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Can anyone help me love my Mum?

(85 Posts)
hellocanyouhelp Thu 19-Oct-17 16:38:35

My Mum and Dad divorced when I was 4 years old and my Mum met and married a new man.

As soon as he was on the scene he would not allow me close contact with my Mum from the age of 4. I was not allowed to sit on the sofa next to her, not allowed to go out of the room at the same time as her or I’d be a “sticky bud”, wouldn’t run baths anymore for me, no longer make me pack lunch for school etc.

Not allowed the landing light on at bedtime. He used to come upstairs and make scary noises outside my bedroom laughing to frighten me on purpose and say that I was going to be got in the middle of the night. I’m still afraid of the dark to this day.

Upset and tormented on purpose then he’d take photos of me when I was crying. My Mum still has these to this day and I had to look through them recently and she can’t see why it would upset me seeing photos of myself as a little girl being upset which caused yet more flashbacks.

Constantly as a little girl called names by him. Mainly fatty and constantly about my weight. I wasn’t even a fat kid.

Being made to sit underneath the dining room table for hours at a time like a dog and not allowed out. Having to watch the dog be abused by him and also not being able to do anything about it.

Pinning me down and kneeling on my chest to over power me just for fun.

Been humiliated in front of everyone and being forced to eat a full dining size plate of mushy peas as some kind of humiliation when I didn’t like them. My mum actually watched this and did nothing. Because I wouldn’t eat them my face was slammed in them (according to my Mum though not exactly slammed but being a tiny girl having a grown man push my face in a plate of food is being slammed in them). Then being left alone to clear myself up. I can’t remember the exact age for this but I was very young primary school age.

Being growled at wherever I was by him. So he would follow me around growling at me and smirking for no reason other than he found it fun to upset and scare me.

If I was sat in the room on the sofa he would stare at me constantly growling until I left the room.

Making fun of my Dad constantly. Bearing in mind I was a tiny child who’s parents had just split up and didn't know what was happening.

Having my food taken away from me just because he found it fun.

Having him stand outside my bedroom or in my bedroom singing songs about me being fat.

Hiding my shoes so when I would leave to school I would have no shoes. They would be hidden in places such as the top of the garden, loft etc.

Getting to school and finding the pack lunch I had made had been removed and replaced with mouldy crusts of bread.

Being made to watch the film IT at the age of 7. From then on finding photos of the clown pinned to my bedroom wall finding balloons in my bedroom etc, in the middle of the night standing outside my room cackling “we all float down here”.

Every single time I would be using the bathroom he would suddenly need to come in whilst I was in the bathroom or in the bath and need to use the toilet. There would be no knocking and I wasn’t allowed to have the door locked. I am still to this day petrified If I’m allowed to lock a bathroom door.

Having to see him walk around naked from a very young age and being exposed to all sorts of sexual aspects which I don’t think I should have been exposed to such as walking in the kitchen with him on his hands and knees cleaning the floor in a gimp outfit. On that occasion he just turned around and growled at me. My Mum just stood there and said “well he’s doing his punishment” like this was entirely normal. I don’t think it’s acceptable for me to have been exposed to this. Having to know my Mum had my riding crops hung up on her bed to use on him like that was supposed to be normal as well. The list for these things go on and on and on.

If I would dare to come out of my room when I was older he would follow me around growling at me so I couldn’t escape.

If I did go out the key would always be left in the door so I couldn’t get back in the house.

Standing at the windows giving me and my friends the V sign but when telling my Mum was just told to ignore him.

The list of what happens to me from the age of 4-18 goes on and on and was constant every day. After one particularly bad event I just left and never went back. These are just a few examples as the list goes on and on. I have enough examples to write a novel.

He is a true sadist and had to get his daily fix of tormenting me. I was trapped and couldn’t escape. He portrayed the perfect family man to the outside and charmed everyone. I believe I was seen as the problem child as I used to have rages as I didn’t know any other way to act. I used to scream for my Mum to help me and she ignored me. She denies all knowledge of this though as she says she didn’t have a clue what was going on. I don’t accept this at all as she did and just chose to ignore it and minimise it as being wrong. Whilst I despise him I feel more anger towards her at this moment in time as she was my Mum and was supposed to keep me safe.

