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Living at home again - My mother seems to hate me

  • 19-04-2020 11:30am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭


    After urging me (in my mid-30s) to come home from far away, silliness is ruining our relationship.

    I had been living and working abroad for 10+ years on the other side of the world. As the Covid-19 crisis ramped up, my mother's concern led to daily calls to me to check on my safety.

    Then, all of a sudden, she called to ask me to think about coming home. She didn't want me in a faraway, underdeveloped country, even though the Covid-19 crisis seemed a bit less serious there than in Ireland. I agreed that coming home might be a good option and that I would consider it carefully.

    The next morning she called me again urging me to come home. She said my help might be needed at home, should her or Dad get Covid-19. My mother is retired while Dad is a farmer. I then booked a flight home, which would depart in one week. She expressed happiness over my coming home, but then she became a bit panicked about borders closing and told me to move the flight to tomorrow, and just leave my very many belongings behind. I thought this was an incredible overreaction. Although borders were closing, the advice suggested that my path to Ireland would not be hindered. After some to and fro, I moved the flight and would depart in 48 hours.

    About 24 hours later, the airline suddenly shut down all its services for 2 weeks and my flight was cancelled. My mother urged me to book another flight. I was reluctant to do so because flight prices were very high and that cancelled fare was nonrefundable. She told me I need to stop thinking of money and just come home. She said she needed me and said she could reimburse me later for the trip. I got a flight and arrived home.

    The first few days at home were grand but things seemed to change after that.

    Me and my mother are very different people and she was always one to urge me to come out of my shell a bit. She is very sociable while, frankly, I'm a bit of a loner. In my ten years abroad, I almost always lived alone. In recent years, much of my work was freelance and I had just a few friends, who I'd meet just occasionally. Time spent by myself was the norm, and I was pretty happy with that.

    Now that I'm home and jobless, I aimed to make strides on language learning that I'd been doing, on and off, in the previous months. I have savings so I can support myself, although my parents insist on me not spending much.

    However, my mother is always urging me to go outside for a stroll more often, to the extent that it could reach 3 trips per day. 'You might meet someone', she often says. I'd rather knuckle down and focus on my language work more, with one outing per day. I'm not trying to hide from chores - she loves the outdoors and won't allow me to do the main shopping for her, because she enjoys the long-ish walk to the store.

    Because of my focus on study, I've not been the most social of sons. I'm probably not that approachable when I've got earphones on, listening to an app that's teaching me, but I can still hear a call from someone around me. I've also been a bit moody, because frankly, a part of me misses my life abroad, where I had work (not killed off by Covid-19), a few friends and my own independence. When she put it to me that I was right to come home, I didn't give a resounding yes.

    She has complained that housework has made her tired, so I have stepped in and now I do more chores.

    However, her attitude to me has changed and there's lots of little silliness going on in the house. She realises I really enjoy my study time, and she has ramped up her focus on stepping into my space so that my study is hindered. This includes passing me her phone so I can 'say hello' to one of her friends, a person I don't even know. On my arrival back to Ireland I remember her saying she would try not to smoke near me, yet there have been times more recently where she has made a very conscious effort to do the opposite of that promise.

    My mother was someone who cared deeply about me (to the extent of obsession, which irked me a bit), and now I feel she clearly detests me. Gone are the mornings of self-study - there's a new job to be done in the house, sometimes necessary but sometimes of questionable importance. My Dad has said that many of those chores don't need doing.

    I feel she is being quite calculating because her behaviour changes. When Dad is here, she tends to openly show care for me, as if to show him that she's glad to have me here.

    I have told Dad quite clearly about all that's happening. He's sure that she is a different woman from before. We both have noticed that she's very easily irked by others, as she's often been complaining of others' (neighbours, shoppers, road users) behaviour. Covid-19 restrictions have been hard on her, because she can't meet her very many friends. My Dad also said that she loves me and wouldn't do wrong to me.

    The only conclusion that I can come to is that I have irked her immensely and therefore she's taking out all most of her frustration on me. Any advice would be much appreciated.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,690 ✭✭✭zoobizoo


    The only thing that you are doing is being yourself. She doesn't appear to respect that.

    I don't think you can reason with people like your mother bit still.....

