Advanced search

Help - issues with my mum.

(21 Posts)
CharlieJSims Mon 24-Aug-20 01:12:00

Hi all,
I’ve never posted on here, though I have seen many posts that are so helpfu. I’m really stuck on an issue I have had for so many years.

My mother and I have always had a tricky relationship. There’s only about 20 odd years between us, so often it’s felt like I have a friend/older sister. She didn’t have the easiest childhood and I’m aware of this and take this into consideration whenever I have an issue with her.

I have 2 wonderful children - a tween and a tweenie. I am married to my husband nearly 14 years and we are great parents.

However, I’m actually fed up of the relationship with my mum, the way she undermines me, she uses a rude tone when speaking about me in front of my children. If I even dare suggest that she should be careful how she speaks of me and can she be positive and not use that undermining fed up tone / we should speak highly of one another, well, she absolutely goes mad - she says I have no respect for her.

So basically I can’t speak to her because everything will be blown totally out of proportion.

I’m in my 40s but I feel like a big kid who is still answering to Mummy.

The worst thing is - my children are seeing her behaviour and actually they feel it’s not right. They wonder why their Nan isn’t nice their Mum.

This isn’t just it. She’s been doing this all my life. Undermining me, telling me how to do things and how not to, cornering me, making me have guilt trips.

I can’t even request that she be careful with her words and tone of voice in front of my children, she blows the roof off. Telling me I am wrong.

She hasn’t been a motherly figure. No hugs. Rarely kind words.

I am proud that my children are having a good relationship with her because that’s what I want. But I do want her to stop undermining me and speaking lowly of me when I am not there (or ever) because the children see her behaviour etc and will copy. Or worse, they hate someone speaking rudely of their Mum.

There is so much more to the story, so many experiences which have really tainted my view of her. Really made me see what she is like.

Any advice?

Thank you

OP’s posts: |
Onthemaintrunkline Mon 24-Aug-20 01:29:56

I’d be creating a little distance, if that doesn’t work creating a little more.
Being a grandmother is a privilege and a joy, not a right. If she refuses to respect you in front of them, well to the extent your children are now noticing she (in my opinion) shouldn’t be around them or you, until she shows and practices better manners.

Anordinarymum Mon 24-Aug-20 01:32:42


I’d be creating a little distance, if that doesn’t work creating a little more.
Being a grandmother is a privilege and a joy, not a right. If she refuses to respect you in front of them, well to the extent your children are now noticing she (in my opinion) shouldn’t be around them or you, until she shows and practices better manners.

Totally agree

CharlieJSims Mon 24-Aug-20 01:37:30

Thanks and I too feel this will be the only way. I am always made to feel terrible for asking her to be careful about her tone/the way she says things. I’ve already apologised! Earlier today but she has literally told me how dare I have even mentioned anything to her. My eldest DC is the one who told me what she said the other day. She never said it to make an argument, she said it because it made her feel said to see her nan speaking in a fed up tone about her mother. The worst thing about this is my mother will get my siblings involved and turn them against me.

OP’s posts: |
CharlieJSims Mon 24-Aug-20 01:40:17

I feel I need to come up with some coping mechanisms for future issues like this. I have lost sleep over this and have tired myself out about it all. I’m already suffering with lack of sleep and I have so much work on. I just want to get to that point where I feel like an adult again.

OP’s posts: |
AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 24-Aug-20 07:00:41

What are your boundaries like here in respect of your mother, they seem so low which is not surprising really seeing as she has never really encouraged you to have any. BTW also, where is your dad here?. I ask only as he is not mentioned.

You do not so much need coping mechanisms as a need to further lower all contact levels with her to a point of zero. You would not tolerate this from a friend (or would you?) and your mother is no different. She is not worth losing sleep over and she is not losing any over you and how she treats you. Your children notice all too clearly how you as their mother is treated by their nan, this is patently not the grandparent relationship model you want to show them. A toxic person like your mother more often than not becomes toxic as a grandparent figure as well. If she is too toxic/difficult/batshit for YOU to deal with, its the same deal for your children also.

