Oh please, just stop. (Long, rambling, pointless)

I’m open about the lousy relationship Mother and I have. Many of our conflicts boil down to her unwillingness to let go of the past and my determination to move forward in life. No Mother, I don’t hate you. I get angry with you and sometimes I’m rude because of it. This has nothing to do with you giving me up as a child. This has everything to do with you acting like a fucking idiot right now.

A couple of weeks ago, Mother and I had a blow up. After a vacation, I took a few deep breaths and called her. Luckily, she was calmer, but her reason behind our conflict was sad beyond words.

Mother and Father divorced when I was five. They were young when they married, and not much older when they broke up. After many nasty arguments, and the intervention of police and child welfare, my brother and I were sent to live with our paternal grandparents. About two years later, our parents agreed to a joint custody arrangement. Brother and I would spend Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with Mother. Father would have us Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Thursdays were to be spilt – the usual arrangement was for Father to pick us up after school. Holidays were a bitch, since that meant that Mother and Father may actually see each other.

The legal agreement did not fit reality. Mother and Father had jobs, friends and lovers. Father would hand us over to his parents and go about his own plans. Brother and I were latchkey kids when we were with Mother. The intervention of law enforcement was common. Mother and Father would violently fight with each other, or whomever they were dating. My sibling and I would get into sticky situations because we were young and unsupervised. Child Welfare would check in on us sometimes. (There was a big row when Brother was badly hurt. Mother had left us to go out with friends. It was a hot, humid evening and there was no air conditioning. Brother tried to open an ancient, much painted window. The glass broke and slit Brother’s left wrist. He bled profusely. We called 911. The cut was deep: it severed an artery and a tendon.)

When I was 11, Father remarried. His new wife had a job in Colorado and he was taking us with him. It was very scary for me. Father was a distant figure in my life and now he was taking me away from everything I’ve known. There were many ugly arguments between members of the family: Father and Mother, Mother and New Wife, Father and Grandfather. Finally, Father took us to Colorado.

Turns out, he didn’t have all of his legal ducks in a row. The original joint-custody agreement was still valid. Mother and Father were in and out of court over this. Mother even moved to Denver to make things easier. When I was 16, Father was awarded full custody. After that, he sued Mother for child support.

I’m 30 now. Looking back, I’m puzzled by why my parents fought so hard for custody but would have very little to do with us. Maybe they enjoyed the fighting.

My mother still has fights with Child Support Enforcement. They’re giving her some sort of grief now and it has her very upset. Mother has called a couple of times this morning, crying because of fear and frustration.

I’m so sick of this. Since I work in a bureaucracy, I know that common sense will never show up and end this insanity. However, I sincerely wish that my parents would move on and grow up.

(On the other hand, if I could get all of the records, maybe they would qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records.)

Perhaps they each enjoyed hurting the other. Sadly, this seems to be the case in most of the custody battles I’ve witnessed.

I’m trying to find a way to say this that doesn’t sound flippant and cold, because I truly don’t mean it to be so, but maybe you need to move on and grow up, hon. Every time I see a thread that you’ve started about your mom, I get a knot in my stomach. Why are you in any contact with her at all? We are talking about someone who physically attacked you within the last five or ten years, right? Is there *anything *positive that you get from her? I know I can’t possibly know the entire history of what lies between two people, particularly the complicated relationship of a mother and child, but this woman sounds like pure poison with no redeemable qualities whatsoever. You don’t owe her a relationship because she is your mother.

Guilt is my main motivator. Mother and I were estranged for many years, then my brother told me that she had been diagnosed with cancer. I resumed contact with her. (She had cervical cancer and recovered.) During the time we were not in contact, Mother attempted suicide twice. The first time, she called 911 at the last minute. The second time, she called my brother and told him her intentions. Since Mother and I both live in the Denver Metro area, brother called me in a panic. I called the police and met them at her apartment - she wasn’t there. It was awkward as hell for me because I could not to tell them anything useful as they filled out a missing person report. (I now have an emergeny folder with a recent photo, make and model of her car and license plate number.)

Frankly, if she killed herself, I don’t know if I could forgive myself.

