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To not want to visit my Mother

(56 Posts)
pattieb Fri 09-Nov-12 14:28:36

My relationship with my Mother is frustrating to say the least.
She has alienated my sisters children and one of my two children to the extent that none of them are in touch with her.
I have tackled her on a few occasions about issues from the past and she either denies them or once we have 'had it out' she carries on as if everything in the garden is rosy.
My sister runs round after her all the time, phones every day at least twice, visits 6 days per week and does everything for her.
I find it difficult to visit and have nothing much to talk about

Has anyone else experienced this and if so, how do you deal with it?

baubles Fri 09-Nov-12 14:36:43

I have a difficult relationship with my mother pattieb. I don't live near her ( nor do any of my siblings) so when I visit I keep conversations light and never discuss the past. I've had counselling which has helped.

My sister has, and always has had, a very different relationship with our mother but I have accepted that now. I don't try to please, I do what I can to keep a relationship going but I refuse to feel guilt. My mother has regrets, I know, but they are for her to deal with. This may sound a little harsh but my mental health is my priority and I won't be manipulated.

granjura Fri 09-Nov-12 15:04:53

At the end of the day, if you look deep into your heart, do you think you will regret it when it's too late, and wish you'd tried harder. Or not - only you know the answer to this.

Granny23 Fri 09-Nov-12 15:09:08

Good advice from Baubles.
I speak now with hindsight as both my Mother and much worse Mother-in-Law are long gone but latterly I gave up looking for any 'Mothering' or 'Grannying' from them and instead concentrated on 'mothering' my own children as best I could without making any demands on them. I had had a lot of lessons in what not to do! I 'did my duty' and then some, by these 2 ladies, the only reward being that I suffered no guilt. They were just part of the everyday tasks that had to be fitted in around work and my family.

Barrow Fri 09-Nov-12 15:56:02

My relationship with my Mother was never very good (nothing I did was good enough and whatever I did was no more than I ought to do) and I was always compared, unfavourably, with my brother. I did hang in there and now have a better relationship - although it does help that she lives the other side of the world now!

Bags Fri 09-Nov-12 15:58:01

With you there, baubles flowers

vampirequeen Fri 09-Nov-12 16:02:20

It's very difficult. We're conditioned to care about our mothers but sometimes they're not easy. Do what makes you feel best. If being near her upsets you then stay away.

soop Fri 09-Nov-12 16:15:56

Well said, baubles smile

Mishap Fri 09-Nov-12 16:31:36

baubles - must have had a good counsellor - sound advice.

We are so tied up with our mothers (for good or ill) that it is often hard to stand back and remember that the things that were difficult when we were young were not our fault - we were the children in the situation. Ditto the ensuing lifelong baggage. Our mothers made their own choices as grown adults, and if that made things difficult for us it is not somehting to feel guilty about.

I did not enjoy going to see my mum when she was alive and watching her manipulate my dad and those aorund her. But I did recognise that she was trying to be kind to me towards the end - hard to accept those overtures whilst watching her make others suffer. I probably did not respond well to these overtures and if I have any guilt it is about that - but it is too late now and I am not sure I could have responded any differently.

Deedaa Fri 09-Nov-12 17:38:22

Thank God I had a brilliant relationship with my Mother (as I hope my children have with me!) but, although I visit her evry week I can't say the same about my MiL. I visit her because there is no one else to do it but I was only saying to my daughter today, it's like visiting a stranger I met in the street. We have nothing in common at all - no shared interests - and she seems to have so little understanding of her grandchildrens' and great grandsons lives that even they don't make much of a subject for conversation. There's nothing nasty about her, everyone says she's lovely, but there's just a big emotional void surrounding her.

granjura Fri 09-Nov-12 17:42:13

Perhapd we should remember too, we are the elderly mother's of tomorrow. Do upon others and blablabla.

granjura Fri 09-Nov-12 17:44:02

My mum and dad are not gone - the only solace I can get which helped me so much get over their departure, is to know I did my best, even when they did get a bit difficult in their latter years.

granjura Fri 09-Nov-12 17:44:42

now! I do wish there was an edit option here. Daft not to.

nightowl Fri 09-Nov-12 18:17:52

granjura you are so right. I had a difficult relationship with my mother, but not a day goes by that I don't wish she was here. And I was fortunate enough to have a few days with her when she was dying for us to talk and to tell each other what we really felt. If only we had been kinder to each other sooner.

angiebaby Fri 09-Nov-12 18:27:35

my mum and dad are not here any more,,,they split up when i was very young then again a few yaers later then again when i was 14 when he left for good,,,,my mum gave me a hard time because i was a single mum,,,she had a hard life and took it out on me,,,,,i did my best,,,she fell out with my 2 brothers and my sister...she put a wedge between my daughter and me...caused me a lot of hardache,,,but the last few years of her life she came to live near me, so i looked after her always taking her out etc,,,i even paid for her to go to the other end of the world to see her son,,,,,,but in the end...she left everything in her will to some one she hardly knew,,,i had an awfull time at her death which resulted in an awfull nervous breakdown.....but i look back and wish i had done more for her..although she was nasty to me sometimes, i would grit my teeth and chat light hearted chat,,,,when she is gone you will miss her dont matter how awfull she is to you,,,,try to be strong. a quick visit and a quick phone call is all it takes to keep someone happy sometimes,,,,so chin up.

