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(another) help with mother!

(34 Posts)
butisthismyname Thu 27-Sep-12 11:16:45

It's a specific plea, but I will tell the whole story another time..Basically, after a very stressful few weeks with my mother (widowed young, been miserable and nasty ever since basically..) helping her move, being at her beck and call constantly, dealing with her moans about how she hates her new flat, when she hated her old place and I helped her get this one.. It is her birthday on Monday and dh and I had thought we would take her for a meal that night, as we have the, extremely rare, opportunity to have a whole saturday night and sunday off from the children grin We absolutely need some time together as it has been a nightmare these past few months for various reasons - mainly her though sad. Anyway she called the other night and said 'right so we'll all go out on Sunday - I cannot bear it here on a sunday so where shall we go?' I explained about the children going away, and dh and I actually, seriously, for the sake of our marriage to be honest absolutely needing some space on our own and that we'd thought about taking her out monday and she got sooo nasty. 'you knew it was my birthday weekend' she ranted. She then went all pathetic and said 'well, I'm used to being on my own' which is RUBBISH. every xmas, every birthday every time, we have to do stuff for her. I cannot cope for much longer. My sister hasn't spoken to her since March and I get the fallout from that too 'If your sister was talking to me...' Now I have to call her to say 'look, if you don't want to come out MOnday, we'll have to do it the following sunday' and I am dreading it...Tips ??

Safire Thu 27-Sep-12 11:24:01

Honestly, I would say leave her to it. Do not be bullied into giving up your special time with DH. Send her a card and flowers in time for Sunday, ring her and get your kids to ring her too. Take her out on Monday or any other time that suits you. She is lucky you are bothering with her when your sister has chosen the easy way out and I presume you could too if you wanted.

Sometimes you have to put yourself first, especially when others are ungrateful and don't appreciate what you do for them.

brass Thu 27-Sep-12 11:24:19

I think you just have to stand your ground as an adult. You're doing everything you can for her, she can't expect more.

A better way might be 'be careful mother you've already driven one daughter away' but I don't know your relationship and whether that would be too harsh.

The trouble with being at someone's beck and call is that they have no idea what compromises you're making in your own life in order to do that. Don't let her dictate everything. You spend a good chunk of your paragraph justifying spending time with your DH. You really shouldn't have to.

Safire Thu 27-Sep-12 11:29:34

Sorry just realised her birthday is on the Monday!! She is being even more unreasonable than I originally thought!!

Go on your weekend away and worry about her when you get back!

Iatemyskinnyperson Thu 27-Sep-12 11:35:37

Would you get much thanks if you did cancel your plans with DH? No? Thought not. Don't pander to her, it won't make anyone happy...

diddl Thu 27-Sep-12 11:37:42

Why do you tell her so much?

Sunday doesn´t work-it´s Monday or some other time.

butisthismyname Thu 27-Sep-12 11:45:07

I know this is what I should do - sister and dh have said the same - I just suffer this ridiculous guilt the whole time! I helped her get her new place and she's miserable there, but she was miserbale at the other place, in fact has been miserable for ever! I can't bear the emotional blackmail anymore. And, yes I feel like saying 'do you want me to not speak to you anymore either?' The issues around my sis and her not speaking are incredibly complicated, suffice to say my mother hasn't 'done anything wrong...' hmm Ineed to just be a bit stronger..

butisthismyname Thu 27-Sep-12 11:46:07

she assumed that we had kept sunday free I guess. It's always the same..

DontmindifIdo Thu 27-Sep-12 11:48:00

It's not her 'birthday weekend', it's not even her birthday. Tell her you will take her out on her actual birthday, if that doesn't suit her, you can do another night that week or the following weekend, but not hte weekend before her birthday, you aren't available. Don't even enter into conversations about cancelling your plans, you are not available, if you were, then you would see her, but you're not.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 27-Sep-12 13:02:48

" yes I feel like saying 'do you want me to not speak to you anymore either?' "

So say it. Your mum is attention-seeking with her 'no-one cares' act and it's extremely childish and selfish. If no-one ever pulls her up short, she'll just carry on the same way and you'll carry on feeling resentful. She won't like it because the truth hurts and you're going to have to harden your heart and stop worrying about her good opinion.... but if you want to have any kind of relationship, take the reins.