My Mum says I’m choosing to ignore the good times as we did go on holidays and once he took me to hospital! She doesn’t understand or accept that even though we did do these things they weren’t good times for me!

I am now in my early 30’s. I have suffered from mental health problems my whole life. Despite this I have held down a very successful career and have a teenage son who I am incredible proud of and would do anything to protect. I have struggled with being a Mum and I am constantly worried I’ve damaged my son somehow. He does seem happy and healthy though and a teacher from school called me recently just to praise him.

However I have been ill for the last year and off work due to my mental health. Everything has fallen apart and I have now stopped contact with my Mum. I would like to know opinions if I am right or if I am being unreasonable in how I feel/acting and if I should apologise to her.

My Mum can’t seem to understand why I am dragging all this up now. I have never been in a place before where it can all come out according to one psychologist I’ve seen as my actual life now is very stable i.e. I’m married, own my own home and have no money worries despite what is happening.

My Mum divorced this man a few years ago and I gradually let her back in my life and for the first time she started to act like she was my Mum. Whilst I’ve always had a strained relationship with her I even took her on my honeymoon! There were good times during this period and she did do a lot to help me such as lend me money at times etc. However last year she met a new man and the Mum I had come to know just seemed to disappear and out came this weak woman who I had known throughout my childhood who was getting married to someone who she had known for 3 weeks and moving away. I felt immediately let down by my Mum and everything I had managed to lock away came pouring out. I want to be happy for her but all I feel is betrayed that she was just throwing me away again like I was nothing.

I had just started an episode and gone off work ill when she met this man so this wasn’t the catalyst for starting it, just an added extra. I’ve only met him once and he tried making out I was like a clairvoyant that heard voices when I don’t hear voices!.

My problem is my Mum will not take any responsibility for anything that happened to me. I have so much hate and resentment for her that has finally all come out and I can’t described the amount of hate, anger and betrayal I feel for her which I can’t seem to let go.

I have reacted in a very bad way verbally towards her. I have tried to explain how I feel and explain things calmly to her but the fact she says I have made it all up enrages me and I lose my adult self. I have constant flashbacks about my childhood which are really disturbing and distressing to me. I can’t act in an adult way to my Mum and it’s been wondered if I have some kind of dissociative disorder due to the trauma. I’ve had various diagnosis’s through the years including PTSD. I don’t blame my Mum for my illness(s) but I do blame her for not protecting me and putting me first.

My Mum will not accept under any circumstances that I was abused or had a difficult childhood. It’s always oh poor little you, you didn’t understand what was going on in my marriage and the most recent is that I’ve made it all up and it’s in my head. My sister also takes the line of my Mum. She had it hard too but not to the extent I did as she left home a lot earlier than me and is not as much a sensitive character. I can’t sweep it under the carpet like they can though.

The only way I can keep some sort of stability is to have nothing to do with her as everything she does triggers me even if she tries to be nice. To my family though this makes me the bad person. The things is I don’t think my Mum is a bad person. All I need is for her to accept it was wrong, accept I’m not lying/making it up, she didn’t keep me safe and she knew what was happening and ignored it but she will never do this. I don’t want to punish my Mum and feel this anger towards her for the rest of my life as it is so painful and destructive.

I’m fed up of now being the bad one because I don’t want anything to do with her because of this. I struggle every single day not to harm myself. I want nothing more than to end my life but I have a child and I can’t do this. I want to move forward with my life but I am stuck. I have had psychological help and had two hospital admissions since last year so I’m not alone and have support.

All I need to know is was this abuse bad enough for me to feel like this or is my Mum right and am I over reacting and it’s not a big deal? Has anyone ever been in this situation and managed to move on? I don’t want to feel this anger forever.

I don’t know what to do my Mum wants a relationship with me but now even thinking about her just makes me want to fly into a rage. I feel guilty even asking for help with this in case she reads it somehow like I am doing something wrong. I honestly don't know what to do though as I don't want to live like this forever.

Sorry this is so long and thank you for anyone who takes the time to read it and offer any advice.

peachgreen Thu 19-Oct-17 16:45:18

I am so sorry for everything you’ve been through, OP. It feels like you might not quite believe how awful it is, so let me say it plainly: you were badly abused by your Mum’s husband and by extension, your Mum.

