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

manicbmc Sat 12-Jan-13 23:15:47

It's understandable that it pisses you off because you have to do it. How is she if you prewarn her you can't call the next day if you're busy or away or something?

Euphemia Sat 12-Jan-13 23:15:48

Have you suggested to her that you call less frequently? What does she say when you don't call?

MarilynValentine Sat 12-Jan-13 23:16:47

YANBU.

That sounds really difficult sad

Calmly tell her you'll call her every other night, hold your nerve when she kicks off, stick to it until she accepts it?

laalala Sat 12-Jan-13 23:18:05

My mum expected this off of me for ages, managed to cut it down to every other night. Still annoying though, my life's not interesting enough to have new stuff to say all the time!

LisaMed Sat 12-Jan-13 23:18:11

When my mother had terminal cancer I used to ring up for a listen every night.

What I actually did was go, 'hmmm, uh-uh, hmmm, dear me, hmm...' while playing patience games on the computer. Games have moved on since then, and I suggest that you do something like play patience, iron while on hands free, invent emergencies that mean you have to get off the phone when your head is about to explode - basically you owe it to yourself to keep as much sanity for as long as possible.

Good luck!

CleopatrasAsp Sat 12-Jan-13 23:18:48

No you aren't no being unreasonable. Bereavement is terrible and it must be horrible to lose your spouse but, as adults, we are responsible for our own happiness and your mum has had four years to start to build herself a life without your dad. You are not responsible for making her happy.

Start to wean her off the nightly telephone calls, gradually reduce them to an amount you feel comfortable with, don't do things out of guilt. Whatever you do do not move her in with you - you will never have a free life again and I suspect it wouldn't make her happy anyway.

Kleptronic Sat 12-Jan-13 23:19:30

YANBU Gymbob YANBU.

I am sorry you are under such pressure to support your mother. I expect you have your own things going on, quite apart from grief for you dad.

JeeanieYuss Sat 12-Jan-13 23:21:27

Maybe see if she'd be okay with every other night?
I know it must be hard but she must be lonely, has she got any other family that could step in to take it in turns with you?

I guess in the grand scheme of things she won't be around forever, is a phone call that much hassle?

volvocowgirl Sat 12-Jan-13 23:21:41

No, YANBU, and I don't think you're helping her either.

Sometimes a dependancy on someone close like this can be more damaging than good. It may feel like an awful thing to do but I think you need to take a step back and get her involved with some or all of the following people:
GP
Practice Nurse
Cruse Bereavement
Local Mental Health facilities - some areas have drop in and outreach workers who will speak to you about it as well
Health Trainers
Also some Public Health / Health Promotion services in some areas have bereavement specialists that may be aware of programmes that could help support your mother.

Also you need to look after yourself (and possibly talk to some or all of the above about this) as this is obviously effecting you.

Good luck!

JeeanieYuss Sat 12-Jan-13 23:23:53

I forgot to say I'm sorry for the loss of your Dad.. : (

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 12-Jan-13 23:25:41

Hmm it's understandable that it's annoying but would you really let your mum go days on end without speaking to anyone? Or even a whole day with no other contact with anyone? I ring my nan everyday as I don't want her to of not gone all day without even a hello, it's not hard I do it while MNing or doing the dishes and just Mmm and hmmm and oh that's good, would hate her to be sat there thinking well isn't my life just shit and no one doesn't bother.

Gymbob Sat 12-Jan-13 23:32:25

bless you all for your quick replies. if I tell her I can't call tomorrow she goes into a decline and apologises for being a nuisance which makes me feel worse.

TotallyBS Sat 12-Jan-13 23:32:52

I call my 80 yr old mum every night about 9ish when the kids are in bed and the adults are winding down with a glass of wine.

It's just a 5 min call to share the latest news about her grand kids, what we had for dinner, what's on the tv. Just mindless chat.

To me it's just 5 min out of my day. Considering the years of hardship she endured raising us, it is no big deal to me.

DumSpiroSpero Sat 12-Jan-13 23:42:51

I can really understand where you're coming from.

My mum still has my dad, but I am also an only child and she expects some sort of contact every day and a weekly visit.

99.9% of the time, I'm more than happy to do it, but it's just the feeling of pressure and expectation if occasionally I'm not in the mood that gets me down. I know I'll get shirtiness or guilt-trips and it does make me resentful tbh.

