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Why I Should have learned my lesson long ago.

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Emeraldfan

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Posted this over on my Show Me the Ring thread of my mother''s diamond pendant. But I thought I would post here as this is really bothering me. https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-mothers-whiteflash-birthday-present.59658/

Ok - I need to vent and I know this is going to sound kind of bad but here it goes. So we wrapped up the pendant we got for my mother''s 60th brithday in a larger box so when my mother got it she wouldn''t think it was jewelry. She started opening it up and made some comment about thinking she was getting jewelry - then after she opened it she was like oh how nice, thanks, etc. but there was no big reaction to it like we expected. We had this planned for about a year and thought she would be so suprised and excited.

Well, turns out she had been telling my oldest brother (whom she is closest to as she and I don''t get along) for the past 7-8 mo. (since I got engaged and got my diamond) that she DESERVES a diamond for her 60th birthday and she expected him/us to get her one. What the heck!!


If I had known that I certainly wouldn''t have chipped in my 3k to get her one. I know that sounds mean, but we hardly have a relationship at all with each other. My parents got divorced when I was in second grade and since I was the only girl and the 2nd oldest I ended up taking raising my brothers and helping them with their homework/cooking supper/making lunches/staying home with them when they were sick while she went to grief/divorce meetings and back to night school to get her masters degree. She basically left us to fend for ourselves and I really did have 80% of the responsibility of raising my then 4 year old and 6 year old brothers. It''s funny cause she was a home ec teacher and our house was always dirty, clothes never cleaned or sewn up, and she never did any cooking. Finally at 15 I couldn''t take not being a kid anymore and went to live with my father. My mother thought I would come back and live with her after a week with my dad but I never did and our relationship has been horrible ever since then. It got even worse when my younger brother decided to live with my father as well. There was a big custody battle over that - cause how would it look to people f not one, but two of her 4 kids left her. Finally, my dad did get custody, but when my mother realized she was losing the court battle she was like fine, you can have him if you still pay me the same amount of child support!! All she cared about was the money!!

Anyway, it''s been acrimonious ever since. Really in her eyes it''s my two brothers who remained with her against me and my other brother who left. She has this preconceived notion in her head of how things should go and if they don''t go that way or we don''t listen to her advice then its a bad decision and it ruins everything. If fact since I''ve moved to CA 3 months ago I have only talked to her twice (because I called her). She loved SF when she was here 20 years ago, but since I''m here she hasn''t asked me a single thing about it. My dad and brothers think she''s jealous that I am having the life she wanted. But aren''t you supposed to want better for your children that you had as a parent - sometimes I think she wants me to fail. She has never been thrilled with me being an attorney or working at a big firm making big firm money. She says part of it is that she wanted me to be a stay at home mom and not work. Well, my response was if she worked and made enough money to not leave us in rags going to school and having teachers call me into the office cause my brothers school uniforms were dirty and not pressed, and have other kids make fun of my brothers (sorry wasn''t old enough to use an iron when I was in the 2nd grade) then maybe I wouldn''t feel such a need to make lots of money so I could provide for my children.

Still, I decided to be nice and get her this present because it was such a special occasion and thought it would be a nice gesture hopefully opening up some lines of communication. However, for her to just expect a 6k diamond pendant after all of our previous history is ridiculous. Part of me wants to better connect with my mother, but there are so many things that she does that cause a commotion/unpleasantness in my life that for the past 5-10 years I''ve really made a conscious decision to live without her and have as little contact as possible. I guess I will continue to do so, which is sad, I always wanted a mother like my other friends who you could talk to and do things with be close too. Oh well, it really looks like that will never happen. Hopefully, when I have kids, my daughter and I will have a closer relationship.


Sorry, I just needed to vent. I didn''t expect this pendant to change the world, but I did expect some appreciation. Not just a yeah, thanks, I expected it. Should I just let it go and move on? There is so much more to our lifelong saga that I don''t know if we will ever be close - I guess just chalk it up to another lesson learned right?

Thanks everyone for letting me vent. I really shouldn''t let her get to me but it does.


 

strmrdr

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don't take this the wrong way but I think you need to talk this out with a councillor/therapist in person.
 

