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How to build a bridge and get over it with mum?(4 Posts)
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?
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.
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.
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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