She will not acknowledge us as a couple
ISOBEL - Aug 3 2017 at 13:03
Seeking advice please. I am seven months pregnant with my first child and my issue is with my mother. She has not spoken to my husband or acknowledged us as a couple since we got married nearly two years ago.
She and my hubby used to have a very good relationship, until he proposed to me. To start with my mother was upset hubby didn’t ask permission from her partner and that he went to my father. I still don’t understand what her problem was, I feel she was just slowly starting to stir everything.
Then she took control of our wedding, without being asked. She told me, I couldn’t organise a wedding and hubby was to take a back seat. Any ideas my husband and I had were stupid and got ignored.
In the end it got too much, I was getting upset on a daily basis and her ideas were not what we wanted. It was starting to cause friction between Hubby and I so we decided to stand up to her and tell her we wanted some headspace to plan our wedding together . We didn’t shout and we were not rude, we just said what we wanted. Hubby and I are very laid back people, but were not stupid enough to get pushed around. I told her I wanted her involvement but she needed to let us make the important decisions. My mother got upset, her partner shouted at my husband and I, as it clear because my mother wasn’t getting her own way. We choose to leave their house. To this day, I’ve never been sure about my mother’s partner, I feel he encourages her behaviour.
To start with my husband, even though he was angry, offered many olive branches to try and fix things, to get us all back on the same page but he ignored him each time. My mother then started punishing us by taking away promised money from us, throwing tantrums and sending nasty emails to my dad’s side of the family, really stirring things up for hubby and I, which made the table planning a tad difficult! Because of this communication between her and I also broke down straight after the wedding was over and we didn’t talk for well over a year. I was so angry with her and deeply hurt it was very easy to stay away from her for that amount of time. I put myself in counselling where I realised just how controlling and manipulative she has been all my life but I won’t go into that.
At three months pregnant, after the first scan, we told our families and my mother by phone. My mother’s reaction was that she was delighted FOR ME, no mention of my husband, even though I said we were both happy.
Now she wants to be friends, I met up with her once when I was around 5 months pregnant. It was never going to be a meeting where I went in all guns blazing, due to pregnanacy I was far too emotional and was quite far away from home. It was just to say hi after a year and a bit of not talking. Plus my families’ advice was to just talk about mundane things with her because apparently according to my two brothers she knew she had to address everything, she told them hubby and I had to wait till she was ready.
Instead she’s texting me and sending parcels in the post for baby and maternity clothes for me. Some people would say this is her way of saying sorry but I believe she thinks she can just ignore my husband, ignore the fact I’m married and she’ll demand to see our child after she’s born due to her rights as a grandparent.
Where, she thinks she’s going to meet our baby I do not know. I won’t be travelling to her as I won’t be driving, she lives 4 hours away and we can’t afford to keep my car on the road whilst I’m on maternity leave.
I will not have her in my house for the moment. It’s mine and my husband’s house that he brought when I first met him, it is our happy place. That we recuperated in after the wedding, which was lovely but very stressful. I don’t care if that sounds harsh, I really do not want her or her partners negatively in our house. And I don’t trust her or her partner not to spark an argument or say something that will really push our buttons. Baby present or not. Husband has said when it does come to her and partner seeing baby he will be there just to make himself known.
She invited me to come and stay in her house, she moved 4 hours away and expected me to do the 5 hours traveling by train at 7 nearly 8 months pregnant. I’d probably get on a train fall asleep and end up goodness knows where. I said no to this but chickened out on giving her my real reasons, which is that I wouldn’t feel comfortable in her home. I also didn’t want to be away from hubby as there was no invite for him which could have been a step forward. She still hasn’t addressed anything and it feels like I’m a single mother to be not one who’s happily married with a lovely, caring hubby.
There are many things I want to talk to her about but I have always been bad at confronting her just because of the way she is and it’s become apparent in past counselling sessions I have always feared her and always wanted to make her happy and never upset her.
I feel I really shouldn’t have to spell it out to her as to what my husband and I want, we have said it so many times and I worry it will only fall on deaf ears like it did in the past and we’ll go back to not talking again. At a guess she will probably say my husband has ignored her, which is not true, like I said he’s offered many times to fix things and she’s had over a year to come forward and attempt to patch things up but never has.
