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Struggling with my mum


Re: Struggling with my mum

Hi ladies


OLeanna, I am so so sorry your mum reacted in that manner.  


Sometimes the ones closest to us can be the most hurtful.  I'm not making excuses for her, but maybe it was a defence mechanism because she had just lost her brother, and was being faced with her precious daughter going through such a terrible terrible time.


I am a 55 year old mother, and I honestly dont know how I would react if it were my son (who is my only child) who had been diagnosed.  I know one of my reactions would be anger, followed closely by disbelief. 


Even though I have been through the whole rigmarole myself last year (mastectomy/chemotherapy/radiotherapy for TNBC IDC 7cm) and coped really well and positively, I just wish my mum was here to help me through it, but she isnt, and I got to the other side of treatment with the love and support of family and friends.


Your mum will be angry and searching for reasons why you had to have it.  I'm sure once she gets her head around everything, she will be your 'old' mum again. 


Good luck with your treatment sweetie, get well soon xxxx 




Re: Struggling with my mum

Evening Ladies


I just want to say i am really sad that your Mum's and in some cases Dad's are causing you further distress and offering no support.  It they can't or don't want to offer kindness or practical support thats ok ish  but not to be unkind and selfish.......


People are really strange and we will always look for our parents approval no matter how badly they treat us.... we are just wired that way.... If you google something called Transactional Analysis it may explain just how when they say something critical / derogatory we automatically switch back to the vulnerable critcised child.  Very damaging to our emotional state and to our relationships......... I lost both my parents when i was young so haven't had to endure what you ladies are going through.  My Sister in law and mother in law are particularly mean tho'.  From the comments it feels that they are cross / jealous at the 'attention' i am getting. Trust me i can do without all that Chemo, Rads and Surgery attention i have been getting!!!          There is a thread about the things not to say to Cancer patients.  Maybe when you are a little further on in your treatment you may be able to look at it and maybe even laugh.


I started Chemo October 2012 (before surgery) finished End Feb 2013.  I lost all my hair / eyebrows the lot, i was freezing but wore a wig as i continued working throughout Chemo..  At the Easter i was just waiting for Surgery and feeling OK ish......so agreed to go to the theatre (i had avoided social situations during Chemo) as i wanted to see Lion King.  I was with a group of female friends, one brought her Daughter and friend both 25yrs......We were sat in the middle of a large area in a City Centre bar / eatery when this 'friend' came in with the girls, remained standing as she walked round greeting people just long enough for all the strangers sat around to notice her and then proceeded to tell her Daughter (who had already quietly asked how i was doing) that '''of course Gill is wearing a wig as she is bald but you'de never know would you''''.    I don't really remember much else about the evening, i was devastated. I had spent all day resting / puttng my make up on / having my nails done and i may have just as well been stood there naked i was so vulnerable and exposed............. People were stunned and needless to say she never flinched just breezed on through in her usual self obsessed way.....


I have just had my two year mammogram / ultrasound and remain NED. It is 2.1/2 years since my diagnosis and my outlook on life is very different.  For every comment that upset me i received at least a dozen lovely kind and supportive comments.  Two people who were previously work colleagues have been so supportive and we have developed great relationships and i have received lovely cards messages flowers and gifts from the most unexpected sources...


Ladies please take care of yourselves, try not to let people upset you, keep them at arms length and Good Luck with rest of your treatment.  Take Care  Gilly xx 


Re: Struggling with my mum

Im so sorry you had additional pain from your mum. But we must remember we all who try cop with out situation more vulnerable then other time . Time will cure your pain and you will forgive her bc she is your mum you loved and shewill find way how to be again your good mum .
Thanks to my GOD my mum pray every day for me , even we are apart she is in RUSSIA im in ENGLAND i can feel how she pray for me and i believe prays and i will survive bc of her .
If you see my picture i had very nice and long hair but after 3rh chemo i lost 60% of them . I have hight position job and how i look  its mean a lot for my position ... but cancer got jelous of me .


When i said to my mum that im almost like a boy she said " SHE WOULD DIE FOR MY EACH HAIR THAT I LOST "


Please dont think about who hurt you  think positive and think that you will be ok soon . im sure you will forgive everything bc you will survive and you will have new hair and you will look as usual pretty . 


Take care xx


Re: Struggling with my mum

I can fully understand how you ladies are feeling as my parents are both the same.  We have never been particularly close even though we live very near to each other.  My dad has been unable to walk for the last year so I have had to do shopping and errands!  However, even though I only live a 5 minute walk away my mother has not once made the effort to come and see me.  I was diagnosed last July, had mastecomy then went through chemo and rads and not once did she come.  The only time they actually ring me is to give me a list of errands or demands or is because they want something doing that either I or my husband can do. 


