My Child is Behaving Like My Horrid Mother

 I am devastated.  My late mother was a perfect example of a horrid mother.  She crushed my sister and brother but although I suffered inside I stood up to her and have had a good life.  I have been married for over thirty years and have a wonderful daughter who I am very close to.  However, my younger son treats me just like my mother treated my siblings.  I don’t know what I have done wrong, nor does my daughter but he is breaking both my and my wife’s heart.  I find myself walking on eggshells just as I did as a child.  

Initially we thought it was a teenage thing but he is now thirty and married with twin girls. He is very close to his inlaws but we rarely see him.  On the rare occasions he comes round, his wife is always ‘busy.’  He only told us the date of their wedding a week before it happened. I couldn’t go because I was working in the States and he subsequently told me he was ‘disgusted’ I didn’t change my plans.  Nor did we know they were expecting twins until the day his wife went was in labour.  He did though ask for some financial help for them to buy a small house and I gave him a six figure sum.  It upsets us that we have never been invited there.  He also flies into a rage about the smallest thing.  One year his birthday card arrived a day late and when we bought two presents each for the children instead of the prescribed one, he was incandescent that we had ‘disobeyed’ his order.  He then ignored us for months.  My wife has often offered to babysit but he turns her down.     

Last Christmas he told us on 22ndDecember that he was spending it with his in-laws in the country and has made no suggestions for popping round since.  We are devastated.  His sister, who he is almost equally unpleasant to, has tried to suggest she and he sought some therapy but he mocked her.  If I spoke to his in-laws or wife I know we will never see him again. Has he perhaps inherited my mother’s genes? Please help me.  

 OUR COMMENTS 

How sad that you had a horrid mother and now your son is behaving in a similar unpleasant way, particularly as you don’t know why. Until you understand the situation better it will be hard to work out how to  move forward.  

Unfortunately in some families there are patterns of unpleasant behaviour that run from one generation to the next.  Sometimes the cycle can be broken by  kindness but some personality issues develop by themselves.   

It sounds as if your son’s behaviour problems began when he was a teenager It may help for you and your wife to think about his development and note when they occurred and the most effective ways you managed him.  You could also talk to your  daughter and others you are close to help you pinpoint any unresolved arguments or resentments as this will increase the change of you understanding what may be happening. 

It sounds as if his wife is also part of the problem as she obviously wants to keep her distance.  This may be a reaction to what your son has told her about her  but she may also just not like you.    

As things are quite tense at the moment it might be worth keeping lines of communication open from a distance. You could ask your son if he would like you to send your presents to his daughters or if he’d like to pop by and collect them.  Try to keep to his boundaries at the moment but then gradually make a gentle attempt to  discuss what has upset him and your wish to be part of his family unit.  You might prefer to try this through an intermediary, or by email, whichever way you think is least likely to alienate or anger him. It will take time so don’t rush it or set your expectations too high. 

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My Very Angry Parent

 

I came across your website unexpectedly and found your suggestions on coping with a horrid parent riveting.  I wish I had seen it decades ago.   

What I remember most of my late mother is her appalling endlessly raging bad temper.  It’s so sad, but that’s how I think of her.  From the time I was a small child until my late forties when she died she shouted at me for misdemeanours  that most people would consider were inconsequential or a normal part of a child growing up.  Forgetting my homework was one, looking scruffy was another, as was leaving a used drinking glass on the kitchen work surface.    

It went on from there and included not studying law at university because she found it fascinating – I didn’t so in her eyes I let her down and she always raged when she didn’t get her own way.  I teach history instead.  At the other end of the scale despite my age she continued to criticise my clothes.   

I have never married as I couldn’t bear to risk having someone else harangue me in the way she did.  As I was her only child and my father died when I was twenty I took responsibility for her welfare as she aged and contracted various ailments.  That too infuriated her as she couldn’t bear to be vulnerable.  It was only a small consolation that she also shouted at the cleaning lady and a very nice neighbour for asking how she was feeling.   

