Have posted before about my controlling, lonely and pessimistic mother. I manage to have a non confrontational relationship with her by listening mainly, or talking about her favourite subjects- tv and characters on tv. I made the mistake of mentioning something of significance today, she asked me who I was emailing and I said an ex colleague who is arranging a job interview for me. Well this was enough to set off the usual doom mongering, grass is never greener, pension, risk, slagging off the new company, blah blah. I calmly said I wasn't asking for her opinion and it was my decision, which led to massive sulk and passive aggressive behaviour in front of DD. Got home to text saying hope she didn't ruin our day she wishes she wasn't such a worrier. I replied to say I need her not to project her anxieties onto me and that I want DD to not be risk adverse. No reply back... Gah there are no answers to this I know but needed to have a vent.
Could you not steer your DM in the direction of a Mindfulness course? She must suffer terribly from the constant beating her self up. Spreading her anxiety to you is awful as well. She needs to be doing something useful. Would she volunteer at a hospice/ Charity shop?
She won't do anything, join anything or admit she has a problem, let alone talk about it. Everything is everyone else's fault. She actively looks down on / scorns people with interests as 'sad' and won't go back to work or volunteer. I've accepted I can't help or change her, only control the effect she has on me and try not to inherit her traits.
Well done to you - sounds like you manage her very well and that's so hard w your parents. Doesn't make it easy tho You can't fix her and that's not you job. Breathe take a bit of space if you need to but I'm so impressed
I am also very impressed that you recognise that she is not your problem. However, people in my experience are generally kind and want to be helpfull. It is true though that you can't fix anyone except yourself. Just comfort yourself that it could be worse. She could hook up with some destitute ( emotionally) loser and start ignoring you. ( just kidding) Best of luck and don't let her be a Mood Hooverer. X
Thanks all. It is hard as she lives so close by and helps a bit with DD after school while I work PT. So I am indebted to her and she is bound up with our lives. Am hoping this will become less when DD starts secondary and will no doubt come home to ours instead of her gran's. But without the distraction of DD I'm worried she will get even more entrenched in this behaviour.
My mum is very similar, OP. Doesn't like anything, doesn't do anything. Sneery if anything is suggested. I took up running lately - that was met with derision.
She watched me crocheting something for a costume for DS for school. I was really excited to be doing it and I was feeling like a real domestic goddess / mum. DM just huffed "oh, I couldn't be bothered. "
I just thought - well, yes, that's the point, isn't it?
I do think she is getting worse as she gets older. Unfortunately I don't know what the answer is, OP. You are right when you say you can't change her, you can only change your reaction to her. Well done on not allowing her to affect you.
Thanks but she won't do that -she worked in a shop for years until she retired and hated it, although her behaviour is worse since being retired. She's so scornful of things there is no point even asking her to start an interest / do voluntary work- as that alone will result in a sulk. The answer will be that she deserves her retirement and is busy enough helping with DD. She won't admit she is lonely/bored/resentful so it's difficult to approach her about that (she won't recognise it) IYSWIM.
I live quite a long way from her, which helps. We only see her about every 6 weeks or so, and we stay for a couple of nights. When we visit she is mostly on her best behaviour, because of the DC.
I speak to her on the phone a couple of times a week, and as soon as she answers I can tell from her tone of voice that it is going to be one of 'those' conversations. I really try hard to not engage with them and keep my answers to 'uh huh' and 'um' and get off the phone as quickly as possible!
Then I try to encourage the more normal conversations we have by talking to her for a longer time, asking questions etc. Like a toddler, really - giving attention to the good behaviour and ignoring the bad.
You mention your mum like the TV and characters on TV. In my mum's case her interest is her neighbours. I don't mind talking about them at length - those are the more relatively normal conversations we have.
My DM made it very clear that she expected me to be responsible for her happiness a few years ago. She was very upset when I moved away (for work) and sank into quite serious depression. I basically had to ignore that for over a year and force a relationship with her, as she wasn't speaking to me. Eventually it passed.
one thing that I think has helped is making her understand a bit more of what my life is like - that I don't have time to ring her for an hour every day, or visit more often. She came to stay with me for a week when DC2 was a bout 6 weeks old. I had a fairly typical week, running around, laundry, housework, etc. I pretty much never sit down during the day. She was absolutely amazed - "it's like a madhouse here, you never stop!" I think because I have a cleaner once a week she thought I don't have to do anything with the house for the rest of the week!