An inappropriate mother
So, this is a difficult, disturbing, uncomfortable, topic for me. I believe my mother is inappropriate and I struggle with knowing if I am making more out of something then I should or if it is really an inappropriate behavior. This is the question I need answers to.
My mother has a job where she deals with children who suffer some sort of abuse, ailment, disability, etc. It is possible that she'll encounter children who may have been sexually abused. It is also possible for her to encounter many children who have not been abused like that and suffer from either an unstable home or something of the sort.
My mother talks about child molestation in grave detail very often. To often. So often that I get really uncomfortable. It is the amount of detail that she goes into that makes me so uncomfortable. It is the fact that she talks about it so often that I am uncomfortable. I have explained to her that I do not feel comfortable when she speaks of this topic. We were on the phone and she began to talk and I stopped her and told her I do not want to hear it, she continued anyway. She has been so inappropriate in the past that I stopped speaking to her for months.
When I tell her I am uncomfortable, I don't want to hear it, she responds with "it's my job, sorry for talking about my job."
The way I see it, she doesn't have to go into so much detail and why continue to talk about it with me if you know I am uncomfortable. Child molestation is not an "everyday chit chat" topic; it's disturbing and I've never met anyone that does her job that speaks like this.
I get so angry with her over this that I just cannot be around her. I have recently stopped speaking to her again.
Some of my guilt comes from the fact that I believe my mother is lonely, she's always there to help me financially and when I stop speaking to her it makes me feel like I am not being there for her, but how can I be if I am so angry and uncomfortable?
Ok... I'm a little scared to hear the responses, but go ahead....
Her actions are not unusual for someone who has limited themselves to their work world - at the expanse of everything else going on in life. It just so happens that her subject matter is very dark and disturbing. She talks about it all the time because that's the only thing going on in her life.
How old is Mom?
When is the last vacation she had? Does she have friends, date? visit art galleries?, play an instrument?
Try to encourage her to find herself - outside of her job. What were her dreams before she got so overly involved with her work?
If you think this is an "obsession" then get some collaboration from other family members or work partners that her work has taken over her life. I am sure her work provides therapy for those who work in this field.
Detach with love - "Mom, I just can't talk about all the details of your work. Who else can you share these stories with - like a work partner? I'm not able to listen to these things."
Bless your mom, She is doing vital work in a dirty world. But it's not YOUR job to act as her sounding board. A professional is needed.
Family counseling to start off with?
I think you have a reason to be concerned.
Was your mother ever sexually abuse? Sometime people who have been sexually abused might go into such a field.
Sometimes they might talk about it, as if they are talking about their work, and they're really doing if for another reason.
I think she might be doing this, and it could be a way of abusing you. They say, those who were abused, are more likely to do that, themselves.
A surgeon doesn't come home and tell the family how many guts he opened that day. She doesn't
have to tell you the details.
Have you ever heard your mother talk of a rough childhood? Where is your father. You might look on the web under sexual abuse, and see if your mother has any of those symptoms.
You could consider getting up and leaving the conversation when she starts on that.
I've seen mothers who were sexually abused try to get their daughters abused. I've seen them marry of live with men who used drugs and other such behavior, then go to the grocery for an hour or two and leave those men in the house with their 5 to 14 year old daughters.
And in the two cases I'm talking about, the daughters got sexually abused by the men, and both of the 2 mothers had been sexually abused. By talking about inappropriate behavior, in front of a child, that's abuse.
I would try to leave the conversation. I would be adamant about it. I know it's hard to do, because I had a teenage girl who used to tell me about the supposed bad behavior of my son every day, and I could not make myself get up from the table. It was like I was nailed to the chair.
Oh, this teenager had been sexually abused, and that's what these people do: they've been ruined and they try to ruin others.
You have a right to be concerned. I would get up and leave the table. "Mother!!!! I am not going to..." and I would be pushing my chair out from the table at the same time, and leave the room.
You need to get away from your mother. She is a toxic personality, in my view. Maybe eat supper in your room every time she does that.
SUSIEDQQ and PJVL9:
Thank you both for responding to my question. I am glad both of you had different perspectives. Actually, you both have illustrated my dilemma in the matter. She's divorced, she's lonely, she doesn't have many hobbies and only one true friend, she throws herself into her work. I don't know if she's ever been sexually abused, but it wouldn't surprise me because of the manner in which she speaks of these topics.
