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Clingy mum??! *Help!!*(67 Posts)
Long post! I’ll try keep it short but I think you need some background!
My mum is an amazing person. If I ever needed her, for anything, she’d be there. She’s really such an amazing help to me and my husband.
That saying, she seems to have issues with other family members, not sure if its anxiety but she seems to think people talk about her and have issues directly about her. I don’t see it and I never have done however, as I have grown up, things have pieced together.
I used to ask my brother, “why does everyone in the family have an issue with mum?” He once said, “you’ll find they don’t have an issue with her, she has an issue with them”
At a funeral, my uncle sat on another table simply because the seat was closer and that to my mum means, ‘they are obviously talking about me because they haven’t sat on our table’. Any social family occasion, we always come away from it and someone has always been “funny” with her. Personally, I don’t see it.
I think she really does take things to heart, over thinks things and simply make things up.
Things really dawned on me when it was the run up to my wedding, which as some will know is already a stressful time.
My mum ruined the whole run up to my wedding. I went to book our nail appointments and I turn up to find that my mum had already booked herself in, didn’t think about me at all. Nails, waxing, whole lot. Which really upset me because I thought we would have done that together and 2 days before my wedding, I went on my own to get my nails done.
I asked my dad if he wanted to do a dad and daughter dance and what song. He sent me the song and it was basically a funeral song. A goodbye to your dad funeral song. FYI my bridesmaid’s dad died 2 months before my wedding and I explained to my mum and dad, the song wasn’t appropriate. I would feel uncomfortable. My mum flipped “you shouldn’t be thinking about your bridesmaid, she won’t be bothered she’ll be fine. Its your day! You have really upset your dad because you don’t like the song and you should just dance to us you have broken his heart”. I mean, it was my day but I have a heart and I love my friend who I have known 28 years! Turned out that was a lie anyway because dad didn’t even originally pick the song in the first place, it was mum! Dad happily picked another.
Then a couple of days before the wedding, the venue said I could go visit just to make sure everything was ok. I said great, invited mum and my bridesmaids to come with me. My mum had already been a few times to the venue but my bridesmaids had never been and obviously super excited. Well, my mum kicked off. Wondered why the bridesmaids were coming, it should be a mother and daughter thing and why are my friends always there. Why do my friends always have me running about and doing things and that “they are just looking out for themselves!”. I have known my friends for 20 years and I can assure you, they are the best friends a girl could ask for! My mums attitude at the venue was disgraceful, my friends asked what was wrong with my mum and I had to explain, she didn’t want them there.
My mums main issue I think is, she has no friends. She relies on my dad and me to do things with her and take her places (even though she drives). She’s not very independent, so when I do things with my friends, it’s a major deal and translates this to pushing her away.
She really shouted at me the day before the wedding screaming at me in the car park about how she’s not been involved and always doing things with my friends and I am pushing her out. It was embarrassing and obviously unnecessary, I was already stressed. I went home and sobbed.
I then phoned my brother and he said she done the exact same thing to him and he said just be prepared for her to ruining your wedding morning. She had loads of involvement in the wedding, but it was never enough.
I calmed down and went around to mums with a list of all the things she was involved in: Brides dress, bridesmaid dresses, venue, food choices, wine choices, photographer, band song choices, flowers, cars, invitations and confetti. However, somehow this wasn’t enough and she still made out it wasn’t quality time! I don’t know any other couple whose parents paid to come and sample the wedding food with the couple.
It all came out as well. My husband has been married before, which my mum likes to occasionally mention which is like a dagger in the heart. He was young and it lasted 4 months but she still likes to say things like “are you sure he is divorced?” “are you sure his ex-wife isn’t in contact” when we first got together it was “are you sure he’s not secretly still with her?” I explain its hurtful stuff but she passes it off as caring about me and making sure I am ok.
We were going to be away for Christmas on our honeymoon which didn’t go down well. Mum mentioned her and dad would fly out the last week of our honeymoon to meet us. So, we brought the honeymoon forward, landed on xmas eve and spent xmas day with them.
