The Other Side Of The Estranged Mother


I have read the posts regarding the estranged mother's and a lot of them seem one sided to me. There are two people in the relationship so both sides need to be heard.

I for one, am a daughter, mother and grandmother so I feel I have the life experience to support what I am about to say.

First of all the relationship with your child starts when they are young at home. So what kind of upbringing and family life you provided them is part of the equation. Also, how you adjust to and treat your children when they become adults is also a factor. You can have situations where the parents are abusive, the children are rebellious or any combination of the two. The parents are not always the innocent victims like they would like to have everyone believe.

Case in point. My mother has been abusive to me especially mentally ever since I can remember. I would be what you call the family scapegoat in an alcoholic family, my dad being the alcoholic. It's bad enough growing up in this kind of environment but even as an adult my mother wishes to continue her abusive treatment of me with no consequences.

I'm 43 now and my mother has had plenty of time to get her act together and I am at the stage where I am going to have zero contact with her. It affects me mentally and physically. The last tirade she inflicted on me resulted in severe stomach cramps and a migraine headache a few days later. Why should I have to put up with this? Because she is my mother? Horse pucky! I have two grown children and even though I am closer to one than the other I would never treat my own children the way my mother has treated me. Some of you mother's need to look at yourselves and have some personal accountability. My mother for one, acts like she has never made a mistake in her life and I have never once heard her make an apology for anything she has done. She seems to have the attitude that she can do whatever she wants and that I am just supposed to put up with it and it is business as usual. I'm getting older and sick and tired of putting up with her garbage and why should I waste my whole life being abused by her. It's my life isn't it. She doesn't own my life. I do. If she wants a relationship then she needs to have some respect and treat me accordingly. It is a two way street not a one way.

To clarify some of my reasons for seriously telling my mother to take a flying leap are:

Claiming that I was the reason for my dad's alcoholism and trying to get rid of me by putting me in a group home to prove that I am the problem or if my dad is the problem. I'm gone, things improve therefore I am the problem. Or, I leave things don't improve so therefore my dad is the problem. What kind of sick logic is that? Nice mothering.

Not providing clothing from 16 onwards. I went to school and got a job and bought all my own clothes and personal things from 16 on. The reason, my parents didn't want to buy me clothes anymore even though I was still under 18 and they were responsible for my needs or so you would think.

My dad considering he had inherited heart problems and because of years of drinking and smoking thus abusing his body died of his third heart attack at the age of 52. My mother literally blamed me for his death saying that it was my fault because I had problems with my first abusive marriage and me asking for help from my parents was upsetting them.

Treating my sister like she is the perfect child and me the bad one. No matter what I do it is never good enough or appreciated so what is the use in trying anymore? I don't see the point it is self-defeating.

My mom does have occasional good days but most of the time she does the flip and has nothing but negativity and criticism to offer me. Basically I feel like garbage when I am around her and it takes weeks to recover emotionally. Before I go on and on I will recount the most recent episode that is putting me over the edge. After this most recent onslaught I had stomach pains so severe that I was walking hunched over and am the glad recipient of a migraine headache of which I still have right now.

Now that my youngest son is grown she is using him to spread her poison. My son visits his grandmother and what does she do with the time. Put both me and my second non-abusive husband down to the ground. My son informed me of what was said since we have a close relationship and I confronted my mother on these things. Well turns out she said all those nasty things. What does she do when I confront her. She justifies herself and acts like she did nothing wrong and that she is the victim. What kinds of things does she say. How about this!

Why is your husband driving a jeep. He doesn't have 200 dollar shoes and a 300 suit. Is he showing off? But it is okay that my sister's husband has had a Thunderbird, now has a Truck and a fifth wheel trailer. That is not showing off I guess. I informed my mother that my husband has worked many years and has always had a used vehicle except for now and that it was his business and that he is paying for it and that if she doesn't like it then that is just too bad for her.

Accusing me and my husband of not helping my son. My son is over 18 and works full time so I don't think it is unreasonable to have him buy his own clothes, save up for a used car, pay room and board, etc. Yet she had no problem me buying my own clothes since I was 16. See the hypocrisy here?

