or should I cut elderly DM some slack?

(24 Posts)
FreakinScaryCaaw Wed 03-Feb-16 00:28:36

Long story short, I was talking to my DM on the phone tonight and got chatting about an old friend. She asked about the dcs and I mentioned her eldest son has a nice boyfriend. She then got on to mentioning dcs cousin who is also gay and said, "Yes but the other cousin is alright though". I said they're both alright, what's gay got to do with anything? She said 'hmmm if you say so'. I said I have to go and abruptly ended the conversation.

She does irritate me a lot. She has no real friends and I know it's because she doesn't have great social skills. I'm terrified of turning into her but I do have plenty of friends up to now.

Her dp is pretty ignorant and makes homophobic and racist jibes. I tend to visit when he's at work. He's younger than dm hence of working age. I had though perhaps his views are rubbing off but she's been with him years. I know she was never homophobic before so am wondering if it's age related? Perhaps dementia?

I'm going to try to take note and not get annoyed as it will do no good. wishful thinking.

It's so hard though as I ring her every day and visit often.

Sorry this is all garbled I'm really tired and should be in bed.

FreakinScaryCaaw Wed 03-Feb-16 00:29:52

Thought* not though.

Right off to bed.

Nanny0gg Wed 03-Feb-16 00:52:11

Define 'elderly'.

CandOdad Wed 03-Feb-16 01:04:43

If it helps my fil (65) thinks it's odd that it's no longer acceptable to pat a woman's backside etc. As well as using choice words in private that I would never repeat.

No point in discussing it since he will never change his mind.

Italiangreyhound Wed 03-Feb-16 01:09:08

You will almost certainly not change her views so I would not worry too much now. Just enjoy the time you have with her and do not let her views upset you too much. She is entitled to her views but you don;t need to agree with them.

I loved my dad dearly but he held some racist views. I have to make sure that those views do not ever get passed on to the next generation.

It may well be your mum did not express views on homosexuality because she did not know she knew any homosexuals a long time ago!

Interestingly Nanny0gg elderly seems to mean not always what one might imagine. I had thought it meant older than old, but it seems to be less old than old!

"eld·er·ly (ĕl′dər-lē)
adj.
1. Being past middle age and approaching old age; rather old.
2. Of, relating to, or characteristic of older persons or life in later years.
n.
1. pl. eld·er·lies An elderly person.
2. pl. elderly (used with a pl. verb) Older people considered as a group. Often used with the: special recreational programs for the elderly.
el′der·li·ness n.
Usage Note: Elderly applies to the stage of life well past middle age. When used as a noun in referring to older persons in general, it is relatively neutral, denoting a group of people whose common characteristic is advanced age: policy issues of special interest to the elderly. However, when used as an adjective in describing a particular person, elderly has a range of connotations that go beyond the denotation of chronological age. On the one hand it can suggest dignity, and its somewhat formal tone may express respect: sat next to an elderly gentleman at the concert. On the other hand it can imply frailty or diminished capacity, in which case it may sound condescending: was stuck in traffic behind an elderly driver. Regardless of other connotations, a phrase such as the elderly couple in the second row suggests greater age than if the couple were described as older."

www.thefreedictionary.com/elderly

Littleoakhorn Wed 03-Feb-16 08:49:13

You can be both polite and firm about not wanting to hear bigoted views. I interrupted SiL mid rant about "effing" immigrants to point out that she's the granddaughter of an immigrant. Her nasty views haven't changed but she won't air them in my presence again. It's a bit different in your case because she's your mum, but there's no need to disagree via an argument, just be clear and polite.

cleaty Wed 03-Feb-16 08:53:53

My gran who lived until her late 90's, stopped using homophobic words because she was constantly reminded that it was not okay. She may change her views, she may not. But she can learn that it is not okay to say anything homophobic in front of you.

BlondeOnATreadmill Wed 03-Feb-16 08:54:03

You're never going to change her. Just accept her as she is. People have a right to be phobic to whatever they like. You can't make her like gay people. She doesn't. It's her right to like and dislike whatever category of people, whether it's PC or otherwise.

Hihohoho1 Wed 03-Feb-16 08:57:40

She's entitled to her views and you are entitled up yours.

Just cut her short and refuse to discuss or leave/cut the call if she's upsetting you.

Seriously if everyone with homophobic or racist views had dementure there would be an electronic of dementure.

Avoid her bf though he sounds an idiot.

Brokenbiscuit Wed 03-Feb-16 08:57:42

Well, she is your mum and you should cherish the relationship while she is still around.

However, I hate it when people make age an excuse for homophobia, racism etc. My parents are both in their seventies and my dad's pushing close to 80, but neither of them have a bigoted bone in their body. It isn't "normal" for that generation iyswim.

You mentioned dementia. Are there other aspects of your mym's behaviour that make you think this might be an issue?

You also mentioned that your mum's partner is racist and homophobic. I know that you say she wasn't homophobic before, but it seems unlikely that she would choose to spend her life with someone with such horrible views if she wasn't at least sympathetic towards them. Maybe she just feels more able to express her views now?

