Together we will beat cancer


Mum has cancer and is so angry and bitter

18 Oct 2021 16:59

My mum was diagnosed with a degenerative illness about 15 years ago, 2 years after that she was diagnosed with cancer. She was also incredibly ill from chemo and on one afternoon when I visited, I was asked to go in to the ‘family room’ where I was told how ill she was, that they were moving her to ICU and that they were hoping to bring her round within 24 hours otherwise things were looking bad for her. I was on my own in that room and I was about 22. It was quite traumatic. Fast forward to now, I’m 35, I have 3 stepchildren (2 of which have learning difficulties) and I live 2 and a half hours away. My mum now has stage 4 cancer. My mum is a very very different person to what she used to be. We used to love shopping and dinners and chats and painting nails. She’s now angry and bitter and sharp and rude. She blames me for a lot of the way she feels (she goes through phases where she will also blame my older brother who has never had much communication with my parents). She will often tell people I don’t care, that she’s disappointed in me, that I hurt her more than anyone. that I make no effort and that my sister in law cares more than I do. She has pushed a lot of people away including her own twin sister and will also blame them - saying they don’t care. It is hard to ever discuss anything with her as she will always bring it back to herself (if you say you are tired her response is generally ‘how do you think I feel?’). I am fairly newly married, we changed our initial wedding plans because she said she couldn’t come otherwise. The guilt and grief we received before we made changes was chronic and caused an awful lot of heartache for my husband and I. My brother experienced similar a couple of years ago, however they did not make changes. He has since had a baby and this seems to have influenced my mum to feel much more positive towards him. I have also suffered from challenges with my mental health for about 18 years. Over the last several years I have started to put boundaries in place with regards to communication and contact in order to try and keep myself mentally safe. The guilt I now cary for my mother is huge, that I have made things worse and that I have not been good enough. I am aware she doesn’t like me very much and I know I can’t change this. I continue to send pictures of where we live, our home improvements, my husband and I and our dog and children. I never get a reply. When I do call her she ends our conversation quickly and I cannot remember the last time she told me she loves me. I’m sure I sound awful. I just needed a safe place. 

Mum has cancer and is so angry and bitter

18 Oct 2021 17:28 in response to MillD

I could have written your story. My mum has always been difficult but when she got cancer she turned into a monster. Out of all her children I did the most to help despite severe mental health problems and living 100 miles away. I even spent 4 days with her for her first chemo session. My mother and stepfathers relationship is toxic and I've suffered because of it for 35 years. We found out some shocking things such as her having written my stepdad out of her half of the will and having nearly £100000 in the bank despite her saying she couldn't lend me a few hundred pounds more for my divorce from an abusive husband so basically I got an unfair settlement. I had to listen to my mother ranting every day about how awful my stepdad was being despite him doing his best and when I said we were both upset about the money and the fact she was basically being abusive - she said we were disgusting, that our feelings should be locked in a box and it was all about her - that because she had cancer age could do and say what she wanted. Even after she was successfully treated - when I found out my best friend was terminal at 46 the first thing she said was you didn't seem this upset about me!


I ended up having a severe breakdown and was then punished by my family simply for begging for a bit of space. My mother has apparently being telling people I have BPD and it's all due to my mental health - nothing to do with her appalling behaviour and my emotionally abusive childhood lol. She will never take accountability for anything and has no empathy for others. My brother refused to meet with me and I am not allowed to see my young nephew and niece as although I went crawling back - I have since broke contact with my mother after she wouldn't meet me 5 minutes yo the road despite me willing to make the 200 mile trip.

It has taken me nearly 3 years to realise my mother is an emotionally abusive, manipulative person where it's always about her. Fear, obligation and guilt kept me trapped because I'd been conditioned since childhood. My much older mother in law is dealing with cancer for the second time and the contrast in her behaviour is mind blowing.

My step sister divorced our family when she was 14 due to how awful things were.

