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Tips to become more tolerant of my mother

(98 Posts)
eisbaer Fri 22-Nov-13 17:16:23

Just that, really. My mum irritates the living shit out of me. I can't articulate why, apart from really petty stuff(eating her breakfast while phoning for a chat, ignoring my requests at my house not to and carrying on doing my laundry etc). I know as a 37 yr old I should be able to overlook that and think on it all kindly, but every time she comes to stay I turn into Kevin The Teenager. So does anyone have any tips or recommended reading that could improve my behaviour towards her? I don't have the time or money for counselling or therapy. Ironically, she was much harder on my sister growing up, is more or less solely responsible for her ongoing eating disorder, and yet she seems to be over it and to be able to interact with her adult to adult. It makes me miserable and I cry every time we part because she is 72 and, well, who knows how long anyone has but obviously you want her twilight years to be happy and for her not to feel like a constant source of irritation to her daughter! I know she may always irritate me, but how can u handle it better? Anyone?

eisbaer Fri 22-Nov-13 17:17:21

Sorry for typo, am 8 mths prg(not helping tolerance levels)

whereiseveryone Fri 22-Nov-13 17:19:30

Watching with interest. I have a milder form of the same irritation!

brettgirl2 Fri 22-Nov-13 17:28:00

Does she live far away then? I think that's hard, my mum's fine but we would drive each other mad if she came to stay. Could she stay at a hotel or would that offend her (my mum would prefer it)

MildredH Fri 22-Nov-13 17:31:28

I know this may seem odd but when my mum irritates me (frequent)
I try to remember that one day she won't be here and I'll miss her terribly.

eisbaer Fri 22-Nov-13 17:32:13

I suppose I want someone to come along and say "that was me five years ago, I changed x,y and z in my thinking and now I can be much more civil towards her. What I don't get is that I can tolerate much more unreasonable/interfering behaviour by others and let it go, see the bigger picture, but every tiny thing with her just gets my goat! I can't fathom why anyone could choose to have a conversation with her, she doesn't listen and butts in over everyone with totally random pish. Have decided to take steps to change it though, which I guess is progress. I envy people who seem to function as adults with their mothers.

eisbaer Fri 22-Nov-13 17:38:09

Sorry, x post, she lives about 2 hrs' drive away. No way could I suggest a hotel, that just wouldn't do. But you may have a point. My aunt and uncle drive the same distance(yes she drives to me to help with childcare. I know how bad and ungrateful I am!), but they seem to get that there is no room to swing a cat, never mind stay over, so they use their vouchers for a hotel stay. No hard feelings, just see that we prob need space after kids are down. So maybe the lack of room exacerbates things, I recall she didn't do my head in as much when we had a spacious open-plan flat. But we also had fewer kids then, all factors I guess. I will try reminding myself she won't be here forever, seem to be all too aware of that once she goes, but at the time it's as if a switch flicks and I am in stress mode!

DIYapprentice Fri 22-Nov-13 17:39:40

Have a think about some of the things that annoy you, and then try to work out WHY they annoy you. Some of them may just be because SHE is doing them, others because ANYONE doing them would be annoying/upsetting.

If it's something that would be annoying from anyone, then be firm with it. If it's the eating while on the phone just breezily say 'oh you're busy, call me back when you're finished eating' and then hang up without waiting for a response. If it's the laundry, then take the laundry off her, gently steer her out of the room where the laundry is and say 'I said LEAVE it mother, you are not my hired help'. (This one is a lot harder, but then I'm the one who gently manhandled my mother out of my house because I didn't dare leave her in it without me present and I had to go out - she wanted to stay and do some housework for me while I was out.)

If it's the things that are only annoying because she's done it, then hopefully without the other annoying things you will be able to tolerate them more.

If you she really won't stop doing things in your house, and you don't want to have to physically stop her, consider installing door handles with key locks and then lock all the rooms that you don't want her going into. A bit hard to do the laundry if you can't physically get it out of a bedroom, or out of the washing machine!!

Vivacia Fri 22-Nov-13 17:44:44

I think you've got the answer in your first post. You respond to her as a Child to a Parent. An Adult-to-Adult interaction might be healthier. Try googling Transactional Analysis?

eisbaer Fri 22-Nov-13 18:03:58

Yes adult to adult would be way healthier! I will google it. And I am going to note each thing that pisses me off and try to identify why and if it would annoy me if anyone else did it, hard though that may be to envisage. I need to stop reacting in an angry, aggressive way too, just say calmly what I will and won't put up with.
Lots of it is older person stuff though. Like..not listening to anything anyone says and butting in with some mindless story about something that happened to the butcher's friend., or similar. That's something that drives me nuts. Mind you, if my MiL was like that I should try to copy how I'd cope with it from her because I would just have to.

You do not mention your Dad, is he still a part of your life?.

Its not so much your behaviour towards needs to improve so much as hers. It sounds like she has no concept of boundaries whatsoever.
With regards to yourself, you are going to have to raise your boundaries a lot higher than they are currently because these people will take a mile if you give an inch. Does she actually come into your home and do your laundry; does she have a key?. If so, remove that from her. If she cannot behave she cannot see you.

At 72 as well, she could well live for another decade or two yet. What about you, why do you seemingly put her happiness above yours?. This is partly why she's been allowed to get away with such rubbish for so long. She has no idea or perhaps even cares that she is a constant source of irritation to you. You've come to realise as well that your mother's relationship with you is dysfunctional.

Re this comment:-

"Lots of it is older person stuff though. Like..not listening to anything anyone says and butting in with some mindless story about something that happened to the butcher's friend., or similar".

I would think that on further reflection you would come to realise that she has always been like this (so her behaviour can't be put down to just age. Your sister perhaps just agrees with everything your mother utters now to keep the peace. If I am reading this correctly as well, your mother is responsible for your sister developing an eating disorder.

I would have a look at the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages as the resources at the beginning of that thread could well help you. You state that you have no time or money for counselling but taking time to look at those resources could be a start for you. BTW BACP are good with regards to counselling and do not charge the earth.

eisbaer Fri 22-Nov-13 18:42:25

My dad died 16 years ago. He was pretty irritated by her much of the time and I wonder if my being angry and ratty towards her "keeps him alive" in a way. Also, consciously, I'd far rather be like my dad than my mum so I think I almost ham it up to ensure I don't resemble the quietly controlling, passive aggressive parent. think you are bang on about my sister who has, by the way, spent thousands on counselling re her body image, low confidence etc. I suspect I harbour anger twds my mum on her behalf as I have always been her protector and my mum is utterly baffled as to where her low-self-esteem and unhealthy r'ship with food and poor body image should stem from. Though I am far harder on my mum, I would say I have a far more honest relationship with her than my sister now, who just stays at arm's length. But I think I need to find a third way, as the guilt and self-flagellation following a visit is v. harmful! I thought the stately homes thread was more for people from outwardly loving homes who were abused in some way?

Stanislas Fri 22-Nov-13 19:16:20

I would have killed for a DM who did my laundry without asking. And ironing and cleaning the oven and washing the kitchen floor......

MoonHare Fri 22-Nov-13 19:30:12

eisbaer I read your post with interest.

