My mother and "one upmanship"

(27 Posts)

I get really annoyed with this. Today I washed my car (inside and out! shock)
and then cleaned the hamster out, both horrible jobs that involve alot of bending over which kills me, pain wise.

I came hobbling into the kitchen absolutely desperate for some codiene and paracetamol because I could feel my back "freezing up" as I like to describe it. Told my mum that my back was starting to go bad. To which she replied "yes mine used to be like that when I was working" I though hmmm and then said "yes well not really like mine though was it" (which it isnt, I have muscular pain due to an extreme curvature of the spine) She then said "well I think it was just as bad!"

Just as bad??
Yes mum, Your back pain from working is just like mine, which is requiring a 10 hour operation to try and relieve it. Mhm yes.

Why can't she just turn to me, just once and say I'm sorry you are feeling so bad and that it hurts so much.
Why does she have to say she has the same, sometime worse!
I understand it is probably just a clumsy way of empathising but I feel the only time she acknowledges this thing wrong with me is when she likes to exclaim how bad it is to her friends for shock value. (I could be being cruel for saying that)

worraliberty Mon 07-Mar-11 21:22:27

You're right it probably is a clumsy way of empathising but none the less very annoying!

Euphemia Mon 07-Mar-11 21:27:50

My MIL is like that: there can never be anything wrong with anyone else that she can't trump.

JamaicaGeisha Mon 07-Mar-11 21:28:11

I find it annoying when people do this as well. But really there's nothing you can do.

YANBU, but best to try ignore it really.

TattyDevine Mon 07-Mar-11 21:29:04

YANBU OP - I remember previous threads about your back, it is very serious. And I recognise that personality trait in your mother - that of only acknowledging it for shock value to friends - that is super famliar to me, a trait my own mother has.

You have my sympathies.

Guitargirl Mon 07-Mar-11 21:32:54

Yes, I understand that. When I have a little moan to my Mum about something she can often be a bit 'pull yourself together' and then I hear her on the phone to her friends telling them about it!

FabbyChic Mon 07-Mar-11 21:34:23

My mother is like this, if I have it she has had it worse. If someone has a problem she has had it before and when she had it it was worse. Always. Gotta be something to do with their childhood and being overlooked for a sibling.

mellicauli Mon 07-Mar-11 21:39:14

Well, my Mum is more competitive than yours grin

(sorry - couldn't resist..I do actually really sympathise because a) my mother has not much empathy either b) back ache is the worst and some people undersestimate how delibitating it is)

I'm probably getting to the end of my tether because I'm due to complete for the house we are buying at the end of this month and I know I'll have my own place again!
Been living with my parents since November last year!

clam Mon 07-Mar-11 21:48:16

My mother does something a bit similar, but it's more of a trumping any "achievement" of mine/my kids by taking the credit for it.
So, for example:
Clam: DD's reading is coming on well.
Mother: Well I always said she was bright.

Clam: Did DS tell you his English exam result?
Mother: Yes, well he gets that from me. English was always my subject.

Father: What nice manners the DCs have.
Mother: Well, look at their grandparents!

Drives me mad.

hugglymugly Mon 07-Mar-11 22:03:06

My mother often told me the story about being warned by both her GP and midwife that her third child would be her smallest. Her three babies (I was the middle child) were 8.2, 8.4, 8.6. So she proved them wrong.

Fast forward to when I had my children, 8.0 and 8.4. When I mentioned that coincidentally my second child had the same birthweight as her second child, all of her babies' birthweights miraculously changed to 9-pounders. The reason? I really have no idea except that I was smaller (shorter and narrower) than her, so presumably did better. I hadn't realised until then that birthweights were a competition.

mellicauli Mon 07-Mar-11 22:22:53

Since November? You deserve a medal.

My Mother told me that childbirth didn't hurt her. It was the 60s and she had used deep relaxation techniques. No, my problem was that I'd always had a problem relaxing (she had a point..I was clenching teeth and feeling quite tense at this point already). No she hadn't been so weak as to resort to drugs. She did have some Pethidine. But the lady in The Guardian had said that didn't work, so it didn't count..

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 07-Mar-11 22:33:36

My MIL is like this with SIL, thank goodness not with me!