Emeraldfan

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strmrdr - I don''t take that the wrong way at all. When I was in college and recently (until I moved out to CA) I had been seeking a counselor to help deal with my mother. Frankly, she is the one who needs some counseling but she would never go - she is a self-proclaimed psychiatrist and thinks everyone else has problems, not her. My counselor''s advice back then was that she is basically toxic to my life, that the cons outweigh the benefits. I agreed and therefore detached myself from her (physically by moving out of the area and emotionally by not having much contact with her). However, when I was getting engaged I thought it would be great to share it with her and brought her back into my life a little more than in the past. That didn''t go so well and my fiance thought it was weird that we don''t talk but after he met her he understands and doesn''t push me to talk to her further. I just thought this would be a nice surprise that she would be happy with and appreciate, not EXPECT that we get it for her - I mean come on, for me she hasn''t really been the best parent, why would we be obliged to give it to her, other than out of the goodness of our hearts?
 

jcrow

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emeraldfan, what a yucky feeling huh? if it were me, i''d say lesson learned. i personally wouldn''t have a big pow wow with her discussing this or anything. although i''d rather not go into my personal details, let''s just say i can understand what you''re going through. and it''s hard when someone close to you is toxic, but you''ve got to do what''s best for you. bottom line.
 

fire&ice

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I''m confused. Don''t get me wrong - she should be grateful - but is something else going on - like she feels guilty? It''s too small? Not the right shape? Too big?

I''m with Storm. This may sound like it needs more help then from us.

I''m just sorry for you that you did not get the desired result. That''s a bummer when you have the anticipation that it will please.
 

Emeraldfan

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fire&ice - no, in no way does my mother feel guilty about anything. She is the one always in the right. Also, she likes the pendant and doesn't want anything changed - otherwise we would have heard about it.

I don't really talk about my mother with people for the very reason that it is a difficult situation so I didn't really feel comfortable bringing it up with my friends. I brought it here cause I needed to vent and once I did I knew it would make me feel a little better.

I have decided to just try and let it go. She can be happy with it and expect it and think whatever she wants. I have my life and apparently she will stay a very small part of it.
 

fire&ice

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Date: 4/2/2007 4:06:57 PM
Author: Emeraldfan
I brought it here cause I needed to vent and once I did I knew it would make me feel a little better.

I have decided to just try and let it go. She can be happy with it and expect it and think whatever she wants. I have my life and apparently she will stay a very small part of it.
I think this is your best course of action. I think if you bought her the Hope Diamond, you still will not get her approval. It''s just in the stars & doesn''t seem like it will change. Sad indeed for you - even sadder for her. She can''t do anything about it.

I can only imagine wanting your mother involved in this so happy yet life changing event in your life - and the sad reality of it all. I feel for you. Surround yourself with *other* supportive people. Best to you!
 

Independent Gal

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Emerald,

That sounds so difficult! I would be just as hurt as you are.

This may sound weird, but have you considered scheduling some time to just have it out with her and try to vent everything? Tell her how much it hurt you that she wasn''t excited by the gift, e.g.? And how angry you are about your childhood too? I know that every relationship is different and that things might not work this way for you and your mom, but I had sort of the opposite situation: my dad had half custody and was completely negligent and allowed his wife to be cruel to us, then I went to live with my mom which basically spelled the end of my relationship with dad, and when we tried to reconnect I''d always hang up the phone in tears because he could be so thoughtless and seemed not to know me or be interested in me... But at one point I just decided that I''d had it and that either we had to cut off contact or just ''have it out''. SO I called him and said ''Dad, we need to have a long talk, please set aside some time for me.'' We made a ''phone appointment'' and just YELLED at each other and told each other all our irrational and more rational feelings of anger and hurt. And then we made another ''phone appointment'' and did it again. We swept EVERYTHING out from under the carpet and just had it all out. It was really, really hard. It was also one of the best things I''ve ever done. It took a little settling down time after that, but now my dad and I are so close. We travel together, we talk on the phone at least once a week, we visit each other.

I think it helped that my dad went into it with good will and was willing to accept that he had made mistakes. (It also helped that he was about to leave mean-step-mom and was finally ready to admit that she was mean. New step-mom is a rockstar, BTW!) So, maybe your circumstances aren''t such that you could do that? But maybe it''s worth a try? I mean, it sounds cliche, but it really changed my life.

