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How would you feel if your mother told you to fuck off?

(33 Posts)
carlajean Sun 05-Jul-15 00:33:01

I'll try to keep this brief, but would really appreciate some input .
My mum(80s) has been in hospital for 2 1/2 weeks with a knee operation. Me and my sisters don't live nearby but have worked hard to make sure that she and my dad have had lots of support.
My mum hated being in hospital, understandably. So, the day she came out I went to stay for 2 or 3 nights to help. It didn't start well when I said that she shouldn't have been rude to a nurse (we were being given an interminable story of how rude some of the staff were). My line was that I could understand how she felt, but thought she was wrong, and was entitled to my opinion. So she burst into tears and told me I could fuck off.
Part of me thought I shouldn't have said it but I hadn't said it really judgementally, but in a lighthearted way, I.e. don't do that , they'll Chuck you out ha ha.

The thing is, in our family, when my mum does something crazy or incredibly socially inept, we've always just pretended it never happened and I thought, as I'm going to be here for a while, I'll be honest.

So, I stayed, as I didn't know how she was going to manage and I was hoping she'd calm down.

The rest of that day and the next morning it was like living with a volcano, she was so angry, all the time. Constantly bullying my poor dad (who just takes it) and unpleasant. The occupational therapist came, to assess her, and at the end, chatting to me and my dad, said that she recommended that their rugs were removed or firmly fixed. They've got loads of little ones, and they àre a hazard.

So she went. My mum was banging around in the kitchen, obviously in a temper, but I thought I had to talk to her about it. So, as nicely as I could I raised it with her and she absolutely venemously said 'fuck the rugs'. I said 'suit yourself' and walked into the other room.

..then I packed my bag, walked out the door, and caught the bus home, crying.

This swearing is new for my mum, but the anger has always been there and I know she's an old woman and won't change but I've had enough.

My sisters are supportive, but when they spoke to my mum, nothing was said about it, and I feel sad that nobody else will challenge her.

Also, my son went round to see her with his girlfriend today (I haven't discussed this with him in depth as she and my dad are his only grandparents and I think they should have a relationship) and everything was 'fine' and my mum got him and his girlfriend to put on her surgical stocking for her. Is that normal? He's 30 and I think it's fucking weird.

Sorry to go on, I just feel bad about it, but also relieved and seriously thinking of going NC. Has anyone done that with a mother this old?

brokenhearted55a Sun 05-Jul-15 00:37:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 05-Jul-15 00:51:17

Have you considered that this could be the start of senile dementia? Acting out of the ordinary at that age could well be medical. Don't write her off just yet.

Hairylegs007 Sun 05-Jul-15 00:57:04

I can understand that it must have been awful for her in hospital. However it's really not fair to take it out on those closest.

I think you did the right thing leaving. She had her husband there anyway. Can you ring and talk to your dad?

Has she ever apologised for her behaviour?

however Sun 05-Jul-15 03:29:58

I'd be pretty upset. I looked after mum when she was terminal. She would swear and mutter all sorts of words to herself, and to me, and to the couch, and the wall and... But not AT me. Never.

It's fine to be hacked off at life when you're seriously unwell and unlikely to get better. It's fine to get in a mood in those circumstances.

It's not OK to be an arsehole to people who are caring for you.

snowman1 Sun 05-Jul-15 03:42:32

Mm.. I know some older people in my family (ie 70+) do get confused and upset when sick. In some cases it had just been a Uti or reaction to drugs and things can make them act very out of character in other cases it was the beginnings of something like cancer(brain) or dementia. I know it's horrible for her to act that way and the fact your family brush this behaviour under the carpet historically must be annoying but give her a week or 2 to recover a bit and broach the subject with her then? She might be your mum but she's in her 80: and had a tough
Time. Sorry if I come
Across harshly.

goddessofsmallthings Sun 05-Jul-15 05:08:09

I thought, as I'm going to be here for a while, I'll be honest

2 to 3 nights is hardly 'a while'. It's not as if you were there for the duration and, given the family history to date, it's futile far too late to start being 'honest' with your dm now that she's in her 80's with no sign of her advanced years having mellowed her in any way.

Having been stuck on a (presumably) NHS ward for the past 2 1/2 weeks, your dm was no doubt in need of offloading what she considered to be the rudeness of some of the nursing staff and as this was her first day back in her own home it was inappropriate, and some would say impolite, of you to contradict her so soon after her discharge.