It is not your fault she is like this and you did not make her that way. Many people too have awful childhoods and yours was not ideal at all but you do not treat your children like she treats you. What do you know about her family background and childhood?. She's taken the low road here and chose to treat you abusively, you are the scapegoat for all her inherent ills. You also have two qualities that your mother totally lacks; empathy and insight.

I would also suggest you look at and post on the current May 2020 "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages. It could help you as could reading "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward. Ultimately you will need to grieve for the relationship you should have had with your parent rather than the one you actually got.

MistressMounthaven Mon 24-Aug-20 07:11:57

People always seem to want their DCs to have a nice relationship with DGPs regardless of how unpleasant the DGPs can be.
It's a bit fairy tale - DM is a miserable old witch but I want my DCs to have a loving relationship with her. When, in fact if she is a miserable old witch, even if only to one other person, they'd be better with no relationship at all, as that relationship is teaching them to expect to get away with spiteful behaviour and still get what you want in life.

Fanthorpe Mon 24-Aug-20 07:13:09

The fact that your children are questioning her behaviour means they actually don’t have a great relationship with her, she’s teaching them to accept lower boundaries - that she can behave how she likes despite their discomfort. People who demand you respect them because of who they are, despite treating you badly don’t deserve any.
Has she always set you and your siblings against each other? You might have to just accept that, although you might find if you see less of her they will understand why.

Please go to the Stately Homes thread, there’s lots of advice and support.

Shizzlestix Mon 24-Aug-20 09:28:41

Never mind coping with her, go low contact. Any further derogatory comments about you, reported by the dc or heard by you, you leave. She has no right to do this to you.

CharlieJSims Mon 24-Aug-20 10:59:33

I’ve read these few responses after a few good hours sleep and I am grateful. I woke up with pangs of huge guilt, waking feeling so empty - like how could I betray her and ask her to speak nicely about me when I should just accept her. I woke knowing that she is angry and that’s my fault. I can’t explain the feeling well. For someone who’s mostly articulate I get lost for words when it comes to my relationship with my mother. I hope I can write more freely one day.

But on a positive note, what I shared with you all yesterday was a relief. I managed to share some more detail. Even though she has loved me best she thought she could, she has done it on her terms and continues to do so.

@AttilaTheMeerkat - your points are very valid. On one hand she has shown me how I must fight for my respect with others but that in NO way should I expect any respect from her. Her words are always - “you don’t demand respect from your mother - you give it and you will get it in return”.
That’s what I have been do all my life.
I have been giving respect in the hope she will eventually give it back?
She still views me as a child. Not a woman. At over 40 I can’t continue hoping she will respect me.

My parents split when I was young. My father was abusive towards her - that is a fact. But she argued with him and got mad too / it wasn’t just one sided. However I was very mad at my father - I am so mad he hurt her. But there is a story to his pain too. Their whole relationship was a mess. It was good they divorced. But she used to tell me “your just like your father.... lazy” etc among other things. it hurt and my siblings and I hated him so much for years and years. We managed to have contact with him as we grew and I always had the threat from my mum - “I will send you to your dads if you continue this way”!

I have a relationship with my father now and he is supportive. He is a good listener. Has had his own issues in life. But overall he respects me and doesn’t demand much from me. There was a point he showed a nasty side of him when I was in my mid-thirties and I cut him off for a few years. But I guess that’s because he never drummed it into me that I owe him.

I can’t put my finger on what hold my mum has over me. It’s extremely deep rooted.
But she has this hold that we can’t move on from her. That we must never question her. She wants to be mother hen all the time. Everyone paying her compliments etc. She doesn’t respect anyone’s opinions and when you don’t agree with he she struggles to see past that.

MistressMounthaven - it’s so true and so sad. We learnt years ago there is no such fairy tale!

Fanthorpe - yes my DC are seeing the behaviour. They are being so spoilt by her and everything and anything goes that they wonder why she isn’t this way with me.