You would be 100% justified in going no contact. I think everyone with any sense would recommend that you do.

Again, I’m so sorry for what you’ve suffered. You deserved - and deserve - so much better.

picklemepopcorn Thu 19-Oct-17 16:45:55

I'm lost for words. Bless you.

Your mother allowed you to be abused. She neglected you and prioritised her relationships over you. She still does. You owe her nothing. You must do whatever makes you feel best (or least bad) and ignore anyone who criticises you for it. If you need to, go no contact with everyone connected to her.

You'll never persuade her to change her perception. She can't afford to believe how awfully she behaved.

Are you having counselling?

bigfatbumfreak Thu 19-Oct-17 16:50:59

Im sorry, But your mother enabled an abuser, and you have are suffering from childhood abuse even now. You have to admit to yourself your mother was a co abuser, because she stood by.

You need to call her out, make her explain, only on the basis of a satisfactory explanation and apology, and years of acting like a decent human would i even let her back in.

You could probably do with some help seeing the reality of her compliance with your abuser.

From personal experience, but my father, not quite the same set of circumstances I tried, i even got the apology....but there he was again up to his old the end i just told him to fuck off.....he didn’t like that, but boy felt good.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 19-Oct-17 16:55:46

Your anger now towards your mother is completely understandable and what happened to you was not your fault, you were but a child. She stood back and let this dangerous individual abuse you within your own home in your childhood. Then she tells you that you're wrong and made it up. I would seriously question her motives as to why she wants a relationship with you and now.

You owe your mother nothing and ultimately you will need to grieve for the relationship you should have had rather than the one you actually got.

Your mother failed you (an understatement) abjectly as a child and put her love life first at the expense of her children now adults themselves. She is herself selfish beyond compare and continues to be so. She will not change and has not changed much if at all since your own childhood. Denial of abuse within the home is commonly done by such women towards their now adult children; she does not want her now adult children's words to hurt her.

Its not your fault your mother is like this, you did not make her this way. Her own family of origin did that (btw what if anything do you know about her own family background; that often gives clues).

If you are happy having nothing to do with her then continue to have nothing to do with her. There is no law to say that you have to spend time with relatives who continue to deny abuses that took place and make you their scapegoat for their inherent ills. You are not your mother and you are doing good by your son; he is certainly not having the abusive childhood that you had. From what you write he is happy and doing well at school.

I would continue to reach out for support particularly if the people you have contacted previously have proved to be helpful to you.
NAPAC is an organisation that I would urge you to contact if you have not done so already; their website is here:

Lenl Thu 19-Oct-17 16:56:08

What a horrendous time you've had. You would be perfectly justified in going completely no contact with your mum. What you experienced is beyond dreadful and that your mum and other family deny it is simply continuation of the abuse.

All I need to know is was this abuse bad enough for me to feel like this or is my Mum right and am I over reacting and it’s not a big deal
I promise, what you experienced and actually what you continue to experience is a huge deal.

Have you ever been on this thread, if not come over and perhaps post a link to this post to save you re-typing your experiences out. Have a read of the first post on the thread. There is a big quote from the book 'Toxic Parents' there, I can recommend the book too. Anyway the thread is a very supportive place where hopefully you can get some support to manage this.

To reiterate, you are absolutely not making a big deal.


hellocanyouhelp Thu 19-Oct-17 16:57:43

Thank you for your replies. I wasn't expecting anyone to reply or if they did telling me to suck it up.

I've had lots of help counselling wise and seen a psychologist quite extensively and had CAT therapy yet i'm still like this. I've even tried paying for hypnotherapy privately.

However when my family are so influential to me I struggle to believe if I am actually real. I was nothing more than to have my Mum to love me but it makes my skin crawl at the same time.

Lexieblue Thu 19-Oct-17 16:59:12

No OP I can't help you love your mother. What she did to you and allowed to happen to you does not deserve your love or time. She abused your unquestioning trust when you needed her most.

I am so sorry you had to endure years of abuse, I cannot imagine how painful it must be for you to reflect on yoir childhood.