I am now feeling close to blowing my top and feel that at some point this upset is going to come bubbling out.  I did try and tell them how I was feeling a couple of months ago but nothing changed.  Just before I started chemo I popped round to see them still feeling raw from surgery and worried about cancer etc etc only for my father to knock me back down by telling me I was getting fat!  I am a size 10 for god's sake.  I kept the anger and upset in until I got home and then I was very upset.  I just don't understand how they can behave in this way.  Very hurt and abandoned but now feel it is far too late but I know they won't change as too selfish. 


All I can hope is that I have a good relationship with my own sons and their children when they come along and that I never ever behave in this way to those I love.





Re: Struggling with my mum

Hi Everyone,


Im sorry to hear you are all struggling with your mums but Im so glad Im not alone.


It's a strange how our mother's opinion really does matters to us even though we know that it is probably an age related selfishness that makes what they do or don't say so hard to bare.


My mum is 79 and been through BC herself but she still has no empathy with my situation and it really hurts. The only way I can cope with her lack of interest is to keep her at arms length. Which means I've rarely seen her since surgery in Oct last year. Prior to diagnosis she visited my family weekly but was often hard work even then and could be very unkind. I suppose I invited her to my house because I felt an obligation as her daughter.


I have two sisters but it has been me who has mainly attended to and helped our mother with practical stuff over the years since my father died. 

However, since my diagnosis I'm afraid I have decided to pass the duties on to my sisters.


I remember my mum kind of laughing when she saw me in scarf and saying, ha ha I wont tell you what you look like with that on your head!. This really did upset me. There have been times when she has telephoned and my husband has spoken to her (as Ive been too ill with chemo) and rather than offer sympathy or offering to help out in some way (we have 2 children) she just banged on about how much SHE missed coming to our house every week. Missed the 'outing'

What can I say.............I just hope and pray that I don't turn into her as I get older. I do strive NOT to be like her in anyway.


I wish I had a loving, nurturing mum but I don't.

What I do have the most amazing husband, children and friends who more than make up for her.................  but like you said, a few words of encouagement from my mother would be lovely but I know it ain't going to happen.


Take Care Everyone x



Re: Struggling with my mum

Hi Patricia11,


Im so sorry that youve had to experience the pain of your mothers lack of interest in your illness. Its as if they cant accept that we still need their care even later in life. Its as if they feel cheated somehow  and that our illness has somehow got in the way of their right to be supported and taken care of.


Its incredibly strong of you to accept her as she is. This is what im finding so difficult. I feel as if forgiving my mother is the same as saying that her words are ok which of course they arent. I would dearly love not to take her comments personally if it wasnt for the fact that the are so very personal just at the time when i need her to be supportive.


Thankyou so much for getting in touch. Im sure we will get through this ..Im not sure how exactly because i might be able to forgive her in time but im not sure i will ever forget the way she spoke to me


Take Good Care.


Re: Struggling with my mum

Hi Pinkbaglady,


Thankyou so much for taking the time to reply.  My mum, Jenny, is 79 and is usually a kind and warm hearted person. This seems so out of character. When her brother was ill and over the months when he was deteriorating she launched unprovoked attacks on his wife and criticised her for every decision she made in relation to his care. She was so unkind to her. My brother and i tried many times to tell her that as his sister her wishes were not as important as his wifes but she kept on and on causing more and more arguements.


My brother has spoken to her about what happened between us and told her that she was in the wrong and that she should 'grow up' and she hung up on him but later on he rang her back and she began to understand where she had gone wrong ( as if it isnt obvious enough). He tells me that she was crying and so sorry for the things she said but Im still so shocked that she couldnt see that her words were so hurtful.


Your suggestion of writing to her is a great idea. I bought a card today which says ' Life is too short to blend in' written on the front of it, to make my point and along with some choice words, I am hoping to express what I feel and then draw a line under it.


I will lose my eyebrows and eyelashes soon and im not sure i can arrange to see her whilst theres a chance she could be so awful to me again but I feel stuck at the moment with this and need to move on.


I know that staying angry is really effecting me and im not sleeping well anyway. I suppose its not what happens to you but how you respond that counts, but this has really knocked me for six and I have a feeling that my mums behaviour isnt going to miraculously change over night. I think, like you, I will have to put more distance between us and not see her again through my chemo and see how i feel as i start radiotherapy in July.


It really feels good to connect to someone who understands. Thankyou so much


Re: Struggling with my mum



I am so sorry that mums can behave in this way and cause so much pain and upset.   I completely agree that it is related to old age as my mother has acted the same towards me since my dx at the beginning of April.  My mum has been very sickly for the last 10 years with kidney failure and i have taken on the rol of her carer really devoting my life to looking after her yet since i have became ill i have desparately wanted comfort from her and i have not received any instead it still remains to be all about her as she carries on as if nothing has changed.  Every time i try to talk about me she immediately replies about her and how she is feeling which drives me crazy.  She is only 75 yet so very selfish and uncaring which has come as such a surprise to me.


