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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

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.

YellowDinosaur Sun 13-Jan-13 13:34:25

<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


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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