I am now 48  and when I look back it seems that anger was the only emotion she could express and I suspect that she blocked herself from feeling other more vulnerable emotions like feeling sad, anxious or disappointed. For myself I wonder whether it’s possible to overcome such an unhappy start to life and find some personal happiness?

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 OUR COMMENTS 

Many people struggle to accept what they are feeling and some find the experience so unpleasant that they deny them, both to themselves and to others. But strong feelings have a way of re-emerging and if we try to mask them they may appear in a different form. So you are probably right that your mother could not accept or admit to her wider range of emotions. Perhaps her resentment about this led her to appear angry and she took it out on you as her only child. If it interests you to do so, think back over your mother’s life and maybe see some events that would have been hard for her to manage and consider how else she could have reacted. This is not to excuse her but to enable you get more perspective on her as a person which will also help you believe that none of her fury was your fault. 

It is not easy to live with so much pain and there are no quick solutions, but there is no reason why you cannot start to move forward in your life now that your mother has died. You could try making some plans about how you would like your future life to develop. Think about what you have achieved so far: your education, professional life as a teacher, friendships and hobbies. Note what has given you most satisfaction and what else would you like to do. Make a list and be as broad and creative as you can. Take ownership and control for yourself without thinking whether or not your mother would approve.    It’s time to do what you want and make the most of your freedom.

Also think whether some counselling might help you on your way?

 

2019 Here We Come!

 

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New Year Resolutions are often doomed to failure because they are too ambitious.  They can also be rather boring.  Instead of giving yourself unrealistic expectations, why not approach the new year in a different way that hopefully will make you feel good about yourself, be more confident and better able to cope with your horrid parent.    Our suggestions offer you things to think about, things to write down and things to remember.

 1.  Before the new year begins try to clear your mind of obsessions, big or small  that have been bugging you in 2018.  This could include minor irritations about people you know, the amount of time you spend looking for your keys or something someone said to you ages ago that still makes you feel bad.  Either deliberately park them at the back of your mind and refuse to dwell on them any more.  Or write them down, scrunch up the paper unto a small ball, then throw it away.  This should help you welcome in 2019 feeling less bogged down by trivia. 

 2. Write down three things that you are good at.  It doesn’t matter what they are and they can be as simple as remembering football scores, making muffins or doing crosswords.

 3.  Write down three kind things you have done for a friend, relative or an animal.  These can be simple too and include phoning someone to see how they are, stroking your pet or helping a blind person cross the road.     

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4.  Finally write down one thing you have done this year that’s enabled you cope when your parent was being horrid to you.  Remind yourself how effective it was, how it made you feel and if you could modify it to use in other slightly different but equally unpleasant situations.    

There are also three important things to remember about your horrid parent. 

You will not be able to change them.  

Your parent arrived on earth well before you did and therefore you are not to blame for their behaviour or characteristics.   

You are not alone.  It is the unfortunate fate of many others to cope with similar experiences.   

We can’t foresee what will happen in the world but we can help ourselves.  We hope this assist you in getting the new year off to a positive start

 

 

 

 

Grandmothers and Mothers

It’s my grandmother’s 90th birthday just after Christmas and she is coming from her nursing home to join my mother and me on Christmas Day so we can celebrate the occasion at my mother’s home.  My grandmother is physically quite unwell, but her mind is as sharp as a razor.  She dislikes my mother which is possibly why my mother dislikes me.  My wife left me during the year and our five-year-old twins are spending this Christmas with her.  It’s been a stressful time which I am beginning to recover from and I am determined that I am not going to let a bad atmosphere or spiteful comments from either of them get to me.  I shall think of myself as a duck for the day and let whatever they say just roll off me.  If it becomes unpleasant it won’t be my fault.  Do you think that will work? My grandmother dislikes Christmas pudding as I do and I am planning to leave just after the turkey.

