To not want to ring my mother every single night

(72 Posts)
Gymbob Sat 12-Jan-13 23:13:36

My dad died over 4 years ago and ever since I have rung her every night. Tbh she spent months trying to move in with us so it could be worse. she has mental health problems that are so long standing they are untreatable now. She also suffers from abnormal grief which means she will never come to terms with losing my dad. She refuses to move and just wants him back.

Please be honest am I being unreasonable to not want to ring her every night. I prob won't stop anyway as I am an only child but I am 50 years old and very pissed off with the pressure and the bollocking I get if I don't sad sad

How old is she?

Gymbob Sun 13-Jan-13 09:35:40

hi movingon sorry to hear about your dad. this is bad but I wish it was my dad who was still here.

my mum doesn't understand much and would be frightened of a computer but glad yours is computer savvy that must make it a little easier to communicate when talking is too much

Gymbob Sun 13-Jan-13 09:36:51

she is 76 soon

CMOTDibbler Sun 13-Jan-13 09:44:39

How about managing the phone calls? Sit down, call her and say 'mum, just thought I'd call before I pop out/gas man comes/serve up dinner' and give her 5 minutes, then cheerily tell her you have to go. Don't feel guilty, and if you can't call some days, just let any comments roll over you - which is easier said than done I know, but is essential for your mental health.

And when people give you the 'oh, I'd give anything to hear my mum again' thing - thats true for them, but as someone who speaks to their mum with dementia and whom a sentence is hard going, its a very different thing indeed

Gymbob Sun 13-Jan-13 09:46:18

thanks Cleo. I don't know how I can get her tea visit down to less than once a week it doesn't seem reasonable much as I would love to. I try to call her when I am walking the dog late at night so I am preoccupied

thegreylady Sun 13-Jan-13 09:50:39

My best friend is 58. She is expected to call her mother (86) every night at 9.30 and in addition her sister is expected to visit her mother every other day and her brother does the alternate days. My friend doesn't live near her mum so only visits once a week.
They all complain yet none of them will do anything to change matters.
I am another who would give anything for one more phone call. I cut my mum down to twice a week and it hurt her so much. I regret that every single day-my mum died in 1993 so it is coming up to 20 years ago.

AnnIonicIsoTronic Sun 13-Jan-13 09:55:16

How old are your kids? Could you share the burden with them?

I guess she's too old for a smart phone? If she was tooled up & savvy, could you replace some phonecalls with picture message SMS (look at this great picture ds drew etc etc). I know my granny likes pics for bragging right with her friends.

ChristmasJubilee Sun 13-Jan-13 10:01:14

I phoned my Mum or she phoned me every night about 9ish for over a year. It was a little bit different as she couldn't often get out (unless I took her) and I live an hours drive away and work full time. She had a lot of visitors and other people phoning her but, I know, looked forward to hearing from me.

There were nights when I was busy (3 dc's to put to bed) and I could have done without the interruption and sometimes felt irritated and under pressure. She died last year and I'm really glad that I took the time and didn't suggest to her that it was to often. It was when I got no answer to my call and she didn't call me that I knew something was wrong.

I'm sorry that you have not had a good relationship with your Mum and realise that may make you feel differently. It must also be hard being an only child. I would try to go with it if you can.

SpicyPear Sun 13-Jan-13 10:01:29

Gymbob I'm not sure what to to advise but just to wanted to jump on and say that you shouldn't be feeling bad about not wanting to speak to her so much. Cleopatra speaks sense. Your DM sounds a lot like my DGM and it is nothing like dealing with a "normal" mother. It is so so draining to an extent that my DF calls once a week and rarely visits. But he has siblings to share the load so I cannot imagine how hard it is for you to shoulder this responsibility. Do you think you could work towards a point where you could miss the odd day when you really don't feel like it? Maybe try to disengage a little from the drama when you don't call?

MIL would be like this if she could. She did try to move in on us 11 years ago after FIL died, but we had no room, and couldn't do it, especially as we'd just moved in any case.

Her phone calls are a minimum of 30 minutes, on a good day, but due to her wanting early bedtimes, and the DCs activities, we have calls about 2-3 times a week. DP has no problem with limiting calls. She's a lovely lady but actually talks so much she can't have a conversation, she talks at you all the time, even if you're watching TV.

streakybacon Sun 13-Jan-13 11:07:58

Gymbob I feel for you. Your mum is being selfish and taking you for granted - I had the same with mine in much the same way. From leaving home at 23 I was expected to phone her every evening, even when I was out with friends (long before the days of mobile phones so it wasn't exactly easy). I could bore you to tears with her expectations but it boiled down to one thing - she made me responsible for her feelings of self-worth and was able to do so because I wasn't confident enough to stand up to her and refuse to play her games. I wish I'd had what it took to change things because it continued right up till she died at 80 (I was 49 sad).

