Holding resentment towards my mother
Vanessatiger · 04/10/2018 02:41
I’m near 40, and my childhood was marred by a lot of emotional and physical abuse. My mother stayed at home with us but it seemed she resented it. She had babies after babies, my youngest brother is 12 years younger than me. He’s for sure the favourite.
This was a typical day for me: having knots in my tummy and not wanting to come home. When I came home, my mother would start saying “you’re such a bad girl, nobody likes you because of how you speak/look” then I’d defy her and “talk back”, at which point she would get the wooden spoon and chase me around the house. Then I’d lie on the floor whilst she kicked me. But she never or rarely gave me bruises. Once she held a meat cleaver to my throat saying she’d kill me. She has also thrown porcelain plates at my direction. My earliest memory of this would be around 6 years old, it continued until I moved away from home.
Despite all this I excelled in school, attained the highest grades (which my mother said “it’s not that impressive “). I went to the best schools (my mother resented paying it).
I never spoke of my home life to anybody as I was deeply ashamed of it and I thought it was my fault.
My father was usually not at home and when he was he didn’t really wanted to deal with it. He’d side with my mother and call me a troublemaker. It’s true I had strong will and I often talked back at her.
My parents and I don’t have a good relationship, they have denied that ever happened. My mother said she’s never layed a finger on us. I do think she was unwell.
She’s now very good with my children and playing the loving grandmother. But deep inside I hate her. Sometimes when she calls I don’t answer her. It can go weeks before I return her calls.
Unfortunately because of what I went through I have quite low self esteem. I married someone considerably older for security, he made me feel safe but he turned out to be controlling and abusive.
I just feel i have nobody left in this world. I usually get suicidal thoughts but then I have my children to think of.
My mother is now in quite ill health with heart problems and fatigue, if she died I’m not sure I’ll feel sad, maybe only grieving for the mother I never had growing up.
I’m terrified I’ll treat my daughter the same. I reign myself in when I get frustrated and I’m way too soft with her which annoys my husband.
I’m almost 40 but still get depressed about my childhood. It’s pathetic isn’t it?
Seniorschoolmum · 04/10/2018 02:53
No it isn’t pathetic at all. Childhood stuff like that hangs around for a lifetime if you let it.
You need to spend some time just talking through it all with a counsellor, firstly to get it off your chest, which will feel really good, just in itself. Then, only if you want to, the counsellor can support you in sorting out your feelings, which IMO you have every right to feel.
Taking away some of the anger will make you feel so much better and should make your own relationships feel lighter and easier to manage.
Well done for being a much better mum.
toomuchtooold · 04/10/2018 05:55
You're not pathetic. It takes a lifetime to recover from a childhood where you were always terrified and you missed out on parental love, don't kid yourself.
Have you seen the Stately Homes thread? There are a lot of people on here with similar experiences, like you trying to come to terms with all that and manage in their everyday lives.
Marylou2 · 04/10/2018 06:09
Oh OP the last thing you are is pathetic. You are a brave survivor and your parents have let you down horribly. I looked at your post as the title struck a chord with me but I went through only a fraction of your experience. You need to put yourself and your child first. I wouldn't worry about being "too soft" you are creating the life for your daughter that you didn't have. Have you explained this situation to your husband? Be kind to yourself and I send you a hug.
recklessruby · 04/10/2018 12:07
OP I felt so sad when I read your post. Sad for that little unloved girl. But you are a success. You have proved her wrong and are a loving mum to your dd.
What happened was your parents fault and failure to parent. You were just a kid.
I think you need to make peace with the past and enjoy the lovely dd you have.
Maybe go low contact with parents as they seem to be lying to themselves about what happened.
You don't owe your mother anything even if she is ill.
Look after yourself first.
LittleMG · 04/10/2018 12:23
You need to come to terms with this as it’s poisoning your life. Try counselling it can really help lay things to rest. It’s might be hard at first, but I’m sure the right councillor could really help you. X
Believeitornot · 04/10/2018 12:28
I’m sorry that you had the childhood you did.
Similarly, i didn’t have the mother daughter relationship so many people have. Mum was mentally ill, distant and at times abusive.
I now only communicate via text and wonder what I’ll feel when she gets ill and dies. It’s a strange feeling really.
I also find myself struggling to revert to her style of parenting and constantly carry guilt that I’ll damage my dcs if I’m like her. Which means I end up being too soft at times! But then too harsh at others as I worry I’m letting them get away with murder.
It’s so so hard.
Vanessatiger · 04/10/2018 16:48
I don’t know why my parents didn’t love me. Actually they didn’t even like me. At university I only ever visited once a year. When I got into Oxbridge, my mother said “you shouldn’t get ahead of yourself “. No congratulation nothing. They also just sent me money for my graduation abd didn’t show up.