I wouldn't cut contact but I would challenge her and I make it very clear what views she could express within hearing of my DC.

StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Feb-16 09:02:56

C and I at 65 that's not age related that's just him being a wanker!

BlueJug Wed 03-Feb-16 09:06:02

She didn't say she didn't like gays - she maybe does not like your brother's boyfriend and didn't want to get into a discussion about it - especially if you have form for "challenging" her.

She said the cousin was "alright though" you can read that as "in spite of being gay" or you can read it as "compared with DS" or you can read it as a speech filler.

The "if you say so" is a classic remark meaning either "I'm right" as you want to read it, or "Not this again - not going to engage" (frequently recommended on here often in the form of "smile and nod, smile and nod"

Who wants a chat about the weather and the rellies to turn onto a haranguing! The fashion for "calling someone on something" - and then telling people how virtuous you are by doing so, (AM NOT saying this is you OP), is tiresome.

She is your Mum. You presumably love her for being your Mum, (or not - don't want to assume either way). Just have a chat about what you want to chat about.

VoldysGoneMouldy Wed 03-Feb-16 09:29:59

Age is no excuse to be racist or homophobic. My grandad is 89, in the early stages of what we are pretty sure is dementia, and still talks very happily about the times he's watched the Pride parade.

Keep challenging her. The more we excuse behaviours, and give excuses, the more they will continue.

OldFarticus Wed 03-Feb-16 09:34:51

I have no advice, but my DM is just the same and getting worse. The presence of a gay couple at a family wedding prompted an eye roll and "they're not gay - it's nonsense. They just think it's fashionable". DH and I winced, but our usual approach when she drops a "hate bomb" is to talk very animatedly about something else to distract her. Yep, just like with DC.... (it works though!)

Occasionally we rib her about being "radicalised" and she usually tones it down a bit after that.

acasualobserver Wed 03-Feb-16 09:35:54

Her nasty views haven't changed but she won't air them in my presence again

This probably the best outcome the OP can hope for.

AnUtterIdiot Wed 03-Feb-16 09:43:36

My DM was always a very accepting and open-minded person but she is very against gay marriage. "But why do they want it?" "But why do they need it?" "But they have civil partnerships and I don't have a problem with that" "Marriage is one man and one woman" etc etc.

I'm not sure whether she has changed or whether society's moved on or whether I just had no idea she felt this was because gay marriage was barely on the mainstream horizon when I was growing up. I'm totally baffled by her attitude, and very surprised given that she taught me to be committed to equality for everyone, but I cannot change her mind and it's best not to try.

Tigerblue Wed 03-Feb-16 09:51:44

My Mum isn't easy. We had a massive fall out a few years ago and have just about got things back on track, the way I've done this is by accepting she is how she is and having to be careful how I deal with her, but she's certainly not easy, and as you say I worry I'm going to turn into her.

She does means well, but she's very opinionated and always seems to be looking for an argument rather than a discussion. If someone would actually like to get to know her(!) she says she won't go out for coffee or the day with them as they're trying to latch onto her. It's very hard to deal with.

She's due here this morning, she has a problem and it's the only time she asks to come here (other than if we invite her). She'll moan about it for an hour, not letting me get a word in edgeways. When I can eventually speak and volunteer to phone or write a letter, she then ignores me or says I haven't got time. I dread it.

LarrytheCucumber Wed 03-Feb-16 10:02:22

My DM is 89 and although she has changed some opinions over the years it is rarely because of anything I have said. She is more likely to take note of more 'enlightened' people of her own age.
I think you probably just have to bite your lip.

Stumbletrip40 Wed 03-Feb-16 10:11:37

it's unpleasant, but I wouldn't fall out about it. It's much less than ideal but I'd use it as a discussion point with my DC about racism/homophobia if any of these things come up in front of the DC about what used to be somewhat common sentiment in the 60s etc and is unacceptable now, they're not going to go through their whole lives without hearing this sort of nonsense, you know she's saying discriminatory stuff, you're not likely to come round to her way of thinking!

gotthemoononastick Wed 03-Feb-16 11:00:15

Do not reply or get into such discussions with her.
Think of how the world has changed and goalposts have been moved (in a relatively short time) for older people.

gotthemoononastick Wed 03-Feb-16 11:05:36

Thou art thine Mother's glass...

uglyswan Wed 03-Feb-16 12:05:39

The gay rights movement has been around since the sixties. She's had over 50 years to adjust.

FreakinScaryCaaw Wed 03-Feb-16 14:03:27

She's over 80 and honestly was not at all like this hence worrying about dementia. She was so liberated. In fact still is in some ways.

She's never met nephew's boyfriend. They're on dh's side and live abroad. My brother isn't gay someone got the wrong end of the stick there.

I think I'll just be on the lookout for signs.

I'll have a word with dsis and db see if they've noticed anything?

Thanks for your input I was really upset about this last night.

FreakinScaryCaaw Wed 03-Feb-16 15:36:22

I rang DM and she apologised and said she doesn't know why she said it? She said she felt lousy (Ill) and can't understand why she said it? I didn't bring it up it was the first thing she said.

Am relieved in one way but also still worried.

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