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DM laying on the guilt(6 Posts)
Long story, but basically I have a difficult relationship with my mother. She's always been hard work and has a long history of making me feel guilty and having read some of the threads on here, I'm beginning to think that she is a narcissist. She also has long-standing mental health problems which have resulted in in-patient stays several times. She's in her 70s, a widow and not in the best physical health.
I live in the same small town as her. She expects me to call her at least every other day but sometimes I forget - full time job, busy with DC, other stuff to do, etc. She has recently had an operation which meant that she hasn't been able to drive. I've run about after her, taking her shopping, to hospital appointments etc for which she hasn't been very grateful. On Thursday she had a follow up appointment with the consultant which she's already made me feel bad about because I couldn't get the time off to take her to (70 mile round trip). Anyway, I know I should have rung her that evening to find out how it went, but I forgot. We were going out and I literally had about 45minutes from getting back from work to cook some dinner and get ready before having to go out of the door. We've also been out Friday evening and all day yesterday daytime and evening. Anyway, I called her tonight to be told that she was 'astounded by me, my lack of compassion and concern was appalling' because it was the first time I'd checked to see how she got on. She seemed to forget that I have spent the last six weeks running about after her. She then spent the next twenty minutes talking all about herself, how the Dr thinks she's amazing, all her friends think she's fantastic. Not once did she ask how we were.
She's managed to make me feel like a really crap daughter. I'm not even sure I like her very much as a person any more. She's very entitled, is rude and spiky - when she was in hospital, she was so rude to the staff that my brother had to apologise and give her a talking to about being nice to people. There is an awful lot more to tell, but it would take ages to write it all down. I can't go no contact, We live in the same small town. I have one sibling, but he lives 200 miles away and doesn't stay very often. How do I deal with her?
Take a leaf out of your siblings book. Distance yourself. Be busy busy busy.
Why did you listen to her for twenty minutes? Why did you listen at all when she came out with that astounded nonsense? A normal mother would have been worried about you. A normal mother would have phoned you to see if you were OK.
Sounds like my DM, who is similarly entitled to the world on a stick, so she thinks. I decided many years ago to punish her bad behaviour with quiet removal of myself as an audience. "Some one at the door mum, have to go. Get some rest. Bye." Do not wait for her response. Just hang up. No way should you confront directly nor should you put up with it. Remove yourself firmly and quietly. It works.
Doesn't thank you for running around after her: don't be available next time.
Rude to you on the phone: end the call and skip your next call. Etc, etc.
Don't reward the bad behaviour with more attention.
How ill is she?
Did your brother bother to ring her?
Do you think some of this is because she is scared? It's not fun getting old, having things go wrong with you and being on your own.
DB has been on holiday abroad for 2 weeks and didn't get back until Friday I think. He probably didn't know about the appointment anyway. He is allowed to get away without the almost daily calls because a) he lives so far away, b) works in a demanding job and c) he is male and she has made it clear many times, that caring for relatives falls squarely into the female camp.
She's not seriously ill in a life threatening way (don't want to say too much incase I out myself) so I don't think she's scared. She has neighbours who look out for her - they offered to take her to the hospital when I couldn't get time off.
She's always been the type of person where everything has to be about her. As a child/teenager she used to make me feel really guilty if I didn't kiss her goodbye everyday before school, saying that I'd be sorry if she died/walked out on us/got run over by a bus because I wouldn't have had the chance to say goodbye one last time. I'm not a huggy, kissy type of person at all as DH will gladly testify.
I'm not sure how I can withdraw without the shit hitting the fan. She'd have no problem running me down to people. It's a very small town and she works where I used to work. Moving away isn't an option. I'm just so tired of all the drama. Since DF died 18 years ago there have been unsuccessful suicide attempts, £40k debts on credit cards that nearly made her bankcrupt and hoarding so much that the house is an utter tip. I'm sick of having to sort her crap out. I'm so envious of friends who have normal, healthy relationships with their DPs.
My DM is very similar and always has been. Last week I was contacted by the hospital to come and get her as she was so unpleasant to the staff they were not prepared to tolerate her any longer. She was in for respite after a fall so not actually ill. She's been tested for dementia but doesn't have it she is just unpleasant.
I'm having to limit contact, the fall out is horrible but something has to change as I'm mentally and physically exhausted. I suggest you consider doing what you need to do.
'I'm so envious of friends who have normal, healthy relationships with their DPs.'
I hear you. It really hurts, doesn't it?
It sounds to me like you are certainly doing your bit. It also sounds like she's the sort of person for whom nothing is ever good enough. Its exhausting and demoralising. My parents are similar and I've had to detach for my own sanity.
I know you're worried about possible fall out as you live in the same town as her. It may be the case that she will talk you down to other people, but that is just likely to make her look bad, rather than you. Remember that no-one outside your family knows the whole story of just how demanding and unpleasant she can be, so even if they did make a judgement about the situation, it would be ill-informed.
As others have said, dealing with someone like your mother is absolutely exhausting and you need to take care of yourself and set boundaries.
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