If you think she''ll just keep hurting you, then I don''t think there''s anything wrong with drawing away. It''s so sad, but I know many people whose lives were greatly improved by removing truly toxic parental influences.

Take good care of yourself and pamper yourself a little! Sounds like you''re having a tough time.
 

AmberGretchen

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EF - this sounds so much like my parents, in so many ways. First, let me say how very sorry I am that you are dealing with this. No one deserves to be treated like this or have parents like this, but many people do.

I, too, went to a counselor to help sort of some of my issues related to my parents and had him tell me what yours told you, about how they are really toxic to you and how you feel about yourself, and how the cons outweigh anything else (actually several counselors have told me that, and tried to tell my parents but it just didn''t get through to them). I think that what you are doing, trying to distance yourself as much as possible, is really the only good solution. Sadly, I don''t think that your mother will change, and even if by some lucky chance she does, it won''t be because of anything you did. I would just try to do what you can to not let it hurt you anymore - you can''t change her behavior, but you have some control over how you feel about it. Just keep reminding yourself that you are a good person, you didn''t do anything to deserve this, and you are having and have made a good life for yourself in a good place, with people who do care about you without being so overwhelmingly narcissistic that they can''t behappy for you or appreciative when you try to do nice things for them.

I really am sorry this is happening to you - I know how painful it can be, and it takes a long time and a lot of work to try to move past it. It sounds like you have already started that work (I, too, am in the middle of working on this), and I hope that you will continue it and remember to be proud of yourself for all you''ve accomplished in your life. Good luck.
 

justjulia

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Not to add too much more here, except to say that I had a similar experience as you...long story short, you will continue to try to do the right thing in a positive giving light while your mother will appear to be stuck in a time warp and toxic. This is none of your doing and you cannot fix it. All you can do is manage your own life as best you can and let some things rest in peace. You did a good job with the birthday thing and that is a fact. Let it go. Life''s too freakin short.
 

Skippy123

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Date: 4/2/2007 3:39:29 PM
Author: jcrow
emeraldfan, what a yucky feeling huh? if it were me, i''d say lesson learned. i personally wouldn''t have a big pow wow with her discussing this or anything. although i''d rather not go into my personal details, let''s just say i can understand what you''re going through. and it''s hard when someone close to you is toxic, but you''ve got to do what''s best for you. bottom line.
I understand too. Just remember you tried and you gave it your best; you are the better person for it. I have someone close to me like that (not my parents) but they always hurts me. I agree therapy or venting to a close friend; I keep my distance from that person and it is so hard.

I know you wanted her to be so happy but she wasn''t. Just remember you are a good person and have a good heart. Hang in there because you deserve the best in life!!!
 

Emeraldfan

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Thanks everyone for the support. I really do appreciate it all.

This is really only a tiny part of our unhealthy interaction in the past but I think this whole thing brought up all my old feelings again because now that I am engaged I was hoping I could share some of that joy with her as my mother. I realize I can''t cause it will only ruin this happy time for my fiance and I. When I have children I will try to be a better parent and learn from her mistakes. Hopefully I can make a positive experience out of what I learned and went through growing up.
 

Kaleigh

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Date: 4/2/2007 10:44:12 PM
Author: Emeraldfan
Thanks everyone for the support. I really do appreciate it all.

This is really only a tiny part of our unhealthy interaction in the past but I think this whole thing brought up all my old feelings again because now that I am engaged I was hoping I could share some of that joy with her as my mother. I realize I can''t cause it will only ruin this happy time for my fiance and I. When I have children I will try to be a better parent and learn from her mistakes. Hopefully I can make a positive experience out of what I learned and went through growing up.
That''s a very healthy attitude. I have a mom like your''s. I thought when I had my kids things would change for the better. Wishful thinking on my part. I closed that chapter in my life and went on to be a loving mother. I adore my kids and am blessed to have a very close relationship with them. They are my heart.

What has happened to you, does not define you.

