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I don't understand why my Mum is like this with me?

(11 Posts)
notanotherbloomingnamechanger Wed 20-Aug-08 14:04:41

Have namechanged as am regular poster.

I am finding it hard to deal with my Mum at the moment.

She lost her partner of 18 years just under two years ago, suddenly. She grieved, as she is perfectly entitled and expected to do, we all did. They had quite a strange relationship - she'd had a few affairs over the years and had made moves to leave him before, but never had - he could be quite chauvanistic and arrogant at times, but mellowed a lot in his last years. She decided to stay with him, but used to blatantly ignore him quite a lot of the time.

She went to pieces when he died. Because it was as a result of a house fire, she also lost her home. It was awful, really tragic. She is rehoused now, her home is lovely, though this in no way makes up for what she lost.

She was offered counselling at the time, and she went for two sessions. The first went well but it was a different counsellor for the second session, who she didn't like, so she never went back.

Ever since, she just seems determined to stay unhappy. She doesn't seem to want to get over it. She has become a grandmother for the first time as my brother's wife has had a baby, which she seems to really enjoy, but otherwise she doesn't do anything except go to work and then go home and watch TV. It's almost as if she has written her life off, but she's only 55.

She had friends but she's lost touch with them because she "can't be bothered". They ring her but she doesn't ring them back.

I am now pregnant and she hasn't shown any interest whatsoever, just keeps telling me how difficult I'll find it when the baby comes. I go to see her weekly, but she never even offers me a cup of tea, even though she'll make herself one while I'm there. I try to make conversation but just get one word answers. On Sunday she told me she'd "booked her nervous breakdown" for when she has a fortnight off work.

She has only been to mine and my partner's home twice since I moved in in January, despite her only living two minutes drive away, and one of those times was when I specifically asked her to bring me something because I was housebound after an operation. Another time my brother was calling in to see me and she just happened to be in the car with him. I invite her all the time.

I understand that she's depressed. What I don't understand is that she makes the effort with my brothers, even travelling 60 miles by train on her day off to see the youngest one, yet doesn't seem bothered about me, my DP or my pregnancy. She never asks me questions about how the pregnancy's going, only to say "I hope you haven't chosen a really far-out name for the baby".

She was always like this with me though. When I lived away, she never called, only visited twice in 12 years, didn't seem interested.

I have tried including her more, taking her out for lunch, inviting her to our home, ringing her... she just stays cold.

I don't know how much more I can do.

notanotherbloomingnamechanger Wed 20-Aug-08 15:09:40

Bump... anybody been through similar?

Emma789 Wed 20-Aug-08 17:53:23

I have problems with my mother too. They started long before my father died but there was a change for the worst then.
When I was pregnant with Dc1 I thought she would change and have a reason to make an effort for me and I was right to a limited extent at first but now she almost completely ignores my DCs whilst having much more interest in her other GCs.
The problem after she was widowed was that she became selfish and self-centred. She tried to make herself the child and think we should all look after her (she was 49 at the time!). We thought it was part of the grief and consequent depression, but it is over 10 years now and she is still doing it. It has become who she is. Some of it is just a lack of consideration for others, some of it results from living alone (so forgetting manners - like make that cup of tea for her visitor) and some of it is because she really does not like me, her daughter.
But I think what you are really asking is why your mother has singled you out for mis treatment, as mine has, and to that question i really do not know the answer. I do not think I will ever know. And it hurts a lot sometimes.
Unless your mother tells you, or mine tells me or some mother who is doing this to her daughter tells us, then I don't think we will ever know.
I'm sorry because I would like to give you and myself the answer to this question, but I can't. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone.
The only advice I can give you though is not to set your expectations too high for how she will react to your baby's arrival. Maybe she will dote, but then she might use the opportunity to spitefully drive the message home to you about how she feels about you.

You could try to ask her. If it was my mother she would deny and accuse me of makign trouble by asking but maybe yours will be different. You could ask your brothers as they might know and might be willing to tell you. Or you could accept that you will never find out and have to write off the relationship, which in my experience is easier said than done.

I am sorry I can't give you answers but you do have my sympathy.

Ally90 Wed 20-Aug-08 18:20:53

Stately Homes thread? Some of us have similar mothers. Its not your fault she is this way and there will be nothing wrong with you...she clearly has issues, perhaps with you because you are female?

SuziQT Wed 20-Aug-08 18:57:06

I have been in a very similar situation to you. The only advice I can give, and it is from my own experience, is as Emma mentions. Don't set your expectations too high or you will be constantly disappointed. I have spent all my life playing second fiddle to my siblings and now my own children are playing second fiddle to my siblings children. I battled with the pecking order, but am slowly coming to realise that nothing is going to change.

We recently visited my mother for four days and by the third day she still had not lifted a finger to cook any food for my husband and our three children, despite having travelled 1000 miles to see her. We did all the cooking in her house. She on the other hand brags about the dinner parties that she throws for other members of the family and what great recipes she uses.

For many years I have lived in a state of permanent, lingering disappointment and upset. Recently I have found strength to allow myself to focus only on MY family; my husband and my own children. For me, that is the family that is important now.

