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Anyone else''s mother tries to make them responsible for their happiness?

(36 Posts)
StewardsEnquiry Mon 04-Jul-16 11:20:26

Just wondering if anyone can identify with this? And maybe some advice too?

My mum is frequently quite low but she doesn't seem to have any way of sorting her own mood out. I live a fair distance from her so I can only visit once once a month or every two months, but when I go I stay for the weekend. I also work in a fairly full on job and have 2 young DC so my plate is quite full.

But my mum somehow makes me feel responsible for her too. She lives with my dad who is a nice bloke but is a bit vague - he avoids confrontation at all costs. She isn't in the best of health but won't admit that. She isn't interested in ANYTHING - has no hobbies. Has a few friends but rarely goes out with them.

If I don't ring for a few days it's "oh it's like you are a stranger".


footballcrazy11 Mon 04-Jul-16 11:25:40

Yes me too. My Mum calls me at least 4 times a day for at least 10 mins a time with nothing really to say but just says I havent spoken to anyone for a few hrs. I live on my own as well and say err well neither have I? she also complains that she has nothing to do but when I make suggestions she always comes up with excuses. I love her dearly but it is tiresome at times when I am busy

LineyReborn Mon 04-Jul-16 11:29:12

That's really unfair of her. You have a lot to cope with, and she's not giving she's taking.

Does she work? Does she gave a mobile, email?

My DD has left home now and we keep in touch more by email and text than calls, really. Also I expect to put myself out to go and visit her occasionally, not always the other way round. I know she's busy, trying to live her life.

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Mon 04-Jul-16 11:31:36

It makes me really upset and I just can't deal with it.

OhHolyFuck Mon 04-Jul-16 12:04:07

Yes, and for that, along with other reasons, I am now no contact

Lottapianos Mon 04-Jul-16 12:10:45

OP, your mother sounds a lot like both my mother and my mother in law. Both lean far too heavily on their children to provide the joy and fulfilment in their lives, they take almost no responsibility for themselves. No interests, no passions, no real friends. I think of them both as still being children emotionally.

Its horrible - oppressive, painful and confusing. I'm afraid I have had to cope by detaching and being in minimal contact with both of them. Nothing is ever quite enough for them, so I just stopped trying. With my mother, I felt that it came down to a choice between my emotional wellbeing or hers. I chose mine.

It is not your job to be responsible for your mother's happiness. I'm not pretending that it's easy, but you need to start putting yourself first, and realising that she is the parent and you are the child in the relationship - you should not be expected to take care of her or feel guilty for having a busy life of your own.

mrsbrightside3 Mon 04-Jul-16 12:17:34

I second that of the post above. My husband has these issues with his mother. After years of therapy he is no low contact and feeling much healthier for it. As is our marriage!

nowshesaturtle Mon 04-Jul-16 12:25:51

My MIL is very like this, and my own mother to a lesser extent.

I cope by making my MIL DH's family's problem - have completely detached because she has 4 kids and they won't listen to reason. They pander to her completely and so I'm afraid that is up to them.

With my own mother I do what I can (my brother does nothing) and then try not to worry about it. You will drive yourself crazy otherwise.

Remember that they are not being fair and you should NOT cave in.

StewardsEnquiry Mon 04-Jul-16 12:29:19

Thanks everyone. It helps to know others are feeling this way too.

She has basically never worked but kept herself busy looking after me until I left home (that's 14 years ago now!) and she has basically never got her life together since then.

If I suggest doing anything it is met with a sneer - exercise, hobbies, groups are all somehow beneath her. I can't tell you the hours I have spent racking my brains for ideas for presents for her because she doesn't like anything.

I know she blames me for moving away from her but I need to be where I am for work. Surely most mums would be pleased that their daughter is successful?

I'm sitting here googling for ideas for hobbies to suggest to her after yesterday's conversation about how fed up she is. I'm going to email the suggestions though - I can't cope with another phone call where she dismisses them all out of hand.

meowli Mon 04-Jul-16 12:35:06

My mother has been like this all my life. I am an only child, and she and my Dad weren't happy together. She had a Greek tragedy of an upbringing and she is such a kindhearted woman with no malevolence in her, but I took on responsibility for her mental well-being at an early age, and I sometimes feel like she's draining the life out of me, emotionally. Sorry, nothing helpful, but lots of empathy!

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 04-Jul-16 12:35:16

Yes, my mother used to do this too. She's dead now, and sad to say I do still feel relief at not having to deal with the emotional fuckwittage. I miss her in other ways, but I don't miss this behaviour at all.

You are not responsible for her happiness, at all. Your suggestions have never been fruitful before (I'm assuming) so why would they be now? Keep your replies to 'That's a shame, Mum' and sound sad for her. See how long it takes her to get annoyed at you for not suggesting things that that might make her happier - she is getting her emotional fix from your attention and it's not healthy for either of you.

LineyReborn Mon 04-Jul-16 12:35:54

She has no business blaming you for anything, OP. She sounds grossly unfair and controlling. That's her hobby. That's why she's not interested in you suggesting new ones.

Lottapianos Mon 04-Jul-16 12:43:23

Stewards, it sounds like feel that nothing you ever suggest will get a positive response from her. I really do believe that some people thrive on negativity - they don't want solutions or possibilities. They have a need to be babied and fussed over rather than taking responsibility for themselves. You do not have to play along with it. You don't have to be your mother's social secretary or cheerleader or anything else.

