Author Topic: Perspective Needed...  (Read 2267 times)

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Offline OptingOut

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Perspective Needed...
« on: May 16, 2014, 01:23:10 AM »
I am having some issues with my mother and I thought that perhaps the wise women could offer me a different perspective. I am not a mother, so perhaps there are some things I cannot truly understand.

My mother and I have never been close. She was physically and verbally abusive to me my whole life. When I was 21, I left home with nothing but the clothes on my back because I needed to get away from my mother. Her treatment was the reason I had nervous breakdowns and I couldn't live in a toxic environment anymore. I have three brothers and though my mother was abusive to them as well, she did not put the same pressures or restrictions on them. Her parenting was very sexist. I had to stand in the kitchen with her while my brothers did their own thing. She made me do laundry and ironing for my whole family, while my brothers never had to do any of that.

When I got married nearly four years ago, we eloped to get away from my mother. She is a materialistic narcissist, so my wedding was supposed to be a huge spectacle so that she could show off her money. My husband and I never wanted a big wedding and we respectfully shared our wishes with my mother. Unfortunately, she responded to our requests with belligerence and insults. When I told my mother that I was engaged, her first comment was "Well, you are too fat to look good in a wedding dress." My parents were understandably upset and hurt that their only daughter eloped. At least my mother learned a valuable lesson about what happens when she tries to exert control over my life: it will backfire. She apologized to me for her behavior which was rare and mature of my mother.

My parents have never visited my home because I do not want my mother's negative energy in our space. She would criticize everything and try to tell us how to run our home. I know my husband would not bite his tongue like he always does, because there is no way that he is going to put up with such disrespect in his home. My mother tried to give me an ultimatum: "If you don't let us come visit, you are not welcome in our home then!"

My father and I have a very good relationship, so I told him how I felt about my mother's manipulation. I feel sorry for my father because he hates how distant I am from my mother and it kills him that he has never seen where his daughter lives. I just feel the need to protect myself. I also hate the sexist pressure I receive from my mother about hosting a dinner at my place for everyone. I resent that expectation because it is like she is saying that it is my job to do that as an only daughter. I am not obligated to tirelessly serve everyone the way my mother did. If someone says that they do not wish to do something, it is disrespectful to ask again and again.

The last issue is my choice to be childfree. My husband and I do not want children. Since my mother is nosy and intrusive, she was trying to get me to talk to my husband on our honeymoon about wanting a child. She also blamed my husband for my choice not to have a child; my mother won't accept that I was not forced into this. Since talking to her about this issue didn't work, my father stepped in after I complained to him.  I don't know why my decision saddens my mother so much; I have three brothers! She already has a granddaughter from one of my siblings and another one on the way from another brother.

When I try to explain why I don't want children to my mother, she becomes very huffy and quickly ends the conversation. For example, tonight my mother was blathering on about some neighbour's adult child having three kids. She mentioned that the neighbour's daughter's hubby wanted a lot of kids. I told my mom that it is very easy for men to say that they want kids, because they hardly go through anything compared to women. One of the main reasons is I saw how being a parent limited my mother's life in many ways; she gave up her education to start a family. She also stayed with my father who cheated because of her kids. I know that the sacrifices my mother made as a parent was the cause of her very anger and bitterness. I often heard my mother refer to her children as "parasites". She also loved to take her anger out on me because I resemble my father's family and she hates them. My mom made being a mother seem like a death sentence.

I see a lot married mothers who are very stressed because they have to do everything. I also notice that many women feel compelled to stay in unhappy marriages because of kids. Though my husband is good to me now, if that changes I don't want to feel trapped with him because we have babies. I am only speaking of my personal experience. I realize that not all mothers feel trapped or overworked.

My brothers all bow down to my mother and pay tribute to her. They constantly buy her gifts, give her money and let her run certain parts of their lives. I am different in the sense that I am not going to pretend that I am close to my mother for her benefit. I have also learned not to share private aspects of my life with my mother, because she likes to gossip and she is very ignorant. Consequently, my mother dislikes me because I am not afraid of her or her disapproval. She moans that I never say that she is a good mother and also complains about how I don't want her in my life.  ???

My questions to the wise women are as follows:
Would you be sad if your adult child did not want children? Why or why not?
How could a mother expect closeness when she has been cruel for a long time?