Things got better once I got married as I married someone “respectable” in society. I sort of raise the value of myself by being married to him. And once I had children our relationship got better. In my daughter’s heart her grandmother is the kindest and the best. I’d dread to tell her my childhood one day.
I often wonder why they didn’t/don’t love me. My mother often said I was a difficult child with a difficult personality. I often heard her say in my face that she wished she never gave birth to me. :(
I’m sad when I think of all the things she used to say to me.
SilverLining10 · 04/10/2018 17:00
This sounds so much like what I went through. It affected every aspect of my life. Things turned around alot when I cut her out of my life. She is a good grandmother to my DC but she doesnt deserve to have that opportunity when she caused so much damage to mine.
And having her around me was more disastrous to my own family that the best decision was to not have her be a part of our lives. My DC doesn't need a GP that bad , one that is capable of such damage. My dm too denies everything so I cant accept that and tolerate it.
Marylou2 · 05/10/2018 09:21
OP, do you think your mother was jealous and resentful? How early did she marry? Did she have career aspirations of her own that went unfulfilled and was she in a happy marriage? I say this not to excuse her but these were the questions my therapist asked me to consider when I attended,albeit very briefly.
More recently I have considered that my mother might have been menopausal during the years she treated me badly.
I wonder if it is common for these women to try to redeem themselves by being a better grandparent than parents. Do you intend to tell your daughter about our childhood one day? I’m not sure I will although I know this might not be the best policy.
64BooLane · 05/10/2018 09:34
I’m sorry for what you went through. You are absolutely not pathetic.
I had an emotionally distant and sometimes emotionally abusive mother and it is still a very tricky relationship. For years and years she wouldn’t say she loved me and she still obviously finds it hard.
I often feel conflicted in that I hate the way she parented and want to do the opposite, but then when I am tired and run down I find myself sliding towards mimicking her style of parenting with my own DC (withdrawing approval/speaking sarcastically/coldly to them ... the stuff that made my blood run cold as a kid) and then I feel awful guilt. But also, weirdly, I feel a strange sense of sympathy for her in that it reminds me these things do not come out of nowhere, it’s a long chain we hand down and I don’t really know what happened to make her the way she is, iyswim.
The upshot is that I try to balance forgiveness for her and mindfulness (hate that bloody term though!) about my own end-of-tether behaviour to my children, and it’s just a sort of constant wearying one day a time sort of process.
Not sure why I’m posting, sorry, that doesn’t really help much! Just, I hear you
Vanessatiger · 05/10/2018 17:27
I don’t know if she was jealous of me. If she was then I’m not sure why my father also mistreated me. He was distant and disengaged. He just didn’t want to deal with us children.
I think my mother had post natal depression. In adult life I found out my mother had aborted once and miscarried twice and in between she had my 3 younger siblings. But then again it doesn’t explain why I was targeted. As soon as she saw me there was a rage in her that wanted to undo me on every level.
I used to think she’s an evil person.
needsomepeace321 · 05/10/2018 17:37
OP please don't question why she didn't love you. It wasn't your fault, you were just a kid. Every kid deserves loving parents and a stable home life, instead she abused you and that is entirely down to her and her issues. You did nothing to deserve it, you couldn't have. As for your father, well he's just as bad for not protecting.
You had the misfortune to be born to unfit parents (as did I, so I can relate). It is shit but none of it is in any way your fault.
BarbarianMum · 05/10/2018 17:40
You let her near your children? I'm so sorry, she's really done a number on you.
Soapisntdangerous · 05/10/2018 17:47
I'm sorry you had a hell of a time. I feel for you and can relate. It was jealousy. She saw something in you that she could never be, have or achieve. Please don't hate, it will consume you one way or another. Congrats for getting in to Oxbridge back then. Get some counselling with the idea of offloading all that shit from your past. You don't need it in your life and it's a waste of your energy carrying it around. X
Mummadeeze · 05/10/2018 17:50
Don’t feel ashamed that your childhood still affects you. Abuse is very hard to forget or come to terms with, even with counselling. I had a very unhappy childhood because my relationship with my father was bad and sadly, despite having worked through my issues with counsellors, this has still affected my life choices. The counselling definitely helped however and I recommend it if you haven’t had any. My relationship with my Dad now is civil but not loving and I know I won’t be very sad when he dies apart from feeling sorry for my Mum and Sister who do love him. Your childhood sounds very very tough and I really feel for you. You have achieved a great deal however and you should be proud of yourself. My self esteem is low too, even though I know I have lots to be proud of too but I focus on my relationship with my daughter and my friends and that brings me much happiness. Do explore counselling though, it could be a game changer for you. Lots of love.
Comtesse · 05/10/2018 17:51
Sorry OP you must know yanbu. She has behaved terribly towards you
Does she deserve the privilege of knowing your children? I don’t think so.
SleightOfMind · 05/10/2018 18:51
Gosh, so many things ring true!