Corygal Thu 27-Sep-12 13:07:23

Don't tell me, she's a sprightly 50-70 with no health problems, enough money, and no major life problems.

She's also a heartsink. Age is not an excuse for unacceptable behaviour, and especially not when someone is in good health and has a life of leisure.

Especially not when you might have to put up with 25 years of this.

Ok, so fixing this is easier said than done. But it is possible. You have to stand firm, but it doesn't have to be as dramatic or confronational as it sounds, and it will get results.

1. Leave every other call to the answerphone. Always.
2. Stay bright, light and breezy.
3. When she whines (eg birthday weekend), respond with the facts. ("It's not your birthday weekend, is it. We are looking forward to ringing you on Monday".)
4. Treat her like the horrid toddler she is. Kind but firm, breathe, kind but firm.
5. If you feel guilty (you will) and she gets confrontational (she will) remind yourself that your treatment of her is for her own good.
6. If she puts you in a spot (she will), use holding remarks such as "I'll let you know when I can" "I can see your point of view" "That's interesting". This avoids having to agree to her latest loony demand.

Could you talk to your sister? Chat generally, then bring the problem up.

butisthismyname Thu 27-Sep-12 13:34:56

Well, she's actually 83 but she really does have no health problems, no major worries ( except ones she makes up) and no money issues anymore. She looks and acts about 70 but has finally decided to start using 'I'm old' as an excuse, whilst loving it when everyone says 'goodness me you look soooo young'
She has just got worse lately and mainly because she has isolated all her old friends by being vile (although she'd never admit that) it's all 'well I don't know what I've done' -this is her favourite saying, along with crying. My sister and I talk about it all the time - she is really supportive but, simply does not want contact which I totally respect and know why.

I am going to be more assertive with her (although that leads her to say 'oh, you're getting like your sister, I bet she's told you to be like this' ) and will adopt the points you've made corygal

Tonight when she phones, I will say that no, we cannot do sunday, we can do Monday night or the following sunday end of. And try not to feel bad! Thank you

Anniegetyourgun Thu 27-Sep-12 13:39:46

See, if you get into a discussion about why you want Sunday to yourselves, you're opening yourself up to negotiation (in her view). You need to make it clear that whether she accepts your reasons or not, seeing her on Sunday is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Whether you give an explanation or not depends on how civil you feel like being, but really she not only doesn't need to know about your problems, I suspect she doesn't want to know when they are impacting on her plans for your time.

Corygal Thu 27-Sep-12 14:37:11

Hmmmm.... she sounds a charmer. Now I realise that by mentioning this word it might strike terror and guilt into you, but that really is not the point. Any signs she might have dementia?

Being nasty alone, incidentally, is not a symptom, but is there anything else weird? Even if she is going senile, you still have to manage the behaviour, so for practical purposes it doesn't make much difference. But you might want a little think.

butisthismyname Thu 27-Sep-12 14:44:36

I don't think so - she's always been like this really, but just seems to be getting more unpleasant. She's totally on the ball about most things but refuses to take responsibility for anything, everything is, and always has been someone elses fault - and now it's just me who gets the brunt of it. I have huge support from DH (who also has to deal with some bits) but it's still me that feels the emotional pain of it all. It's just the way everything I ever do or say is wrong: Example: 'DS is playing football for the county, isn't that amazing - he was chosen out of 200 boys' 'Well, that's all very nice. What a shame it's not rugger. Still, he's not very clever is he so maybe it's for the best'. 'That's really quite unkind' 'I didn't mean it (cry) ' Daily, I deal with comments like this.

butisthismyname Thu 27-Sep-12 14:45:06

As I said in OP it's a really long back story. sorry, not meaning to drip feed.

butisthismyname Thu 27-Sep-12 18:15:08

Have just been on the phone to hear and firmly said we are not able to do anything this weekend, but we can take you out on Monday if you wish. Compromise was reached that she will come to ours on Monday night (DH going to be pleased grin ) and have something to eat then get a taxi home and we may perhaps, depending on commitments go out next Sunday. She did a pathetic 'I know you have a life,I don't mean to keep phoning...' Gah!

butisthismyname Thu 27-Sep-12 18:15:28

*to her, not hear !