    Try putting down your own boundaries such as you'll do household jobs after lunch when you've finished your study and let her know the hours that you do not want to be disturbed. (Await the 'you're being ridiculous / I only want to help you')

    The obsession with you when younger.... calculating.... changing behaviour in front of others.... deliberately smoking near you...... deliberately interfering with what you enjoy doing and to better yourself....

    You were independent and living your life the way you wanted to live it and she seems to have used Covid as a way of getting you back under her roof so she can control you .....

    The conclusion I come to from the info on your post is that what is irking her is that you grew up and became an independently minded adult who she couldn't control. It probably irked her when you were growing up too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 684 ✭✭✭zapper55


    I think the opposite. She's so thrilled to have you home that shes become very overbearing. I think you need to reframe your thinking a little or living there will drive you mad. Instead of her trying to disturb your study maybe she's so proud of you that she wants you to say hi to all her friends.

    You dont sound very affectionate, which is your right, but I suspect the more you withdraw the more desperate she becomes for interaction, almost in childlike way.

    If it were me I'd make a point of doing something one on one with her every day. Whether that's a board game, playing cards etc. Find something.

    I think giving her the security of that one on one time with you every day will make her calm down. She sounds incredibly incredibly lonely. I'm like you in that I'm happy enough in my own company in these times, but she is the opposite and i think you'll have to compromise a bit more.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,368 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12


    Id side with zapper on this. Taking it into consideration that im not in your home and dont know the full extent of whats going on, from you have written, it sounds like she's incredibly highly strung right now, is very anxious about getting sick, having to be at home so much, not meeting people, loneliness and the total change in her routine, it may all have her a ball of anxiety.

    Id be quite like you, I love my own space and independence, a few friends that im happy to meet every so often, but even im starting to feel the negative effects of isolation, this change must be very hard for extremely sociable people. I can only being to imagine what it must be like for others who arent used to this on any scale. Some people really cant bare to be alone. It sounds like some of that anxiety is being taken out on you.

    I also get the impression that herself being so sociable and out going, she feels that you the introvert should be like her. I come across this allot with some extroverted people who feel that introverts have something wrong with them that needs to be fixed, theyre considered either depressed with no confidence, anti social or a down right weirdo that needs to come out of their shell. Your mother may genuinely feel like she's helping.. as annoying as it is for you to deal with.

    It also sounds like she's delighted to have you home and far from hates you. A mother who hates her child doesnt beg them to come home, put them on a phone to her friends - (like she's showing off how great of a son she has).

    To me it sounds like she's giving you chores to do as a way to get you out of your room, maybe spend time with you or just to see you pottering around the house, hearing you working away in the background. This sounds like someone who is very lonely and deeply misses you.

    She is absolutely crossing boundaries and not respecting your privacy and she is not being considerate of you at all, infact she sounds incredibly over bearing but I wouldn't think she hates you or is being calculating, just anxious and excited youre home.

    She does need to respect that youre a adult 30 something year old man, you need to try and establish an adult relationship with your parents. Have you tried speaking to her? Could you speak to your dad and ask him to speak to her? Maybe he will have a better chance of getting through to her?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,123 ✭✭✭Ellie2008


    It really doesn’t sound like your mother hates you, quite the opposite in fact.

    It sounds like a combination of stress plus her trying to mammy you. As a very outgoing person she probably assumes things about your life that aren’t true, like you are lonely & unhappy. Wanting you to meet someone classic Irish mammy.

    Do you get on her nerves - possibly. She gets on yours. Your dad called out that she loves you. Maybe a chat over a cup of tea would be nice, the life you have may not be the one she wanted or imagined for her little boy but she needs to let go you’re a grown man & you’ve made your choices. She might think they are the wrong choices & want something different for you but she doesn’t get to decide that.


  • Registered Users, Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 7,030 Mod ✭✭✭✭yerwanthere123


    There's not a single thing in that post that suggests she hates you.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,030 ✭✭✭Tork


    I don't think your mum hates you either but is handling this quite badly. It looks more like a clash of personalities and a lack of understanding and communication really. It was always going to be hard for you to move home after being abroad for so long. Most adult children find it difficult to live with their parents anyway but your circumstances have made it harder still. You weren't just living outside the family home for over a decade; you were abroad and had a more distant relationship with home than you would've done if you were still living in Ireland.