My Mum drives me crazy too. She's so self centred and self serving (she does have positive qualities too). But I am right with you on the irritation during phone calls, my Mum often eats while talking to me "It's OK MoonHare it's a one handed job" is what she says, she talks always for exactly an hour (because that's how long the call is free for) on times/dates that are most convenient for her, is frosty if for some reason I hadn't answered the phone when she had said she would be calling, she also talks for most of the hour about random people she is acquainted with who I have never met, there's always someone who has upset her in some way and she goes on about that. Often it's not even what she says but what she doesn't say or the way she says it, anyone once else listening would think it perfectly innocent and wonder why I was upset but she knows how to needle me in a passive aggressive way.

When she's in one of those moods (I can tell instantly by the way she says hello) then I find the way to make the calls work for me is to try to monopolise the conversation myself going on about my children/my friends or to ask lots of questions about the members of my family who live near her.

In spite of the above I am actually feeling much less irritated by her than I was approx. 18 months ago when I was also pregnant. I really do think being pregnant reduces your capacity for tolerance, plus there's something about being about to produce a child that makes you reflect on your own childhood and the sort of parenting you received. My Mum has her good points but overall she wasn't the best at parenting young children.

I think once your pregnancy hormones calm down you'll find it easier. The other thing for me was that (while I was pregnant) she and I had a huge row, started because I could not hold back and told her some home truths. She was being really mean about my long-suffering Dad and that's what made me snap. We didn't speak for 3 weeks, then she phoned me, she did not mention our row (nor has she ever since) and did not apologise but she has been much better and made more of an effort with my children since then. I now find I can take a deep breath and let most of it wash over me, because yes, I will miss her when she's gone.

Maybe you could take a deep breath and tell her how you feel (not 100% of how you feel but enough to get the point across) and then leave her to think it over for a while???

I have lurked on the 'stately homes thread' and the backgrounds of most posters on there do seem so much more extreme than mine I would feel like a fraud joining in.

eisbaer maybe we could start our own support thread - "My Mum drives me crazy by eating on the phone"!!??

bubblesmonkey Fri 22-Nov-13 19:37:05

If you find an answer I'd love to know. My mum irritates the living shit out of me.

eisbaer Fri 22-Nov-13 19:43:19

Moonhare- great thread title...I'm in! Preg hormones have much to answer for, you're right. But I will try your technique of twisting convo round to mutually relevant topics and see how that goes.
Stanislas- I hear you, but I have actually said to her before, I'd rather not come home on my work days to a pile of ironing, washing to hang out when there's no room and it's raining, so I save my laundry for the days I don't work, but if you want to help me I'd love someone to clean my kitchen floor/dust the lounge or similar. Totally ignored that request and kept on with the laundry, ruining a batch of whites and my AP undies in the process. But I get your point and am fully aware that I am lucky to get this help, it just feels so intrusive and panics me somehow.

Spookey80 Fri 22-Nov-13 19:45:06

My mum also irritates me. I used to be so close to her, but she can now seem a bit self centred and every time I ever try to talk to her about something in my life concerning me, she just brings it back to her, so I lose my patience and don't bother telling her anything.
It's a shame, because of course I love her, and she helps us out a lot with the kids, but I too can just pick up the phone and tell from her voice that it will be an annoying conversation.
...however I of course love her and when I get snappy with her I always feel guilty,,so it's not worth it ,,therefore is try to be patient and just let these annoyances go over my head. ...she's my mum after all.

eisbaer Fri 22-Nov-13 19:45:59

I tried to tell her that I would like to pick my own plants for our garden in the new house, and that to me it felt a bit like her choosing to colour scheme in a room in the house, which caused considerable awkwardness, but she took the point on board. So maybe you just need to have that awkward spell before a change in dynamic.

MoonHare Fri 22-Nov-13 19:57:57

Well, my Mum is due to phone tonight, I put her off yesterday because I was just so tired I couldn't face an hour long conversation. I'm not really looking forward to tonight's but I can't put it off any longer.

I think that thing about 'adult-adult' is so true, I too often end up playing the child, if I try to do 'adult' though she often reverts to child herself. However, eisbaer the fact your mum took on board what you said about your garden - letting you know she wasn't pleased about it of course! - does show that when you do take the adult role she really has no choice but to respond.

It sounds like you mean too much to each other for her to be the type that would cut you out if you were a bit stronger with her.

I know my mum would never cut me out (who else could she go on about to about the wife of my Dad's friend who supposedly snubbed her if she cut me out????!!!) so I suppose I should try being clearer with her about what I want out of contact with her, it feels so hard though doesn't it? She has no problem telling me she has to go because a favourite TV programme is starting or not ringing when she said she would because my brother came to see her unexpectedly, but if I were to do the same I would be left in no doubt as to her displeasure!

Am off to read up on transactional analysis before she rings at 8.30.

I'll come back to this thread though eisbaer I'd love to know how things progress for you.

fancyanotherfez Fri 22-Nov-13 20:47:07

My relationship with my mother is exactly the same! She is currently upstairs keeping the kids up after spending the day telling me why they don't eat ( the 25 biscuits she's sneaked into them maybe?) or that they have difficulty going to sleep ( no they don't...).
My parents have a relationship that consists of barely disguised mutual loathing. They have nothing in common apart from their children, and when my sister left home 5 years ago the complete disinterest spilled over into open contempt. Every time I see her, I have hours of moaning about my dad. For some reason, I'm much more forgiving of him. I don't even know if I care enough to change the relationship, just become calmer about it all! Sorry, that was a bit of a hijack, but I need to know the same thing!

BabyMummy29 Fri 22-Nov-13 20:50:36

Spend as little time with her as possible OP - it's the only way I retain my sanity as far as my mother is concerned.

I can't trust anything mine says or does, so avoidance is definitely the best tactic otherwise I will fester over all the horrible things about her

eisbaer Sat 23-Nov-13 01:23:15

I think not spending, like, days on end together is a good idea. And I will take time tomorrow to write down all the gripes and analyse why they irk me.
Am so relieved to find others feel the same way about their mums, it is such a complex dynamic! I am seriously hoping this baby(DC4) is not a girl, as would hate for a daughter to be as critical of me as I am of her still at this age. Will report back.

JessieMcJessie Sat 23-Nov-13 07:10:34

I used to have similar feelings about my Mum. It wasn't eating on the phone, it was talking with her mouth full as if she was literally unable to stop talking long enough to chew. This was the same woman who brought me up with impeccable table manners. The rambling on about people she knew I didn't know too, and talking through television programmes. Being extremely opinionated and prone to judge others (not me so much but definitely my boyfriends). No matter how old I got I always reverted to a grumpy teenager when visiting her. We had few major issues and I loved her, and she loved me, and was sometimes really good company, but I didn't look forward to her calls and I always felt that things she did annoyed me more than if a friend was doing the same thing.

OP what you said about keeping your Dad alive by taking over the mantle of being annoyed by her struck a huge chord with me as my Dad also died many years ago,I am much more like him than her in personality and their relationship involved a lot of eye-rolling and exasperation from him (always good-natured though). My brother reckoned that a lot of her more challenging personality traits came to the fore after my Dad was no longer there to keep them in check.

