time I've managed to tune much of it out-but she isn't transferring it to my kids too.

nigelforgotthepassword Mon 06-Mar-17 11:26:17

I've also suffered with depression and anxiety as a pp said, and yes I'm sure there is some link though it's probably not the only reason.
I wish I had a mum that didn't do this too sad

Funnyonion17 Mon 06-Mar-17 11:30:58

I can identify with this. I was brought up pretty poorly, I deffo can identify with being on constant alert and anxious not to repeat history.

Newname12 Mon 06-Mar-17 11:32:11

I have to really watch her around my kids.

Little phrases like "put your coat on or everyone will think you look silly", or "if you don't eat your dinners, none of your friends will invite you for tea".

It was always about what other people thought.

WotsitWig Mon 06-Mar-17 11:44:25

I can identify with you, OP. My DM died last year and I've had my own DD since. I think a lot about the sort of things my DM said to me. The worst thing she said to me was when I was 18 and looking for my first full-time job. Instead of encouraging me or helping, she told me she was "disgusted" that I was struggling to find work and that she was talking to so and so and they were "disgusted" as well, and wasn't I "lazy". I mentioned this particular example to my DH recently and he was astonished.

I was put down all the time, mocked at and moaned at. She even mocked me in front of family and friends. I hated her coming to see me in school plays as I knew I'd be mocked afterwards. I couldn't treat my own DD that way, I can't even put into words how much I love my DD and how excited I am for her future.

My DM had her caring moments and I remember those as well, but the put-downs still stick with me.

FreeNiki Mon 06-Mar-17 11:46:40

It was always about what other people thought.

Mine is all about appearances. She lies about everything about herself projecting a false image even now.

She is such a liar.

lottieandmia Mon 06-Mar-17 11:48:18

'Was anyone else's controlling? The weird combination of not liking you much but at the same not letting you do much without her as a child.'

Yes very controlling. My mum throws money at me and uses it as a way to control. She thinks that giving me money to help out it supportive but it's not if at the same time she puts down everything I say and do. I honestly don't think she is aware that her behaviour is abusive though. In a strange way she does love me but she's damaged and she was never a good parent. She also chose to have a child with my dad who said he never wanted children. hmm I imagine there is a reason why I'm an only child.

As others have said, there's no discussing anything with her - she usually explodes into a rage if I want to discuss any of this. I was never allowed to be a child. I remember being punished for being 'sulky' when I was 9 and being verbally abused. Everyone's allowed to be sulky sometimes.

My daughter cried when one of our guinea pigs died and my mum said to her 'try not to cry when the other one dies'. It's like she can't accept that people are allowed to feel upset and it's ok to show it.

FreeNiki Mon 06-Mar-17 11:54:37

Lottie at least you got money. My mum stopped financially supporting me when I was 16. No clothes, not even my bus fares to school did she pay. She fed me at home but that was it.

I had to do babysitting and stuff for money.

Ive been financially supporting her for a long time too.

My other sibling grew up just like her. The similarities are frightening. They both have a bit of a pact against me. She supports the other one far more than me.

RJnomore1 Mon 06-Mar-17 11:55:48

I couldn't even start with my mum to be honest. And yet my feelings are so conflicted. I am very self confident yet at the same time apologise for everything (so much that one of my trainers has threatened me with extra exercises if I say sorry to her again when I don't get something right)

I don't really understand me, I can't even begin to understand her.

TerrorTwilight Mon 06-Mar-17 11:57:28

God SO controlling and - as per Niki - ALL about appearances. Everyone in their right place. Do what's expected. Don't frighten the horses. Be the right type.

I'm not the right type. If I'd had the life I really wanted I'd probably be poor, but happier. I am terrified of every boss I've ever had because I'm convinced I'm not good enough. I'm a deputy headteacher, so I've been successful in my chosen (though not suitably prestigious) field, but all I've ever wanted to do is create.

Anyway, as PP has said, anxiety and depression are no strangers to me. I'm in the middle of a pretty savage breakdown right now.

My number one rule as a parent is to try to make my kids feel unconditionally loved for WHO they are, not what they achieve. The only person I've ever felt that from is (to an extent) my dad, and most of all from a person who wasn't even related to me but helped to raise me, and is now dead. But my dad wasn't and isn't the power in my parents' house. My mum set the tone.

lottieandmia Mon 06-Mar-17 12:04:14

FreeNiki - I had a boyfriend who had parents like that. They made him get a paper job at 14 and started taking money off him!

I have a disabled child and I'm a lone parent so that can make things financially difficult. But I honestly think I would have better self esteem if she had said supportive things to me instead of giving me money (which is often thrown in my face later anyway). And left out the character assassinations.

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