You make your own destiny.
 

diamondfan

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It might be nice to have someone to talk to, though clearly your mom sounds pretty self absorbed. I am sorry that you feel upset, there is no pleasure in givig a gift that is just expected, especially when you have been generous and hope it will be meaningful. Sadly, it may not be in the cards for you to have a great rapport with her. I am a mom and would only want my kids to do and have better than hubby and I have, that would be amazing to me, but not all parents are like that I guess. A rare parent can feel jealous or competitive with their kid, it is sad but true. Not all people who have a child are loving and selfless. You might just need to accept that and see her for what she is. We can have all the expectations we want, but we cannot compel others to act in the way we want them too. So, just have the awareness that she is a flawed mom, and will likely not give you the things you need her too...sad, but realistic. If you have close girlfriends, you are lucky, sure does not take the place of a mom behaving in the proper way, but still nice to have. She is likely a bitter or unhappy person, demanding things she does not deserve, and pointing fingers at others while refusing to take blame for herself and her actions. Just try to find some good things and forge your own happiness without her approval or comments...
 

Finding_Neverland

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Date: 4/2/2007 10:44:12 PM
Author: Emeraldfan
Thanks everyone for the support. I really do appreciate it all.


This is really only a tiny part of our unhealthy interaction in the past but I think this whole thing brought up all my old feelings again because now that I am engaged I was hoping I could share some of that joy with her as my mother. I realize I can''t cause it will only ruin this happy time for my fiance and I. When I have children I will try to be a better parent and learn from her mistakes. Hopefully I can make a positive experience out of what I learned and went through growing up.
There ya go!!

Similar problems with my Mom. I gotta tell ya,............ I gave up.

I still help her out. She''s nearly 80. But when she starts with the attitude, I just walk away and tune her out. It''s the only way I can deal with her and manage my own blood pressure.
 

cnspotts

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I''m so sorry that you''re having these feelings of frustration and disappointment about your mom. I can completely relate having grown up in a similar situation with a very similar mother. Honestly it has taken years to realize that I do not need her approval and also that we will not ever have a "normal" mother daughter fairytale like relationship. My mother is too self absorbed. She has no idea how to interact with me or my daughter which breaks my heart.

There is a great book written in the late ''70''s I believe called When you can your mother can''t be Friends. I got it on amazon. It helped so much and was "right on" about our realtionship. It still took years to drop my expectation, but now I am disappointed less frequently.
 

diamondfan

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She will never change, but you have the right to walk away and not deal with it. No one should be allowed to hurt you with your permission. I have a couple people in my life like this. One I cannot avoid too easily (mil) and one that I could remove from my life, which I finally did after decades of hurt and misery. I always thought I could explain things, talk it out to the person, tell them how they hurt me etc, but the issue was, if they were that hurtful and self centered, it was unlikely they would have an epiphany about their actions and suddenly become different people. But I certainly did not have to take abuse either. So, next time, you can decide not to go in on a gift if you feel like she is not appreciative, and you can minimize your contact with her if that makes it better...
 

MommaBear

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Emeraldfan... my mom is the same way. We''re an asian family so the boys do everything right and us girls (all 3 of us), we''re the ones who have no idea what we''re doing, etc.
She always has to be right!! When it''s her bday or xmas, if we buy her a gift that we thought she would like, she would open it and say.. oh.. you should have just saved your money. What am i going to do with this. If we offer to take her to a nice place for the occasion, she says.. whats so great about that. I eat everyday. besides. how much could i eat!! Then we got tired of it so we did a secret santa since there''s so many of us in the family. She totally rigged the damm thing and did not participate at all!!! BUT when we give her money.. she''s happy. nothing to say except .. aww thanks.

I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT U GO THROUGH! vent away :)
 

divergrrl

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EmeraldFan: I get you. I have similar issues, and talking with her won''t solve anything. You''ll find yourself beating your head against a wall. I''m sorry you had to go through this, but sometimes you just have to distance yourself from crummy parents.

No one ever wants to think that a *mother* would be anything other than nurturing, loving, and selfless where her children are concerned, but the truth is, there are some real stinkers out there. And if yours (like mine) truly believes that nothing she does is in the wrong, then you are fighting a losing battle.

I just checked out a book from the library .... something along the lines of "when you and your mother can''t be friends". I''ll go look it up when I go upstairs.

