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Why does my mum do this?

(24 Posts)
JellyJellyBeans Sat 27-Dec-14 16:38:32

Has done for years, it's been less often in the last 3/4 years but seems to have come back. I live abroad so only see her in the summer and at Christmas. Have 2 brothers and have never seen her act like this with them.
This current example is typical.

Christmas Day was great, as were the days leading up to it. We did a meal for us, my 3 children, my brother and his wife. Then in the evening she started calling for my brother, "I need you, where are you" on and on and when I pointed out he was outside getting something from the car and what did she need, all she kept saying was "No, I want to talk to him." Then he came in. "I need someone I can trust to turn the heating down and not up to 80°."

Laughable really. I had been hot all day in the kitchen and not been near the heating, I said that to her and she replied, "It's easier to blame you". For what? Someone turning the heating up ffs?

Since then she hasn't spoken to me. She talks to me through my children, or "Can someone who has the paper give it to me?" I heard her earlier telling my son that although we travelled a long time to get here, their cousins have a harder journey today so she has to take special care of them (wtf?). Frankly none of the children cares, the journeys are equally long and boring but this petty pointless point-scoring with the children is new.

In the last few years I've taken to ignoring her behaviour, brought her a cup of tea in the morning and acted as though nothing had happened because she had no way herself of getting out of it, iyswim.

I have also in the past left earlier when the ignoring me went on for days. I do want my children to see their cousins so I won't leave now. I am just baffled as to why she does this.

Heyho111 Sat 27-Dec-14 16:55:43

There is prob no logical reason. Maybe it's because your her only girl. Maybe it's a sexist thing. People can transfer their own upbringing onto their children perhaps she is acting with you how she was treated by her parents.
Can you ask her about why she does it.

JellyJellyBeans Sat 27-Dec-14 17:06:01

Thanks for replying, Heyho. I did ask her before and got a "What do you mean, you're just being stupid" sort of answer. But calling her on it worked for a while, even if she would never acknowledge it, it was 'understood'.

As I wrote, it has happened less frequently and tbh it threw me on Christmas Day because it came out of nowhere. Months of calling and planning and then several great days together, v good-humoured.

My d just asked me why Granny isn't talking to me any more - it is bloody obvious.

Neverknowingly Sat 27-Dec-14 17:13:59

Have you tried asking her when things are nice and calm? For example, next time you are planning something (like summer hol or Christmas) saying " I'm a bit concerned that it's not a great idea spending this time together because..."? Or suggesting you book a b&b or make a shorter trip and explaining why and see what she says?

Neverknowingly Sat 27-Dec-14 17:16:33

Sorry - phone froze. Well in that case I'd raise it now, non confrontationally. (ideally - the reality is I'd pull my mum up sharp and short but it doesn't get me anywhere - she's still her and I still put up with her!)

JellyJellyBeans Sat 27-Dec-14 17:31:28

grin Yes, I have I think tried pretty much everything over the years. Admittedly it took me a long time to get to the "blurt it out" stage but god it was a relief.

No drama, no accusations, just a "Why?" and I think that is why it all calmed down. Till now.

I am still just baffled as to why she does it.

WhereYouLeftIt Sat 27-Dec-14 17:37:14

"she replied, "It's easier to blame you"."
What a very odd thing to say! To paraphrase, she's saying that she knows she's talking shite?

"She talks to me through my children"
Sorry , but I would not stand for that. Whatever her problem is, she doesn't drag the children into it.

How old is she? Is there any dementia in the family? (Although I think dementia is unlikely since she seems perfectly capable of controlling it.) You say she's done it for years but not to your brothers, can you remember how far back it goes?

YellowTulips Sat 27-Dec-14 17:39:10

Probably just because she can tbh. All you can control is your reaction to her (rude and bizarre) behaviour.

Given you have tried the direct approach I'd likely (assuming you want to stay in contact) just totally ignore it - but when your children ask tbh I'd just say in an age appropriate way "because she is batshit crazy and we just don't give her the satisfaction of acknowledging bad behaviour".

Not ideal - but not sure what options you have. What does your brother make of it all?

Bruiserbereftofsoftness Sat 27-Dec-14 17:51:54

Who knows why they do it.