Letting go of her surely has to be part of your road to recovery and I wish you all the strength in the world with that flowers

hellsbellsmelons Thu 19-Oct-17 16:59:59

Wow - that is some horrendous reading.
I really feel for you.
You are probably suffering from PTSD now after everything THEY put you through.
Your mother should have protected you.
She did NOT do that.
She was totally complicit in the abuse of you.
Unfortunately she will NEVER ever see this as her fault.
She's a nasty toxic person and you should not have her in your life.
She brings nothing to it at all.
Please talk to someone about PTSD see if it is that and get treated properly.
Cut her out totally.
Feel the weight lift from your shoulders.

juliettaa Thu 19-Oct-17 17:11:03

I can see lots of similarities to my situation in your post. It's incredibly painful to accept that the person who's supposed to love and protect us is abusive.

Your mum allowed that vile creature to abuse you. She failed to protect you and she put her own needs first.

She will never want to face up to her failings. You can talk to her until you're blue in the face; the chances are she won't listen as it's all about her.

No contact is a very painful route. I speak from experience of three years no contact with my mother and siblings who all sided with her. But, the pain lessens over time. Remaining in contact and staying in that dysfunction will not give you peace of mind.

If you're not seeing a therapist at the moment, that might be your next step.

I really feel for you OP. It truly is fucking awful living through trauma like that, the consequences really shape who we are. But you don't have to be around her if you don't want to be. You owe her nothing. Not even an explanation. She doesn't deserve one.

hellocanyouhelp Thu 19-Oct-17 17:13:30

I feel guilty saying these things about my Mum. I so want to be able to love her and have a good relationship with her but I do understand that won't happen. It doesn't stop me longing for it though. I just wish she would understand. I think if she would just accept what happened and say sorry it might be a bit easier for me. I know this will never happen though.

It's been so hard fighting against my family trying to help them understand why I feel the way I do but i'm just made out to be difficult.

I've found it easier to stay slightly more stable having no contact but some contact with her recently has tipped me over the edge again.

reetgood Thu 19-Oct-17 17:14:13

im so sorry for the abuse you experienced. I have very little specific insight but wanted to say that it was hard to read about your experience. Just to reinforce that it's so beyond ok what you experienced, and that the abuse was enabled by your mother.

I think that:

You can have complicated feelings about your mum. You don't have to feel a certain way about her. You can feel conflicting things about her. It might be processing this that helps you move to a place where this affects your life less, rather than learning to 'love' her. Rage is an entirely rational reaction on your part. Sometimes work on accepting being angry/ letting go of guilt can help. You aren't fated to feel angry forever x
She may be unable to a) accept responsibility for the harm her actions caused and b) offer anything like an apology. There are ways that you can give yourself a little bit of that resolution, without her participation. It would be something a counsellor or similar could work with you on. Not sure if it helps, but I suspect most posters will tell you that it wasn't ok, she was wrong, and yes you are owed an apology.
I think while you try and resolve this, you should prioritise yourself and your feelings. That means to me going low or non contact with her. I think being in contact with her right now is potentially harmful to you. You get to make the call about what is helpful to you.

I write this from the perspective of someone who's never had to deal with anything close to this. Im intending to be helpful but I'm just a random on the internet. But your anger and guilt definitely resonated. Best wishes and care to you.

Lexieblue Thu 19-Oct-17 17:16:53

I think that's the answer hello, you have subconsciously put up your own protective barriers to help you cope, unfortunately seeing your family just increases your vulnerability. You are so brave to even think about building a relationship with them, and it is far more than they deserve.

semideponent Thu 19-Oct-17 17:17:46

Dear OP,

I am so sorry - how incredibly painful for you. You are not the bad one. Children often cope the best way they know how with abuse like that, leaving them with an awful lot of pain to experience on the way to healing up. Dissociating makes complete sense.

There's no need to question your feelings. Don't feel guilty about them. If you need to go NC with your Mum for a while or indefinitely, or distance yourself, it doesn't mean you don't love her. She hasn't been a very good teacher of what love is about.

It sounds as though there are times that you're hanging in there for DC. That's worth so, so much. Remember that you only ever see the back side of being his Mum. He sees the other side. Don't judge yourself - your awareness of what it it can be like to be a child will have been communicated to him in thousands of tiny ways and words that you'd never remember. They will have made a huge difference.

