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Help with my mum

(9 Posts)
Strugglingtocopejustnow Mon 02-Sep-13 11:00:33

My mum is overbearing and controlling. I can't win. Whatever I do is wrong, and conversations with her are fraught with put downs and digs. I've lived with this for 40 plus years. Telling me I'm fat (size12) and comments on my parenting and choices.
Things came to a head last weekend when she launched into an attack as I hadn't phoned her to tell her I was home after a weekend away. She makes nasty comments about my friends and how exdh and I arrange to look after our kids. Some of the reasons our marriage broke up were down to her interfering ways and constant derogatory remarks about our life.
Instead of taking her criticism last weekend, I told her I was a grown up and isn't have to ring her to tell her I was home.
She took offence and we havnt spoken since, despite me taking the kids around x 3 and phoning her. My dad is on my side but feels stuck in the middle. If I apologise she will be back to wanting to know every tiny detail of my life and feeling it ok to make barbed comments about it.
A typical exchange could be - what did you give the kids for tea?
Me- pasta meatballs
Her- they could do with a good meal, not that rubbish.
I'm not sure what to do- I don't like falling out with her, but I can't see a way to make it right.
Any ideas?

LokiTheCynicalCat Mon 02-Sep-13 11:09:17

Back off and stay backed off. Don't engage with her.

Why do you have to tell her every little detail just because she asks? Are you conditioned to respond hoping that it meets her approval? You don't have to enable her to be nosy, you know. You are a grown up and it's fine to not answer questions that you find intrusive or unnecessary. If you can't brush it off and refuse to answer, practise changing the subject or saying "someone's at the door". Or responding mildly to criticism with "they're my children and I'm happy with my parenting choices." Again and again, like a broken record.

Practise with me:
"That rubbish? Why can't you give them a proper meal..."
"They're my children and I'm happy with my parenting choices."
"Yes but surely you should be giving them..."
"They're my children and I'm happy with my parenting choices."

It will infuriate her. But she will get the message. Don't lose your cool. And stop seeking her approval and trying to get back in her good books. You're only handing her ammunition in your eagerness to please. She's not interested or able to be the mother you would love to have, so it's time to practise some strategies to deal with the one you've got.

Strugglingtocopejustnow Mon 02-Sep-13 11:12:27

Seeking her approval. Interesting. I do this I think. I need to stop.

Notmoreschoolholidays Mon 02-Sep-13 11:13:14

Stop chasing after her! Why did you take the kids round and ring her knowing she wasn't speaking to you? It's not your job to be peace keeper, or make her feel better when she chooses to tantrum. Maintaining some distance and ignoring her bad behaviour will force her to alter how she conducts herself in this relationship. Of she is sulking, let her sulk! When she has finished she knows where you are doesn't she? If she behaves unreasonably explain to her what she did and how she made you feel, then ignore her until she behaves like a respectful adult. This is all easier said than done (I know), and it will be a long hard slog, but it will be worth it. Distance yourself and don't run after her when she's being a baby.

Strugglingtocopejustnow Mon 02-Sep-13 11:20:41

I feel responsible as she relocated here 5 years ago to be closer to me. She's not settled which is part of her problem I think. I'm an only child too, which means she is overly interested as she's got no one else. It's such a hard habit to break....

Viking1 Mon 02-Sep-13 11:53:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Notmoreschoolholidays Mon 02-Sep-13 11:55:24

Just remember she is an adult who made the decision to relocate all by herself. You aren't responsible for making sure she isn't lonely, and it isn't your job to make sure she's having a nice time just because she moved to be closer to you. It's hard work but changing your relationship habits with her is really important.

Good luck.x

Strugglingtocopejustnow Mon 02-Sep-13 18:49:42

Thanks but it's so hard. I rely on her for school pick ups 2x week...

JustinBsMum Mon 02-Sep-13 21:55:48

It's no good being responsible for another person's happiness, it will only lead to you being stressed. Everyone is responsible for their own attitude to life.

It sounds as if she is disappointed in life and bitter too, but the answer to this is within herself, to get herself out and meet people, make friends, find new interests. Instead she is taking it out on you. It's easier to blame someone else for your problems or blame the new place for your lack of friends but in the end it's all up to you to make the effort.

She probably has never mixed well, so this probably won't change but it's not your fault. Just try to avoid giving her the opportunity to be nasty to you or form a thicker skin so you can ignore it.

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