Something is telling I need to confront this situation, even though my dad who was married to my mother for over 20 years says it won’t be worth it but he and my brothers are very dismissive of my mother’s behaviour. My fear is, if I do, I will be deemed as horrible by my two brothers but up until now they have all been supportive of us, I’m very scared of losing family.
My mind is very conflicting as to what to do. When I allow myself, I get really worried about this. I want a new relationship with my mother but it’s very annoying that’s she’s not acknowledging my husband and it gets to me a lot.
Do I wait until our baby is here and go and see her without baby at first, if I was to meet up with her somewhere that’s not on home turf? Is that the completely the wrong way to go about it? I don’t want to punish her I just want to make it very clear to her. I also don’t want her telling me how to raise my child which I feel will happen if I don’t show a strong action. Or do say something sooner, as I’m not as emotional anymore? And how? As I’m not sure what will work anymore.
I feel like I should be over all of this by now and just look forward to having my baby and enjoy her when she's here but nothing has been resolved . I can't relax I feel my mother will just make things hard for us again. Thanks for reading.
(What a beautiful name. Reminded me of "Ladyhawk")
Look, your mom sounds just like mine. So I'll give you some piece of advice based on my own experience.
First, you're married. Now, you're not you. You're your family. You're an individual that is part of a core. So, you and your husband, in practical terms, are one single unit when it comes to family. You have to make her acknowledge that.
Second, you're the one pregnant here. When your baby is born, you need to stay at home, taking care of your baby and yourself. No traveling. No unannounced visitors. No arguments. Just love and happiness at home. If she can't stand it, then she has to step away until you feel you have the psychological strength to deal with her.
In particular, I get very blunt when my personal space is invaded. I don't sugar-coat things. So, I would suggest stepping up as the adult you are and telling her that you'll be at home with your rules (family rules) and she can either adapt or stay somewhere else.
I hope this helps you.
Congratulations for your baby!
And if you happen to have any questions about breastfeeding, let me know. My wife took a full course for being a doula and breastfeeding coach, so we can give you some advice on that side when the time comes. :D
Thank you both for your replies.
Silvarion, nice to know I'm not the only one with a difficult parent. I'm sure there are many people in the world who do, but don't know anyone personally that I can talk to. Thank you for future advice on breast feeding.
Since my mother started communicating with me, I have let her be the one who to gets in contact with me each time. It's by text message usually, she doesn't seem to like calling me. I let her do the contacting beause I'm still angry with her and I don't really like her as a person.
I find myself being civil sometimes and thanking her for the gifts she sends because I live in hope that one day she will acknowledge both my husband and I. It feels two faced but I'm not strong enough to send the gifts back to her in the post like said people have suggested I do.
I have one brother who is supportive, he also has a distant relationship with her. My younger brother, I don't thinks understands what hubby and I have been through with her. He has told me we should make up with her, but I know from past experience her behaviour will only repeat itself and I won't brush this under the carpet. I get very confused and do sometimes feel stuck.
People keep on saying to me when baby is here, she might change but I fear it will only be because shes grandmother. I don't want it to be like that as any applogy or acknowledgement wouldn't be true.
Like I said, I do find it very hard to lay down the law with her. I know I will have to when it comes to my home, visits and travel as I won't be going anywhere before or after birth now. For the first few days or so I do plan on turning my phone off during birth and a bit after so I/we can bond with baby. Its been decided husband will speak to family about visiting and so we'll see if my mother contacts him then, I will inform my mother of this before hand.
Thanks for listening.
Good to know you are making some decisions there.
From my experience, during the first month, you will only need helping hands and nothing to worry about but your baby.
When my first baby girl was born, we had a rough night. So when my wife and daughter finally fell asleep I became a cerberus at the door. "Nobody allowed until they wake up". No family, no friends, no nothing. Even the doctor told me to call her when they woke up in order to do a check.
So, at the hospital or at home, you don't need anything that makes you angry or worried. THe emotional connection with your baby requires that you are in a peaceful place.