The fact that she EXPECTED her children to buy her a big diamond for her 60th bday? Who does that? I know no one who is buying their mothers jewelry like that & all our moms are sixty-ish. It''s a lovely gesture, but shooot....I''m a mom...(but my kid is only 2) and if my son surprised me with jewelry for my 60th bday, I''d be a blubbering mess of tears & snot. Thats a HUGE gift.

She''s bananas......time for you to split...

Been there, done that, know where you are coming from.....am here for you..

divergrrl.
 

jcrow

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wow. i never realized that so many have gone through this. even though i''m not the original poster, i''m really happy to hear all the feedback.

another thing i wanted to mention to you... engagement and especially the wedding could bring more, well, crap. especially since it''s such a big change for not only you, but also your parents. of course, this isn''t always the situation though. just be prepared for stress from her.
 

Gypsy

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Date: 4/2/2007 11:54:56 PM
Author: diamondfan
She will never change, but you have the right to walk away and not deal with it. No one should be allowed to hurt you with your permission. I have a couple people in my life like this. One I cannot avoid too easily (mil) and one that I could remove from my life, which I finally did after decades of hurt and misery. I always thought I could explain things, talk it out to the person, tell them how they hurt me etc, but the issue was, if they were that hurtful and self centered, it was unlikely they would have an epiphany about their actions and suddenly become different people. But I certainly did not have to take abuse either. So, next time, you can decide not to go in on a gift if you feel like she is not appreciative, and you can minimize your contact with her if that makes it better...
Ditto. Great advice. My Dad and I... well, I get it and I came to the same conclusions as above and it has really been great.

Does it still make me sad occasionally that it had to be this way? Occasionally, yes. But most of the time I am just happy that I walked away. Really happy.
 

diamondfan

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Gypsy, it is really tough when it is a parent. I think in life we expect unconditional love and support from them, of all people in our lives.

I too feel sadness, it is not the way I wished things to be, but it takes two to make a relationship. One person cannot bear all the pain and burdens without eventually cracking. I finally did. The funny (?) part of it all is that my sister is such a manipulator and is in such denial about her actions that she thinks SHE is the one that "did all the heavy lifting in our relationship" (her words) and anytime I was upset I was told to "get over it" and that I was too sensitive. She NEVER was accountable for her actions. EVER. So, now she is sisterless, and she can think she is in the right til the cows come home. Again, though, she likely only sees herself as the victim so there is no real solace in it. However, I know I did what was right for ME in my life, it was not about punishing her, but protecting me. Emerald, just try to have some pity for your mom, a woman with four kids should be so happy and trying to make the most of the relationship...not alienating people...but sadly, some people never learn how to behave and they rationalize all that goes on around them.
 

Emeraldfan

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I never thought I would receive such warm and caring responses. Everyone has been so great and I didn''t realize so many of us can relate to this situation. With the wedding coming up I thought I would try and involve her but now the best thing is to probably just have her out of it as much as possible. She wants to buy my dress for me, or at least chip in a little, but then I know it will come with more strings and involvement in the wedding. I really can see it going down hill when I don''t agree with what she pictures the wedding should look like. Maybe this was a good lesson to learn again before I took her up on the dress.

You know what they say the definition of insanity is - doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get different results. Hopefully, this is the end to my insanity.
 

Gypsy

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Date: 4/3/2007 9:55:02 PM
Author: diamondfan
Gypsy, it is really tough when it is a parent. I think in life we expect unconditional love and support from them, of all people in our lives.


I too feel sadness, it is not the way I wished things to be, but it takes two to make a relationship. One person cannot bear all the pain and burdens without eventually cracking. I finally did. The funny (?) part of it all is that my sister is such a manipulator and is in such denial about her actions that she thinks SHE is the one that ''did all the heavy lifting in our relationship'' (her words) and anytime I was upset I was told to ''get over it'' and that I was too sensitive. She NEVER was accountable for her actions. EVER. So, now she is sisterless, and she can think she is in the right til the cows come home. Again, though, she likely only sees herself as the victim so there is no real solace in it. However, I know I did what was right for ME in my life, it was not about punishing her, but protecting me. Emerald, just try to have some pity for your mom, a woman with four kids should be so happy and trying to make the most of the relationship...not alienating people...but sadly, some people never learn how to behave and they rationalize all that goes on around them.