I do not live with her. However, my mother and I use to talk everyday. Again, she has only one true friend and she uses me for every issue in her life. I've been her counselor, "best friend," secretary and punching bag all rolled into one. When she got divorced, she blamed me for her husband leaving. She said, "he left because I do to much for you." In fact, she blames me for every failure she has in life. Her hair doesn't grow as fast anymore and she blamed me for that because "she spent so much time making sure my hair was healthy." I am not kidding, this is what she says to me.
I am married and I have my own life going on and I don't have the time to give her like I use to. And even if I did, I don't want to anymore. It was only last year that I decided to stop talking to her altogether because of her sharing such disturbing details. I had told her many times to stop talking about it. And on this occasion she was so graphic that I just couldn't take it anymore. When I told her I wasn't talking to her anymore, she called me nearly 40 times in one day! I had to change my number!
PJVL9, you're right! A surgeon does not go home sharing all the gory details and that is the point I've made to myself. Who would want to know the details, who would want to discuss them constantly. I do feel it's a manner of abuse to me. Thank you for also bringing up mothers who put their children in unsafe situations. My mother has also done this to me as well. So, yes, it's very possible she was abused. But, she's gone so far in her behavior that I do not feel comfortable talking to her and asking her if she was abused. Just recently, I have demanded of her to get counseling BEFORE she would ever be allowed around my kids (when I have them). So, I am hoping she will do that and work out any issues she might have and begin to learn appropriate boundaries and behavior.
In all fairness, surgeons do talk about their work when they get home. But you have a right to be spared the details since you have asked to be spared. PJVL9's advice is sound, but also I wonder if your mom is getting senile or has she always been this way?
You letter is filled with information. Thank you for your informative response.
My mother and wife were sexually abused, and both of them have basically the same traits you mentioned about your mother.
1. "She's divorced, she's lonely, she doesn't have many hobbies and only one true friend, she throws herself into her work. I don't know if she's ever been sexually abused, but it wouldn't surprise me because of the manner in which she speaks of these topics."
These people have basically no close friends, hobbies, interests, these things have been taken from them with the abuse.
(Look up signs of sex abuse on the net and there might be some similarities.)
2. "I do not live with her. However, my mother and I use to talk everyday. Again, she has only one true friend and she uses me for every issue in her life. I've been her counselor, "best friend," secretary and punching bag all rolled into one."
All of that is almost turning my stomach. My sister, who was sexually abused by our mother, is like that with her daughter. She uses her daughter for everything, best friend, only friend, handle paper work, socialization (her daughter has to take her on every trip every weekend, which the mother ruins, is my guess, but still verbally attacks the daughter every now and then.
3. "When she got divorced, she blamed me for her husband leaving. She said, "he left because I do to much for you." In fact, she blames me for every failure she has in life. Her hair doesn't grow as fast anymore and she blamed me for that because "she spent so much time making sure my hair was healthy." I am not kidding, this is what she says to me."
So, I've heard, sex abused people stop growing emotionally when they were abuse, age 5, 10, 15, whatever, so she is basically a child, and that's what a children do, they blame their parents for everything.
My wife, who was sexually abused, did that. If she got sick, it was my fault. One time, after trying to destroy me for 20 years, because she got caught having 20 affairs, she got out some forks from the drawer, and said, "Some of these forks are better than others. But I always give you the best fork."
Like you, I can't believe she said that. Even I caught that. I've read where these people can have two sides, a divided ego, with their c. 10 year old self on one side, and the trauma on the other side, which kinda explains their firm belief that they honestly think, at times, that they are doing their best for you.
And/or, they believe in their fantasies, that they are the best mother/wife in the world. Or, they are trying to full you into thinking that so you'll be around to attack again.
4."I am married and I have my own life going on and I don't have the time to give her like I use to. And even if I did, I don't want to anymore. It was only last year that I decided to stop talking to her altogether because of her sharing such disturbing details. I had told her many times to stop talking about it. And on this occasion she was so graphic that I just couldn't take it anymore. When I told her I wasn't talking to her anymore, she called me nearly 40 times in one day! I had to change my number!"
Yeah, as you already know, in my view, your mother is truly crazy, which is what borderline personality syndrome people are, which is what I've read can result from trauma in childhood. You might want to look that upon the next, also, on 2 or 3 sites, and see if you don't see your mother. You really do need to know what kind of monster, in my view, you may be dealing with.
You are doing a really good job.
My mother. we'll trade war stories here, yeah, my mother, when I dubbed her having a problem, or something, just like when you quit having anything to do with her and she called you 40 times in one day, my mother retaliated a day or two later, by saying I was schizophrenic.