My mother has now whitewashed everything in her own mind and tells everyone how close we are .
I ignore her calls and have her over once a fortnight for a quick supper - she’s taken to calling DH and DS1 but they also put her off.
I never leave her alone with the DC.
It’s like that fable about the scorpion who begs for a lift across the river, then stings the animal carrying it so they both drown.
She can’t help it, it’s just her nature.
Having a miserable childhood has made me very appreciative of adult life though. I have four DC and love seeing them grow and explore their strengths and individual natures. I can’t imagine running them down and telling lies about them like my mother did to me. It really throws it into sharp relief when you have your own.
I also worked really hard at school (to try and win favour) and hard at work (to escape) so I now have a well paid, flexible job that I love.
I love my DH more with every year that passes, we have two huge lazy dogs (DM hates dogs )
My house is usually muddy, cluttered and noisy and ours and the DCs’ friends are always around. It’s so different from my upbringing and I love it!
I used to be very anxious and insecure but the successes I’ve worked for have given me confidence in my capabilities.
I’m not that terrified, cowed little girl anymore.
SleightOfMind · 05/10/2018 18:54
Counselling can really help and setting your own limits on your relationship without feeling guilty (NC or whatever works for you) is vital.
Don’t live the life she chose for you. You and your family are worth the effort it will take to undo the damage she caused
CSIblonde · 05/10/2018 19:40
You are not pathetic. I get this as my mother was exactly the same. It annihilates your self esteem & you feel if my own mother doesn't love me no one else will. Your DM used a child as a scapegoat for her own unhappiness. That's not your fault. Counselling helped me massively. And finding 'surrogate' mother figures elsewhere. Don't beat yourself up over your feelings. I actually felt giddy with relief when my mother died. It was closure. You are 'good enough', you are loveable and you're a great mum. Celebrate that and move forward.
Vanessatiger · 06/10/2018 13:24
In adult life I always questioned myself. Every time somebody said they loved me, I didn’t believe them and subconsciously set out to destroy my relationship.. it’s a pattern.
Just two months before I got married my mother said they weren’t sure if they were going to attend as it’s too far (my wedding in Europe and they lived 3 hours away), whereas my sister would marry 25 hours away just two months after me and they had already booked tickets and planned hotels etc..
i have lots of little things they’ve done that showed me that they just never really considered me as family.
Vanessatiger · 06/10/2018 13:26
She never expressed any happiness for me. It seems she wants me to fail in life. If I do fail, she’d say “ what did you expect, you brought it onto yourself “
PositivelyPERF · 06/10/2018 15:07
You’re the scapegoat that has kept the family together, OP. People like your mother need to direct the resentment for things in their family to one person, to prevent themselves from lashing out at the person they’re really angry at. You say your father was distant and disengaged regarding you and your siblings. I wonder if she felt that he was emotionally distant from her and also resentful of the fact that she had to do all the child raising. I was the scapegoat in my family and it was only in later life I realised that they needed a target to pour all their resentment into, in order to stop their marriage and the family imploding.
They picked on you, not because you were bad, but because you were a good child and less likely to turn on them. You were the vulnerable child and you’ve every right to grieve for the childhood you should have had.
Robin2323 · 06/10/2018 15:53
You have carried this shame for long enough.
Time to let it go.
None of it was your fault
(Watch the film 'good will hunting' come to terms with his Abuse alcoholic father )
Your mother was like a child taking all her frustration out on an easy target - you.
The fact that you answered back proves to me what an incredibly strong woman you are. You were protecting yourself. Well done.
As a child you knew it was wrong.
You don't ever have to forgive her.
BUT you do have to let it go.
And I would stay well away from her.
You need to find all your inner strength, of which you have spades and say:
' Nah - life's too short. Time to do what makes me happy.
Happy you means happy kids. '
Next time you feel yourself slipping into frustration mode like your mum did you tell yourself.
' no that was my mums way and it was rubbish.
I'm gong to do this my way. '
As long as you're loving to your kids most of the time , when you need to be strict you won't be like your mum.
Kids like boundaries- it makes them feel safe.
Yes you may feel a bit guilty at first but that will pass.
It's better than bring filled with resentment which just eats away at you.
Vanessatiger · 06/10/2018 15:57
Thank you all for your inputs, they give me strength. I guess I’m just not in a good place at the moment. It makes me reflect on my upbringing and I’m still deeply ashamed of it. To the point that I pretended my parents were “normal “ and “loving“ to friends at university.
Vanessatiger · 06/10/2018 16:03
I think my mother was frustrated my father was so distant. I also know he had affairs. I heard them arguing and later on as I grew older I understood that that’s what my mother meant when she told us not to touch my father (in front of him in a spiteful tone) as he may have caught AIDS (this was the 80s after all).. and yelled at him to burn all his clothing and then she proceeded to disinfect everywhere.
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