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I am 32 and have a loving husband and a little boy and another on the way. I have two brothers and my father passed away when I was young.

After that I was there to support my mum and younger brother through life, when I graduated uni I got a job abroad and I went and I just loved it. That is where I met my husband. We have no been together 10 years.

When we returned from abroad we decided to live in my husbands home town in the countryside which is something I always wanted. It is just a 30 minute plane journey from my mothers home to me.

The reason for this post is that I am constantly feeling guilt about/because of my mum. She says I don’t put her first, I don’t do the things she would have done for her mum. We are not a family, we sometimes have long phone calls that just leave me so saddened and deflated but the things that are being said aren’t true or the whole story and I know it.

I call my mum everyday and send photos of my little boy everyday for her to see. She barely visits me and so my visits to her have lessened as I don’t know if she wants me there at times.

He speaks badly about my husband but if I tick up for him I am taking sides and blind to the truth. I am a sensitive person but not silly, I am
Independent and know my own mind.

My older brother now has nothing to do with my mum at all, my younger brother feels as torn as I do.

I love my mum but I don’t know what more I can give her! I know I haven’t done the typical but a house and live next door but I never planned on that.

I am now pregnant with my second child, I haven’t told my mum yet as I don’t think she will be too pleased and know I am just so deflated.
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Congratulations on the new baby coming.  In healthy families, this announcement would be celebrated and supported.  Unfortunately, in some families, (like yours and mine), everything gets twisted, and we have to worry about family members potentially getting angry, jealous, or threatened when good things happen to us.

As someone who spent most of her life feeling guilty, I am here to tell you that some people are bottomless pits of need.  No matter how much of your life you pour into them, they will still cry that it is not enough and try to make you feel guilty for not making them feel fuller,

I think you already suspect this, but it is not your job to fill up your mother's emotional well.  That is her job. I suspect she doesn't know how to do that, and the only way she knows how to manage that void is to guilt you or others into doing it for her.

I would strongly recommend that you visit the site BPD Family and see if any of the information there rings a bell.  If so, it is possible that your mother has a personality disorder.  The trauma of losing her husband may have deeply affected her.  As painful as that experience was, it is not your problem to fix. In fact, when that happened, it was her job to take care of you and not the other way around.  The fact that she did not see this is huge red flag.

The discomfort you now feel is your internal alarm system telling you that something is not right. What is not right is a mother expecting her children to fix her emotional state or "put her first." Your job it to put yourself, your husband and your children first, as you are doing.  

You were likely programmed from a very early age to think it was your job to take care of her, but it is not.  As much as she may say otherwise, living far away from her is probably one of the healthiest things you could be doing right now.  Instead of focusing on how your mom feels, focus on what is good for your family.

My mom often hints or directly tells me I am terrible daughter.  I now can see that I disappointed her because I could not fix her deep emotional problems.  These days, I know it isn't my job.  For too many years, though, I spent an enormous amount of time trying to fix a problem I had no ability to fix.  I also spent way too much energy worrying about how she and other dysfunctional people "felt" about me. 

So if you suspect your mom has personality disorder, you cannot expect her to be healthy or say healthy things or do healthy things.  This may sound harsh, but I would recommend that you try to put some healthy distance between you.  Maybe try to stop the daily calls.  She will likely freak out, but this is not healthy for you or your baby. 

My mother is 89, has a BPD diagnosis, and still does these behaviors.  This is not to scare you but to warn you that there may never be a way to fill your mother up. You love her but being close to her may actually be giving her the raw materials to cause herself and others harm.

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Very well said, Splotchy. My Mom is 84 & has bpd. My dad died when she was 38 and she calls it the best day of her life. She started dating my stepdad 6 wks later. I’ve always been responsible for taking care of her and I never do enough. Finally, after getting her set up with a pychatrist 2 yrs ago, I’m learning about boundaries and putting them in place. Don’t wait until you are 60 like I did to do this. After several of Mom’s appts, her doctor would call me in for a chat. He would tell of her complaints which were normally lies then help me find a solution. Sometimes he would just say if that’s all you can handle then you are doing the right thing. The guilt is still there, it likely always will be as you can’t ignore 60 yrs of training. However, my life is happier & calmer now I’ve distanced myself emotionally from Mom. She stopped seeing him after a year because she didn’t like that he was trying to get her to accept she is the only one responsible for her happiness.

Congrats on your beautiful son and the coming baby. This is your focus now. Work hard not to use the same approach to your kids as your Mom did to you but also don’t go too much in the opposite direction. I did. I don’t want my kids to ever feel any responsibility towards me. I’m there to support them 100% as they are my life. However, I just learned a valuable lesson. They don’t trust me when it comes to me telling them about myself. I had a bad fall in Jan. I was pretty bruised & sore but luckily didn’t break anything. Hubby mentioned to my son that we would be late for dinner at their place because I fell. My son posted on a family message site that Mom fell but we will never know how hurt she is as she would never tell us. She will just follow thought on whatever she committed to ignoring the pain. My daughter responded typical and my eldest son said, hope you are ok, Mom. I’m very close to all my kids and this really opened my eyes. I tried so hard to be the opposite of my Mom that I think I went too far.
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Your advice about parenting is so right.  Many of us with disordered parents ended up going too far in the other direction.  Neither extreme is healthy.  If we can prevent another mother from making that same mistake and instead encourage her to see that healthy parenting is somewhere in the middle, maybe it will alleviate some of our own pain about not establishing boundaries sooner.

I hope you are feeling better. 
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Thank so much for all the advice. What you say all makes total sense and I hope that’s how I can move forward as it is just eating away at me.

My mum had a fall the other week, my brother phoned to inform and kept me updated. I said if it was very serious I would be over on the next flight. In the end everyone, including my mother said don’t bother. So I said that’s fine I will come at the weekend, she then told me no don’t come as she wasn’t in the mood for visitors. Now she is saying if it was her she would have been on the first flight over. That’s what I had intended until she told me otherwise. I called and kept up to date with how she was doing, she wasn’t kept in just told to take it easy.

How is this now my fault again? I wanted to go over this weekend but after the phone call with her recently that just said I didn’t care enough I don’t know if I even want to go anymore or be around her. Then I feel awful for thinking this way.

I am so torn and doubt myself as a daughter and person but I know I am a good person and daughter even if I’m not always just around the corner.

Struggling daughter
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My mother likes to play this "How much do you love me?" game, and it is very manipulative.  If someone tells you not to come, but then still expects you to come, they are playing head games. 

My advice is to not play.  Just drop the rope and do not engage.  She may very well like forcing you to defend yourself or justify your actions or argue.  Some twisted people get a rise out of this.

In the future, you may do better if you do not let her decide your plans.  In your own head, decide what you want to do (and I would lean toward not going) and then do it without any input from her.   If you base your life on this moving-target-of-a-mother, you are never going to feel secure.  (Ask me how I know.)  Keep in mind that if you feed small health crises with attention, she may ramp it up just to keep everyone running around and paying attention to her.

You are not dealing with a normal mother, so don't judge your actions against what another daughter might do.  You are dealing with a someone who manipulates and wants you to feel bad. Staying away from someone like that is a healthy thing.

Speaking of healthy, a healthy mom would be just as happy with a call.  Keep that in mind.  Please do not label yourself based on your mother's reactions.  If she had reacted better, would that mean you are a good daughter?  No.  You already are a good daughter.  She's just not able to see it.

The hardest part of having a parent like this is learning not to let their drama get to you.  It may take time, but learn how to distance yourself emotionally from your mom's reactions.

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