Stating that if it wasn't for Government money that I wouldn't be raising my grandson and that my husband wouldn't dip into his wallet to pay for anything. I am raising my grandson because my daughter is not able to due to being special needs. Again, I don't see it as unreasonable for her to cover the childs expenses and since I am at home and raising a child is a full time job my time is worth something. I already raised two kids. I am raising my grandson because I don't want him to be with strangers. Does my mom think this is noble? Does she give me credit for doing this? Why would she do that? After all, she is my mother.

Me and my husband like to look at houses and I also get put down for that. Why are we looking for another house? Who's going to give my husband a mortgage? I informed my mother that if you have the equity in your existing property or can make up the difference and refinance and still have the property paid off by retirement age then why not? We would both like to have a brand new house that we are the original owners. If it doesn't work out then fine but I informed my mother that it is our business and reminded her that she doesn't pay the mortgage payments so to mind her own business.

My mother puts me down for having my own small business at home. She says why bother if you are not making lots of money. I tell her. What do you expect? You need to put time, effort and money into a business and that the results are not instant. I also told her that there are no guarantees and that business fail all the time but that doesn't mean that I am not going to make the effort and try anything just because she doesn't believe in me. Am I rich, no. Will I be, who knows. But again it is none of my mom's business and I don't appreciate her trying to destroy my dreams.

My mom also accused that if I do make lots of money in my small business that my husband will take it. I told her that I have known my husband for 18 years, 16 years of them married, and that not once in all that time has he ever asked for money. He has been the breadwinner throughout and even when I had a part-time job here and there he never asked me for any money.

My mom has also accused me of wanting her money when she dies and I am getting more than a little sick and tired of hearing this. I have told her continously that I don't need her money. She accuses that when I get my inheritence that I will not share it with my children but will either share it or give it to my husband. I told her that I am sick of being accused of this and that I want her to disinherit me and take her money and stick it. She then says that if she disinherits me that I will contest the will. Can you see how I don't win no matter what I do? She then asks me if I would still be the executor of the will and I stated no. I stated that I don't want her money, that I am sick of her garbage and abuse, and that I would wash my hands of the whole thing.

Even though I can't stand my mom and it has been this way most of my life I still invited her over for most of the holiday dinners. Some payback and thanks I get. My sister the perfect one has already estranged herself from my mother and I am left holding the bag. Really fair isn't it.

Well I've had enough insults and garbage to last more than one lifetime. I don't think I will be contacting my mother or inviting her for any holiday dinners anymore. She needs to reap the consequences of what she has done all of these years. I feel that some mother's take their children for granted and feel that their children owe them their lives. It just doesn't work that way. Eventually you get what you deserve.

This of course doesn't apply to mother's that have rebellious, abusive children which also can happen but how many mother's are out there that portray the image that they have done nothing wrong but nothing is further from the truth. My mother also bad mouths me behind my back and makes it look like she is the victim and I'm the bad guy. Again, there are two sides to every story and each case is unique.

My final word is this. You don't owe your life to your mother or your children if they are abusing you and making your life miserable. If you abuse your children then what do you expect back for that? Respect and admiration? Not going to happen. Your job is to love and nurture your children not to try to destroy them.

Just another aspect on the estrangement issue and food for thought.

Comments (15)
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I typed out a long reply then deleted it. I am not going to defend myself, because it would make no difference to you. You do not know what you are talking about.

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I never asked you to defend yourself. And what do you mean that I don't know what I am talking about? Are you invalidating my feelings and experiences being raised in an abusive home and being the recipient of my mother's abuse for many long years? Is this how you treat your own children? By invalidating them?

What you said is totally rude and uncalled for. I am giving you the other side of the story and if you are too much on yourself to think that anyone else has feelings then you are the one with the problem and you are the one who does not know what you are talking about.

In fact, your response to me kind of reminds me of how my abusive mother would talk to me.

Thanks a lot and have a nice day.