Congratulations on your pregnancy. Focus now on your own children and don't make the same mistakes of the previous generation. You can't change people and you can't make them feel something they don't. Very sad but very true.

catweazle Wed 20-Aug-08 18:58:23

Something I would take issue with in your OP is

"She doesn't seem to want to get over it." It's been less than 2 years since she lost her DP and her home! My father died suddenly and it was only on the 7th anniversary of his death that I felt human again.

Perhaps she recognises your impatience with her?

piratecat Wed 20-Aug-08 19:14:37

at least you recognise that she wa alwyas like this with you, and now on top she has lost her reason for life, and has grief on top.

Mothers, mine is similar at times. the thread 'we took you to stately homes ' is very good.

You must be feeling it, being pregnant tho, try to accept this is how it is other wise you will self destruct.

notanotherbloomingnamechanger Wed 20-Aug-08 19:20:46

Catweazle - I fully see your point, and I sense my own impatience with her sometimes.

Thing is, this was going on long before she lost him. She wanted to leave him, I looked for houses that she could rent because I knew she would struggle to find the time to look herself, yet she never went any further with it, just carried on happily being unhappy, if you see what I mean. When I was married and lived down the road, she'd never visit. She took my two brothers on holiday in the year I left school, and told me I could only go if I paid for it myself.

And of course I recognise it takes years to get over losing someone, I'm not a heartless cow. If it hadn't been happening prior to his death, I would recognise it as grief and not take it to heart as much. But it was already going on as far back as 1989.

Also my brothers don't get the "I'm going to have a nervous breakdown when I have my two weeks off work" line, which makes me suspect it's something she does to make me feel bad.

smithfield Thu 21-Aug-08 10:21:52

Notanother- The issue is not with you. You have done nothing wrong. I know on some level you know that, but on another you wont, which is why you need to hear it.

Its sounds to me that (probably because you are the daughter) she expects/wants 'you' to meet her emotional needs and not the other way around.

Was her own mother like this with her by any chance? Or someone else close to her?

Enotional abuse is normally a cycle and is generational which is why I ask.

It wont ease the pain but sometimes by reading around it and working out a generational pattern you can at least begin to rationalise the situation which IME is the first step to detatching emotionally.

When I say detatching emotionally I am talking about letting go of the hurt and pain we carry over from childhood.

I am starting to do this myself through therapy, and reading and writing on the stately homes thread.

Its not easy and you have to be kind to yourself, not having a mothers love leaves us with a huge sense of loss and grief we sometimes try and avoid facing up to.
Much easier to think we can change ourselves and finally win our mothers' approval or fix our mothers somehow.

Unfortunately the stark truth is our mothers will never change and no matter who or how we are with them they would still not love us because they are not capable.

You need to take care and nurture yourself now and your growing family.
Make sure the cycle ends here.

notanotherbloomingnamechanger Sat 23-Aug-08 08:29:37

After a couple of days not hearing from her I called her twice yesterday. She has caller display but didn't answer. If it was me, and my daughter called, I'd ring back, or text, or something, but hours passed and she didn't call back.

So I sent her a message late on, didn't want to make a big issue of it - "are you ok?"

Reply - "fine."

"I called but didn't hear back from you, just a bit worried."

"popped to the shop".

Ok, that's all fine. That is a very typical response from her. She can come to me, she's obviously not in the mood for speaking.

Thing is, I know I'll get a snotty text in a couple of days asking why I haven't been in touch, or I'll get some comment passed on through my brother about how she hasn't heard from me in a week, even though when I do ring her I get one word answers, and when I do call round I get complete lack of interest and cold shouldered.

Emma789 Sat 23-Aug-08 20:54:45

It sounds like the sort of thing my mother used to do to me (until the relationship deteriorated).
Having analysed it for hours and hours and days and days down the years, these were the options I always had and I think they are your options too:-

1. Pre-emptive strike. Call you brother/ send email and say (as if concerned) "Is Mum ok? She has been behaving very oddly with me for a couple of days e.g. xxxx and I am just wondering if she's ok. As you can see i can't seem to get to speak to her so i was just wondering if you've spoken to her and if she is ok? It's probably just my imagination, but she does seem to be behaving in a bizarre way with me so i just wanted to check that all is ok and she's not in any trouble etc" (in this one your mum will show herself to be twisting the truth when she calls your brother to complain about you).

2. Ignore her and your brother and when she finally calls, say you've been distracted with something and hadn't realised that it was a while since you spoke. (This one annoys them best I used to find).

3. Decide to truly ignore her and write her out of your life. Just drop her like you would a friend or boyfriend who had let you down so badly that they were not worth the phone call to be told they were history. (This option is the hardest to do and I don't know how to do it).

4. Go to her house and tell her how you feel. (Sounds like it should work as you are appealing for better treatment and maybe it will work for you, but it never worked for me. It just led to many tears from me, anger from her and me driving home in hysterics. It took a long time to learn that it would not work though, and even now I am thinking of giving it another go).

5. Send her an email as though you have not noticed the silent treatment and are just being chatty/ sending a joke etc. Ask her a question in it on her favourite bore the rest of the world subject and sit back and wait for her to be unable to resist the temptation of replying. You might have to send 2 or 3 such emails before she contacts you. (This method works best for getting over the immediate problem but does nothing to help the long term one and if anything makes things worse in the long term as she sees you will try to talk her round when she is being nasty and she might like the pampering.)

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