My eldest DD is taller than me. My mother has been bringing all her clothes to give them to her. It makes me happy. But guess what? I was never allowed to wear any of Mothers clothes when I was growing up. I remember borrowing one of her tops and she screamed at me. She would buy so many nice new clothes for herself and once I had tried on a dress of hers which she didn’t fit into. She said wow that looks lovely on you. But you can’t take it - it’s my favourite. I may not fit into it. And anyway I want to give it to the girls. (My DC’s). This issues was only in 5 or years ago. But imagine that’s how it’s been all my life. “Don’t touch my things, you can’t wear my clothes etc”
But now, in front of me she brings all these clothes for my DD to wear and keep. To me, my heart feels so happy for my DD. I am over the moon for her experience. However, I can’t help but wonder - is this toxic behaviour from my mother? Does she want to hurt me? Does she want to show me I am less important to her. I already know I’m not important also does she really think I would feel in the slightest bit jealous - that’s what worries me most. Because I am my children’s biggest Fan, protector, I would give them all my clothes and goods - but that would be nothing in comparison to the loving support I give them. The fact they know I am here for them.

I’m just now very concerned she is out to cause more issues. Also this type of indirect toxic behaviour might Just be reminding me how bad I had it. Maybe she is genuine now? But maybe it’s too late. I don’t even know how to deal with this but I will be looking at the thread on Stately Homes that you have suggested.

Shizzlestix - this is a good approach to have. And I guess simultaneously I can keep working on how to deal with my response to the relationship I have her. I think the past is what I need to deal with. It’s obviously weighing heavy on my mind.

Thank you ALL for your words.

Thank you for your input. I appreciate it very much. It’s made me see things through different lenses. It helps to know what others would do in this situation.

OP’s posts: |
CharlieJSims Mon 24-Aug-20 11:14:10

Would someone kindly share the Stately Homes Thread? I cannot seem to find it. I have searched and found a link but it has redirected me to and “oops we cannot find your page”

Hopefully it is still available.

Thanks all

OP’s posts: |
AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 24-Aug-20 11:17:45

"But now, in front of me she brings all these clothes for my DD to wear and keep. To me, my heart feels so happy for my DD. I am over the moon for her experience. However, I can’t help but wonder - is this toxic behaviour from my mother? Does she want to hurt me? Does she want to show me I am less important to her".

Yes yes and yes again to those questions you pose. Your mother is using your children, the eldest in particular here, to get back at you; she is truly despicable. She wants to steal your DDs heart and mind here from you and is doing so under your very nose. Do not think that this is not a possibility.

She also hates you because you personally remind her of her ex husband, a man whom she also hated. Every time she has contact with your children she is harming them. If you want peace in your life you all must not have any interaction with her whatsoever going forward.

Therapy for your own self is a good idea too; do look at BACP in this respect and find someone without familial bias. Your mother was an abusive and toxic parent to you when you were growing up and she has not changed. She is now acting similarly to your children.

CharlieJSims Mon 24-Aug-20 12:11:58


I wish for the pangs of guilt to go. For them to not be so bad. For her to have wanted her relationship with me and for us to be close and happy would be all I wanted. But the way she treated me means I haven’t forgotten those moments of pain. There are many more milestones my daughters will achieve when I will feel the same.

Looking for her in the audience when I was on stage in a show.

I always make it to my DCs shows sports days etc. I feel there is never a compromise.

I guess I just feel so let down by the way she raised me that I feel she has no right to act like this great GrandParent.

I wouldn’t mind if someone told me / get over it. But there are so many deeper issues that I believe you and others on here are right.

I need to create space. I need to stop feeling that pressure of “I owe her”.

In short, the worst episode between us was that in my late teens she hurt herself and blamed me. I can’t bring myself to say what she did / but it was bad. She was angry at me because I was relaxing on a Sunday morning. She said the usual things to me “you’re lazy like your dad” I remember ignoring her remarks and looking the other way. She walked out of the room and there was a bang. She had hurt herself and from that moment I never heard the end of it. I had ruined her life. She never spoke to me. She used to tell me that I have been her nightmare since I was 10. I became indebted to her. I accepted the blame for the fact she hurt herself through me being a nightmare and I began to tip toe around her. I would be scared if she got mad and would quickly bow down to her every request. Between then and now we have had many many times where we have not spoken, because I have stood up for myself. I have tried to keep things black and white and not delve into the past. But now, it’s evident to me more than ever that she is toxic. She really does hate me.