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Posted by stargazzer (My Page) on Sun, Aug 3, 08 at 17:49

Ok, I just tossed your thoughts in the garbage can. You either don't have adult children or you have perfect ones, because you don't know what you are talking about. Methinks you are just stirring the pot to get a reaction.

Dear stargazzer:

I am really angry about how you responded to my post. I can see that you have done a similar thing to someone else. Telling someone else that you are tossing their thoughts into the garbage can? That is invalidating their perceptions and experiences and is a form of abuse. What right do you have to tell someone else that their opinions and/or feelings and experiences don't count? I never invalidated you or anyone else on this board. I just stated my experience with my own mother and for opening up and sharing my side of the story I get invalidated and treated like garbage?

No wonder you are estranged with that attitude.

Oh, and by the way I have a daughter that I am not too happy with right now and close to due to her irresponsibility regarding her own child. Did I officially disinherit her? No. Do I try to control her and tell her what to do? No. I told her what I thought of her situation and I am helping her the best that I can. Other than that. My life doesn't depend on her. She can live her own life and make her own choices. She is the one that will have to deal with the consequences and I feel that is the best way to handle these situations.

Sometimes you have to be willing to let go of your children and just be there to provide support and not try to control your children as if they were still underage and living under your roof. You need to let your children make their own decisions and mistakes and if need be reap the consequences.

The relationship with an adult child is a two way street and should be treated that way.

So don't tell me that I don't know what I am talking about since my own daughter has somewhat distanced herself from me due to her chosen lifestyle.

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I have been trying to post or comunicate for sometime and I'm not sure this is the place. But my heart goes out to you, there is so much pain and confusion in what you say.

It is not my desire to judge anyone's heart or intentions and I don't think anyone is invalidating anyone's feelings or experiences. But can't we open our heart to understand that we all are just trying to survive.

Without going into all of my story, I'll just say my grown(only child)daughter rejected me. I promise you it was the very last thing I could have imagined in my life. One of my mistakes was in thinking everyone loves their Mom no matter what.

I see my grandchildren only because I have continued to try to have a relationship. I must not have been so bad because she does allow me to have them several days, once in a while. I'm just so sick of worrying about it all.

What did I do? I don't know and I don't think it's knowable.

I'll close with something I think is relevant and interesting. My best friend is a very specisl women who happens to be a Doctor. Tonight , my husband and I were in her home for a birthday party. She and most of her guest were from Croatia. She has been honored as a pioneer in promoting womens health initiatives.

Her oldest son was there who I've know for his thirty something years. In a conversation with him he stated (as a problem with her)that she gives advice in a way that upsets his wife. I understand all of this, but the reason he was able to get a Masters Degree in this country is because of all his mother went through to get them to the USA.

It made me realize my daughter and the selfish things we think of each other are so small...and on the other hand people will always find some reason to be unhappy with each other rather than offer love and acceptance. I couldn't love my mother or my daughter anymore than I do if they were important doctors. My daughter couldn't love me any less if I had tied her to the car and drug her through town. I just don't get it. What is wrong with us.

Maybe this is just a start to sharing. I hope so, I so need to share my feeling without judgement.

I wish the best for both of you.

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Mommybunny, if you are not the bitter, anger-laced parent who has done everything perfectly their entire life.... you will be disrespected on this board.

You have to be righteous, arrogant and closed-minded!

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To maggiemaeo:

I am sorry that you are having problems with your only daughter. Maybe if she is willing to communicate honestly with you you will be able to have things resolved.

All my point was is that there are both sides to the story and that in some situations the parent's are not as innocent as they portray themselves to be. In some cases it could be the parent's predominately at fault and in other cases the children. I think it is wrong to make generalizations since everyone's situation is unique.

Other than that, there is one thing for sure that I have learned over the years and that is that you cannot control other people, even your own family members. Don't let your life depend on someone else and use this experience to make yourself stronger as a person.

You never know what life will throw at you and the name of the game is survival. I learnt this very early in life and it has served me well so far.