    Reading what you wrote here, my conclusion is that there's a pair of you in it. I agree that your mother's behaviour is out of line and that she's gone full Irish mammy on you. But you are coming across as a bit cold and maybe a bit closed off and aloof. I think a bit more warmth and communication with your mother would go a long way.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Thanks to all for the answers above.
    There's not a single thing in that post that suggests she hates you.

    As I said in the original post, she has made a conscious effort to sit close to me and smoke, something she said she wouldn't do in my early days here. The smoke didn't bother me much but the action was at odds with her initial and voluntary promise.

    I mentioned silliness was going on. Here are some other examples of this:
    -a few days ago, when walking together her behaviour was a bit strange. When we agreed to cross the road together, she just left me standing there, and carried on straight without crossing. I simply went with her. Later in the same journey, she was very indecisive about where we were going. We began walking down one street, only to turn around, then undo that turn around, and then again, turn back and just not go down that way. Her mood seemed really good despite our carcrash-style path. I had hoped the walk might be good time spent together to mend the relationship, but it was the opposite.

    -two days before that, we had a 1.5km walk together that I thought was going ok. But for the final 200m she very unnaturally kept a 2m distance from me. Her mood seemed quite down at that point.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,368 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12


    Thanks to all for the answers above.



    As I said in the original post, she has made a conscious effort to sit close to me and smoke, something she said she wouldn't do in my early days here. The smoke didn't bother me much but the action was at odds with her initial and voluntary promise.

    I mentioned silliness was going on. Here are some other examples of this:
    -a few days ago, when walking together her behaviour was a bit strange. When we agreed to cross the road together, she just left me standing there, and carried on straight without crossing. I simply went with her. Later in the same journey, she was very indecisive about where we were going. We began walking down one street, only to turn around, then undo that turn around, and then again, turn back and just not go down that way. Her mood seemed really good despite our carcrash-style path. I had hoped the walk might be good time spent together to mend the relationship, but it was the opposite.

    -two days before that, we had a 1.5km walk together that I thought was going ok. But for the final 200m she very unnaturally kept a 2m distance from me. Her mood seemed quite down at that point.

    Theres still nothing here to suggest she hates you, her change of mood could have been a reaction to something unrelated to you, could have been something you said, could have been a million and one things. You are constantly jumping to the one conclusion that she hates you with no proof of that what so ever.

    It sounds like you an your mother have very different ways of handling things, she is having difficulty understanding you and you her, by the sounds of it. Sounds like she may even feel that it's you that hates her.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,189 ✭✭✭Gekko


    Given she’s a smoker and some of the unusual behaviour described in your second post, you might want to look into a comprehensive health check up for her if you and your dad can encourage that


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,692 ✭✭✭Xterminator


    I dont get on with my mother does not equal my mother hates me.

    You seem very unable to see the big picture here, and only able to see the situation from your own point of view. I dont know your mother ive never met her but like all posters here, i can see you mother does not hate you.

    look when covid lockdown is over you can look at getting out from under your mothers feet. you have gone from living indepently to being back in the nest again. On top of that you are un-natually locked in together far more than would be expected, under a stressful situation.

    It is a receipe for problems!

    Space is the solution, and being able to engage with your mother on your own terms, when it suits. For now i think you will need to take a deep breath and make future plans.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,690 ✭✭✭zoobizoo


    Could you expand on her obsession with you as a child OP?

    It might give a better picture of what's happening now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    zoobizoo wrote: »
    Could you expand on her obsession with you as a child OP?

    It might give a better picture of what's happening now.


    Her obsession centred upon me having a social life. She would try to hook me up with friends. As a teenager, that was me taking part in sporting activities. Ultimately it came to the use of her circle of friends to source my sporting partners, who would be closer to her age than mine.

    As a young adult, this evolved into finding me people to go to the pub with. Although I was a fan of pints back then, my same-age friends weren't really into it, so I ended up with drinking buddies of her age group. The obsession also involved pressuring me to study at the same university as my small number of close secondary school friends. During my first year at university, she would phone me every day to check on me.

    Staying home was basically a no-no in her eyes. 'He was bored', she would typically tell Dad if I had had a day without outings. Fast-forward to today, this morning she commented about a Facebook discussion centring on 'how to stay home and do nothing'.

