To tell someone they are repeating a story they have already told you 89 times(35 Posts)
Usually my DM.
I always hesitate between thinking 'it will be over soon, just nod along' or cutting in halfway through and making it clear they already told you this 88 other times before quite recently.
1 is kinder than no 2, but is it just better to be honest and move on to new stories where you don't have to hide your facial expression of despair?
If it is 89 times, then it wouldn't be unreasonable to say, 'yes, you've mentioned this before'. Unless your DM is elderly and repeating herself as part of an illness - in which my response is to shut up and smile. I know it's easier said than done!
How bad is it? Do you think she might have dementia? Or the beginnings of it? Does she get upset if you point out the repetition??
No she just has always been this way. She knows she has told me before but obviously feels it's still an important story with relevance, in fact I can see how eager she is to horn it into the convo each time we speak.
I think she's lonely IMO
My Mum does this , I now know to avoid any conversations that contain the 'pointers' that will lead to her telling the same story again.
This is nothing to do with her age BTW, not loss of memory at all.
I just listen along or try and bypass it by asking something so she knows I already know the story without cutting her off in mid flow, but takes it in another direction. Especially now , I know her memory isn't as good.
I work with older people and often they tell me the same thing (especially if it's about a hospital stay or operation) I can't cut cut them off.
And if someone has dementia, and asks over and over , to them it is the first time they;ve asked.
I work in a similar area and I see no confusion in her or losing the thread of the story at all, it's word for word. And she's always been like this but When I try a new direction she often carries on anyway or starts again a few mins later
I guess it's for comfort in some sort of way. I've heard old people (without dementia) repeating favourite old stories with exactly the same wording and intonation. Like chanting a mantra!
If it's my DM then we're close enough that I can just point it out and make a joke of it. Same with DP. My grandmother I listen and ask the same questions for more detail each time. Because I love her and hate that she's lonely, and love having a chat with her even if there's nothing new to say.
My DM isn't very old IMO. It's definitely loneliness
I did listen but oh god I don't want to hear this story again tomorrow
It's not a heart warming story it is a rant and a moan about the same thing, that never gets resolved
My Mum tells the same stories every few months for the last 20yrs.... She just loves to talk about herself and is well aware she does it. Mostly negative things. Tonight I just completely changed the subject so she couldn't finish her story. I used to say, you have told me this story a million times but then if I ever repeated myself she would jump down my throat straight away ha! So now I either just grin and bear it or change the subject quickly.
I dont want to be like this when my DC's are older. Hopefully it's not hereditary
My mum is like this. She's not old (yet) but insists on telling me a story I've heard a trillion times over and over. Anything can set her off and she has a different story for each occasion. Problem is sometimes it didn't happen the way she remembers it (we've been through an attention seeking lying about our childhood/teenage years phase) so it's even more frustrating! I just nod and agree now as it's easier than calling her up on it. She is strangely better since my dad passed away though, he was definitely an enabler for her
MIL will also do this, if my DH or me say 'oh yes I remember you said ..' it does not stop her plowing on and saying it again... Give it a go but you'll probably still get to hear the story---- so you may have to accept it, good luck op
I suspect some of it is attention seeking from me at times. Not due to this issue but another I have dramatically reduced my contact with her over the years. She recently acknowledged her other poor behaviour but this doesn't seem to have abated much. I can tolerate it just about, it's just so irritating
My Mum used to do this from quite a young age, so did my FIL.
Neither of them cared whether you had heard the anecdote before! It was a good to tell, so they would continue whatever you said. In fact if you tactfully pointed out to FIL that he had mentioned it before, he would ask you questions to make sure you had listened properly the first time, and correct you if you had one small detail wrong!
They both drove me potty. Unfortunately I think it's a type of selfishness or self-obsession. It does indicate quite a narrow set of life experiences and an inability to listen or hold normal to and fro conversations.
That being said, I can sometimes feel myself wanting to start a good story which I know I probably have told before, just because I love the tale and think it's interesting enough to repeat. Fortunately most of the time I keep myself in check, but give me another 10 years and I won't give a f**k.
Thing is I kind of wonder if I was totally honest, it could help her? She's very stagnant in her job and I think this is exactly what holds her back as she probably does it there too but also makes her feel quite miserable. I mean if she wasn't miserable about it she wouldn't keep telling the stories.
Part of me likes the idea of helping her move in from it. But despite all the advice I dole out the story is still there!
I notice with your DM it's an almost obsessive rant, which is the sort of issue my DM had.
With hindsight I suspect mine had an obsessive nature and certainly was going over and over specific topics because they were unresolved for her. I guess what they are doing is like a bit of attempted 'therapy' for themselves. Trouble is it is never going to be resolved and can make talking with them pretty depressing and stressful.
I did once say to my DM over one particular drama "I do understand that you feel the need to talk about this over and over again, but there is nothing really I can say to help you and it's getting a bit tedious". She called me an unkind and thoughtless daughter and didn't phone for 3 weeks. She didn't bring up that topic again, but started a few weeks later on a new obsession. . I don't really think she had it in her to resolve difficult issues.
Lol I am concerned you are my sister and we haven't told each other our mumsnet names
and yes actually I really see what you are saying. I hadn't thought of it like attempted therapy. I think I am one of the therapists unwillingly
Have you tried giving your personal view of what you would do if you found yourself in that situation? Rather than tell her what to do IYKWIM?
Yes, many times. maybe sometimes people don't even want an answer they just want to offload - which is fine, but this just seems like something unresolved that she would benefit from resolving and moving on.
She doesn't have ANY interests or hobbies, which compounds this stuff.
I feel sorry for her mostly, although she irritates the crap out of me.
Worse she irritates the crap out of my DC's and they are at a mean teen age where they eye roll, sigh, huff and walk off then she gets upset about that. DD's get pissed with me if we go somewhere in the car and therefore are 'trapped' with the story for a period of time. I've even tried drowning it out with jolly music but she just talks louder
I've tried to be diplomatic in the past and tried to swerve a story that ive heard before. But to be honest, it's never worked, if someone wants to repeat stuff there's no stopping them!! Even when you give them the ending they still carry on
My Mum passed away about 15 years ago, so probably not. Although I do have an older sister who shared the burden .
I do think the other problem is, that some people actually relish having a moan and a grumble all the time and really don't have any other way of communicating with people. Through my experience with my DM I have often found myself becoming the patient listener to others' moans, I now learn to back off a bit from such people, if at all possible.
My father has been dong exactly this since my childhood. Not rants, but stories, proverbs and sayings he says again and again, in exactly the same phrasing, to people he must be well aware have heard them hundreds of times (literally) before. In his case, I've long suspected that undiagnosed Asperger's is a factor. He's completely unable to grasp that a pair of complete strangers who happen to share his dentist do not need a half-hour (again, literally) account of his dental history standing in a car park or that when a friend of mine asked how he had found an adult ed course her own father was considering taking, she did not want a lengthy account of parking restrictions around the university which did not even mention he course content.
He can't judge his audience or the kind of answer required - once when I phoned after weeks of worry to tell my parents my unborn baby had tested negative for a serious condition, his immediate response was to tell me about mowing the lawn at length - so it doesn't compute for him that 'this is my oldest daughter X, who has heard this exact story several times a year since she turned twelve'. He thinks he is conveying crucial information.
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