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Thread: My mom is making me crazy and i'm questioning my worth

  1. #1

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    My mom is making me crazy and i'm questioning my worth

    I have posted before and thanks for the help from before. My mother disowned my over text around the time my family and I moved. It was a very difficult time, but she came around with no apology like nothing had ever happened because she wanted to visit and meet our son, our 3rd child.

    She was cordial but typically cold towards both me and my wife and I could tell she was embarrassed but never said anything addressing the situation.
    Fast forward to New years we invite them to come visit and think everything is fine. about the 3rd day they are here she becomes very cold where she won't speak to my wife or I and scowls at our 3.5 year old daughter, who is sometimes a bit of a handful sometimes, but with a big sister and a new baby in the house its nothing besides her wanting a little extra attention. Shes a sweet kiddo.

    My parents leave and my mother writes me a terrible letter degrading my parenting skills as a father and my wifes. In all honesty things are a little crazy in our house with 3 kids and I work as a engineer so there lots of phone calls at night and dads pretty busy sometimes. I always make time for the kids and my wife does an amazing job. She threatens in a very passive aggressive way that she sees us as abusive parents and has started making calls for "serious psychological help" for our continued abuse of our children.

    We live in a great neighborhood, live a very good lifestyle, and generally I think we are doing great as parents and a family. We go to church every sunday, the kids are in sports, do great in school, and generally live a normal family life.

    My mothers letters and harassing calls are starting to make me lose my mind. Our oldest is in a gifted and talented school and is happy, creative, is wonderful with her sister and baby brother, and truly the light of my life. Our middle child is just as sweet and the baby is healthy and happy. After I ignored the first letter she called my wife and thought maybe she was coming around. Instead she screamed at her for being a terrible mother, I'm a horrible person, we are terrible parents, and she will do whatever is necessary to protect the children.

    My wife didn't say anything hurtful back and hung and I said just block her and maybe she'll settle down. So a couple weeks go by and I get a package and its parenting books and another hateful letter full of degrading words telling me that I'm the worst son in the world and that I need to ask for gods forgiveness etc etc. Mind you this is on my 35th birthday. Pretty much the worst day of my life.

    I will objectively say that my mothers and I relationship was never great. She was always narcissistic and nothing was ever good enough. I was never an angel but worked really hard to get through graduate school and did it myself with my wifes support and no help from my family.

    My wifes family are great, kind caring people, but neither of them went to college and my mom thinks they are poor white trash. In actuality they own a great restaurant and do very well, but my mom has never taken a chance to get to know them.

    I don't know what to do. To make matters worse my dad has cancer, and although it is in remission, we never knowhow long. I have always had a good relationship with my dad, but my mother is trying to use his sickness as a weapon to try and make me feel worse saying my horrible parenting and behavior is stressing him out and he doesn't need that.

    I forgive my mother but I don't know what to do. I don't want to miss time with my dad but she is crazy and hateful in ways I didn't know were possible.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry this is happening. Does she have neurological, psychiatric or drug/alcohol problems? You are right to distance yourself from this madness.

  3. #3
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    Yes, I am so sorry.

    I read your previous thread as well. You mentioned you were close to your dad? Have you spoken to him about the situation? Not to get him to ‘fix’ it - but to get his perspective of the problem? Maybe he can better explain what she is really upset about? Or if this behavior has been getting worse for him too? (ie: maybe she is experiencing a mental break and requires medical intervention?)

    As for everything regarding parenting - in your shoes, I would actually call her bluff and tell her to contact the authorities if she is that upset about it. I would basically tell her that you felt you were doing just fine - and that the subject of parenting is no longer up for discussion. That if she wants to talk about it, that she’ll need to call child protective services.

    I know that’s scary to have child services called - but actually, they are fantastic. A neighbor called once on my friends (they are awesome parents!) because they thought they saw the kids jumping on the trampoline alone in the backyard. In fact they were - but their mom was maybe 12 feet away in the kitchen with a huuuuuuuge window watching them while doing dishes (and the door and window open). Child services came, interviewed everyone, checked that there was food around, etc and dismissed it all as “unfounded”. Don’t worry... they can tell good parents from bad.

    Unfortunately, that’s all I’ve got. Other than that, I would keep contact with your mom to a minimum and only chat about your dad and other things. Simply don’t tell her about your life - and delete/hang up on any hatred. Just don’t even listen to it.

    It’s terribly unfortunate and hurtful when it has to come to that... but I would check in with your dad as much as possible. Hopefully he is not suffering from her attitude as well...

  4. #4
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    The only thing you can really do is learn how not to internalize or otherwise take on her comments as real or personal to you. When she says horrible things, understand that this is about her, her issues, literally nothing to do with you. What you do is in effect smile, nod and do not react, do not defend yourself, do not try to correct her, do not take anything she says personally. It's not easy, but you can master this being that she is your mother and not going anywhere as such.

