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Struggling with Bereaved Mum

(8 Posts)
NeedToMoan Sat 18-May-13 16:31:59

Hi, sorry this is a moan really, so I don't spontaneously combust. My dad died about 6 months ago and I am struggling with my mum a bit. She's very lucky really, got a big family, lots of grandchildren etc but has no friends, hobbies etc, never has. I am just finding her a bit hard to deal with. Of course she wants more contact now, but she has always been very critical and is very negative and wants to talk about other family members all the time and she just drags me down, always has done. To make matters worse one of my siblings has announced they are going to live abroad for six months and my mum's gone into one about this, just had her here moaning and trying to drag me into a conversation to slag off said sibling. She winds my kids up and one of them gets a funny attitude whenever she comes around. It's stressful. But of course, I know really she's struggling and lonely but my God I am in a bad mood for several hours after she's been round. One of my children has special needs and I'm dealing with all of that too. There's nothing I can do about any of this, she will never change, but I just hate the way she makes me feel, I always have.

Sonotkylie Sat 18-May-13 16:46:14

I had the same issue with my mother when my father died 6 years ago. At the time he died I was 4 months pregnant and writing a dissertation for my MA. I dropped everything for her for the immediate aftermath (2 weeks) and spent more time with her for a few months after. Things came to a head when I was almost 9 months pregnant and she was hassling me constantly to go over to hers (40 minutes each way in heavy traffic) or embark on long trips with her ...! And hassling me about everything I did or thought about the baby and future plans. And the time I was tired and needed to be calm and focus on my husband, Ante natal friends and myself. I simply couldn't deal with her neediness as well. So I cut off contact for the remaining few weeks before Ds was born and then gradually picked it up again once he arrived.
Anyway, while this is jolly cathartic for me, I just want to say that what she is doing is probably part of a normal grieving process for her. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean you need to do it too. Its 6 months and she needs to start her new life. More to the point, you do not need the extra hassle and you too have lost your father and need to move on.
I hope this is supportive because I know its not much practical help. My mother too is the most negative woman alive (maybe we should put them in touch). I must also say our relationship isn't great but it exists despite many unpleasant things she said to me at the time and she has a good relationship with DS, which I am proud to have preserved (even though I know she will never be any use to him whatever).
I think perhaps suggest gently a few things she might enjoy doing - course, theatre, organised walks, whatever her thing is or might be, or tell her about people you know who've enjoyed x, y or z and give her details. But above all be a little less available. Protect your life.
Lots of love to you and yours.

NeedToMoan Sat 18-May-13 17:22:07

Aw thanks, I feel mean posting this but man alive, it's driving me nuts! I am very lucky really as there is a big family and she has a lot of company so I am not her sole contact. it's not so much the amount of time I spend with her but the draining quality of it. I suppose if I'm honest I don't like her as a person that much and that's fine, I accept it, what bothers me is that it drags me down and puts me into a negative place too. She is only interested in family, nothing else and just dismisses or puts down any suggestions outside of that. Unfortunately, both her and my Dad were quite good at playing favourites and playing us all off against each other so there are lots of undercurrents there at all times. I had really moved on from all of that but I think his death has stirred it all up again a bit and whilst I making efforts to move on and put it all behind me, her constant mithering (sp?!) drags all that bad feeling back up again. I really don't like the effect she has on my son, now both my kids do love her and I wouldn't want that to change, but it's almost as if he picks up on the mood and plays on it, unknowingly really but it's there. I am constantly having to warn him not to start acting up when she is here and of course when he does, she jumps in with all the shit stirry comments and I have to stay cool otherwise I will tell her to bugger off home and then I will feel very guilty. Like you say, cathartic! Anyway none of this is said to her, I recognise that she is very much in the thick of the grieving process. "protect your life" - that's really coined it for me, it's about protecting the positive side of my life and character and not getting sucked back down again. It's finding a way to do that without cutting her off, but I do want some life that she doesn't infiltrate and ruin. Thanks, I'm going to give it some thought.

Sonotkylie Sat 18-May-13 17:56:54

Good luck NeedtoMoan - can I rename you 'FairtoMoan'? It is not her right to mess with your head and life. You will find a middle way, I'm sure.

ItsYonliMe Tue 21-May-13 12:17:43

Needto - I could have written your post a few years ago.

6 months after your dad/her husband has died is nothing is it. That's when I had to go on ADs after my dad died and I was trying to keep myself going and my mum.

It did take my mum years to recover - if that's what you call it. Apart from time, the biggest help for her was some counselling (and we are not a counselling family!).

She had become so bitter and needy and desperate (her world had imploded) that it took an outside person to help her look at everything.

My mother would never have considered counselling as an option but things had become very desperate. It was a turning point for my mum.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 16-Jun-13 21:13:24

6 months and she needs to start a new life. You have no clue. 2 years and 5 months I am just at the stage when I might go 20 min without thinking of my DH. Today it is all day, every minute. My DC are full of compassion and support as I am for them. Be ashamed.

WaitingIsWhatIDo Sat 22-Jun-13 23:52:30

ilovegeorgeclooney. Sorry for your loss x. I think it just highlights how the grieving process is different for different people within a family and how expectations may clash. If there have been issues in the past, a bereavement can bring these back to the surface, I think that's what has happened in my case. Hope you continue to recover with the support of your family x

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 23-Jun-13 09:16:01

I think my point is I will never recover and nor would I want to. I met my DH at university and were together for 30 years and had an amazing relationship. I do concede however I am coming from a position of a happy and secure family and that even though my children are much younger, 17,19 and 22, they know my loss and I know theirs. We also have a lifetime of happy memories to share which makes the loss more painful but I suppose at least we don't have regrets.

I do agree she must not live her life through her children. It might be hard but you have to accept that the impact of loosing a partner is going to change your daily life and you have to adjust. Mind you it is not all bad, I rather enjoy going to the cinema by myself, DH had an annoying habit of dropping off whenever the lights went down!

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