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How do I explain to my mum thats she's driving me away?

(17 Posts)
SnowGo Thu 13-Feb-14 12:51:38

(I couldn't think of the best place to put this, so hopefully its okay here)

I'm currently in my 1st year at uni and the thought of having to spend the best part of 3 months with my mum over summer is pretty hellish. I really wish that I wanted to go home like everybody else but I don't.
She doesn't seem to understand how to be supportive at all. I don't expect her to be on my side all the time but when I have what seems to be a million things to do and everythings blown up on me I would have appreciated her being supportive. I won't go into details because it would be too long but instead I got a disapproving look and being told that it was a stupid thing to do/ let happen etc etc. And in hindsight it wasn't the best time to do things but it happened so some support while it was going on would have been nice instead of more stress from her.

Everything I do is either wrong or not good enough. And I know so many teenagers must say that but thats really how it feels. For example, I completed bombed my A-levels and got CDDE which I know was bad, but i still managed to get a place at uni and have been getting 1sts pretty consistently since going. But today I just got an assignment back and I got 66%. We hadn't been given any guidance for the assignment and a few days after submitting the whole class was told that most of us had done part of it wrong. I pretty worried that I wasn't going to do well so I'm quite pleased with a high 2:1. She knew this but all I got was that it was "fine". No well done, or "that's better than you were expecting". She knows that I have anxiety and that I get stressed really easily but I always feel under the most pressure from her.

She never treats me with any respect either yet expects me to never put a toe out of line. If she's had a bad day at work she's allowed to be vile to me but woe betide if I'm anything but cheery. If she misplaces something in the house its always me that's taken it- even though i've never stolen anything in my life. She never believes me or takes my side, I'm always guilty until proven innocent.

Its got to the point where if I had the money i'd rent a room as a lodger or something and just leave home but I've currently got a lot of outgoings and I don't think I can afford it unless I could guarantee having a job all summer. One of my friends has offered a place for me and my horse over summer and I'm considering taking that instead of going home. I'm already being guilt tripped about not coming home over easter as I don't want to move my horse back home for 2 weeks only to move it back. I said I'll come back easter sunday for the family meal and if someone can look after the horse i'll stay the weekend.
I just don't know how to explain to her that I don't want to come home because of how she treats me. She always talks about how her friends children come back from uni all the time and how its embarrassing that i never do. There's nothing for me at home, all my friends are at uni and have different holidays to me for the most part. I'll be doing a year in industry after my second year and there's jobs in the field I'm studying where she lives so she knows I'm going to be moving away eventually.

Sorry this has turned into a huge essay, its sounds so angsty and teenagery but i just wish that I could enjoy coming home. Any ideas on how to get it through to her that she's driving me away or is it best to just slowly phase my way out of living with her?

adeucalione Thu 13-Feb-14 13:47:09

I bet your mum loves you to bits, although I can see how her disappointment and high expectations are pushing you away.

I think you should talk to her frankly and give her an opportunity to put things right before intentionally distancing yourself from her.

If there's no change, move out.

Minnieisthedevilmouse Thu 13-Feb-14 13:56:24

I disagree. Can you look for summer employment? Either industry related or not? I did art history and helped out in galleries/country houses/tea rooms. I know it's unlikely that's your area but you can get summer work there still. Anything is good for your future cv. Work with kids?

Start now. Talk to the uni, they might have somewhere to help research.

I think you need to figure out how you are going to alter from child to adult. Not going home for all but prearranged visits is a good place to start. Your mum loves you to bits. But now you need to approach her as an adult. I think you will find your relationship improves as you move through uni. Mine did. Let go of some of the child angst. Pick your battles too as what you describe Is a big list and and I truly mean this kindly, grow up a bit.

I really recommend holiday work. Gets you loads of experience for graduation. Get as much as poss now.

WolfMoon Thu 13-Feb-14 13:56:55

Hi SnowGo. It may well be that the two of you have reached a point where you are independent enough to want to not have to go back home, and it is a credit to your mum that she's raised you to be independent. Would you feel comfortable to maybe show her this thread?

It definitely sounds like your mum loves you. You say that she has pointed out in the past when things haven't worked out for the best, rather than being supportive. That sounds to me like a mum whose trying to ensure that you are able to be totally independent and think things through to consider consequences - I'm not suggesting that you don't do that already, but when you start living away from her permanently you will need to be able to get through things without her support and presence. It doesn't sound like she was putting you under any pressure when she said "Fine", although I might not know the whole story. You DID do fine, and 66% is a great mark!

Can you explain to her what you've said about feeling that there's nothing for you at home? It's very common for students to feel this way, as they have to make themselves a new life in a new place very quickly when they move to university, and it sounds like you've settled in brilliantly. Your mum probably feels a bit lonely too - that's not your fault at all, but it must be tricky for her when you've moved on and have your new life. The respect thing that you've mentioned sounds a bit trickier. Can you tell her what it is that she does that makes you feel unwelcome?