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Our comments: 

It must be hard for you to have separated from your wife and not having your twins with you over Christmas. There is still time to think ahead and prepare yourself for difficult moments.  There are several ways to do this and imagining you are a duck so that nastiness rolls off you is a great idea. Another possibility is to imagine there is an impenetrable shield around you, so that any arrows thrown at you automatically bounce off.  You could also think of a brief mantra to chant in your head whenever you hear a mean comment, such as ‘I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok.’ or ‘that won’t hurt me’ or  even ‘la la la’. 

It’s also important to give yourself some space and time alone over Christmas. You are bound to miss your own family and there will inevitably be some unpleasant comments to cope with. Plan to use this time well by choosing to listen to soothing music, lighting a candle, doing some yoga, reading or going for a walk.  Meditation/mindfulness can  also soothe worrying thoughts and it is a good idea to practice  some simple and quick exercises before Christmas.  

Do try and keep your visit brief and remember that if either your mother or grandmother are unkind it is not your fault.

Christmas and Teenagers

A Selection of our Followers Concerns over the Holiday Period

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Week 2

This will be the first Christmas Day I will be spending with my parents for some years and my husband and two teenage daughters will be with me. One of our daughters is very accommodating but Jill, (not her real name) the older one is going through a rebellious phase and will turn up with tattoos, piercings and very strong views, all of which my father will hate. I am worried that it will ruin the festivities, which traditionally are very fraught. Should I warn my parents in advance about Jill or wait until we arrive, ask Dad to take no notice and explain that it is probably just a passing teenage phase and to please not let it spoil our family Christmas? Of course I don’t want him to launch into me either and tell me I am a lousy parent, which is what he thought I’d always be. Luckily my husband understands by now what my father is like and will try to divert him into football talk which he even mugs up on before we go.

Our comments

What a shame that after several years your reunion with your family at Christmas fills you with dread. It’s a good idea to think through some of the possible pitfalls in advance and try to work out a coping strategy. It may not avoid your Father’s critical comments, but will make you aware of what might be said.

It is great that your husband supports you and has practical ideas to help the situation. You might think of recruiting your daughters in the same way. Perhaps suggest they think of ideas of jollying their grandfather along. Despite the tattoos Jill might be able to charm and soften him. Do remind them before you go that a key strategy in families is to be tactful and not cause offence.

We also think that you should warn them about her appearance as a shock could make them react even more strongly. If your parents choose to spoil Christmas because of what their granddaughter looks like or something any of you say there is little you can do about it. However, if either of them are unkind to your daughters do step in to protect them. There is no need to apologise for how your daughter looks.

In addition, if they criticise your parenting remind yourself that allowing your daughters the freedom to express themselves as they wish, is what has made you a great mother. You should also seek an early exit.

Christmas Holidays

A selection of our followers concerns over the holiday period. Each week we will be looking at a different problem

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Week 1

I am dreading our family Christmas. Not least because my mother seems to lie in wait to criticise me and regularly loses her temper if I have a different view to her. She also gets very stressed over the meal and getting everything ready at the same time. The two particular issues this year is that we have a new baby who will obviously need a lot of attention and I know how hard she finds it to be flexible over timing. The other issue is that my husband and I have given up eating meat. I have already told her this over the phone but she abruptly ended the call by telling me I was the most ungrateful daughter in the world. I don’t know whether to call again and offer to bring something with me, just eat the vegetables, which knowing her she will cook in the same dish as the turkey. Or just stick with the smoked salmon starter and Christmas pudding. I am also thinking whether it would make things worse or better if, when we arrive, I said something along the lines that I know she doesn’t approve of us being non meat eaters but we don’t want to spoil her traditions and we are delighted to be with the family at this special time. We are not of course but I do want a peaceful day. As a last resort of course we have decided to use our baby as an excuse to go early but it’s a two hour drive each way so we’d like to avoid that if we can.

Our comments

It sounds like whatever you do your mother will get upset, so keep that in mind when you you’re your decisions. You are right to try and have as peaceful a day as possible, but you it may well be outside of your control. You decided to visit your mother and family so being as pleasant and reasonable as possible is important. As are your baby’s needs.