Anyway all this is in the past tense because earlier this year she was diagnosed with cancer and was dead within 8 weeks, aged only 66. I am sorry to say that even after she was terminally ill she still irritated me sometimes. I feel bad that I never really got to that adult relationship stage with her and wish I'd tried harder, so it's good that you're doing that.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 23-Nov-13 08:10:05

That was me a few years ago. My DM is Gold Medal Olympic standard at being irritating and that's not just me saying it. Very irrational woman smile I think what changed for me was that DS was getting older and I realised that, like a lot of DCs, he can be pretty irritating and irrational at times. I had various ways of dealing with that so I started to treat DM the way I would a stroppy pre-teen/teen. Works really well for me.

- If she crosses a line and is offensive she gets told straight away (no silent seething). I am less worried about 'sparing feelings' but don't hold grudges.
- If it's something unimportant I ignore it
- I try to find the idiosyncrasies funny rather than annoying.
- We live 200 miles apart.

She's lately displaying some of early symptoms of Alzheimers and that's changed the dynamic a lot too.

Lweji Sat 23-Nov-13 08:30:56

I was going to suggest the same as Vivacia.
I read a book about transactional analysis and I feel it di help me deal better with my mom and actually be more assertive.
The last time there was a "thing" it was mostly her being childish and me, the adult, observing her having a tantrum.

In this case, if you just know she's going to do laundry, then tell her which to do and that you will be very annoyed if she does something else.
If she still mixes it up, you may actually want to consider if he has an early neurological problem. Sadly, it could happen.

Tomkat79 Sat 23-Nov-13 09:44:47

So pleased to have found this thread as I often feel very guilty about the way I can feel about my mum.

She's a wonderful woman and loves my dad, me and my son very much. I'm an only child. I had some counselling 2 years ago when I separated with my ex and the counsellor opened a whole can of worms and blamed my 'inability to form a healthy adult relationship' with the fact that my mother had severe PND for the first 2 years of my life. She carries a load of guilt about this and will often tell people that she had PND and joke that she didn't want me. She always says that she will write a book one day called 'bonding is for glue'.
Before the counselling is shrug this off but after actually thinking about it, the whole thing now makes me really angry. It's a completely involuntary feeling but sometimes when I see her trying to hard to be what she considers a 'proper' mother and not just be herself she gets my back up and we clash.

Like others have said, I can be in a really good mood and then she walks in and it's like a rage that just builds up and everything she says just winds me up. I have never been able to talk to her about the PND as it would probably finish her off!! She's been on anti-depressants for the past 10 years since her parents died. They had what I would describe as an unhealthy relationship. She was never able to break free from them...she moved 100 miles away and they followed etc. She talks about them all time and lives in the past. As soon as she starts with 'your nanny did this' blah blah she's lost me and my internal rage builds up again! She treats me like a child and always says 'there are certain things that mothers and daughters shouldn't discuss', forgetting that I'm a 33 year old woman with a very vivid past so far!

I'm currently 17 weeks preg and I find I am able to breathe and stay calm a lot more when pregnant which is bizarre I know! I try to rationalise it adult to adult and except the fact that as well as being my mother she is also a confused, depressed woman and probably has been most of her life and that's just how and who she is. She also is very kind and will always help me out if in trouble. I try to remember this.

She often thanks me for having my son and allowing her to be part of his life. She says she's had a chance to bond with him and love him like she couldn't do with me. Initially I think 'why why couldn't you love me' and get angry with her. Then I have to remind myself that given a choice she of course wouldn't have chosen post natal depression and she would've loved to have picked me up when i cried and cuddled me. No one chooses depression. If we have deep routed emotional attachment issues because of it then that's just the way it is.

I used to pedestal my parents and think they knew everything and could do no wrong. Now I realise that like me they are just a couple that decided to have a child and that child was me. Now I'm doing the same, trying to do my best by my 6 year old son and my unborn baby. I have made mistakes and will continue to do so and hope that my children will cut me some slack as I now find myself doing to my parents.

Sorry for the epic post...kind of just all comes out doesn't it. Nice to know I'm not alone. Just got to get through Xmas now!! X

eisbaer Sat 23-Nov-13 11:28:11

Yes, I think maybe the irritation rises from certain things reminding you of deeper hurts, but you seem to be aware of the reasons for the irritation tomkat, so that should make Christmas tolerable.
I think my mym's constant, overbearing drive to DO stuff in my house sends me mad because it reminds me how she was always busy away DOING stuff for other people when we were growing up and never just sat and listened to us or spent time with us just in the family. First world gripe i know. But i'm getti g irritated just thinking about it because no-one has ever called her on anything, and then again why should they? No-one is perfect. So your point on parents' just being people trying to do a hard job(as we are) is v. important I think. I would like to be more forgiving, and move past my teens with her, just not sure if I ' m that big a person!

Matildathecat Sat 23-Nov-13 12:28:14

I've got an irritating mum, she does loads of this kind of stuff...starts having a conversation with someone else whilst on the phone to me etc plus is Olympic Gold standard in the tactlessness stakes.

Thing is, almost all my friends find their parents annoying. I walk with friends at the weekend and we have competitions and endless laughs about the latest. Some of it is really shocking but laughing about it does help. That and knowing I'm not alone.

It's sad though. I suppose I must be at fault in some respects, though thinking of her most recent faux pas, I'm not so sure.

auburn63 Sat 23-Nov-13 12:42:47

I cope with my mother by living on a different continent. Things would be pretty bad between us otherwise I suspect. As we are however we get on just fine. With her the problem is that she is a pathological liar, maybe not in the worst possible way, but she just makes up completely untrue stories about things she has done in her life, people she has known etc (she has known so many famous or important people it is amazing, problem is none of it is true!). She even does it by proxy for my father, pretending that he also knows/knew all kinds of famous people, has done all sorts of amazing things etc...He does not and he has not.

redmayneslips Sat 23-Nov-13 14:31:16

Ooh can I join in here please?

My mum irritates the life out of me a lot of the time. She is a very kind person and adores dc which is fabulous I know. We live a 3 hour drive from them so they always stay over when they visit and vice versa.

I just can't relate to her on lots of levels. She plays the helpless victim so often, asking the 'men' hmm of the family to do things even like taking her car to fill it with petrol as she 'can't' do this depite driving for 20+ years. This gives me the rage! She is always talking over everyone and basically does not know how to have a proper conversation - a conversation to her is all about waiting for a gap in the flow of words from the other person and jumping in with a (mostly) unrelated monologue. She talks about other people all the time - this makes up 99% of her conversation. She hates any 'abstract' talk - such as about books, newspapers, movies and just ignores it and changes it back to what she wants to talk about.
She is very nosey and would think nothing of reading letters / notebooks / cards in our house. She will get involved if dh and I are having a 'discussion' and basically tell me off by saying 'be nice to each other, stop giving out' this makes me see RED - I am 10 years marries, 43 years of age , i do NOT nee her instructing me in how to conduct my marriage.
She is mildly racist and cannot see it no matter how often I point it out and pull her up on it and she is hugely sexist (thinks it's shocking that I might not have made dh's dinner or ironed his shirts )

She is totally and uttlerly lacking in curiosity about the world about her apart from talking about everyone in her small town.