I am manic depressive so she tried to bump that up a little bit. I then, the next day or two, ask her what the definition of schizophrenia was, knowing she doesn't know details, she knows general concepts.
She hesitated a second or two, and then said very assuredly, "I don't know!" How stupid is that? She then got worse and said, "Nobody does!!"
She used a term which nobody knows the definition of, which makes no sense, which is what a borderline person is.
Even though they make no sense, they will still try to ruin you, which is all they have left in life.
Of course, they have to pick on their relatives or children, for everybody else can just walk away.
You wrote, "But, she's gone so far in her behavior that I do not feel comfortable talking to her and asking her if she was abused."
No, I don't think you should do that.
Your best sentence yet:
"Just recently, I have demanded of her to get counseling BEFORE she would ever be allowed around my kids (when I have them). So, I am hoping she will do that and work out any issues she might have and begin to learn appropriate boundaries and behavior."
My son use to be babysat (very few times) by my mother many years ago. He told me some of the horror stories. For nap, she used to make him stay in a room for like an hour or more. She was always letting him know that he was horrible. I would be very cautious about that, and might not permit it. She will be telling the child or children those stories.
My mother did sex abuse me, took off her clothes in front of me when I was 8. I know she sex abused my older sister and brother, for they had serious problems. So you need to be careful about that.
You sound like you're doing a good job.
How old is your mother?
What is her job? counselor at crisis center for children? emergency room nurse?
How long has she been working there - or is this a volunteer job?
Does she exhibit these signs anywhere else, at any other setting?
I am so sorry to hear about what your mother has put you and your sister through and what your wife has gone through as well. Thank you for sharing you helped me so much. You mentioned your sister making your niece take trips with her. My gosh, my mom does the same thing! My husband gets so angry because every single holiday I've dragged him along for awful "family trips!" She makes it so miserable and unbearable, but by the next holiday I'm guilted into believing it'll be different. Or I get my hopes up that it'll be different, and it NEVER is!
The more I read from everyone, the more it becomes clear to me. I really doubt myself at times and I try so hard to give her the benefit of the doubt. But the truth is, I am soooooooooooo much more at peace when I have real distance from her. She is a tormentor on so many levels.
My mom is in her mid 50's. I don't believe her to be "senile." She's been working in her field, mental health treatment services, with children and adults, in several different job titles, for over 20 years. Everything from security guard to administrator and other titles. As far as signs, I do not believe she speaks specifically this way with anyone else, as far as I know. But, she is very dishonest, sneaky and can be really fake. My brothers see that. My husband believes her to be manipulative of me and to needy. Also, she doesn't understand people very well. A person can make a kind gesture to her and she interprets it to be a "side swipe" or ill-willed.
My older brother does his own thing and doesn't come around much. My youngest brother is totally trapped by her, like I was, and he doesn't see it. He's to scared to leave her by herself because she's "done so much for us all" and doesn't deserve to be alone. She's been divorced for over 15 years and she still plays the heart strings about how awful her ex husband treated her. He did treat her awful, and that's why I felt so bad for her, but enough is enough. It's over, move on!
She plays mind games with my little brother, like she use to do to me. For example, she acts inappropriate and when I am firm with her, (I use to sometimes be disrespectful in that I'll return a mean statement), she runs to him and ONLY tells him what I've said, making her the "victim" and him very angry with me. He and I have a poor relationship now because of it and I've washed my hands of it completely now. I hope he wakes up soon so he can have a life.
The only thing that has helped me have peace is distance. As much as I've tried to be there for her, what I've learned for you all is that I am not delusional for feeling the way I do and it's ok to protect myself from her behavior. It is still new to me to put distance between her and I, but it is so helpful.
Thank you everyone
Your mother's behavior is mental abuse. More than likely she was abused as a child and in her marriages. When and why did your father leave? Her behavior is not normal. Stand firm on your ultimatum that she get counseling, would you consider going with her not only for support, but to understand what is the root cause of her behavior?.
You have every right to protect yourself and should continue to do so.
“You mentioned your sister making your niece take trips with her. My gosh, my mom does the same thing! My husband gets so angry because every single holiday I've dragged him along for awful "family trips!" She makes it so miserable and unbearable, but by the next holiday I'm guilted into believing it'll be different. Or I get my hopes up that it'll be different, and it NEVER is!”