Does your mum use a mobile at all? I do manage to get away with exchanging a few texts now on 1 or 2 days a week.

It's a bit of a no-win situation though, isn't it?

spiderlight Sat 12-Jan-13 23:44:13

I called my mum every day until she died 7 years ago. I would give anything to be able to call her just once more. I can understand that it must be difficult when you feel that you have to, but it sounds like it means so much to her just to be able to touch base with you every day. Does she have any other family or friends around? She does need other people in her life as well but a couple of minutes every day can't be that big a sacrifice, surely?

Gymbob Sat 12-Jan-13 23:51:36

I should add that age concern have done an amazing job and she is out in town every day or out with friends for lunch. the only day she stays in is Sunday. I do understand that she is lonely at home and very quickly I was advised to help her by refusing to do her shopping for instance and making her come with me.

I know she's lonely and I know that she waits for my call every night but it still grinds on me.

and no it's no real hardship is it but sometimes I am busy and forget the time.

I know I will have regrets one day and most of it is about keeping my conscience clear. my mother has never been a mother to me I am sad to saysad

Gymbob Sun 13-Jan-13 00:00:28

thank you all for being so lovely and not judging me too harshly.

I do understand that when mums die you would give anything for a last phone call. I envy all of you who have or have had wonderful relationships with their mothers. I wish that could be me

monstermissy Sun 13-Jan-13 00:06:03

My neighbours daughter phones her everynight around 10pm, I know cause my neighbour is very hard of hearing and her ringed is a special super loud one, sometimes she wakes the kids up cause she talks so loud down the phone. It's the only time her phone ever rings tho and I know she is glad of it. Don't really know my point except your not alone there are many children doing the same.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Sun 13-Jan-13 00:07:26

i don't suppose you are being unreasonable.

but i was worried that you might be my daughter. sad

InNeedOfBrandy Sun 13-Jan-13 00:07:46

Maybe think of it differently, think of it as that thing you do when you have your last cup of tea, or when you first sit down so it's not a ffs have to ring her, and MN while making appropriate noises in the right places.

It's just like washing the dishes it has to be done.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Sun 13-Jan-13 00:09:32

my mum's in a nursing home at the moment but i phone my dad most nights. sometimes i forget, if i've worked very late. but i try to ring him. he's living alone and might not speak to anyone else. he's 80.

CleopatrasAsp Sun 13-Jan-13 00:34:41

Don't be made to feel guilty by the 'I would give anything to speak to my mum brigade'. Unfortunately, not all of us have happy or easy relationships with our parents and people who do just don't understand that. It's quite different to have a mother that is actually interested in your life and who is positive and upbeat and not relying on you to be their life - of course we'd all be happy to ring someone like that. However, it is horrible to feel the pressure of being someone's whole life and to constantly have to listen to their negative view of the world when they won't get any help, it is an unfair burden and a caring mother wouldn't want that for their child, they would try to make themself a life.

Don't encourage your mum to look on you as her sole emotional prop, it isn't good for her and it certainly isn't good for you and if you don't stop it now then it will only get worse as she gets older. That's not to say that you abandon your mum or anything like that but slowly wean her off her complete reliance on you. We are all different and we all chose how we behave. I know 80 year olds who are full of life and enjoy every day and I know others who were old and miserable at 60, often this is simply a result of their own choices about how they view life. Life is short, don't feel you have to make other people happy all the time at the expense of your own happines. As women we have this drummed into us from birth and it's both sexist and unfair.

MovingOnNow Sun 13-Jan-13 00:42:45

Hi, my dad died very recently and not always having had the greatest relationship with my mum, yeah I am finding it a bit tough too. Luckily I am one of five though and everyone is doing their bit to keep her company. Is your mum any good with technology. I see mine about twice a week but iam always emailing over pics and just general chit chat on email, even late at night. A daily phone call would kill me though, she doesn't mean to but my mum drags me down and she always has. It's a hard time for everyone when someone dies.

Gymbob Sun 13-Jan-13 09:26:50

thanks all. she can't really look after herself very well. she cant change a light bulb or put batteries in anything. she doesn't clean or wash her clothes and has been depressed for at least 40 years. she only lives 10 mins away but I only go round if I need to sort out some thing.

she just drags me down to her level even the kids avoid her. she comes for tea once a week and we can't wait for her to leave.
she won't take her medication so it is very hard to be around her. she still won't accept my dad is gone and the house is still full of his stuff. his coat and hat are still on the chair. psychs say further help is pointless as her thought processes are not normal as she can't understand or accept it.
I will keep ringing of course but I hate it the long silences are painful when there is nothing to say 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.