I would love to have a proper adult relationship with her but doesn't seem likely. She thinks I am a bit odd and contrary in my opinions about life. We are very different.

eisbaer Sat 23-Nov-13 14:42:20

auburn the celebrity lies- that is crazy! And embroiling your Dad too...
redmayneslips so many bells are ringing with your description. None of it is a deal breaker, but so, so irritating. I just do not want to be so vague and disinterested in what my kids have to say/what they think. But too many of us are on here, I'm wondering if these traits are inevitable in many mums after a certain age or a certain amount of time living alone?

auburn63 Sat 23-Nov-13 14:49:22

Yes it is really like she lives in a parallel universe at times. It drives me totally nuts.

For example, a few years ago we went skiing in Switzerland together with my parents. Now this was the first time my dad, who had gone to school for a time in Switzerland (that is true) had been back there. So lots of nostalgic talk about his school days there and skiing in those days. And she pipes up and says that his best friend at school was a particular very famous skier. My dad just said nothing and I smelled a rat so I just left it. Later I looked up this famous skier and it turned out he came from France and not Switzerland at all. That kind of thing, all the time....

auburn63 Sat 23-Nov-13 15:00:57

And the time she told friends of mine that she knew Mandy Rice-Davis and Christine Keeler really well and implied that she was in some way involved in the Profumo affair and knew all the spies too. She did not and she was not. I was so embarrassed.

BabyMummy29 Sat 23-Nov-13 15:16:24

It's so good to know that other people find their mothers annoying and irritating.

I can't have a conversation with mine as I can't trust her to tittle tattle to her friends and my XH.

It's sad that it's come to this but the less time I spend with her, the better

ThePonderer Sat 23-Nov-13 15:37:31

It's quite reassuring to know that I'm not the only one with a mother whose conversational setting is always 'transmit', never 'receive.' She whitters on about how busy and tired she is doing all these unimportant things and seems to have no interest in my life or her grandchildren.

I would say I had a good relationship with her growing up and in general she was a good mother (though a crap grandmother!). I also know now that I have my own kids how difficult it is even to be a half-decent mother, so I feel I owe her some respect, and, like the OP, that I should try to find ways to control my own reaction to her.

Haven't managed to yet, though! Plus I really worry that maybe it is something that comes with old-age, and in 30 years I will be the old bat whittering on about myself endlessly.

annhathaway Sat 23-Nov-13 16:45:13

This is an interesting thread.
I agree- my mum irritates me at times.

I know it's easy to say- but how would we all feel if in the future our DDs were posting this here?

As mums we are only ( most of the time) doing our best. We aren't perfect.

I agree with the posters who said we won't have our mums forever- my mum still says how she feels sad that on Mothers Day she no longer has a mum to buy a card for.

I think that if my mum does something that I'd not tolerate in another adult, then I'd call her on it - kindly. But most of the time I don't because I know I'm not always capable of doing the right things all of the time with my own kids.

DoesZingBumpLookBigInThis Sat 23-Nov-13 17:09:15

we have a difficult relationship.
I'm here to learn

BabyMummy29 Sat 23-Nov-13 17:13:00

I know that I would never do or say the things to my DD that my mother has done to me.

Surely every parent wants their child to be happy - this is what I can't understand about mine.

She's more interested in what people think than in her own children's needs and happiness.

I won't miss her when she's gone - nothing to miss

annhathaway Sat 23-Nov-13 17:15:31

This is so depressing.

we're all a long time gone.

My own relationship with my mum is far from perfect but now she's so old I'm trying to bite my tongue and be more accepting.

BabyMummy29 Sat 23-Nov-13 17:21:25

annhathaway I can't feel anything for my mother. She is reaping what she has sown as far as I'm concerned.

I can't forgive what she has done and I definitely can't forget any of it. The problem is that she doesn't think she's done anything wrong and keeps doing and saying nasty things, not realising that I will find out about them.

My mother is not a bad mother, I love her, and maintain a good relationship with her (at a very long distance). She has absolutely no idea she irritates me in any way, or that I know her tales are nonsense (I am not even sure whether SHE knows they are nonsense, sometimes I think she really believes them).

annhathaway Sat 23-Nov-13 17:32:18

Babymummy- have you ever talked to her about how you feel? woman to woman?

BabyMummy29 Sat 23-Nov-13 17:34:50

Yes I have tried to talk to her many times. She denies most of it. When we were growing up she never showed us any affection. I've never had a hug from her and she's never told me she loves me,

She is just totally cold and unfeeling and never gives any support or encouragement to me.

annhathaway Sat 23-Nov-13 17:36:47

that's really sad. sorry. sad

BabyMummy29 Sat 23-Nov-13 17:39:03

Thanks Ann. People often say things like "You'll miss her when she's gone" etc but I just tell them they're lucky to have had a nice mum.

annhathaway Sat 23-Nov-13 17:44:11

Gosh that's awful Baby. Mine has irritated me because she has snooped and betrayed confidences in the past, talking to her friends, but mainly because she is TOO cloying and protective and I find it intrusive.

ScientificProgressGoesBoink Sat 23-Nov-13 17:49:12

A lot of familiar descriptions on here. I have a very pessimistic mum. She reminds me of the Henny penny story. To be fair on her she's been through a lot but I find the constant negativity so draining, and actually I can remember the paranoia and neurosis from my childhood too so it can't just be the last few years events that have made her like this.

I find I can barely talk about anything without it coming back to her. If anything good happens in my life and I express joy I am made to feel guilty because she isn't experiencing the same. If I lose weight and tell her I'm met with 'don't because I've put on x pounds'. It's a similar response to all of the nice things that happen and it makes me furious.

I also get the bullshit, but hers is used to embellish an untrue story that she's telling us to put us off a decision or to try and force is to make if I say 'dd cycled to the next village on her own today' then I'll get a story about someone she 'knows' whose daughter/granddaughter was kidnapped/run over/badly injured/eaten by dinosaurs whilst doing the same thing. It's funny how many friends she has who have horrific experiences when by her own admission she has only one or two actual friends. (Whom incidentally she continually slags off and clearly hates.)

I can see where a lot of my poor self esteem and self hatred in my teens come from when I see her as an adult. I hope and pray that the work I am doing on these areas means I am far enough removed from her to not pass the same crap onto dd. I certainly am already happier and more self aware.

I do feel for her, she has had it tough, but I also think there comes a time when a person needs to woman up and face themselves and be accountable for who they are. She is never accountable, for anything. Nothing is ever her fault, she never acknowledges a mistake, and if I bring up a bad memory from childhood I'm 'misremembering' it.

I tried to have a frank, open hearted conversation about my childhood and the issues we have in our relationship with her, which cost me a lot to do as I knew in my heart of hearts the response I would get. To my utter shock she admitted to it, apologised, and I was overjoyed believing we could build a brilliant new relationship. Only to be met with a letter a week later retracting everything she said, finding excuses for every piece of behaviour, and blaming me for all of it and for being a 'difficult, angry teenager'. So basically not her fault, in any way, again.

