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How to lose the anger over the mum I never had(27 Posts)
I’m early 40’s now and have felt this way for past 10 years or so since I had my children when it came to the surface.
I prob always felt anger but didn’t know it and didn’t know why.
Through no fault, my mum was never there for me in the sense a child needs their parent to be there. She suffered depression my whole childhood and had a breakdown and was hospitalised when i was 14. She was in and out of hospital for a few years and after that she was medicated so I guess that made her subdued and tired a lot.
Anyway, I think it was pot luck I had good friends at the time and always used to escape to them for normality.
I know my mum loved me and loves me now but we have a strange relationship and I’m angry about not having a mum to have called on when needed, I feel like I have had to figure most stuff out on my own in life. It may not sound that bigger deal but it deeply saddens me, I know others have had worse in life so I guess I have things to be thankful for. I remember a lot of my younger years feel on edge about my mums mood, she would cry a lot. We would sit in parks when we prob should have been at school, I don’t know why. I’m angry at my dad too don’t worry, he worked 40+ hours a week keeping us in a home and with food and maybe he thought that was enough.
I had the necessities but not guidance or stability to some extent, I’m angry about it but it isn’t anyone’s fault so I don’t know where to place my anger, so I probably be snappy with her, get easily frustrated with her (she’s a massive people pleaser and always sits on the fence and has some really strange ideas at times). I feel tearful writing this, there is so much more I could say but I have gone on for long enough.
I wonder if anyone has been in similar situations? Or any advice or ideas at all really. Thank you for reading.
Therapy will help you .
My mother was also emotionally unavailable and I didn’t have a dad so raised myself In many ways .
I noticed as I got to the age my mum was when I was a child - I resented her even more .
I don’t talk to her anymore as she never changed .
That’s real emotional neglect OP Agree with a PP, therapy is a good place to start trying to heal a bit.
for you. Be kind to yourself. You have every right to name this and feel all your feelings about it.
It must be really difficult because you're right to be angry that you didn't have a "normal" upbringing, but you've nowhere to put it because it's not her fault her mh was/is so poor. Shit all round, especially for you as a child and teen.
I think counselling / therapy for you might help.
I feel like I need her to know how much she has hurt me but I can’t ever tell her. Firstly it wasn’t her fault, secondly she isn’t a bad person, she is kind and thoughtful to people. She may have no clue I feel this way but she would no doubt feel my snappy behaviour at her sometimes. I feel so confused.
I can’t afford therapy and NHS offer only iapt cbt sort of therapy, I tried a session a few years back and I just couldn’t talk for crying.. it’s all bottled in that any start to release and the tears come. The therapist wasn’t helpful at all really, I didn’t go back
That sounds rubbish OP - the therapist. Have a research for low cost/sliding scale therapy (it will be online/via phone at the moment). You never know, there might be something affordable.
You were and remain emotionally neglected by your parents. She may well be kind and thoughtful to people but to you she was not and remains unavailable. You have every right to feel angry.
How do you get on with them these days?.
Re therapy I would urge you to contact the BACP; their fees I think operate on a sliding scale. I would also consider posting on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these Relationships pages too.
Do you have an employee assistance programme with your work at all? You might be able to access counselling through that?
Your anger is valid.
(If it's not a case of being hand to mouth financially, but of priorities, investing in your mh shouldn't necessarily be low down on the list.)
It is a big deal. You're traumatised.
I know it sounds crap but have you tried letter writing - not to send but to be able to express the things you wish you could say and then destroy the letters?
As part of a bigger picture it can be helpful.
I would think about ways you can vent your angry feelings that won't harm you or anyone else. Screaming into or hitting pillows, tearing up paper, journaling, sitting in your car with music on and screaming or shouting it all out...
You do need to find ways to release it otherwise you're going to turn into a pressure cooker.
If you can't access trauma therapy right now, would you find reading helpful? To understand and validate your experiences as much as to explore strategies to help you come to terms with their impact on you?