Typically, I would see Mother once a month or so and move on with my life. When I was getting married, she became very pushy. After the wedding, she backed off. Now that I’m pregnant, she’s calling at least once a week and its getting on my nerves.

Recently, I talked to Mouse_Spouse about getting a restraining order against Mother if things get really bad - i.e. she shows up on our doorstep in a fighting mood. He’s all for it. My worse fear is that Mother will pick a fight with my husband. In the past, she had an MO of getting into a man’s face and screaming “You want to hit me? Go ahead, hit me!” I think her plan is to be struck, call the police, and get the guy in trouble. (I’ve seen it work a few times.) There have been times where I’ve really wanted to slap the shit out her, and I don’t want my beloved to ever be in that sort of situation.

You wouldn’t have killed her. No matter what’s said or done, you would bear no blame if she killed herself.

Have you seen a counselor about your feelings over your mother? It’s pretty clear she has no respect for you and deserves no respect from you. Still, the feelings don’t go away just because the brain figures that out. You may need help sorting out your feelings, especially during this volatile time when you’re expecting. I’d suggest a pre-emptive strike with a counselor. Hubby sounds like a good guy, make sure he knows where he stands in your thoughts and feelings now. If she starts to jerk your emotions around he may have trouble seperating things you’re saying/doing because of your frustration with her and things which he needs to work on himself or that he can “fix”. He can be, and probably wants to be, an anchor to help you withstand hurricane mom. Good luck to you all, and congratulations on the mini-mouse.


The sad part is, that if she doesn’t let go, you might need to. For your own sake.

There’s no sense, there’s no LOVE, there’s no LIFE in continuing this pattern, in allowing her to nurse her wounds in such a way that they deepen yours.

Because it was never about you. You were pawns, weapons, to be used to hurt the other.

And she’s still using you.

Please stop allowing her to do this.

It might be hard, it might be painful. But you might need to break contact. Permanently or Temporarily, only time will tell.

Unless you have some other plan to break the cycle.

Oh yes, now I remember.

Scratch the ‘think about’ part of my advice in the last post.

Get this woman out of your life. For your own health and well being.

The guilt and shame is not yours, M_M. They’re hers. Stop taking up that burden for her, stop carrying her dead weight.

Stop allowing her to injure you.

IIRC, doesn’t she have borderline personality disorder? If that’s the case - the major way she gets any interaction in life is by pushing the buttons of people who care about her, or at least, those who are affected by the button-pushing. She can’t love you in any way resembling something healthy without undergoing serious, long-term therapy for something she couldn’t possibly see as being wrong.

My father-in-law has bipolar disorder and is quite fine with that because he likes the manic highs. He feels like king of the world and is quick to scream at anyone who shows the slightest hint of not adoring him and his ideas. I wish my husband had detached from him years ago, but hubby still wants to see his mother, who is unhealthily attached to his father. This man has been poison to so many. Do you want your mother to have the barest chance of harming your child? Not just physically - what if she uses that power of insult to make your child feel stupid like she did to you? What if she tells your child how broken her mommy is, how stupid mommy is, how she’s crazy and mean to gramma.

Hey…from one daughter of a psychotic mother to another – the guilt is a waste of time. It is a tool that the weak use to control the weaker. Please, for your (and your unborn child’s) peace of mind, get the restraining order and move on with your life. Some people are poison – my mother is, and it sounds like yours is too. Trust me when I say that one can live very happily without ever speaking to one’s mother – especially when one’s mother is like ours.

I know you want to do the “right” thing, but in the end, the only right thing is what is right for you and yours leave her behind. She will either a) learn from it, change and be worth being around or b) stay the same and validate your decision to leave her behind.

I know it is especially hard when pregnant. You have to do what you have to do. Talk to someone about the guilt – it doesn’t belong to you. I wish you luck in this sitch, and if you ever need to vent, just holler at me – I’ve been there, done that.

Please disengage from your mother. You already did it once, you can do it again. It’s easier the second time, in fact. Change your phone number, make sure the new number is unlisted. Block your mother’s email address and/or change your email address. Get the restraining order. Move if at all possible. If the rest of your family is as crazy as she is, or can’t or won’t respect your boundaries with her, cut them off too. Don’t let them infect the next generation.