You've had some good advice here but I do understand how hard it is to break the cycle, as someone who was trapped in it myself for years and never found a way out. Whatever you do you run the risk of making your relationship worse so it's difficult to make changes. For me, I reluctantly took the attitude that it was only five minutes out of my day and would just put up with it, but then I'd stew over it in my head and couldn't forget it, and I'd end up whinging to other people about it so the misery was passed on and on. It didn't make her happy that I'd called, she would be grumpy and angry that I hadn't enough interesting things to talk about and sometimes she'd sit in silence at the other end with nothing to contribute - the whole interaction was my responsibility and dreadfully hard work. And if I did have something to tell her she'd be jealous that I was having a life and she wasn't - I simply couldn't win. I came to the conclusion that I could never please her, no matter how often I phoned or however much I did for her, and perhaps your mum is the same. You say she has MH issues and is still grieving for your father, so it's possible she's in a similar place. It's true that she's responsible for her own happiness and peace of mind, but she's also taking responsibility for yours and that's really not fair.

For those who wish they could phone their late mums again, please remember how very lucky you were to have had such strong and positive relationships - not everyone is as fortunate and it really doesn't help to make the OP feel guilty by comparing her mum to yours. I would love to be like you and miss my mother but when she died all I felt was relief because she'd become such a needy, self-obsessed burden who cared for nobody but herself.

Good luck Gymbob.

thebody Sun 13-Jan-13 11:09:56

So difficult for you op and just wanted to offer sympathy. I think this sounds like an insoluble problem really as your mum obviously doesn't want to move on and you can't make her.

Cleopatras response is spot on I think.

thebody Sun 13-Jan-13 11:12:31

Streaky that must have been so difficult. Hope you are ok now.

Gymbob Sun 13-Jan-13 11:14:27

grey lady how awful for you. that's what I am afraid of. I want our relationship to end with me having a a clear conscience and cutting down contact won't do that. she really wants to move in and says 'I'll just sleep on the sofa tonight' I have already cut tea down to just once a week and that makes me feel bad enough.

it is so sad. I can't imagine what it must be like to actually WANT to be in your mothers company

My dad died almost 3 years ago. Only in the last 6 months have I cut the calls from 7 days a week to 6 or maybe 5 .
I know it can be tedious but actually I just let her tell me what the weather has been like today and I tell her what I am cooking for tea. It doesn't have to be a long in depth conversation and often I am doing something else at the same time.
I just think one day it might be me.

NamingOfParts Sun 13-Jan-13 11:32:22

Gymbob - I'm sorry for your situation and for the loss of your DF. Dont let your mum move in unless you want her to. Moving in with you will not make her happy or even less unhappy. You will simply be a constant witness to her unhappiness.

Dont apologise and dont explain why she cannot move in with you.

The suggestions to cut down the length of the phone calls and then their frequency are good ones. Would a pattern of daily 5 minute check in calls ('Hi mum, just checking you have everything you need, got to go now, bye') followed by a weekly longer call (say 30 minutes with timer on your end) work for you?

Whatever, work out a pattern which works for you and then stick to that. If she phones you then a very quick, 'sorry mum, I cant talk now, bye'. Again, no explanations.

I dont have a close relationship with my DM and understand your ambivalent feelings.

MrsAmaretto Sun 13-Jan-13 11:46:25

It's really hard, my mums been like this for 22 years (my father died when I was v young). Her dependency is stifling. The tears, tantrums and guilts are fucking ridiculous & I'm angry with her family for not interfering when my siblings & I were kids & teens. She refuses to discuss therapy.

So you must cut down on the phone calls, start gently, maybe once a week say that you won't be phoning tomorrow, and take it from there. I now phone once or twice a week, but it still feels like an obligation, but that's because her dependency has ruined our relationship.

Oh and ignore people who try to make you feel guilty by mentioning their dead mums.

Bilbobagginstummy Sun 13-Jan-13 11:54:05

What about her ringing you? That might bring its own issues, but at least then she wouldn't be sitting there waiting for you to ring and she might feel a little more in control (and the hope would be that she therefore felt less needy).

HollyBerryBush Sun 13-Jan-13 11:59:15

I find these threads so sad sad

Me too Holly.

So sad that this woman wasn't a good mum to her daughter, and that the OP has lived her life without knowing that lovely mum-daughter relationship (from the child's perspective obv, she's prob enjoying it with her own children!).

So sad that this woman is still refusing to help herself and dragging her daughter and grandchildren down.

So sad that so many people are trying to make the op feel guilty.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Sun 13-Jan-13 12:16:08

and that so many people think so little of their mothers that they can't spare them a few minutes each day.

comingintomyown Sun 13-Jan-13 12:27:07

maybe with good reason

Branleuse Sun 13-Jan-13 12:32:55

i think its not a huge responsibility or burden to call her every day given the circs , its not as if she's in a rocking chair in your front room.
however it wouldn't hurt her to be less stroppy if you couldn't manage it, and id hope That it wasn't always an hour long.

Pandemoniaa Sun 13-Jan-13 12:48:39

and that so many people think so little of their mothers that they can't spare them a few minutes each day

I don't think this is helpful or constructive. If you read the OP's posts properly you will see that there is far more to the problem than simply not wanting to spare her mother a few minutes each day. Also, she feels guilty already for wanting to cut these stifling conversations down. Piling more guilt onto her won't make things any better.

You are in an extremely difficult situation, OP but I think it is not unreasonable or uncaring to try and gently cut down the number of times you call her every week. I realise this won't be easy though but ultimately, you are in a better position to help her other issues if you can get a tiny bit of breathing space.

SpicyPear Sun 13-Jan-13 12:50:02

Some of these posts are really unhelpful. Being a mother doesn't automatically make you a saint. It's disgusting to lay guilt on the child of bad parent.

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