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Dealing with my difficult mother

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MrsStepfordMrsStepford Forumite
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I have Type Two diabetes which is a chronic condition ie it's not supposed to get better. I eat low carb so it's in remission. but if I ate normally, I would get sick again. It takes a lot of effort on my part. I can't eat anything with sugar, so that rules out not just chocolate and ice cream, but also tinned soup, loads of over the counter meds, normal milk etc etc BUT I don't have any symptoms or complications, so it's worth it. 

My father died prematurely ten years ago, leaving my mother with a 3 bedroom house in the country, half acre garden, part-time gardener and her own Volvo. She swans around to afternoon teas, lunches, church, charity lunches, garden centres, historic houses and on holiday eg St Petersburg, Chester, Dublin, Venice. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she didn't self-isolate and her 'bubble' has more than 20 people in it. 

She called me and asked me to help her complete a form. She had decided that she ought to get a personal alarm (probably because older next door neighbour has one) and the form was a declaration so she could claim back the VAT. I pointed out that she couldn't do that, since she's neither chronically ill or disabled. She had a real tantrum and told me that there was nothing wrong with me so how come I could get it. She is waiting for a knee op and takes tablets for blood pressure, but neither qualifies her. She got really nasty because I wouldn't help her. 

The day after, she called to say she had got a date for her knee op. She called me an abnormal daughter because I wouldn't come self-isolate with her to look after her, yet she hadn't asked me to. She had told me that she was getting a carer via her health insurance. 

The day before her op, she was screaming down the phone at me, saying I wanted her dead. I don't and I have always told her that she can leave her money to a donkey charity if she wants. 

I'm getting to the stage where I don't want to know. Phone calls five times a day, she's always negative about me to family and her friends, she gives out my unlisted number and all of this is on top of child abuse. 

I don't think I'm being unreasonable or abnormal. I find dealing with her difficult. Before Covid I saw her every week, and she got flowers, pub lunches, chocolates, cook books plus birthday and Christmas presents. I don't want my abuser ranting at me. I feel guilty though because I don't feel much for her now. 
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  • Mickey666Mickey666 Forumite
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    What do you mean by “ . . .and all this is on top of child abuse”?
  • edited 12 October at 11:32AM
    MrsStepfordMrsStepford Forumite
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    edited 12 October at 11:32AM
    My mother would drag me into my room by anything she could reach and lock me in there. Then she would go break things eg china, table lamps, ornaments. She called my father at work, told him he would have to deal with me and left me locked in my room. He would come home that night, hear her version, tell me I'd been bad and spank me. I remember screaming that I hadn't done anything wrong and he would spank me more, for lying. This happened from age 6 and stopped when I developed osteochondritis at 11.

    She didn't stop slapping me round the face whenever she was cross with me, even in public, until I was 21, when I thumped her on the arm, hard enough to bruise her.

    When I was in Sixth Form, my father took me out to lunch one day. I can't remember what prompted to me to mention what she had done, but I told him that I hadn't lied to him. He replied: " I know, but what was I supposed to do, she's my wife " I was gutted. He knew and did nothing. 

    In my first year at grammar school, an older girl bullied me and tried to bash my head open on a concrete block. A whole class of girls saw her. My parents argued with the head teacher that she shouldn't be expelled, because she was the daughter of a business acquaintance. My form teacher came and told me and was furious on my behalf but I had to put up with the bully for two more years because of my parents. 

    Don't think that child abuse only happens to poorer kids. It's much easier for parents in a detached house to get away with screaming and bruises and leaving you sitting shivering on the porch for seven hours. 


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  • Mickey666Mickey666 Forumite
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    So sorry to hear that very sad story.  It's easy for an uninvolved 3rd party to say just cut all contact with the Mother (which is my instinct), but it sounds like the OP still feels obligated to have some form of relationship (pre-covid weekly visits, polite gifts and treats etc) in which case I don't know what to suggest.  Are there any forms of counselling that might help in such cases?  Charities specialising in difficult family relationships etc?
  • AskAskAskAsk Forumite
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    she sounds like she has a lot of issues.  cut any ties with her.  you shouldn't feel guilty as others say.  if she doesn't bahave like a mum, then she doesn't deserve to have a daughter.
  • Magpie10Magpie10 Forumite
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    My mother would drag me into my room by anything she could reach and lock me in there. Then she would go break things eg china, table lamps, ornaments. She called my father at work, told him he would have to deal with me and left me locked in my room. He would come home that night, hear her version, tell me I'd been bad and spank me. I remember screaming that I hadn't done anything wrong and he would spank me more, for lying. This happened from age 6 and stopped when I developed osteochondritis at 11.