I mentioned I was going to London with my friends [bridesmaids] in the summer to celebrate us all turning 30. We are also seeing a concert. She had a moan at me saying, “you knew I wanted to see that concert” and “you knew I wanted to go to London” she then tried to invite herself onto my trip away with my friends. Then she tried to buy me off by saying “well we can go to London together before then, I’ll pay”.
My husband then said to my mum he would like to take me away for my 30th later in the year. My mums first response was “I’ll come”.
It’s just never ending.
I get made to feel so guilty and awful for basically having a life. I love my mum and I love doing things with her.
It has just been a busy year, hen parties, weddings, 30th birthdays so I have had a lot of events on which I must go too. I went to my friend’s wedding two weeks ago and she asked if I could ask the bride if she could come on the night!!?
She makes me feel I do all sorts with friends and push her away, its simply not the case.
I do things with her as well, we went to London last April and we went abroad for a week last year too as a family, I take her shopping, cinema trips and we go out for tea. My mum always pops into our house as well any time, she meets me for lunch as well on my dinner break but it’s never enough.
I just feel like nothing is good enough.
Now myself and husband are moving to a new house, studying for exams, whilst juggling work. We really haven’t had much time to socialise so I am unsure where she gets all this “you are always out with friends” comment.
We have had another fall out again. This time about myself and husband going to a concert. She wanted tickets but unfortunately, she couldn’t get them and we were lucky enough to get given some. However, it’s my fault she couldn’t get tickets and that we are going.
She made a comment about how I have changed and nasty and pushing her away. Maybe I have changed in some respects but I am concentrating on myself and trying to get through my exams to be perfectly honest but she doesn’t seem to appreciate any of that!
There is a lot more to it but I’ll end with this.
My previous exam I failed twice, and you only have three goes at passing. The first two times I took my mum to where the exam was and she went shopping whilst I sat my exam. Third time, I didn’t tell anyone at all I was even sitting the exam. Not even my husband. It took the pressure off me knowing that people didn’t know and I travelled myself sat the exam and passed!
I rang her straight away, first person I called “mum I took that exam today, I did it I passed!” her reply “why didn’t you take me, I could have gone shopping”
Are there any advice you guys can give me? I mean what one earth, is this normal?
No this isn't normal. You need to stop feeling guilty about living your life and stop telling her everything you are doing. You sound lovely to involve her so much. I feel sorry for your husband too having his MIL so involved in your lives.
No advice at all but my mum is the same. Very similar story, minimal friends. Suffers from anxiety. I think its a fear of missing out and shes putting it on you. Put a stop to it now before it goes any further.. the only realistic way to do this is with a firm hand. Stand your ground on saying no.
Side note, cannot believe you moved your honeymoon. Cannot believe she wanted to fly out and meet you... thats too far!!
Christ I felt claustrophobic from reading that! You really need to put on your big girl shoes and give yourself some space from her. I'm surprised your husband hasn't complained about her yet or has he? Imagine what she will be like if you have a child. I don't think talking to her would solve the problem I would just distance myself from her for the time being and then maybe try and have a conversation with her.
My husband said hes finding it very difficult not to "rip" her head off haha. My husband doesnt stand for it, she has stood and cried in front of him about me doing things without her and he simply tells her "she has friends, it's her life, you are her mum and its normal"
My husband isnt close with his family. His mum has never once sent him a birthday card so its one extreme to the other for us. His mum is hardly there, mine is just constantly there. I do feel sorry for him because its a lot to deal with.
He was studying last week and she popped over at 8pm on a Sunday night. No warning and my husband had been studying from Friday tea time till Sunday tea time. She then proceeded to ask him several questions about this christening invite on our fridge. It was his cousins daughter but she kept asking, which cousin? do i know him? was he the tall one? was he at the wedding? then said she didnt remember him and who was his wife? she ended with saying "i dont know him"
My husband snapped and said "you are right Julie, you dont know him thats why i didnt want to get into this with you. Wasting my time"
Anyway she stormed out the house. Came back an hour later and had a go at him for the way he spoken to her and she wont ask about his family again. She couldnt understand it wasnt the question about his family, it was the fact we both have exams and she came over unannounced and asked 30 questions about a christening invitation.
