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I need third person perspective. Does my mum just not like me? And is that okay?

(32 Posts)
ajarbythedoor Thu 30-Jul-09 19:03:05

We've never had a falling out, we apparently get on fine, this is just how things are.

She speaks to me about once a month on the phone. I speak to my dad far more often, and she is quite happy to get our news via him, she says. Except that either he doesn't pass things on, or she's not really interested, because she never knows what's going on with us. When I do speak to her, it is usually at my dad's instigation - he will insist that "Mum is dying to talk to you!" and put her on the phone, and sometimes our chat is okay but often it's a bit awkward and she clearly doesn't really want to chat. She doesn't see the point of talking when there's nothing to say.

I would say this is just how she is, but she has a completely different relationship with my brother. They talk all the time. A few months ago I was chuckling to my bro saying that I spoke to mum for 30 minutes which is unheard of, and that we'd had a really good natter. Usually she chats for 10 minutes, or 20 tops and then has to go. He was puzzled and said that she talks to him for easily an hour when he calls.

My brother says I look for things to feel offended about.

I send photos of the children, which Dad says that Mum just loves. She never ever ever replies or says anything about the photos. Is my dad over-egging the pudding deliberately, and saying how much my mum adores the photos so I won't think she's not bothered about them? I sent some a few days ago, and no response as usual. Then I remembered I;d not sent an address she asked for so emailed again with the address and said "did you like the photos?". No reply.

I constantly feel silly for being needy about her attention, but then I take a step back and I don't think wanting to talk to my mum once every couple of weeks, or acknowledge some photos of her grandchildren is particularly needy. Is it? Tell me. I really don't know.

She is with me as she is with her mother, who she has been quite frank about not liking.

I remember as a child she often used to say "I love you, but I don't always like you very much". I know she loves me. I think it is enough for her to know I'm okay and happy and doing well. Maybe she just doesn't actually enjoy my company or like me very much.

Last time we saw my parents I was chatting away with a friend of hers who I'd not met before. After a while Mum laughed and said "You see X? I told you she ought to have been your daughter, not mine!" She was only joking about the fact that X and I had interests in common that my mum and I don't share. She said it a few times though. It has stuck with me.

She has spoken before about how she likes one of my half brothers more than the other. I think she thinks about this sort of thing, how well she gets on with people, and how well she likes them.

So (sorry, this is rather long), I am left with the conclusion that my mum wishes me well but doesn't like me much. And I suppose I should just put my big girl pants on and deal with that. We have all met people we don't like, and you can't help liking or disliking someone. I do often feel a bit crappy about it though. I feel as though I'm getting something wrong. I feel like I just need to do something better or different or something, and then she'd like me. Which is pathetic behaviour from a grown woman, and I know I'd be on a hiding to nothing. You can't make someone like you.

Not sure what I want from this thread really. What do you think?

Tortington Thu 30-Jul-09 19:15:29

i think you need to put your big girl pants on - parents are funny things. they have an unspoken unseen hold over you - the power of a parent is fantastic - which is worth realising as a mother yourself.

i would just leave her be - don't overly try - be nice send cards but just leave it.

there will be a time when brother is too busy and poor mum will want you then!

letsgostrawberrypicking Thu 30-Jul-09 19:21:44

it's fine not to have a fab talking all the time relationship with your mum through no fault of your own. My "I have no favourites" mum definately favours 2 of my siblings and tbh it's a blessed relief when she leaves me alone!!!

Metella Thu 30-Jul-09 19:29:20

When my mum was alive I spoke to her about every 3 or 4 months. She never remembered anything about me or my children but that was just the way she was. She spoke to my sister every day!! She wasn't really interested in listening to anyone - she preferred talking!!

I just got on with my own life and let her get on with hers.

aGalChangedHerName Thu 30-Jul-09 19:32:37

Poor you sad

My mum def prefers my db. I had a similar thing except i would phone/visit her often. When i stopped doing all the running around after her it was easier for me. We never talk on the phone/she hardly visits and i haven't been to her house in over 18 months.

If they are not interested why bother? I wouldn't even bother with cards or photos. I don't give my parents/DH's parents nursery/school pics either now.

Just step back and let her be. You are banging your head on a brick wall imo.

WinkyWinkola Thu 30-Jul-09 19:36:35

I would be so upset if my mum was disinterested in me or mine.

I don't think it's pathetic to wonder how you could generate more interest from your own mother. Not at all.

