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How do I stop feeling so much anger towards my mother(4 Posts)
I would love for some advice on how to manage my anger towards mother. I had a relatively happy and stable childhood overseas, but my parents and particularly my mother became suffocating in my teens and the resentment I've had towards her has gotten much worse recently. Some of the things I have been angry about include:
1. Her overworrying about everything about me - it demonstrates a lack of respect for me to be my own person and lack of faith in me to look after myself and have morals. She has always been critical of my appearance, my weight (she thinks I'm overweight), my lifestyle, even though I'm healthy and active. She's also accused me at various times of being bulimic, taking drugs, and prostituting myself, usually after reading something in the news and projecting it onto me. I haven't done any of these things and it's pretty insulting that she thinks so little of me (and had I suffered any of these, her attitude was hardly helpful). After my baby was born by emcs, I struggled to pick him up and was a bit down in my lack of confidence with baby while my husband was quite a natural. My mother in the first Skype call after birth, observed loudly and very hurtfully how good my husband was with baby, "much better than [my name]". She didn't exactly offer any useful motherly advice either.
2. Unrelenting pressure to study, so much that I had no friends in school, no other life. Somehow this pressure continued when I moved to the UK for uni. I was made to feel like her happiness and mental health hinged on my grades and my success, and I feel like I can't fail because it reflects badly on her.
3. Negative interference in key moments in my life including my wedding, buying a house, and the birth of my first child - I have let her infect all of these moments. For example, she revealed to me in the days before my baby was born that she had had a plan to take my baby away with her (to the other side of the planet) so that I could go back to work. She had only got as far as telling my brother about her plan and thankfully he dissuaded her. I don't know why she told me and why she didn't think I would feel sick at the idea.
4. Her selfishness in the guise of selflessness. She stores up criticisms of me, then one day snaps and says she tried not to tell me these things because it would upset me, but she "can't help herself" and then she says them anyway in a big gush. So she's upsetting in me and she knows it, but it has to be done anyway to make herself feel better. Then she also follows up with if I get upset then I should just ignore what she said. She did this to me when I was pregnant, shouting at me over the phone not to buy our first house because it would cause me stress 🙄.
I could go on and on. She thinks she's being a loving mother trying to give me lots of knowledge, but I can't bear her as a person or as a mother anymore. After the big blow up about the house when I was pregnant, I cut off contact with her because of the stress, and by extension my dad as well. But with my baby on the way, I knew that I couldn't push them out completely, so gradually we made contact again, but it has been limited to one terse skype call a month and we are all clear that I don't want her advice anymore. They visited for the baby's birth, and we tried to pretend things were relatively normal, though I tried to use my husband and brother as a buffer (both supportive of me).
Now I find that in the days leading up to these monthly calls I feel stressed and unhappy. As they live overseas (as do most of our family) I thought I should be considerate and since they would miss out on his life, I set up a photo album online for everyone that I've filled with pictures every day so they could see the baby grow, but mainly I did it so I can fulfill the obligation of supplying photos without emailing them directly. But it's just fuelling her desire for more...more calls, more pictures, more videos. In the photos comments she adds all these stupid emojis that make me angry to see them. I missed a couple of days because I was busy, and I got an anxious email asking where were the daily photos and was everything ok with baby. I had a request to "record baby crying because baby cries are so sweet", and when I said no, it would be upsetting, she said that's ok, SHE wouldn't find it upsetting, FFS. It's easy enough now to say no, to not reply to emails, but any kind of contact from her now, these stupid requests and I get this white hot flash of anger (I vent verbally at my poor husband, it doesn't go any further). I thought now that I have a good degree, good job, new husband, new baby, I should have gotten over this and matured. But in the last year I find myself revisiting the worst times and feeling angry - I feel childish and vindictive (like blocking email, not sending videos, stopping comments on photos though I think this would just then spill back into emails) and I hate this about myself. I know I should be enjoying marriage and baby, and it's a waste of time to dwell, so mostly I try not to think about it. But hitting all these milestones is making me reflect on the past more, and the white hot feelings I have are so easily sparked and I'm afraid if I can't let go then they will be destructive.
I can't really talk about this with parents and at this point I'm not sure I want to. Ideally I would like to cut her out of my life, but I can't really do that with my dad. He is less interfering than my mum, but he lets her do most of the talking so I'm not sure how much he agrees with her - he does try to rein her in occasionally. Also I would feel tremendous guilt about cutting off access to their only grandchild - they'd feel like "what was the point of living?" if they didn't have children and family - more pressure. They are currently living overseas but they have a long-term desire to come back to the UK to be near family - I am dreading this.
So I can't really fix things with them (one call a month is more than enough) so I can only try to change me - how do I manage my anger and let go of it all? Maybe I've done my best to establish boundaries and minimise contact, there's nothing more I can do, in which case venting here makes me feel a little bit better.
Maybe try therapy? Talking it out once a week in a constructive way, and in particular before your monthly call to your mother might be helpful to you?
You can't change the past, so try to not focus on that so much (I know easier said than done), but when you feel your thoughts drift to your mother or something she said/did, start thinking of something else.
Also, if you find the monthly contact with your mother so stressful, then stop having them. 'But she would be devastated', well then she needs to learn to behave and treat you with respect. You don't need to cut off all contact, but maybe email her instead of skype. Sit down when you're in the right frame of mind, type out a message you want to send, and then when she responds, wait until you're ready and then read it.
If she says something you don't like, tell her (calm down first, then revisit the email when you're ready!) 'Mum, please do not say XYZ to me again. It's really hurtful and upsets me.' If she still doesn't stop, then I would say 'Mum, I've asked you to stop, I've told you it upsets me, if you don't stop then I'm not going to be able to talk to you anymore.'
Think about this as if she were anyone else in the world. Would you put up with anyone else saying XYZ to you? Then why should you put up with it with her? You're an adult, you're married, you have a baby you do not need to ask her permission anymore or get her approval.
If you know something like 'Mum, we're thinking of buying a house' will provoke a negative reaction, then I wouldn't tell her things like that in future. Just say 'We bought a house, here's my new address' and leave it at that.
She can only have control over you if you let her.
You could try some form of counselling.
However I think I would just cut contact, considering how stressed she makes you and how she impacts your life. I did this with my Dad 20 years ago and never regretted it.
It's not your responsibility to make her happy or her right to see her grandchildren. So if she makes you miserable, why keep in touch?
That's just my opinion though.
. I have a very difficult relationship with my mother and at the moment I'm no contact with my parents who live overseas. They stormed off when I insisted on boundaries. The only advice I can give is that you can't control how they behave, only how you respond. My heart goes out to you.
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