Keep going. Could you look out for another therapist to help you over the next bit? Hope you can find all the help you want and need.

PerfectlyDone Thu 19-Oct-17 17:18:06

Oh my, hello, that was difficult for me to read and you poor thing had to live it sad
Clearly, your M's new partner was very abusive and cruel to you, but so was she, by omission.

You are asking for help to 'love' your mother - no doubt, you do, because we all do. But you also hate her for what she did/didn't do to help you.
It is totally understandable that that conflict even after years of therapy is still tearing you apart.

You don't need help to love her, you need help to stop loving her.
And if having no contact makes life more bearable, then that is what you should do.
Anybody who tries to tell you you are being 'difficult'? Ignore if you can, or avoid as well.
Those who truly love you will be there for you.

category12 Thu 19-Oct-17 17:28:47

I'm sorry you went through that. Your mum let you down and was complicit in the abuse. flowers

thornyhousewife Thu 19-Oct-17 17:39:58

OP your childhood was horrendous and none of it is your fault.

You don't need to learn to love your mum. Your mum is a child abuser and your relationship with her will never bring you peace or happiness.

Do whatever you can to heal yourself.

Barkybarkynutnut Thu 19-Oct-17 17:40:41

I think you have had excellent advice from pp s. I cried when i read all that you endured. Your Mothers cruelty and indifference towards you as a child is astounding and certainly not worth your love. But you know that. Unfortunately you are waiting for something that will never happen. My mother never loved. Resented my very existence. Still does. It took me until i was 48 to realise and accept that even if she did apologise or make amends the damage was done and nothing would help. I care less now and i rarely see her. You must find your own path and leave her in the past. Of course she does not deserve your kindness. However i understand the need for a Mother. But you don t have one. Look to the future. I think you re amazing xxx

UniversallyUnchallenged Thu 19-Oct-17 17:53:31

Nobody can help you love that (nor should they). Some things can’t be put right with words, or even actions.
Walk away and don’t look back, feel no guilt or pity, she is no better than he is or was. You’re worth infinitely more, get on with your life.
I wish you every happiness

hellocanyouhelp Thu 19-Oct-17 17:56:34

Thank you for all your kind replies.

It is very difficult as my family members tell me they love and care for me but they make it out like i'm the one causing the problems/drama (I guess I am by having a voice and not just ignoring it). It's like if I just kept quiet and went along with the show it would be okay but I can't do that anymore. I think I would find it easier if they were just out and out horrible. My Mum and others have done lots to help me at times but then i'm constantly reminded of this and how I need to be grateful.

My Mum has previously told me i'm so sensitive. This is true, I feel things very deeply and a lot of the time I've felt it's my fault for letting things hurt me more and should have a thicker skin.

I don't think I do myself any favours losing my temper but I am at the end and don't know what to do when i'm told it's not that bad but it hurts me so much.

PerfectlyDone Thu 19-Oct-17 18:00:26

Love is not a word - it is actions.

Love makes you feel better, warm, secure, happy.

I think you may need to learn to really love yourself and really believe deeply that you so much deserve better than what you got/get.

Loving yourself does not mean that you like every single character trait you might have, but you care and hold and nurture yourself, warts an'all.

Take it from us - it was that bad sad

Lexieblue Thu 19-Oct-17 18:03:00

OP they are minimising what happened to you, it was that bad. Beyond cruel to not acknowledge what you feel as a result of that abuse as valid.

It's no wonder you feel angry. I feel angry for you.

piglover Thu 19-Oct-17 18:04:27

Why would you even try to love someone who was so hateful to you?

PerfectlyDone Thu 19-Oct-17 18:06:06

Them minimising your abuse serves making themselves feeling better, not supporting you.
It is hard to bear witness to a loved ones distress, and your family do not sound like they are stepping up to the mark.

picklemepopcorn Thu 19-Oct-17 18:07:14

You want a loving mother, but you can't make that happen. This is about them, not you. Your reactions are very normal.

Try and find some trauma therapy. It's really helpful. Better than counselling in this kind of situation.

Have you been on the stately homes thread? There are people there who will understand.

Please stop trying to be a normal family- yours isn't. Just do what you need to do to keep yourself safe.

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