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mommybunny, You are correct in your statement "All my point was is that there are both sides to the story and that in some situations, parents are not as innocent as they portray themselves to be".

People (even friends) forget that there ARE TWO SIDES TO MANY SITUATIONS of estrangement. Yes, there surely are some adult kids who are spoiled rotten and turn their back on good parents. But there are also parents who have created a lot of pain, and refuse to be accountable for anything.

Keep in mind folks, that just like you never know what really goes on in marriages, nor do you really know what goes on in family relationships. People can be wonderful to friends and people they know, but can create tremendous pain within their own family.

To those who jumped on mommybunny, have you lost the ability to rationally look outside of your own situation, and grasp that indeed a parent CAN be at fault in an estrangement? No one is suggesting that YOU are at fault, but that there certainly are situations where the behavior of a parent can certainly have caused some estrangements.

If you are not actually capable of considering that possibility, then you have closed your mind to rational thinking. And unless you are actually capable of entertaining that possibility within your own estrangements, I don't imagine that healing will happen until you are ready to do so.

Mommybunny, pull up discussions on detaching with love. It sounds as though even though you are an adult, locked within you is still the small child yearning for her mothers acceptance and approval. Yearning to hear a mothers loving words. And for whatever reason, it does not sound as though your mother is capable of being the mother you need her to be. Do not use her to validate how special and wonderful you are. Stop trying to jump through hoops to win her love and acceptance. She sounds incapable of giving it. Not because you are not worthy, but because for some reason, something is lacking within HER.

Imagine yourself at a playground sitting on a bench. You see a lovely little girl who is precious. Your heart immediately leaps and you know you could love this child. The mother comes up and yanks the child away and tells her she is a stupid child. But you know that she is wonderful, and you wonder why that woman can not see this beautiful little girl for the gift that she is. Why is she so hard on her? And you wish that you could tell the little girl that she is nothing that the mother says. She is perfect, and you wish she were yours.

Just because that mother cannot see her child for who she really is, does not mean that child is not precious. She is so precious, and was never responsible for the failings of adults and their problems.

Work on forgiving your mother for not being the mom you needed her to be. Not because she deserves it, but because it will help you release all of the anguish within you. Understand that she is incapable of being the mom you needed her to be, (for whatever reason) and save yourself the emotional distress of replaying her hurtful words, and struggling to get her to understand (and apologize for) the pain she inflicted. I don't imagine she is the type to apologize. There are discussions on line on detaching with love and how it has helped many people. By finally understanding they will never be the person we wish them to be. Many people are not capable of changing. They are who they are.

Find peace as you begin to heal. I imagine it would be so healthy if you could find a counselor to help you resolve the pain and anguish of this relationship, and find healing and peace over how unjust this all feels. I wish you well.

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To mommybunny

Thank you for your kind words and I agree that there are two sides to every situation. You probably were thinking when you read my post: Thats not what I'm talking about and get on another post. I'm really sorry I assure you, I'm in so much pain, the last thing I would do is hurt or not validate anyone intentionally.

When I think about it, maybe I am so afraid that I did do something. I just don't know what. There was never any toxic behavior on either side. The one thing I do know is that the only person who can decide if I'm a mother worthy of being in her life is my daughter. I just feel worthless about the whole thing.

Again sorry if I butted in: I think bnicebkind had great suggestions and I will certainly look up detaching with love.

My best to you


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When you do a search on detaching with love, search the entire site, not just the parent forum.

I am not suggesting estrangement necessarily, but to change your emotional response and need for the persons approval, or validation of you, or to take on personally the yuk from their bitterness, or opinions, etc. Let it blow in the wind, and write it off for what it is. Understand and take in that their opinion may have no basis in truth. It is just a way they have learned to control those around them. Do not absorb it. It can be toxic to your health. Do not try and explain or get them to understand. They are incapable because they choose to be.

