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The Great Escape

(735 Posts)
GoodtoBetter Fri 18-Jan-13 07:24:59

I thought I would start a new thread, for anyone who might be interested in listening to my waffling on about my struggles with a difficult, overbearing mother. Thank you to whoever it was who suggested the thread title! I've changed my name for something a bit more positive.
previous thread here:

Jux Sun 21-Apr-13 10:36:38

Sorry, G2B, that's actually on the wrong thread blush (I blame the iPad!)

GoodtoBetter Sun 21-Apr-13 19:43:27

No worries Jux grin

Well, had a lovely weekend. Got back about 2.30 and sent DM a msg to say we were having lunch and then DD would nap but I'd pop round afterwards with a pendrive of photos. As predicted she was annoyed.

No reply to msg and then when we went round she said something like it was a shame we hadn't said we were going. I thought she meant about the towels so I said it hadn't mattered and we'd just decided that morning and she said "you'd had to have packed the car" (i.e you're lying) I said, sorry it was on a whim and she said plaintively she'd bought strawberries for DS (and obviously then they'd gone to waste). Then there was some story about buying really nice strawberries from the grocer's and the reason she was telling me was so I wouldn't think she was lying about having bought them, which doesn't even make sense. But anyway....guilting a plenty

Then when we got back she asked for a hug and said "I miss you" I said I was sorry we'd just wanted to go away for a few days and she was all, "I don't mean that, I like you to have nice holidays with the children". But I felt crap, I know she misses the company but it WASN'T NORMAL us all to be living there and she wasn't even happy most of the time. Compared to most grannies she sees us A LOT even now, really she does. But I come away feeling guilty and a bit crap.

But, it's not unreasonable, is it? She saw me with the DC last Sunday when we went to the park. I texted her Thursday morning to say we were away and I'd pop in on Sunday, went over and took her out for coffee. I really wanted to just go without mentioning it to her first, some deep seated rebellion or something maybe, I don't just felt important to me to be able to just go, but maybe I wasn't being fair?? But I hadn't mentioned we'd be seeing her anyway.

Oh and now it's hot she's wearing these godawful beach dresses (more like large blouses) she bought a couple of summers ago. They're OK AT THE BEACH over a swimsuit, but they're just like big sort of transparent (short) kaftans. I swear to god you can see her pants, even without her bending over, they are so short. She hardly ever went out before so it didn't matter, but she wore one out the the cafe this afternoon with us and people were staring. So, I don't know how to handle that. I really can't in all good conscience let her walk around like that without saying something but I don't think she'll take it at all well.

It's always one step forward and 2 back.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sun 21-Apr-13 19:51:25

Try not to dwell and let any niggles spoil memory of happy long weekend. You all had a great time - the sky didn't fall in even though M expects detailed breakdown of daily plans... Sounds nutso put that way doesn't it.

Yes she misses certain aspects of sharing a house but the DCs are getting bigger, she steadfastly blanked DH, you have a new home now.

Too short/transparent kaftan-ish tops, now that's tricky...

GoodtoBetter Sun 21-Apr-13 19:59:53

DH says if it were his mum he'd just say "you can't go out in that, I can see your bum" but with my mother it'll provoke "why didn't you say something before?" I did and you got all huffy and it didn't reeeeaally matter cs you never wet anywhere" or "'I've got nothing else to wear, I haven't bought any new clothes since I came here (weird but true)". "I cna never find anything for the summer".

GoodtoBetter Sun 21-Apr-13 20:00:21


DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sun 21-Apr-13 20:33:48

Fraught with danger I see your point.

"Lovely and cool round the house Mum but maybe too revealing in public or I'd be tempted myself" followed swiftly by "How about we look online together/have a girls' day out clothes shopping just you and me?"

Any sulks or denial shrug off and say okay you won't mention it again.

What shape is she, slim enough for a version of capri pants or shorts?