We think you should try to talk to your mother ahead of the day about timing, particularly of the meal. This will give you an opportunity to remind her that you and your husband will not be eating meat and to ask her about her preferred option. When you know roughly when your mother will want to serve the Christmas meal, you could try timing the baby’s naps around that.

Be aware that your agreed plans could get sabotaged. If your baby is fretful you could take it in turns to look after him or her so the meal is not interrupted. Your ideas for the starter and pudding could work well. Of course your mother might make unpleasant comments but your can’t do more than your best to fit in.

Festive meals can be a minefield and you may well have to cope with her criticisms and uncharitable remarks. Don’t blame yourself if this happens and feel free to leave if it gets too much. Maybe plan something special to look forward to when you get home.

My Ungrateful Mother

 

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Choosing a Christmas present for my mother has always been a nightmare as she makes ungrateful snide comments about whatever I have chosen.   I try not to let it spoil my Christmas but it’s always a tense time.  

I’ve tried everything.  If I buy her clothes, she says I am insulting her by buying a big size, when she and I both know she is a UK 18.  If I try perfume, she’s says she’s gone off that scent ‘long ago.’  If I choose chocolates she claims I’m trying to make her fat  and if it’s something like a scarf or gloves she mocks me for giving her present no thoughts at all.   

 For a couple of years I thought I’d solved the problem as my two sisters and I clubbed together to buy her something.  But it only provoked the most unpleasant childish sulk that lasted all day because she only had one present rather than three.   

The underlying problem is that I am the eldest and she likes me least. She felt certain she was having a boy and had even painted my bedroom blue.  She’s made it clear that I failed her from the start and even started a trend for her to have girls.  Of course she knows none of it can possibly be my fault, but it gives her endless opportunities to try to blame me for everything.   

This year I am so fed up that I’ve thought of giving the money I would spent on a present to a water project in Africa on her behalf and just giving her the certificate.  But I don’t know if I dare, particularly as she has racist tendencies. 

Can you help me out here? 

Our comments 

Choosing a present for a horrid parent is often a minefield, because however much thought you put into your choice you will usually be derided.  We suggest you keep your expectations low so you will not be disappointed when she rubbishes whatever you have bought.  If you keep hoping to satisfy your mother then you are continuing to play the ‘game’ that she has set up for you. So try to step back from this manipulation. 

As for what to buy, you can choose a gift that she might like, even if she doesn’t acknowledge it. . You could get her a neutral gift token from a department store so she can choose what she wants. Or as you suggest send a donation to a charity in her name but do choose something you think  she would support.

It is not your fault that you were not the boy she wanted. Keep believing in yourself as the strong person that you have become, despite her unkindness and try to find joy elsewhere during the Christmas period.

 

When Mother Doesn't Know Best

When Mother Doesn’t Know Best.

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My mother has absolutely no idea what I am really like. Nor does it seem to bother her. Although I am now middle aged, she still berates me if I don’t sit still when I’m eating and reminds me I was just the same when I was three and she was trying to brush my very curly hair. ‘You’ll never change’ she says almost triumphantly. ‘You just don’t do what you are told. Let’s face it you are just spoilt and wilful.’ She even warned my husband, when we got engaged that I was a trouble maker. He comes from an easy- going, stable family and was absolutely flabbergasted by her comment. Worst of all was telling him I was a slut because I had a lot of boyfriends before I met him. He told me he wouldn’t be able to contain his anger if he saw her and kept away her for several weeks until he felt able to face her again..

When I got pregnant with my first child she told me I would make a ‘terrible mother’ because I was selfish, always put my needs first and couldn’t even keep my bedroom tidy when I lived at home.

We now laugh at her ridiculous comments and both think she’s probably trying to get back at me for something that happened way back in her own life. As far as I’m concerned she makes very little impact on either of us now but my husband still finds her disloyalty to me very unpleasant. Are we right about her being damaged by her past?

OUR COMMENTS:

Your mother obviously hangs on to minor events from your childhood and still wants to punish you for them. Worse than that she has such a negative view of you as an adult that she has doesn’t mind at all about spoiling your future happiness. It is astonishing that you’ve coped. Not only do you not allow her nasty comments to wound you but find they are so ridiculous they make you laugh. Well done!