AgathaFusty Thu 27-Sep-12 19:27:59

Good, you have your weekend together. It is so, so difficult when you have unreasonable parent/s, but you must put yourself and your DH first.

HissyByName Thu 27-Sep-12 19:32:47

She is holding you as an Emotional Hostage. Your sister has wriggled free, you need to detach a bit too.
What happened for your sister to stop talking to her?

Please think very carefully about why your sister made that decision.

NOBODY takes that decision lightly and without an AWFUL lot of very painful thinking.

Prepare yourself for a Mummy GuiltFest on Monday, she will go ALL out to make you feel like SHIT for not dropping everything and being with her.

butisthismyname Thu 27-Sep-12 20:08:35

I don't know where to start with my sister and my mum! It's a really difficult story going right back to her childhood and our fathers death, when we were both small. I know she found it difficult to cut her out of her life but she has had to, and is going through some very challenging therapy as well at the moment sad I spent six months once not speaking to my mother either because of her appalling behaviour. I guess she's not going to change but I just have to not let her ruin the rest of my life emotionally.

Corygal Thu 27-Sep-12 23:48:28

Well done and stay strong. She sounds a prize one - the key is to realise it's not your fault, it's not even personal, and it can be dealt with.

Enlist support of your husband too.

deleted203 Fri 28-Sep-12 03:05:28

Butisthis you are doing brilliantly. I've seen you on other thread about toxic mothers and know you have one. Keep strong, keep calm. Don't let her guilt you into doing anything you don't want to. Remember all the suggestions on other thread re difficult mothers. OK, going to give advice for Monday that might help:-

1 If she makes a comment along the lines of '^I know you didn't really want me tonight, etc^' say calmly '^Would you like us to take you home?^'

2 If she mentions '^Yesterday would have been better for me^' say calmly, '^Unfortunately it wasn't possible for us. We already had plans. And after all, today is your actual birthday^'.

3 Any little hurtful digs, say, '^It's very sad that you feel the need to make unpleasant and critical remarks'^.

4 Any weeping and 'I didn't mean to' simply say, '^Then you need to think about the effect your comments have on others, Mother, before you say unkind things'^.

5 Any pathetic comments of 'I'm all alone' I would say cheerily 'It comes to us all, I'm afraid' and change the subject. You could also add, 'Of course, lots of old women your age are in a home. That would mean you had company' (depending on how much of a bitch you feel like being)

Hope some of these will help. I would get myself a stock list of things to trot out to any possible comment and then change the subject. If she's really ranty and upset I would definitely say, '^You're getting hysterical Mother. It's not good for you at your age. DH will take you home'^.

Good luck! Hope this helps, but feel free to ignore if I'm a bit more brutal than you smile

diddl Fri 28-Sep-12 06:51:13

Well I think that it´s lovely that you still bother with her.

But you have to do it on your terms I think & end a meeting when you don´t like her behaviour.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 28-Sep-12 07:58:49

Many children, now adults, who suffered such crap parenting as children have FOG in spades. Fear, obligation, guilt.

She is really laying on the manipulation here, your role is not to rise to it at all.
You can try saying what has been suggested, the only thing is that when she is in front of you you may find it very difficult to actually speak up (also you have been conditioned by her not to say anything untoward to her).

I would agree with Hissy; your mother is going to up the power-control ante now as your sister has broken free of her malign influence and she may now also feign illness to boot. Its yet another way of controlling you and your responses.

You would not let a friend treat you like this, your mother is truly no different in that regard. You need to re-establish your own boundaries re your mother and make them a lot higher than they are now. Such people too never apologise nor even take any responsibility for their actions.

Its okay to walk away if you've had enough. That is self preservation as much as anything else. You did not make her this way.

Would also suggest you read Toxic Parents written by Susan Forward and the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages.

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