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struggling to cope with my mums emotions

littleredlittlered Posts: 1 Just got here
Hi all,

My parents split when I was about 17 (I'm now 23 so it's been a while). My mum has 3 other children, all of whom are adults with their own lives.

Myself and my younger brother still live with my mum and her husband. I see my dad regularly, about once a week. Sometimes I have to make difficult decisions and choose between them. For Christmases I try to take it in turns between my mum and dad. Last year was my mums turn so this year should be my dads year.
However, I now work in healthcare and will be working late shifts Xmas eve, xmas day and boxing day. Months before i knew my rota I booked time off after xmas to go on holiday with my dad. They wouldnt let me have new years day off so I was going to fly home early.

When mum found out I was working over xmas and then going away with my dad she was fuming. She thinks none of her kids want to spend time with her and she is constantly complaining about it, sometimes crying and often making snide comments.

This sort of thing happens all the time when i want to spend time with my dad and im sick of it. I just dont want to live here any more and I need to move out asap. im saving hard but its not going to happen for months at least.

Someone has now offered to cover my new years day shift which means i can stay on holiday with my dad. I dont even know how to tell my mum, im even considering waiting until im on holiday to tell her.

also, my great-grandfather just died and his birthday will be happening whilst im on the prolonged holiday so it will be nice to spend time with my dad and my nan on that day.

I know this sounds minor but this sort of thing has been going on for years and it is really grinding me down now. Im terrified that any time I speak i might slip up and say something that she will take offense to and start crying again. I dont know what to do. Im not even going to enjoy christmas.
Thanks for listening anyway x


  • Emma_Emma_ Community Manager Posts: 584 Incredible Poster
    Hey @littlered, firstly welcome to The Mix's community, we're really glad to have you here <3

    This time of year is not easy for everyone and it can be extra hard when your parents are split. I had very similar experiences growing up, resulting in me spending Christmas with friends in America one year so that neither of my parents "got me"!

    But it really isn't easy, and having family members almost guilt you in to spending time with them makes things worse when you physcially can't split yourself 2 ways. It also puts pressure on you to see everyone which understandably is taking some of joy out of the holidays for you.

    You're an adult who, by the sounds of it, is doing amazing work within healthcare, undoubtly supporting people this festive season that really need it. That's something to be proud of and not to be forgotten within your mum's feelings here <3 Sometimes our parents can forget that we've grown up and aren't little kids anymore.

    It's okay for you to do things that work best for you. I can hear that actually spending time away with you dad and nan might be just want you need, and having people around who are also grieving about your great - grandfather could bring some comfort at this tricky time.

    It sounds like your mum is projecting some of her feelings on to you about Christmas. I can hear how tricky it is, but it's important to remember that you are not responsible for her emotions. You have enough on your plate to hold this year without holding her feelings too. You mentioned she has 4 other children and a husband, so this isn't all on you to hold, and it would be an unfair ask of her if it was.

    Maybe what you could say to her is very clearly when you will see her, remind her that because of your hours you don't have much free time, and that whilst you can hear she's upset that you're not around much, you're doing what you can.

    Within all of this, try to do one or two things for you, so that you don't burn out between work and family! Could you take a slightly longer route home, or go for a nice peaceful walk before a shift?
  • RenPRenP Posts: 203 Trailblazer
    Hey @littlered

    Welcome to The Mix and thank you for sharing with us!

    I suppose you may still be on holiday with your dad, and if you are back, then how was it? Christmas holidays can be a stressful time, especially when you have multiple places you could spend it. My sister tries to alternate between our mum and her dad every Christmas, but naturally I think she does feel bad either way. When your parents aren't together it can be a dilemma because you don't want to upset anyone, but you have to put yourself first and do what you want to do rather than what you should do. Because then by trying to please everyone, in turn you may feel unhappy and that isn't fair on you. It's a lot to deal with for your mum to be putting all that pressure onto you, whilst you are still working over the Christmas period. Like emma said, you don't want to burn out between work and family, because working in healthcare is enough on your plate. I think being with your dad and nan on your great-grandfathers birthday would be very healing for the 3 of you.

    When we walk on eggshells around people and tread carefully because we are worried about upsetting them, it can turn into quite an uncomfortable relationship. Are there ways in which you could be totally honest and just say everything you feel - maybe a letter? I suggest letters a lot because I feel like in a conversation we can be quick to react and can get heated, whereas with a letter, the reader has more time to digest what you are saying and you are given the space you need to express your emotions. I know you've said you are saving to move out, but are there things you can do to make life more tolerable for you at home whilst you are still there?

    You say it may sound minor, but no-one can determine that as we all deal with things in different ways and different things affect us. If it's grinding you down then it's not minor, and regardless, this forum is a safe haven to speak freely about these issues. We are always here for a chat or just to release built up emotions.

    Sorry to hear about your great grandfather and I hope you are feeling better starting this new year <3
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