    During the first ten days of my return to Ireland this month she was full of different ideas of me working in this country. Working here is a path I'm reluctant to go down as my overseas-based career doesn't exist in this town. This means I'd be applying for unskilled work that I don't have experience in. If such a job is advertised I will certainly consider it, but I'm not awfully enthusiastic or hopeful of finding such employment in this climate. Instead, she witnesses me studying a language that's on a path to take me far afield. I haven't told her, but I want to be back in Asia as soon as there's half an opening there. I'd rather live off my savings for now, study hard and then hit the ground running in a place that's been my home for a decade. After those ten days, I noticed a sudden change her attitude towards me and she hasn't mention work since then. She went from someone who seemed anxious about the future to someone who just didn't care much anymore. I say this based on her general demeanour. In the kitchen for example, her careful tidy style had clearly and suddenly gone away.

    It seems she wants me to have a job in this town, so I can be by her side should she become unwell in the future. She is suffering some stomach pain, and worries about this, but won't see a doctor for fear of what that might be. She's a retired health professional so I'm reluctant to lecture her on that issue. Maybe I should?

    As the days go on, she's doing more and more work in the house as she doesn't want to sit still. Today she said 'The house has never been so clean because we have no where to go'. While I was abroad she said she needed me here, yet right now, there's not enough work for her alone, so she's doing extra housekeeping.

    My apologies for not being more detailed in my original post.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,690 ✭✭✭zoobizoo


    From the extra detail you have posted - that all sounds like just over mothering/mammying and a lack of understanding of people who are happier spending time on their own than with others than her taking a dislike to you.

    The fall off in cleaning is understandable under the circumstances - when lockdown started I was baking more etc but a month in and with the realisation that it's going to continue for some time, it's all a bit depressing.

    Might she be a bit depressed? (especially seeing as she's such a social animal).

    Have you got any siblings and if so, how does she treat them?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,030 ✭✭✭Tork


    Is there anything about your mother that you do like? You aren't coming across as somebody who feels any warmth or empathy towards her. I understand why you're feeling stifled by her - most people would find a parent like her tough going. The difference is, many people would acknowledge that this is down to a difference in personality and that she's over-mammying. You still seem to think she dislikes you. Reading between the lines, it doesn't look like there's much of a relationship between you at all. If you're not careful, you could end up damaging it permanently. Especially when you bolt and flee back to Asia.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 20,601 CMod ✭✭✭✭amdublin


    What did you work as/did you give up a job to leave and come home?

    What about doing some online work/can you work from home to get her to give you space?


  • Registered Users Posts: 613 ✭✭✭carolmon


    I think there are a few different things going on here.

    Firstly obviously we have the lockdown situation which is stressful for everybody... even more so for extroverts.
    It's a very intense situation to be living in a family home with your parents when you're used to your own space but you must remember your parents have also been alone for 10 years and there will be an adjustment for them also.

    Secondly she obviously is delighted to have you home and definitely does not hate you... in fact the opposite putting you on to her friends shows how excited she is about your homecoming and that's why you're being asked to do the chats.

    Thirdly you got to remember your mam's age and general health... she's probably going through menopause or has been through it and that takes an awful lot out of a woman and could explain some of the erratic behaviour.

    Finally I think she has realised that her dreams of your returning home to live long term are not going to be a reality and that she may be faced with you going away again as soon as you can... there's a grieving in that .

    Be gentle


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Many thanks for your replies.

    Tork, I think you're right that I haven't shown enough empathy to her, especially since coming home. It's a shame because our distant relationship was a good one where twice a week we would have long chats on the phone (albeit with her doing most of talking). 

    We always enjoyed going places in the car with Dad. We still do countryside drives nowadays, even though we shouldn't be doing so.

    Walking is one activity we definitely enjoyed doing, but as I said earlier, the two previous walks weren't a success.

    We often enjoyed watching TV together.
    zoobizoo wrote: »
    From the extra detail you have posted - that all sounds like just over mothering/mammying and a lack of understanding of people who are happier spending time on their own than with others than her taking a dislike to you.

    The fall off in cleaning is understandable under the circumstances - when lockdown started I was baking more etc but a month in and with the realisation that it's going to continue for some time, it's all a bit depressing.