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Mommybunny, I feel for you, and Maggiemaeo, you as well. I am estranged from my mother. It hurts. I won't go into the whole thing, but basically she has been abusive for too long, and I've finally had enough. The irony is that she was estranged from her mother for 20 years, and would talk badly to me about her mother. Her mother estranged herself from my mother due to lifestyle choices. In other words, my mother kept rubbing her lifestyle in my grandmothers face, and since it went against all of her morals and ethics she finally had to cut her off. Of course, it was all my grandmother's fault for "not accepting" her. Finally as a grownup myself I can see how there could be two sides, and my mother was seriously being in your face and cruel to my grandmother to make her "accept" my mothers choices or get out of her life. Given that choice, my grandmother chose to get out of her life, because she couldn't accept the way she was living. There was no "agree to disagree" choice.

Well, here we are, repeating the cycle. It struck a chord with me when you wrote that she is hypocritical about the way you, Mommybunny, are raising your son. My mother would do the same thing.

ALL mothers are not responsible for the estrangement that sometimes happens.

ALL children are not responsible for the estrangement that sometimes happens.

This is a case-by-case situation with so many nuances that we can't possibly attempt to understand exactly what happened or who is to blame. We all need to take responsibility for our own actions and be strong enough not to let others hurt us or anyone else. On this forum, all we get is one side. Listen to that side, offer suggestions if asked, and be supportive.

Have sympathy, Stargazzer, that someone is going through a rough time. If you don't agree, surely someone of your maturity and age can come up with a more pro-active response than "throw your thoughts in the garbage". It's not helpful or healthy to treat one another that way, and it accomplished nothing but to make another person feel defensive and angry for her feelings. I don't think that's anything any of us need.

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Sometimes alleviating yourself of a nasty relative is the only way forward.Thanks for posting as it is good to know I am not the only person who has been treated in such a hateful way by thier mother. Mine actually changed my name when I was 2 nd half yr, after managing to get me back out of care after some time.I did not know who the heck she was or why she was calling me a diferent name.I spent my childhood in and out of care, no gas or electic on in the house, yet she makes out shes some respectable person, like a double personality or something, all la de da and pleasant to her work collegues yet the same old nasty bleep she is to me and my sister.She got me stoned off my face at 16 yr old and tried to get me to get off with some (unknow to me)blokes in a van, took me for an `inspection` check up at drs at 17 yr old after accusing me of being a tramp, I was a virgin.She has continued to spit her vicious slights at me all my life, accusing me once of robbing her house, which was total bumf, making out to social services I mistreat my eldest, more total rubbish, told me everyday of life what a waste of space and how totally useless I was, even though she never got a job until me and my siblings left her house,told me every single day of my life I was a mistake, ugly, fat (i was actually anorexic, and weighed 3 stone at 10yr old. She even told my kids they were mistakes because I was.I bent over backwards to be accepted by her and got it thrown in my face.I have stopped bothering with her now after she stomed off in front of my kids over what was going on in her head, apparently I was snapping at her. She can speak to somebody else like that and see how far she gets.My kids dont want to see her again and as a responsible parent I will not put them through what I went through as a kid, that would make me as bad as her and they dont need the emotional scars that I have because of one selfish, arrogant woman who constantly drags stuff up she has done to me and my siblings and laughs about it.All she ever did was criticize, put me down about every mortal thing I did.She went too far as she started being a witch to my kids and kicking their confidence. Why are you talking in that voice?, being one of her favourite questions, when your speaking normally.If I was to go as far as saying I hated her would mean I care, which I dont.Theres no bond to be broken theres just nothing.

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mollieanne 1970- I admire your standing up for your kids and getting such a potentially negative influence away from them. It sounds like you tolerated so much and hoped for her love for a very, very long time. I am sorry for your pain and sorry that she could not do the decent thing for you that you did for your kids-cut the garbage out of their lives.

Maybe someday she'll be transformed into a person that can actually see and hear you instead of the bull**t in her own head. Miracles can happen but she would have to want to change. Do you think your cutting her off will have a positive effect in any way? Like make her see she has something to lose and make her want to change her tune? Or is she so far gone into her own bull she may not notice? Just keep on the way she has been before whether she has an audience or not?

