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How to build a bridge and get over it with mum?

(4 Posts)
Laserbird16 Tue 14-Nov-17 11:51:23

I've always found my relationship with my mum difficult but as I've gotten older (I'm late 30s) it has less day to day impact on my life and yet I can't stop thinking about her behaviour and how angry/sad I am.

I live the other side of the world and have a small daughter. My parents came to visit for 3 months not long after she was born and it was just awful. I think our relationship went from unspokenly strained to broken.

I felt like my mum just didn't have a nice thing to say to me and thinking about growing up she would actively try to embarrass or insult me. I tried to engage her in polite conversation about me and my brothers as a children etc and she said she couldn't remember anything about me as a baby. She was constantly goading me - I think she likes to be the wounded victim in our relationship as I used to tell her to back off but I actually found it much more pleasant to just not react or be the grey rock to things I think she is saying to deliberately upset me. It was exhausting managing her and her unspoken expectations that can't be met even if I wanted to. For example, it was Christmas Eve and Mum asked me to get 'nice salad' from the deli when I went to the supermarket. I couldn't find any 'nice salad' so came back with a good old green salad and she stated that now Christmas wouldn't be special. Turns out she had confused a lunch place near the supermarket with the deli counter and it was closed anyway, just so ridiculous when I write it down but just demonstrates how odd it all gets. I feel like I'm related to Hyacinth Bucket on a good day. On bad days I feel like I don't matter, it is my 'performance' as a daughter that is the only important thing. For example, I felt like she punched me when I took her out for a special birthday tea and she said ' I'm surprised you enjoy being a mother' I just said, 'yeah, I really do enjoy being a mum' but I wanted to cry. I'm not grateful enough, I haven't got an interesting enough job/life, I don't confide in her - damn right, I'll just tell the whole world myself if I want them to know anything. The visit also highlighted how detached my dad is. He just gets on with his hobbies and never really seems to notice. I felt a bit sad about that too, he didnt protect me from her more silly/hurtful behaviour.

I just can't stop myself coming back to many of the incidents in her visit and feeling so angry. In reality we live a planet apart and I just need to keep it civil on Skype for 30 mins every few weeks so it isn't much of a problem but I can't stop thinking about if my parents want to visit again or if mum or dad dies. Would I even feel sad? Also can I have a more positive relationship with my daughter? I hope so but I'm not sure how to stop feeling so disappointed that I'll never have a good relationship with my mum. She isn't evil she just can't stop herself being a brat, and she is almost 70!

Anyone got any tips for getting over it?

Ausparent Tue 14-Nov-17 11:59:25

There is a great article by the Minimalists here which talks about letting go of toxic relationships with family or friends

My sister is a bit like this and for years I tried to pursue a close relationship with her and would so often feel disappointed. In the end, after reading this article I took a step back and we only speak once every few months. I find that her comments don't hurt me anymore because she isn't part of my everyday life and I can actually feel far more affection for her from a distance than I could close up.

Laserbird16 Tue 14-Nov-17 12:07:22

A great article, thanks! I used to be able to feel affection for my mother from a distance but now I find that hard too. It feels like I'm always acting when I speak to her.

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 14-Nov-17 12:56:01

Ausparent thankyou for the link. I needed to read that today. I have approached my mother and still she remain clueless (or just doesn't want to be) on how to be a mother. It's time to let go. I just feel anger more than upset and find it difficult to even be in her presence, which is sad.
Laserbird16 - it hurts, I know! It's strange how with age we find it more difficult. We are always changing and thinking and I guess as we grow as people we find it more and more difficult to understand our parent behaviour.

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