Judith Herman's book Trauma and Recovery does have some good exploration on the impact of emotional neglect on children including as they reach adulthood, and then how to recover. (It also covers interpersonal violence/abuse but you can skip the parts that don't fit with your experiences.)
Lots of people recommend Pete Walker.
I really like a book called Recovering from Trauma through Yoga (David Emerson) - that might actually be a useful practical one for you to help with your feelings of anger in particular? It's a short, easily read book and it's not the kind of yoga that's about stretching and perfect poses or getting fit. I was very, very sceptical but convinced after trying it.
I am really sorry for everything you've been through. I hope that there will be something that will be useful to you in the replies on this thread, even if it's just feeling heard and understood.
I would think that letting your mum know that she hurt you will only result in you feeling shitty about your actions and realistically your mum knows the damage she has done.
Depression is a horrendously selfish disease and being raised by parents with mental health issues is extremely difficult (I know this from own experience)
However all you can do is work on yourself now. This doesn’t fit with any of the narrative around therapy etc but I found that basically looking to the future and accepting the past is past is very therapeutic.
This doesn’t mean you don’t examine your own behavior to see how you can make sure you are not carrying on any bad legacies, however it does mean living your life without the constant baggage of the past.
What’s done is done, they can’t change the past and have to live with what they have done. However you can change the future. Good luck op
I agree merrygoround but I don’t know how to let it go, I don’t want to really tell her, I wouldn’t ever as she’s still mentally fragile and takes a wrong look 👀 very personally.
I think hearing some of you say that my feelings are rightful, that it’s not me being a horrible person for feeling this way.
I will look into all the therapy ideas and some of the books mentioned, I really want to feel better and turn that corner. I am a big comfort eater and this isn’t helping my weight problems that I have.
I haven’t really told anyone how I truly feel, I did and do sometimes talk to my DP but I’m not sure he’s the right person, he always seems to just say my mum is a bit odd and I don’t think he realises how much it affects me, this again is not his fault, he too suffers with mental health problems at times ( although he has help and deals with it in a better way than my mum ever did).
I can absolutely relate to your feelings, OP. My relationship with my mum was (I'd convinced myself) 'great' until I had kids (I had my first one when my dad was nearing the end of a terminal illness, so seeing dad through to the end, becoming a mum myself, and observing how my own mum coped with dad lit a spark which became a forest fire of rage over a period of ten years).
My mother too struggled with depression and my overwhelming memory is that she 'wasn't there'. She was never around. She was always in her bedroom, hiding away. She'd unintentionally checked out. My eldest brother, being nine years older than me and a violent drug addict, added more fuel to the fire than any of us could cope with. It was awful at times. I'm 48 now and this stuff has carried on in various forms over the years.
It's totally ok to have anger towards your mum. And it's healthy because it is the first step in a longish process of figuring it all out and making peace with it all. But mostly, you need to find your inner peace so that you can find the joy in each day. This is really important. This is your life, OP. Don't live it in the shadow of emotional vampires. You can learn to love your mum on your terms without the past manipulating the present. Or, you don't have to love her at all! That too is totally ok! You don't have to feel guilty. We get one shot at this glorious (and yes, painful) thing called life. It is your life. Live it in total truth, OP. Fill it with the light of your love for your own children.
Therapy really helps clear the dust and cobwebs. It's a process. I just finished my sessions and I still have a lot of work to do. My next step is to join a nar-anon group to understand the patterns I have inherited courtesy of growing up with an addicted brother and enabling mother. I have patterns I need to let go of. So, your journey towards healing starts with therapy. It may complete with therapy or you may find yourself on a more spiritual path. Only you will know. But what is sure is that you will find your peace. I wish you happiness and peace in all of your days.
If you're in Scotland, you can't self-refer for therapy on the NHS- go through your GP. But in England, you can self-refer online, which is great! And that's what I did. I self-referred, got a call about a week later where they talked to me about my history and decided what was best. For me it was trauma therapy (talking). Here is the link I used:
PPS- Because of covid, my therapy was done over the phone for one hour a week. Suited me fine, tbh! Actually, it made it easier for me to talk about stuff I had never talked about before.