Chottie Sun 13-Jan-13 13:29:48

Gymbob you sound a really lovely, caring daughter. Please look after yourself too. If there anyone else who could visit her or chat to her? Does your local church have a 'befrienders register' of people who go and chat to older people or take them food shopping?

Does she like reading? do you have a library service who could deliver books to her? I'm just trying to think of some things that your mum might like and would take the pressure off you a little.

When you ring, could you say, this is just a quick call to update you on the news and give her some family news. Then ask if she has any news, listen if she says yes, if not say ok and goodbye.

<applauds berthathebogbleaner>

Why is it so difficult for people to understand that not everyone's Mum is wonderful like their own? I have a fantastic relationship with my Mum and nothing would be too much for her. But i'm not so totally blinkered that I don't realise not everyone is this lucky.

Have those piling the guilt trips on the op even read her posts?

bootsycollins Sun 13-Jan-13 14:11:49

Why presume that those op's are piling on the guilt? Their just saying how it is for them, their personal feelings and situations I don't perceive it as guilt tripping at all. I've got a difficult mother who delights in game playing, guilt tripping and the ability to make herself the centre of attention at every opportunity. She's a big fan of manipulation and attempting to cause extreme panic and worry eg "I've decided to get tested for cervical cancer, sometimes it's symptomless...........they call it the silent killer".

I've been there with the awkward repetitive conversations, time consuming and BORING!. I have no relationship with her at all, she sent me a card 4 years ago saying how I never make the effort to contact her etc so it's best to say goodbye. She'd have expected a big gushing reaction off me which she didn't get, by sending that card she'd given me a reason to totally fuck her off without any big argument. A get out of jail card that I grabbed with both hands. I do think about her every now and then but I can honestly say that I don't miss her. My parents divorced when I was a baby and i was raised by my dad, my mum never played a big part in my life so it's no big loss for me or my children.

Yanbu for wanting to kerb the phonecalls, I totally understand how draining these exchanges are. My advice would be to use rationality as your weapon, only thing is you can't reason with the unreasonable so just put up a mental protection barrier before you speak to her, grit your teeth and pepper the conversation with lots of upbeat positive fridge magnet quotes "well you know what they say mother a woman is like a tea bag, you only realise her strength when she's in hot water". Make a deal with yourself to not under any circumstances be dragged down to her level of perpetual misery. Don't sympathise with her, bombard her with suggestions to cheer herself up. If she says something ridiculous laugh and say "mother that's ridiculous". With any luck she might run out of steam in the face of such positive adversity and target another misery recipient. Some people are not happy unless their miserable, that's their lookout it doesn't have to be yours too.

CleopatrasAsp Sun 13-Jan-13 14:34:22

bootsy I get what you're saying as I am the same - unguiltable (not a word I know but you know what I mean) in this way. The problem is that a lot of children of dysfunctional parents do suffer from FOG - fear, obligation & guilt - and find it very difficult when society at large piles even more of it on them with the expectation that we should all just love our parents regardless of whether they are worthy of love.

I believe that people (apart from children) should earn love and respect and not just expect it and/or demand it due to a blood tie.

CleopatrasAsp Sun 13-Jan-13 14:43:08

I also believe that people who come on threads like these and berate the OP for being uncaring under the guise that they are more caring because they would do what the OP is finding difficult are actually being very unkind - to the OP.

streakybacon Sun 13-Jan-13 15:07:22

The expected norm is that mothers are kind, loving and have their children's best interests at heart. It can be difficult for some people to accept that some just don't fit that ideal. If you haven't been undermined and manipulated by a parent for forty odd years it can be hard to imagine what that feels like and how it affects feelings towards a parent. As you said Cleopatra, respect is earned and if some parents just don't put in that effort, it's very hard for their children (of any age) to give that respect.

bootsycollins Sun 13-Jan-13 15:26:02

My dh's female relatives love the emotional blackmail approach, so transparent and hilarious. Doesn't work on us but they must have a success rate on some individuals because it's a tactic that they use often to attempt to manipulate a situation to their want. Totally agree with you Cleopatra about the love and respect needing to be earned. Bloods thicker than water, but so is yoghurt.