I suspect you did so because you were becoming bored with the 'interminable' story, but a more diplomatic approach would have been to simply offer to make more tea, ask if she wanted a snack or if there was anything you could do for her, by way of diversion.

Similarly, it was not the most apt time to raise the subject of the rugs when she was clearly in a bad temper and you would have been better employed in quietly removing any that were particular hazardous and making sure others were firmly secured in place.

As above, if she doesn't usually resort to the 'f' word your dm could be suffering from the onset of senile dementia, but the fact that she was all smiles for your son & his gf suggests that you managed to rub her up the wrong way during your brief stay.

I don't see anything weird about her asking your ds/gf to help with putting on her surgical stocking as young hands are more able to wrestle with pulling it into place, but I find it odd that you seem to be implying that if you go NC with your dm this may have some impact on the long-established relationship your 30 year old ds has with his dgps.

It's entirely a matter for you as to whether you want to go NC, but I doubt you'll have cause to regret being the bigger person if you cut her some slack due to her advanced years and physical frailty.

Personally speaking, I'd stay under the radar for a week or so before calling round with a bunch of flowers and/or box of chocs, and more particularly if I hadn't thought to buy any to welcome her home or hadn't found opportunity to express my delight that she was back on her feet again.

The knack to dealing with old people who are particularly irascible is to make sympathetic noises while letting their rants simply wash over you - it can help to reward yourself with a treat of some sort afterwards if you've managed not to rise to the bait and this may be how your long-suffering df copes with his dw's moods. smile

saltnpepa Sun 05-Jul-15 05:49:27

She's a woman who's had enough, i'd be swearing in her situation. Don't go nc with her over that. My mother spat in my brothers face, he did go nc over that.

Toffeelatteplease Sun 05-Jul-15 06:46:01

She's always had social foibles, so you decide the day she comes out of hospital when she is weak and vulnerable is the time to start?

I should imagine if she likes the rugs she is more than a little upset at having to lose them. More so realising your body is so fragile you need to make adaptions.

I should imagine your dm was deeply embarrassed having to ask

Can I get you a cup of tea?
An absolute catchall in dealing with anyone being a bit difficult. Allows you to tune out a bit. Sometimes it can become a bit of a cue that you are not happy with what the other people are saying and they start adapting their behaviour without anyone saying anything.

In this day an age it's all too easy to go non contact with people. Sometimes the knack is staying in contact.

ChampagneAndCrisps Sun 05-Jul-15 07:10:29

Reading your OP makes me feel you have a lot of anger towards your mum and you want to get it out and let her know whilst there is still time.
I do sympathise and appreciate you have reason for your anger. But I think if you continue like this you'll only get more hurt yourself. It doesn't sound like others in your family will stand up for you - and you may find yourself excluded.

I'd look after your own interests - be nice to her, spend as little time as possible with her - try not to be obvious about that. Take the advice further up the thread.

You're not going to change your mum now and you'll only get hurt trying.

Joysmum Sun 05-Jul-15 07:24:42

She's trapped, she's vulnerable, she's she's scared. You choose that as a good time to draw your line.

Visits from occupational health visitors means changes to what you love, someone critisising your home and is a further reminder you're getting old and your health is worth. It is a is very difficult time emotionally and it's no wonder she went to another room. You chose to follow her.

These are possible explainations, not excuses and you've every right to be upset with her, but talk about lack of empathy and poor timing hmm

As an aside, much of what you've described rings bells as things my FIL did (and he was a tea-total churchgoing model of goodness) when he got dementia. His behaviour further deteriorated when he had underlying infections to fight and his doctor would start him on antibiotics.

Of course you said your mother has always had anger issues though so only you know how out of character this is. If it's in character and it's just with added language then you won't change her at that age and the added language is because she's in emotional turmoil atm and you're acting out of character which is further unsettling.

mimishimmi Sun 05-Jul-15 07:41:17

It's not unusual in elderly people at all if I was to base that opinion on my grandfather's behaviour ... hmm

oabiti Sun 05-Jul-15 07:42:43

You cannot reason with the unreasonable. Let it go over your head. Be there for your mother but realise that she is not going to change. Be the better person. Or go NC but don't get other family members involved.

Incidentally, if you went NC, what about your dad? Would he not see you as much? That's hardly fair on him. Please don't think I'm excusing her behaviour, I am not, but sometimes turning the other cheek is the best course of action.

oabiti Sun 05-Jul-15 07:46:42

And, op, why don't you concentrate on getting the rugs fixed to the floor. That had got to be a better option than removing them.