Sorry about the font changes...I tried to make the sizes the same to no avail.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 06:53:25 AM by Pooh »

Offline jdtm

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2014, 05:48:54 AM »
Quote
She is a materialistic narcissist

OptingOut - I think you have your answer here.  Your description reminds me of my now-deceased sister-in-law.  Frankly, I always thought she suffered from a personality disorder.  Her behaviours and thoughts and feelings were all about HER - in my opinion, she was unable to feel empathy (let alone sympathy).  She was the epitome of self-centeredness and I am wondering if your mother might also fit this category.

So, my comment will not answer your questions because trying to reason with someone who can not reason is like "beating a dead horse" or as Luise would say "trying to make sense out of the senseless".  Sometimes, all we can do is accept what "is".  As they say, you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear; in other words, you will not be able to make your mother understand your point of view if she does not have the mental ability and/or traits to do so. 

I am so sorry for your childhood.  By the way, if your mother does have a personality disorder, she will not perceive things as they are and she will not remember as they were and she will not realize you can have a different point of view.  As I said, sometimes it is what it is.  And discussing, arguing, putting forth your point of view are just wasting everyone's time (not counting the stress level). 

My advice (hopefully others will have wiser points of view) - let it go, smile when she tries to taunt you, and if necessary, remove yourself from her presence (maybe for long periods of time).  Love your husband and leave the past where it is - the past.  I really don't think she is capable of any more.  So sorry .....

Offline Pooh

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 07:11:30 AM »
Welcome OptingOut.  When you get a moment, please read the posts under "Open Me First".  Nothing wrong with your post, we just ask all new members to read the forum rules and how we work around here.

I also fixed your post to an even font.  It gets tricky to try and change certain areas to different things, so don't even worry about it.  We find most of the time, the default font works just fine.

First I want to applaud you for rising above your raising.  That's what my Grandma used to call it when someone had a totally different childhood and made the decision to better their lives and completely change themselves.  Not an easy task for anyone so that shows your strength.

I'll give you my personal take on your questions.  If my adult children had decided not to have children, I would be fine with that.  Do I think the majority of Moms have this secret longing for Grandchildren?  Well sure.  Not everybody, but I think it's safe to say the majority.   I think personally it is a couple of reasons.  One, when you are a parent, there are many good times and memories, but there is also a ton of stress.  Even in a "normal" environment with no abuse, there is still plenty of stress in raising children.  Making sure homework is done, making sure they are at all their events, with a complete uniform and shoes, making sure that you get all their Doctor appointments in, making sure you are trying to teach them right from wrong and how to be a good person, making sure they are fed, bathed, ears cleaned, clean clothes to wear, clean bed to sleep in.....the list goes on and on.  And that's in a good environment!  So for me, my Grandchildren pretty much come stress free.  We get to enjoy them, play with them and love them without having to worry so much about all the day-to-day grind and stress.  So I was looking forward to having them.  Also, and yes it is vain, but I think part of us likes the idea that there will be a little piece of us left after we are gone.  Are those reasons selfish?  Well, yes they are.  It's all about us and not about you.  So if my YS and DIL had said they never wanted children, I will not lie and not say I would have been disappointed, but I would have supported their decision and not tried to change their mind.  It is a hard job and a personal decision and I would have respected it.

The other question I have a hard time with.  Because my answer would be I don't think a Mother that has acted this way should expect it.  I don't know how they could expect it or why they think they deserve it.  But my rational side agrees with jdtm.  I would guess your Mother doesn't see anything wrong with how she's behaved.  She's making excuses and justifying her behavior, so for her, it makes perfect sense.   People that don't take personal responsibility for their actions will always have an excuse and rational reason.

In my world, there is no excuse or reason to treat a child or children in the way you and your siblings were.  It is unacceptable period.  If she has a mental illness could you maybe understand it?  Sure, but that doesn't excuse it or make it ok.  I think you have done the right thing by removing yourself from her.  It is time for you to be happy.  You deserve it.  Unless she is willing to change her ways or actions, then she is never going to be good for you and your husband.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2014, 08:11:22 AM »
Opting out,  I agree with jdtm, but I would like to add a couple of things for you to consider.  You have not mentioned your age but since your mother is still after you to have kids I take it there is still time to change your mind.  I do no think you should have any children unless you and your DH want them.  That is the only reason to have children. 