It makes me chuckle, because as soon as SIL's problems flare up then within a few days we will have MIL on the phone with some new ailment and saying she's waiting on referral for this that and the other. DH and I just roll our eyes and let her waffle on. If I was on the receiving end of it though it would drive me bananas.

OracleInaCoracle Mon 07-Mar-11 22:38:26

my mum is like this. you havre my sympathy. I cant have a flare up without her ailment being worse. and then Im told to stop moaning ffs!

wannabesybil Mon 07-Mar-11 22:44:48

The weirdest I have seen is this by proxy.

I once dislocated both shoulders (do not try this at home, it hurts and it is impossible to pull knickers up after using the loo). It was a bad dislocation and I had both arms strapped for three weeks.

I was in the local corner shop (now, sadly closed) when someone came in and started gossiping about a frozen shoulder. The lady behind the counter said, 'That's nothing! That poor lady there(me) had her shoulders strapped up for three months.'

I blinked a bit, but it suddenly made a lot of sense of the other tales she had told. She just loved being centre stage with the shock, even by proxy.

Euphemia Tue 08-Mar-11 06:56:33

My MIL, having been a nurse back in Florence Nightingale's day, thinks she knows about all things medical.

When DH told her my dad was having an op to remove a braim tumour (sorry, MIL, that trumps your brain aneurism), and that they would examine it to see if it was a primary cancer or whether it had spread from the lungs, MIL stated "Oh I don't think they can tell that," in her authorititive manner. hmm

Oh well then, let me get on to the cancer specialists in Edinburgh ...

KenDoddsDadsDog Tue 08-Mar-11 07:02:28

Mine is the same as is MIL. Complete top trumpers.
But for some reason my mam has to embarrass me in public as if I am five. Always tells a little anecdote about something I have done wrong.

nickschick Tue 08-Mar-11 07:05:44

My nanna always has it worse than anyone and shes either had (and was lucky to survive it) Fot it (and she feels like death warmed up) or its coming and she can tell its gonna be bad.....she has been known to compare her corns to testicular cancer.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 08-Mar-11 07:17:07

My Mum is like this, you have my sympathy. By chance there is the same age gap between my children that she has with my brother and I so I'm not allowed to complain ever as she has been through it. She conveniently forgets that neither my us had SN of any type, she didn't have a MIL who had a long fight against cancer abroad which meant DH jumping on planes, whilst I was looking after my flipping mother after her hip op and had to deal with my Dad having cancer at the same time , plus DH was ill. Anything she can't top she trots out 'well at least you have a supportive husband' as her trump card.

Not only this but if I tell her about a friend's divorce we always get back to her relationship with my Dad that finished 18 years ago. How she's got to the age she is without me killing her I don't know. Huge respect for living with your Mum, that would finish me off!

HecateTheCrone Tue 08-Mar-11 07:49:23

You know how you deal with that?

"Really? How awful. Did your scoliosis improve significantly after your ten hour operation? I am a bit nervous about having mine. Perhaps you can tell me how it feels to have an operation on your spine for extreme curvature. Let me know what to expect. Shall we sit down and have a cup of tea and you can tell me all about it?"

2rebecca Tue 08-Mar-11 08:11:42

In our family we shout "topper" when anyone starts immediately trying to "top" someone else's achievement etc.
With illnesses it can be a clumbsy way of empathising to convey you know yow bad whatever it is can be. She maybe thinks "poor you" sounds a bit trite and condescending.

differentnameforthis Wed 09-Mar-11 02:12:00

My sister is the same. There is nothing that she can't 'better'!

My dd had swine flu. Then her dd got it. Apparently (because I only have her word for it, because she is in UK, I am in Oz) her dd was very ill, almost on death's door if my sister is to be believed.

My dh always says, 'if you broke one leg, she'd break 2'.

Now I don't even bother.

Refer her to this

HecateTheCrone Wed 09-Mar-11 07:09:01

Oh I LOVE that!

Quoting a bit of that at her would be fabulous

dawntigga Wed 09-Mar-11 07:18:53

My mother use to hold my life as a total competition with her - it made me very adversarial around other women for years. In the end I'd just say 'Really?' if I'd accidentally mentioned something, I'd try to avoid any subject that actually involved me. I'm glad she died before The Cub was born or it would she would have used that as her biggest point of competition ever.

And no, I don't miss my mother, I never really had one - if you miss yours I'm totally jealous you had that kind of relationship. I didn't.


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