I find I can’t relax around her. She has never given me a hug. A real mother hug. Through the whole of lockdown she never called me to ask me “how are YOU?” She never sympathises. She just thinks she is the only one who had it hard growing up and that anything we get is better / so who are we to complain or ask for more.

I will be creating the space I need. I want to live a life where I don’t need to tell her everything. That time of being a child has gone.

I am now a fully grown woman.

I am not a jealous person, never have been and I will certainly never be of my DC. I will not stop her from all that she wants to do for them. I feel I don’t want to stop her from seeing them too. But I will speak up when I feel uncomfortable.

I will not feel bad for living my life with my family. She always says indirectly to my children “can I come with you on holiday / zoo / park / outings”.

Even my own DC have said no to me when I have suggested she comes on our holiday. She has stopped talking to me so many times and threatens me with “go live your life and we never need to speak again”. Now most of you would say “Great”. But it’s the guilt trip associated with the way she says it.

She said this yesterday - all because I asked “please can you speak about me in a positive tone when you speak to DGC” just be careful because they are growing. She told me how dare I request that. She then said she raised us children to not ever question or mimic what other adults say or do... so by that she insinuating that my DC have wronged her by telling me what Nan said. That makes me more mad.

She got my brother on the phone and he started telling me that he agrees with her. He said I am overprotective of DC and that he wants me And DH out of the way so he can spend time with them and that my mother wants this too. I was very hurt by this because DC have spent many overnight stays with my mother. Also my brother has never once said “I’m coming over, you do whatever you like and I will spend time with kids”.

I mean my thoughts are - wouldn’t it be nice to know you have family members willing to entertain your kids whilst you get on with other things.

He then tells me - you never let us take them out.

So what? Yes I am protective - but it’s been lockdown and things have changed. But previous to lockdown he has NEVER suggested this. In fact I have felt too scared to ask even my mum because she moans and asks me why, what time, when will I be back. It’s easier to just not ask!

Also where has this all come from now? When the DC we’re younger I never got the support. In fact I remember my brother saying to me, “mum gets very tired with the GCs so I need to always be around as well”. This really put me off. So yes - those overnight stays did taper off. But naturally in this current climate overnights and some outings have stopped. I can’t do anything differently right now because I am protective of them. I am also very worried about going back to school etc. I have a lot on My mind. My Dad was the only one to recently understand this and listened to me.

I’m just a hot mess of emotions and I just want to enjoy my Dc without my family toxicity but also without any toxicity. I just want a nice happy time / because growing up wasn’t like that. I can create that for my children and myself now.

Thank you for listening daffodil

OP’s posts: |
Fanthorpe Mon 24-Aug-20 12:20:38

When you reach the stage you’re at, when the veil lifts on what’s going on, it’s a very tumultuous thing. The above thread will show you that you’re not alone. Lots of resources to read and reflect on. Hold on to the knowledge that you have been enmeshed in a very dysfunctional family, your DB is as much in her thrall as you have been, she’s programmed you all with guilt and fear, all desperate for a crumb of love.

You need to concentrate on yourself and your children/DH. Protect yourself.

CharlieJSims Mon 24-Aug-20 13:55:59

I do feel a sense of liberation and freedom. I am looking for no false sense of security and I feel fine with the thoughts that my Mother and Brother might also be upset with me today. I’m not energised but who would be after all that emotional stress and lack of sleep. So I’m trying to be kind to myself. I don’t hate my mother - in fact at times like this I find myself missing her and completely wondering what the hell I have done? BUT - I must keep reminding myself - you only asked her to be careful of the things she says and tone she uses when speaking about me in front of DGC. That is not too much to ask for. Suddenly now my brother has jumped on the bandwagon so I know they will both be speaking badly of me. That my brother and I have always had a great relationship and when he has had issues with our mother I have Always helped him by talking to her an diffusing the situation. But instead he has sided with her. This happened all my life. Growing up he would side with her. And now he has done it again. The difference is that I have truly lost respect for some of the nasty things he has said. And telling me I am over protective of my DC. So what if I am? Maybe my childhood experience was too much freedom and feelings of neglect that I don’t want my children to feel what I feel now. I want them to feel safe happy and cared for. My apologies if that comes across over protective.
A year or so ago my own brother told me that my mother gets very tired when the DGC visit, so he has to be around to help. I found this made me become more protective because I would rather she just tell me that - not my brother. My brother has made no effort to help me when needed. It’s as if they don’t want to spend time with the DGC on the basis it helps me out but rather whenever they want to see them. But I see that as a lack of respect for boundaries. After all they are my children a) we come as a package deal - myself and DH will be with them most of the time! b) they can’t just pick and choose when it suits them - we have a life and things to do. They could make it easier by finding out times when it helps us. c) tHe cannot try and parent or do first time experiences with the kids. My brother wanted to over take teaching my DC how to ride a bike. That is something my DH wanted to be part of as did I. But he used that as his excuse to say you wouldn’t let me take to the park. But that was because we wanted to be involved in this milestone. It’s just over the top.