'That's her hobby. That's why she's not interested in you suggesting new ones.'

Very wise words

I agree with you that most mothers would be happy and proud of their daughters for achieving the way you have. Its terribly painful when you realise that your own mother doesn't feel the same sad Do you think she feels jealous of you at all OP?

Wishimaywishimight Mon 04-Jul-16 13:14:56

I agree with LaContessa - why keep making suggestions if she just dismisses them. Just sympathise, say 'ah, that's a pity' or something similary. Either that or greatly reduce contact which is what I did.

My DM and DR are very like this. When DM retired (a year after DF) they were not getting along at all - they had no interests, hobbies or friends and were just driving each other nuts (& moaning every time we saw them) so Dsis and I put together a package of information - all about clubs and activities in their area, volunteering etc. We sent it to them, thought they might appreciate the ideas. They never mentioned it when we saw or spoke to them. Eventually a week or 2 later I asked had they received it. DM dismissed all of it as not being the sort of thing they would be interested in (they were, and remain, interested in absolutely nothing besides complaining...). Not a word of thanks obviously... It was a few years after that that I went low contact (yep, it took me a while!).

summerholsr2long Mon 04-Jul-16 13:23:16

My mums very much like this.
Five years ago I encouraged her to start going on trips with her friend and it actually worked.
Though I did have to stand firm and cut down our contact to once a week. It took that for her to want to start going on the day trips twice a week with the pal.

Lordamighty Mon 04-Jul-16 14:02:40

Yes, my DM is old with limited mobility but no matter how much I do for her she likes to make sure I go home with a large slice of her misery pie.

Alwayschanging1 Mon 04-Jul-16 14:09:54

My mum too. Dad left her 25 years ago, before I met my DH, and we have been battling about this ever since.
Currently we are at a very low point. I have pretty much given up making any effort because, as so many PPs have said, whatever I do it is never enough for her. She is permanently unhappy with me (just me of course, not my brothers).
We had a row a few weeks ago when I told her outright that I would not take on responsibility for her happiness no matter how hard she tries to make me. I don't think it will make any difference to her behaviour at all.
I do not want another child; I want a parent. sad
I hate the stress, I hate the manipulation, I hate feeling like a crap daughter.

nowshesaturtle Mon 04-Jul-16 14:18:38

no matter how much I do for her she likes to make sure I go home with a large slice of her misery pie.

Absolutely! DH went to visit his mum this weekend having bowed (again) to her guilt-tripping. He's having an operation on his nose later this week and is quite nervous. Her contribution? 'You know that is going to hurt don't you? Because I had that op and it really, really does HURT"


summerholsr2long Mon 04-Jul-16 15:06:59

Setting boundaries can be really hard with them especially if you let the emotional blackmail get to you.
But they're key to getting some control for yourself back.

Paintedhandprints Mon 04-Jul-16 15:21:48

Sounds like your mum is maybe scared to put herself out there? Could you take a week off work and take her to a group or hobby near her. Introduce her to some people? She must like something, gardening, flower arranging, knitting, cross stitch, coffee morning?
Short term pain for long term gain?
Or sign her up to that friendship meeting app. Tinder is it?
Or start going low contact.
Depends whether you like your mum or not.

Trooperslane Mon 04-Jul-16 15:39:36

Sweet Jesus I wouldn't sign her up for tinder unless she's after some cock shots! (Sorry!)

I have no wise words op. My DM died 2 years ago and our lives were hell for about 5 before that.

Exactly as you described. No wish and no confidence to do anything for herself. Just used me as a dumping ground.

Only serious counselling got me through it. It's brutal and I now have a pact with my bff that we will call each other on this manipulate ballix straight away if we need to, for the sake of her ds and my DD.

Maegeri Mon 04-Jul-16 15:45:43

My mum is the same. She still goes on about how the happiness went out of her life when my sister and I left home. That was 25 years ago! I gave up feeling guilty a couple of years back when I realised I would never treat my own kids like that. Now I just ignore it.

Namechangedemon Mon 04-Jul-16 15:49:46

Same here OP. It was only when I had children of my own that I realised I would never rely on them as my only source of company or happiness, which helped me to finally stop feeling guilty.

Lottapianos Mon 04-Jul-16 15:58:17

'She still goes on about how the happiness went out of her life when my sister and I left home'

What a burden to put on a grown up child. My mother was absolutely distraught when I went to university - had difficulty getting out of bed in the mornings for a while I believe. I read an article in the paper a few weeks ago for parents whose children are going to uni and it said not to worry, because end of term would come soon enough and they would be back to visit them. I came home every flipping weekend from university and my mother was still distraught! It's suffocating and extremely unhealthy. You have to become quite brutal (with professional support in my case) about setting boundaries and taking care of your own needs first and foremost, otherwise people like this will suck the very life out of you

piglover Mon 04-Jul-16 16:36:42

Mine is exactly the same. I ran away to the US 20 years ago (for my career and, though I didn't realise it consciously at the time, sanity, since I'd never have escaped her if I hadn't put a lot of distance between us) and you would have thought that maybe she would have got herself a life given that I haven't lived with her full-time since I was 18, but no. I am completely responsible for her happiness, and she feels it increasingly as she gets older. It would even be better if she got on a #!$)*ing plane to see ME, but apparently it's my job to come and see her several times a year and am beginning to resent that so much of my income goes on doing this.

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