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My mother and using the phone as a weapon

(54 Posts)
MrsSchadenfreude Tue 28-Jul-15 20:12:48

My mother never ever calls me. It is up to me to call her, and if I don't ring her, she makes out she doesn't know who it is (!) initially and then I get "Oh I thought something must have happened to you, etc etc" or "her friends" all say "Oh didn't Mrs S call you to tell you about her cancer test results" and she will say "I was so embarrassed to say you hadn't called me." But would she call me? No. So she can't have been as "worried sick" as she claimed.

In contrast, she calls my cousin two or three times a week "because Z is the daughter I never had." (I am an only child.)

I am tired of this. I just want a normal relationship with her, like she would call me one week and then I will call her the next. I am tired of the phone being used as a bloody weapon, and Z is tired of being called all the time, and being told "Mrs S never calls me," and Z saying "Well have you called her?" The answer to that is "I shouldn't have to, she knows where I am."

She has always been like this with me, since I left home 30 years ago, when my Dad was alive. It's only in the past couple of years that she has started calling Z all the time - I think possibly triggered by her sister's illness and subsequent death, where she was calling Z all the time for updates.

Any ideas for handling her?

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 28-Jul-15 21:21:55


PurpleWithRed Tue 28-Jul-15 21:25:44

How often do you call her? Regularly?

Kinsman Tue 28-Jul-15 21:29:12

My Mum does the same although without the snidyness. I suspect it's just a generational thing. When she was young she was probably expected to call her parents and now she expects you to do the same?

Perhaps call her once a week at the same time and suggest that she calls you if something crops up at the meantime?

Kinsman Tue 28-Jul-15 21:31:28

Meant to add, I used to resent having to be one that called all the time, particularly when I was abroad and couldn't afford the calls but life is short and one day she won't be around to call so try to make the best of it whilst you can.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Tue 28-Jul-15 21:33:10

My Mum never calls me - I have lived at a distance for 30 plus years and it has always been me that calls - in my student days I had to go to the phone box, so that was understandable - she could not call me.

So agree with Kinsma - it is a generational thing. Also my Mum still thinks phone calls are "very expensive" (even though my brother has put her on some deal with you can call for up to an hour for about 1p!!). If I call before 6pm she will tell me I am calling at "the expensive time".....

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 28-Jul-15 21:34:58

I generally call her once a week, sometimes more, if there is news to impart, sometimes fortnightly, if I am extra busy at work and just come home, eat and go to bed. I have suggested she calls me, and pointed out that the phone works both ways, but she just ignores this.

CalleighDoodle Tue 28-Jul-15 21:41:15

Once a fortnight is too long not to phone your mother. If youre saying youre out and too busy to make a call How will you take one? It makes much more sense for you to phone her.

Can you find a coiplenof minutes everybther day to phone and say just wanted to check in... Blah blah. More frequent means shorter length.

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 28-Jul-15 21:50:16

Why is a fortnight too long? Why can't she try calling me instead? My point is, why does it always need to be me who initiates the call, and why won't she call me, but call my cousin [name removed by MNHQ] all the bloody time?

CalleighDoodle Tue 28-Jul-15 22:01:27

Youve already said you are rarely available for phonecalls. Arrive home, have dinner and go to bed. So her phoning you would be pointless. Unless you tell her specifically when to Phone.

Let z deal with your mum calling her too much herself. Your issue is she feels
You dont ohone her enough. How do
You deal with it? By phoning her more oftens

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 28-Jul-15 22:09:03

Well I am in and can pick up the phone when I'm home, in bed even! But she just never tries.

I don't want to call her more often. I want her to make some effort to call me, and to make it more of a two way relationship. I am tired of her playing silly buggers and making out she doesn't know who is on the phone if I haven't called for ten days. I am tired of "Oh I thought something must have happened to you/to the DDs." I just want a normal relationship, where I don't have to make all the running.

birdsnotbees Tue 28-Jul-15 22:14:33

My mum does this. If I leave it more than a week I get "oh, hello stranger" in a sarcastic tone. EVERY time, without fail, I say: "You can call me, you know." I then get the excuses: you're never in (call me on my mobile), it's too expensive (I will call you back), I never know if it's a good time to call, I might wake the kids up (they're not babies and will now sleep through a hurricane, let alone a ringing phone).

But perhaps it is a generational thing. My mum is however also extremely passive in relationships. She wants them but she never does anything about them. It's always up to the other person. Or maybe she is just lazy.

Drives me mad, too. I'd just like her to give enough of a shit sometimes to call ME instead of expecting me to do all the running. So I hear you.

RandomMess Tue 28-Jul-15 22:15:17

I think the only thing to try is that when she starts with her "Oh I thought something" or pretending she doesn't know who it is just hang up on her.

I think you having to phone her would be far more bearable if she didn't make such "thing" out of you not phoning as frequently as she wants you to.

Up to you whether you forewarn her not that the next time she says x you will hang up.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 28-Jul-15 22:15:36

I used to get this. I used to ring my mother about once a fortnight as well and believe me that was plenty. Often used to get the "oh, you're still alive then". But she never used to ring me!