CleopatrasAsp Sun 13-Jan-13 16:08:38

Thank you streaky and bootsy I'm glad some people see it like me - sometimes it's like there's a tidal wave of sentimentality out there. grin

meddie Sun 13-Jan-13 16:24:31

Can I join your club too Cleo. I feel exactly the same way about mine and too have become unguiltable now. Its very liberating.
OP there's no easy way to cut down the phone calls until you accept that their will be tears and tantrums, but the end result will be less expectation and pressure on you , so will be worth it.

CleopatrasAsp Sun 13-Jan-13 16:29:36

meddie you certainly can, we should create a Mumsnet quiche or something. A few years ago I realised that more 'selfish' people actually had a lot more fun and enjoyed themselves a whole lot more than people like me that had always tried to do the right thing - often towards people who were wholly bloody ungrateful! So now I am a little more 'selfish' than I was and whole lot happier. As you say, it's liberating. grin

Gymbob Sun 13-Jan-13 23:02:30

Thank you all for your support. those of you who are critical of me - that's fine, it's good to get so many opinions. Those who are critical obviously enjoy a great relationship with their mums, and i would have given anything to have a 'normal' mum dare I say, who i looked up to and respected and aspired to.

My mum is neither controlling, nor manipulative nor anything really. the mother, daughter relationship has been reversed in our case, and she wants me to make every decision for her, down to what card to send and what to write in it. She just isn't really capable of a proper life on her own, she just exists. Her mental health problems just exacerbate it all. she's not capable of a proper conversation due to her MH. she isn't capable of doing any jobs in the house, she wouldn't be able to read a book, she couldn't do any hobbies as she wouldn't be capable. she really is like a child, with the mental abilities of a child of maybe 8 or 9.

Streaky I am so sorry for the difficult relationship you had with your own mother, thank you so much for sharing that.

Bootsy Again, I'm so sorry for your relationship with your mum too. My DH would like me to wash my hands of my mum - he calls her an oxygen thief and hates her - it's a shame as she has never done anything to him, but unfortunately she brings it all on herself, she just can't help it. you're right about the 'misery recipients' though - that made me laugh. Her siblings have had enough of her permanent misery and stopped contact with her.

cleo thanks so much for your kind words and support

pandemonia and yellowdinosaur and mrs amaretto thank you for being so understanding

meddie think i need lessons in how to become 'unguiltable'. Like the sound of it, but am defo suffering from FOG as cleo mentioned.

andtheycallitbunnylove yes I think i do think little of my mother, i wish i didn't, but she has never been a mother to me. I'm sure she tried but her MH means she was never capable in the first place. I envy the obvious relationship you have with your own mum.

Have to go now, wanted to thank you all personally but must go. Have done my phone call tonight. took the dog for a 20 min walk and called her while i was walking, she was so pleased to hear me. I survived, and this thread helped me a lot, thank you all

Gymbob Mon 14-Jan-13 22:20:52

Dear chottie thank you for your kind words. to begin with she was very isolated, and wouldn't go anywhere, but Age Concern were fab. This amazing lady started taking her out into town in her car to the churches where the oldies meet and listen to other oldies playing the piano etc. Then the lady met her at the bus stop and travelled on the bus with her, then she met her on the bus, then met her as she got off the bus, then finally started meeting her at the venues. My mother didn't even notice what she'd done. anyway, she goes on her own now and meets other people there. but as for books - no way could she read or do a hobby. she doesn't have the mental capacity.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Mon 14-Jan-13 23:03:38

I cut my mum down to twice a week and it hurt her so much.
yes. i'm sure it did. it would hurt me very much if my daughter did that. though i've cut my own mother off completely a couple of times. i don't know what to say to ease your daily suffering. don't suffer? its gone now. if she's gone where i think people go, she'll be so happy and love you so much it just won't matter any more. i had a near death experience. it was convincing and reassuring.