Even if she never changes you have a great deal to be proud of for seeing her behavior for the wrong it was and doing better by your own kids. Bravo.

(As a teen my mom used to come in and immediately accuse me of thinking bad thinks about her. She was putting on me all the trash she thought of herself in her own head. We would argue. I'd say no I wasn't thinking about her I was reading a book! We'd scream at each other and half the time I didn't even know why. Eventually I was thinking badly of her.)

Your moms mental problems were never your fault. How hard to be treated the way you were by your mom. It sounds like she was far to messed up to ever see you for who you are. I admire your choice to survive that and make the choice to put the family you've made first.

Good for you for putting a firm boundary out and not accepting unacceptable crazy-making behavior from her. 'Why are you talking in that voice' when your talking normally indeed...good for you for putting a stop to it for your kids.

You say there is no bond to be broken. Do you give yourself any space to mourn the kind of relationship/parent you might wish you'd have had?

I hope you have other, supportive people in your life now, people who don't take out their issues on you. I hope there are people who see you doing right by your own kids and tell you they are proud of you.

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On the lighter side.. and there is one if you look for it!

I've been dealing with being estranged from my parents for quite a while. I talk to my mom about once a month pretty much to see if she's still alive. Nobody in the family would tell me if she died I think. I unraveled myself from this unhealthy enmeshment and I think they may be jealous that they can't figure out how to do it too!

The other day my mom was playing the middle in a "relationship" between my sister and I that doesn't exist.
My sister is much older,resented having to partially raise her brat sister and left home when I was young. I barely remember her so there is no relationship if you're looking logically. The only things I really know about my sister are 2nd hand through our mother. None of what I hear is flattering and I'm positive it's the same on my sister's side. My sister is under the delusion she knows me through my mom's tall tales.

Anyway, I call my mom and get to hear about "how greedy" my sister is. I just love talking about my stupid inheritance. My parents are well off and have accumulated a TON of expensive crap. Apparently, my "greedy" sister "wants EVERYTHING" according to my mother. My sister sent in her list of wants, as my mother asked, and it was a full typed page. My mother reiterated that it was a FULL TYPED PAGE!!! several times. My mom also said,"She can't have everything" as well. I wasn't too excited or surprised at the page or my mom's reaction to it. My sister has the same affinity for collecting stuff as my mom. I tend to live more simply. My home is decorated but not cluttered and I like it this way. I have only enough room for my families stuff.
Finally,after much dramatic one sided discussion,I figured out my sister is getting everything. My mother generously offered me old jewelry(all the valuable pieces have been sold off by my brother for drugs),old shoes and clothes.
Um, yay....
My mother wears flashy shoes in a size 9. I wear athletic shoes in a size 11 they aint gonna fit me or my lifestyle.
My mother wears a 12/14 in flashy colors with lots of frills and such. I wear a 6/8 in subtle colors that are easy to move in for a stay at home with 2 active boys.
Under my suggestion, my mother did me the HUGE favor of donating all of that stuff to charity upon her death. Whew!!! That would've been a chore and a half. Now someone is going to come get it and I don't have to pack it up and deliver it.
Meanwhile, I wonder where in heck my sister is going to put 10 tons of crap my parents collected over the years. I feel sorry for her cause I know it's gonna end up in her house. Her family will be lucky to have a place to sit. :) PJ

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Occasionally there is a member on the "estranged mothers" site that is estranged from their mother. I am posting on this site so that they may see there is a site devoted to children who are estranged from their parents.
I think it's easier to understand the other posts if they deal with material which you have experienced in your life.

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Yes, Straycat is right! There is a site specifically for Estrangements. GardenWeb announced it on the 14th:

New board on Estrangements Brought to you by GardenWeb
Posted by gwannouncements (My Page) on Tue, Oct 14, 08 at 16:09

We've just launched a brand new board on Estrangements. Please join us to share your story or get the support and advice you need.

See you there!
Here is a link that might be useful: Estrangements

Here is a link that might be useful: Official Site for Estrangements

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