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Don't know how to tell my mother that she isn't the victim
I have had a very strained relationship with both of my parents for a long time. (Trigger Warning: Abuse) My mum dated an abusive man for 4 years and let him physcially, mentally and emotionally abuse me and didn't step in or do anything, and instead chastised me for being disrespectful when my friends would tell her that I thought I was living in a toxic situation and both my mum and bf gasslighted the heck out of me. My dad and I are better but we still have a lot of issues with him refusing to take me to therapy when I clearly needed it because he wanted "one normal child" and refused to believe there was anything wrong with me.
But this post is about my mother. I live in Victoria, and I am moving back to my home state to live with my dad due to abusive housemates (abuse all around, love that for me) ending the lease in the middle of a COVID pandemic because they know I have nowhere to go. However with the increase in cases and the increase in lockdown this is, obviously, very hard.
My mother only started talking to me again after like 6 months when my friend messaged her and told her I was suicidal (I told her in confidence and she betrayed that, but we are getting through that). In the many years I have been in Melbourne she has come down to see me... once? maybe? I do not enjoy being around her and feel a lot of toxicity surrounding her.
There has been a lot of forms only she can fill out from my home state to get me in so she has been doing a lot, however every time something new happens, it's my job to comfort HER. Stage 4 lockdown yesterday? Oh she's so upset I need to call her to make sure she's okay (like sure, one of us is going to be homeless and one of us is living in a big house with a pool, which one is struggling more). When I told her I was struggling she turned it into a woe is me party and was like "and I can't do anything from so far way I'm struggling so much" and started crying on the phone. It feels like she is playing the victim and providing no support to the actual victim, me.
How can I stop this or tell her she's not the victim?
Firstly, I want to check in first with how you're feeling and doing. I noticed you mentioned you were feeling suicidal. If you're comfortable, can you share with me what's on your mind? Remember, if you need immediate care there are plenty of resources available such as the lifeline call centre. Feel free to also communicate with the beyond blue members here for support.
It seems as though your mother enjoys the victim mentality. This could perhaps be attributed to the inability to take accountability or carry emotional responsibility. I understand this can be frustrating for you at times as well as it is important that you receive comfort and support from your family.
I'm sorry about your current situation, it must be difficult having to move back to an environment that brings up old memories of abuse. I think your mother is only able to see what she is open to, if she is not willing to see herself as not being a victim, what you say may not change her perspective.
However, I do believe it will have an impact if you voice to her how difficult it has been for you as well and your need for support. I think this will open her mind to the fact there are many others experiencing hardship and she is not the only victim to the adversities of life. That is a method of telling her she is not the victim.
To stop this, it's best to draw clear boundaries of what is acceptable to you and what is not. For example, if you she knows you are always available and willing to provide her emotional support even in situations where your needs are being overlooked, she will continue to do this freely in the future as she feels you are okay with that.
Hope this helps.
Hi, thank you for your advice!
I'm also having not only some mental health issues but some physical health issues too so I have just been trying to take it one day at a time, as hard as that is. My aunt (mum's sister) who I have always gotton along better with has started talking to me more too and helping me out so I feel more comfortable there. Just have to take the days one by one.
Luckily? Unluckily? for me, something that my brother was planning back home is probably going to get called off due to COVID so now she has something ELSE to play the victim for and is being more down to earth for me. Still playing the victim a little but not as badly as she can put that woe is me energy towards people she can actually see.
My mum has always been bad at taking any responibility for anything and I don't see that changing. I have tried to talk to her about it before but she just takes it as a personal attack and, you guessed it, plays the victim. She knows how much I have been struggling and it hasn't really changed much.
This is a big reason why I moved away and distanced myself in the first place, but now that I am going back I will need to figure something out. But with all of my current issues, that is very much a down the line thing for me to figure out. Right now I just need to focus on getting out of this toxic house and flying back to home state without needing to be homeless first.
Glad to hear back from you. No worries at all, I can understand how frustrating it can be for you as I have a mother who also holds the victim mentality however it is a slightly different version. I can see how the desire to avoid responsibility and accountability of one's actions can often manifest itself into the victim mentality. Often, it is sad to see as we all have possessed this trait at some point in our lives, over time if not managed this method of thinking can make us feel powerless and weak to the circumstances of life. I hope with time she is able to take more accountability for herself and those she cares about. However, the change is dependent upon her desire and willingness to change. So try not to stress too much because it's not your duty to change her perspectives, but her own.
I know you understand that, however are not able to avoid the situation due to the current circumstances of having to move back. So the best I can say is just hang in there my friend! It can be tough, but where you can disengage when she is expressing those toxic behaviours and engage when she chooses not to be a victim. I'm glad you are seeking emotional support through your Aunt as that will beneficial for your emotional health.
I see, it seems like you are juggling a few things at a time. I like that approach of doing this one at a time, day by day. It can be overwhelming if we try to battle everything at once, often we are left feeling defeated. So as you said facing these challenges day by day, one at a time will help you in finding a good resolution while maintaining your mental and emotional health.
Hello nice to meet you. I just got off the phone with Beyond Blue about this very issue in my own life. (They told me about these forums which I’m grateful for and how trippy to see this post right at the top).
It sounds like you have maybe already intimated / or tried to tell her that she’s not the victim. I sort of got the picture that you might have during the call where she had a ‘woe is me party’ - high-five that’s exactly what my mum does when she thinks she might be heading toward a call for accountability.
I agree with the reply mentioning how it sounds like your mum enjoys the victim mentality. It really is a great defence mechanism for people like that because that’s the protection against actually looking at how catastrophic their decisions / actions have been over the years.
I really hope I’m not projecting based on my experiences with my mum but I think it would take a miracle to have someone that doubled-down in their mindset to really absorb being told they’re not the victim. As far as I’ve experienced, that’s when they grasp onto it even harder. That might mean that the more realistic option is ‘stopping it’ and no longer engaging in the cycle.
please forgive me, my internet connection is glitching. I hate to leave it there. I hope all the best and I’ll check this thread once I’ve figured out what the problem is ☮️ 🌞