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I’m not receiving the support I think I deserve

Community Member
My mother & I have had a little bit of a rocky history the last 4-6 months or so but we’ve never fought, mainly I’ve tried to express my feelings of hurt etc & she’s always found a way to brush it off or make it seem as if my feelings are invalid. Other than that, we get along fine & laugh etc. tonight I asked if she would help watch my son once a week for a few hrs next yr as I plan to study full time. She said no, & I tried to say it’s not for a whole day just for a few hrs & she still said no & that she works. I get it, it’s not her responsibility, my ex husband is currently not in the picture due to DVO & we are yet to file for divorce. But then she turned around & said oh okay I can. This makes me anxious & makes me feel as if she’s not 100% supportive. I’m not sure if I should take her up on her offer now as I feel she may feel pressured into doing it hence why she changed her mind. When she asked what I’d be studying she said ok kind of in a mocking tone & I asked if I could use her computer desk & she said yes but laughed at me and asked why don’t I buy a new one. I explained I’m very limited for money right now & again she just laughed at me & I asked her what she was laughing at but she just ignored me. Now I’m anxious being around her again & im not sure if this relationship is worth keeping if she’s going to continue acting unsupportive & laughing at me when I’m genuinely trying to improve my life. She’s old, so she’s always had that tough love attitude but I’m getting over it now, I think communicating would fit nicely but she always shuts me out or ignores me
4 Replies 4

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Anon1997

You're an inspiration. Raising your child independently and free from a violent environment on top of raising yourself through higher education really is inspirational. If there's one thing a lot of raising or rising will trigger, it's the desire to continue raising our self.

It sounds like you're now raising yourself to seriously question your mum's behaviour. I believe, while we can be conditioned to tolerate a person's behaviour, when we suddenly wake up to the conditions it really can all become rather questionable and intolerable.

On my quest to understand myself and others, since having left my depression behind me, a key question came to mind, 'While a lot of us are born sensitive, what or who conditions us to become insensitive?' In other words, what or who conditions us out of being our natural self? What stops us from feeling what we're meant to feel? What stops us from listening carefully? What stops us from wondering and questioning? While the list can go on and on, in regard to such conditioning, the answers to these 3 questions could be: 1) We are conditioned out of productively sensing and trusting our 'feelings' or emotions, 2) we are taught that what we have to say is not important, therefor deeper understanding is not important and 3) we are conditioned to 'Stop asking so many questions!' So, if we're still sensitive after all this conditioning, then I say 'We're absolute legends'. To hold onto our sensitivity is an incredibly powerful thing. I've found that holding onto it comes with benefits:

  1. What does a rise to courage feel like in our body? What does a rise to intolerance, when it comes to what we shouldn't have to tolerate, feel like in our body? We may be taught what we're feeling is anxiety and anger and these things are not good. But what if you are taught that the rise to courage and intolerance is worth trusting. Then you can trust your 'feelings' (physical emotion)
  2. Listening carefully is part of our life education. This allows us to experience greater understanding and it also allows us to form a connection through empathy, compassion etc
  3. Wonder and questioning. Definitely not enough of it in this world. To permit our self to wonder out loud is powerful, 'I'm wondering why you are so insensitive toward me?' If you want to trigger someone, wonder at them. You'll either trigger them to higher consciousness or defensiveness 🙂

By the way, what are you planning on studying, if you don't mind me asking?


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Anon1997,

Sorry to hear of your struggles at this point in your life. Dealing with DV and separation will be playing heavily on your mind, which may also be causing you to doubt those around you and affecting trust and judgment (or your acceptance of those character traits of family members which would otherwise slide by).

Taking on study sounds as industrious as it does therapeutic, and I support your resolve to rise above life's challenges. Regarding your mother's response, and the rough history you have shared, there may be several elements at play:

  • Could she be feeling exploited or 'set up' to be the unpaid carer?

Grandparents usually love (or at least tolerate) their grandchildren, but looking after them can be a daunting prospect - even for a few hours. Although just coming out with a 'NO' sounds a bit harsh, the context of the request may have seemed contrived; but, after consideration, your mother did agree to provide that support despite her personal preferences. Another consideration is that what is done for you, may be expected from your siblings, thus raising the commitment window if similar requests are made.

  • Is the relationship actually strong enough to draw down?

The rocky past you mentioned can leave people feeling reluctant to make sacrifices, and your history of support and dependability may factor in to any hesitation. Have you offered to 'pay' for the assistance with invitation to dinner or special treat?

  • What 'credit' have you provided over the years in this unwritten emotional ledger?

Have there been times when your services have been called upon for which you placed yourself second to assist? Without resorting to emotional blackmail, it can be handy to drop a few hints of any good deeds in the past.

"im not sure if this relationship is worth keeping if she’s going to continue acting unsupportive" -
If you feel the relationship is only of value under certain parameters, then you may need to consider if the price for her assistance is too high, and seek paid alternatives.

Nurturing the relationship with family can be a veritable juggling act of negotiation and compromise, but small investments over time can often yield positive returns in bonds and closeness.



Hi, thanks for your reply. To be fair she regularly takes care of her grandchildren after work & also great grandchildren a few times a month, so I already knew she was busy but I just wanted to ask just to see if i could receive some support and that my son could also play with his cousins at the same time. The grandchildren are almost in high school & the great grandchildren are preschool age, so very close in age to my son. I didn’t openly say I would pay, but we have this unwritten rule in our family that we always give back, so that was always a given when thinking about asking her to watch my son for a few hours on her day off. I feel if I do mention those good deeds I have done in the past may not suffice to being adequate (whether big or small) in this type of situation and your POV has given me some insight to the reality of this situation & I feel I was wrong to ask her for help. Perhaps our relationship is not once what it was and I should just stick to myself, I really have withdrawn from reaching out to her as much due to her judgements in the past. I feel upset, but I guess it is what it is & I should seek other alternatives & stick with those. I thought it may be a good idea to ask for her support but seeing your POV makes me think otherwise

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Anon1997,

From what you are saying, I hear you're really trying to find a common path to reconnect with your mother, although it's a little disconcerting that she already looks after others yet can't seem to accommodate one more. This may sound alarm bells that there is some deeper gripe to be remedied.

Do you think it would have anything to do with ex husband, DVO, or the divorce (some older people are unable to accept such issues very well as they carry guilt or blame)? Perhaps there is one glaring problem that you may need to sit down with as equals (parents rarely recognise when children become adults - and it sounds like you may be the youngest?).

I would encourage you to not sever ties and persist in finding common ground - perhaps not through your son (although I appreciate your notion), and not even as mother and daughter, but as two who have covered much territory together and may need to clear the slate for things to progress.

If you are upset by feelings of rejection, I would urge you to have that conversation at least to ascertain where you stand - as opposed to expressing how you are hurt, maybe you could prepare questions (in your mind) that require direct responses to help your mother open up about whatever is troubling her.

Although I'm not specifically in your situation, I do know how unfair it can be dealing with parental bias. Maintaining objectivity is often the biggest challenge.

I wish you well whatever you decide.

Kind regards,