You may as well ask the moon.

Could it be jealousy I.e. she was once the center of xmas and the lynch pin that held it together?

It hurts but you can't blame yourself or correct your behavior.
If you do she will find another fictitious reason to punish you.

If it helps my DM complained all day that we weren't going out for xmas lunch.
We had mentioned we were going to book somewhere but only as a red herring so she has spent six months complaining about the cost of eating out and the hygiene.
And left me alone to buy and cook xmas lunch.

She also complained that I can't cook beef how she likes it. We had turkey and ham.
That she didn't like turkey. She liked it last year when she thought it was capon.
Her piece de resistance this year was to jump up in the middle of lunch, almost tipping the table over and dash to the loo to vomit.
She was in there 20 minutes making loud heaving noises.
Then insisted dad take her straight home for her pills.
She takes allopurinol for gout and a small dose of propanalol for her blood pressure.

I use it as a reminder to try and be normal fwink

Meerka Sat 27-Dec-14 17:59:06

I had .... not been near the heating, I said that to her and she replied, "It's easier to blame you

How very odd. To be so blatant about it.

Does she have some problems with anger or being a victim? this is really odd - she clearly knows that it's nothing to do with you, but she prefers to blame you!

Dealing iwth it? I think you're right, call her on it. But like another poster said, it's pretty nasty of her to ignore you and talk to your children instead. Have you considered leaving and telling her why and most of all, telling your children that Grandma's way of dealing with disagreements isn't the right way.

everynameisbloodytaken Sat 27-Dec-14 18:04:38

I was going to ask if she had dementia, or is she taking any medication. ..

JellyJellyBeans Sat 27-Dec-14 18:11:23

Where Yes, it struck me then how calculated it seemed and how incapable she is of ever saying, "Forget it, sorry" so we could go without the following days of silence and yes, calculated shite.

She's v alert, no dementia, she's only ever done it to me, not to my brothers. The one about to arrive just called from the motorway and she's cooing "Oh darling, what a hard day you've had. Poor you."

As for the children being involved, that was when I started leaving, when she started bringing them into it. If we could leave by car now I probably would tbh, because any time I've tried to explain to my brothers how our mum is to me, they don't want to know. But my 3 children have been looking forward to seeing their cousins for months (they don't live in the UK either) and so we stay.

JellyJellyBeans Sat 27-Dec-14 18:36:08

Thank you all - it has helped to know it is odd behaviour. And bloody hurtful too if I'm honest.

Meerka victim - maybe, but why pick on the one person likely to help you?

Daft for her as well because she needs help getting ready for my brother's family (2 adults, 4 teenagers) arriving and normally we'd have planned meals and gone shopping together but she's alone in the kitchen having gond shopping alone and now roped in my s2 for gravy making.

I've given up asking if she needs help. She turns her face to the sky and grimaces "No".

Still baffled. It's all got worse. The children noticed that Granny got cross if I put the fire on/turned lights on yesterday so they've been in the dark in the sitting room. Sneakily so to make her ask apparently, s1 (17) just told me.
Am partly pleased that they see through her and partly sad that they can't just enjoy her as a normal Granny.

VikingLady Sat 27-Dec-14 18:42:46

If you can't/don't want to leave, I'd tell your kids that grandma is ill in her mind. That way they can make allowances for her, not think what she is doing is ok but not get too upset either.

May not be strictly accurate but it might keep the peace, if that's better for your part of the family? And it may even be true..... She's clearly not normal!

Clutterbugsmum Sat 27-Dec-14 18:50:53

I would make this the last time she stays with you.

I'm glad your older children can see threw her behaviour and know it's not you.

Izzy24 Sat 27-Dec-14 18:58:15

Jelly, is it because she hates that you live abroad? A friend has this problem with her mother and it seems to be down to this.

Meerka Sat 27-Dec-14 19:10:34

Meerka victim - maybe, but why pick on the one person likely to help you?

Im not saying this is the case with your mum, but as far as I can see the thought process with a victim-turned-attacker goes like this:

Life has been very tough, they haven't got what they genuinely needed at some deep level. They had to put up with it, often when other people did get what they needed but for some reason the victim-type was singled out for special treatment. In past decades it's often been the female who was treated differently. Mens' needs came first. (there are exceptions ofc).

