Reader Married To A Class Act writes:
I've been married 25 years, have four children, and we are approaching empty-nestdom, and Mother's Day has consistently left me feeling resentful toward my husband every year. When the kids were little he'd put very little effort, if any, into the day. He's told me in the past that I'm not his mother, and he's not supposed to honor me on this day. Some years he's given a card or flowers or made dinner but with an incredibly bad attitude so I would know how difficult it was for him.
At the same time, he expects me to honor his mother, although he doesn't do the same for mine, and we've spent many years doing what his mother would like for the day, since the in-laws live near us. Some years I have planned something nice for the entire extended family to do so I'd feel like I had had a nice day with my kids. My kids are older now, and my 20-something daughter coordinated the other kids to take me out for brunch and then hang out together for the afternoon, which made me incredibly happy... they are really sweet and thoughtful kids. And my husband posted an incredibly sweet post on Facebook to the woman who has always been there for him and for his kids... his mother. Not me, his mother.
I'd like to get over this. I'd like to feel like my husband appreciates me, and I'd like to not feel like I'm competing with his mother for his appreciation, especially on Mother's Day. It makes me feel petty to begrudge her son's appreciation and ungrateful for all the good things that happen to me on this day. How do I get to the point where I don't feel slighted by my husband on Mother's Day?
Your husband and his mother sound like a pair of narcissists. Usually when men don't want to celebrate holidays, it's some stupid thing like, "That's a Hallmark holiday," to which you should rejoinder, "And blowjobs are just in porn." Now your husband is a narcissist of a different stripe, because he celebrates the damn holiday, but makes it all about his own mom and not the mother of his kids.
There is no universe in which this sort of behavior would not point to a larger scale problem with your husband. He is extremely stubborn and self-centered, as well as unempathic. His mother is likely the same, or else she would have scolded him long ago for being so rude to you about this. I am guessing his dad either left or was a really dysfunctional parent, and he has canonized his mother for raising him on her own, and then he compares her to you, who has the wonderful gift of him as your partner, and thinks you don't deserve recognition as much as his mom. I've seen this dynamic many times in therapy. And if I'm wrong it can't be by too much, because if he had a functional and kind dad, that person would also have set him straight about being a jackass about Mother's Day to his wife.
I suggest you get your husband into counseling to discuss his self-centered nature and whether he can change for this marriage, or else throw yourself into other aspects of your life and detach emotionally from this scenario. You should also explore what in your early life led you to be subconsciously drawn to narcissists. Your own therapy could be helpful in this regard. You deserve better than this sort of passive aggressive rude treatment by a person who is supposed to love you.
Good luck, and keep me updated. Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says Or Just Buy Yourself a Girls Trip To A Tropical Island For Mother's Day Next Year.
This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family. Learn about Dr. Rodman's private practice here. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.