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AIBU?

I'm not part of their family am I?

107 replies

DiscoDragon · 13/01/2024 12:28

My mum cheated on my dad back when I was around 2 years old and eventually left him for the man she is now married to. I have 2 step brothers, although I've always thought of them and called them my brothers not ste-brothers.

I was always treated very differently to my brothers growing up. I was expected to pay half my wages in rent to my mum as soon as I started working full time at 18. I was told long before I was even thinking about moving out of home that once I was gone that was it, there would be no coming back home again, this was "tough love" to encourage me to stand on my own two feet. I was not invited on their family holidays

My brothers have both left home and come back again multiple times over the years, both have had girlfriends moving into their parents house with them - rent free so that they could save for their futures. Both are still currently living there in their mid/late thirties after one brother split from his long term partner and mother of his 2 children.

I only learned in December that my brother and his girlfriend seem to have split and that he has been off work with MH issues for several months. Also that his ex-partner is pregnant with their 3rd child - due in a few weeks. I had absolutely no idea, none of my "famliy" have shared any of this with me! I had gone to brothers ex's house to take a birthday present for my nephew. When I arrived our youngest brother was also there with his girlfriend with presents for nephew, all making a big fuss.

A few days after Christmas it was my son's birthday. My mum got him a tiny lego set and £10 (to be fair she is disabled and can't get out to the shops and relies on her husband so this is his doing). My brothers couldn't even be fucked to get off their asses and come wish him a happy birthday when we were at my mums house let alone get him a card or a present. My older daughter had her birthday in October and was spoiled rotten by everyone, cards and presents from everyone.

It has all left me feeling so upset, like I'm just not considered a part of their family at all. I am so fucking angry that my daughter gets spoiled on her birthday and my son is barely acknowledged. I don't understand why.

I'm thinking of not bothering with any of them from now on apart from my mum. I wont bother acknowledging the birth of my brothers 3rd child or with his other childrens birthdays and next Christmas I'll stick to my mum, dad and my own children when it comes to gift giving. AIBU?

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Am I being unreasonable?

401 votes. Final results.

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You are being unreasonable
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You are NOT being unreasonable
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PumpkinsAndCoconuts · 13/01/2024 15:20

Coconutter24 · 13/01/2024 15:11

That is a poor excuse not to go no contact with your mum. You are willingly turning a blind eye and choosing to ignore her neglect of you because ‘I can’t blame her for being the way she is’….. but you can blame your step dad and brothers for the way they are! That makes no sense everyone here is as bad as each other

OP loves her mother and is clearly dealing with a lot of hurt and trauma. She may be able to blame her mother one day or she won´t.
That doesn´t need to make sense to you. But a bit of compassion might be nice.

I do hope that OP will distance herself, her children and protect them (and herself) from further abuse. But she doesn´t need to blame her mother to do that.

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ScribblingPixie · 13/01/2024 15:24

I'm glad you are going to get therapy, OP. I think it will really helpful. I'd just urge you to read again the way you described your daughter: 'My daughter on the other hand can be really hard work, mouthy, argumentative and spiteful but they don't/won't see that.' I found that worrying and I'd be concerned that you're passing some damage down. I'm sure therapy will help you with it all.

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mumsytoon · 13/01/2024 15:24

DiscoDragon · 13/01/2024 13:22

I can't go NC with my mum, I just can't. I can't blame her for being the way she is, she fought for custody of me. I saw how frightened and upset she was in hospital with me after I took an overdose aged 20. She must care in her own fucked up way.

My brothers and I were never close but I had always thought we got on well enough, I am upset to realise just how little they seem to think of me and my children this year.

She is the root of all the trauma in your life. You don't want to accept that but it is.
She broke the family up , then brought abuse into your life and did nothing about it. She doesn't deserve to have you in her life just because she has bad health now.

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DiscoDragon · 13/01/2024 15:25

Coconutter24 · 13/01/2024 15:11

That is a poor excuse not to go no contact with your mum. You are willingly turning a blind eye and choosing to ignore her neglect of you because ‘I can’t blame her for being the way she is’….. but you can blame your step dad and brothers for the way they are! That makes no sense everyone here is as bad as each other

Whether it makes sense or not I love my mum, despite the fact that she's not been a good mum to me. She's the only mum I've got, before that man came along she did love me, she used to take me everywhere with her. I do blame him and his domineering family for taking her away from me, whether it makes sense or not that's how I feel. It's even more complicated because she is so ill now, I have drastically reduced how much time I spend with her already and then I feel the horrendous, crippling guilt I've been feeling my whole life of not being a good enough human being. I know its fucked up. I wish I could just turn my feelings off.

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Dringle · 13/01/2024 15:25

Coconutter24 · 13/01/2024 15:11

That is a poor excuse not to go no contact with your mum. You are willingly turning a blind eye and choosing to ignore her neglect of you because ‘I can’t blame her for being the way she is’….. but you can blame your step dad and brothers for the way they are! That makes no sense everyone here is as bad as each other

Why would she need an excuse? Op doesn't need to justify anything to any of us, none of us are living her life or facing the consequences of any of her decisions and no one has any right to judge or expect anything from her. This will be dredging up the most gut wrenching pain and reframing everything she has ever known and believed and what you think she should do is totally irrelevant

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mumsytoon · 13/01/2024 15:27

She has Parkinsons and he is her main carer, I'd prefer to keep it that way if I'm honest, I don't want that responsibility to fall to me.

That is her karma op. She was a really, really bad excuse of a 'mother'. She is the root of all your trauma. Hold her accountable.

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PumpkinsAndCoconuts · 13/01/2024 15:29

ScribblingPixie · 13/01/2024 15:24

I'm glad you are going to get therapy, OP. I think it will really helpful. I'd just urge you to read again the way you described your daughter: 'My daughter on the other hand can be really hard work, mouthy, argumentative and spiteful but they don't/won't see that.' I found that worrying and I'd be concerned that you're passing some damage down. I'm sure therapy will help you with it all.

Good point. It is unfortunately really easy to unwittingly recreate certain patterns. Golden child / "good son" vs "bad daughter" being one of them.


Anyhow, I hope my perspective has helped OP (or anyone else) but that´s it for me on this thread.

OP: Please don´t give up on therapy. And you might consider speaking to your GP, if you haven´t already. Good luck! Flowers

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DiscoDragon · 13/01/2024 15:47

ScribblingPixie · 13/01/2024 15:24

I'm glad you are going to get therapy, OP. I think it will really helpful. I'd just urge you to read again the way you described your daughter: 'My daughter on the other hand can be really hard work, mouthy, argumentative and spiteful but they don't/won't see that.' I found that worrying and I'd be concerned that you're passing some damage down. I'm sure therapy will help you with it all.

You're right, reading that back I can see how it looks. I adore both of my children and they can both be difficult in their own ways, it's just that most of my time seems to be spent on my daughter and her issues yet most people outside of our home don't see that side of her and think that my son is the "difficult" child just because he has his diagnoses and THEY find him hard work.

My dad is brilliant with my children, he takes them both as the individuals they are and never criticizes. He will sit and patiently listen to my son talking his ear off about Pokemon or Minecraft and take an interest, whereas the other side of the family will laugh and joke about my son being on another planet. I guess I've spent too much time and effort trying to change their perceptions of my son and I shouldn't have bothered at all. I wont be from now on. I think because I had such close relationships with my own grandparents as a child I really wanted the same for my own children. Their dad's parents are both gone so mine are all they have, but if they're going to play favourites they can fuck right off. I'll see my mum by myself once in a while, although I might get cast out for daring to tell them they are treating my son differently to my daughter so they can't have a relationship with either of them any more, but I need to be stronger than my mum was and just do it.

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DiscoDragon · 13/01/2024 15:52

mumsytoon · 13/01/2024 15:27

She has Parkinsons and he is her main carer, I'd prefer to keep it that way if I'm honest, I don't want that responsibility to fall to me.

That is her karma op. She was a really, really bad excuse of a 'mother'. She is the root of all your trauma. Hold her accountable.

I hate to say it but I have thought the exact same thing. His karma too, he wanted another mans wife and now he's got her, disabilities and all. My dad is single, free, retired and having a whale of a time travelling and biking and golfing and spending time with me and his grandchildren.

I don't feel as guilty for thinking this as when I was 17 she outright blamed me for her Parkinsons diagnosis.

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DiscoDragon · 13/01/2024 16:02

PumpkinsAndCoconuts · 13/01/2024 15:29

Good point. It is unfortunately really easy to unwittingly recreate certain patterns. Golden child / "good son" vs "bad daughter" being one of them.


Anyhow, I hope my perspective has helped OP (or anyone else) but that´s it for me on this thread.

OP: Please don´t give up on therapy. And you might consider speaking to your GP, if you haven´t already. Good luck! Flowers

I am very conscious of not having favourites with my children, and I don't I absolutely adore them both. Having said that, if I ask my son to pick up his mess from the floor he will do it and if I ask my daughter the same she will scream at me, deny having made any mess (when I saw her do it!) and stamp up the stairs and slam her door at me. My daughter isn't bad, I think there is a lot going on with her at the moment that's all. She was diagnosed with a condition called mosaic Turner syndrome which has affected her growth and has meant a lot of hospital appointments in recent years, also starting secondary school, puberty and having good friends move away. She gets a lot more attention from me than my son, which in turn makes me feel guilty but I don't blame her for any of this at all. I will have to try very hard to not unwittingly recreate the negative patterns from my own childhood, I really really don't want my children messed up like I am.

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Avacardo2023 · 13/01/2024 16:09

OP you said this "She's the only mum I've got, before that man came along she did love me, she used to take me everywhere with her. "

That man came along when you were two years old! She had to take you everywhere and prioritise you as you can't leave a baby on their own. Sorry I agree with others who said your mother is a total and utter piece of shit. She doesn't deserve you or your kids in her life. I can't actually believe you haven't gone NC with the whole lot of them but have been subjecting your children to these abusers for years. Enough is enough and you need to cut them all off, and that includes your mother.

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Dringle · 13/01/2024 16:25

Op you're a good person and a good mum, there are definitely some points to reflect on here but you're doing it already which shows how much progress you have made in breaking the cycle.

I have to go out soon but I will come back later, I just wanted to send you the biggest hug and I don't even care that it's not the done thing around here! You've got a lot of processing and unpicking to do and that is a disorientating and painful process, therapy will help but if that's unaffordable at the moment you might find a lower cost alternative like a group or self help techniques to help you in the meantime. Hold on to the fact that whatever you feel is valid, you'll get pushback from those who have created a false identity as they'll feel threatened by their worldview (in which they are exemplary beings not capable of abuse) being threatened when you stop playing the role they have assigned you but you are the only one in control of what you choose to do and you are absolutely worth the happiness outside of their narrative

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Copperoliverbear · 13/01/2024 16:26

Tell them speak up, I would have said it then and there in front of everyone

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Dringle · 13/01/2024 16:32

Avacardo2023 · 13/01/2024 16:09

OP you said this "She's the only mum I've got, before that man came along she did love me, she used to take me everywhere with her. "

That man came along when you were two years old! She had to take you everywhere and prioritise you as you can't leave a baby on their own. Sorry I agree with others who said your mother is a total and utter piece of shit. She doesn't deserve you or your kids in her life. I can't actually believe you haven't gone NC with the whole lot of them but have been subjecting your children to these abusers for years. Enough is enough and you need to cut them all off, and that includes your mother.

Ffs! Sorry to be blunt but it is of no consequence to you how the op chooses to manage her complex af family dynamics and you are way out of line trying to insist she cuts contact with her mum. Whether her mum deserves those relationships or not bears no correlation to what the least bad next step is for the op. This is not your life or your family and she does not owe you any explanation

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Avacardo2023 · 13/01/2024 16:43

@Dringle I'm not sure why you've specifically picked my post out of the dozens of others saying basically the same thing but I stand by what I said. I'm not asking for an explanation but pointing out that all of these people are abusers who have already harmed the OP. The OP should not be exposing her children to any of these people and that includes her mother.

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ScribblingPixie · 13/01/2024 16:52

Thanks for answering, OP. Good luck to you. From my own experience, I'd say just distance yourself enough that you're minimising the stress to yourself. Don't cut yourself off to the extent that you're actually entering into conflict and causing yourself more stress..

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Dringle · 13/01/2024 17:03

@Avacardo2023 you might want to scroll back through the thread and see for yourself where this has been covered and my previous posts where I specifically picked out others' posts. If you think it's helpful for someone working through deep trauma to have someone telling them what they "should" or "should not" do after they have already explained to others why that does not feel like the right choice for them to make then I really don’t know what to tell you...

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summerhillnest · 13/01/2024 17:07

OP, I'd recommend the InSight Exposing Narcissism podcast as a good place to think about the trauma you've experienced. Lots of letters from people with complex families that you might relate to.
It's great that you're organising to get some therapy, and that you're aware of what's gone on, and that you're trying to make sure it ends with you (rather than passing it on to your children.) Take care.

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Merryoldgoat · 13/01/2024 17:26

DiscoDragon · 13/01/2024 15:52

I hate to say it but I have thought the exact same thing. His karma too, he wanted another mans wife and now he's got her, disabilities and all. My dad is single, free, retired and having a whale of a time travelling and biking and golfing and spending time with me and his grandchildren.

I don't feel as guilty for thinking this as when I was 17 she outright blamed me for her Parkinsons diagnosis.

She blamed you for her diagnosis?

I hope you find the strength to see the true fact of your upbringing and your mother’s complicity in your abuse. She is pure venom.

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jakesmommy · 13/01/2024 17:26

Your mom had an affair with the man who is now her husband and fought for custody of you against your Dad (who is a fantastic grandfather to your children) when you were small, you ended up being abused both physically and emotionally by her new husband and your half brothers, there is definitely some negative family dynamics, protect your children from it.

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Cavend · 13/01/2024 17:30

OP, I'm really sorry about the way you have been treated by your so called family. I bet you & your real Dad wished he could have had custody of you.
Agree with what @Muchof has posted, just call it a day for your own well being

You owe this "family" nothing. Flowers

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DiscoDragon · 13/01/2024 17:54

Thank you very much for all of your responses, the kind ones and the blunt ones too.

I am fiercely protective of my own children and I am not going to allow any more of this. I can see that I have tried to convince myself over the years that I'm imagining the preferential treatment of my daughter by these people, and that I've kept quiet and gone along to get along rather than causing another hugely traumatic family drama.

I have already drastically reduced the amount of time I spend at their house, I've barely taken my son there at all since mum's husbands comments about his autism and ADHD. My son has been happy with this as they have a dog and he doesn't like dogs. To be fair neither of my children have ever had what I would call a close relationship with any of them, we would pop up and visit for an hour maybe once a week or 2. Since his comments about my sons diagnosis, and his further comments about my daughters mosaic Turner Syndrome diagnosis being a load of shit that's fallen to maybe once a month or 2. After the complete snubbing of my son on his birthday and Christmas by my youngest brother I'm in no hurry to see any of them again.

I'm not planning on confronting anyone or telling any home truths, I'm just going to be a coward and stay away and continue to spend weekends etc with my dad. To be fair they have no right to be upset or offended by this, growing up whenever I needed or wanted anything I was always told "go ask your dad" so they really shouldn't be surprised that that's what I do now should they.

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DiscoDragon · 13/01/2024 17:59

Cavend · 13/01/2024 17:30

OP, I'm really sorry about the way you have been treated by your so called family. I bet you & your real Dad wished he could have had custody of you.
Agree with what @Muchof has posted, just call it a day for your own well being

You owe this "family" nothing. Flowers

Yes, I've actually spoken to my dad about this recently. I never told him (or anyone) about my treatment at home as a child. When my nan realised mums husband had been hitting me she told my uncle who went ballistic and hit him back. I got the blame for causing this trouble and I didn't see my nan for a long time after that, my uncle for even longer. I didn't want to potentially lose my dad too.

My dad was disgusted too, he said he can't undertsand why mum fought for custody if they so clearly didn't want me there. He'd have had me in a heartbeat. So would both sets of my grandparents.

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Coconutter24 · 13/01/2024 18:23

DiscoDragon · 13/01/2024 15:25

Whether it makes sense or not I love my mum, despite the fact that she's not been a good mum to me. She's the only mum I've got, before that man came along she did love me, she used to take me everywhere with her. I do blame him and his domineering family for taking her away from me, whether it makes sense or not that's how I feel. It's even more complicated because she is so ill now, I have drastically reduced how much time I spend with her already and then I feel the horrendous, crippling guilt I've been feeling my whole life of not being a good enough human being. I know its fucked up. I wish I could just turn my feelings off.

Of course you love your mum she is your mum. Why do you feel so horrendous not seeing her? Is it because you want to see her? If so can you both not concentrate on just yours and hers relationship, forget the others. I’m sure even after he came along she still loved you but she obviously wasn’t strong enough to stand up to him which is awful. You don’t need to feel guilt you were a child and I’m sure good enough of a human being so don’t let anyone make you feel so worthless.

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Crumpleton · 13/01/2024 18:37

I'm not planning on confronting anyone or telling any home truths, I'm just going to be a coward and stay away

You're not being a coward, you've realised that these people are taking up to much of your life which can be put to better use.

Life isn't a dress rehearsal, there's no encore, spend your time looking after yourself and those that matter to you.

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