Therapy. Honestly get a good therapist and let all this resentment out.
I had a terrible childhood. My mother self medicated her mental health problems. She then had addiction problems. She wasn't there for me at all growing up, I bought my siblings up.
I carried so much sadness and resentment. She died when I was in my twenties and I never got to address it with her.
Therapy helped me. And I was encouraged to look into my mothers past and educate myself on mental health and how it effected her. I found she'd suffered a traumatic event in her early teens and her parents were themselves emotionally unavailable. She'd suffered terribly and never really mentally recovered.
I wish I'd known so I could of helped her. I've forgiven her, she had little control over her mental health. Her childhood damaged her. She didn't know how to bring a family up properly because she'd never been in a functional loving family herself. I'm not angry with her anymore and any sadness I used to feel is now sadness for her and not myself.
In my experience anger can mask a deep underlying sadness. It is a very sad and lonely and isolating experience to go through what you went through. I agree with those suggesting speaking to someone experienced in dealing with this to help you let those emotions flow through you and deal with that underlying sadness.
I’m sorry you are going through this; and I’m sure that looking out for an ageing parent who has always been a fragile one is really bringing the old anger to the surface. Your younger self was parentified instead of being allowed to be a child. As you say, you were cared for materially but not emotionally. It also sounds as though there is a degree of manipulation in your mum’s behaviour now: not that she’s either feigning her ill health or necessarily doing things consciously, but if a particular ‘look’ evokes fear, that is controlling.
There will be a much younger ‘part’ of you that didn’t get her needs met and - because humans are resourceful - she found ways to survive. You may well find a therapist who is comfortable working both with trauma and ‘parts’ is a good fit to help you through some of the anger and sadness. Many therapists will negotiate their fees even if they don’t advertise the fact. I really feel that a space to explore your hurt would be very beneficial to you.
You know what I'd do love?
Separate things out. Things you dont want to say out loud. Things the adult you would say are unfair or whatever. And then find a safe place to vent from your child self. A laptop Word document is my favourite. Get the self help books and work through them and stop and write when you're moved to.
This is an emotional wound that is festering and needs exploring. For example what effect did not having a mum have on all the aspects of your life? Express your anger. And sadness and loss. Explore the sort of lady you've become as a result.
I used to think of it as feeling I needed to be sick, and then taking myself off to the loo, getting down and letting the sick out. Do it each time you feel the need. Thus is how it will go away.
And take care of yourself in the meantime. Take things easy, dont do too much, be careful responding to people who annoy you xx
I'm sorry you didn't have a proper mum x
I understand this OP. Nothing was ever about me and it made me feel like I didn't matter. Depression is so awful for the person suffering but it can also seriously hurt other people too.
It doesn't sound trivial at all and I can relate to what you are expressing. I was unable to be open with my mother and father because my mum finds it v hard to cope with anything difficult so all my life I have had to protect her from any hint of criticism of our childhood because she sees life through her lens and it was a perfect childhood ( in her eyes ) ! This dynamic was perpetuated by my dad who idolized my mother and prioritised her feelings above all others.
As an adult I have never leaned on her for emotional support because she can't provide that and if anything she undermines me further by implying it is my fault when things go wrong . She simply finds it v hard to deal with the harsh realities of life and prefers to gloss over anything unpalatable.
I have been conflicted a lot because I know she loves me and I her and I have never discussed any of this stuff with her because firstly she would not accept any of it and secondly it would massively hurt her . I don't want to do that.
What helped me was to offload it and work it through with my lovely Aunt who was a tower of strength for me and my husband who has been there to listen over and over again !
And most importantly I choose to forgive both my parents for this damaging dynamic and let it go. I was then able to see that they were both victims of their own upbringing and experiences and did the best they could. Forgiveness really did turn things around for me.
I let go of any resentment a long time ago now. My dad passed away 3 yrs ago. I miss him desperately and I am glad I never broached any of this with my parents but dealt with it by other means.
