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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:

tribpot Tue 22-Jan-13 08:56:23

2rebecca - one of her other control mechanisms is not speaking the language.

GoodtoBetter Tue 22-Jan-13 09:56:08

Her Spanish isn't that bad...intermediate ish. She's just got used to not having to bother. This morning it was all tears and she doesn't know what food we're taking so can't grocery shop. I said we're leaving all the food. She says you can't order fresh stuff online like meat so I showed her the page on the site. Told her she can have free delivery from fruit shop in village if she spenfs ten euro. She says "but I'd have to walk there". I ignored that and left her in tears...told her I had to go out. Fruit shop in in front of the pharmacy btw where she walked before.

tribpot Tue 22-Jan-13 10:15:32

Oh really, GoodtoBetter? When she said she couldn't converse with the lady who could come in to do some housekeeping I figured she was at the level of point-and-grin (and hope for the best). In that case why on earth does she need you to make the appointment?!

There's nothing else you can do whilst she brings out every sob story in her arsenal. This too shall pass.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 22-Jan-13 10:27:52

May I quote ThreeTomatoes from your last thread,
Choose a mantra that's appropriate to respond to most things she might say to you, like "That's your choice," or "Fine," and don't deviate or get into discussion or defend yourself or whatever

I asked last week if DM spoke Spanish, I think what tribpot said is right, it's practically a control mechanism not bothering to use what she does know. (Not forgetting that we often understand more of what is said than we can speak).

Meant to ask, how is your back Good, (another reason to employ someone else to do heavy lifting on removal day!), how are the headaches?

tribpot Tue 22-Jan-13 12:01:02

Btw, I do like the idea of doing some silent weeping at the thought of her death. Very amusing to imagine doing although obviously the reality would be somewhat different.

ThreeTomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 12:31:26

<<preens>> at being quoted! smile

God, she's so pathetic isn't she!! It's all a ruse to pile the guilt on, glad you're not rising to it. As Hissy said, stay icy calm, keep to your mantra, get out of there.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 22-Jan-13 12:35:07

Praise where due, TT smile

Herrena Tue 22-Jan-13 12:58:53

I think pretty much anything she says from here on out will be another attempt to guilt you. As others have said, don't think for a moment that she actually cares about the 'problems' she's describing! It's all control, control, control.

The mantra suggestion is a very very good one!

AutumnDreams Tue 22-Jan-13 13:30:58

Well done on the "The Great Escape" Herrena. Absolutely perfect.

I think you will have to be extra vigilant now as you won`t actually be there to challenge the drama she will undoubtedly tell you she is facing daily, once you`ve left. She won`t be giving up, just adjusting her levels of control to fit the new circumstances. For this reason, you might be better off not making any definite arrangements re visiting for the first few weeks, until you see how things are going. You are close enough to just pop in with the children, using the fact that you have so much to do to not be around too much. Suggest lunch, or a shopping trip. If you make firm arrangements, on a weekly basis, and have to cancel for any reason, it`s another stick for her to beat you with.

Jux Tue 22-Jan-13 14:55:54

Exactly. No definite, regular arrangements for the moment; your life is in flux and you need to wait for it to settle. Pop in when passing if you've time, but nothing regualar.

She will up the ante, so stay strong.

pippop1 Tue 22-Jan-13 15:41:23

Might it be an idea to meet up in a cafe/restaurant when you first see her after you've moved out? Neutral ground would be less contentious.

GoodtoBetter Tue 22-Jan-13 23:21:00

I think I'll say I'll bring the the kids over on Sunday and we'll pop out to a garden centre with them. It'll only be an hour or two as we have the excuse that we have to go to the PILs for lunch. I think then I'll let things slide a bit as I just have soooooo much work it's unbelievable.
The translation seems to be going ahead, I'm just waiting for a Word version of it and then he wants some pages (it's a book) to see how it looks with the embedded graphics, so I'll need to do some (God knows how) in the next day or two. Then the move, have reports to finish for work, then more exams to correct and reports to write through Feb, and all the running around changing addresses with traffic, social security, tax etc (always has to be done in person here).
I got a reply from my boss about the vague possibility of an academy in my village, said he'd look into it and that "the seeds of the idea had been sown" so I e mailed back and reiterated that I'm interested in promotion either in any new academies in my village or elsewhere.
Going to have to go to bed in a minute. Knackered. Spent the morning at ikea as discovered I didn't have part of DS' bed and got the table/chairs ad found some curtains. Then work and admin after work. Glad we're paying for full on removals after all because there really just aren't enough hours in the day.