GoodtoBetter Sun 21-Apr-13 20:44:51

She's not obese or anything, but not slim especially. She'd still look a bit over beachy with some shorts underneath but at least she would look like she'd got dressed hmm. I think maybe the next time she's wearing it I might say, "you know I think that's shrunk a bit in the wash, you'll need something under it". Thus avoiding claims I've been letting her walk around looking half naked (because that would e MY fault obviously hmm) And if she starts the "I don't have anything", say, "well let's go out and get some bits then". If she says it's OK I'll have to bite the bullet and say, "no, really it's too short".
What do you think? Wish she'd just dress like other 70 year olds.

GoodtoBetter Mon 22-Apr-13 10:02:51

Does that sound like a good plan?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 22-Apr-13 10:28:30

That sounds perfectly reasonable.... to us! She may not see it that way of course. If you get the "^It's your fault you let me go around like that^" peevish tone then just bat it away with a good natured, deaf-to-her-annoyance, "As if I have any say in the matter!" which is btw quite a good stock response to any inference of you wielding control in any situation. Then either carry on ignoring that outburst or find yourself an excuse to go.

GoodtoBetter Mon 22-Apr-13 10:44:50

I'm fretting about this, I know I am. I'm not sure why it's bothering me. Maybe it's all part of the come down from the stress, I've been feeling anxious about silly stuff recently.

DH had to go to the grocer's this morning and the young guy in there said, you've just missed your MIL. DH said, something like "in a flowery dress?...thought I saw her from across the road" and the guy said something like "yes, dress thing..." making it clear he thought it was a really weird get up. I am just flabbergasted she is walking about like that. It is so far from appropriate, and she's not normally the type to be flashing her pants. Don't want to be cruel or upset her either, but don't want someone laughing at her or saying something either and her feel I let her walk around looking stupid.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 22-Apr-13 11:09:48

I don't think she's a figure of fun, we all have our moments - I nipped out the other day in gardening clothes and s*d's law I bumped into more people I know than I ever do straight from the hair salon or wearing something new and flattering...

Either you say something and risk her jumping down your throat or don't and fret about her looking like the local eccentric Englishwoman.

Don't want to be cruel or upset her of course you don't. If you say what's on your mind it's up to her how she reacts.

Maybe it's all part of the come down from the stress, I've been feeling anxious about silly stuff recently tbh I am more concerned about you than her, is it some kind of displacement, worrying about small stuff instead of consumed by daily thoughts of keeping-Mum-happy?

GoodtoBetter Mon 22-Apr-13 11:22:10

I don't know. I had a lovely weekend, but I'm feeling twitchy today...don't know how to describe it...doom laden/anxious/tired. Like what I really want to do is go upstairs and lie down on my bed (it's peaceful and sunny up there) and drift off for a nice little nap. But that's probably just Mondaytis after 5 days off. I wonder if I spent so many years worrying constantly about her and trying to engineer/maintain her good moods whether I've become the kind of person who "needs" something to fret about. I don't think so. I hope not. I feel a it "stop the world, I wanna get off" today. sad
I'll try to blank it out today and then just be matter of fact and friendly with her about the state of undress.

HerrenaHandbasket Mon 22-Apr-13 12:04:32

Good, just say something. Surely fretting about it is making you feel worse than biting the bullet! I do understand why you're feeling uncomfortable about it, really I do, but you can make this her problem ('cos it does sound like it needs fixing and she is the one best placed to do it).

Text her, be as sympathetic and diplomatic as you can, then turn your phone off and have a nice nap smile

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 22-Apr-13 12:09:30

Bit of exercise, something to throw yourself into? Do you normally get PMT?

2rebecca Mon 22-Apr-13 12:19:43

It's not your fault she has no dress sense, she doesn't have dementia. I would comment that you wonder if the dress needs something underneath it if she's going out as it's short and revealing. If she moans you didn't tell her before say that she didn't go out in it much before. if she needs to buy new clothes then she has lots of free time to buy them in. this isn't your problem, you don't have to make it your problem. She may choose to continue to wear what you feel are inappropriate clothes. She may get upset but her getting upset is a regular occurrence so I think you do need to stop worrying and dreading her being upset and really think about her much less. maybe try thought blocking if mother related worries come into your mind.
I think the moaning at you going away for the weekend thing is unreasonable. she has to get used to the fact that you don't live with her and you are developing a more normal relationship when adults don't discuss all their movements with each other. If she doesn't eat strawberries herself then she doesn't buy them unless she knows she has invited you round and you've accepted.
She is unreasonably demanding and it's gradually accepting that it's her not you and there will always be something she fusses and moans about but that doesn't mean you have to let it bother you. If you weren't there she'd be fussing and moaning at someone else.
If she chooses not to make any attempt to expand her social circle that isn't your problem.

