Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Mum wants contact only because of grandchild(98 Posts)
My mother and I have complicated relationship. There was no abuse of any kind when I was growing up. Relationship got much worse when my parents got divorced when I was 21. My mum announced to me she hated my dad for years and stayed married for 15+years only for my sake. They feel out of love years ago. It was amicable, but 2 years after the divorce my mum found out my dad had an affair during their marriage. She demanded I should tell my dad how disgusted I was and cut him out of my life. I refused. I assured you I understand her feelings, but he is my father, a great one and even though he wasn't a good husband for her it won't impact my relationship with him. It all went downhill from that point. She regularly tells me how awful I am, that I am just like him.
The problem is she has no one else but me, she has no contact with extended family due to various petty arguments. She currently lives in an apartment I own, she has been financially dependent on me for years.
I have a small child who she adores, she told me recently even though she loves me the only reason she tolerates me is because of her grandson.
I don't know what to do, I am conflicted between the idea of cutting her out and knowing I am the only one who she has in her life
It is not your fault at all that she chose to stay married to your father, that was her sole decision. She has merely made you her scapegoat for her poor choices and bad decisions.
You ultimately need to do what her own extended family have done I.e have no contact with her. She will never be the nice and kind mother you perhaps still want her to be nor will she ever give you her approval, (not that you need this anyway). Drop the rope she keeps on holding out to you. It’s hard being the last one left who at all bothers with her but assisting her at all as you have done does you no favours either because that gives you a false sense of control. What do you get out of having her in your life, from what you’re writing it’s not worth it. Would you tolerate this behaviour in a friend, probably not. But your mother is no different.
It will not do your son any favours for he to keep on seeing you as his mum being so disrespected by his nan. He needs to be protected from his toxic grandmother. Toxic people like your mother more often than not make for being toxic as grandparent figures too. Do read Toxic parents by Susan Forward.
How did you end up in the situation of financially supporting someone who is emotionally abusive to you? Not judgement, I’m just wondering how you can’t get out of the situation. That money could be saved for your chid.
So, to recap, the divorce was amicable right up to the point when your mum found out about the affair and then wanted you to be on her side, based on the fact that she felt she put you first despite her own feelings about her marriage which she tolerated for the greater good.
The fact that she said she only tolerated you for the sake of her grandson is a bit childish, and tit for tat. She tolerated a loveless marriage for you, so she feels she deserves payback, or rather an uncomplicated relationship.
She is lashing out at you because others have cut her off and her actions still matter to you, but a friend of mine quite rightly observed that a giver (you) needs to define the boundaries because a taker (your mum) never will.
Much depends how much her actions affect you. So, after a visit, are you OK, or does your mental health suffer?
You need to think about how much you can take, and then define the boundaries which could range from once a week to Christmas and birthdays, but be clear about this. Tell your mum with honesty and without animosity that you are happy to see her on these dates, but as she is being so hostile to you, it would be best for all concerned to keep contact to these times.
What a shame her bitterness has taken over her life, but please don't let it take over yours and your son's.
She has nobody else because they won't stand for her shit.
Take a leaf out of their books. Stop being mug.
This an extremely unhealthy situation.
You should not be letting your son spend time with someone who openly disrespects you and who is clearly a bad person who drives people away. Paying for that person too is even more bonkers.
Great advice from Attila. Set yourself free OP.
It’s on her that she’s been cut off by everyone else in her life and it’s not and was never your fault that your dad had an affair. She chose to stay in a miserable marriage (which she did not do for you, that’s completely gutless), and she has no right to insist you cut off your dad. It’s also horrendous that she feels entitled to a relationship with your son while treating you like crap. And why on earth are you supporting her financially?! No. That’s all so so wrong.
To answer some of the questions-
I come from a relatively poor background, my mum was predominantly a house wife. When my parents got divorced my dad left her their house, but she has no job to support herself, so i took over from my father while she was looking for a job. She has never found one as 'she had to sacrifice her career to look after me'. Now it is a bit easier as she has pension.
The thing is her extended family hasn't cut her off, she chose to stop contact with them as she felt they disrespected her. She doesn't tolerate any criticism/disagreement.
She is not a bad person. She is an excellent friend, her friends of many years adore her. She was a good mum until I was 18.
She is toxic and manipulative. Every time I disagree with her or ask her to stop talkin g about my dad she says she has high blood pressure and is close to having a stroke.
It is a horrible thing to say, but I truly don't get anything from this relationship, but I feel responsibility over her. She will crumble if I stop all the contact
'she had to sacrifice her career to look after me'.
So that's your fault as well, is it? She doesn't seem very good at owning her choices, does she?
I don't see how you will be leaving her with nothing and no-one given she has her friends. I suspect she knows that her behaviour won't wash with them and so she inflicts it on her family instead.