I'm sorry to hear so many other people have hard relationships with their mums. I think my irritation stems from all of the above points. Every time she opens her mouth I think 'yeah, yeah, because of the bollocks and self contradiction that she trips herself up with all the time. I have a relationship with her because I feel so bad about her past and because I believe my children have a right to a relationship with her, but I am struggling with our relationship, and I know she knows this.

Not sure what the answer is. My friend tells me I need to let it go and just ignore the goading and bullshit because she won't be around forever, and I know that's true, but so much easier said than done isn't it?

ScientificProgressGoesBoink Sat 23-Nov-13 17:52:45

Baby. I'm so sad to hear your story. For all her faults I do know my DM loved me in the only way she could, and there were cuddles in our house. I can't imagine what it does to a person to never receive that from their parent. I wish I could reach back and give your childhood self a hug.

elskovs Sat 23-Nov-13 17:54:03

I couldn't stand my mum. (She is dead now) She was just so absolutely awful in every way. So very stupid, petty, neurotic, immature, boring, needy, pathetic and useless. I really looked down on her as a human.

I think the reason it bothered me so much was because she was related to me. The fact that such sub-standard person had given birth to me horrified me. I had nothing to do with her because whenever I saw or spoke to her it made me hate myself.

I think most people admire their mothers, but if your mother happens to be a straight up waste of space... what then?

No advice, just my experience. I appreciate you don't despise your mother as much as I did mine though!

eisbaer Sat 23-Nov-13 18:05:09

thedudesmummy keep talking, tell me your secrets! That is how I want to be with my mum. The bigger person who can control her reactions to the annoying stuff. I totally agree with the posters who say "no-one is perfect as a mum, they're only human", that's why I want to change my behaviour! But no-one is saying how they control it, apart from saying they try to remind themsves they'll miss her when she's gone. Which doesn't work with me when she has flicked a switch! Btw my mum falls into the "good, non-toxic, totally well-meaning but misguided and clueless category" so nothing unforgivable in there. Some posters are dealing with an Olivia-soprano-type mum and I think that needs a separate game plan, as they sound as if they actively try to put down their kids.

annhathaway Sat 23-Nov-13 18:10:10

I just put up with it and try to remind myself that she's done her best. Or I have a rant at DH about her, or my girlfriends.

My mum and me are utterly different people and have lived very different lives. I suppose I know her heart is in the right place though and just think of that when she drives me batty.

eisbaer Sat 23-Nov-13 18:11:06

elskovs none of that is easy to realise or admit to and it takes a huge amount of honesty to manage it. Esp when you are in a society where everyone else supposedly has fab family relations. My mum is not too bad, but I hear you about the being related thing. And she always says "we're too alike" which makes me want to shout "no we're fucking not!!" But maybe we are, who knows, I don't want to ask DH or my sis for fear of the reply!

eisbaer Sat 23-Nov-13 18:13:36

annhathaway if she's driving you nuts do you cut a phone convo short or similar, or can you bite your tongue?

Applefallingfromthetree2 Sat 23-Nov-13 18:22:22

Agree with Ann this is all so depressing. Am I right in thinking that the OP's mum does the laundry and drives for two hours to help with childcare, if she gets asked to do the latter then it is rather unfair to moan.

Some nasty comments here and some petty criticisms too. My Mum was difficult in many ways -she is dead now and so now all i have to worry about is how my children will judge me. Does this never cross your mind?

annhathaway Sat 23-Nov-13 18:46:22

I tend to try to use humour...her favourite topic as a 'starter for ten' is The Weather. As in 'what's it doing there?' and I'll pretend I don't know what she means by 'it' or say to her 'ok get ready for the weather forecast- as per all conversations......'

sometimes though I get a bit snappy if she brings up something that's a sore point then she gets huffy.....

we're as bad as each other smile

BabyMummy29 Sat 23-Nov-13 18:47:59

I know that I will do the complete opposite of how my mother treats me. I hope they will never be able to say that I didn't love them, have time for them or be supportive to me.

It may be depressing, but it's actually happening in my life right now.

eisbaer Sat 23-Nov-13 18:48:05

apples of course I think that, I've already said I'd hate to have a daughter who thought like that about me, but you can't change what you THINK, just how you behave! Which I want to change. it's involuntary and I've already said I know how ungrateful I sound. I wish I could control my reactions. Do you have constructive tips? Please feel free to add them, as I've previously said I know the situ is not right and I want to change my approach.

annhathaway Sat 23-Nov-13 18:50:58

If you can control your actions with people outside your family when they annoy you- ie colleagues and pals- then you can do it with your own mum. Just get a grip smile

Lavenderhoney Sat 23-Nov-13 18:52:13

The money she leaves / you get back open a bottle of wine and wish you smoked. Always worked for me. If you do smoke, have lots.

Oh, and be alone for a bit, with a good book or funny show like abfab.
It will pass.

elskovs Sat 23-Nov-13 18:54:06

That's nice of you to say eisbaer.

Agree with you baby, it may be depressing to hear, but there are some mothers so genuinely horrid that they wont be missed when they die.

BTW - I am a wonderful mother grin I followed your plan of doing the exact opposite of what my mum did. I reckon people like us put in extra effort as we are so careful not to turn into our mothers!

ScientificProgressGoesBoink Sat 23-Nov-13 19:03:32

Ann, I don't think controlling how you react to relative strangers or people on a professional level is ever the same as the way to react to people who know you, know which buttons to press, and helped to create the parts of yourself you actively dislike. Their power to get to you is infinitely stronger, and harder to switch off to.

ScientificProgressGoesBoink Sat 23-Nov-13 19:05:41

And even friends you can walk away from without the guilt and self doubt and loathing you'd feel if you walked away from your own mother...which i feel is a huge societal no-no in general

Applefallingfromthetree2 Sat 23-Nov-13 19:06:05

Eisbaer I think I understand how you feel. IMO behaviour comes from thoughts and so a way forward is to try and think more positively about your Mum, not always easy I know especially when pregnant. Some people here seem to think their Mums have no good points, I would say that is true of only a very few people. Focussing on her good points and not dwelling too much on the bad will make your relationship so much more rewarding. From what you say she is showing you love even if in irritating ways, perhaps she doesn't know how else to do it, is there any guidance you could give her. Humour helps too if you can do it. I wish you well.

ScientificProgressGoesBoink Sat 23-Nov-13 19:07:08

(When I say that I mean you'd be perceived s being cold and hard, I have absolutely NO personal issue with people who cut ties with relatives who are abusive etc)

BabyMummy29 Sat 23-Nov-13 19:07:39

Also Scientific would you say that family members would never speak to each other as they would a work colleague or acquaintance.

I know that's the case with my mother. Sometimes I can't believe the stuff she comes out with

eisbaer Sat 23-Nov-13 19:10:42

A big plus from from this thread is that I'm gaining perspective on how low-level the irritation is, it's bugging but none of it is malicious or unhinged. So, I'm going to do the following: have a think of what really presses my buttons and try to understand why this is. If anything really unacceptable then approach it in an adult way with her. If subtle button-pressing, then I will try to get a grip and remember a) how much I really would miss her if she was not there to bug me and b) how she really does love us, and would never consciously be nasty or snide to me. Wish me luck, I will post back to say how it's going. We spk on the phone every day, so I'll soon know how it's going!

eisbaer Sat 23-Nov-13 19:15:56

Thanks for that advice there scientific I actually feel quite adult in how I am thinking of my mum now. It's the most crucial and fraught r'ship out there, mother-daughter and I think we're far more touchy freely as a generation than the post-war generTion was, and that was not their fault. I could cry if I think of the loss my mum has had in her life, so am going to tune into that when she's doing my nut in about the weather, through a mouthful of porridge.