Fibreopticangel Thu 13-Feb-14 14:50:34

I suspect your mother will have a different slant to this tale.

What was going on that resulted in you getting poor A'level results when your uni results demonstrate you were capable of better?

I suspect (and I'm guessing) your mum, while slogging away at work to support you, saw you not working hard enough and resentment built up which has now become a barrier in your relationship.

You need an open discussion with her, with both of you saying how you feel and listening to each other.

How much do you appreciate her support - financial and otherwise (which is obviously still continuing)? Does she have other pressures - eg elderly parents - in top of her job - which add to her responsibilities? Try to think about what it feels like from her pov.

Fibreopticangel Thu 13-Feb-14 14:55:12

Also, how will you manage the horse when you do the job in industry? It seems madness to me that an animal has become a barrier in your relationship with your mum - you say you can't move home because of it.

Would it be sensible to rent out the horse to someone else for a while, which would presumably save you money and time? I think I'd be annoyed if my dc put an animal before close human relationships.

JohnnyUtah Thu 13-Feb-14 14:58:17

Your post is all about how you feel. Try to think what was going on for your mum for the last few years. She is/was working, running a house, bringing up a teenager. Does she have other children? A partner? Does she get any help around the house? Is she stressed at work, tired, ill? If you look at things from her point of view it might help you to move on.

yourlittlesecret Thu 13-Feb-14 15:00:27

I also wonder what your mother's point of view would be. You don't mention dad so I wonder whether she is on her own? Why did you "bomb" your A levels? You must have plenty of financial support to have a horse?

Having said all that you clearly don't enjoy her company. I wonder whether you are prepared for the reality of being financially independent?

Minnieisthedevilmouse Thu 13-Feb-14 15:20:51

I ride. The horse won't be upset going to a place it knows ie home for two weeks. That's your excuse. Not a reason.

TwelveLeggedWalk Thu 13-Feb-14 15:25:06

Are you studying something equine, or are your parents funding you to keep a horse at uni? I think that makes a bit of a difference to the dynamic of your relationship tbh

In all honesty I MUCH preferred being at uni than at home and was always one of the last to go and first back each term. Now I have a good relationship with my parents, but we are still much better if we spend short amounts of time together. Are you an only child?

MothratheMighty Thu 13-Feb-14 15:33:47

It's painful to get to that stage, part child and part adult. It sounds as if you are ready to move on, but are having difficulty distangling things.
Foe example, how does she know that you got 66%? You must have told her. So, if you want to be an adult, practise establishing a few polite boundaries, and not letting her cross over them.
So I'd keep the relationship going, but on your terms. If you don't want to go home, don't be pressurised into doing so, but fund yourself. You have a lot of outgoings? Some of them might benefit from a close scrutiny.
You can't have it all. You won't enjoy coming home until you feel that it's a free choice, and that you are seen as an adult. But you need to behave like one.
She sounds as if she does love you, and has high expectations, but the latter is her problem, not yours. Working out a relationship as adults will be hard for both of you, but worth the effort.

SnowGo Thu 13-Feb-14 16:04:56

A-level wise I really struggle with exams and hated being in sixth form. I went to a school where the vast majority of people head of to russell group unis and I couldn't handle the pressure of it. I never wanted to do a-levels but it was "the proper thing to do" so I stuck them out. The "fine" for my assignment was in her "could do better" voice.

Fibreoptic, moving a horse isn't like moving a dog or a cat, they'd get far too stressed being shipped an hour and a half up the motorway only to be moved back after 2 weeks. The horse was "rented" and the loaner leaving was the huge drama. I wouldn't put myself or the horse through that again. I wouldn't say I was close to my mum anyway. We're better now I'm at uni but I think we'd kill each other if i was stuck at home all summer- christmas was pushing it.

Financially my mum doesn't help at all, which I don't expect her to. My student loan, bursary and job covers everything including car and horse. My dad does pay for some horsey stuff but I could afford it if I had to. I don't live an extravagant life and have savings put away for emergencies. I'm not disillusioned and think that I'll be able to afford some wonderful house on my own as soon as I graduate. I won't, it'll probably some scummy room in a run-down house, and that's fine. There's no work in my field where I live so I'll have to move to where the work is anyway. I do an equine degree so the horse would come with me for the year in industry most likely. Worst comes to worst it gets sold, but I can afford it and have somewhere to keep it currently so it might as well stay. Having a horse keeps me sane (and relaxed when my anxiety is bad), visiting my mother does not.