Marelli Fri 09-Nov-12 18:29:26

I hadn't had a particularly good relationship with my mother either, and we always just seemed to rub each other up the wrong way. It took me a long while to realise that my mum had perhaps had reasons for being as she was, and very likely couldn't help lots of the 'issues' that she seemed to have. I was too late to speak with her about these though, preferring to be critical of her.....I wish I could take those years back.

Stansgran Fri 09-Nov-12 18:33:07

I think of my mother every day and wish she had had a better life-although she was contented with her lot. I would have liked to give her the care that some seem to begrudge their mothers-mumsnet on mothers sometimes used to upset me so I don't look at it-or only when a daughter asks for an opinion and I feel they are useful for up to date info about children. The regret I have for my mother is that she didn't live long enough for me to be in a position to do things for her.

FlicketyB Fri 09-Nov-12 20:31:00

Granjura, I disagree profoundly with your comment
' At the end of the day, if you look deep into your heart, do you think you will regret it when it's too late, and wish you'd tried harder.'

Too many people beat themselves up after the death of a parent they had a difficult relationship with by thinking all would have been well if they had tried harder. No it wouldnt. If someone was difficult throughout their lives and no matter what you did you could never please them/satisfy them/do enough for them that wouldnt change if you tried harder. It is an illusion to think that if you did more approval would finally come

My mother loved me dearly and I her, but from birth we were on different wave lengths and no matter how much I tried to explain to her my actions and motivations she never understood them. I decided quite young that as she would never approve of what she didn't understand I must just accept that I could not look to her for approval of my decisions and actions. Once I stopped looking for the impossible I was able to enjoy and love all about her that was enjoyable and loveable.

Bags Sat 10-Nov-12 05:53:34

Thank you, flickety.

baubles Sat 10-Nov-12 07:59:50

Well said flickety

Butty Sat 10-Nov-12 08:07:18

You've explained that so well, flickety.

whenim64 Sat 10-Nov-12 08:55:55

Flickety that resonates for me, too. I was never alienated from my parents, but it wouldn't have concerned me if I didn't see much of them. My father was selfish and miserable, and I have no regrets that we weren't close at the end of his life. He wasn't interested in making peace with anyone, was disinterested in his grandchildren. I didn't even bother to tell my parents when I got my degree - I wouldn't have received congratulations and my mother would have said 'well, you know where you got your brains from - me.'

It's taught me to think carefully about why my adult children would want a relationship with me. It's not just duty. I spent many years as an adolescent and young woman, agonising over what it was about me they weren't interested in, until I realised it was them, not me. I stayed around and they saw plenty of their grandchildren, but I ensured my children weren't left wondering why grandad wasn't interested and loving towards them.

Interestingly, I married a mean, selfish man - looking for that loving father figure and hoping I could change him? We divorced after 15 years. He's disinterested in his children. I, however, came to terms with all that years ago and am happy in the bosom of my lovely family. Like Flickety says - once you accept the impossible isn't going to happen.......

Nanadog Sat 10-Nov-12 08:57:17

I don't think granjura made a statement flick it was more a question she posed.

Nanadog Sat 10-Nov-12 09:05:22

Oops, that posted itself before I was finished.
To go back to the OP pattieb if you find you can take the stance of disconnecting your emotions regarding your mother as mentioned by some then that might help. It doesn't mean you don't go to see her occasionally. It doesn't even mean that you don't love her in your own way.
But remember the points made by other posters who have felt regret after their mother passed away that there was no opportunity to build a better relationship.
Not easy is it? hmm

nightowl Sat 10-Nov-12 09:49:37

I can't speak for granjura but I'm sure Nanadog is right and she was just posing the question. It sounds as though many people have done everything they can while recognising that things will never be any different, and that's all you can do. After all, it takes two to make a relationship and you can only do your half. I just know, looking back, that I didn't do my half but carried on being the petulant child in the relationship. My mother was difficult, infuriating, and very angry. But she loved me and she loved my children even more and devoted the later years of her life to looking after them - as many of us do now. I never told her how much I appreciated her help.

What particularly resonated with me was granjura's statement:
'Perhaps we should remember too, we are the elderly mother's of tomorrow'. I like to think that I have a better relationship with my daughter than I did with my own mother - but often I hear myself sounding like her, and I hear my daughter sounding like me. How many of us have posted about our difficulties with daughters? God forbid that I should become that person that no-one wants to visit.