Aussiebean Tue 22-Jan-13 23:42:47

Sounds like all is on the up and up. In a way your hubby not having work will lesson the burden a little will all the little things moving entails.

Fingers and toes crossed for the translation and academy jobs. And I think you are doing a great job in disengaging from her irrational expectations.

Remember, you had over 30 yrs (I'm guessing) of training and its a VERY hard idea to firstly acknowledge and then actually do something about. My brother is 43, and despite my other brother and I trying to explain how our mother was he has only just got it in the last year or two. And he is still a little stuck under her thumb. Especially financially. What you are doing is incredibly hard and you are doing it with dignity and determination.

Am actually a little jealous.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 23-Jan-13 00:00:53

It's certainly a hectic month Good but looking into my crystal ball I see calm waters ahead, that big cloud overhead will disappear and your family will thrive.

PS Aussiebean hope I'm not out of line saying so but you did overcome your toxic mum, you have plenty to be proud of yourself for.

Aussiebean Wed 23-Jan-13 01:59:57

Thank you donkey. I am certainly trying. I am slowly coming out of being angry at her. The 'how dare she do this to me her daughter' but I still find I get emotionally effected by her. I have dealt with that by having very little to do with her. I tell her nothing, share nothing with her and she helps that by asking nothing about me. For example I am getting married in April. She hasn't once asked about the wedding in any shape or form. Hasn't even congratulated my fiancé. But she did send a very soppy card to my in laws about how happy she was to have him in her family and how proud of him they must be. But nothing to us. Had to think very hard about actually inviting her but the fall out to my brothers would be huge.

I also refuse to be alone with her so my fiancé will always come with me. She is her nastiest when there is no one around.

Ideally I would like to be able to have a superficial relationship. To be able to be in the same room and not be afraid that she will start in. because if she does it will be her problem, not mine.

I admire how well the op is doing and hope that one day I will be able to be detached and she won't have anymore control over my feelings.

GoodtoBetter Wed 23-Jan-13 06:40:48

You're very kind, Aussie, thank you. I find the only way I can cope with it is to detach, otherwise it's all histrionics and upset. And funnily enough she's started to calm down a bit if I don't respond. For example, yesterday she was going on about shopping for food...what was there in the way of supermarkets in the village (how unbelievable is it that she doesn't even know?? Shows how much she's just removed herself from everything except sitting watching Sky and whingeing) and I said there was a supermarket opposite DS' school. ..."ooh that's a long walk". I said, it's 5 mins. She says, "but I walk with a stick, I can't carry anything much" so I said drive to the other supermarket 10 mins away or shop online and she starts, "stop going on and on about shop online, you're like a broken record". I said something like well that's the answer to the question, don't ask if you don't want to hear the answer. Because, it's true. If she wants heavy stuff and doesn't want to carry it, then she can order it. Funnily enough...heavy stuff like a 6 pack of milk that she famously managed to carry to the car and get down to the flat. hmm But I digress...she stormed off and, where in the past I'd have gone after her and apologised and smoohted things over I carried on making the lunch. Had been making tea, so took her in a cup and she said she was "sorry but it really annoys me when you go on about online shopping". I said nothing (I would have justified myself before) and things were calmer later.
For whoever it was who asked (sorry I can't remember) I haven't had any headaches just recently and my back's OK but I am so so so tired. The excitement is getting to DS and he's been waking earlier and earlier (6.25 today) and then is "challenging" during the day.
Oh yes, yesterday some art prints DM had ordered arrived and she was showing me (they're very nice) she was saying she'd ordered them as she didn't want the place looking like "an empty warehouse" once we move but now she was worried she'd ordered too many and would never get them all framed and (through breaking voice and sobs) "it's keeping me awake at night with anxiety". That's designed to guilt me again (you'll give me nervous breakdown/I suffer from depression etc). I said brightly "oh well, bit by bit" grin
I have to plan my classes for today and tomorrow and I have some more things to try to pack up today and DH is still building ikea furniture and sorting out stuff at the house. Tomorrow I have my day off from work to run around like a blue arsed fly and then it's the big day on Friday! I've actually done an online order myself, going to have it delivered on Friday so we have some food and basics like soap, toilet paper etc.

