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How do I get past this problem with my mother?

(12 Posts)
KittyMcAllister Sat 15-Feb-14 14:16:19

I would really appreciate your help with this, sorry if it's long!

In June my DM, who was 70 at the time, had a very nasty fall and ended up with a v bruised hip. Although she was in excruciating pain & barely able to walk she refused to seek any professional help. She has a background in healthcare and felt that she had suffered a soft tissue injury which only time would heal. As the weeks dragged on and little improvement was made, all the family (my dad & my 3 siblings) urged her to get it checked out but the more we pushed the more stubborn she became. She persisted with her own 'rehabilitation' and eventually was able to walk to the shops although it took her 3 times as long as before and she was taking loads of painkillers. She had previously been very active and healthy so it had a big impact on her. Two of my siblings and grown-up niece live very close by and they all pitched in with shopping, chores etc despite having their own families (I live 200 miles away but visited when I could). My dad was working overseas but also returned regularly. It was only when he returned permanently in December that she finally agreed to see a private physio. The physio decided an X-ray was necessary, and it turns out that she has a broken hip and will require a total hip replacement. The physio couldn't believe she had been able to walk on it.

The problem I have is that due to her stubbornness she has put herself through months of suffering, not to mention all the worry, stress & disruption it has caused to the rest of the family when the problem could have been resolved months ago. I am finding it really hard not only to find any sympathy for her, but actually to repress my anger. I have no idea whether this is a reasonable response or not. I would really appreciate some insight and some advice on how to get past this. Thanks if you made it this far!

BonaDea Sat 15-Feb-14 14:28:02

I can totally understand your anger and probably sheer exasperation with her. She must have a will of iron to ignore something like this for so long out of sheer bloody mindedness.

But I also agree with you that you have to get over this. I am sure your mother now feels every bit as embarrassed about her stubbornness as she should. She will understand fine well the ramifications of what she has done, and I am doubtful anything you could say would make her feel worse if you see what I mean.

If you can, bite your tongue. If you can't, allow yourself one conversation with her on the matter and leave it at that. Just remember that she must have been suffering huge amount of pain and with the drugs she has been taking is probably still in a fog.

SofaKing Sat 15-Feb-14 14:28:48

I know exactly how you feel. My great aunt is 92 and has fallen twice outside. She will not accept any help and has lied to social services that myself and my sisters provide her with daily care.

We do not, we live in a neighbouring town and can't help her daily. She could have daily care in the form of home help, which she refuses. She is not washing clothes, we have to take food from her fridge and bin it as it's past the use by date and she doesn't check. She won't even let us help with her shopping anymore.

I feel really angry too, she is living in conditions she can't enjoy because she is too stubborn to get help. When someone is old they don't necessarily make the best choices, but they aren't children so you can't take those choices away from them.

My only advice is to hide your anger from your mother, it won't change how she behaves and will only damage the relationship between you. If nothing else hopefully this will make sure she seeks help if she is hurt again.

DorothyBastard Sat 15-Feb-14 14:38:40

Personally I don't think it would be a bad thing for her to understand that you feel cross, if you can express that to her in a way which minimises the fallout. Just brushing it under the carpet won't compel her to act any differently in the future.

PleaseNoScar Sat 15-Feb-14 14:47:04

No don't bite your tongue. I would make some very pointed remarks along the lies of "who would be so foolish to make that decision" "Gosh, some people really do have cloth ears, and not much better between them". "Mum it was a terrible choice, and you are not to do that again"

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 15-Feb-14 15:05:24

She put herself through suffering, unnecessarily. She may have inconvenienced your siblings. She gave you all cause for considerable concern.

If she was trying to prove her judgment was still tip top and didn't want to upset your father's working arrangements she was obviously in error. She will be only too aware she messed up. What good will it do rubbing it in. Maybe if there's a next time you can say then, okay Mum after last time please just humour me and get this checked out pronto.

She has been used to coping and maybe thought if she gave in her independence would be threatened. Another time in another way that stubbornness and strength of will could save her.

It can be massively frustrating but she will know it's been an own goal.

PleaseNoScar Sat 15-Feb-14 15:21:50

She might know it's an own goal, but stubborn people usually would rather due (literally) than admit it.

OP needs to have a blunt conversation to get the mum to promise never ever do something so bad again.

KittyMcAllister Sat 15-Feb-14 16:31:41

Thanks for all your replies & insight. I'm sorry to hear about your great aunt Sofaking.

I guess I didn't know if I was projecting my own resentment onto her because I've had to do without her emotional/practical support since it happened. You guys have reassured me that it's legitimate to be angry at her though! I just don't know if I have the stomach to confront her. It's almost selfish, the way she's behaved, although I know it won't have started out like that. I'm almost glad I don't live close, my SiL has offered loads of practical support although my mum doesn't like her much - I can just imagine how angry her & my brother must be feeling and they have refrained from saying anything.

I didn't think about the embarrassment factor also. I'm guessing mum must be feeling this in spades. She didn't even phone me to tell me - just waited till I rang up for a chat.

TheBakeryQueen Sat 15-Feb-14 18:15:15

What you just wrote about being annoyed that you've had to do without her emotional/practical support makes you sound a bit selfish.

I'm sure she feels silly already, be a kind person & don't rub it in. Do you not think that she has suffered the consequences of her decision already?

TheBakeryQueen Sat 15-Feb-14 18:16:34

You feel what you feel, of course your feelings are valid but in this instance I don't see what good would come of saying anything to your mum.

KittyMcAllister Sat 15-Feb-14 18:19:36

It might sound a bit selfish but I'm only human! I am probably erring on the side of not saying anything anyway. I guess I just feel exasperated with her.

KepekCrumbs Sat 15-Feb-14 18:26:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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