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Agggh- mum is winding me up!

(19 Posts)
Tweet2tweet Wed 07-Nov-12 20:26:09

Hi
Maybe this is just a chance to vent!
My mum is beginning to wind me up so much that it is having an affect on my relationship towards her, which she hasn't spotted and has no knowledge of it .
Basically my mum is well meaning but self absorbed and fairly selfish. I don't know whether she's got worse with age or my growing up and having a DC of my own has made me realise.
My mum lives about 150 miles away so I don't expect a lot from her in the way of help, however she does literally nothing. When she comes to visit I have to cook, clean and do everything for her and partner. She will always take an afternoon nap and never offers to help- this has gone on since DC was born, I laugh now but when DC was 3 months she wouldn't watch her for a couple of hours as I was so sleep deprived.
I have asked her to help and when she has 'helped' she always over complicates things so not to be asked again, e.g- could meal for everyone, was exhausted and asked if mum would help with dishes. She then rinsed everything under the cold tap with no washing up liquid and flooded kitchen floor as water splashed off stuff under tap= me redoing the lot and having to mop floor.
I did ask my mum why she doesn't help at all and she says things like 'I will' or just laughs. Also makes promises to do things and then always let's us down. DH commutes and for one time only I asked her to come up one day earlier for a planned visit to watch DC and she wouldn't. Said she had some reading to do and didn't remember how to change nappies. I once told her how I found her lack of interest in DC etc quite odd and she told me I was a horrible person.
She also makes me paranoid, I can't talk to her about anything as she constantly goes off on conspiracy theories. In her world no one at work can be trusted, won't use cash machines, phones can be tapped etc etc. All this and she works in the area of mental health and counselling!!!!
I just wish I had someone I could go to, to get advice sometimes. I long for that but my mum just isn't interested, she only seems to want to talk about herself or belittles anything I say with 'positive energy and thoughts will bring good things'. Not great when you're in dire straights trying to get help!
Anyone else recognise this, anyone else got any tips on how to try and get through to her?

Don't bother trying to get through to her, it would be a waste of your time and hers. I don't think she is able to be the mother you want her to be and trying to get her to change will be a long and fruitless task. She sounds utterly self absorbed.

Tweet2tweet Wed 07-Nov-12 20:57:46

Thanks cuttingpicassostoenails, honestly it's great to get reassurance from someone that it's not just me being hard on her. Families huh smile I'll just make sure I try to be the mum I want to my kids.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Wed 07-Nov-12 21:59:46

Mothers are funny creatures! I can certainly sympathise. Has she always been like this?

NotQuiteCockney Wed 07-Nov-12 22:01:07

She sounds fairly narcissistic. And no, I don't think there's any way to get through to someone who is this far from reasonable. Sorry.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 07-Nov-12 22:09:02

My tip is to accept that you do not and will never have a mother worth the name, one who can love and empathize and appreciate you.

You cannot get through to her.

Find the love and empathy and validation you deserve from a circle of good friends, and with your mother, stop expecting anything from her, and learn to disconnect any emotion; let her words and actions wash over you.

You will find plenty of good reading recommendations to help you get a grip on this on the first page of the Stately Homes thread.

pippop1 Wed 07-Nov-12 22:10:18

Does she have early symptoms of dementia do you think?

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Wed 07-Nov-12 23:23:36

Pippop exactly what I was thinking, my nan was the most helpful wonderful person before it crept in, then she'd make all sorts of odd excuses & do odd things to hide it.

pippop1 Wed 07-Nov-12 23:56:31

Well it would make sense and would explain most of it I think - I have a MiL with dementia and when I think back (I've known her for nearly 30 years now) there were signs a very long time ago. I just thought it was her personality but now I'm not so sure.

Some of the things you say ring alarm bells.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Thu 08-Nov-12 10:16:09

If she's not always been like it, I'd regretfully say that it's a high possibility.

Tweet2tweet Thu 08-Nov-12 11:02:57

Interesting, I never even thought of dementia. Not sure though. She has a job and travels to lots of places. Also seems to be able to organise and remember the things she wants to do, just doesn't prioritise me into any of that.
For Christmas she gave us a huge (bad) photocopy of a painting she did. It wasn't very good and as my DH works in the arts was a bit of a surprise, especially as it was such a poor copy. She wanted a big presentation but we opened the night before as I knew she was up to something. Often in converstations she will also move the focus back to her and has actually said 'anyway, coming back to me' on a few occasions.
It's actually quite funny the stuff she does, my friends have a right laugh at my stories, but being the person who actually faces it as a reality isn't so much fun. Although I think it helps to laugh rather than get upset.
The way things are now, she visits, we talk about stuff to do with her and I expect nothing from her. She will say things like. 'I'm here for you' or 'We can speak whenever you want' but I've given up on hoping as it's just words and she doesn't come through with anything in reality. She will give us money sometimes and buys a takeaway when she visits which is kind, but time and affection is better.
She often says that I'm hard and think too much with my mind and not my heart, she even once told me that she knows a woman a similar age to her who said she wished my mum way her mum. Then asked me why I wouldn't say that. That hurt.
Growing up my parents got divorced when I was very young. I helped out and did a lot from under 10, picking my brother up from school, doing what I could around the house. My mum never mentions any of this, just goes on about my thinking too much with my head. She perhaps needs to think about why that is- survival! smile

