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In turmoil over my mother- please advise(17 Posts)
I’ve posted many times before about my mother under different usernames. In a nutshell she stuck with a man who was occasionally violent (he pushed my head underwater in the bath and physically threw me out of the house- two examples) and put me down and criticised me every day. I spent 12 years living in that house of hell wanting to die, ringing childline and self harming. When I moved out at 19 I had a nervous breakdown and didn’t work for 8 months. She was nowhere to be seen.
And so it went on, she’d meet up with me for a jolly day out or visit but when I actually needed her (like when I put myself in hospital through SH and needed 11 stitches) she didn’t want to know and said she couldn’t see me that day because they were going to paint their hallway! I sat in A&E alone and then sat and watched tv with my arm on a cushion all the next day in agony. I could give a million examples like that.
So then she marries a new partner, I marry my husband and get pregnant and suddenly she wants to be my best mate. She’s in love with my child and we stupidly decide to move back to my home town for her support with dd. Within a few months of moving back here I start to get awful pains in my body which develops in to full blown fibromyalgia. I know it’s because I’m now living amongst the ghosts of the past and her all the time and it’s affecting me. The rheumatologist asked me as one of his very first questions did I go through child abuse.
The fibromyalgia snowballs and I find myself buzzing with anxiety and shame being around my mother. She is very judgemental of people’s houses/ lives/ weight/ clothes and I find myself paranoid of what she thinks and I keep practising conversations with her in my head. I start seeing a therapist who tells me to send a letter to my mother about how I really feel over everything and everything is blown apart. I have a second nervous breakdown and end up on several medications for stress, anxiety and depression.
My mother and sister then decide to turn up at dd nativity play uninvited giving both me and dh a shock.
Then my grandparents both die within a few months. My aunt tells me that my mum wants me banned from seeing them because she’s not seeing my dd. I go anyway but don’t feel I can face everyone so I missed their funerals.
That was last year.
I’ve been unable to shake the guilt over stopping contact with my mother and it’s like a lead weight on me every day. Why won’t it go?!
The other night I was extremely emotional so I messaged her for the first time in years (bad idea). I said I don’t feel I can ever forget and get over all the things she has done and how badly she has affected my life and that I miss her (the good bits!) but my health has been dreadful because of it all.
She replied with a gushy I’m sorry about the past but we have to move on and enjoy the present and she loves me and always will etc.
I was in turmoil last night thinking what do I say what do I do and in the end I blocked her on my phone again while I get my head straight.
I know, I’m a mess.
if you read all that, thank you.
Any advice would be v appreciated.
I can't relate completely first-hand, but my own Mum had a similar situation with her Mother.
She has now not had contact with her for 14 years. She still gets upset that the Mother she loved and adored was so horrid to her, and has in the past wondered whether to get in contact and move on. She hasn't and I personally think this was the best decision. People don't suddenly change, despite how much we might want them to.
You will feel guilt and sorrow at how things have worked out, but you don't need toxic people in your life. Judgement comes from a lot of people, you don't need your Mother weighing in too.
Large family gatherings will be awkward, so you will have to decide at the time whether it's worth going. Generally, if my Mum's Mother is going to be at an event, we don't go. It's not worth the drama.
Good luck TurmoilBird. There is no right or wrong answer, but don't feel pressured into a decision you don't feel 100% on. Not all Grandparents get the luxury of Grandchildren if they can't treat their own Children right! Xx
Sorry but I couldn’t have anything to do with someone who did that. Could you ever imagine allowing and enabling your kid to be tested like you? No... exactly. She doesn’t deserve to be near your family. Her brushing stuff under the carpet helps her but not you, as it’s easier for her to forget her nasty behaviour and ease her guilt and make you the bar person. Have you seen a counsellor?
I am not best placed to advise you, but your mother has abused you in the past and she is unlikely to be capable of changing.
When you contact her, it brings the past abuse back to you and affects your mental and physical health.
Block her and leave it there.
The abuse often repeats through generations, so make sure that you break the cycle with your own children.
Be a better mother to them than you had from your own mother.
@AlwaysCheddar I’ve not had counselling for this specific issue apart from the therapist who told me to write the letter which blew our relationship up. In many ways that did me a big favour, in others it was horribly horribly stressful. I’m worried that if I see a therapist that they’ll try and convince me to rebuild the relationship no matter what.
@melancholymoper I could never ever treat my own dc like that, I adore dc and they are told every day how much I love them. They are loved and cherished and well cared for.
Get back into counselling.
I’m worried that if I see a therapist that they’ll try and convince me to rebuild the relationship no matter what.
They won't do this. No reputable counsellor would. It's about helping you come to terms with your own experiences and feelings.
I am just coming to the end of my counselling training and I’m shocked that your therapist told you to write to your mother. A counsellor/therapist should support you to find your way through what has happened in an empathetic and non-judgmental way, they shouldn’t be telling you what to do.
I have had counselling for issues from my childhood and it is the best money I have ever spent.
If you feel able to face having more counselling now, I would suggest that you look at the counselling directory and make contact with a few to find someone who ‘fits’ with you. Any reputable counsellor will be happy to email or speak to you on the phone to discuss your needs.
I'm sorry about what you've been through.
It must be hell.
But I agree. Therapy is needed for you.
Look at ones that specialise in PTSD!
But know that your mum will never be the mum you want and crave.
She just won't. You will never have her full approval.
She will forever move the goalposts and have you scrabbling for some love or any crumbs she's willing to throw you.
Have you done some reading?
Go into Amazon and search under 'toxic mother'. There's plenty of reading material that may help you out.