Ive given up now. Haven't spoken to her in six months. Am wondering how long it'll be before she gives in and rings me.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Tue 28-Jul-15 22:22:58

I have the same with added unpleasantness.
I would agree about the generational thing except for decades my mother has made a big thing of turn and turn about with her friends and cut people out of her life if they don't 'bother' with her.

She rings other people but never calls me. I call her occasionally, if I didn't I'd never hear of her at all. I've given up pretending to myself that she cares.

Jengnr Tue 28-Jul-15 22:24:06

'I thought something had happened to you'
'Well you were clearly devastated weren't you? Thanks a bunch Mum'

Take back the power. She's making you feel shit when you've done nothing wrong, turn the tables on her.

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 28-Jul-15 22:36:41

Enrique and Birds - yes to the passive relationships. I get "Oh I haven't seen a soul all week, no-one has been to see me." So I ask why she doesn't go and see them, and I get "Well they know where I live, they can come and see me" and "X doesn't bother with me since her husband had a stroke, people make you sick, you really know who your friends are when you get old." X's husband was paralysed after his stroke and couldn't speak, but of course this came second to X visiting her for a weekly cup of tea or trip to Tesco.

Hassled Tue 28-Jul-15 22:41:15

The only thing you can change is how you react. So you leave it a fortnight and you get the "I thought something must have happened" response - so what? It's not like it's a surprise - shrug it off. Just factor that into what having a conversation with her is like.

I know that's easily said and harder to do, but that is the only place where you have control - just teaching yourself that she can say what the hell she wants and actually, it doesn't matter. And the less you're bothered, the less of a weapon she has and the more she might actually call you.

Bogeyface Tue 28-Jul-15 22:44:16

I would tell her to piss off purely for the "She is the daughter I never had" "Oh really mum, what about the daughter you ACTUALLY had and never bother ringing?!"

I would go with the "generational" thing if it werent for the fact that she rings your cousin so often. And FFS! If I read it right, you have had treatment for cancer and even that didnt get her to stir her stumps to call you?!

When my Uncle had cancer we knew that his wife was all over the place and didnt want to ring in case it was a bad time (as it often was) so we would email or text to say that we were hoping thing were going ok and sending our love. My aunt would ring back when it suited her to do so, and no one ever judged her for that.

WicksEnd Tue 28-Jul-15 22:56:01

I get exactly the same responses:
"Oh you're ALIVE then!"
"thought you'd fled the country"
"Hello stranger"
" I didn't recognise your voice it's been so long".

We speak at least twice a week, and yes it's always me phoning Dm

Thing is, it pisses me off immediately and I don't feel like talking then. I actually dread phoning in anticipation of the snarky comments.

ShuShuFontana Tue 28-Jul-15 23:10:03

my mother does the same...

it's the same old same old whenever we do speak, tattle about the neighbours, her cousins, her friends, her SIL, a recitation of "how is dd/ds1/ds2/my ILs/dh"

she will ask if there is any news, but pretty much any attempt to tell her anything is shut down by more repeated tattle as above

She also has a strict routine for receiving calls, so and so calls after Corrie on one day, someone else after casualty...and so on and so forth and heaven forefend I should interrupt that routine, or interrupt the Archers on a sunday. HOWEVER this also makes her mad as everyone else is so fixated on routine and of course Auntie B will be wondering why she cannot get through if I have phoned in her spot

If she starts with the thought you fled the country/thought you were dead/I might have been carted off and be dead and buried I reply with "bad news travels fast" or ask her if she has been restricted to incoming calls only as she cannot pay her bill

SOOOOO to sum up, dish the snark right back and make it a challenge to see who cracks first. ..I know I am nearly winning when she sends something through the post with a PA note in it ....dh always says, "there's a parcel from your mother, when did you last phone?" oh how I laugh 3)

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 29-Jul-15 06:47:06

Oh yes "I could have died all alone here, and no-one would have known." hmm

poisonedbypen Wed 29-Jul-15 07:14:46

What is it about mothers if that generation. Mine does call me if I don't call her for a while but says "I was just calling to see if you were still alive". Aargh. And when I do call her and she hears its me she says "Oh" in a disappointed voice as if she was expecting someone more interesting. I had a go at her about that & it stopped for a while but it seems to be creeping back in. I hate calling for that reason. Plus she is deaf so we can't really have a conversation anyway.

fourflights Wed 29-Jul-15 07:56:47

My DM didn't really like me visiting or phoning. I rang her once after 6 weeks no contact, said "Hello mum", the reply, "What do you want?"

I rarely ring my daughter as she prefers to ring me, that is daily however, and can last between 10 minutes and 3 hours. I don't usually get a word in though. smile

Baddz Wed 29-Jul-15 07:59:42

Sounds very familiar!
Since my dad died my mum thinks everyone should phone her and come to see her.
When'd the phone calls and visits dropped away I asked if she had made any effort to phone or go and see people..."I shouldn't have to"

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