Love and blessings! Keep strong!
I'm writing again as I'm confused and feeling angry, maybe overly so, I'm not too sure.
Once a month see a counsellor. I saw her yesterday and I came away feeling frustrated, which is unusual normally I feel ok after I see her.
I was talking to her about when my mother sees the baby and what that would feel/be like. It's something I'm quite nervous about already, but I feel very clear on what I want and what I don't want.
My counsellor asked what I was anxious about when the time does come and I told her any arguments/cross words being said, as my mother and her partner are very argumentitive and will say what they think. They really don't care about being blunt as they've told me in the past. My husband will be there too, which he has every right to be and I obviously want him there to drill into the fact we are a unit, we come together.
My cousellor said they would probably ignore or say very little to your husband and concentrate on the baby and really there was nothing to argue about what happen is now in the past.
I did say it would really annoy me if they didn't acknowledge my husband and I'd probably not be able to sit there and put up with it and I think I would get up and go, hyperthetically speaking. She looked at me almost exarperated but I told her that that made me angry because it felt so wrong and unfair.
It felt like she was telling me she thought husband and I to get over what my mother did and it made me angry.
My point is I know its in the past but it was our wedding, and we went through hell and back because of them, it really wasn't some silly little fall out, it was so much more serious then that. I know having a baby, hubby and I will be so busy/happy/exshausted, but I know the hurt and frustration will still be there just like it always has been, eating away at us and it will affect our lives once in a while. What really angers me is that she and her partner will get away with what they have done and I know that in the furture, they will again repeat this behaviour again because its happened the whole of my life, even though I never really realised until I started counselling. My husband and I will still go unacknowledged as a couple which in my view is unceptable and disrespctful.
I did tell my husband what the counsellor and even though he doesn't show it straight away I could tell he was also angry by what was said.
I do know I need to worry about it less about this, but its clear there is still so much anger and its unresolved which is why its so hard for us to try to have a civil relaitonship with my mother again.
There are people who really under stand and then there and some people who don't , I know this. I really feel like I have to fight to get understood sometimes.
I totally understand you, but I also kind of get what the counselor means.
Is of no use crying over the spilled milk, right?
So, I would say you should talk with your mom. If you have to be blunt, so be it. Make very clear that you'll have zero tolerance to any misbehaviour against your family, which means any of the family members.
It's your place, it's your home, it's your family. Your rules. Don't let anyone get in the way. Give your husband the confidence that you'll back him up if there's an argument and let him do the lifting.
You'll be emotional, he'll be in protective mode. So, act as a team.
Stay close to each other, show them you're a single unit and earn their respect.
And don't worry too much for what is in the past. Look into the future!
Does feel a little more then spilt milk but I understand now that moving forward in a positive way is better for me/us rather then being angry.
Respect, I feel is going to have to work both ways, as they have lost our respect when her husband shouted at us and we were dictated to, they clearly didn't have much for us in the first place.
In some ways, she's going to be learning the hard way, not out of spite but because of the situation and 4 hours distance. It would be if baby and I only see her a couple of times a year or when we as a family drive baby to see other family memebers and not to her.
I wish I could make her see sense but I know it would be like banging my head against a brick wall. At the time of the wedding when she was being really difficult and making demands/threats, my family members were telling her to think about the future and she ignored their advice.
Today she has suggested coming to visit me after I've gone on maternity leave for a couple of days. Even though it fills me with anxiety, I feel like I need to see her. Hubby is very supportive, but protective and has said if it really does worry me that much then to say no but I feel like as I'm about to go through a big change so therefore I want to. it makes sense in my head
We both agree she's not to come to the house. She's not silly she has said she would stay in a hotel and I hope I've made it clear we will be meeting in nearby towns. I will struggle with being assertive on this and hope I don't cave in. I could just say my husband is home and then she won't come near the place but know I shouldn't lie!
You nailed that. You need respect. And you need to do whatever is required to keep your personal space safe.
Stay with your husband at all times and let your mom know that this is not optional. He is part of your life and is not going anywhere.
Remember that you and your baby are the most important persons at this time.
I'm very glad to hear that you're looking forward, that's the best you can do.