    Might she be a bit depressed? (especially seeing as she's such a social animal).

    Have you got any siblings and if so, how does she treat them?

    I believe she may well be depressed. This is difficult to solve because she doesn't want to go to a doctor regarding her other problem (stomach). She's also a retired health professional which would make it hard to push her to go.

    I have one brother who's just finishing up a Masters and he will return home soon (an unforeseen return - his upcoming internship has just been cancelled). She calls him a lot and I believe they get along well. However, she does get angry when he doesn't answer the phone, something my Dad initially pointed out to me. I saw it for myself yesterday when he rejected a call. 'He's an awful divil. This is important,' she said quite angrily. To be fair he messaged a moment later with a valid reason for not answering.

    She has recently said that my brother tends to argue with most of her suggestions.

    She is quite bossy with Dad, but he always obeys her.
    amdublin wrote: »
    What did you work as/did you give up a job to leave and come home?
     
    What about doing some online work/can you work from home to get her to give you space?

    I did private tutoring in English as a foreign language, some of which was online. I couldn't take it home with me because my parents are on an ancient broadband package with slow upload speed. Online work may definitely an option here and we discussed this already. In fact, we ordered an upgrade two weeks ago which we're still waiting on.

    More issues
    Last night, I found fingernail clippings in my porridge and I now suspect they may have been planted in the pack. Firstly because the 6 or so portions I had previously were 100% edible. And secondly because a fingernail clipper was, unusually, left in a prominent place in the living room yesterday.

    I've been having chats with Dad about her and she will have noticed that. Dad's an introvert like me, and although we have a very pleasant relationship we would not have previously shown this urgency for a little talks away from her. As well as that, I've been telling him lots of details by SMS. I believe she might even have read these as Dad leaves his phone on the kitchen table overnight, and she mostly definitely has been going downstairs in the night time. I did tell him to delete those messages but I didn't remind him enough. Yesterday she gave some subtle hints that she may have read those messages by tapping Dad's dumbphone screen while me and her were sat having lunch. I reminded him later to delete the recent ones and it seems he had not done so already.

    I truly hope I'm wrong, but having had some awful calculating behaviour (of the type that's difficult to put into words) against me in an old job some years ago, I can't help but see some similarities between then and now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,690 ✭✭✭zoobizoo


    More issues
    Last night, I found fingernail clippings in my porridge and I now suspect they may have been planted in the pack.

    I truly hope I'm wrong, but having had some awful calculating behaviour (of the type that's difficult to put into words) against me in an old job some years ago, I can't help but see some similarities between then and now.

    Okay.... Clippings in your porridge.... That is nuts. Maybe it's not just over mammying after all.

    What was the jist of the job issue?

    Did you emigrating have anything to do with her previous behaviour?


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    zoobizoo wrote: »
    Okay.... Clippings in your porridge.... That is nuts. Maybe it's not just over mammying after all.

    What was the jist of the job issue?

    Did you emigrating have anything to do with her previous behaviour?

    The jist of the job issue is that one person I worked closely with didn't like me. But rather than tell the man above us, she simply decided to sabotage my work. I couldn't figure out why. I emailed the boss that I was leaving because of this and he said not to worry, some people just don't get along and he wished me luck. I had obligations to two others in the organisation so I whispered to both of them what was going on. One of them had just arrived back in town to get married to the girl who secretly disliked me. I hadn't known of their relationship so that whisper caused a fuss that ultimately snowballed out of control to the extent that I was smeared into leaving that country.

    Cultural reasons regarding relationships and marriage meant the relationship had been kept quiet. Any kind of 'loss of face' is also a major brewer of trouble in that culture. Ultimately I realised it was probably because of earlier airing my views that being single led to a great way of life, and my criticism uttered to her of the person who, unbeknownst to me, was her boyfriend. I could tell that my old boss probably believed in me but knew that I was damaged goods. He gave me a good reference and we haven't been in touch since.

    I worry that I will be smeared to look bad in my Dad's or/and my brother's eyes, just like the other girl successfully did in the eyes of my former colleagues.

