I know the feeling Ormirian, mums seem to think because you're their daughter social niceties don't apply!
My mum will walk in and instantly point out the stairs need hoovering, our kitchen blind is crooked (seen through the window), or just that our hallway is cluttered. If I come back at her with a comment "Yes, because I've been working all week") she gets all frustrated and says I'm so sensitive I take everything as criticism! Er, no I'm not but that was criticism, wasn't it??
The other week Mum and I (and my two dc's) visited relatives together and my cousin said how lovely dd looked in her skirt, it really suits her. My mum chipped straight in with "Huh, it's not new though is it Hopton? Must be her second/third summer wearing it? Then shot me a smug look before turning the conversation on to what a fussy (apparently) eater dd is
Gosh she's hard work at times, difficult to pull her up on it though as she's likely to string out being upset for days, conveniently forgetting I reacted in response to something SHE said in the first place, Arghhh!
Oh lord! It's the critisism of the children that winds me up most hopton. Fussy eating, noise, disobedience I often wonder if it's a sort of self-deprecation at one remove - if she is rude about my children she is doing herself down in some way so it's a sort of self-protection thing.
But it winds me up. By and large she's stopped with the older 2, and saves it all for DS2 (who can be hard work for sure). But they all know by now that granny is over-critical and make allowances for her.
The most hurtful thing is 'ooh you looks so tired'. I have huge shadows under my eyes - they are so bad now I never get rid of them and I am really self-conscious about them. So her 'concern' makes me feel worse.
It seems several of us have the same issues! Ormirian, it's interesting about the self-depracation - maybe it is a bit of a self defence issue, as I've noticed whenever someone compliments my mum, ie she's looking well, what a lovely jacket etc, her replies tend to veer on the negative. "May look well but I'm SO unhappy with my weight at the moment", or "This? I've had it years, doesn't really go with everything etc etc"
Maybe she takes any compliments directed at my dc as to compliments directly to her and makes an automatic negative response. Hmm, interesting.