    There is even a term for that, "be a grey rock," in that assorted narcs and other disordered people who are trying to get under your skin, who are trying to hurt you in order to create drama, get attention, get any kind of a rise out of you get absolutely nothing, zero, zip, nada. The theory is that eventually they'll turn their attentions away from you and on to more "rewarding" targets. That doesn't mean that they won't keep trying with you periodically, but if you continue your grey rock, no reaction routine, the issues are less and these people become much more manageable and tolerable over time. They know they won't get any satisfaction out of you.

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  6. #5
    Gold Member LC8328's Avatar
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    Hi OP,

    I went ahead and read your first post before this one to gain some perspective.

    Phew. First off, let me say that I don't know if I'm the right person to be advising you as I'm not a therapist, nor do I have an unbiased perspective.

    Regardless...trust me when I say that I understand your situation. Your mother and mine could be kindred spirits. So I get it. The thing is, with a person like that, you just can't win. It doesn't matter what you do. You sound like a great guy and your wife and kids sound very happy and normal. But she will never see your life through your eyes. Understand that now.

    I'm really sorry she has caused you to cry the whole night. That's heartbreaking to hear, because again I completely relate. I was always on the fence when it came to my communication with her and what I should do about it. At one point I even thought I would just take her nasty words, & bury it deep inside myself. That was a bad plan, because with a narcissist or a person who is even possibly a sociopath, there's no helping, there's only chipping away at your own healthy, happy disposition.

    You see that your children are happy and you and your wife are happy together. That is the very definition of successful in my book. People like us, we have kids to think about, and they need us happy and of sound mind. You have put in a lot of good faith with your mother, only to have her crap all over it. Ten, twenty years from now if she's still around...not a thing will change. She's going to continue to be egocentric and dramatic. She is going to twist everything you hold dear.

    In life you must make a decision to put up a fence to protect you (and your children) against toxic people. Your children come first, and I get that you are religious and the bible teaches to honor your mother and father, but you have put up with her nonsense for a long, long, long time, more than she deserved.

    Again...this is about your children, and you being the best father you can be, and your mother does nothing but create problems for her own ego.

    Your children are still young enough where they won't have to be too affected by their loony grandmother, if you cut her off now.

    So, continue to block her. Toss away anything she mails you. Put those blinders on. Once you put up that emotional wall, it gets easier. When you want to see your father, do it. Don't let her destroy your relationship with him. You walk into their house to visit with your father, she screams in your face. You say "uh-huh, ok" and keep walking to your father. She carries on like a madwoman, you tell your father you will see him soon, for him to call you and that you love him, then walk back out their door with your mother screaming in your wake. Let her carry on. "You're a horrible father and you're going to jail for child abuse!" she screams. You answer, "Ok, cool." Don't look at her, don't get emotionally invested, don't say, "But that's not true!" Don't enable, don't engage. You and I both know there is no end to this, except putting up that wall.

    It's a big decision to make, but it will bless you with happier days and I believe you will be a happier man for it. I wish you all the best.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member shellyf62's Avatar
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    I had a similar letter from my mother, trying to justify to me all the bad things that happened in my childhood. I tore it up.

    If she sends you anymore letters or parcels send them back "return to sender" & unopened.

    I agree with LC8328, visit your Father but dont engage with your mother.

  8. #7
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    "I disagree with you but I'm not going to argue" like a record on repeat.

    And yes, absolve yourself of any responsibility to have a relationship with this woman, she doesn't deserve you in her life.

    Lots of Captain Awkward posts touching on the subject [Register to see the link]

  9. #8
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jdc5756
    I forgive my mother but I don't know what to do. I don't want to miss time with my dad but she is crazy and hateful in ways I didn't know were possible.
    Abstractions aren't helpful to anyone. That can be your position when dealing with your mother. Your post mentions no specifics about which behaviors, exactly, were so upsetting to her, and if she didn't identify those either, then there is your place to start.

    Since you (or we) can't diagnose Mom, I'd consider her as triggered by stress. Travel to stay in someone else's home is stressful, and so is having a spouse with cancer. So I'd interact with Mom as a caregiver rather than her son which would keep me focused on a rational process that sheds my own 'child' role with her.

    Written words would get deleted with no response from me--no noise there. Phone calls or in person visits would be met with interruptions to ask questions. "Thank you for caring about us, Mom. I know you want to help, so tell me which actions bother you and why."

    Questions interrupt emotions by forcing a shift in the brain into rational problem-solving. When you impose a question, you position Mom to come up with answers. When an answer veers back into emotional streaming, interrupt those to keep imposing more specific questions.

    For instance, "You're terrible and horrible..." "Which actions have upset you?" "You abuse your children..." "Tell me what's abusive, Mom" "You ignore x," or "You don't do y..." "Thank you, Mom, I will pay more attention to x or y."

    Try engaging Mom for answers and then thanking her for helping you, and note how well--or not-- this works to direct her focus onto feeling valued and helpful rather than adversarial.

    Meanwhile, ask your Dad for his health provider contacts. Phone those for a referral to a social worker who can offer resources to manage your whole family dynamic around your father's care AND your Mom's stress. This may calm her from acting out over time or otherwise position her for treatment of her own.

    Head high, and step outside of your child role. This will afford you a rational perspective beyond an emotional one.


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