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problems with my mother...

(30 Posts)
sonearsofar Wed 15-Aug-12 10:15:37

I'm in my 50s, with grown up children, and (thankfully) both parents still independent. But I'm still having issues with my mum that, if I'd had enough backbone, I've have resolved decades ago...
I stopped getting clothes for my daughter when she was in her late teens, as I realised that she had different taste from me. My mother is still buying me clothes from charity shops and getting offended when I don't want them. I've nothing against charity shops, as I use them myself, it's just that I don't like what she does. I've worn the clothes she got me for a long time, and it was only when I got into my 50s that I found the confidence to say 'no thank you' and find my own style. Why is she (still) so upset by this?
So, moving on, as she never spends much on herself, I thought I'd buy her a really nice cardigan from Fenn Wright and Manson for Xmas. She seemed pleased with it, but when I last visited, she literally thrust it back at me, saying she didn't like it (basically as tit for tat).
Reading this back, I see that many people will think that I deserved it, but I think she was being petty. I wasn't trying to control her, just give her something nice for a change. You could perhaps say that that was what she was thinking all these years, but it has felt like I've been controlled, which is different.

Mishap Wed 15-Aug-12 10:20:51

Just steer clear of buying her clothes! - how about a voucher for a clothes shop instead?

Don't let this little worm grow into a monster! - take the practical approach and put the emotions aside. Life is too short and all that.....!

Anagram Wed 15-Aug-12 10:22:53

Oh dear, it does sound as though your mother was very hurt when you stopped accepting her gifts and only gave the cardigan back in a fit of petty revenge. Some mothers just find it so difficult to step back and stop 'looking after' their children even when they are, like you, in their 50s!
I don't think yo deserved it at all, and I don't know what you can do about the situation because you obviously don't want to start encouraging her to buy you clothes again.
Perhaps steer clear of the clothes issue completely and choose an alternative gift this Christmas!

petallus Wed 15-Aug-12 10:35:55

Fenn Wright and Mason do lovely clothes. Could you wear the cardigan yourself? smile

Yes, don't buy any more clothes for your mother.

Also, don't feel you have to start accepting clothes from your mother.

Bags Wed 15-Aug-12 10:41:46

I agree with mishap, and think you need to just stand your ground about your own independence. Tell her thank you for the thought but you'd rather she didn't choose clothes for you, and don't buy clothes for her. In short, don't play her little control games.
I know it can be hard to break out of the trying to please mum mode. I've had that problem myself, also only resolved in my fifties, but over different issues than clothes.

If she still buys clothes from charity shops for you, just accept them and take them back or otherwise dispose of them. If she asks, tell her they weren't to your taste and you took them back. If she throws a hissy fit, shrug and walk away.

Good luck.

glammanana Wed 15-Aug-12 10:54:44

sonearsofar Most charity shops will exchange if mum decides to buy for you again,if she does you can always say the garment did not suit you whilst crossing your fingers.Some of us mum's (me included) do tend to make the mistake of thinking "oh that will look nice on so and so " but I have also learnt my lesson over the years and leave it up to them to pick what suits them,there was the one exception a few weeks ago when a nearly new Next sofa came on offer at our local charity shop and DS2 was more than happy for mr G and I to buy it for him.grin

merlotgran Wed 15-Aug-12 11:42:11

Every Christmas, until I was well into my fifties, my mum used to buy me a hideous jumper. They were usually covered in glitter, snowflakes or reindeer and were completely shapeless. At least I only had to wear them one day a year but there are absolutely NO photographs of me on Christmas day during that period. grin

glammanana Wed 15-Aug-12 13:10:05

merlot at least your's fitted you the ones my nanna used to knit me had the longest arms you could imagine I think she used to forget to decrease when she got to the arms shaping ?? grin

merlotgran Wed 15-Aug-12 13:22:49

Is that how you got your name, glammanana? grin

granjura Wed 15-Aug-12 13:58:23

What a pity you can't talk to your mums and explain, gently, that you'd rather they did not buy you clothes. Make it sound if it is YOUR problem not hers- and perhaps point her in the right direction. All this resentment building up over the years- so much heartache, disappointment. The longer you leave it, the worse it becomes, and the more difficult to tackle. Bonne chance all.

Charlotta Wed 15-Aug-12 14:56:12

It could be that your mother doesn't like the way you look. Perhaps you are too casually dressed, not enough ironed blouses and such things. Those are the kind of clothes her age group like and trousers with a crease down the front.( but not always some 80+ ladies are very smart)
In this case you will have to have talk to her about how you like to look younger and tell her you will remain that way. Try not to get emotional about it. If DH is still in the background then blame it on him. Say he would like you to look younger and smarter.
It is really not worth spoiling the reationship with her if you agree on other things.
Best of luck, mothers can be difficult.

granjura Wed 15-Aug-12 16:09:14

Yes, they can. Now daughters have the ability to be difficult toooosmile

AlisonMA Wed 15-Aug-12 16:53:51

Perhaps another way would be to tell her how kind it is of her to buy things for you but that sometimes they are not quite right for you and you would prefer to go with her when she buys them. Of course this only works if you live near her.

