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My mam isn't exactly poisonous, but she has screwed up my life. Long, sorry

(12 Posts)
emotionalscrewball Tue 25-Aug-09 10:05:25

I'll try keep this as short as I can.

From being little, I have always felt that I have gotten in my mams way, always felt like I irritated her. I've always been a good child and teenager, always done what I was told and I suppose in a way, always done things I knew would please her. She never really showed me any love, never hugged me and often blamed me for my little sister ding naughty things. I got grounded all the time for things I hadn't even done. I once got grounded for a mnth for my little sister drawing on the walls with a crayon. She, on many occasions, would smack me really hard if she thought I was being naughty.

When I was 19, I moved out of the parental home and in with my boyfriend (now DH). On the day I moved out, she had a bit of a party at hers, as we had also got engaged a few weeks before that. I overheard a conversation between her and my aunty, about my dad not actually being my real dad, which I was totally gobsmacked about as had never known any different. I confronted her about it right there and then, but she was really cagey and my other aunty removed me from the situation, and I left shortly afterwards. We have never spoke of this again.

The following year her and my dad split up. She told me they had been unhappy for many years and she led me to believe that the only reason they had stayed together for so long was because they were waiting for me to leave home, as I was too emotional to cope with it. As it turned out, she was actually having an affair with a man at work, who she is now married to. I only found this out a few years ago when she joked on about it with my sister.

The man she is now married to has told my husband several times that under no circumstances am I to talk to my mam about my real dad, I should never ask her any questions about it and I certainly shouldn't tell my dad that I know he isn't my real dad. The reason? She doesn't feel comfortable talking to me about it.

Now I have done my own investigating into this, based on what her husband has told my DH, and also I've spoke to one of my aunty's who told me a few things. My real dad isn't a bad man and my mam was the one who told him to stay away. I know he is related to my uncles wife (possibly her brother) but I didn't want to put the pressure on my aunty's shoulders to tell me his name.

I've had months of counselling in the past, years of suffering from depression, once so severe I contemplated suicide. My counsellor recommended that I either tlked to my mam about this, or that I cut her off from my life. I have been unable to do either, in fear of hurting HER feelings. It makes me so mad that I am like this. I am STILL doing things just to try and please her, I buy her flowers once a month, I buy her a bottle of wine here and there, I have to pay her if I want her to babysit my DC (yet she watches my neice every weekend for free).

There is so much more to this story, and so many reasons why I need to either have it out with her, or just cut her off, but I don't know how. I don't know if I could cope with having to hurt her. I am so emotionally stunted, I can't even tell my husband how I feel half the time.

TheArmadillo Tue 25-Aug-09 10:14:53

your ma is poisonous.

She clearly is only thinking about herself and sounds extremely self-centred.

You have the right to know who your dad is - tough what she thinks. If you don't know his name is it on your birth certificate? (sorry if that is a really obvious point)

Sounds like your childhood wasn't exactly ideal either. Sounds like she is still favouring your sis now (with babysitting).

The thing is counselling will help but only once you have acknowledged your mum's negative influence in your life. If you refuse to accept it then there's not much that counselling can achieve.

(sorry that sounds quite harsh).

Right now you will probably be thinking 'yeah but...' and then finding reasons and excuses for her behaviour. I did that for ages. Mostly the reasons/excuses were 'but she's having a hard time' 'but I am hard to deal with' etc etc.

But it comes down to tough shit. I wouldn't treat my child the way I was treated and I have had a shit time as well. Someone's got to break the cycle.

The thing is with doing things to please them that everytime you do they have changed the rules and you don't win. You spend all your time running to catch up constantly finding that they still don't think your good enough.

You don't necessarily have to cut her off or have it out with her. At least for now. You can withdraw - limit contact and limit emotional involvement. It's hard but not as hard as being objected to it constantly.

pipsqueak Tue 25-Aug-09 10:17:47

she does sound very unkind indeeed and from w hat yo u say continues to favour your siblking over you - must indeed be very painful . am not qulaifed ot give advice really but of the 2 options presented by your counsellor i would have thought having it out with her ( maybe writing a laetter to get it started?) would be preferable . i am sure otherw will be laong with wise advice xx

wheniwishuponastar Tue 25-Aug-09 10:19:21

i think it might be a good idea to keep on having counselling. you don't have to do anything, that you don't want to or aren't ready for yet.
there are many many counsellors out there. maybe it is worth switching (at some point, again does not have to be now, could be a year from now) to a different one.
counsellors should not really tell you what to do, or even if they suggest things, if the suggestion makes you feel overwhelmed or unhappy it might be best to talk through those feelings, rather than feel you have to carry out one of the choices.
you have to live your life, don't do anything that you aren't happy with. you can always do something different later on, if and when you are happy to.
keep talking, keep having therapy, keep writing all your ideas down... it should get better eventually, even if it takes a while

emotionalscrewball Tue 25-Aug-09 10:30:17

I haven't had counselling for a few years now, maybe I should start again.

TheArmadillo, you are so right in a lot of things you have said. I have to emotinal strength to say anything to her. There has been many times I've gone to ask her, but the words can't physically leave my mouth. I've limited visits to her, as she doesn't visit me despite her living 10 minutes away, and I always cave.

I was thinking of putting it all down in a letter and sending it to her (I wrote her a letter telling her I had started my period when I was 13), but am wondering if this is the cowards wahy out. I think if I wrote her a letter she would probably ignore it and carry on as normal, as if nothing had happened.