This has led to a number of arguments between us when i have just not been able to take anymore and i have had to remind her that now i am sick and need some support from her.


I did consider cutting her off and having no more to do with her as i feel so let  down but then i rethink and have accepted that she is just completely self obsessed and she is not able to empathise with me now being ill myself.   So i have just accepted this and tried not to take her behaviour personally and we are now getting on better.


It is very sad as one word of comfort from my mum would mean the world to me.





Re: Struggling with my mum

I feel your pain and am so sorry you have had such a shattering experience with your mum when you are coping with chemotherapy.
The only thing I can think of is that your Mum is not coping herself with what you are going through and doesn't know what to say or do to help you. I think lots of people don't know what to say so end up saying the wrong thing and being very insensitive. You don't say how old your Mum is, just that she is elderly - elderly people can often be cruel and unkind with what they say, I think for some it's another ailment of old age.
Can your brother intercede for you? Could you write to your Mum explaining carefully how much she has upset you?
I haven't seen my Mum whilst I've been having chemotherapy (I have one more to go) as I know I can't cope with her comments, questions etc at the moment. She is 85 and has become very opinionated and selfish over the last few years. She never used to be like that.
Sending you a big hug and lots of love.

Struggling with my mum



I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer at the end of last year and Im going through 6 cycles of chemo (FEC75) and have lost all my hair. Im a pretty confident person and am surrounded by friends who have been wonderful, helping me to adjust to the way I look and reminding me that im still he person I always was. It doesnt help that the bloating from the chemo and comfort eating from when im in the well phase of the cycle have meant that ive put weight on but i still work here and there, which provides me with a sense of being normal still, and im a sociable and optimistic sort of person. Im separated from my husband but we are good friends and have two sons who are really dealing with everything amazingly well and a brilliant older brother who has been there for me every step of the way.


Ive always had a fairly good relationship with my mum. She is usually a warm and considerate person and very community spirited. Shes a good friend to her friends and ive always respected her and loved her. I put off telling her I had breast cancer because i was diagnosed on 22nd Dec 2014 and it was her birthday Xmas day and on top of that her brother was dying of Parkinsons disease and dementia ( he died ion March 1st) and i didnt think it would be fair to burden her with any more bad news. So together, after her brother died, about  3weeks later, My brother and I met up with her to tell her and of course we were as optimistic and as positive about the whole thing as we could be to save her being upset. I had a small spread under my arm but didnt tell her because I didnt want to make it worse.


A week ago she came to visit me. I live in South Wales and she travelled down on the train from North Wales, which i appreciated because she is elderly. When she met me at the station I drove up in the car and parked beside her she got in the car and said


' Oh my god ... i didnt even recognise  you in that cap. I thought you were a man'


Without even saying hello - without even thinking about how hurtful her comments were. I was wearing a baker boy cap. Its comfortable and looks nice ( i thought) and although I have two wigs i decided that I could just be more myself with my mum but how wrong I was.


I was hurt by her comments but didnt let on because I wanted us to have a nice time , but then later in the day she said


' I dont like that cap youre wearing it makes you look like a man. It makes you look unfeminine. You must allow for women of my generation not to want to see the balding bits around your ears'


I changed my cap for her so she would feel better about it. but felt humiliated and ridiculed. I felt as if she had kicked me when I was down.


Later on that night when i was wearing the more accepatble 'feminine' beanie hat, I asked her if she wanted to see my head - just as it was - because actually this isnt about hats at all but about my hair loss and she said shuddered as if the thought was abhorrent to her and said' No..No...WHY would I want to see that?' Adding insult to the injury she had already caused


I tried to let it go but the next morning I was very still angry with her and she asked me ' if i was alright'


I told her that it was insensitive of her to ask me to change my cap, to call me masculine and refuse to see my head as it is - I was amazed that she couldnt see how rude she had been. But then she started shouting at me and told me to not to be 'bloody stupid' that I was 'over reacting' and that I had taken it 'all out of proportion'. So then I really lost my temper bigtime having kept it under control for so long. I ripped my hat off and made her look at my head and then I threw her out of my house and we havent spoken since.


Its clear to me that she cant cope with seeing me with no hair and that she wants me to look as much like the old me as possible to help her cope. She also said to me ' youve got wigs havent you? Why dont you wear one of those' Everything she said pointed at her inability to accept me as I am and im deeply hurt.


I cant forgive her and i wondered if anyone has had experience of family members reacting badly to the news? I feel that as my mum she should be the most understanding and protective person in my life but instead she was critical and unaccepting of me and I dont know how to move forward. She has of course tried to apologise but Ive just been through my 4th chemo and feel too unwell to address it all with her at the moment. I feel as if our relationship has been significantly damaged - as if she has really let me down.


How can someone who says she loves me so much say such insensitive and unkind things?


Thanks for your thoughts