Mummy daaahling

You may have got the impression, even if you’re an occasional visitor here, that Otterkat and her mother do not get on too well.  I’d love to have a nice, relaxed, easy, sharing relationship with my mum, but I don’t.   The hardest part is that she’s still my mum, I still love her, but sometimes I just want to … not be around her.

She can be incredibly nice and caring, although she lacks a sense of humour and proportion sometimes [Tux says: like, always?].  But she’s also a very dominating personality – in my dramatic moments I’d say she was a domineering bullying old bitch – and unfortunately she expresses that side of her personality mostly with me. 

I’ve tried hard to think why this is – I’m the youngest child, only daughter, “the sick one”, her “baby”.  She continuously infantilises me and my abilities … So okay, I’m easy to bully, therefore she does so.

. . . . . . . . . .

It really is one damn thing after another with her.  The cumulative effect of constant nagging, put-downs, criticism masked as “helping”, extremely conditional offers of help [ie her terms only], picking fights, unbelievable negativity about everybody and everything, not just me; she doesn’t have a nice thing to say about anyone, Catholic upbringing maybe? – is that I end up in emotional overload with my head spinning, totally crashed.

I never know where I am with her, either.  Occasionally we’ll be having a nice relaxed interaction then out of nowhere, then apropos of absolutely nothing, she’ll lob in an emotionally hurtful [and usually pretty brutal] remark.  It always comes as a shock and still sends me reeling, though miscellaneous pagan gods know I should be used to it, immune to it by now.

On her “usual” days [ie domineering bullying bitch days], when she’s trying to stir up shit and I am trying my hardest to resist and remain calm and rational – which she reads as antagonistic and rude, somehow, I guess because I’m not bending to her will – I find it emotionally exhausting, and come in from such an encounter in dire need of a triple vodka tonic [with a dribble of tonic]

. . . . . . . . . .

I am unable to confide or share events/information as every “thing” becomes an issue or argument – right down to who pushes the shopping trolley or takes the shopping bags or unloads the boot.  It’s why I’ve never been able to tell her the deep personal stuff that was going on in my life – not since I was about 13 anyway, when I finally figured out it wasn’t worth it [yes I know, I’m fucking slow on the uptake, please don’t rub it in!].  I didn’t tell her about the bullying and bashings in high school; about teachers who looked the other way; about boys I was keen on who teased me; later still when I was “seeing” boys and having absolutely lovely times – or not – I couldn’t tell her about it or seek counsel.  Isn’t that what mums are for?

I’ve related a particular incident here before – how I didn’t tell her about Tuxedo and me getting together and we just sprang the engagement on the family in a major fait accompli, because a month or so before he came out to meet the family I tried to tell her about this guy who was coming to visit, how much I liked him, that it might be serious etc … She interrupted with a “don’t get your hopes up, he’ll just dump you like all the rest”.  Even given she had no idea about 99% of “the rest”, or that the dumpage had been pretty much 50/50, this was a stiletto-to-the-heart comment.   Understand this, I get that kind of response to everything, all the time. It wasn’t a one-off.

. . . . . . . . . .

No matter how hard I try I can’t shrug this off; it keeps affecting me and is just as bad the zillionth time as the first, the put-downs, domination and intense power struggle that I must bend to her absolute will.  What do I do?  I’ve tried talking to other members of my family about it for help/mediation/intervention; they’re blokes and don’t “get” the dynamic, also they are not present when she behaves this way.  I try simply not giving a shit;  I can’t do that either, so it never stops hurting.

Of course the obvious would be to talk to her about it; but I think I’ve made it clear that she won’t engage in discussion.  There’s no such thing as discussion in fact; it’s full-blown argument.  The best I can do – and it’s not the greatest solution and doesn’t fix anything – is to accept that it is her problem, not mine.  I can’t change her, I can’t fight her, the most I can do is avoid conflict.

. . . . . . . . . .

It may interest you to know that psychs/cognitive therapists I’ve spoken to in the past, about my mum and our relationship, who have also met her in person, believe she is my main problem in life – far above connective tissue and auto-immune diseases – and that I should cease contact.  Isn’t that kind of heavy, ceasing contact with one’s own mother?  But I guess it comes under the heading of abusive non-nurturing behaviour, and there’s only one answer to that, that’s hit the road, jack.  And no way can I do that.  Sigh ….

So what kind of relationship do you have with your mum/parents?  Have you had bad patches and got through them?  Or are they non-negotiable like mine?  How do you cope when you’re nearly forty and your mum treats you like an intellectually disabled five year old, incapable of making any decision, having any thought of her/his own?  I’d be interested to hear … although I realise this is pretty damn personal, downright raw stuff here.  I just had to get it out, blogging being the emotional/mental version of Ipecac and all …

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  • D  On Tuesday 8 July 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Funny how it always seems to be mothers and daughters.

    I had a fraught decade with my mother from my early teens to my early twenties but we’re at the stage now where I’ve told her we’re not getting our little fella christened and there was only the slightest protest out of her, and it’s not been mentioned since. We can debate stuff and then eventually one of us wins and the other accepts and nothing more is said. It’s sweet. It might also be an Irish Mammy giving in to her only son, but anyway…

    My Mrs still clashes with her mum if they’re in the same house for more than 24 hours and we have a friend who enjoys a similar relationship with her mum that you do with yours, all condescension, negativity, meddling, dictating and generally being annoying. At least she has an older sister who their mum treats completely differently and who recognises the way the younger girl is still treated like a child.

    Seriously, does the woman know how hurtful she’s being? Is her nastiness borne out of some sort of resentment at her own life and that even her frail little daughter has the wherewithal to traverse the globe to find her dream hubby and the audacity to pursue goals that are clearly above her station?

    I can kind of imagine how your mum feels, what with nobody, not even you, being dependent on her (this is me guessing), and that’s sad. But fuck that shit – if she hasn’t got the insight to realise how she makes you feel and why she acts the way she does, much less the inclination to change it, then you need to stay away, gur’fren’ *snaps fingers*. Bullies will fuck you up.

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