ChooChooLaverne Thu 08-Nov-12 11:16:08

Tweet I think it might help to think of your mother as a sort of dotty old aunt and treat her accordingly.

Trying to accept that she is inadequate as a mother would probably give you some peace - easier said than done I know.

Have got mine coming to visit later and I'm going to try this.

BerthaTheBogBurglar Thu 08-Nov-12 20:51:22

Good advice ChooChoo!

Stop expecting anything from her, and stop asking. Back off a bit and don't tell her about things if you know she'll just criticise. If that means you can only talk about the weather, or her, so be it.

How often do you see her, and how long does she stay? Can you reduce the frequency/length - you don't need to say anything, just be vaguely busy if she asks.

Can you go to stay with her? And sit on the sofa and not help at all?

My parents used to live half-way on our route to some lovely friends so we would go to stay with the lovely friends, and pop in to my parents on the way. Visit done and dusted in an hour, followed by a weekend with people who like us for who we are.

We also used to meet them halfway for a day out at a National Trust place or somewhere like that. Then we got a nice day out, and duty done. Half the time they'd go off by themselves, which was wierd given how much they complained about not seeing enough of the children. Would something like that work for you? Maybe a bit far with small children.

What do you actually get out of your relationship with her? Can you list the positives? How long is the list?

pippop1 Sat 10-Nov-12 14:24:36

With hindsight, and looking with the person I've known v well for about 30 years who now officially has dementia (fairly severe now), judgement and discretion decline a bit with the start of dementia.

That could explain the painting for example. I suppose another possibilty is some kind of mild Asperger's?

janelikesjam Sat 10-Nov-12 14:38:11

It can be disheartening when you want or need a mother's support or advice thats not forthcoming. I have a similar situation in some ways. However, my mother can be helpful occasionally, so in a way its more confusing. However, she also can have a cynical and unsympathetic outlook on life that can make things worse if I ask her advice or for support on something; its difficult for me to judge.

I suppose the advice I would offer you is the advice I would give myself. Perhaps distance yourself more? In practical terms, if it were me I would not be inviting her to your house is she is so unhelpful and such hard work. If you want to maintaint some kind of contact/relationship e.g. for your child's sake, you could always meet up half-way perhaps for the day, or stay at a hotel for the weekend together a couple of times a year. Meanwhile, maybe try and cultivate other confidantes and friendships that can offer you advice, help or support? At least you have a hopefully supportive husband which is a great start.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 10-Nov-12 17:37:06

I would read up on narcissistic personality disorder and see if that fits a description of your mother. The website "daughters of narcissistic mothers" may be of some assistance to you.

You call her well meaning but self absorbed and fairly selfish - she seems to have always been this way so that would rule out dementia and for that matter Aspergers (which seems to get lumped in most unfairly in such scenarios). I would daresay that she is only well meaning when you do as she wishes; its all about her you see and you to her do not matter. Also self absorbed people are truly crap gift givers hence the awful painting you received. You did not cause her to act in such a manner; her own family did that particular damage.

You cannot change her but you can certainly change how you react to her. You cannot get through to her and if she is narcissist it is not possible to have a relationship with a narcissist. It simply does not work.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 10-Nov-12 17:40:42

I wouold also look at the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages. Your childhood was completely dysfunctional and I note that your father also left (left without taking the children unfortunately, he left you to her). The more I read about your mother the more I am convinced she has some form of undiagnosed personality disorder. She talking about conspiracy theories and phone tapping makes her sound paranoid and overtly anxious.

LapsedPacifist Sat 10-Nov-12 20:02:02

Tweet, how old is your Mum?

TBH, she sounds relatively "young" to me ( I am 51 and my DM is 84) and she seems to have a busy social and professional life. Perhaps she is just too involved in her own affairs to have a lot of "grandma" space left over?

I do think diagnoses of NPD and dementia shock!!! might be a little premature here.

LapsedPacifist Sat 10-Nov-12 20:03:19

Is she a bit of an old hippy perhaps?

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