Stealthpolarbear Sun 05-Jul-15 07:47:08

I'd assume she (my mum) was starting to develop alzheimers as it would be so out of character. Utis can cause some of the same confusion (not sure about aggression). I'd also wonder about her medication, as that may be affecting her temperament

TheOldWiseOne Sun 05-Jul-15 07:50:13

As others have said - she is in her 80s, she has had an op which could potentially take her off her feet/threaten her independence and she is struggling with all of this. She is still her own person despite all of this. I would urge you to forget it and maybe come at things from a different way of you want to help. Unfortunately the closest often get the brunt of it in a situation like this. Don't go NC at this stage - you will regret it ...

Penfold007 Sun 05-Jul-15 07:59:35

The swearing is new for my mum this is a huge clue. At 80 plus I would speak to her doctor and get her checked for a urine infection and for Alzheimer's. Sadly this may well be dementia but a swift diagnosis gives mum and you the best chance of managing. Check out www.Alzheimer'

TheOldWiseOne Sun 05-Jul-15 08:34:10

Change in personality can also be the sign of a mini stroke which is quite possible at her age - they have a little hiccup then start to get a bit more like themself then another and on..sadly this is often a precursor to a dementia/Alzheimers onset..

ScorpioMermaid Sun 05-Jul-15 10:15:54

My mum was my grandads primary carer in his last year's and he was vile to her, physically and verbally assaulting her, he was in his 80s too but it was dementia that caused it. he was never like it before, always lovely and caring. my mum had 6 siblings and she, apart from her brother that lived at home still so would sort grandad out first thing and over night, had to deal with it all by herself. It seriously tainted her memory of him but she was there for him until the end.

could your mum have dementia?

carlajean Sun 05-Jul-15 10:36:22

thanks all, I obviously have some self-examination to do. luckily I have hands-on siblings who are better at this than me. I hear what you say about dementia, but it just feels like an extension of her rage that has been part of her personality for ever. Especially as she has only be doing it to me and my dad.

MrsCaptainReynolds Sun 05-Jul-15 10:45:51

Dementia (and stress) can make you disinhibited OP. So what you see is often not new, but a worsening/coarsening of existing personality traits.

She does sound like a woman who had enough, and you'll have only seen a tiny bit of what she had to put up with in hospital so perhaps calling her out on rudeness was misjudged.

Toffeelatteplease Sun 05-Jul-15 10:46:35

You may be right. However you can't change her, only your reaction to her. Sometimes you find that can force others to make the changes needed, not easy

Of course you can go non contact, and yes that is the far easier option. But if you are looking for justification, on the basis of the examples given personally I would consider non contact very unfair and unreasonable to someone who was incredibly upset and vulnerable at the time.

Even shitty people can be vulnerable at times

lljkk Sun 05-Jul-15 10:49:27

My 20-something brothers were carers for our grandfather for a while, they did things like surgical stockings. No biggie.

I think you protect your own mental health first and foremost. If she's doing your head in then you Do Not have to attend to her. There are back up systems and completely valid for you not to take on responsibilities that will make you miserable.

She is presumably fearful & in pain.

Kintsugi Sun 05-Jul-15 10:59:31

Almost all of the "put up with it" or "you were wrong" comments here assume that this is a siubstantive change in her behaviour..and you seem to have quite clearly said it isn't.
She has always behaved this way towards you although her verbalization has become more hurtful, and you have managed to avoid this level of emnity by not having sustained periods of contact with her.
The question here is should you continue as you did..low contact, or go NC.
In direct answer to your question..yes I have gone NC with a relative this elderly. Some people have been shock but only those who have very different relationships to the one I had and really couldn't understand the dynamics.
I obviously didn't think it was OK to spend an unspecified number of years being false and putting up with an emotional battering for the sake of those few people.

Toffeelatteplease Sun 05-Jul-15 11:11:11

I'm not

Yes sometimes non contact is right. However I think going no contact is done all to easy. No-One is perfect. Everyone can be irritable and unpleasant on occasion. Sometimes a lot can be done with tolerance and a cup of tea. Often Non contact hurts those around us (like the op's father ) more than it hurts the person you are non contact with.

It also assumes someone else will be there to pick up the pieces.

But I'm a great believer in humanity, I don't believe in abandoning people at their most vulnerable. Even if those people are not as good a human beings as we would have liked.

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