It’s no surprise that your husband is appalled by her behaviour and very positive that you discuss together why she might be as she is. It may indeed be something from her own childhood. She could, for example, have had a horrid parent herself - something you might explore with relatives should you want to. Or she may have been very disappointed by her marriage. Nevertheless her own bad experiences are no excuse for her to heap insults on you now. Her own past is, of course, not remotely your fault and rather than take out her frustrations on you she should have tried to be as good a parent as possible.

As your husband finds her meanness to you so hard to manage, you could work out together how you might become less involved with her.

Waves of Resentment

Waves of Resentment

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Very few people know I had a horrid mother and despite it I think I’ve managed to live my life quite well.   My eyes were open to her nasty sides when I was eighteen and realised that her aim was to put me down, destroy my confidence and belittle whatever I achieved.  

I told myself repeatedly that I was made of sterner stuff and worked hard to see how others lived and turn my miserable childhood into something positive.  I also chose not to talk about my childhood experiences as I felt it could turn me into a victim.  Nor did I want anyone to feel sorry for me. 

 By the time I had a satisfying career in medicine and got married in my late  thirties I believed I had left my past behind me. I had told my husband that I didn’t get on with my mother but rarely related examples of her vile behaviour.  It was important for me to move on. I never got pregnant which I thought at the time was quite a good thing as I was worried in case I became my mother.  

I managed to maintain a very loose relationship with her.  I was relieved when she died about fifteen years ago and have never once visited her grave. My father, who was a kind man, died some time before her.

 But it hasn’t been as straightforward as I thought.  Waves of resentment sometimes overwhelm me, particularly when I see two or three generations of a family together enjoying themselves and accepting each others’ faults.  My mother fell out with both her own and my father’s family and my husband was an only child so we don’t have other relations to turn to.  I also resent that I had such a tough time when I was young. I  hate feeling like this and don’t want to bring it out into the open.

 I came across your great website quite by chance and wonder if you could offer some suggestions to help me deal with them. Please don’t tell me to go see a therapist.  I don’t want to dig everything up from so long ago.  I am strong and would like to manage this on my own.  

 

 OUR THOUGHTS:

Well done - you have succeeded in your aim to survive and have a positive life on your terms. It must have taken great courage and determination. Unfortunately coming to terms with having had a horrid parent who made your childhood so unhappy is never easy. The families you observe tolerating each others faults are unlikely to have suffered your sort of pain. It’s much easier to cope with everyday ups and downs within a family if each member love and respect each other enough. Sadly it is not something that underpinned your childhood.

It sounds as if you have stored away your mother’s hurtful comments and behaviours but not been able to resolve them. It means they can at times spill into your current life and make you feel very resentful. Some people benefit from talking to a therapist but this option is not for you. However the pain you are experiencing inside suggests that you need to find a way of dealing with it as it won’t go away of it’s own accord. Otherwise you remain stuck within your relationship with your mother.

You could try to help yourself by making several lists. One: of your achievements big and small. Two: your personal attributes and the names of any role models who have supported you over the years like teachers, mentors and friends. Three: the names of your loved ones who value and appreciate you. This should help you realise you are a good person and have moved far away from being like your mother. Try to accept this reality.

Next you need to look at painful episodes you experienced. Jot down, as slowly as you like, every one of her unkind comments or nasty behaviour you can remember. It should not only help you see the extent of her bullying, but also begin to free you from the hurt. If this works for you try to make your story into a more coherent whole. It may help you gain some understanding of why she behaved like as she did. This will help you get some perspective.

If you feel strong enough after all this try to have an imaginary conversation with your mother telling her exactly what you think of her and why. You could even role-play an apology. Alternatively jot down examples of her bad behaviour and release your pain through physical exercise. Hitting a punch bag hard with a particular memory in mind can help.

Meanwhile do use your strength to move on and find the fulfillment you deserve.

