You are here

My mom and her "perfect family" dream

bulletproof's picture

For those who don't know, my brothers were both abusive to me when I was growing up (one was physical, the other was more verbal/emotional). My mother blamed me for all of it, among other things she did (like tell me I was a slut when I was 12). I haven't spoken to either of them in years. They were not invited to our wedding. I have forgiven them, but I will not subject myself to their abuse any longer. If they changed, that'd be a different story, but they haven't and have shown no signs of changing (I have tried to reconcile with them during the time we haven't spoken).

Anyhow, my mom has tried to guilt me into letting them back in, she has tried not talking to me, she threw a tantrum at our wedding shower and at our wedding...she's tried everything...or so I thought.

See, despite what she's done to me during my life, I don't want to rob my daughter of the opportunity to have a relationship with her. If I did, that would be a form of PAS (IMO), and that's wrong. I talk to my mom more often now that DD is alive, but I keep her at arm's length. We e-mail, mostly about DD, and I send her pictures of DD and random voice texts.

EVERY SINGLE TIME that I do ANY of those things, she somehow links it to a story about my childhood and throws out random memories of my brothers and I. Most times, whatever we're talking about with regard to my DD has NOTHING to do with these memories. And most of the time she tells me ones that paint my brothers in a good light; the other week she reminded me that my older brother and I used to stand on my bed and sing Michael Jackson when I was like 2 and he was 5 or 6. Today it was a memory of my younger brother. The other day it was a memory of my younger brother and I. I could seriously send her a picture of my DD in her stroller and she would say, "That reminds me of the time when you were two and you and your brother went swimming at grandma's neighbor's house. He thought you were so funny because you didn't have a bathing suit and swam in your underwear!"

It's really annoying. And for the last couple of years I've taken a silent stance on all of this; I learned that trying to reason with her and get her to understand that she can't force things on me doesn't work. But right now, I'm SO tempted to respond with, "Mom, I get that you have good memories of your children when they were little. Please hang onto those, because they're precious. But please don't think that just because I have a daughter means that I'm going to allow my brothers to treat me how they always have. I've tried countless times to let them back in and they prove time and time again why I keep them out. Just let it go and let life be how it will be."



hereiam's picture

It sounds like she's trying to prove to you (and herself) that your childhood (and the abuse) was not that bad.

bulletproof's picture

She's recounting memories from when we were REALLY little--like my older brother was at the max, 8, in these memories. My older brother was always a little off his rocker (he told my younger brother we had another brother who died, but to never tell my mom because she'd poor little brother believed this for YEARS before he finally got the courage to ask my mom about it), but he didn't become emotionally abusive toward me until I was in middle school. My younger brother was the physically abusive one, and that started when I was 19 (he is much larger than me, though he is 3 years younger!).

My mom is very delusional. I've blogged about it before--if you feel like it, go back and read them. It might help to get a little more info on it.

SadFairy's picture

Your mother wants you to let "them" back in. That includes the abusive brothers right? Do you really want to expose your daughter to such toxic influences, including her? People who recreate history make me really uneasy. She wasn't invited to the wedding, showed up anyway and made a huge scene. You are describing someone who is emotionally unstable.

It seems like the time she spends with your daughter should be limited, and always supervised.

bulletproof's picture

She was invited (as was my dad), but my brothers weren't. Just wanted to clarify that. But I think you're right with the desire to let them back in.

Hanny's picture

Sometimes people want to forget the real truth as they get older, and somehow they remember things the way they wished it had been.