Exactly! It wasn''t about punishing him, it was about protecting myself. I knew I was right, 100% right to do what I did when I found out 18 MONTHS after it happened that his mother had passed and he didn''t even have the courtesy to send me a card telling me of the loss. He was punishing me. He''s never, EVER, going to get being a parent or even a decent PERSON. Bottom line. His loss.
 

Gypsy

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EmeraldFan; Regarding the wedding dissapointments. Actually the straw that broke my back with my father was our wedding.

My father abandoned my mother and me when I was four. And his WHOLE family followed suit. If it hadn''t been for my grandmother tracking him down when I was 14... he would never have even tried to find out what happened to me. Still and all we got to know each other and even though he lives in Australia... we spent time together with the hopes of having some relationship. Long story short... he is the epitome of the line of the play "Into the Woods" when Cinderella catches Prince Charming with another woman and he says... "I''m Prince CHARMING-- not Prince Loyal, or Devoted, or Ethical... CHARMING." My dad is a charming snake of man who cares more about outside appearances and his own image of himself than ANYTHING else.

When I called to tell him about our wedding-- I expected him to be excited. Nothing more. Just excited and happy for me.


He was appalled that we were going to get married in the US (I have lived in the US since I was THREE. FI has lived here his WHOLE LIFE.) because he said, "I can''t come to the US again! I SWORE to my freinds last time I came for your graduation from lawschool that it was the LAST TIME I would step foot in the US."

I told him that he was basically a moron for saying that as HIS ONLY CHILD lives in the US. He simply said that he couldn''t break his word. It wouldn''t be honorable... no one would repect him... he''d be a laughing stock. This from the man who LITTERALLY tried to murder my mother in front of my eyes when I was two. If it hadn''t been for me RUNNING to our neighbors house he would have killed her. He was that abusive.

And even though he recanted and said he would come... It broke me. And I broke off all contact. It was just typical, and hurtful and so WRONG that I finally saw the light. There was nothing there to keep except pain, and the potential for more pain that I didn''t need.

I''ve never regretted my decision.
 

diamondfan

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Date: 4/3/2007 9:59:50 PM
Author: Emeraldfan
I never thought I would receive such warm and caring responses. Everyone has been so great and I didn''t realize so many of us can relate to this situation. With the wedding coming up I thought I would try and involve her but now the best thing is to probably just have her out of it as much as possible. She wants to buy my dress for me, or at least chip in a little, but then I know it will come with more strings and involvement in the wedding. I really can see it going down hill when I don''t agree with what she pictures the wedding should look like. Maybe this was a good lesson to learn again before I took her up on the dress.


You know what they say the definition of insanity is - doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get different results. Hopefully, this is the end to my insanity.

You have learned a valuable lesson regarding money and the "price" you pay emotionally for taking said money in these scenarios. It is far better to forgo the money and keep your dignity and sanity...and just be kind but firm when she wants to push her way into things. Do not tell her you are dress shopping, if she says she wants to go, say you will get back to her. Then, go on your own or with friends. If you find one you like, call her and allow her the chance to offer to give some money to you. If she is angry that you went without her, tell her that it was more spur of the moment and you fell in love with something. If she then refuses to participate, say, Thanks anyway...because again, it is about control. I am not advocating dishonesty for its sake, but just sometimes, knowing the players involved, you have to be a step ahead. Why bring her with you if you know it will be stressful and end in disaster and there will be strings? Why even go there, and let a joyful thing become tainted? If you present it to her as a done deal, I love this, if you want to contribute to the dress I love, great, if not, it is still the one I want and I will do it some other way...you are then taking the control and manipulation out of it...because ultimately, she is either sincere in wanting to pay for some or all of YOUR dress, or she is using it as a weapon against you.
 

InlovewithJHK

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 12, 2007
Messages
234
Just wanted to say ::hugs:: and that I relate. My grandmother is like that to my dad and I see what it does to him. Maybe that is why he is such a good dad
... wanted to be nothing like his mother
 
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