As for suicide? My father, as charming a parent as yours, committed suicide almost 10 years ago, after years of threats. I have to say that it improved our relationship immensely. He’s dead, and we’re all better off for it. It’s a hell of an epitaph, isn’t it? But he had choices, he chose to do what he did, and the rest of us live with the consequences for the rest of our lives. On the one hand, his suicide was the ultimate fuck you, and it was a pain in the ass to deal with, but once I got past the guilt, it was over. The last words I said to him were along the lines of “People that abuse/molest children should take themselves out.” 36 hours later, he was dead. Major guilt. I dealt with it. I got over it, he can’t hurt me anymore, and he’s still dead. That’s a win/win in my book.

YMMV, but guilt is a sucker’s game, especially when dealing with a master manipulator like your mother. Ask yourself, “Why does my mother deserve a relationship with me/my child? What benefit do I hope to gain from continuing the relationship?”

Mouse_Maven, I’m just going to quietly add my voice to those suggesting you need to at least set up boundaries with this woman, and perhaps get her out of your life. I’m sorry that we’re talking about your mother, but - I’m well convinced she doesn’t care about your mental health.

You’re right, my pregnancy is making this harder. Before now, my usual attitude was Yeah, yeah - Same shit different day. Currently, I worry that I’ll behave like she does now, or make the same mistakes.

Life was easier when I didn’t have Mother around. The hardest part was trying to explain my situation to others. Not everyone needs to know that my parents and I don’t get along, but sometimes questions arise and I answer them the best I can. (When Mouse_Spouse and I were first dating, I told him my father was dead. Bad move on my part, but I came clean when our relasionship became serious. Used the ol’ Obi Wan rational, he was dead - to me.)

When I see the OB next, I’ll ask if she can recommend a therapist. Part of me is disappointed, I’ve been out of therapy for a little over a year. The rest of me knows I need to work some things out. Even before I got pregnant, I had been struggling with depression and anxiety. Medication was one aspect, but there were underlying emotional issues. (A feeling of loss after marrying. Work problems causing me to question my value as a person, my career and academic choices, leading to a “Shit, I can’t do anything right” pity party.)

Right now, it seems like everything is making me cry. I’m going take my favorite antidepressant - reading a Discworld Novel - and go to bed.

I’m glad you’re going to ask about a therapist. I don’t like talking to a therapist, either (actually, I don’t like feeling like I have to talk to one), but sometimes it’s necessary. And good ones really help.

My situation with my mother isn’t anywhere near as catastrophic as yours, but she’s got some pretty stupid stuff going on. My life has been so much better since I drew some firm boundaries and stuck to them. So much better.

Many wishes for good things for you and the mousling.

I’ve been struggling to think of what I can say that might be useful to you. I’m in a similar situation (borderline mother), but a few years further down the road (my child is now a preschooler).

I think what I want to share is this: becoming a parent has been the most healing and also the most challenging thing I have ever done. Kids take a lot of emotional energy. Becoming a parent takes a lot of emotional energy, especially if in doing so, wounds from the past are faced and healed at a deeper level. The energy I have left goes to my spouse, and my friends/support network. I have none left for my parents. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Any second I spend thinking about them and their manipulative games, is energy I really need to be spending on those I am responsible for. Walking away from them completely is the only way I am free to be the best parent I can, and my best self.

And I am reading the Discworld books too :wink:

MM - I should have severely limited contact with my mother years ago but didn’t out of misplaced guilt. As a result, for 20+ years I suffered off and on from anxiety and depression, which spilled over into my relationships with my husband and children. Three years ago I finally snapped, confronted her (in a very unhealthy way) and aired issues that should have been dealt with eons ago. Since that time, contact with her has been minimal BUT my life has been incredibly peaceful, joy filled, and serene.

Please, RUN to a good therapist who will help you determine the balance you need with (or without) a relationship with your mother. Get yourself emotionally healthy and strong now, before you allow the residual crap from you and your mom to seep into the relationship between you and the mousling.