    My mother's behaviour played some part in my emigration, which began as a backpacking trip but evolved into settlement. I was just a young guy looking for freedom I suppose. But her behaviour then was tame compared to today.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 30,648 Mod ✭✭✭✭Faith


    I don't know what's going on here, but something isn't right.

    Deliberately putting toenails in food is not normal. However, finding toenails in your food and assuming they were planted there by your hateful mother is not normal either.

    Your posts read like you're very much downplaying your role in all of these "difficulties", OP. You are only relaying your perception, naturally, but it sounds potentially quite distorted to me. Why do you assume your mother deliberately put toenail clippings into your food with malicious intent? Why was your first assumption not that it was an accident, and then to query whether there was something neurologically wrong with your mother that might lead to her accidentally putting them in your food?

    Because you don't feel like you're being treated like the prodigal son, you've leaped to the conclusion that your mother hates you. Surely the first line of thinking should be that you're both struggling to adjust to the change in circumstances?

    In your first post, you paint your mother as being alarmist and demanding when she asked you to come home quickly, yet we know Asia was shutting down rapidly over Covid, everyone was trying to get out ASAP and by your own admission, she was correct as the airline shut down abruptly.

    You've admitted that you sit around "moodily" with earphones on, blocking out others to focus on learning a new language, something that seems like you got a notion to do it and suddenly prioritised that over spending time with your parents who you rarely see. I can understand why they'd be cross and frustrated about that.

    Rather than attempting to deliberately smoke near you to cause you distress, is it possible she just... wants to be near you? And she might not even notice she's smoking as it's an ingrained habit.

    You described her as being "obsessed" with you, now she "hates" you. Those are two extreme positions. Do you often hold such polar positions or beliefs?
    During the first ten days of my return to Ireland this month she was full of different ideas of me working in this country. Working here is a path I'm reluctant to go down as my overseas-based career doesn't exist in this town. This means I'd be applying for unskilled work that I don't have experience in. If such a job is advertised I will certainly consider it, but I'm not awfully enthusiastic or hopeful of finding such employment in this climate. Instead, she witnesses me studying a language that's on a path to take me far afield. I haven't told her, but I want to be back in Asia as soon as there's half an opening there. I'd rather live off my savings for now, study hard and then hit the ground running in a place that's been my home for a decade. After those ten days, I noticed a sudden change her attitude towards me and she hasn't mention work since then. She went from someone who seemed anxious about the future to someone who just didn't care much anymore. I say this based on her general demeanour.

    Could this be because she got excited about her son coming home to Ireland, only to find he was moody, isolated and immediately talking about how much he couldn't wait to leave again? I'd imagine that popped her bubble of excitement at having you home. How would you feel in her shoes, if someone you loved and missed came to stay and spoke openly about how much they couldn't wait to leave?

    I don't get the sense you're really trying to see things from her point of view, OP, and instead you've jumped to your own conclusions.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Thanks again for your input. I don't know what to say. I have tried spending more time with her but that has felt strange and very different from any time before. She's retelling stories from the past and she's giving me details which totally contradict the details she gave originally, prior to this problem. Could it be that she needs some mental help? Or a subtle hint that she doesn't like talking to me?

    Her behaviour seems to be evolving and now there are days when she is totally avoiding me. Typically I'd have 3 cuppas with her during the day time between my other activities. Now she's choosing that time to go to bed for a bit, or go for a walk by herself, just when I'd be about to sit down. The daily calls for chores have stopped, although I still do some independently.

    Last night, as with previous nights, she went downstairs very shortly after I went to bed (She goes to bed  about 2 hours before me). It makes me wonder about Dad's phone again.

    There's a note on the kitchen table that simply says the word 'doubtful' (from another language), written on the bottom of the coronavirus handout I got when I arrived at Dublin Airport, placed in front of where I'd usually sit for my meals. It's been there since the trouble started, sticking out from the pile of newer correspondence.

    I've always kept my life mostly private since moving away so perhaps she thinks I have something dodgy to hide. Especially when her new best friend has a daughter who joined the same career as me not long ago. My mother knows every detail of that girl's journey whereas she just knows bits of mine. I always felt strange having my life analysed so I shied away from sharing a lot.

