My mother used to regularly ignore me. It took all sorts of forms. For example if we were travelling somewhere by train, I would be the only one not asked if I wanted anything when the trolley came through the carriage.
Sometimes I could miss out on a meal altogether. My younger brother and sister would get their full plate but not me. I’d have to ask for something to eat several times as my mother seemed to go deaf when I spoke. I felt acutely embarrassed, especially when my younger sister spoke up for me. It was kind of her but sort of humiliating too.
Nor did my view ever count. I was never consulted about anything, whether it was about what film we should watch or a choice of birthday present for our grandmother. When I tried to offer an opinion, my mother would sneer, or tell me mine was a ridiculous idea, and I hadn’t got a clue. Sometimes when I felt strong and wanted to check Iwas right about her behaviour I’d support both sides of a discussion, but she would mock me either way.
When I felt less confident, I would feel undermined. not least because she never let me justify myself.
Now she is behaving the same way towards my second child. He’s a gentle eight-year-old boy who wants to be liked. But most of the time she pretends he is not there. My supportive husband has noticed this too and a couple of times has tried to talk tactfully to my mother about it. She’s vigorously denied saying what we both heard her say and instead told him he is imaging it. We are now discussing whether we should cut our visits right down.