I do appreciate that she's not got the easiest time of it. And that she must be lonely on her own. It just seems unfair that she's allowed to take it out on me. Yet I still have to be smiling and polite and she's wanting me to waste £20 petrol every week or so go home, where there's nothing to do and I struggle to study. The uni I'm at is in the back of beyond with no buses anywhere, so the car is more of a necessity than a luxury - used to have a moped but given the winter we've had and the roads round here it was just too dangerous. Parents did help out with buying the car and insurance but it was a christmas and birthday present from entire family + got to last me for years to come.

I have been looking around for summer work and prices rooms go round here, but I need a better idea of the money I'll have left over from SFE before I can work out if its affordable.

SnowGo Thu 13-Feb-14 16:18:00

MothratheMighty, I rang her about something I'd left at home and figured I'd tell her. When I first started I told her my results because i was proud of them, she'd get a bit funny if I suddenly stopped I think. I think she finds it hard to see me as an adult, which I do get. But I've felt ready to move out for years and now I've been away I don't like going back to being "a child". Its not all fun and games and I don't like ringing banks and insurance and doing paperwork. And some days it would be nice to come back and have dinner ready to eat, but eh, I've got to get used to it at some point, might as well start now.

Minnieisthedevilmouse, your horse might not, but mine would. it wouldn't be going back to the same place as before uni as we didn't want to pay livery for a stable that would be empty 9 months of the year. Hence it originally being loaned out so it wouldn't have to be moved at all.

MothratheMighty Thu 13-Feb-14 17:02:21

'I do appreciate that she's not got the easiest time of it. And that she must be lonely on her own.'

These are not your problems, they are hers to solve. And, TBH, the horse sounds like an essential part of your life that keeps you grounded and sane.
So even if you have to sell it, I think the need for you to have riding in your life is an important one.
My DD talks about having so many 'spoonfuls' in her capacity, and the trick is not to give anything more spoons than you have, or than you can cope with.
You understand your anxiety, know where to get support and counselling if you need it and you need to plan your life for you without emotional pressure from your mother. I wouldn't cut off contact, but if a week, or three days is what you can handle, that's what it is. And if you are down to phonecalls being hard, stick to text and email.

rightsaidfrederick Thu 13-Feb-14 18:38:00

I have a similar situation with my dad. It never has got better - he's incapable of treating me as an adult (though progress has been made in the last 3+ years in starting to see me as an adult - not just treating me as such).

Spending time at home became increasingly intolerable. I found that the best way to be was to be overwhelmed with work at Christmas and Easter (I find it easier to work at uni - no nagging and unreasonable time demands from dad) and so to have to minimise my time at home then. Over my last summer, I found work for 6 weeks of the summer. Thought I'd be able to manage 6 weeks at home. In reality I managed two weeks with dad before I realised that I had an elderly relative with a spare room who could do with a bit of extra help around the house wink She was happy to have me (her health even measurably improved, and friends of hers told me that she'd miss me when I went back to uni) and I was happy to be there!

Could you do something similar? Or perhaps you could consider putting your horse out on loan over the summer and doing Camp America? A lot of their camps look for horse riding instructors and other horsey types. Alternatively, somewhere over the summer - surely there must be classifieds in the back of Horse and Hound for these sorts of jobs?

anthropology Thu 13-Feb-14 19:48:43

As a mum of a uni student who doesnt spend much time at home, if you can, give your mum a chance, and explain to her calmly and clearly, that how things are, mean you dont want to come home, and say you wonder how she feels too. ? Give her the chance to recognise how you are feeling , even writing her a letter might be an idea (although try to mention and remember the positives about your relationship in the past too). coming on here is a big step to show how much you do want to fix things.

Its difficult sometimes for us mums to shift relationships when kids become adults and sometimes it take s a bit of patience and time and trial and error, and at the moment its also important that you build your confidence as an adult, so if you have supportive friends over the summer, I dont think many mums would expect a first year uni student back ALL summer ! go back in bursts or even invite your mum to visit you, on your terms sometimes or meet up on neutral ground, so you don't get sucked in to old habits.

Congratulations for doing so well in Uni.

Travelledtheworld Thu 13-Feb-14 23:15:23

Perhaps your Mum had her heart set on you following a more academic track through Uni and saw you as a lawyer or a doctor ? Many mothers have different expectations to their children.

I think it's time to start living your own life, and sounds like you are already trying to do this and making a good start especially financially !

Find a summer job in a stables where you can keep your horse too. Then you can explain to your mum it's a great opportunity to earn money and develop your skills and knowledge. Try to plan a bit of time at home if you can bear it, and try to do something with your Mum that you both enjoy, so you don't just sit at home harbouring resentment.

I am BHS qualified and teach riding. I would say back up your BHS qualifications with something else, such as IT skills, marketing, sales, and develop your organisational skills. Working in the equine industry is physically demanding, work is all consuming and as you get older you may want to do something else !

Good Luck !

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