    She has been a lovely caring mother to me for so long. Absolutely, I haven't behaved well since coming home. Is there any way back? My attempts at reconciling and showing care seem not to be working.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭John Hutton


    OP, I'm trying to be tactful here, but are you sure that you are not having some mental health difficulties yourself? It may help to discuss it with someone.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,365 ✭✭✭Alrigghtythen


    In your mid 30s you need to detach a bit.

    She rang you to come home and you just went and booked it even though it eqsnt what you wanted. Also your parents are watching how much money you are spending and insist you dont spend too much? After 10 years living abroad.

    You need to set boundaries in general.

    Now that you are home and the country is shut down there is not much you can do.

    Where you not coming home to help on the farm? I guess not if your mother has to tell you to go outside and you are focusing on your study.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Cheers for the replies.

    The farm is small and it's 20km away where grandma used to live (house is now derelict). It is only rarely that help is needed there (one day so far since coming home). Dad would need to be sick for me to be really needed. He has a job in a shop also, to give an idea of the small scale of the farm.

    I'm here and willing be around for as long as Covid-19 dominates, but I can't stay around forever as it wastes the good career I made through connections far away. That's why I've drawn the line by showing a reluctance to find a job in Ireland. It's my sitting at home that drives my mother nuts it seems, as it did years ago. Instead I'm working towards a knowing a language that will give me further connections for my long-term career. I'm just being myself here, while she is throwing a tantrum that she doesn't have control over me and thus wants to spoil what I enjoy doing.

    In short, I gave up a lot to be here and to help. That's what I'm willing to do if I'm asked. But if I'm not yet needed in the home, or on the farm, then I'm going to use most of the time I have to further my main career path. She can't live with that.

    I understand that most of the replies are telling me to see it from her point of view. If I'd been wise to this earlier, then I might have been ok. My big blunder sadly. Now I feel this has gone too far and she will no longer reason with me, especially when walking, our shared hobby, failed massively (post #8)

    Added to that is the fact that she is being calculating in conversations we have. Today and other days she's often been mentioning how she has a lot of wealth and Dad doesn't. Also mentioned was a Facebook post related to 'How to do nothing at home'. Together with what I said in post #22, many of the talks we have seem to be calculated reading-between-the-lines affairs.

    I do realise that the whole story sounds a bit bonkers, but I guess there's some mental health at play too.

    John, you asked about my own mental health. I appreciate that. I was feeling excellent before coming to Ireland. I was feeling mostly good during my first week home. However, the current conflict has knocked me back, particularly today.


  • Registered Users Posts: 83 ✭✭DaisyFay


    OP, how do you get on as a family? Do 3 of you ever sit down together for meals/tea etc? I think maybe now when you interact with your mother you'll notice things she does or says (maybe inadvertently, I don't know) that confirms your perception of her hating you/obsessing over you, and maybe miss that she's making an effort. Maybe you need to get out of your head a bit also and stop over-analysing little details. If you sit down as a family and have a low-key chat where you and your mam aren't so focussed on each other maybe some of the tension would go? I wouldn't continue texting your dad either - why not just have a chat on the farm or something? If your mam is checking his phone, she's in the wrong, but its horrible to know that your husband and son are texting about you behind your back.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    DaisyFay wrote: »
    OP, how do you get on as a family? Do 3 of you ever sit down together for meals/tea etc? I think maybe now when you interact with your mother you'll notice things she does or says (maybe inadvertently, I don't know) that confirms your perception of her hating you/obsessing over you, and maybe miss that she's making an effort. Maybe you need to get out of your head a bit also and stop over-analysing little details. If you sit down as a family and have a low-key chat where you and your mam aren't so focussed on each other maybe some of the tension would go? I wouldn't continue texting your dad either - why not just have a chat on the farm or something? If your mam is checking his phone, she's in the wrong, but its horrible to know that your husband and son are texting about you behind your back.

    We always got on great as a family and I can't remember any falling out at all. My mother was probably disappointed in me at times, for not having a big social life, but she held that inside, I think. As a I mentioned earlier, there was a fairly constant struggle to get me to socialise and get out of the house from when I was about 12/13 up to the age of 23 (with some breaks for university), when I left Ireland.

    In the past, the highlight of the week was an outing that included eating together (incl. me, if I was on a visit home) in our favourite restaurant. Even today we often reminisce about that place.