I can see some of her in me, the way I treat my kids sometimes, and it scares me. I don't hit my kids, never would, but some of the things I say/the way I behave towards them makes me fearful that they are going to grow up feeling the same way towards me. sad

Why can't I just tell her!

TheArmadillo Tue 25-Aug-09 10:30:45

sorry reading back my post sounded quite harsh.

It is shit acknowledging your mum is the mum you wanted or deserved. It is devestating adn the fear of that devestation makes you want to pretend it isn't that bad or that it is your fault and not hers.

But it isn't your fault and as devestating as it is it does get better after.

I felt empty inside and was also suicidal and tbh how much worse than that can it get?

I felt like an emotional vacuum - I didn't know how I felt or even what I liked. There was no me.

The emotions don't come immediately - nit ypi can get back in touch with them. But it takes time and work and the starting point is acknowledgment of why you are like that.

Dan Neuarth (who wrote controlling parents) said that 'you are not responsible for what happened to you as a child your parents are, but you are responsible for your life as an adult - not your parents' (or summat like that).

I never wanted to be a victim - blaming all my life's woes on my upbringing. But you don't have to be. However you do have to acknowledge what happened in order to take control of your own life.

TheArmadillo Tue 25-Aug-09 10:37:08

sorry x-posted.

I still haven't told my parents what I feel. I can't face it at least not yet.

I still have (more limited) contact with them and it still affects me (though a lot less than it used to).

I have no answers.

I also get paranoid with ds that stuff I am doing reminds me of my mum. And that freaks me out. But I am trying to remember that not every action she did was wrong, but the overall effect. So one thing won't mean that I am my mother.

emotionalscrewball Tue 25-Aug-09 10:42:59

I'm going to have to try limit visits then. I'm already going to try with my sister, who is very manipulative, so maybe I should just do it with the both of them and get it over and done with at the same time.

Am off out now, but thanks so much for your advice. Will be back later.

DutchGirly Tue 25-Aug-09 10:43:57

I think you mother is clearly toxic.

A child has the right to know who their parents are, however your mother does not want to talk about it because it 'makes her uncomfortable' yet she is perfectly happy to talk about this with your aunty? angry

She is refusing to acknowledge or accept her responsibility and she is quite happy that her daughter YOU is clearly struggling not knowing who her dad is.

I have cut off contact with my parents more than 18 years ago (I was 16 years old) and it is the best thing I have ever done, I realised I could never change my parents, make them love or respect me. I knew I had to break the cycle as I would never want my little daughter to be as lonely and unhappy as I was as a child. My toddler is a very happy, bouncy, contented girl so I am certain I did the right thing.

You are the only person who can make the right decision for you, you are already a better parent because you are conscious of the fact that you behave like your mother in some aspects. Keep having counselling and make the right decision for you but stop trying to please your mother.

Best of luck.

skihorse Tue 25-Aug-09 10:49:31

Mothers don't need to beat you "black and blue" for them to hurt you.

There is plenty of support here and plenty of us whom have cut them off.

queenrollo Tue 25-Aug-09 12:48:00

i was 13 when i found out my 'dad' wasn't my dad. And only then because my mum couldn't wriggle out of telling me. We were in a very public place at the time too. I was simply told 'he's not your dad' and that was it. My mum never said another word about it until i was 22 and told her i'd tracked down his family. My mum doesn't really refuse to talk about it, she does a good line in flapping and running off saying 'i can't cope with this'...........

you could find out who your real father is if you really wanted to, but that is something you need to give deep thought too. I met my dad last November......and it has given me some closure but also opened up other wounds.

I have an ok relationship with my mum and dad (i still call him that) but really it's a veneer and occasionally it gets scratched and i spend days/weeks having to build up my emotional guard again.

You will get lots of good advice and support here......and try the counselling again, it will help you deal with living with this situation until you are strong enough to confront it head on.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 25-Aug-09 13:55:49

Your Mum is certainly toxic and is continuing to get at you in her own ways. You've always tried to please her even as a child and she's ignored you. You continue therefore to want to please. This Mother is an extremely emotionally damaged woman but it is not your fault that she is this way. You did not make her like this, I think you to her are her scapegoat. This woman has failed you, and by turn your sister, abysmally.

People from dysfunctional families often play out set roles; yours is scapegoat, yours of your sister's is golden child.
If you have not already done so I would suggest reading "Toxic Parent" written by Susan Forward.

"The man she is now married to has told my husband several times that under no circumstances am I to talk to my mam about my real dad, I should never ask her any questions about it and I certainly shouldn't tell my dad that I know he isn't my real dad. The reason? She doesn't feel comfortable talking to me about it".

My response to your Mother would be, "too bad". I'd start asking awkward questions and informing your Dad what she actually said. You have every right to know whom your Dad actually is and where you come from. My guess is that your Mum is unsure and likely slept with other men around the time you were conceived. You should not be paying for her own life choices.

Your Mother and sister bring nothing positive into your life. You worry about having to hurt her (which is understandable really given that you've sought her approval all your life and without success) - she has given you no such consideration whatsoever. You will always been seen in their eyes as the "fall guy". I would certainly limit contact with a view to cutting them out altogether. The best revenge here against such toxic people is to live well and respect your own family unit. They have certainly shown you how not to behave.

The "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages would also be helpful to you I think. Its worth posting there too and having a read. They could certainly relate to you.

One possible way forward is for you and this man to have DNA tests done.

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