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in distancing myself from my mum because I've had enough of her 'ill health'?

(42 Posts)
LiverpoolLou Tue 19-Aug-14 16:02:41

I feel like a complete bitch for posting this but I'm at breaking point. My mum is so demanding because of all her 'health complaints' and I can't deal with it anymore. Everything is about her, how she's feeling/coping, her disabilities and how difficult life is for her. I've come to realise that most of it is down to her (either in her head or by her choices) so I'm finding my well of sympathy running dry lately. If I say anything to undermine how ill she is, then she goes spare.

For example, I've just got back from 2 weeks away with her. She didn't get much sympathy during that time because I just didn't have the patience. So on the last day when DH and I were supposed to go out for our 1 meal alone she became really 'ill'.

Her version: She was having serious kidney problems. The GP was really worried because of her diabetes so sent her straight to hospital for tests. She was in hospital over night and now has to take really strong medicine so needs to rest.

Reality: She had a run of the mill urinary infection, waited until the end of the day to ring the GP. Insisted they saw her straight away because she has diabetes. They wouldn't and said if she couldn't wait till tomorrow to go the out of hours doctor (who happens to based in a building on the same site as the hospital). She didn't want to miss Coronation Street but insisted on going once it had finished. Got there around 10pm and were there till 3am on account of there being lots of genuinely sick people before her. Sent home with a pack of bog standard antibiotics.

The reason it winds me up so much is that by making out she's so much worse than she is I end up feeling like I have to run around after her. Which I would do, and have been doing, if it were genuine, but I'm disabled myself and I've come to realise that she is far more able than I am.

I'm probably not explaining this well, but it seems like my mum's hobby is being ill, the more serious the better, and there's no room for me and any support I need.

AIBU to leave her to wallow in her misery?

LiverpoolLou Tue 19-Aug-14 16:07:09

Another example, I take her to the Sleep Clinic at the hospital because she is having serious problems sleeping and has a 'sleep disorder' hmm. I sit there as she tells them how she's tired all the time, can't get up in the mornings and is at her wits end through lack of sleep. What she doesn't tell them is that she's playing farmville on FB until 3.00am most nights, falls asleep in her armchair and only goes to bed when my brother pops in on his way to work at 7.30am.

Ragwort Tue 19-Aug-14 16:20:11

She sounds very hard work, how old is she?

I would step back a bit if I were you, presumably she can get herself to the doctors etc?

Some people do genuinely enjoy 'being ill' and it sounds like your DM is one of them.

You were very kind to take her away for two weeks. flowers.

Quangle Tue 19-Aug-14 16:22:02

sympathies - DM is a bit like this. Her health issues are her hobby, her career, sometimes her only topic of conversation. I don't engage in most conversation about it and don't take her to appointments. I save my interventions for when she really needs me.

LiverpoolLou Tue 19-Aug-14 16:26:57

She's only 58, but you'd think she was 78 to listen to her.

I now think she can get herself to the doctors although I think she genuinely believes she can't. She has a rollator and I noticed on holiday that when she uses it she's slow and awkward. But she forgets herself when she does have it to hand and walks fine (until I comment at which point it's all aches and pains again).

LadyLuck10 Tue 19-Aug-14 16:27:40

Yanbu, we have a close family member like this. I have zero sympathy and patience left. She takes it to the extremes, is always sick and dying of something or the other.

Mrsgrumble Tue 19-Aug-14 16:28:11

My mum is like this. Yes, she has health concerns but before my graduation she nearly collapsed, my hen - insisted on friends of hers going and then got ill with her bowel problems, first holiday after I got married she collapsed and hurt herself.

Even my mil says my mother is a strong fit woman and its all in her head.

I try and stay away a lot. Don't phone everyday etc. this has warranted 'I want to commit suicide' type of attention seeking behaviour but I smile and try and be on with it.

No way Jose do I go on holiday anymore with her. She has only one contact phone number, no keys to my house.

LiverpoolLou Tue 19-Aug-14 16:39:29

I won't be going on holiday with her anymore either. What was I thinking even suggesting it.

I'm finding it quite difficult to care about the genuine illnesses now too. Like her diabetes, which I know is very serious. How can I care when she doesn't care other than as a source of conversation? She goes on courses at the diabetes clinic on how to manage it but hasn't made a single change to her diet or lifestyle. I know it's not easy and I would have great sympathy if she was trying and failing, but she won't try. It's reached the point where she's having to inject daily and she spends ages with the gp and diabetic nurse trying to get to the bottom of why she's so bad. I want to tell them to ask her about the 2l of coke she drinks a day.

Bliming this is turning into a massive unloading.

fassbendersmistress Tue 19-Aug-14 16:39:54

How long has this been going on? Is it a recent thing, as in, getting older and coming to terms with her body failing her a bit? Or is this deeper rooted and she's always been like this? If so, there is probably a genuine reason somewhere for her health anxiety and rather than distance yourself, maybe you could encourage her to acknowledge it, talk about it and get help.

But I do understand the frustration. My mum is very similar and with every minor ailment trots out 'the dr thinks it might be cancer'. Exaggerates about hospital appts and procedures. Classic boy who cried wolf. The day we all ignore her will be the day she actually really needs us. I'm lucky tho, I live miles away so I only have to endure the endless phone calls...