BabyMummy29 Sat 23-Nov-13 19:18:11

eisbaer I think our relationships with our mothers are at a different stage. You still have something which is salvageable whereas mine is beyond redemption.

Good luck anyway smile

ScientificProgressGoesBoink Sat 23-Nov-13 19:25:10

Absolutely Baby...I'd agree there.

ScientificProgressGoesBoink Sat 23-Nov-13 19:27:58

Actually Eisner its funny that you are going through this process today as dd and I were having a conversation about how much her brother does her head in and I was advising her to do exactly as you describe. And we were trying to Analyse the things that get on her nerves because of how SHE is feeling at the time v things that get on her nerves because they are truly irritating on his part. I should perhaps be doing the same in my relationship with my DM.

It's layers isn't it, things they do become irritating because you are already irritated by them.

eisbaer Sat 23-Nov-13 19:28:58

baby I am sorry to say that I agree, never getting a hug or an I love you is unspeakably awful. I hope you are happy otherwise in spite of all that. Good thoughts.

ScientificProgressGoesBoink Sat 23-Nov-13 19:29:54

Had to chuckle at her going on about the weather through a mouthful of porridge. I do think that generation were obsessed with the weather as it was a 'safe' topic in otherwise turbulent times. DH's grandmother does this, she's obsessed by meteorology!

ancientbuchanan Sat 23-Nov-13 19:34:45

Transactional analysis followed by assertiveness training, again Google. Keeps your calm.

Also have a range of topics you " want to discuss with her" aka distract her, and tasks you have decided she can do. You are then on control, not her. If they don't get done, don't worry. But eg mending or ironing, polishing the door knob, whatever.

ancientbuchanan Sat 23-Nov-13 19:34:53

Transactional analysis followed by assertiveness training, again Google. Keeps your calm.

Also have a range of topics you " want to discuss with her" aka distract her, and tasks you have decided she can do. You are then on control, not her. If they don't get done, don't worry. But eg mending or ironing, polishing the door knob, whatever.

MoonHare Sat 23-Nov-13 19:59:31

Wow it's amazing to see how many others feel the way I do about my Mum.

Last night I had to use the - monopolise the conversation myself technique. She started with a couple of very pointed questions to do with why I had been too tired to talk the day before and why it had taken me so long to answer the phone last night.

I try always to think about how much I will miss her when she's gone, because I really will. I also think about my own daughters, I have 3, and how they might feel about me when they're older.

It is my life's work not to become my mother.

She would be devastated to know that.

eisbaer I love your positive attitude to dealing with this. You have inspired me to try harder. I am absolutely with you on the point about how much of the irritation stems from things that happened in the past. I am going to have a go at writing the most irritating things down too.

I definitely need a better way of dealing with my feelings because confronting her never really works , I said in my first post she has improved since the last time we had a very frank discussion but it hasn't changed our relationship in the way I would have liked.

Oh and someone earlier mentioned how nosey their mum is - yy to that, mine ALWAYS reads the valentines and anniversary cards from my DH to me if she happens to be here. Who would do that???!!! Well, her obviously but such an invasion of privacy, she has no clue about boundaries......oh I'm ranting again, must put 'adult' head back on.

annhathaway Sat 23-Nov-13 20:05:16

Maybe it's just me, but I find it really odd that you are upset about your mum reading your cards from your DH etc.

Are the cards out on display?

Do you expect cards on display when you have family around not to be read? The whole point of displaying cards rather than hiding them in a drawer is to show them off.

Why is it so odd that your mum would look at the greeting in them?

Mine wouldn't think twice about picking up a card out on display, it wouldn't bother me a bit. If it was secret I'd hide it.

ScientificProgressGoesBoink Sat 23-Nov-13 21:15:52

Eisbaer, reflecting on this tonight I think the one thing that saves my relationship with my DM is distance. We moved a while ago and are now a 2 hour journey away. It makes things much easier somehow seeing her only occasionally rather than every other day as we used to. We now plan to DO things when she is here. Being out and about lestens the irritation factor. Is there something you could do when your DM comes to distract you both?

ForeverRuminating Sat 23-Nov-13 21:30:48

I wouldn't like the card thing either, not Valentines/anniversary cards that are likely to have personal messages in anyway.

I started a thread about my mother here. I think we have similar levels of annoyance OP - some of the posters on this thread have had much worse experiences with their mothers and I really feel for them, it must be awful to have a mother who is not loving, affectionate or supportive. I realise my issues are trivial in comparison, but unfortunately none of that matters when she has done something to get my back up!

Only yesterday she had irritated me to the point of violence with her eccentricities during a shopping trip, and then I watched her pushing her trolley back and thought, one day she won't be here and I will miss her and of course I do love her. I wish I could hold that in mind and laugh off her silly ways rather than become infuriated by them - I wouldn't be at all bothered by anyone else doing the same things, as it wouldn't matter to me. But I feel that the things she does reflect on me, that I don't want to turn into her, and I feel compelled to react to everything she does or she will assume I agree with her.

I don't ring her for a chat any more, as I just get wound up by the daft things she says, or by the way her tone of voice and her laugh change when her partner is there. I email or text instead and she doesn't irritate me at all through this medium, in fact I find her very amusing and nice. When I see her in person I try to keep the conversation to mutual interests, or neutral subjects, nothing that might give her a chance to go off on one with bigotry etc.

But I really cannot bite my tongue when she gets my back up. I wish I could just tell her when she annoys me, and then we could deal with it and move on, like me and DH do - this to me is the healthy way to have a relationship. She prefers to supress any negativity at all, never discussing issues she may have with me or her partner and avoiding confrontation at all costs, and becomes very hurt and martyred if I criticise her in the slightest. She never apologises and will instead give excuses as to why something is not her fault.

I would love to be more calm when with her and stop regressing to a stroppy teenager! I will watch this thread avidly for any tips.

As so many PPs have said, my experience has made me determined to be a very different mother to my DCs.

annhathaway Sat 23-Nov-13 22:19:41

I don't know anyone who is a daughter who has a simple and easy relationship with their mum- and all my friends say the same thing. ALL families are dysfunctional to a degree some more than others. We just muddle on through life as best we can.

redundantandbitter Sat 23-Nov-13 22:38:46

Yep. Same. Crappy mum who pretty much ignored me during pregnancies. When she DID visit I remember asking her to go and walking her up the bus stop, then bursting into tears after she'd gone.

She didn't even meet my dd2 til she was 8 months old. When she was older she referred to my DM as 'that lady'. I was mortified and embarrassed that she didn't call her nan.