It is not just mothers, one of my oldest friends, same age as me, points me to shops which sell clothes for 'our age'. Now I just laugh and say I have no intention of ever being 'our age'.

merlotgran Wed 15-Aug-12 17:23:45

My mother was always trying to change my appearance when I was a child. I was a tomboy and she wanted a girly girl so she used to despair at my straight haired 'urchin' cut which I loved. I used to have to endure many perms which were supposed to make me look like Sophia Loren but instead I used to go to school looking like Cleo Laine hmm

AlisonMA Wed 15-Aug-12 17:27:42

My GS is only 26 months and he already decides what he is going to wear each day.

JessM Wed 15-Aug-12 17:50:37

I think she controlled what you were wearing for far too long. Well done for standing up to her.
I still remember the time I really lost my temper with my (now late) mother. She was banging on about something to do with teenaged son. I was driving. I just lost my rag and bellowed "Will you just Fffing shut up about it" . Nearly crashed the car. Was in my mid 40s. Not a recommended strategy but wow, did it feel good. Never did it when i was in my teens. (long story)
We all need to grow up as the children of our parents and shrug off some of the baggage from the way they parented us. As parents we all need to grow up in the way we treat our grown up children and deal with the fact that they are adults and we can't protect and/or control them any more.
Ideally, I suppose, you get to a point where you can be friends. You can't take responsibility for your mother's need to change - only your own.

glammanana Wed 15-Aug-12 18:01:02

merlot LOL at your post, I got the name because I never venture out of the house without my hair and makeup done even if I am just going to the local shop and just wearing my levi's and t-shirt.

Ella46 Wed 15-Aug-12 18:48:37

glamma I can't even stay in on my own without some slap on!!

Anagram Wed 15-Aug-12 18:55:23

Me, too...blush

Littlenellie Wed 15-Aug-12 19:00:47

Or me grin not that it makes me look any better....only a paper bag would do thatxxxxx

NfkDumpling Wed 15-Aug-12 22:47:30

Yes sonear your mum is being petty. Wear the cardigan yourself and stick to your guns. My mother still critises my taste in clothes but I figure that, at 65, I'm a big girl now ( literally, I fear ) and I'm finding that as she gets older, the more I let her influence me the more controlling she gets. But that may just be her of course.

petallus Wed 15-Aug-12 23:31:59

When my mother and her mother were alive they used to chunter on together about my looks/clothes etc. I'd get comments like:

Your nan said you looked much better when you saw her this week (I'd put a bit of make up on especially for her benefit)

Why don't you have a perm; you'd look more perky?

Oh why do you have to wear such frumpy clothes?

Nan said you're too thin.

I never used to mind. Even though I was over 50 before nan died it made me feel cared for by the two of them.

I miss it.

kittylester Thu 16-Aug-12 08:03:13

My mum once told me that I did look good when I made the effort and that I really ought to make the effort more often. Another thing she said was that I ought to wear less black and more light colours like BEIGE!!!!

Bags Thu 16-Aug-12 08:16:51

My parents very rarely said anything about my clothes. Thinking back, I think my father probably commented more (usually in a complimentary way) and I do remember my mum trying to persuade me not to have quite so short a skirt when I was in my teens. She once told me, in the kindest way, that she didn't think a certain shade of red suited me. She was right. When my dad said my wearing some old clothes of my brother's (trousers and a shirt for cycling in; we were a similar size at the time; I was about fourteen and him fifteen) "wasn't very feminine", I retorted that I was feminine by definition and didn't have to try to be feminine. He, sagely, agreed with my logic. Another time he objected to some clothes I was intending to go to church in (we had to go; Catholic parents). I was wearing some smoked salmon pink jeans (well, something like that colour!) and a white gypsy blouse that I'd made. It was perfectly modest. I told him that god didn't care and that what he (dad) was really worried about was what other people would think. I was sixteen at the time. I don't think he ever made another negative remark about my choice of clothes. I also think that both my parents knew that too much negative criticism or attempts at too much control over someone else's clothes, can be very damaging to self-esteem, so they avoided it. Thanks, mum and dad flowers

vampirequeen Thu 16-Aug-12 10:15:00

Good for you. Standing up for yourself against your mother can be so hard. I wish I had your courage....mine just walks all over me.