Your mother was most likely raised by a mother who was very much like she is.  When she was raised the "mom does everything around the house and never works outside the house" era was just phasing out.  She was probably hounded about having children too.  She gave in and because of that she resented her children enough to call them "parasites".  A truly sad story.  She still did one thing incredibly well.  She raised you to be strong enough to  not give in!  You will only have children if you and your husband want them, not because your mother wants you to have them!

So, in my opinion, your mother deserves both your pity and your respect.  She has come through some really rough times and yes, she is damaged and for that reason she should never be allowed to overrule your instincts and make you do anything you do not think you should do.  Maybe if you think about how damaged she must be you will find it easier to do the nod and ignore thing when she tells you what to do. 

One more thing.  You cannot expect to emerge from such an upbringing without scars of your own.  If you find yourself leaning toward depression or feeling hopeless or unworthy, please seek professional help.  And if you decide to have children you might want some counseling first.  It only takes a generation to turn things around.  My grandmother was raped by her first husband (NOT my grandfather!) but her grandchildren do not have any scars (although my Mom had some issues she did not pass on).   
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Footloose

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2014, 08:48:19 AM »
Welcome Opt Out!

Are you my sister?  LOL sounds like we have the same mom! YIKES! 

I would have been disappointed but would NEVER have pushed for grandchildren.

Good for you in maintaining boundaries!  It is also YOUR choice in who comes into your home.  Weather you decide to have kids or stay with your husband will continue to be your choice going forward. 

You have done so well on your own but please do not forget where you came from and the bad memories you remember may only be the tip of the root of further mental issue drivers.  Don't be like me!  Do not suffer in silence or think everyone has it like you or worse.  You DESERVE to feel Better and it is A OK to get help and tools to get you through your life path....

Hugs, dear sister!

Offline OptingOut

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2014, 09:21:00 AM »
I feel that I am far to damaged emotionally to have children. I also do not want to suffer the loss of freedom as I spent most of my life living in a luxurious jail run by a cruel warden. (My parents' house) I married a childfree man and my husband has had a vasectomy. No babies or changing our mind for us.  ;)We get so much static from other people about our choice not to have kids. Everyone and their brother likes to badger us. I am not interested in becoming a mother and I am even less enthused to give my mother a grandchild.

I have had a total of four years of counseling. Sometimes my mother will show insight and say certain things. She talks about what a good child I was growing up and how she was so tired and frustrated that she didn't know what she was doing. She knew well enough to treat my youngest brother like a prince, so I don't accept that excuse.

I visit my parents once a month. I do not go on outings or trips with my mother the way she would like. I also refrain from sharing anything too private with her. This is very strange but I hate it when my mother tells me she loves me or she wishes we were closer. Those statements make me want to scream because it doesn't feel real.

My parents are retiring to the Carribean on October 2015. I will miss my father but not my mom. I can't wait until I never have to see her again. I have tried to cut her off in the past but it always led to my entire family refusing to speak to me.

Offline Footloose

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2014, 09:44:55 AM »
Sounds like you may be getting peace when she moves away but I hear your anger. Sadness, guilt and regret are the emotions that create in- action. Anger is the one to drive change and gives us the drive needed but we can get stuck  in any emotion, if we allow it and be prevented from healing to the point of apathy and acceptance. We get stuck if we try and outrun the need to change   our actions and attitudes and change some more. 

I do not know your age but know you are younger than my 50 yrs.  I welcome you to share my story and path of discovery if it aids to lessen your burden.  There are a couple of resources I have on this site that may help. Please click on my dog JoJo pic and it will show my threads.
You are not alone!







Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2014, 10:11:33 AM »
Optingout I tried for years to have a child without any luck.  During that time people I barely knew would try to convince me to have kids.  Not wanting to explain the details (which I considered personal) I would tell them my DH were still practicing and when we got it right I would let them know.  Sure shut them up!!  LOL
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Pooh

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 10:16:20 AM »
Optingout I tried for years to have a child without any luck.  During that time people I barely knew would try to convince me to have kids.  Not wanting to explain the details (which I considered personal) I would tell them my DH were still practicing and when we got it right I would let them know.  Sure shut them up!!  LOL

Ha ha!  Love this!

My BIL and SIL are in their upper 40's and never had children (very satisfied and happy by the way) because they didn't want any.  EVERYONE was always trying to talk them into it.  My BIL (who is one of those quiet zinger people) would finally say, "We don't need another one.  The first three we sold have set us up financially for the rest of our lives."

People's mouths would drop and my SIL would about die!  But they quit saying anything.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Footloose

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2014, 10:31:44 AM »
Pooh!  HAHAHA!!

Offline OptingOut

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2014, 10:44:02 AM »
Sounds like you may be getting peace when she moves away but I hear your anger. Sadness, guilt and regret are the emotions that create in- action. Anger is the one to drive change and gives us the drive needed but we can get stuck  in any emotion, if we allow it and be prevented from healing to the point of apathy and acceptance. We get stuck if we try and outrun the need to change   our actions and attitudes and change some more. 

I do not know your age but know you are younger than my 50 yrs.  I welcome you to share my story and path of discovery if it aids to lessen your burden.  There are a couple of resources I have on this site that may help. Please click on my dog JoJo pic and it will show my threads.
You are not alone!

Thanks so much! I appreciate this!

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2014, 11:06:00 AM »
Welcome, O. My experience in this instance has been personal. I have two wonderful grandsons from my eldest DS and none from my youngest. They choose before marriage for their own reasons, and that was their business, not mine. My youngest was a youth pastor and loves kids, he just wasn't interested in the focus required in parenting.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline OptingOut

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2014, 10:55:14 PM »
When people find out that I am not having babies, one of the comments I get the most is "Your mother isn't going to be happy about that." Other people ask if my mother is sad that I am not having kids.

My mother says that she always prayed for me to have nice pregnancies. I know she is very disappointed in me because I am not having kids. My mother is a woman who needs to feel needed and I do not provide that for her. Unlike my brothers, I do not seek her advice on anything important or share personal things like my salary. When she tries to meddle, I tell my mother to back off in a polite way.

Offline Pen

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2014, 12:30:51 PM »
If someone told me the pitfalls as well as the joys of having children, I'm don't remember hearing it. I was determined to be a mom! Being a mother has brought me my greatest joy and my deepest pain. I do love my children, but I think I would have had a fulfilling, although very different kind of life, if DH & I had decided not to procreate. Good for you for making the decision that works for you.

I have two acquaintances who are sisters. One chose to follow her musical talents and spends her time being creative, traveling, and participating in a variety of sports activities w/her DH. Rarely does she wonder if she made the right choice. The other sister always fancied herself a sort of hippy "Earth Mother' and has two semi-functional adult children who she still devotes her life to. Even though she thrives on being needed, I think she'd prefer having adult children who were not so dependent on her (one has a job but still lives at home, the other literally lives in the basement, unemployed.) I think she often wonders if she made the right choice.

Your life, your choice! Embrace your liberty!


Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
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Offline mom58

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Re: Perspective Needed...
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2014, 10:58:22 PM »
To answer your first question........Yes, I would be upset if my only daughter decided that she didn't want to have children.  My ds and dil have a little one that I love to pieces, but as a mil, alot of us have to take a back seat when it comes to dil's that become new moms.  With a daughter, atleast with my daughter, I know my help would be welcome anytime, and she's already told me, if she decides to have children, she will need me to help out so her and her husband can take vacations.  (she said this in a funloving way).  However, if her and her dh decided that they didn't want children, I would respect their decision.

As far as your mother wanting to have a relationship with you even though she was awful to you in your younger days, it's probably her way of admitting she was wrong.  It sounds like she has very oldfashioned views when it comes to male/female roles, and, she was probably raised the same way.  Perhaps she has evolved, or sees the relationships other women have with their dd's and wishes the same.  Sometimes when people know better, they do better.  I hope you eloped because you wanted to and not just to get away from her.  Did you want a small wedding maybe but you eloped because you knew she would make it impossible?  Some of your resentment toward her may stem from this.  Just be certain that not wanting children, has nothing to do with her.  It should be about your preferences as a married couple,  that's all.

I know there are parents out there that are not the greatest, and that's an understatement.  If it's possible for your health,and happiness,  try to keep the door slightly open.  We never know what the future holds and you don't want to have any regrets later in life.  You sound very close to your Dad, and atleast if the door is a little bit open, he won't be in the middle feeling terrible that his wife can't make it right with his daughter, and his daughter wants out of his wife's life.  Ultimately, you matter, so do your best to take care of you.  Hope I helped a little bit.