GoodtoBetter Mon 22-Apr-13 12:27:25

Ah, rebecca I can always rely on you to give me a good virtual slap when I need one. And I mean that in the nicest way, you see through the crap and give it to me straight. smile. Thank you all for listening to my inane witterings. Donkeys I've just had my period (CD5, but it's still niggling away, would normally be finished by now). I think I'm just a bit tired (even after a holiday!) and it's all a brave new world, unchartered waters etc, this dealing with my mother thing. You're right rebecca I'll just say it needs something underneath as it's quite short. And then I'll mentally block any response that's not normal. I don't want to text, I'll see her tomorrow so I'll mention it then if she's wearing the offending item (which she will be).

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 22-Apr-13 12:30:12

I wonder if something like vitamin B and/or an omega 3 supplement could help. These can help your mood and energy levels.

I am not a dietician but maybe start with finding natural ways to replenish serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that can have a large and direct influence on your mental and physical health.

Meals rich in carbohydrates promote serotonin levels so try things like whole grain foods, seeds, (eg sunflower seeds, pumpkin or watermelon seeds); apparently ground flaxseed provides the added benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

Does your diet have plenty of fruits and vegetables? Bananas, kidney beans and parsley provide good amounts of tryptophan which the brain needs to produce serotonin.

GoodtoBetter Mon 22-Apr-13 12:33:56

I think my diet's OK, certainly plenty of fruit and veg, will have a think about serotonin. Today I'm fretting about the translation as I haven't heard anything about some changes to it, since the 11th April and I find myself getting anxious about whether I have fucked something up (still owes me for half the work). I'm not usually a fretter.
best go, time for nursery pick up. Will check back in a bit.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 22-Apr-13 12:49:36

2rebecca says it all: there will always be something she fusses and moans about as with many people but it's not your job to fix it.

GoodtoBetter Mon 22-Apr-13 14:27:57

Well I emailed the translation guy and he's been off sick with a herniated disc, hence the lack of contact. Says all is fine...he's doing the dtp and will pay the 2nd half asap snd then be in touch about starting the 2nd book (there are 3). grin There was me worrying I'd ballsed it up. Had a revelation on the drive to work (am parked outside). I think I need to stop blaming myself for everything feeling responsible for everyone and their feelings. I think I've done this for many years and it's not healthy. I think it's worse when I'm tired or stressed. to work.

2rebecca Mon 22-Apr-13 17:34:02

Glad the translation work went well. I don't mean to sound harsh, I'm sure I'd be rubbish with a needy manipulative relative. Luckily my elderly father is very independant and has a better social life than me and has never made me feel that I am responsible for his emotional well being.
It sounds as though both your parents were a bit emotionally disfunctional and too needy themselves to be good parents to you.
I think the more time you spend away from your mother the easier not fussing over her will get, plus she'll get used to not hearing from you all the time and having to entertain herself or find alternative social outlets.

GoodtoBetter Mon 22-Apr-13 22:58:01

I think, given my parentage, I am remarkably sane actually.

WingDefence Tue 23-Apr-13 09:05:24

G2B, I've just caught up. So glad you had a nice time away - please don't let your mum's reaction spoil the memory of that.

I think what 2rebecca says is spot on, especially that your mum will be upset whatever you say as she's always upset about a lot of things so you need to just say it - which is the kind thing to do - and then let her deal with the information as she wants to.

Enjoy the sun, lucky thing!

GoodtoBetter Tue 23-Apr-13 11:11:36

Mother nonsense now overshadowed by the fact that my little dog is ill and may have liver cancer. Gutted. sad

NeverTooManyCats Tue 23-Apr-13 11:15:00

Oh GoodtoBetter. UnMN hugs to you. Hope your dog is ok. Thinking of you

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