I've tried talking to her. Before the wedding I went round with my list and explained she'd been there picking everything and how her comments about having my friends involved in certain areas is normal. Talking doesnt help. She is always right and shes always hard done by. She's never said sorry to me in my 30 years of living. Come to think of it, I have only ever been sad 3 times in my life. Once my 21st birthday, spent it with mum and i wanted to be with friends and she kicked off i looked miserable and needed to get a grip. Second, driving around in my car with my mates had a great day, she wanted me home because i had been out all day. Shouted she might have cancer down the phone and how do you think she feels and i am never thinking of anyone else. I had to pull over and i balled. FYI she didnt have cancer, she had some tests done and it wasnt cancer. Third, run up towards my wedding. Her having a go and mentioning he'd been married before.
My brother has 2 kids and he says its a nightmare. She complains she never sees them, they are always sleeping out at his wife's family's house and they are more involved. However my brother and sister in law said the kids have slept out and its only ever been at my mums house!
Also, she has them this weekend but she wanted to leave them with my dad to come to this concert with me and my husband. So, you cant really win with her!
Stop explaining, take back her key to your house if she has one, stop telling her what you are doing.
At some point, your husband will really snap because this is so domineering, manipulative and suffocating. I feel sorry for you all.
Thanks everyone for your advice. I didnt think it was normal and she's a difficult person to reason with and she'll never change.
See growing up, I was totally unaware of all this. It's only since i have grown up and got my own life it's dawned on me. Annoyingly, my big brother was correct after all haha
MIL is like this.
as PPs have said, it gets worse when you have children.
DD is in the middle of her exams. the last friday before study leave began, she had friends round for a sleepover, we bought them some bottles of WKD, smirnoff ice etc (not loads, just enough to get them a bit tipsy).
we made ourselves scarce, went out for an activity with PILs, then stayed out for some dinner.
MIL sat with a face like a smacked arse, saying barely a word, because we weren't sat at home watching them like hawks.
didn't we know that hundreds of people have died from having alcohol in situations like that?
we were 5 mins away from the house, DD and her friends (all sensible girls) had phones to reach us if needed.
MIL couldn't stand to join us for dinner, because "we were so blase and uncaring" about it.
she just can't handle that DW is now a grown woman (over 40, with a successful career and well-adjusted children), who doesn't need constantly fussing over.
MIL has nothing else in her life, so has no distractions from that sense of losing control.
Litterally all of this resinates with me... shall we start a club?!! Its so annoying and if you manage to figure it out, let me know!
She sounds controlling and constantly try to blame, shame, guilt, or pressure you OP.
Her need to dominate your life and all the relationships in it could threaten your marriage long term, I think there is only so much anyone could take and it is unreasonable to expect your DH to tolerate this in his own home and marriage.
Can you take a step back from her, in coordination with your brother and his family who also seem to be troubled by her behaviour? I think you may need to take a family wide approach to this and try to gain some space to allow yourselves to catch your breath.
First off if she has a key to your home get it back, if she won't return it, change the locks.
Second let her know that she must ring first before visiting, you are both too busy with work and study to have her just pop in whenever and start twenty questions about where you are going and what you are doing. If she refuses, don't let her in when she knocks the door.
Trying to appease her is not doing any of you any good long term, you need firm boundaries.
She's a narcissist. It's all about her needing to be centre of attention and she has no empathy for you or anyone else. You need to detach from her and lead your own life especially now you are married.
I'm in my 60's and been married over 40 years but my narc mother still tries to interfere. Sometimes low contact or even no contact is advised. It's exhausting and draining and it will grind everyone down unless you set up your boundaries clearly and don't give in to her.
I only have one piece of advice OP, stop trying to please her. You've said yourself you can't, it's never enough for her, so stop turning yourself inside out trying. You would be better off pleasing yourself, you obviously love her and want her in your life so that won't mean excluding her but it means you only do what you're actually comfortable with rather than letting her trample your boundaries all the time. You will get backlash, but you would anyway (because it's never enough) even if you keep trying to fit in with everything she wants so you might just as well please yourself. You will always have to say no to her sometimes, so what difference does it really make if you say no every time you don't actually want to do something?
Christ on a bike. I'd have moved to another country by now. You have to stop letting any misplaced feelings of guilt control your life, and you definitely need to stop pandering to your mum's outrageous behaviour and demands. Don't lose sight of the fact that your relationship with her could very well threaten your marriage. It appears your husband is already completely fed up with her. It's time to cut the cord and back away from this insanity. If your mum can't get a grip, she doesn't get to be in your life.
Its not you, its your mother and she will continue to exert control over yours and your H's (a man who she detests) lives if you let her.
Your mother is in all likelihood a narcissist. Narcissism is a form of personality disorder and the power and control she has and continues to wield over you is frightening to read frankly.
Where are your own boundaries here with regards to your mother?. You do not seem to have many, if any, and this is not surprising really because your mother has encouraged you not to have any.
She has swooped in under the guise of helping you your entire life to make her own self look good. It was and is all about her; you do not matter. it was also done to make you feel more obligated to her and was not done out of any altruistic need. She has managed to make any occasion you have all about her and have you dancing to her tune.
Your dad certainly has a role in all this as well; he is her hatchet man really and goes along with her out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. His need for choosing "a good wife" far outweighs any consideration for you, his DD.
Such people cannot do relationships and really do have no friends and relations with family members are often fraught. Again your mother is the common denominator here. The men in their lives are often as narcissistic as they are or are otherwise discarded.
You are very much under her thumb and she really does think that you are an extension of her. You're obligated and or otherwise beholden to her really and she has made you feel so as well.
You need to completely break free of your mother's overwhelming influence and control over you.
Do read and post on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread
Stop explaining. She isn’t going to understand if you just find the right words.
Say that you have already had the conversation. What you said still stands and you are going to leave now and will
Talk to her later.
Stop giving her information about your lives. You are busy with work. That’s it. Tell her nothing else.
Let her have her tantrum and tell her to contact you again once she has calmed down and is willing to move on.
You beat me to it Attila, here's the link to the latest Stately Homes thread OP www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/3588850-But-we-took-you-to-Stately-Homes-survivors-of-dysfunctional-and-toxic-families?pg=4
i'm not sure it's always as simple as "she's a narcissist", although it's a possibility.
because you've allowed her unfettered parental access/control into/over your life for such a long time, it's always going to be a difficult adjustment when you start to push back against it, even if there's no specific MH issue.
particularly if she's never cultivated enough distractions/diversions (ie, hobbies, or friends of her own).
firm but gentle would be my suggestion, but acknowledging that guilt tripping and other manipulation is likely.
agree with chucklebuckles about a co-ordinated approach with your DB
You have pretty much described my MIL. That kind of behaviour is actually quite abusive. Unfortunately I have no advice. My DH and his siblings seem to be coping by distancing themselves from her. They’ve tried to keep her occupied but she is incapable of maintaining friendships and gets bored as a result. When they spend time with her it inevitably turns into her moaning at them that they aren’t treating her well enough or slagging of their partners. I don’t think that there really is an answer in this situation beyond not taking on more than you can cope with.
Your mother is abusive OP, and frankly rather stupid. You must impose very firm boundaries or one day your relationship with her will break down completely. You are not hurting her, she is.
Speaking as the mother of an adult DD, I found your OP truly appalling.
Your mother's not amazing, she's a fucking psycho who thinks she owns you.
Show her she doesn't!!
It sounds exhausting, and it's not normal. You really can't go on letting her interfere and demand like this. Think of your husband - he must be seething with it all. And when you have children? You'll never be free of the interference and demands. You're 30, you're not 6 and you need to start being a LOT more firm with her.
She sounds a nightmare & as previous PPs have said it could affect yr marriage. May be some counselling for yourself to learn how to put effective boundaries in place, also it could get worse before it gets better because she will bring out all her ammunition to guilt trip you. Look for a therapist specialising in family dynamics.
I thought it was just me! My mum actually ended up working with my now ex, I tried to warn him! It caused so many issues. I'm still finding out how much meddling she did. You have to go low contact, it's not healthy.
She doesn’t sound “amazing”, she sounds awful.
It’s not fair of you to expect your DH put up with this shot, even if you can bear it. She shouldn’t have a key, since she abuses it, and stop letting her muscle in on things you’ve planned as a couple or with friends.
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