Also google 'FOG' Fear Obligation Guilt.
You deserve some peace now OP.
I wanna reach out to give you a have very UMNy-((((((HUG))))))
Look up the Stately Home thread on here. X
It is indeed to your credit that you treat your own children now far differently from how you were yourself treated as a child. None of what happened to you was your fault, your mother is a supremely selfish person who has and continues to put her own needs first at the expense of others. People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles. Your sister may well be far more favoured by her here and is perhaps a carbon copy of your mother.
Therapists can be an absolute minefield, what I usually advise people is to find someone who has NO familial bias about keeping families together despite the presence of mistreatment. Such people should be interviewed carefully and at length before choosing any particular one. You also need to find someone who fits in with your approach.
This therapist advised you very poorly and worse still put you directly in harms way (the letter should have been written but not actually sent). Was this person actually a member of a professional counselling body like BACP?. If so I would report because that person needs more training.
Please look at and consider posting on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these Relationships pages. Ultimately you will need to grieve for the relationship you should have had rather than the one you actually got. You are going to have to let go of any and all residual hope here that she will somehow become nicer and more amenable because she will not. It is not your fault she is like this and you did not make her that way (what if anything do you know about her own childhood and or family, that often gives clues).
I would also have a look at the "Out of the FOG" website as that has some good pointers on it too. FOG are three of many damaging legacies such people leave their now adult children.
Your mother is not worthy of the term and was an abusive parent to you when you were growing up. She has not fundamentally altered since that time and she will not change. You need to have no contact with her whatsoever. I sincerely hope too you keep your kids well away from her and for that matter your sister and your aunt (who acted as a flying monkey so her opinion should be ignored too).
I start seeing a therapist who tells me to send a letter to my mother about how I really feel over everything and everything is blown up
That counsellor should never have done that. She should not be practising, and I can't imagine that she's properly trained or qualified. I'm sorry you had such terrible advice.
You need to talk to someone, but ensure that the lesson you see this time is fully qualified and registered.
Even just reading your post made me feel anxious and breathless so I can’t imagine how traumatic it must be for you living that. Early life experiences shape us. Your mother can’t just brush what happened under the carpet and expect you to be fine. If that was the case, therapy wouldn’t exist! Are you still in therapy? If not, go back. You’ll need weekly therapy for trauma constantly. It’s your gift to yourself. You need help. You can’t and shouldn’t be expected to cope with this. You are a victim of abuse and your mother is the trigger. My advice is that you’re never going to get what you want/need from her. She’s less than. She’s not capable. She’s always going to trigger you. You moved away and did really well for yourself. You moved back and it fell apart. Why not just start suiting yourself and get that distance back. You don’t have to have your mother in your life? She’s making you ill! Focus on your husband and daughter and build up friendships elsewhere. Move somewhere else and get a fresh start. Go somewhere you love and feel free. She doesn’t define you. She doesn’t control you but if you let her, she’ll get her claws into your daughter and the whole circle of abuse will start again. She tried to use your daughter as a weapon at the funeral. Stop giving her power. Go and be happy
Oh and see a qualified trauma therapist. Somebody who has been doing it for years
Thank you for the advice. I was wondering this morning why I feel so painfully responsible for her upset over our estrangement. Is it perhaps because I’ve been conditioned to put her feelings and needs before my own? Don’t rock the boat or she will fall apart or have a tantrum! Stay in line to keep your stepdad happy for her benefit! Don’t make her feel bad!
Yes, you've been well and truly trained from early childhood onwards to put her first and with your needs and wants dead last.
How does she treat your sister; I would think she is overall more favoured although her role here is not without price either (your sister is unaware of the price to be paid).
Women like your mother cannot do relationships so the men in their lives are either as abusive as they are or are otherwise discarded.
She caused this herself because she is abusive and selfish to an extreme. None of what happened here or to you as a child was your fault in any way. It was hers, the responsibility is all hers. Like practically all toxic parents however, she will never apologise nor accept any responsibility for her actions.
OP you need to get back into therapy (not counselling), proper, long term therapy with someone who specialises in childhood abuse and trauma.
Your first port of call should be NAPAC who can guide you towards help in your area.
Also take a look at BACP and UKCP
Make sure your therapist is fully registered with a professional body so there is a complaints protocol should you need to use it.
Interview therapists, give them a call, have a chat see how it 'feels', do they 'get' you. Are they on the same wavelength do you feel heard?
You need to cut all contact with your mother. Block her on social media, email and phone. Just cut her out like a tumour.
Focus on your health: mindfulness, yoga, good, nutritious food, fresh air, sunshine, supplements (magnesium, B12, D3 especially). Look into alternative therapies as well.
Read up on family roles in dysfunctional families and abuse. Realise it's not your fault. None of this was ever your fault. However, it's your job to protect yourself now.
Read up on C-PTSD. C-PTSD is often confused with borderline or emotional unstable personality disorder, but it's common with those suffering trauma. A very good book is C-PTSD from surviving to thriving by Pete Walker.
When you grow up with that kind of abuse, while the other parent just stands by and does nothing, you are programmed to think that your feelings don’t matter. You may also have become hyper aware and feel responsible for the feelings of others, because you were made to believe that they mattered more than yours.
That might be why you are feeling the way you do?
It takes time and effort to reprogram your brain after going through that kind of abuse. It may sound stupid, but what has helped me is to repeat to myself on a daily basis that I matter, that my feelings matter and that the shit i’m in isn’t down to my choices. It’s the result of choices that were made by other people a long time ago.
Even if you don’t believe it now, if you say it often enough you will start believing it. Just know that you deserve so much better than this 🤗
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