Although I occasionally feel residual guilt over finally placing appropriate boundaries with my mom (especially around holidays), it’s miniscule drama in comparison with the other 50 weeks of the year that my life are peaceful, full, happy, content, drama free, and generally better than I ever believed I deserved.

Please consider this now, before twenty years slip past you that you could have been enjoying with your spouse and mousling - living life to it’s fullest, rather than dealing with mama drama.

You’ll be in my thoughts …

Yes, I realize this post is in direct conflict with my username, but truth is truth.

It wasn’t about you guys… it was about power.

mouse maven - I don’t see how yo can talk to her weekly on the phone and consider restraining orders at the same time. If you don’t want her around, and it seems like you have some very good reasons for that, don’t continue to allower her access to you. Note that during her two “suicide attempts” she made sure someone was there to bail her out. She wants the drama, not to kill herself. And if, if some “they’ll be sorry when I’m dead” BS she succeeds, it will be her fault, not yours, your brothers, the kid next door who walked on her lawn or the mailman’s.

You’ll be bringing a child into this soon. Is this really how you want your kid to see family life? If not, cut off contact before the mouseling gets here.


Speaking as the wife of a man whose mother is very nearly as charming as yours sounds, I have two questions for you.

Given her past history with you and your brother and her behavior pattern, do you really and honestly want her to have anything to do with your child? Has she given any legitimate indication of being able to behave more appropriately around a grandchild than she managed to behave around her own children?

If the answer is “no” to either of those, she has to go. Feel free to explain as gently as possible to her why you are making this decision.

You are not responsible for her behavior. She is your mother, not your child. What you are responsible for is the well-being of both yourself and the baby you’re carrying.

One of the reasons my husband and I are planning a cross-country move in the near future is because we want to have children soon, and do not want his mother to have anything other than limited contact with them, because she’s manipulative and generally poisonous.

Are you hoping/expecting/dreaming/imagining that after the mouseling is born she’ll back off like she did after the wedding?

'Cause if you are, I think you are deluding yourself. She’s more likely to want to come see Mousling at every opportunity and fight with you about not letting her babysit. (I assume you don’t plan on letting her babysit, especially not routinely). It seems to me like she’ll want to come give you advice on every detail of your child raising techniques that she can, . . .

I have no experience with the type of relationship you have with your mother. But I think you’d be better off putting some space in your relationship immediately, rather than waiting until after baby’s born in the hopes that things will get better.

About the therapist–let’s compare your mental health to physical health. In childhood, you ended up with a badly broken leg. You recieved treatment for it, and eventually, you got better. And then, one day recently, you slipped on some ice and sprained your ankle. All of a sudden you’ve got problems walking, etc. again that you thought you’d gotten over. So back to the doctor you go.

I think it’s a lot the same with the therapist. Many “normal”, “healthy” women find pregnancy stressful. Many find getting married stressful. Many people find job-hunting stressful–and the prospective of unemployment makes people fret about whether they should have picked different careers, different degrees. You’ve had all these things occur in a fairly short amount of time, coupled with a ramping up of the stress level in your relationship with your mother. A therapist is someone whose job is to work with people in stressful situations, remind them that all this too will pass, etc. Going to a therapist is not an admission of defeat–it’s a way of getting help for the long term. You may not need to see the therapist as intensively or for as long a period a time as you did before. (Though it’s ok if you do).

Thanks for the support.

One of the reasons I’ve continued contact with my mother is that if I don’t speak to her, she’ll bother my brother. Of course, I’m not responsible for either of them, but I don’t want to force him into the role of go-between. (Sadly, he is a bit of a go between. My brother is still in contact with our extended family, especially our paternal side. I’ve made it clear that I don’t want any family member to know where I am and not to give out my contact information. So far, he’s complied with my wishes. Every now and again, he gives me a message or tells me the latest news - like our father marrying Wife #4.)

Mouse_Spouse and I need to have a loooong talk about therapy. He knows that I’ve seen counselors before, but he has never been comfortable with it. Eureka, I like your physical health parallel and will use it.

Today, I saw this cartoon. Between you Dopers and this, its nice to know I’m not the only one with an insane parent. :smiley: