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Trying to make a new life but struggling family issues.

Old 05-02-2014, 12:25 PM
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Trying to make a new life but struggling family issues.

I've been in my own place for a month now, still going well. AH isn't drinking and hasn't caused me any drama. I am really limiting my interaction with him, but when I do see him, it is cordial. He's giving me money for the boys so that's not an issue so far. He's been keeping it together more since I left than when I was there.

Now that I'm living on my own (with the boys of course) and not dealing with AH's issues all the time, I'm having to face my own issues. I found a therapist I really like, and now that I have a low co-pay I can see her every week so I'm excited to start making some progress.

I have a million issues with my mom, but lately it's getting worse. I've been planning on taking my son to Lego Land for a few months, but things have been really hectic for me with moving out and everything else going on. I haven't had the extra money to do it. My mom wants to take him, and asks me about it every time we talk. I know my son wants to go there, I GET IT. I had read that it's not really a great place to take 3-year-olds, so I thought we could take my kindergartner there and then take him and his little brother to Disneyland together another day. But I have been putting it off until after I get settled in at the new place. Plus, AH has the medical issues going on and we just got an insurance plan for the four of us, which is costing us $800/month now. So that is a new bill to be paid. But health insurance for the kids takes priority over Disneyland.

Anyway, the other night my mom texted and asked if she could take 6-year-old to Lego Land next Friday. I told her he has school that day and I don't really want him to miss. He only has one month of school left. She said "But I don't want to go on a weekend." So I said I'd think about it. She then asked me again probably 3-4 times over the next two days. She then turned it into taking him for 2-3 days and staying at a hotel. Last night, she asked me again and said she really needed to know because she needed to make reservations, and I said "I really don't want him to miss school that day, but okay."

My sister said that my mom made a comment yesterday that "Your sister keeps putting off taking (6-year-old) to Lego Land. But I know she's planning on taking his brother to Disneyland. What about (6-year-old)????"

That makes me really mad. I am doing the BEST I CAN for my kids right now. My weekends are all about them. I take them to the park, to play dates, to birthday parties, etc. When our son turned 6 in February, AH and I had a party at the house and we took 10 of his friends to see the Lego Movie. He just did a 6-week Lego class and I signed him up for soccer in the fall. He is not a neglected child. I feel like my mother has always just bullied me into doing what she wants. She kept him overnight once when he was 3 and took him to Sea World without telling me. I only found out when I had called her phone 100 times and was panicking because I couldn't reach her and finally reached my sister who told me they were there. But I am afraid to even tell my mother that I don't want him to go because of her reaction. She will be PISSED.

Insight into my parents - yesterday, my sister ran into a neighbor who asked how my mom's operation went. My sister said "Oh, she didn't have one...?" The neighbor said "Oh, so they're doing chemo then." My mom doesn't have CANCER, my parents are just crazy.

I just want to be alone and raise my kids and be happy. No more AH drama, no more mom drama. Is it so bad if I just check out of my relationship with her for a few months while I work on myself? I just feel like it's time to grow up in every way. I got myself out of the bad situation I was in and now it's time to really become the person I want to be.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:36 PM
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Remember, "No." is a complete sentence. It's hard to say at first but with time and practice it will get easier to put your foot down and do what is best for your kids. Mom sounds like too much to deal with.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:58 PM
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You ARE doing the best you can for your kids!
When I look back on my childhood- I do not look back on how many birthday parties, or lego lands, or disneylands I went to. I look back at the quality of the time (which in my case was virtually none).

Kids don't remember money, or trips, or playdates. They remember if there parents were kind and loving and if they were THERE for them.

I mean YES, of course they remember trips and such... but that isn't the defining factor of their childhood.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:08 PM
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Wow, Emmy, that's a lot to deal with on top of your already-full plate.

I personally would put my foot down, but that's me. "No" has to begin somewhere & I think the concerns you have about missed school so close to the end of the year is pretty important, even for a 6-yr old. Why can't she just wait and take him the first weekend they are off school?
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
Wow, Emmy, that's a lot to deal with on top of your already-full plate.

I personally would put my foot down, but that's me. "No" has to begin somewhere & I think the concerns you have about missed school so close to the end of the year is pretty important, even for a 6-yr old. Why can't she just wait and take him the first weekend they are off school?
Because she has no boundaries. She will throw a major fit if I say no. That's a problem, right? My sister and I are both grown women and afraid to say no to our mother.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by EmmyG View Post
That's a problem, right?
Yeah... HER problem. Not yours. Not your sister's.

But again, JMHO. This is the kind of crap I had to ignore in other dysfunctional people around me (like my mom). I had to stop caring about what she thought, stop worrying over how she would react & honor MY needs & MY decisions first. I let the chips fall where they may because I couldn't keep trying to juggle everything so I did for me & DD & everything else was off my radar until I got to a better place in my own recovery & could handle parts of the rest of it again.

You know what happened? My mom ended up in therapy for her OWN issues. She could have easily gone the opposite route, but she was getting nowhere quick trying to battle with me once I put myself first & eventually had to give up or change.

I realize it's not that cut & dry for everyone.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:40 PM
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I am finding it hard to focus on your post- and I feel dizzy.

Sounds like some baggage going on.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:47 PM
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My mom has no boundaries. And she does that whole passive-aggressive talk about you to your sister behind your back thing with me and my sister too. I make a habit of never telling my sister what she says and if my sister tells me anything my mom said about me to her I just pretend it never happened. My mom isn't perfect and I don't want to raise my kid the way she raised me so I don't really care what she thinks about my parenting. I pick my battles and when I started I started small. She backs off more but for a long time dealing with her was the worst. No one is ever going to think everything you do is perfect and some people are wired for gossip and drama. I like to lay low and I try hard not to judge anyone because it's not good to pay that much attention to what everyone else is doing "wrong." Whenever my mom is overstepping a boundary and I can't decide how to handle it, I try to remember that her childhood was way worse than mine and that she did the best job she could raising me. I didn't have a perfect childhood but I know she loves me even if she doesn't always show it in the ways I would be more comfortable with.
You will never be able to change her or her behavior towards you and if you're looking for validation as a mother from her, that might not happen either. But you can change you. You can change whether or not you allow her opinion of you to bother you, or define how you see yourself. You can decide if her opinion of you and your actions is more valid than your own opinion. Unless she is by your side all day and night all the time I really doubt she has any room to judge what kind of mother you are. If none of that helps, when I feel really low about my mom and the way she is attacking my parenting, I sometimes say to her, if you wanted me to be a better parent you should of done a better job raising me. But I am in no way suggesting you manipulate others like they do to you. Seriously. That would be wrong.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:52 PM
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Your mom 'throwing a major fit' if you say no to her IS a problem, but Emmy, it's only YOUR problem if you take it upon yourself. I think you've got enough of your own right now to handle. Good luck to you.
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Old 05-02-2014, 02:19 PM
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Emmy, I, too have family members with no boundaries (who do not respect my boundaries, either.) I literally had to take a break from one family member this year. I did not speak to her for a few months... until I was in a strong enough place to not allow her issues to become my issues. I've also done it for a shorter duration to several other family members.

When we are trying to rebuild our lives and recover from the effects of alcoholism and abuse, it is perfectly acceptable for us to distance ourselves from unhealthy people who tear us down at a time we need building up. It's ok to tell your mom no. And, it's ok to limit your contact with her to however much or little you can tolerate.

I'm sorry you're dealing with this
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:38 PM
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I have issues like that with my mom. I am never ever good enough for her. Mind you, I am in law school, single parent of two kids, with a job, I am not really sure what else she wants from me. And you know, I have an 18 year old sister, she PAID for her to go to college (not me), she still lives at home when she is on break (not me, I was kicked out when I was 17), she never does any wrong (which is false) and I could go on and on but it really kills me. Really.

The newest thing is my mother telling me how to deal with the ABF's death. Her husband (my father) died when I was 3, so she thinks she is an expert on death. Wrong. Her father was an alcoholic so she thinks she is an expert on alcoholism. Wrong. All I have heard for the past 2 weeks is that it was his fault, he sucks for hurting us like this, what a loser, I am an idiot for feeling like this, etc. etc. I literally cannot take it anymore.

I am not surprised, it has always been like this. She tells me how to do everything, literally everything, and gets mad when I don't listen to her like I am still 7 years old or something.

Generally, I don't speak to her. At all. She is no help to me, she only makes me feel worse, even if it's a good thing. We haven't had a relationship since I was in high school, and whatever is left is quickly being destroyed by the constant bs she keeps saying about the ABF. It got to the point earlier this year (before this thing) that I found someone who was willing to put the 7 year old on the bus in the morning, because I go to school very early, and was very dependent on my parents for that. At this point in time, I can cut them off and I will be alright, I just hate to do that to the kids. If it weren't for them, I seriously wouldn't speak to either of my parents at all. Or my sister.
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Old 05-02-2014, 04:08 PM
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EmmyG---Having a grandmother in your life is such a blessing for children--and especially during times of change (as your family is currently experiencing). Gosh, I wish my mother had l ived close..I would have given her as m uch times as she wanted with my kids!!!!

Having said that....you and your mother need to be in agreement as to the guidelines....no missing days from school for discresionary "trips", for example. You may have to begin establishing boundaries of this nature with your mother. I am not saying to say it mean--quite the opposite. You might have to have several conversations with her for her to understand where you are coming from. I don't think not allowing her to see the children for long periods of time will benefit the children.
If she sees that she will have to compromise on her end of things in order to have access to her grandchildren.....hopefully, that will be motivation for her.

Emmy...the above is just a suggestion of my kind of approach. Of course, I don't know your mother. I'm just saying: Say what you mean;mean what you say;but, DON"T say it mean.....and don't let the kids suffer from being in the middle.

Best of l uck.......

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Old 05-02-2014, 04:29 PM
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Emmy-

This was a hard lesson for me, and I don't have kids.

I am responsible for my feelings, and communicating them.

I am NOT responsible for what someone else does with them. I can't say it perfectly so they won't have an over the top reaction.

I also took a couple of time outs from my family.....it was a good thing for me and has helped our relationship overall.
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Old 05-02-2014, 04:46 PM
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Oh man. I was bawling in my counselor's office on Wednesday when she told me to just tell my mom no. I so feel for you and get where you're coming from. I've been making up excuses the last two weeks as to why my mom can't have her way, cowardly but effective.

I agree with everything Firesprite has written. I also think you should put your foot down and I know how scary that can be. It's not simply saying no but the backlash that follows, BUT you have to start somewhere, right?

I'm saying a prayer for you and sending you a big hug!
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:07 PM
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my mom was a PIA...had no respect for what others might wish, want or need - she already had decided those things and it was her way or the highway.
she was also a drunk. well hell, my whole family were drunks.

when renee was a toddler, she would complain about never getting time with her, so i'd have her babysit for a night out, whatever, and then she'd bitch about how exhausting it was keeping up with her.

when my daughter was in grade school, my mother showed up one day in her trans-van, took her out of school and took her down to the beach for a picnic.

i was mortified.
but.......
if you ask my daughter, who is 31 now? that was one of the best days of her life when grammy came and took her for a picnic at seahurst park.

my point is...don't forget which i tended to do, that while YOU see and react to your mom's actions in one way....a day trip to Lego Land with Gramma is probably the BOMB for the kids. no judgement on whether that is right or wrong...and no we shouldn't allow others to override our parenting - but spending time with a grandparent that LOVES you and wants to take you to do fun things isn't the end of world.

i never could get it right with my mom as a grandma. she died of liver disease when my daughter was 9. she really loved her grammy and has not one single negative memory. while she doesn't recall it clearly, when she was still in the high chair grammy would give her all the cherry tomatoes she wanted, and to this day Renee LOVES cherry tomatoes.

i feel for you. the balancing act. do what best preserves your sanity. it's ok to say NO to our parents once we are adults. but they don't often make that easy.
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Old 05-02-2014, 06:19 PM
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Something to consider would be whether or not other boundaries are respected when your mother is with your child.

In my opinion, when I am tolerating boundary violations I am trying to take care of my loved one. That they don't have enough strength to handle disappointment that they're not getting their way. I believe I'm actually enabling when I'm doing this. Don't mention that what they said hurt my feelings? I'm trying to protect them from hurt - but I'm also playing the martyr and taking the hit.

I'm trying to be in a place where my thoughts, feelings, and ideas matter too. My mother may not like that I refuse to be around my two siblings, but at the same time, I have been very clear on what I will accept and what I will not. Nothing bars her from calling me, e-mailing me, asking me to spend time with her separate from my estranged siblings. I'm trying my best not to rescue her from the pain of disappointment that her family isn't all tight-knit like she wishes it to be. Why? Because that rescue of mine comes at too high of a cost to me and my spiritual self. She's an adult - she can handle it.

Despite that, I went through a major rush of anxiety when I told my mother "no" with a thanksgiving invite. For the first time I was clear about my boundaries within myself and didn't sacrifice so much for very little in return (would I feel good at all when being there?).

This is totally up to you. Are you like me where a majorly uncomfortable rush of anxiety would go over you when you say "no". If so, I totally understand. You're not alone in that feeling.

I think there's nothing wrong with moving your hand away from a hot stove if you're positive you're going to get burned. Nothing says you "have" to be in constant contact with your mother. Admittedly, I get my "mom" needs from my mother-in-law. Not because I'm mean, but because that's just how it is - that's the reality. I feel much more comfortable talking to her. It is the natural consequence when my mother is not supportive, accepting, and listening. She doesn't really see me as I am. That is dangerous like a flame, and I'm going to protect myself while I work my recovery. I still see her, I'm just not telling her EVERYTHING going on in my life, because I'm not interested in hearing her judgment - no thanks.
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by anykey View Post
I am finding it hard to focus on your post- and I feel dizzy.

Sounds like some baggage going on.
I do have baggage, unfortunately. But I am lucky to have found this board and these wonderful, kind people who have always shown patience with my sometimes rambling posts. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be living on my own when I never thought I'd find the strength.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by EmmyG View Post
I do have baggage, unfortunately. But I am lucky to have found this board and these wonderful, kind people who have always shown patience with my sometimes rambling posts. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be living on my own when I never thought I'd find the strength.

Your posts are always well thought out and articulate. Also, it has been amazing to see your growth and how honest you are becoming with yourself. That was so difficult for me. My denial, shame and self delusion ran deep. Getting honest was painful but necessary. Great job.

Ps. Every one has baggage. It's how we "cope" with it that really matters.
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:09 AM
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This baggage is why most of us are even on this forum in the first place, right? If we were raised with respect and honesty, we probably would have chosen respectful, honest partners instead of alcoholics who are incapable of providing those things for us. There's no shame in coming from that place. Now that you have new tools in your belt, you just have to know which ones to use, when to use them, and you have to practice before they feel really comfortable.

Ha! I "love" when I talk like I'm some expert here. Sometimes the advice I give is really the advice I need to take.

One note of recent progress for me: My mom and 3 sisters gossip about each other a lot, especially us girls complaining about our crazy mom (Yep, codie who subjected her little girls to years of abuse by her XAH). So, my mom told me one day that my older sister thinks I need to just "suck it up" more in how I've handled my break up and grief. I was aghast and had all kinds of defensive thoughts and feelings. But then I paused and asked my mom, "Why would you even tell me that?" I don't think that in the past I would have even considered my mom's role in perpetuating something that was hurtful to me. I also tried pretending that I never even heard my mom tell me that, but that's easier said than done. I definitely have just let my miserable sister who just went through a divorce with a depressed jerk go ahead and have her opinion about me. I think I'm doing what's right for me. I'm not perfect, but I'm getting better and that's what matters.
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:09 AM
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I'm just saying: Say what you mean;mean what you say;but, DON"T say it mean.....and don't let the kids suffer from being in the middle
.

Very wise words!

If you say no to something your mom wants 10 times but on the 11th you say yes, what are you teaching her?

What do you mean by checking out of a relationship with your mom for a few months? If you mean "no contact", honestly this seems like it would be kind of sad for your kids. Do they enjoy their time with her? They can have it and so can she but on YOUR terms, not hers. I understand it will be very hard to stick to your terms - but you've accomplished so much and you can do this too.

Just my opinion, good luck to you and congratulations on living on your own.
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