Why Should I Go To My Horrid Mum's Party


I am the eldest of four and the only female. My mother has disliked me as far back as I can remember.  In fact she is not keen on women of any age.  She much prefers the company of males and enjoys her three sons.   

I left home as soon as I could to make a life for myself.  It was a hard often lonely journey  but I’ve done okay.  My initial plan was to see her about once a month, but she showed no  interest in keeping in touch and ducked out of every arrangement I suggested, often at the last minute.  I haven’t seen her in years. My father doesn’t like to cross her so he’s barely seen me either.  Luckily I have warm welcoming in-laws who think their son is lucky to have found me so I don’t feel too bereft.    

It’s my mother’s 80thbirthday shortly and my brothers – only one is married - are planning a surprise party. The idea is that we split the cooking four ways and all contribute to a firework display and a luxury present.  I have told my brothers I have no wish to go to her party, cook or give her a present.  Not least because I genuinely think she will feel I’ve ruined her party if I do turn up.  I also know if she drinks too much she will let rip into me in public.  But each of them tell me to leave the past behind and forgive her for not caring for me as she should have done.  They say without me the party won’t be the same.  I understand that and meet up with them occasionally but not with my mother.  I can’t forgive her for neglecting me nor do I want to.   My husband is sympathetic but says it is up to me to decided.  What do you think?   


You had suffered from your mother’s unkindness for years and finally made the sensible decision to distance yourself. Even your efforts to stay in contact were rejected.  Your brothers must be well aware of this and it seems unfair that they are putting pressure on you to join in with their plan. 

As for the party, you are right that you probably won’t be welcome.  If you do go and your mother makes a scene it will embarrass everyone, so we recommend you avoid putting yourself in that position.  If the party is going to be a total surprise for her, a potentially complicated reunion on top may be too much for an 80-year-old. 

As for forgiving her, this is completely up to you. It’s something you have obviously thought about carefully and decided that her lifelong neglect is too much to forgive.  You won’t be alone in making the decision.  Most people in your situation find that accepting their horrid mother has done and find a way to move on and live their own life in their own way is enough to handle.    

It sounds as if you are happy to meet up with your brothers even thought they don’t fully understand your situation.  If you tell  them that you will recognise your mother’s birthday in your own way, you will be in control of what you want to do.   You could send a card and/or a present or totally ignore it.