‘It was a relief, although it made me cry too’

Juliëtte broke off contact with her mother. With that she took Yfke (7) andNinthe (5) from their grandmother.

Juliette (34): “My mother is a complicated woman, perhaps that sums it upbest. There’s not one thing I don’t like about her, it’s a whole host of badsides that have led to us not seeing each other now. It was actually a longtime coming. My friends have told me so many times that they would have pulledthe plug long ago, but it is my mother and I only have one of them. So I keptforgiving her, over and over. Until last Christmas.

Put salt on every snail

I don’t know if she drinks too much. Well, my father also liked a drink, onlymy mother had a bad drink in my youth. She was fine for the first two glasses,then everyone around her started walking on eggshells. She put salt on everysnail, exploded for nothing and scandalously crept into the victim role. Idon’t remember how many times my brother and I were told that we loved ourfather more than we loved her. Well, it was a reproach that touched me verymuch as a child, perhaps because it contained a kernel of truth. My father wasmuch nicer than her.

Always in the foreground

My mother is verbally very present. Always in the foreground; I used to beashamed to death on a regular basis. She can’t listen either. When you tellher something, you see her searching for words to tell her own story rightthrough. Most of all, she is very busy with herself.

“When you tell her something, you see her searching for words to tell her> own story through it”

When my father died suddenly nine years ago, his funeral was more like ‘TheGreat Annet Show’. She had no eye for the grief of my brother and me. Sheplayed the grieving widow, all in black, with huge sunglasses and crocodiletears. I didn’t find her grief believable. My father and she had been in amarriage of convenience for years.

At the drink after the service she drank a bottle and a half of wine. She gotinto a big fight with my father’s brother on the spot; it was too embarrassingfor words. ‘Take good care of your mother’, my uncle said when he left themourning center emotionally. I took those words seriously. Now that my fatherdidn’t do it anymore, I had to make sure she didn’t completely derail.

In trust

I missed my father terribly. My mother’s grief was over the day after thefuneral. She started dating; Not a month went by without her hooking anotherguy. I didn’t want to meet them; it was a pattern that it didn’t last even aweek. She blamed me for that: didn’t she also grant me my happiness with myfriend Niels?

A year after my father’s death, I was pregnant. I had told my mother inconfidence because it was so early, but that afternoon I receivedcongratulations from all quarters. She had trumpeted her about becoming agrandmother and didn’t care that we wanted to keep it a secret for a while.’I’m going to be a grandmother’, that’s how she brought the news, not’Juliëtte is pregnant’. That choice of words typifies what she is like.Everything revolves around her.

Niels and I wanted to keep the gender to ourselves, as a surprise foreveryone. That became for my mother with a drink another reason for a bangingargument. She felt left out, she cried. In the end I gave in. I had no energyfor her whining.

Also read – Lara broke off contact with her mother: ‘I couldn’t take hercriticism any longer’ >

To watch out

Even during my pregnancy she made it clear that I should not think that shewould babysit, she also had a life of her own. I hadn’t intended to ask her atall; it also regularly happened that she already had a glass of wine at lunchand then got into the car with a sip. Just the idea that our kid would be inthe backseat with her gave me panic attacks.

“You don’t want to argue with my mother and that’s why she gets away with a> lot”

Yet, when Yfke was born, she criticized me for seeing her far too little.Niels’ parents did babysit one day a week and she was clearly jealous of that.Not on the watch out, but on the contact. It made her mean. For example, shewould have Yfke on her lap and she would say in a cooing voice: ‘Yes, ofcourse you don’t recognize Grandma Annet, do you? Grandma Annet barely gets tosee you.’ I let a lot come over me, just like my father always had. You don’twant to argue with my mother and that’s why she gets away with a lot.

break contactmother

New friend

Three years ago she ran into her current boyfriend Goos. Just like my mother,Goos likes a glass of wine and their relationship is cracking. They can rageagainst each other and the next moment they are kissing deeply again.

When they come to visit us, I always have to recover afterwards. They startone discussion after another and, the more they drink, the louder and moreindiscriminate they talk. Not infrequently they get into the car with twicethe legal amount of alcohol in their blood. And they’ve already left arguing afew times, leaving me in tears. It eats energy.


Last Christmas I invited my mother and Goos. My brother was also there withhis children; I intended to make it really fun. Days before I had been busywith the shopping and I had gone to great lengths in the kitchen, evenhandwritten menus on the perfectly laid table.

My mother said nothing about all my efforts when she came in. Even during themeal I didn’t get a single compliment about my cooking. She did talk a lotabout her renovation and she regularly asked if there was still wine. Shedidn’t care about the grandchildren at all. When Ninthe got a little grumpyafter dinner, my mother snapped at me to put her to bed. I thought of mymother-in-law, who in such a case would have gone upstairs with hergranddaughter to read and tuck her in at length.

The breaking point

‘How awful she is’, my brother sighed when our mother and Goos were smoking inthe garden. Those words were a breaking point for me. Horrible: she was, yes.And coincidentally also my mother, but that didn’t mean I had to let her makeme unhappy any longer.

“Just because she was my mother didn’t mean I had to let her make me unhappy> any longer”

Entirely according to tradition, the evening ended with a fight. That night Ihardly slept and the next morning I made it clear to my mother in a long emailthat I don’t want to see her anymore. It was incredibly relieved, although itmade me cry too. I have not received a response to my email. I have insultedher to the bone with my rejection.

I find it very sad that I have taken from Yfke and Ninthe their grandmother,but I saw no other option. Strangely enough, they hardly ask about her. Idon’t miss my mother, it hurts me that I never had a mother who is also therefor me and my children. That my in-laws are such sweethearts makes up for alot. Who knows, the contact will one day recover, but for now I think it’sokay; she gave way too much noise on the line.”

This article appears in Kek Mama 08-2022.

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