ThreeTomatoes Wed 23-Jan-13 07:09:12

Gosh you do have a crazy time ahead! Don't forget you can put off non-urgent things if you need to, unpacking of some of the stuff, even some of the furniture building? And - yes- seeing your mum!! When moving day comes, tell her you are going to be run off your feet for a couple of weeks so probably can't see her.

Well done with the detaching! It takes a lot of willpower not to get sucked in, I can totally see that.

CheerfulYank Wed 23-Jan-13 07:19:29

Sooo proud of you smile

It's such a process, I am learning to disengage from my toxic brother after he lived with us for three years. My personal mantra is "I love you, but it's not my problem."

You're going to feel amazing when you get in your new place!

Hissy Wed 23-Jan-13 07:26:32

<singy songy voice> you're engaging again!

She's full of it, you need to say nothing, ignore.

BUT don't be afraid of bring it to ahead if she forces you to acknowledge her comment, you simply deliver a monologue. If she attempts to interrupt you tell her that you've all heard enough of her poison and now it's time to take her medicine.

"You got yourself to the flat and lived, you lugged milk and lived. You still had the energy to snipe and chip away, so clearly you had ample capacity left. You have made it impossible for us to stay a moment longer. I know who and what you are, I know what you were trying to do, and it won't happen. You can turn on the tears, you can write a pack of lies to DB, but bottom line is that he rumbled you before I did."

IF you want any kind of relationship with me and my family going forward, you treat ALL of us with the respect we deserve, or you go home to the UK. You're well able to strop and storm, well able to scheme, manipulate and insult, you can put all of that energy into shopping on or offline, walking and running errands. You did this mum. No-one else, you."

Then you turn and leave.

It's not something there is no way back from, but it's a hard line in the sand. All you do then is repeat the line about your family deserving respect.

Hold HER over an emotional barrel.

GoodtoBetter Wed 23-Jan-13 07:29:21

Just passed her in the hallway upstairs and she says hello but with a look like I-have-ruined-her-life-and-she-might-as-well-kill-herself-now-and-save-herself-a-lifetime-of-loneliness (I've had 37 years of training on these looks). She's always the victim. Nothing is ever her fault, she never takes any responsibility for anything, it's always what's been done to her, crosses she has to bear, suffering she has to endure. I can't wait to get away from that face.

Herrena Wed 23-Jan-13 07:53:04

The 'look' analysis would sound daft to most people (I say this from personal experience of trying to descibe it to friends) but I know exactly what you mean! I think that it becomes second nature to over-analyse when you're lumbered blessed with this sort of relative.

It is very very irritating but guess what? You don't have to live with it anymore!!

And thanks Autumn grin

MusicalEndorphins Wed 23-Jan-13 07:54:01

You are doing so great. Since you are so busy and doing so much, and you mentioned you and your dh having bleeding gums and you having a cold sore, and you also mentioned lack of veggies in your dh's cooking, maybe knock the veggies up a notch? I also suggest you all take some Vitamin C tablets, and perhaps a multiple vitamin every day?
<mothers the world>

I wouldn't tell your mother this, as you want her to at least attempt walking to the store 5 minutes away, but when you do your veggie fruit shop, you could pick up a few things for her and drop them off.

Herrena Wed 23-Jan-13 08:00:25

Ooh, I just thought of something really funny to me anyway. Do you remember those tiny cassette players people used to have? It would be hilarious if every time she makes a PA or 'poor me' comment, you click a button and then tiny violins start playing grin

Just picture that image every time she starts in (or pick another image that amuses you) and then you won't be as annoyed because you'll be distracted by the silliness. Might be worth a punt anyway....

tribpot Wed 23-Jan-13 08:00:30

It's a very sad way for her to live. I'm not suggesting you should have sympathy with her, GoodtoBetter, because sympathy doesn't help you right now. But I find it incomprehensible that someone would effectively choose to live without joy; lots of people would kill to have her situation in life, and yet she wants solely to control through guilt and obligation. What a waste.

The best thing you can do, of course, is to limit your exposure to her passive-aggression and toxicity. And particularly limit your children's ability to become pawns in her games as they grow older.

AutumnDreams Wed 23-Jan-13 10:15:54

click a button and then tiny violins would start playing.......That would be wonderful Herrena, but wouldn`t she need a sense of humour transplant for that, otherwise cue faux heart attack?

lots of people would kill to have her situation in life.........ME, ME, ME, I`ve said it a dozen times before, Tribpot. She doesn`t know she`s born, daft woman.

Good, you have amazed me at how far you`ve come in such a short time. Once you are all settled, things are going to really start to come together for your little family.

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