    She didn't stop slapping me round the face whenever she was cross with me, even in public, until I was 21, when I thumped her on the arm, hard enough to bruise her.

    When I was in Sixth Form, my father took me out to lunch one day. I can't remember what prompted to me to mention what she had done, but I told him that I hadn't lied to him. He replied: " I know, but what was I supposed to do, she's my wife " I was gutted. He knew and did nothing. 

    In my first year at grammar school, an older girl bullied me and tried to bash my head open on a concrete block. A whole class of girls saw her. My parents argued with the head teacher that she shouldn't be expelled, because she was the daughter of a business acquaintance. My form teacher came and told me and was furious on my behalf but I had to put up with the bully for two more years because of my parents. 

    Don't think that child abuse only happens to poorer kids. It's much easier for parents in a detached house to get away with screaming and bruises and leaving you sitting shivering on the porch for seven hours. 


    MrsStepford - it really breaks my heart to read this... So sorry you had to go through this...:(

    It sounds like we have a similar background, and I agree that abuse is far from class-specific (nor should it be tolerated however much money your family has/doesn't have!)

    My stepmother is also a fan of shouting and throwing/breaking things - sometimes all it took was wanting to use the washing machine or the kitchen to set her off. Similar social aspirations and lack of career ambition - she gave up her self-employed job to have a nanny and maid raise her kids and be supported full-time by my dad, who also gave the "but she's my wife" excuse (erm, but I'm his daughter, and you are your father's daughter...?)

    Looking back, it's likely my stepmum is bipolar or similar - which might explain but not excuse her behaviour. Sounds like your mum might have an undiagnosed condition too, as KxMx said...

    Savvy_Sue - I totally agree, fear and uncertainty have so much power over people. My (biological) mother underwent a complete personality change when doctors told her she had bowel cancer - from being the kindest, most loving parent who raised myself and my brother almost single-handedly, to pretty much taking out her pain and frustration on me, yelling at me so loudly in the street that people turned to look. (Still not sure why it's so difficult for some people to have a rational, level-headed discussion?) I am also occasionally the lucky recipient of negative comments behind my back, nasty emails and WhatsApp messages and shouting through the intercom of my flat (though not down the phone, thankfully!)

    I would also echo the feelings of guilt over cutting ties - I loved my mum more than anything, but I think it gets to a point where you have to evaluate how much this person has your interests at heart, and whether having a blood connection means suffering further abuse. I'm now trying to put together my own family from close friends, extended relatives and in future possibly a partner - I hope that you're managing to do the same too.



  • MrsStepfordMrsStepford Forumite
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    Thank you for all the kind replies. My mother did have a nervous breakdown when she was in her twenties but I'm not aware of any long-term issues. She was always really jealous of Pa's secretaries and his relationship with his mother, which caused lots of rows. She had an affair and left home several times. I don't regard her as stable myself, but I'm in no way a professional. 

    My husband has been brilliant and is being a rock. We can talk to each other about anything, which is great. 

     I found NACAP http://nacap.org.uk and I'm going to try to get counselling. I hope to be able to get them to mail a statement from me to my brother and uncle, who think I'm the worst person on the planet because of her lies. I won't care whether they believe me, but at least IF I can get some counselling and write a statement via them, they will at least see that I've made an effort so it's serious.

    Magpie10 your stepmother sounds awful and then you had your mother on top. Mine had elective surgery on Saturday and is back home. Spoken to her this afternoon and she was horrible, but I think that was for the benefit of her cousin, who brought her home. I've got a gift-wrapped present arriving there from Amazon Thursday and I got her a tin of Quality Street, a cook book and a couple of adult colouring books which husband will drop off on his way to Portsmouth on Friday. 

    I am feeling like I don't want to know, at least for now. I can be really happy, jut being with my husband. Last week she said she hoped he would die so I would know what it's like to be on my own. I can't forgive stuff lie that. It really upsets me so much.


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