A Threatening Mother

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My mother has been threatening me on and off since childhood.  If I didn’t do what she wanted when I was a child she would say I couldn’t go to a party or even celebrate my own birthday when it came around.  When I finished uni she threatened that if I left home before I got married – I’m nearly 60 and in those days you didn’t – she would write me out of her will.  More recently she’s said that if I refuse to do her shopping she will tell ‘everyone’ that I don’t care if she starves to death.  On and on the threats have gone.  Despite being irrational and completely over the top they still sometimes wound me.    

Fortunately mostly I can cope.  It’s a bit like surfing a verbal wave every month or so.  The change came a few months ago when I became a grandmother myself. It somehow made me decide that enough was enough and I would no longer put up with her threats. 

I told her so quite calmly and simply.  I know she is furious but I suspect she is also rather afraid.   

I am not sure of what to do next.  Can you offer some ideas? 

OUR COMMENTS 

It is not easy to stand up to a bully but it sounds as if you have found a way.  You have also sensed it’s made a difference in your mother’s behaviour.  So stand your ground and capitalise on your progress. Think about the sorts of demands that she is likely to make and work out your   boundaries. For example if she doesn’t ask you politely to do something, you won’t be available. You could also decide in advance what tasks you are willing to carry out and those that you feel are unreasonable.  Prepare some careful and calm replies to potential scenarios so you can talk gently but firmly to her.  If, for example she starts threatening you, tell her you are ending the phone call or offer to drop round to see  her later.  It might also help if you could find someone who could share some of the responsibility for her shopping and other needs.   

Try not to worry if she threatens to bad mouth you to other family members or even neighbours as they are likely to know what she is like.  If they do take her side, have as little to do with them as possible and tell yourself it is their loss.   

It must be wonderful to be a grandmother and feel the joy of a loving  relationship.

 

 

 

 

My Mother The Credit Card Thief

It’s almost unbelievable but I found myself overdrawn at the bank because my mother has been using my credit card details to buy things for herself on Amazon. 

She lives comfortably and she is still working so I assume she is not short of money.  Even worse, she didn’t mention a word about it to me.  It was desperately embarrassing as my bank called about being overdrawn and I told them firmly that it wasn’t possible.  I was really shocked when I looked on line and assumed that my account had been hacked.   

The only way I found out she was the culprit was when I told her what had happened during our weekly phone call. I’m always looking for something innocuous to say to pass the time and this seemed as good a subject as any.   

She listened then said: ‘Ah that was me. I couldn’t find my card so I used the details on yours.’  It took a great deal of effort to keep my voice calm, because I know from my childhood if I shouted she would shout back much louder.  Instead I said I looked after my expenditure very carefully and would have appreciated knowing what she was doing in advance.  She laughed and said it was about time I paid some things for her after all she did for me when I was small.  

I have acquired a new credit card, which I am not telling her about and make sure it is never on view.  But fancy not even apologising.  But then she is never in the wrong.  

  

OUR COMMENTS: 

It must be deeply shocking to realise the extent to which your horrid parent can’t be trusted. Sadly this can happen all too often when a parent has an over inflated sense of their own entitlement and disregards their offspring.  They may casually use their child’s money, take items from their room or home, or even someone else’s belongings, often using the  ridiculous justification that the person it belonged to ‘wasn’t looking after it properly’.  

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You are fortunate that your mother admitted her theft - for that is what it is – a horrid parent like her will usually react very badly to being found out and challenged.  

You have also done well to manage your mother by selecting topics of conversation that should avoid trouble, as well as staying calm when she laughed in response to your request to be told in advance about using your money.  It reflects how well you are coping.

Do remind yourself that you don’t owe your parent anything beyond common courtesy.

 

The Silent Treatment

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I am a 48-year-old man holding down a senior position in the financial world and my mother still treats me like a child.  A key memory of my childhood is of her not speaking to me, sometimes for several days at a time if I displeased her in any way.  Often I wouldn’t know what I had done wrong.  If I asked, she’d not reply.  As a result there was often a terrible atmosphere at home.    

