I love my mum… but I don’t like her
QI am an only child and my father died aged 36 from cancer; I was only ten. My childhood was awful after that. My mother started drinking heavily, initially through grief, but she never stopped. She would tell me on numerous occasions that she didn’t want children and that I was only here because my father had wanted them. She also assaulted me many times when she was drunk, once ripping an earring out as she slapped me across the face with keys in her hand. She is now 82, living alone, and is in poor health. Unfortunately, I also have health problems, which forced me to give up work three years ago. I live with chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and pancreatitis; my husband is my full-time carer. Because of my health I cannot travel, so I haven’t seen my mum for a year, even though she was recently admitted to hospital following a fall. I don’t like her but because she is my mum I love her and I have invited her countless times to move in with us. I don’t really want her to but I feel that it is my duty. She has always refused this offer so I eventually stopped asking her. However a couple of weeks ago I received emails from other relatives telling me that I must arrange social services care for my mother. This interference has made me see red. I can barely look after myself without having the added stress of trying to sort out my mum. What should I do?
QAYou say that being ‘just a bit miserable’ doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to leave, but your husband’s selfishness, his irresponsibility, his thoughtlessness and the fact that you have fallen totally out of love with him and have no sexual relationship are reasons aplenty. Sometimes if someone tells their partner that the marriage is over and they want to leave, the shock can be enough to make them realise they need to change. But sadly I don’t see much hope for this here. Your husband’s reaction when you broke your wrist was appalling and says it all. It won’t be easy, but I think you need out. So contact One Family (onefamily.ie), the charity that supports single parents, and Citizens Information (citizens information.ie) to make a plan for leaving and find out about benefits you could be entitled to, plus how to negotiate separating and childcare arrangements. Hopefully he would be forced to hand over more of his income to help support your children.
AYour mother has let you down very badly. She has been abusive and totally neglectful. To tell you that she never wanted children is an awful thing to say. You say that you don’t like her but that you love her because she is your mum. However, I would suggest that perhaps you should question this love for her, as she has not been loving towards you at all. I wonder if you feel that you love her because you so desperately wanted to. You needed a mother, so in your mind you have created an image of one who loves you and convinced yourself you love her back. Of course, it must have been dreadful for her to lose her husband, but you also lost your dad and she should have put you first and looked after you. So I urge you to give up all thoughts of having her to live with you. There is absolutely no obligation for you to do this; it would be far too much for you. You need to put your own health first. I also think it would put a huge strain on your marriage and neither you nor your husband need this. This might sound harsh but it isn’t, so tell your relatives that you are not well enough to arrange care for your mum and ask if they could take over. They could contact Age Action (ageaction.ie) as a starting point. You may feel a lot of grief when she dies because of the love you should have had but didn’t. In the meantime you may want to have some counselling to start healing the pain of the past. Ask your GP for a referral or try Accord (accord.ie).
I am 45 and married with three children, aged 17, 14 and nine. I have fallen out of love with my husband. We both work, but the running of the household and childcare falls to me. When
I ask for support he says I’m just being a martyr. He is irresponsible with money and spends any he has on himself. He will go into the kitchen to prepare himself some food but will not ask if anyone else wants something. Once I fell and fractured my wrist but when I called him from the hospital the first thing he said was, ‘Who is going to pick up the kids and cook tea?’
There is no physical relationship any more. I don’t know if I can leave him as I don’t see ‘I’m just a bit miserable’ as a reason and I have no financial means to go elsewhere.
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HE’S SELFISH AND LAZY, SO WHY CAN’T I LEAVE HIM?
She once ripped my earring out after slapping me
across the face
of him ‘at work’. I sent the photo to Nic. ‘Is this P?’
‘Doesn’t look too bad at all.’ Anyway, then I got some bad news. I emailed the medi-spa nearest to me and was told, ‘We can book you in for treatments for the scalp and from the neck down. Facials and any treatments on the face remain off limits.’
Um, excuse me? My face is the most important bit! That’s the ONLY body part he will be talking to as it’s a FIRST DATE (if you don’t count meeting twice for drinks years ago). How come I am allowed to go to the dentist (for a deep clean; already booked; receding gumlines are such a giveaway – I wonder if I can have them lifted as well as my face?) but not get my eyebrows threaded and my lashes dyed and extended? You can tell it is only men making decisions at the top. What is wrong with Carrie? Can she not pipe up? Does she have a postpartum moustache? Does she?
*I wonder if putting a flight to Sydney on expenses would be a bridge too far… My managing editor once nearly had a heart attack when
I put ‘two Herdwick sheep, destined for ritual slaughter’ alongside my mobile phone bill and stamps for readers’ letters. I think the receipt is framed on the wall of his office. **And within two miles of a Waitrose. ***I wrote this before BJ announced spas could open fully, along with our legs, for Hollywoods, threading, etc. I am currently on hold to the medi spa. I could be some time…
To contact Liz tweet @lizjonesgoddess or visit lizjonesgoddess.com