I didn’t mention in my earlier post that my niece’s husband and her mother do not get along, and that I’m sure the weekend trips are gruesome. My sister sits in a corner of the car and never says anything, and nobody else better either, without catching her unspoken wrath.
But yet she has to go along. She has a way of, even though she has nothing to say, she gets her power from ruining things for even the most talkative people in the car because…she’s in the car! and in a position to do that.
That’s where she gets her enjoyment from being on the trip.
I would suggest not taking her on any trips, of thinking of your family first, and not of your mother. I know that’s hard to do.
With my mother, she would drive up to my house every week, uninvited, when she came into town for a couple of days on her way to her house. With some effort and a lot of luck, I stopped that. Then she would get over to my house by calling and saying she had a few items to bring over for me, and they would be items straight out of the garbage can.
So she wasn’t stopped. She was just stopped from the first way she had to get over to my house.
So, in one way I know why you invited her on some, but not all--If I read it right—family trips, but why do you invite her on any trips? I know the answer, but I’m asking anyway. Do you maybe one day need her for finances?
My sister is the same way. The more you are around her, the more reasons and time you give her to attack you. When my wife passed six years ago, I knew one game my sister used to play at funerals was to start laughing at someone’s joke, thus showing disrespect, which I saw her do at my father’s funeral many years ago.
Not this time, I vowed, not at my wife’s funeral. I told my niece, if her mother, my sister, came to the funeral, I would have a hired local policeman arrest her and take her to jail for trespassing. Turned out, that couldn’t be done, but I told my niece that anyway.
She didn’t come to the funeral. Oh, happy day. It’s been over six years, and I haven’t seen her since, no phone contact, nothing. She’s turned her children against me, but, I got away from my sister, who is just like my mother.
The key was, my sister doesn’t give me any financial aid. My mother did, or, I could have asked her in case of a crisis.
Does your mother have this financial hold on you? If not, I would limit everything to virtually zero. That’s my opinion. I couldn’t do it with my mother, but that’s my opinion.
I would consider: send her an e-mail once a month asking the question: how are you?
She can answer anyway she wants, but you aren't in the same room with her, she's not ruining you or your family's trip, etc. Let her answer anyway she wants, then answer, "Glad to hear you are doing OK," no matter what she said. I would block any further e-mails from her. Again, that's my view, I couldn't do it, but that's my view.
My father and mother had a very abusive relationship, so did my grandparents (my mothers parents) and they divorced when I was a young child. My stepfather and my mother divorced when I was 18. It was a very nasty divorce and my mother was very much embarrassed at the way my stepfather was cheating with so many women all over town, and she had no idea until he asked for a divorce. So, for years, I have tried to be there for her because she has no friends and can't really trust anyone to form a friendship.
Sounds like you and I have similar experiences. I am sorry for your loss also. It sounds like you were able to set good boundaries for you and your family with your sister.
In response to:
"So, in one way I know why you invited her on some, but not all--If I read it right—family trips, but why do you invite her on any trips? I know the answer, but I’m asking anyway. Do you maybe one day need her for finances?"
YES!!!! This is the issue that I have and I know it is my problem. I know I have to say no to her! My mother not only guilts me into trips with her by saying she will pay for everything, she tries to guilt me into always being available for her by trying to pay for everything.
The trips are always her suggestion I go along with it because she does work hard and again has no other friends who can travel as frequently as she would like. She complains about needing a break, wanting to have fun, etc. etc. So, I say "fine, ok, we'll go." I make the decision for me and my husband and my husband told me after the last trip he never wants to go on a trip with her again. She complains about everything and picks on me to try to get me mad. I honestly believe she wants me to get angry with her like I use to so she can see if my husband will stick up for her. That's the game she plays between me and my younger brother. I don't engage with her like that anymore.
I know I can say no to her regarding trips in the future by keeping my distance. I believe my younger brother is now being roped into this. However, I'm completing school right now and my husband works, but it's tough on one income. So I've turned to her because she makes it so easy to get money AT FIRST! The moment she gives me the money she turns into a demon. She's mean, or she's inappropriate or both. She starts making demands and "this is the least you could do after I gave you money!"
I believe I am noticing a pattern, that she becomes increasingly inappropriate with talking about children almost immediately after giving me money. This last instance of her inappropriate behavior came following giving me money. It was almost like clock work. Either way, I am trying to be more frugal and I'm looking at different avenues to bring in more finances to our home because asking her for money comes with to many strings! I desire to keep my distance from her as much as possible.