Not that i am saying that is right for you just my experience.
It does sound crap as a teenager.
However it seems to me your mother was ill, very ill with depression. That's an illness she had no control over. Back then treatments for mental health issues were not as advanced as they are now, and many times patients were simply drugged to the eyeballs to slow down their brain function essentially 'to keep them safe', which in turn removed a lot of emotion.
I know this as I've a good friend (since I was 4) who suffered appalling treatment in care homes (the sort that would now be exposed on TV) after some poor hospital treatment in the late 70s/early 80s including electric shock treatment, it's seriously affected her life since - she's very very anxious, feels paranoia that people she's barely met are out to get her (she thought a neighbour in the flat opposite was spying on her as one thread from the fringe of his scarf was caught in the door and she thought it was a spy camera. I actually snipped it off as she wouldn't believe me and wouldn't approach it to look). And the drugs she is on slow her down. She's well educated, nicely spoken and intelligent, the kindest most helpful person ever, always tries to please, but she is definitely 'odd' - her brain function is slower due to drugs and sometimes makes her ramble especially when tired, and sadly she has very few friends.
I think you need to seek therapy, whether self-help or a therapist, work through your thoughts and issues and in turn I hope that will help you accept your mother as she is. I'm quite sure she did care for you immensely as your material needs were met, however her illness and the drug regime she was on would have made it impossible for her to show it, or to express herself let alone help you with your teenage angst.
I appreciate all your comments, support and advice. I’m going to see what might be available through work. I logged into iapt and it asked for brief reason, I didn’t know what to write.. I feel anger towards my mum and it makes me sad, I’m not depressed or angry in general, it prob doesn’t help with my emotional eating and my relationship with my mum, perhaps more but I’m not sure they can help me.
I do know it isn’t my mums fault for all that happened, this is the whole reason I feel so conflicted and confused. My anger is there but I don’t know how to let it go as I’ve said up post a bit. I feel sorry for my mum for having lived that life but still she doesn’t help herself at all, it’s frustrating and up pops the anger.
I think it’s unhelpful for posters to ‘remind’ you your mother had an illness and claim it wasn’t her fault. It’s a shutting-up tactic. You made it clear that you’re aware of that in your OP so it just sounds preachy and repressive for people to force you back into being an understanding daughter. You need to feel free to claim your rage and grief and deep sadness about the neglect you suffered - to be allowed to speak your truth.
Hi yes I had similar, even with the age - I was a teen when mine got worse and ended up being sectioned. I escaped to uni, had the school help with the UCAS forms and got a grant. Even then she would ring with odd messages that I was at threat and I would have to stay in the halls for the weekend after police were called. Things like that
So yes I do understand where you are coming from. Parents divorced around the same time and had to deal with that as well. I am NC with mum now and feel guilty as it is an illness as well but I was not willing just to be emotionally dumped on or parenting them anymore. Not when I have my own children as well.
Anyway I found a site online called Out if the Fog helpful.
I find it hard when others don't get it. and have learned to be careful who I share with as some people don't they only see things from their own experience.
Interesting orangeblossom I saw some really traumatic things in my teens before my mum was hospitalised (sectioned). I have the most vivid memories of her doing really weird fucked up things and at that age, I was so scared and I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I have told my partner about it all but probably no one else the whole details of what I saw and went through at the worst of her illness before she went for treatment. I was scared but also mortified and embarrassed about the things she did in public that was at the time, just crazy to see.
Just thinking of it brings me to tears. I do need to get this out
It is good to acknowledge your anger and I think it is a grieving process. You are grieving the loss of the childhood you deserved but didn't get and now you have your own children it is throwing things into even sharper relief.
Keep talking to whoever can help you understand all of it. I credit my husband for so much because he was instinting in his support for me and listened to me telling the same stories over and over as I tried to understand them and the impact they had had on me. It takes time to heal I think but sharing is good. Even posting here is part of a process that will help you to put it all together in your head and come to terms with it a little bit more.
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