But you sound like you need to work out whether it is i). actually possible and ii). how miserable would you be if you just left it alone and stopped making any effort with her beyond the basic courtesy. Maybe if you weren't making an effort, she'd miss it and realise that you actually are very important to her. But I wouldn't bank on that.

Your dad sounds great and he probably is trying to make things better by bigging up your mum's reactions to photos, telephone calls etc. She sounds like a bit of a chilly fish really. Can you focus more on the enormous positives you get from your father instead of trying to warm up your mother?

But again, I can see how it would be upsetting to realise that your mum doesn't have much interest in you.

ajarbythedoor Thu 30-Jul-09 19:37:29

Thanks for reading all that, and posting your thoughts.

I think you're right that there's nothing I can do to change her. I just need to stop minding.

I look at dd and I can't imagine being uninterested in her.

MrsFawlty Thu 30-Jul-09 19:38:40

Poor you - it feels like shit, doesn't it. As aGal says, if you can take a step back that's probably the best thing, why keep pouring your energy into something that only makes you feel crap? Very difficult in practise though, I know, I've recently reconciled to the fact that my dad dislikes me and it's taken ADs and counselling to deal with it. And I still have days where am still incredibly angry about it all.

aGalChangedHerName Thu 30-Jul-09 19:39:51

Actually i have thought about speaking to my mum about everyhting but i know what kind of reaction i'd get. That would be worse than just dealing with it. Imagine pouring my heart out and then nothing changes sad Better not to in my case i think.

ajarbythedoor Thu 30-Jul-09 19:42:25

If I just left it alone and was polite but stopped making any effort we would just drift. Absolutely no way she would ever be spurred into making more effort, or that she would mind.

I really do wrack my brains trying to work out if there's some dreadful thing I've done to offend her. She can be so offish with me.

I used to think we were close. I'm not really sure what I think now. I feel a bit silly.

aGalChangedHerName Thu 30-Jul-09 19:42:31

Do you know i can almost cope with the fact that she doesn't like me/is uninterested in me but...

My 4 fab dc,i mean WTF?? How can a woman put all her love and attention into her other Gc and not give a shite about mine sad

You have to let it go. I struggle at times even now but i can live day to day and be okish xxx

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 30-Jul-09 19:43:04

Sounds like you have a great relarionship with your dad though - how does he get on with your DB?

ajarbythedoor Thu 30-Jul-09 19:44:17

MrsF - sorry you've had a hard time of it.

aGalChangedHerName Thu 30-Jul-09 19:45:52

MrsF god how shit for you xx

FattipuffsandThinnifers Thu 30-Jul-09 19:47:31

I'm sure she doesn't actually dislike you - but it might be you're just different kinds of people. Objectively, if she wasn't your mum, would she be one of your good friends? If the answer's "no", that doesn't mean you don't love her, or even dislike her, but simply that we can't always have things in common with anyone regardless of whether they're family.

I hope this doesn't sound harsh, I know it must be upsetting to be in your position.

I think we spend so long looking for our parents' approval, but please don't think it's because of who you are, or something you're doing/not doing.

It sounds like you've got a great relationship with your dad though - I hope that brings some comfort? I bet it's better than your brother's too!

howdoo Thu 30-Jul-09 19:48:04

My mum is similar to this although luckily (in a way!) she is the same with my siblings as well. It's a shame, but as you say, you can't change her, and eventually you will just accept it - I did in the end.

FWIW, I think your assumptions are probably correct - eg. I think your dad probably is trying to over-egg stuff to make you feel better. If you can, don't bother talking to your brother about it, as he can't/won't see it.

Also, I think you're doing really well, you seem very level headed and sound lovely!

ajarbythedoor Thu 30-Jul-09 19:49:01

aGal - I can relate to that, you feel things so much harder when it's your children not yourself. But there it gets a bit complicated with my mum, because I think she deliberately withdraws from my dc because she finds it hard not seeing them often. My parents moved away (left the country), and then we moved even further away. She's never ever emotional, but then cried when she had to say goodbye to my kids. And would deny it to the end of her days, but she did.

She's a good granny, from a distance. It's sad my children couldn't pick her out of a line-up.

Forester Thu 30-Jul-09 19:50:01

It's sad that you've not got a close relationship with your mum - but from the sounds of it I don't think you should be doing anymore than you already are re trying to get her to be more responsive. It doesn't sound like you'd get anywhere and it would probably make you more miserable. And chances are she feels bad for not having warmer feelings for you and you pushing things may make things more difficult.