Fast forward a couple of years to Xmas 2011. My DDs dad moving out and my brother told her I needed support. She arrived and HASNT LEFT! It's nearly 2 years and she's been home a handful of times. She left today and I am so grateful to sit on my own sofa and not have to watch yet another f'king ep of Time Team. I completely revert to teenage daughter from hell. Yes, she faffs about with my washing but is more of a bleeding hindrance... I find it hard being around her in an adult way. My
Builder visited recently and he asked how I was , I replied 'a bit shit' ... (DP vanished into thin air with yoga lady) ... Builder replied 'yeah, your mum's already filled me in'. Bloody great, felt about 15. I'm 43 FFS. Apologies for rant.

Lavenderhoney Sun 24-Nov-13 06:16:49

I wasn't very helpful beforesmile bit tired- plus I meant moment not money!

My dm irritated me, but I think she knew that! I also irritated her what with having my own way of doing things, not following her advice to the letter, and so on.

I used to avoid sitting chatting and go out to the shops with her instead. As she got more infirm and fragile, I did sit and chat, and I let her lead the conversation. I also agreed with her all the time- it was clear she was dying and there was really no point in arguing and fighting my corner.

My dm didn't understand my life at all, I left at 16 and she still maintained how well she knew me! She had no idea. But I never told her things that would worry her- she felt the need to fix them, as she was my mother and felt a responsibility to make me safe, her way.

JessieMcJessie Sun 24-Nov-13 06:55:25

Agree with annhathaway re the cards-if they are on the mantelpiece they're on display and not at all rude or inappropriate for a visitor to read them. To those who have complained about it, would you be annoyed if a friend read them or is it really just because it's your Mum? I was always a bit embarrassed talking to mine about relationships, so might have preferred her not to see a slushy message, but would have hidden it if I didn't want her to look.

eisbaer Sun 24-Nov-13 08:34:32

Think it's just an illustration of how once the irritation sets in, it can be far-reaching and at times not rational. I'm certainly realising that, about some of the things that irk me. MoonHare, re. The cards, I was just thinking there how it would fill me with joy to read a valentine's card to one of my sons , as it would mean that someone adores him as he deserves to be loved. Unless it just read "kind regards, Mrs Smith" or similar of course.. So maybe you could turn that one into a positive by thinking that your mum is happy to see evidence of your being in a happy and loving r'ship? Even if she'd never actually say that.
Here's an example that will incur consternation I'm sure. And by the way one that I'm going to TRY to be grateful for Fromm now on. Every time my mum comes to stay or we leave hers, she inundates us with food supplies, which we simply don't have room for. I know, how horrible and generous, right? But I end up totally churlish and sulky making comments about space etc. but now I'm thinking about it this prob irritates me as it's an indication that her way to show love is to feed, while being totally controlled and body fascist herself, hence ongoing issues between my sis and eating, and also feed as opposed to listen to you, sit down and communicate. And I also take it as a vote of no confidence in my ability to cook etc for my own family. But I KNOW that my reaction is not about the act itself but what it signifies to me. So, from now on I will say thank you, even maybe give a slight smile of gratitude and store the empty containers in the boot of the car for our next visit. Easy peasy! I'm an adult at last!
I also feel that she totally reveres my DH and prefers him to me and only loves my three DS's so much because they are half his . I could never have a conversation about that, as I know how mental and needy I would sound but I genuinely believe this to be the case. Tips on how to turn that one around?

annhathaway Sun 24-Nov-13 09:33:59


I'm trying to be charitable but you do come over as a bit all me, me, me - this really is navel gazing.

I have 4 close girlfriends. Every conversation we have includes a moan about our mums. One friend was in counselling for 5 years re. her mum, another had counselling after her dad died so she could talk to someone because she couldn't talk to her mum- who blanked her emotionally- yet needed to support her at the same time.

Mum-daughter relationships are rarely easy.

These issues you have are YOUR issues. I think you know that. Someone else would not react in the same way- they'd shrug and be more accepting.

You are ungrateful about the food. Stop psychoanalysing why she brings it and just accept it gratefully. It may in your mind be a 'warped' way of showing love but it's her way.

There seems to be a lot of insecurity coming over- you can't feed your family, she prefers your DH and sons to you.....

have you always been like this?

In order to cope with your mum, you need to rid yourself of your own demons. This seems to amount to a lack of confidence in your own worth, maybe through lack of love from her, maybe not. But you need to work on that maybe even with professional help.

My mum loves me to bits but is suffocating and saps my confidence in other ways- she spends her life worrying about the harm that may come to me or my kids, or my brother, or my dad, or anyone she knows. She listens to the local traffic news daily even though she doesn't drive, because she worries about anyone she knows being caught up in it.
When my kids go off travelling she worries. When I go anywhere, she worries. She's sapped my confidence in myself because what I don't need is someone airing their worries- when I may be worried anyway and trying to be a big girl about it- such as coping with my DCs treking around 3rd world countries.So I now play everything down- relationships, my feelings, what DCs are up to, illnesses,- simply because I can't take her worry on board as well as control my own.

So- we all have our crosses to bear. having a parent who worries excessively is as bad as having one who doesn't care enough.

In your case, you need to separate out your over-reactions based on the past and deal with the present in the way you'd behave to someone else who did the same things. And if it might help to talk to a counsellor then do that.

annhathaway Sun 24-Nov-13 09:37:49

You say you don't have the time or money for therapy. Is that really so? many organisations offer low cost counselling.

eisbaer Sun 24-Nov-13 10:48:35

Ok thanks, ann. I can see how I'm coming across, so I'm going to stop posting and address myself to the task of behaving better and being more grown up about things in real life. Counselling would just encourage more navel-gazing, and I know I have a great family all in all, and sm just being spoiled and over-sensitive due mainly to preg hormones probably. Thanks everyone for the constructive input, loads of ideas and approaches in this thread to sort out any minor mother-daughter gripes.

MoonHare Sun 24-Nov-13 15:43:37

annhathaway you are missing the point of this thread if you don't get it go away.

annhathaway Sun 24-Nov-13 15:51:24

That's not what the OP says- maybe you are the one who ought to go away. How rude of you to behave like this. I'm as entitled as anyone to post my views. So there.

Holdthepage Sun 24-Nov-13 16:03:21

If anyone has any useful tips I would love to hear them because I would quite like to throttle my DM at the moment. She takes passive/aggressive to a whole new level & in addition to her compulsive lying/economy with the truth she is one tricky customer. Emigration is looking quite appealing at the moment ;). It's her birthday next weekend & I feel like leaving her home alone.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sun 24-Nov-13 16:18:34

eisbaer, Delurking.
Try to see your mom as if she is one of the bar flies from Star Wars. While you have an inward smile, this alows for her differences, yet affords a tolerance of coexisting in the same place.

There has been described on these threads over the years of a technique of half listening. You hear her, but choose to not ingage and merely acknowledge you are receiving her transmission so to speak with well placed "umm hmm"s, "oh, really?", awes or wows etc. You could do cross stitch while sitting down to give her your attention wink.

For the digs that get a little too personal, have a few stock phrases ready, and well rehearsed: others may have better inventory but things like: "That is an interesting opinion", "Yes, mother, whatever you say" (and continue as you were doing).

On the phone multitasking (my sister would do it), so one time I did it back to her. I did the kitchen floor with hand wipes, and she got that tone in her voice 'what was I doing'. I kept doing it. More infuriatingly, she would call me up and then carry on a conversation with someone else so I was effectively be on hold but had to hear was a form of control, and I would politely end the call.