When they didn't get what they needed, they got angry. But they weren't allowed to show it. So it went underground. That fury doesn't go away though. It stays and it often, very, very, very often comes out later. Human nature isn't always pleasant especialy when under stress/deprivation. At some level they pass it on by singling out someone else for it. Often someone who is rather like they were ... I think that at some level they think "well I couldn't have it [it being decent treatment] so why should they?".

Common sense or even intelligent awareness that pissing off the person who is supporting you, just doesn't come into it. They think you ought to support them no matter what. If you don't then they can blame you and think badly of you and at some deep level, they get a sense of satisfaction out of that. All that anger is justified then, because you have behaved badly ... in their view.

Now I'm not saying that this applies to your mother. Im laying out what seems to go on for some people. Only you know if this fits her or not.

I will say though that I wonder if it's because you're the female that you get this weird behaviour? More dangerous (perhaps) in her mind to pick on the males. Women are the steady ones, the reliable ones and so you (in her mind maybe) will stick around for any treatment, whereas the men will walk away.

WhereYouLeftIt Sat 27-Dec-14 19:20:26

"any time I've tried to explain to my brothers how our mum is to me, they don't want to know"
Now to me, this is starting to sound as if you are 'the family scapegoat'. Are your brothers treated like the golden child(ren)?

JellyJellyBeans Sat 27-Dec-14 20:38:47

I really am grateful for all your posts. My brother and his family are here now and I am thinking and wondering and I will post again tomorrow.

JellyJellyBeans Sun 28-Dec-14 12:06:06

Day 3 now, sigh. Big cheery "Morning s2 darling" and "Can you do me a favour?" the favour being something he couldn't actually do but she wouldn't ask me.

There is a lot of truth in what you say Meerka and yes, a bit of the golden boys Where but that is an ingrained gender thing with her. 'Poor' brother 1 has to iron his own shirts, his wife is a 'spendthrift' and poor brother 2 does loads of work around his house. Being married adults with children and working wives.

Still, we had a great evening with the cousins, loads of laughter and fun. And my s1, who has been a pain for months in self-absorbed teenagerdom, having picked up on the atmosphere, was really kind to me and I got a hug shock smile

Anyway, can't change her or make it all go away, so shall focus on making the last couple of days as fun as possible for the children. Shame though that it's tainted their view of her. My d (12) is upset sadly, she seems quite shocked by it.

Meerka Sun 28-Dec-14 12:41:45

jelly it's really sad that your kids pick up on it. I do think that you should make it clear that the way she behaves has consequences by sending her a letter and making it clear that you will be keeping your distance from her in future if she behaves like this.

You said that you'd had a good few days of pleasantness from her. But you can';t trust this pleasantness and I think you have to show there are consequences for your own sake and most of all to show your children that it's not ok to be treated like this by other people.

I'm not suggesting go NC, not at all. But I am suggesting keeping the contact at a lower level and not letting things just go back to normal. Protect yoruself from all this upset.

bringbacksideburns Sun 28-Dec-14 12:46:11

I think your brothers should take her to one side and ask her what the problem is and tell her she is making them uncomfortable with the blatenat favouritism, especially towards the children.

Surely they must have noticed. Personally, i'd put my own family first and let the precious golden boys who live nearest to her sort out Christmas next year.

BMW6 Sun 28-Dec-14 20:04:46

Christ Op, your Mum is horrible to you - and now your DC have witnessed it and are old enough to know what she is doing, so she has dug her own grave with them. So she is nasty and a fool to boot angry

Your brothers are surely aware of the treatment dished out to you - perhaps they are just glad not to be on the receiving end. I doubt that they will pull her up on it - for the same reason.

TBH I would talk it over with your DC when you get home, with a view to going NC with her. You really deserve better than this - and no relationship with her would be better than this one IMO.


CalleighDoodle Sun 28-Dec-14 20:10:35

My mum is ridiculously bad tempered with me for no reason.
I have to walk on eggshells. She is not like that with my siblings. She knows full well if she spoke to any of them the same way they would just cut her out.

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