My grandmother abandoned her kids and she was actually put in jail for a while (she was 31 with 9 kids and her husband died, not an excuse I know, but). My mother and her 9 siblings had to fend for themselves, the older ones got jobs and the younger 2 actually were put in foster homes. My grandmother later in life would say things to my mom about 'remember Mary Ann I used to have warm cookies for you when you kids came home from school'. My mother never passed up a chance to remind her that 'no you didn't...or I don't remember that ever'. When I was young I used to think my mom should just go along with it, she was old! But my mother had, I'm sure, a lot of anger still from all she missed out on life because of the situation.

bulletproof's picture

This is really good insight. Thank you. I wish I could make subtle remarks like that to my mom, but any time I have tried, WWIII erupts and I just don't need to deal with that right now! lol

That's very sad about your grandmother and mom/aunts/uncles. 9 kids at 31? That's insane!

arjuna79's picture

Bullet, I took a different approach to raising my daughter after a horrendous, abusive childhood myself, complete with narcissistic, delusional, violent "mother" who endorsed sibling abuse. I swore that I would never subject my daughter to that behavior from her. I held a space for her to interact with her, in a supervised situation, but early on my bd "got it" about Grandma Rose. Your job is to protect your daughter. And if your family of origin is toxic and dangerous, hold your boundaries. Your mother links every new baby pic of your DD to raising you kids? She's clearly indicating that she's not interested, or capable, of connecting with your own bd now.

Let it go. Protect your daughter!

Aeron's picture

Not an attack, just a question. Why is it wrong to keep your mother out of your DD's life but not your brothers?

Your brothers were abusive to you and I totally get cutting them off, cutting them out. But I personally find someone repeatedly pushing you to allow abusive people into your life, trying in every way through manipulation, guilt, and a recreation of history to force this is a type of abuse too. If you've asked her to stop and it causes WW3 that is also a form of emotional abuse hon.

If you are set on allowing GM to be in DD's life, I'd be very careful about it. It sounds like she might be the type to try to foster a relationship between your DD and your brothers. Or in later life try to guilt you into reopening the relationship by telling your DD how mean/misguided you are not to talk to them anymore. After all, she has all these glorious childhood memories about DD's uncles to share where everyone was all lovey dovey. If she blamed you to your face for the abuse, she's likely to blame all the current dynamics on you to DD as well while showing the boys as blameless.

Anon2009's picture

I'm sorry for what's happening to you. As difficult as it may be, please consider cutting your mom out of your life until she stops doing this.

bulletproof's picture

Good question, Aeron. My mom had begun to treat me better. She was pleasant when we would speak, she wasn't condescending, etc. She changed a bit. And if my brothers would change and treat me better, I would start to slowly (very slowly) try at a relationship with them again also. I agree with you that she will try to foster a relationship between DD and my brothers. I've vowed to not let her babysit DD at her home (which is no issue for a bit since we are overseas), and when we go back to the states I don't plan on staying with her. And this: "If she blamed you to your face for the abuse, she's likely to blame all the current dynamics on you to DD as well while showing the boys as blameless." --> I never thought of that, but you're right. Thank you for helping me to think of this differently!

Thanks to all of you. Any pointers on how to tell her that I can't have her pushing this way, or any way?

moeilijk's picture

Created an ID just to reply to this. My own mother is oh-so-similar. Rewrites history, makes it all about how she feels and her agenda, somehow it's my fault that I was victimized as a child, yada yada yada. I also recently had a child, and understand exactly what you mean about how unkind it seems to my baby to exclude any family member, even the nutty ones. I am also currently living overseas... and when I do go back it may not be to her part of the country. But of course she wants to visit. And so far I've just been kind by sending regular pictures, but I see the next step is a confrontation.

But how to confront the crazy, loaded with emotional manipulation and years of experience and history with it?

She's not actually as horrible as your mother, but I think the path is still a minefield. I can predict that she will do her go-to moves when I say something. First wave: emotional attack. Guilt, making me responsible for her feelings, denying that my feelings exist - but if they do, then they don't matter. Second wave: intellecutal attack. My feelings are irrational and irrelevant, I'm just wrong, my life approach is flawed, I shouldn't be doing/feeling/saying xyz. I don't know what the third wave will be because the others have always worked to get me to back down before. I've valued having a relationship with her over protecting myself in the past... but with a baby in my arms, protecting myself is also protecting my little one. So I guess I'll find out.

Eventually. For now, I'm avoiding.