She didn’t speak to me for two weeks after my wedding for some slight she won’t discuss.  My wife thought it might have been something to do with the table plan as we chose not to have a top table in case she caused trouble.  I asked my late father at the time if he knew what was wrong but he wasn’t in the least helpful and said the usual: “well, you know what she is like?”   My wife and I call it The Silent Treatment. 

She remains unable to discuss things in an adult way.  I wouldn’t take any notice except for the fact that she is now quite elderly and lives alone.  If she doesn’t return my calls I worry about what might have happened to her.  I try to ring at least once a week and pop round to see her every fortnight.  I keep both quite short to avoid confrontation. She gets cross if I change dates or times, but this is sometimes unavoidable due to work commitments. 

 Any tips on how I can manage this?

 OUR COMMENTS 

It is really hard to manage a horrid parent who refused to communicate and it gets tougher as they age. She is obviously trying to punish you but you seem to be managing pretty well communicating regularly but briefly.   

It might help if you could start a gentle conversation with her about  what options of support she might need as she grows older.  It won’t be easy and is likely to need several attempts. She may totally resist a logical conversation but it is important for you to try. A good start is for you to find out about local schemes that provide services such as a personal alarm system for the elderly. You haven’t let us know if you have siblings as it would be a good idea to talk it through with them and perhaps her friends and neighbours.   

Ultimately though this is her life and she needs to choose any plans.  If she refuses to discuss the matter we feel there is no reason for you to change your arrangements. Her lack of response may well be to raise your anxiety and manipulate you into visiting her. 

In addition you should continue to be firm and clear about your work commitments when you have to adjust your visits. Remind yourself that her treatment of you is very childish and unkind and her behaviour is not your fault.

Criticised in Advance

I waited  until I was four months pregnant before telling my mother I was going to have a baby.  I am a late mother as I didn’t find the right man until my late thirties and then I had various fertility issues.  My husband and I are thrilled and you  might think my mother would be too as, if all goes well, the baby will be her first grandchild.

But no.  She has behaved as she has always done by immediately finding a way of criticising me about something that hasn’t yet happened.  She said she pitied the baby having me for a mother as he/she would have a problem getting fed because I didn’t like getting out of bed in the morning. She added for good measure that she never saw me as a mother as I was part of the ‘me’ generation who only thought about myself.

I was so shocked and couldn’t stand up for myself.  I am very emotional about the whole experience and I spent the rest of the day in tears.

My husband did what he could to reassure me and suggested I stay away from her for the rest of the pregnancy and not risk her being nasty again.

Frankly I don’t know what to think. 

Our comments:

It’s a shame your hopes that being  pregnant would help your relationship with your mother  have been dashed. And the way she has responded shows she is unlikely to change her behaviour. So you need to think about how you are going to manage this and protect yourself and your family.

Your husband suggests you stay away until after the baby is born.  Or you could try reducing the number of your visits and calls. 

 

 

   It’s an awful experience to be criticised for something you haven’t done and have no intention of doing.  But a horrid parent often anticipates behaviour they think their child might do, even when they are adult, without the slightest indication they will.  Instead they see it as an opportunity to undermine their child with a list of what they must not do.    Pregnancy is a particularly emotional time so be kind to yourself and try to build up your self-confidence.  Keep telling yourself that her criticism is totally different from a parent who would offer helpful advice and guidance. And try to stay wary.  Don't expect her nastiness to stop and remember it is not your fault that your mother is so critical.   

 

It’s an awful experience to be criticised for something you haven’t done and have no intention of doing.  But a horrid parent often anticipates behaviour they think their child might do, even when they are adult, without the slightest indication they will.  Instead they see it as an opportunity to undermine their child with a list of what they must not do.  

Pregnancy is a particularly emotional time so be kind to yourself and try to build up your self-confidence.  Keep telling yourself that her criticism is totally different from a parent who would offer helpful advice and guidance. And try to stay wary.  Don't expect her nastiness to stop and remember it is not your fault that your mother is so critical.