I think if you are not ready for No Contact you need to think about low contact and enforcing boundaries. When she kicks off about your dad, rather than ask her to stop, you tell her you will leave. And then you do. When she tells you you're awful, you leave. You really can't have your child growing up hearing this kind of hateful speech - and particularly not witnessing you just taking it, rather than standing up for yourself.
Why are you supporting her if she is so horrible?
I have tried a few things during last 10 years..
I thought maybe she just need to get things out of her chest and let her say everything she wants about my dad. It didn't help, she keeps mentioning it.
I have suggested to see a psychotherapist to talk through her various disappointments in life. She got hugely offended.
She keeps saying how she hates being financially dependent on me, so i never ever mention this. It just happens.
She does have high blood pressure, I am worried that anotger open and honest conversation about no contact will trigger a stroke.
High blood pressure does not equal a stroke.
Is she on medication? She'll be just fine.
I've had very high blood pressure since it was first measured, aged 20. Never once been told I'm close to a stroke. She's guilt tripping you.
You are not going to cause a stroke. That is a bit silly. Think about it. She tells you such things to control you but they are daft. Stop. Think. No you will not kill her by letting her get cross. Many elderly people have high blood pressure. They don't die of being annoyed by people.
I suggest that you just start distancing yourself. Be less available. Go round less often. Busy busy busy. Grandchild never available for whatever reason. If she kicks off then you say "and this is why I am avoiding you" before you flounce.
Give enough "disrespect" and she will cut you off too. I bet she will want to keep your flat and money though.
@champagnecommunist she is on medication, but she keeps telling me her doctor told her to avoid stress at all costs. Thank you for sharinfg your experience, it is reassuring
She sounds toxic. And likely to poison your child (mentally).
Take a step back and think.
She has to avoid stress or she might die she says.
Yet recently she has told her daughter, you, who totally funds her lifestyle that the only reason she tolerates me is because of her grandson
Sounds to me like someone who was trying to create maximum stress in her life. It is almost comedic. Can you see it?
I’d carefully plan a Low Contact life around her, set my boundaries and then go Grey Rock in any conversation you deign to have with her.
Despite what you often see/hear about these concepts on MN, they need to be carefully researched and learned. Not just junk psychology. Done well and consistently, they are very powerful tools.
Once you’re in the habit of them, her power over you will diminish. It’ll be very freeing!
Please tell me she's paying you rent or covering the mortgage on that apartment?
@girlzroolz thank you, I will research it. It sounds like it might work.
@Rtmhwales no, of course she doesn't. Moreover she extensively complains that my apartment is not good enough. I feel stupid typing it
You don’t owe this woman anything.
I think if you truly look at your background and childhood you’ll find evidence that she wasn’t really a good mother.
Tell her If she only tolerates you, she can leave your flat.
Stop avoiding talking about her financial dependence on you as that’s what she wants.
You still sound like you want/need her approval and your never going to get it.
@7yo7yo It is definitely not an approval issue. She tells anyone who would listen how proud she is of my achievements, she just thinks I am an awful daughter. She even said to me a few times she finds me frustrating because I look and act like my father.
I see what a few posters said.. She is definitely guilt tripping me. For some reasons I don't clearly understand I feel responsible for her wellbeing
Could there be a financial issue where you need to sell the flat, the council will help regime her I think.
I kinda recognise this crazy dance. I know you suggested she go to a psychotherapist but have you been to one? They can help you understand and find strategies to cope with toxic parent. They can also give their professional opinions if there may be something in play like borderline personality disorder. Parents with issues make the kids feel like they are the ones going nuts. I speak from experience and you have my sympathies.
I found a low contact way of engaging which works for me and maintains relationships between DC and DM, while keeping me in one piece. It was a long road and I'll be happy to discuss it in DMs.
A few good book recommendations from PPs. I'd say 'walking on eggshells' (Paul Mason?) might also be relevant.
I suspect that once she is looking after herself and has some self-respect she will begin to look upon you more kindly. I think someone needs to spell this out fairly bluntly - you are enabling your mother with an unhealthy lifestyle - physically and mentally. She knows deep down she is living parasitically. You are definitely not going to change her or improve her behaviour, but you can change how you deal with her. I suggest letting her grow up and deal with her own problems.
She currently lives in an apartment I own, she has been financially dependent on me for years
Presumably the apartment is legally in your name, if you say you "own" it. Make sure you have that one legally squared away with official paperwork, otherwise if she dies she is liable to leave it to the cats home just to spite you, judging by how you've described her.
When my parents got divorced my dad left her their house
I don't understand this. What happened to the house you say your father "left" her. Why do you need to house her if she already has a property that your father had provided (presumably in their divorce settlement)?
If you do want to sever ties, you need to have a good understanding about this property situation, so you are free of any obligation to support her, and you get what is rightfully yours reinstated ie your apartment.
Please login first.