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my mother - does anyone have any insight?

(7 Posts)
cantthinkofgoodnickname Fri 11-Sep-09 07:21:17

with a disclaimer that I know that what I have going on is much less upsetting that some of the threads on here.

anyway, a bit of background. I'm the eldest, the "good girl" who never rebelled (well, not until I left home and could rebel in private). I've always had a tricky relationship with my mother and no matter how good I tried to be, I never quite pulled off a good approval rating. My dad was an alcoholic and I can't understand why she never left him. Well, I understand that she must have loved him, but why put your kids through the experience of living with a violent alcoholic?

I left home as soon as I could and never really went back because I couldn't cope with living there. I went to uni as far away as I could get without it looking suspicious, after that got a job (over 120 miles from hometown), got married, had a child. Dad was very ill by this time and unable to travel. Parents house was dirty pigsty and I couldn't cope with taking a small child all that distance to be exposed to who knew what germs. Also would never know what reception I would get - friendly? or less than? At this time I also had PND and anxiety issues about germs! I tried talking to a sibling once and felt belitted - was even told to try walking a mile in their shoes if I thought my life was bad.

(ex) husband was a bullying control freak who succeeded in isolating me from my family still further. It didn't take much effort on his part, though. I find them hard work at the best of times, so him not wanting to visit gave me an excuse not to go and someone else to blame.

Eventually left him and am getting myeslf back. BUT my relationship with my mother is still tricky. She has moaned about not being involved in DD's life, but when I try to involve her she isn't interested. Yet seems the opposite with sister's child. She had surgery recently, but didn't contact me beforehand to tell me what day she was going in. Now I don't know whether to ring her to find out how she is, or think bugger it, why should I make a move when she seemingly has no interest in me.

I just don't know how to handle her and am wondering why a woman in her 40s (me) should be spending so much energy trying to get approval off a woman who is so hard to reach. I feel hugely misunderstood.

cantthinkofgoodnickname Fri 11-Sep-09 07:22:24

gawd - must preview....

less upsetting than

TheDMshouldbeRivened Fri 11-Sep-09 08:23:29

I think there comes a time when you have to stop trying to get approval from your mother. I'm the same age with a similar story (left home at 19, moved far far away. Was never 'good' enough)
I've mostly stopped even though mum has now moved a mile away from me and my brother and sister live abroad. I do see her maybe once a week but I no longer seek approval and its made me happier.

diddl Fri 11-Sep-09 08:51:15

I would ring to find out how she is if you are concerned.
Is there any way she can visit you rather than you doing all the running?

missingtheaction Fri 11-Sep-09 08:56:36

hmm - many unresolved issues.

I think there comes a time in our lives when we are old enough to see our parents as individuals and characters, and not just humans whose relationship to us means they ought to behave in certain ways. There is an expectation that Our Mums should do certain things - love and apprecite us, keep a good house, want to be in contact with us etc etc. And quite a lot do do this. But some don't and can't and yours is like that.

So you are left in a horrible position - you are daughter to a woman you are not sure you really like or would want to be connected to if you had a choice. You feel you 'ought' to have a mother-daughter relationship with her: being in contact, visiting, gaining her approval etc etc. But it isn't working and it isn't going to change.

So you have the very tough job of creating the relationship from scratch. Like DM says - do you really need her approval? to be honest, what's her approval worth? Given her personality and yours, what are the good things you'd like to foster. Is she fun? is she supportive in different ways (she seems to get on with your sister - why and how?). Alternatively, you can walk away: have less of a relationship and concentrate on not making the same mistakes with dd.

beanieb Fri 11-Sep-09 08:59:28

I think you either care about how she's doing after the operation or you don't. If you need to know she is ok then call. If not then don't feel like you have to out of a sense of duty.

mathanxiety Fri 11-Sep-09 19:46:41

Well done for getting rid of the exH. Have you ever done any reading about adult children of alcoholic parents and the family dynamics of alcoholic families (co-dependency -- your mother; roleplaying of children -- you and your sister). There's some kind of pattern going on here, involving the alcoholism.

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