LiverpoolLou Tue 19-Aug-14 16:45:12

I think it started around 10 years ago when she did start to have problems but has got worse and worse. Saying that she has never been interested in any health concerns I've had and has always played health one-upmanship.

PandaNot Tue 19-Aug-14 16:47:57

My mum is like this except she is the healthiest person I know! She has a genuine health anxiety so any little pain means she's dying. I feel sorry for her because I think she has genuine mental health needs and I try to be understanding whilst not buying into her worries, unless she genuinely appears ill, but it is extremely wearing. You have my sympathies.

Vitalstatistix Tue 19-Aug-14 16:50:33

Could you give the missing information? It may be crucial to her care. What if you called up and said look, I know you can't talk to me, but you can listen, this this and this is happening and you need to know.

They can then factor it all in when dealing with her. If she is, for example, drinking things that have the potential to affect her diabetes - her doctor and nurse need that information.

Also, if she knows that information will not be withheld, would she be less likely to attention seek with you?

Ragwort Tue 19-Aug-14 17:01:49

shock 58 - that's nothing, a couple of years older than me and I am blessed with parents in their 80s who are fit and healthy and still playing sports (well, Dad is grin) & Mum rushes round providing lunches for the 'over 60s club' ! (She calls them 'poor old dears')

Gosh, that is so sad, it sounds as though she has nothing in her life except her (poor) health to focus on.

rembrandtsrockchick Tue 19-Aug-14 17:05:55

My mother works her way through the medical dictionary and then starts at the beginning again.

She is on psittacosis at the moment.

LarrytheCucumber Tue 19-Aug-14 17:14:25

I am 62 and I am staggered. I thought you were going to say she was in her late 70s.
I take it she lives alone. Maybe this is just her way of coping with loneliness, or of getting attention.
I used to know someone with type 1 diabetes who was actually afraid of the possible consequences of it, but admitted that she actually enjoyed the attention it brought her because it made her feel important.

Dazedconfused Tue 19-Aug-14 17:26:33

My fil is exactly the same. He has some minor issues and was once told he had had possibly had a mini stroke which is obviously worrying. He now has decided he has had several strokes (no evidence for this just seems to want sympathy) and he declares he has cancer constantly when he goes for prostate tests etc in that while he awaits results he has cancer until he gets the results (which Are always negative which is good).

AbbieHoffmansAfro Tue 19-Aug-14 17:58:39

Yes, don't stay quiet while she misinforms doctors about what she's doing.

zeezeek Tue 19-Aug-14 20:21:53

My mother is the same. She has high BP but that's about it, but she hurt her back and it took months to heal - because she wouldn't go the GP, get a referral to a physio or do anything except sit on her arse all day moaning. Now she has a mole which hasn't changed shape in 20 years - but she's convinced it's melanoma but won't go and get it checked out. And that's just this year!! SHe just prefers to tell us that she's dying. Unfortunately, we're all to fed up to play her game.

cleanasawhistle Tue 19-Aug-14 20:33:52

My mother was like this.
If she had a cold she would phone me or my sister and say she had the flu and needed one of us to go shopping or do some cleaning for her.She could never just get on with anything like everyone else has to do.

I started to play her at her own game.If I answered the phone and she said she felt awful I would say it must be some bug doing the rounds because I had it too and wasn't she so lucky to be able to sleep it off but I couldn;t because I still had two young children to run after etc.

After a while she stopped phoning me but it meant my poor sister got double the hassle.

Mrsjayy Tue 19-Aug-14 20:55:50

Apparent ly I was reading so armchair phsycology but if somebody is ill for a period of time they get hooked on the attention and drama so your mum is having a fix call her on it dont pander to her I know its hard but tell her well or course you are drinking cola isnt going to sort your diabetes. My mil was like this and when she was genuinely seriously ill dh didn't believe her blush

zeezeek Tue 19-Aug-14 20:59:48

I had cancer several years ago and hated all the fuss and attention!!! Sometimes I think that it is the people who have less serious things wrong with them that enjoy being ill the most....they aren't ill enough to have to face their own mortality because once you've been in that particular place you never want to go back.

ItHasANiceRingWhenYouLaugh Tue 19-Aug-14 21:05:21

I do think you should tell her doctor the full picture Inc what she is drinking and doing until 3 am! They can certainly listen to that.

RonaldMcDonald Tue 19-Aug-14 21:10:42

Has she seen a therapist?

Sometimes behaviour like this may have to do with fear of death, loneliness, fear, fear of fear...anything really and she might be grabbing hold of you tightly as a raft
Working with a decent therapist will allow her to explore her feelings and set some goals and perhaps problem solve her way out of where she is.
I know it can be draining and annoying. Try to get her some help to at least come to terms with her problems and to open communication between you both
You might also get something out of doing the same as it isn't easy

drudgetrudy Tue 19-Aug-14 21:12:44

If its for attention don't re-enforce it with attention.
"I feel terrible"-"Why don't you go for a lie down then?"- nothing else either positive or negative.
Try to change the subject.
As soon as she stops moaning turn your full attention on her.
I tried this-my DB who made a big fuss was much preferred!

queenofthemountain Tue 19-Aug-14 21:20:03

I think you are a bit health,She has got a serious and worrying illness.
And if you are in pain with say a bad back, it can be all consuming

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