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Toxic mother of the bride!! *some sensitive parts included*

This is going to seem all over the place so I apologise in advance and for how long it's going to be!

To give context, my mum has always struggled with her mental health, for as long as I can remember. Since my teenage years (and it's also come to my attention that throughout my early childhood), she also struggled with drinking. I used to think we had a good relationship, really close as I didn't meet my dad until I was 16 (I'm 25 now and have a very good relationship with him).

I also have three younger sisters; one is 23 who really struggled in the past with getting into trouble, has been to prison (well a STC as she was 16 at the time) but managed to turn her life around, works as a carer for adults with LD and now lives in a flat with her two sons (my gorgeous nephews, I'm very proud of her and everything she's achieved), one is 14 and the youngest is 12 and has a diagnosis of ASD, also struggling and is currently in a residential placement 200 miles away from us, which is really hard for us all.

In June 2018, my OH and I suffered a missed miscarriage and lost our first baby. We were devastated and to make matters worse, I ended up being admitted to hospital after medical management went wrong and I lost a lot of blood. My mum didn't even come to see me in the hospital and when I called her after I was out of theatre, she sounded drunk. My OH left me that night and had to look after my sisters because she was a mess. To this day, she now claims that my OH and his parents told her not to come and "pushed her away" and despite me having evidence that this wasn't the case at all, she maintains this. If I stick up for them, I'm an "arse-licker". She appears to worship the ground my in-laws walk on when she's sober, then she's a complete bitch when she's drunk, not that what she thinks is my problem, I'm not marrying my in-laws! Anyway, the day I was discharged from the hospital, she dropped my sisters back at our house and did a runner; she went to Norfolk for a week, stayed in a chalet. Whilst we were supposed to be grieving for our baby, we were caring for my sisters because they needed us more at that time.  After two weeks, a week before my sick leave ended, she came back and social services said they could be returned to her with close monitoring and things *appeared* to be fine. My sisters are not the type to keep things from us if something is wrong or they feel unsafe and at the time, they said things were settled.

For a matter of weeks, things were fine. In October 2018, my younger sister's were placed on the child protection register, at risk of emotional harm from mum due to her being unable to manage her mental health and substance use. She's nasty when she drinks - verbally abusive to us all, emotionally manipulative, aggressive etc so a completely different person to when she's sober, because when she's sober I can't fault her. The younger two stayed with myself and my OH for over a month (OH wasn't working at the time so could be available for them, school runs, etc whilst I worked) and were then temporarily placed in care. During that, she sobered up for 3 months, enough for confidence to be raised in everyone (myself and OH included) and the girls were returned to her. 4 days before NY 2018, she fell off the wagon, drank and it all started again. Since then, the 14yo has been with my 23yo sister and the 12yo was moved to a placement hundreds of miles away as it was specialist (and tbf, ideal for her, I'm very optimistic it's the right place for her). My OH and I couldn't have them this time due to our working commitments (OH finally got a job and we both work 40 miles away from where we live so leave really early & don't get back until late) plus we live with his parents so not a lot of space. I feel like my sister (23yo) and I have done everything we can for our family but it's so hard. We all travelled to the placement to take our youngest sister and stayed with her to help her unpack and leaving her was the worst experience in the world, it's something I could never forgive my mum for putting us through.

As I write this, I've had little contact with her for the last four weeks and when I have had contact, it's just been terrible. Despite all of this, I feel like I don't want her to miss out on our wedding - I know how ridiculous is that after everything she's put me and my sisters through?! Anyway, I text her yesterday with an olive branch, inviting her dress shopping with me, my MOH and my MIL next month because after all of this, I feel that I still deserve something to look forward to and initially, she accepted; she was "honoured" I still wanted her involved and that she loved me. She then text a few hours later, retracting it saying that "it's for your sake I'm saying this, but don't count on me to be there, this is your day" blah blah blah. I just can't deal with this anymore. I said to my OH, I've offered her the opportunity, if she doesn't come and she misses it, that's on her. I want to invite my sisters, but it wouldn't feel right going with two and not the third so decided to keep it small.

I'm currently adamant that our wedding in November this year will go ahead whether she is there or not because we all deserve something positive to look forward to but I can't help but feel sorry for her. She claims she's not been involved in any of the planning and that "it doesn't matter what her input is as the decision is already been made" despite being the first one we consulted, even before his parents, just to keep her pleasant. She's just pushing everyone away and I'm still the mug wanting to be there to stop her being left completely alone.

Anyone else have any issues with their mother? Am I an idiot to want to keep trying to involve her or shall I just leave the ball in her court and let her make those choices herself? Am I being selfish for wanting to enjoy our day without all this negativity?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Engaged - 24/12/2017 at Walt Disney World

I do - 09/11/2019


  • I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this, it sounds incredibly hard and you're an absolute star for stepping up in all the ways that you have. 
    I have some issues with my mother but she has mostly settled down now, and to be honest i try not to think of what she put us through because i know she did it because she was mentally unwell. If i thought long and hard about it i would struggle with keeping things friendly, but this was just how i learned to manage it and protect myself from dwelling in negativity. My sister doesn't see it this way and very much holds a grudge but again, that's how she protects herself from going through the same again. 

    That being said, with you mum still very much being in the throws of her issues you have absolutely no obligation to do more than you have. You have invited her to the dress shopping, and fingers crossed that goes well for you whether shes there or not. If she doesn't turn up, i don't think you need to keep trying. She has had ample opportunity, and actually no parent has a "right" to be included in any or all wedding decisions, that's down to you as a couple so if she feels she needs to be more involved she needs to make that effort and prove you can rely on her. 

    Please don't feel bad if you feel like you want to stop putting out that branch, and if you want to just focus on your day with your sisters and partner and all just enjoying such a happy occasion. You're allowed that, you are allowed to do what you feel is right to protect that. 

    Sending you lots of love and strength <3
  • I'm so sorry you're having to deal with all of this and honestly, I think you've done more than enough to try and help out in whatever way you can.

    I can understand why you still want your mum to be involved, at the day of the day she is still your mum, you still love her and it seems a lot of the problems stem from demons she has inside her that aren't actually her. So I don't think you're silly at all.

    That said, I think you've done as much as you can. You've invited her dress shopping and tried to involve her in other things so all you can do now is leave the ball in her court. I hope, for everyone's sake, she takes the opportunity because I'm sure if she doesn't, she'll kick herself when she's sober. Maybe just leave things on a pleasant note with her by saying you'd love for her to be as involved as she would like/feels she can be and how much it means to you. After that, just leave it. If she comes, she comes and if she doesn't, it's her loss ultimately. 

    In any case, it's hard enough planning a wedding as it is without added stress so deal with her and then just push the negativity aside and try to enjoy what's left of your planning. :smile:

    Fingers crossed it all goes well and you get to enjoy the day you deserve! xx
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