    Over the years, we always tended to eat at different times at home, and even when dining at the same time we'd usually split up between the kitchen and living room (mam watching the TV, dad reading the paper where there is space - the kitchen table can just about sit 3). After food, we'd usually end up the living room, all together, having tea and watch TV together. This hasn't really changed of late. My parents' TV time then continues till bedtime, and I'm there for some of it too.

    The farm isn't really accessible to me as it's 20km away, and I only go there if I'm asked (in the old days, that was one day every two months).

    Dad said the three of us will have a chat today and we'll see how that goes. I can't stress how much my mother's behaviour differs when she's with me, compared to when we are three together. Either I'm bonkers, or she's taken on the role of spoiling the way the I live my life. But absolutely, I'll give the benefit of any doubt if I feel things are picking up.


  • Registered Users Posts: 854 ✭✭✭beveragelady



    However, the current conflict has knocked me back, particularly today.

    Reading your posts I don't see a 'current conflict.'
    Your mother wants you to have friends and social interaction. You don't particularly want this. That's all very normal family life, not conflict.

    The thing is that it appears you are attaching huge significance to very small things, interpreting them as secret messages. The writing in another language on a piece of paper, the tapping on your fathers phone, the nail in your breakfast, the indecision about which way to walk. You are reading these things as signals and interpreting them as negative messages directed towards you and that is not entirely normal. I think this is why a poster above gently asked about your own mental health.

    If you were my friend and you asked me for advice I'd definitely tell you that something is amiss and you need to have a chat with a GP, if only to put your own mind at rest.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Thanks again for your replies.

    Today there was some light.

    Dad talked to my mother in private and after having lunch together, we all had a cuppa and appeared to iron things out. My mother's tone today was that of empathy and she sounded more patient than ever before.  We both apologised for our behaviour. I said there were wonderful things about being home, including my mother's home-cooking, which is indeed fab. She has agreed to give me more space. I told her I was there for her if she felt lonely at this time. There were no accusations of wrongdoing but I did mention enjoying the porridge at home and made a joke about Dad's phone (see end of post #18), as this was advised to me elsewhere.

    So it could be all over after all. 

    It is still worth noting that immediately after Dad's private chat with my mother, she came to my room, stood behind me, spoke cheerfully about the weather and made a strong scratching sound on my windowsill while doing so. Am I wrong to be reading into this?

    I'll give this every chance - there's nothing I want more than to get along with her. I'd be over the moon if this was fully off my chest. If things aren't feeling right, I'll be going to see a GP. <mod snip>


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 454 ✭✭snoopboggybog


    OP your mother is looking at you like your 18 and not 35 and this is where the issue lies. I don't think there's any harm in her but just has an opinion on how you should live your life and might be a tad bit controlling when your at home. Also wants you near her and not to move away.

    Best thing you can honestly do is just get on with her while your at home and move out and live your own life again. If that's half way across the world that's fine. Some parents just won't change but no need to cut her out of your life.

    You have your own life to live. It would drive me bonkers if I had to live in the parents again as mine are a bit like you described, controlling, think all my attention should on them, no boundaries etc. Enjoy your time at home and know its only for a weeks.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    it could be all over after all. 

    It is still worth noting that immediately after Dad's private chat with my mother, she came to my room, stood behind me, spoke cheerfully about the weather and made a strong scratching sound on my windowsill while doing so. Am I wrong to be reading into this?
    <mod snip>

    It is still worth noting that immediately after Dad's private chat with my mother, she came to my room, stood behind me, spoke cheerfully about the weather and made a strong scratching sound on my windowsill while doing so. Am I wrong to be reading into this?

    <mod snip>

    I'm posting unreg for a number of reasons.

    It is very very strange that you would consider something like this to contain a hidden message. It is quite probably a sign that your mind is not functioning normally. I think you know yourself that you're not seeing things as they really are or you wouldn't be asking these questions.

    Here's what I think is happening: Your mother can see you're in difficulty and is worried about you. Her attention is annoying you but she's trying to help. She's not able to help because she doesn't understand what's going on and because you are imagining that she's sending you secret messages.

    You need to see a GP. Don't downplay any of this, explain that you believe that people close to you are sending you hidden messages and you believe your mother hates you.


This discussion has been closed.
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