Please know you are not alone. Your mother is wired up wrong and if she can't behave like a decent human being despite being poorly then that's her karma if she pushes those that care and try to help away. I know how paralysing the fear and guilt can be but it's all due to your mother bit having a maternal bone in her body and you are NOT a bad person if you decide to walk away.

Mum has cancer and is so angry and bitter

18 Oct 2021 17:36 in response to MillD

Hi, so sorry to hear what you're going through it sounds really unfair. I don't have the best relationship with my mother and it's particularly difficult now she's terminal. I'm so envious of all those forum members who talk fondly about their mothers. I totally understand your situation mine is very selfish and manipulating and having cancer has magnified this behaviour. Sticking to boundaries is vital, I love my mother but I don't like her very much. I'm having some counselling to talk through my feelings and hope you may have this as an option. Stay strong, remember it's your mother who has a problem, not you xx

Mum has cancer and is so angry and bitter

18 Oct 2021 21:17 in response to FezzaHorton

As a child it was good, as a teenager it became more difficult, then in to my early twenties things just progressed terribly. I have been envious for a long time of the relationship my adult friends have with their mothers. The one I have has tainted the relationship with my dad, brother and grandmother. It's hard. I do love my mother yes, but she is not a kind person anymore. I know she is partially a product of her illnesses, but I also know that her behaviour has always existed...for example I am a serial apologiser due to always saying sorry to make 'things better'. 

i have counselling in the past, I have just this week decided to visit this again. I have worked on guilt for a long time and know I need to continue to do so. 

when I was looking up references to the difficulty I have with my Mother, I struggled to find much. thank you so much for making me recognise I'm not on my own. 

Mum has cancer and is so angry and bitter

18 Oct 2021 21:19 in response to

Your words have made me feel far less like I'm on my own. I feel like discussing my mother being such a difficult person and her also having cancer is such a taboo thing you know?? 

Mum has cancer and is so angry and bitter

19 Oct 2021 01:44 in response to MillD

Oh bless you. I've read loads over the years but it's still so hard to emotionally get that it's not me that's the problem. These toxic mother's do taint everything because it infiltrates everything in your life and damages your relationship toveryone who is too afraid to disagree with them. They know how to play the victim and control and manipulate everyone around them. If you Google narcissistic mothers or emotionally abusive mothers that might help gradually clear the fog. I'm going through a grieving process as I recognise my mother refused to let me follow my dreams, manipulated me into splitting me up from my first love and I daren't have children because I was afraid I wouldn't love them because I never felt she loved me. She is now manipulating my brother to not see me or let me see my nephew and niece and it's hard to reconcile that kind of evil with a mother whose supposed to love you.


My childhood was idyllic apart from my mother until age 9 when she got pregnant to my dad's best friend. I felt like I lost everything and we we were plunged into poor housing, poverty and my mother and stepfathers terrible relationship. She didn't protect us from any adult problems and the only complaints and anger were allowed to come from her. 


Part of me still loves her but she's not a kind person either. I too am triggered by tales of lovely mothers and feel like a bad person but am starting to recognise that no one, not even a mother should be excused for abusing her child. I was under the mental health crisis team for months and she just didn't care. My own brother was on holiday near me and he refused to visit saying I was vindictive and it was because I couldn't cope with her cancer. When you're a conscientious, introspective person this fills your head with more self doubt. I recently reached out to my brother to tell him our cousin had tragically died and it ended with him saying mum wasn't the problem and that I'd dumped him and the kids?! He then blocked me. All I can do is send the kids gifts every month and pray I'll resume a relationship with them in the future. My other brother said I was trying to turn him against mum even though he'd complained about mum's behaviour to me! When push comes to shove no one will dare say anything to her so she is constantly enabled.


It's good to realise we are not alone. I too had counselling recently. It was the thing that finally gave me the strength to walk away. Until then I didn't even realise I had a choice. It's time society stopped blaming daughters. No one goes through the agony of walking away unless something is seriously wrong x