Maybe if you are finding it really getting you down it would be worth getting some professional support?

Good luck

aGalChangedHerName Thu 30-Jul-09 19:54:18

My mum used to visit my dc 3-4 times per week. Once for dinner at the weekend and once or twice for an hour or two during the week which we were all fine with and the dc loved seeing them. When i started to stop pandering/running after them they stopped visiting. So because of me my dc are being punished.

It makes me sad but i have done all i can iyswim? I allow her to pick the dd's up and put them down as she pleases but if things continue like this or get worse who knows?

My ds's hardly speak to my parents so they have realised what my parents are really like and so too will the dd's eventually which also makes me sad

ajarbythedoor Thu 30-Jul-09 20:00:37

It is aGal.

Must log off now as ds waking for milk. I have a lot to think about, having written it all down and read everyone's posts.

BottySpottom Thu 30-Jul-09 23:02:53

This is so sad. You can't just put your big girl pants on - humans are not made like that. Thank God your DF has the sense to at least pretend that everything is OK.

I think my DM prefers my brother but is in total denial about it, and it really hurts. It's really important to a child that their (often) primary carer likes them. I'm afraid I don't really have anything to suggest but just wanted to say that I'm not surprised that you feel hurt by it.

edam Thu 30-Jul-09 23:12:15

You have every right to feel hurt and angry. Must be horrible.

But people are right that you can't change her - if she's a miserable, selfish sod as a mother to you, don't think there's any magic button you can press to turn her into a decent parent, sadly. This is HER problem - you are not responsible for her failings. God knows, maybe she had a difficult relationship with her own mother or something.

Whatever her reasons, it's probably time to accept that she is a crap mother and focus on your own family (and your Dad). Try to let go of this horrible emotional baggage you've been carrying around, and decide that you are NOT to blame for your mother's behaviour.

2rebecca Thu 30-Jul-09 23:15:25

I'd be inclined to treasure the relationship with your dad and maybe accept that although your mum loves you she maybe doesn't have much in common with you and your personalities don't gel. That's OK. My mum got on better with my little sister, their personalities were similar and they used to talk on the phone for hours. I hate phones and used to feel more talked at than talked to by my mum. I have a closer relationship to my dad and find him much easier to talk to. I loved them both though and felt they both loved me. Trying to force your mum to talk to you for as long as she talks to your brother sounds doomed to failure.
If your parents' roles were reversed I'm sure you wouldn't be this upset. Why is your mum's approval and conversation more important to you than your dad's?

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 31-Jul-09 08:24:24

Hi ajarbythedoor,

Re Edam's comments:-

"You have every right to feel hurt and angry. Must be horrible.
But people are right that you can't change her - if she's a miserable, selfish sod as a mother to you, don't think there's any magic button you can press to turn her into a decent parent, sadly. This is HER problem - you are not responsible for her failings. God knows, maybe she had a difficult relationship with her own mother or something.
Whatever her reasons, it's probably time to accept that she is a crap mother and focus on your own family (and your Dad). Try to let go of this horrible emotional baggage you've been carrying around, and decide that you are NOT to blame for your mother's behaviour".

I would agree with every single word written above speaking as the daughter of an emotionally unavailable mother who became even more unavailable in my late teens and early 20s. I was "trusted", well more like left actually, to get on with it.

I once remember reading a piece about a woman who went to a farm day out with her own family. There was a train there and this lady noticed all the grandparents sitting on it with their grandhcildren having a whale of a time. Her own parents would never have done that, they just weren't interested.

You are not responsible for your Mum or her underlying problems. My Mum also favours my younger, single and childfree brother and both she and my Dad are more than happy to run around after him and do his chores (she cleans his house a couple of times a week).

She's always told me she was too "busy" (she is healthy and does not work) to see my DS in the Christmas play at school so they have never seen him in that. I can say it is "their loss" but do they really see it as a loss?.

Between my lot and Mr Meerkat's parents' (who are themselves both crap and dysfunctional in their own right) they provide an abject lesson in how not to live or behave. My brother is also at some fault here because he is selfish by nature and has them well trained to jump to his demands.

I also get on far better with my Dad, we're actually quite similar in terms of temprement.

The best thing I have found to deal with this is to live well and focus primarily on your own family unit. You may also want to consider some counselling, that can be also helpful.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 31-Jul-09 08:26:25

For what its worth as well I think you would be just as upset if your Dad was acting in such a manner.

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