And I don’t see them being bothered about me. They lack respect for me and Sometimes see this as jealousy. They are also very nosey / asking questions and treat me and DH as children. I know DH notices this too. He always says you share too much information.

OP’s posts: |
Byallmeans Mon 24-Aug-20 14:07:40

Our parents can sometimes be not the parents we wanted or needed growing up.

But as adults we can absolutely shape our own lives and move on from the old relationships we had with them.

You don’t owe her anything

You don’t owe her a relationship with you and you certainly don’t owe her a relationship with your kids.

So really the onus is on you to change how you allow her to interact with you.

Keep your distance. Don’t engage in hostility. If you do go and see her leave after the first sign of disrespect from her.

You will be teaching your kids a good lesson in not allowing toxic people around them

Mix56 Mon 24-Aug-20 15:14:40

Your mother is not your friend, she has manipulated & abused you since you were a child.
The very best thing you can do for yourself & your family is to go
Very Low Contact. or better still No Contact.
Make sure she does not have a key to your home, if she does, just change the locks. Keep away from her, do not answer the phone. Just stop letting her poison your life.
She will never be the person you hoped she could be.
Let's called her "damaged goods". She is not wired like most people, She will use & divide your & your brother...
Can your get some councelling?

Beachbodylonggone Mon 24-Aug-20 15:22:19

You could be talking about my dm..
Been nc for 20 years except a blip 10 years ago..
No way was she behaving like she was in front of my dc..

CharlieJSims Mon 24-Aug-20 19:31:58

Thank you all. It’s been so hard to type these things and share them. But to have a safe place and a sounding board - makes me wonder why I never joined to ask before. She’s my mother and I will never hate her and I will always find reasons for the way she behaves - but I can’t keep on like this. She will always take everything I say and ask personally and expect me to shut up and not say anything. She will always act as though she has been there done it so whatever I am going through is nothing. That’s not a grown up relationship. Thats not even a caring friendly relationship. That’s not even a mother and baby relationship. It is toxic. It makes me feel inadequate and doesn’t allow me to be who I am. I am never allowed an opinion and she actually hates anything I say.

You are right - I would not allow anyone else to treat me this way,

I must put myself and my family first but I must (more than anything) stop letting her affect me and stop putting so much hope into what our relationship could be. It’s been over 25 years and nothing has got better. She’s worse. She’s just someone I have lost respect for ever since I have had my children. I am stunned. Surprised at her behaviour because I know with all of my being I would never be able to behave that way toward my children.

I guess I’m just a tad bit sad that we’ll never really get on.

Thanks for all the responses. I am starting to feel more like myself and I will continue to make positive changes to reclaiming myself and who I am. I do have the right to my life - I don’t owe her anything and I don’t need her to make me feel bad for the life I am creating and the way I want to live my life and how DH raise our DC. I must remember I am empowered to make my own choices and I don’t need to consult anyone.

Thank you all.

Have a wonderful evening.

OP’s posts: |
Mix56 Mon 24-Aug-20 19:50:25

Great, grab hold of the love you & your family have, & move forward, leave her & her toxity & bile behind.
I dont suppose you could move house? Far enough away to stop her "dropping in " ? That would be ideal

CharlieJSims Mon 24-Aug-20 20:56:16

Have thought about Australia A LOT! I guess that would be an option one day. (maybe not oz, but somewhere further).

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in