As certain scenarioes do seem to repeat, it is a good idea to address them one at a time. Divide and conquer. Good luck.

Capitaltrixie Sun 24-Nov-13 20:18:36

I can't STAND the way my mum drinks coffee. Irritates the flippin crap out of me. I used to feel very guilty and wonder if I wasn't a very nice person. But now I've realised that she does actually drink coffee bloody annoyingly (super slurps).

Anyway, I could have written something very similar op, I think once you stop beating yourself up for being irritated you kind of stop being so irritated and laugh about it (if that makes any sense whatsoever!). As prev posters have said, it's a very commonly difficult dynamic. Not much solid advice to offer I'm afraid as I'm still working through it (I'm kind of NC but for other reasons!), but I hope some of the advice on here has helped.
Good luck smile

fancyanotherfez Sun 24-Nov-13 20:23:27

eisbarr I know exactly what you mean about the food thing. My mother does this, but it's food that she knows I try to ration- for example, she will buy them chicken nuggets which Im not precious about, but dont have them in the house because my DCs would eat them for every meal if I let them, so they can have them when we are out. She thinks I don't feed them things they like so that's why they get 'loads of colds' (they don't!) Today, we were food shopping, and she said 'would the DCs like these chocolate covered doughnuts?' 'yes, I said, but I don't want 40 of them hanging around the house'. She bought them anyway, and gave them 2 each before dinner. Now again, I don't mind them having cakes and things, but thanks to her, the house is now filled to the brim with chocolate doughnuts, chocolate chop cookies, cakes, biscuits, everything that I will now have to fight with them every evening to not let them have. That is not even the worst of it. She has been here since Friday and has undermined my authority at every turn. I can't discipline them at all without her contradicting what I say and even giving them treats to stop them crying if I have had to discipline them. This evening, my DS1 called me 'an idiot' which he has never ever done! It cant be a coincidence that he has been able to get away with every single thing this weekend, even rewarded with treats for bad behaviour! Also, when my DS2 has called 'mummy' she has answered him- he then asks for me again, and she says 'yes baby!' over and over again, even if I try to intervene. Now, who does that?? He was getting so frustrated he ended up screaming! He's only 2 FGS! Sorry it's a rant and a hijack but I'm so angry tonight! She hasn't stayed this long since I had to throw her out of the house after DS1 was born. It won't happen again! My DH had to be away and I needed her to stay for Saturday night but the trains were cancelled so shes here all weekend. I might offer to pick her up and drop her home if I need her again. I know that sounds ungrateful, and I suppose I am! I'd love to get someone else to babysit the kids but honestly, I really have to use that to get myself to spend time in her company and she really does love the kids and I feel they ought to have a relationship with her despite me! Grrr!

heidipi Mon 25-Nov-13 02:32:44

Blimey there's a lot of us. I posted a thread similar to this last year - hoping to find a way to be nicer to my mum. We've never been close, I don't actively dislike her (if she was someone else's mum I would think she was fine iyswim) but always had the feeling she didn't like me much when I was growing up. On reflection I do think she was depressed but she was pretty angry with me most of the time. Anyway, now she's in her late 70s, my dad died 5 years ago, my brother keeps in touch but basically pleases himself and so she's much more needy with me. I don't want her to be sad or lonely but she still drives me nuts and like the OP I find myself turning into Kevin the teenager in her presence (I'm 44 FFS).

Afraid I don't have any answers except that since last year I've had a 2nd baby which has meant we barely have time to talk about anything other than the kids, so maybe keep popping em out and you'll barely have time to notice or get annoyed?

And so what if it's navel-gazing, it's ok to think about yourself and your own stuff some of the time. Sharing it with a bunch of randoms online is easier than boring your partner or friends to death with it in RL. No-one can do really do anything about it except you and sometimes it helps to vent.

Anyone for a seasonal off-loading thread to get us through the festive season when I'll be we might be stuck in a house with our mothers for up to a week? <reaches for gin>

Ilovexmastime Tue 26-Nov-13 15:36:42

Can I join in? I feel like a complete cow for finding my DM so irritating but she just manages to push my buttons every time I see her (practically every bloody day, and no, there's no way that I can't not see her) and like you, I turn into a teenager. It's so fucking annoying.
I've tried finding the funny side of it... works for a while but then it's as if she realises what I'm doing and ups the ante so that I get grumpy again. My DH thought I was being paranoid about it all until recently when we saw her together and he came away afterwards amazed, he said that she just kept pushing until I snapped. It's so low level though that I feel so immature when I mention it to friends, I really do sound like a stroppy teenager.
I'd love to be able to vent on here about it all smile

Ilovexmastime Tue 26-Nov-13 15:47:22

My DM does the food thing too. When DS1 was small I explained to her that I didn't want any foods to be seen as a 'treat', that I just wanted him (and subsequently DS2) to have a balanced diet etc etc.
Next thing I knew, she had a 'treat box' in her kitchen, from which the DC can choose from when they go round. Grrr.

I also didn't get much affection from her when I was growing up, I don't remember getting cuddles (although my younger brother did) and when I asked her about this, she said it was because I didn't want them. hmm,
I've thought about this a lot and I think that we probably got into a bad pattern of behaviour with each other early on, meaning that if she had tried to cuddle me, I would have pushed her away, and knowing her now, she would have taken this badly and not tried again, iyswim?

Anyway, sorry for the hijack. The best advice I can give you is to just keep repeating to yourself, I am an adult, I am an adult whilst talking to your DM and hope that you don't react. Or do what my DB does and just agree with everything she says. I'll be watching out for more tips!

EldritchCleavage Tue 26-Nov-13 15:59:30

Counselling would just encourage more navel-gazing, and I know I have a great family all in all, and sm just being spoiled and over-sensitive due mainly to preg hormones probably.

No no no no. Please don't dismiss your own feelings like that.

Short answer: transactional analysis. Try this book: The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Pattern of Intimate Relationships by
Harriet G. Lerner. Available on Amazon.

Long answer: it is about the petty things to an extent, transgressing your adult boundaries by doing laundry etc, but really it is probably about bigger things, like repressed anger to do with things that happened when you were growing up. I had the same, including one very serious issue. After one nervous breakdown and years of therapy in which all these things were addressed, my relationship with my (lovely, but sometimes irritating) mother is very good.

Funnily enough I don't humour her, or bite my tongue, or give her the constant reassurance she seems to crave, or take on all her concerns and needs and emotions any more, and yet our relationship is much better. And I don't triangulate (moan to other family members constantly about her, get in the middle of her relationships with them either, be a go-between when things blow up). I talk to her and everyone else in the family directly and leave them to do the same. In the bad years I would have thought all of this very harsh, but actually it is freeing and it works.

Salbertina Tue 26-Nov-13 16:17:45

Yyy to transactional analysis, powerful stuff. Second also Harriet Learner, must dig out her book.

Ilovexmastime Tue 26-Nov-13 16:21:47

Thanks Eldritch, I've just ordered it. I certainly have a lot of anger about one thing in particular from when I was younger. I have thought about therapy for it, but it's just so expensive sad.

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