I envy the obvious relationship you have with your own mum.
nope. mymum was put into a drug induced semi coma in 1986 after a schizophrenic episonde during which she tried to kill her father. when she came out of hospital she had no interest in me and my child. our relationship ended there. her body has been around ever since, in various states. i have no feelings for her, except a general concern for a vulnerable old person i'm vaguely connected with. i hated the way the hospital overdosed her recently and then tried to polish her off with the liverpool care pathway. i'm glad the care home is a bit better and wish they would understand that actually, no she can't eat a ham sandwich, it needs to be cut into tiny pieces or she'll choke. she's off drugs at the moment, which is nice, because she's forgotten that she thinks i'm having an affair with my dad - she's thought that more or less since i was born. no, that's you mum. you and your dad not me and mine.
i had a close and loving (if volatile and interrupted by her mh issues and dominating nature) relationship with my mum from birth to the age of 29 (ish). then i lost her. she was dead to me. i grieved, it took years, because her body was there, churning out hateful lies. she probably wonders now why we aren't close, if her mind has gone back to the times before the worst of the drugs.
nothing to envy here, gymbob, not in my relationship with my mother, anyway. i am very grateful that my daughter is kind to me.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Mon 14-Jan-13 23:04:24

episonde? lovely. episode.

mum2bubble Tue 15-Jan-13 01:16:20

I can't pass on any advice I'm afraid as I'm in a very similar situation. My dad also died 4 years ago. My mother has suffered with severe depression her entire adult life and grieves terribly for him. I have an older brother, but we have different fathers and he lives abroad, so the burden of responsibility has fallen to me. I phone her every single morning and every single evening and yes, it is sometimes a real bind, depressing and plain inconvenient. But it has just become part of my daily routine. I do it mainly because she is 83 now and, although relatively fit, suffers from very bad dizziness. Essentially I'm checking to make sure she hasn't fallen down the stairs etc. We haven't had a family holiday since my dad died for fear of leaving her without support while we are away. So, like I said, no advice - but wanted to let you know you are absolutely not alone. x

mum2bubble Tue 15-Jan-13 01:31:02

One thing about my situation is that I am determind to make provisions for my own old age so that my daughter won't ever feel burdened. I come from a more independent generation, have lived alone for many years in the past and am quite capable of being self-sufficient. I know that this has not been the case for my mother. This is the first time she has ever had to live alone, and that in itself is a huge adjustment at her age without factoring in grief as well.

bootsycollins Tue 15-Jan-13 01:31:03

Gymbob do you think that given the circumstances sheltered accommodation or a nursing home might be a viable option?. How much responsibility for herself is she capable of? It sounds exhausting!. What I'm getting at is does she WANT you to make everyday decisions for her or NEED you to? (sorry about capitals don't know how to bolden text). Her mh sounds really really difficult to deal with, you know that you've done your best in the given circumstances and that's all anyone can do so drop the guilt. I really wish I had some useful practical advice for you!.

Bunnylove that's so awful and sad for you and your mum.

mum2bubble Tue 15-Jan-13 01:32:05

determined

ComposHat Tue 15-Jan-13 02:31:00

Gymbob You have my absolute sympathy. Feeling worn down and angry is only normal. I think you need to detach from the situation as there is nothing you can do to help your mum. You need to live your own life, grieve properly for your dad. I am not sayingh abandon her but cut down the contact, get her used to the idea not to expect a call every night. if she phones you let it ring out.

my parents (and so be extension me and my sis in childhood) had to deal with this from both of their mothers for 30 years.

My Gran has mild dementia and can ring 15 to 20 times a day wanting my dad to drive 20 miles to change the tv channel for her. She has always been selfish and as dementia has set in she can be quite manipulative and turns on the waterworks at will. if you called her 40 times a day it still wouldn't be enough.

in the end my parents let the calls ring through to answermachine so they could check she was okay and it wasn't a medical emergency (although she got wise to this and tried wailing and heavy breathing to get the response she wants.)

To preserve her own sanity my mum will see her on a regular week day and phones every other day otherwise I think she'd have ended up in an early grave.

curiousuze Tue 15-Jan-13 05:09:31

Hear hear streakybacon and Bertha - it never ceases to amaze me that people can't understand that not all mothers are created equal. My mum died 4 years ago and I haven't missed her at all, because of our awful relationship. That said, when she got ill I started phoning her every day, until she told me to stop it because she didn't want to speak to me that often! I for one don't dream of 'one last phonecall' because I never had a pleasant phone conversation with her in the first place.

curiousuze Tue 15-Jan-13 05:10:26

Whoops I meant to bold you streakybacon and bertha. Ugh.

balotelli Tue 15-Jan-13 06:18:36

My MIL rings my DW up to 4 times a day and the calls last anything up to 60 minutes. She only lives 4 miles away and is mid 60's.

I have now disconnected the phone at the weekends so DW can have a lie in and we can have some decent family time.

Unfortunately some parents do need a lot of tlc. Is there a sibling who can take some of the burden?

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