I love my mum… but I don’t like her

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - ZELDA WEST-MEADS -

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.

CON­TACT ZELDA Write to Zelda West-Meads at: YOU Magazine, PO Box 5332, Dublin 2, or email z.west-meads@youmagazin­e.ie. Zelda reads all let­ters but re­grets that she can­not an­swer them all per­son­ally. DON’T FOR­GET: BEL MOONEY’S AD­VICE COL­UMN AP­PEARS EX­CLU­SIVELY IN FEMAIL EV­ERY THURS­DAY – ONLY IN THE IR­ISH DAILY MAIL


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

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