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My DH and DCs struggling to like my elderly Mum

(39 Posts)
lifebeginsat60 Sat 31-Dec-16 00:51:41

My Mum is in her 90s. We don't see her often but whenever we do there is tension which I doubt she is aware of. She has been nothing but thoughtful and generous towards all of us over the years but has a knack of saying the odd thing that really rankles - personal comments about my adult children's weight, tactless remarks about meals or presents we give her - just one or two things in a day of otherwise good times. My adult children have always made an effort with her but somehow she just manages to burst their bubble every time and leave them upset. It's just a small proportion of otherwise loving encounters but it seems one criticism can blow all that away. None of what she says or does is massively important in the great scheme of things and I really wish we could have a laugh about it afterwards but it seems we can't. In recent years, my husband, who can be very aggressive, has become so venomous about her it really upsets me. She has accepted him and been kind to him for years but he can find nothing good in her although he is never rude to her face. I have asked her not to make personal comments but she forgets and does it anyway. She and I have never been really close or communicated clearly (she has always had poor hearing and is now nearly deaf) but we love each other and it breaks my heart to think that we may have her around much longer. My husband has made it clear he will be glad when she's gone.

I'm not sure what I expect to hear from posting this. I think it upsets me that the bigger picture of my kind and generous, uncomplaining, undemanding Mum gets overshadowed. Has anyone had to cope with something similar?

pandarific Sat 31-Dec-16 02:27:44

That's mean of your husband. How is he usually? Is he a nice caring person? What would he do if you asked him to stop? I also wonder how much your adult children's attitudes toward your mum are due to his? What do they say when you ask them about her?

keepingonrunning Sat 31-Dec-16 02:35:29

Yes. Everything is much simpler now that H is XH.
Your DM can be forgiven for lack of tact because of her advanced years and hearing disability. Your DH doesn't have the same excuse. Are you able to explain her sometimes insensitive comments to your DC as being related to her brain being very old, to give perspective?
It is a real shame that your remaining time with your DM should be overshadowed by family conflict and your stressful role as peacemaker.
Your DH sounds like a sociopath. Please consider how he adds to your life. You very clearly seem to be walking on eggshells. That, and your mention of his aggression, suggests domestic abuse to me. flowers

keepingonrunning Sat 31-Dec-16 02:42:04

In fact your DH's attitude stinks of misogyny. I bet he views you as an irritation in the same way. I'm very sorry and I'm sorry the atmosphere is so tense that granny's gaffes can't even be laughed off. I wonder if you are kept awake now by the anxiety of the situation.

keepingonrunning Sat 31-Dec-16 02:53:17

If your DH loved you he would tolerate your frail DM. If your DH liked human beings he would tolerate a frail person in their nineties, knowing they won't be around much longer.
As it is, he is not showing respect for either of you and I find that worrying. One day soon you are going to suffer a big bereavement with no emotional support from DH because he will be busy dancing on her grave. It's too cruel of him. flowers

girlelephant Sat 31-Dec-16 02:53:58

I'm very concerned by you describing him as "very aggressive"? Can you elaborate & does he recognise this? Is he seeking help?

differentnameforthis Sat 31-Dec-16 03:57:56

So op is aking about her mean, rude mum and everyone is focussing on her dh?? Odd. OP, you can't expect people to like somone who treats them the way she does! Perhaps you need to start visiting on your own if she can't keep a civil tongue in her head. It hurts to be constantly critisized!!

differentnameforthis Sat 31-Dec-16 04:01:03

And no, age and a disability (deafness) is no excuse for rudeness

OhWhatFuckeryIsThisNow Sat 31-Dec-16 04:29:42

Was she always like that or something that has developed with her advancing years? I think some very elderly people (like young kids) lack a social filter but where children learn it, some people lose it. It would depend on the severity of the comment, but I think given all the other comments about your dm's nature (kind, undemanding) that people that love you should realise that your time together is limited and let the comments go. I am going to focus on your dh though-why had she have to be accepting of him? What was their relationship like when she was younger?
I would be tempted to visit as often as possible by myself, make excuses for dh. Tell your dc that as gran upsets them, they don't have to come.
My fil was "outspoken"(IE a rude cunt) and it did get to me, but he mellowed with age and illness. And I could see that he was underneath it all, loving and caring.
But I would be looking at my relationship with somone who is aggressive and mean about someone I love.

ravenmum Sat 31-Dec-16 07:05:15

Rudeness in old age does in fact have biological reasons (changes in the brain leading to a lack of inhibition).

When it's not your own parents it's easy to get annoyed, but indicating that you can't wait for your partner's parent to die is plain nasty.

piranharama Sat 31-Dec-16 07:10:39

Visit on your own, your dc's and husband have obviously had enough by the sounds of it? Doesn't sound great that he is quite aggressive as you say though, do you mean he can be very forthright in his opinions or actually aggressive i.e. physically?

I can understand why you want them to put up with it but they shouldn't have to. Sorry, but someone's mum or not I wouldn't be wanting to deal with that either.

piranharama Sat 31-Dec-16 07:15:35

Also has she always been like this? In your dog and children's opinion I mean. Or is it something that's come with age? I think that makes a lot of difference too, but still even if it is something that's come about with age they don't have to deal with it if they find it too much (if they're all of the same opinion of her being OTT then i think they probably can't be wrong?) regardless of whether she's your mum or not.

piranharama Sat 31-Dec-16 07:15:57

Dh not dog blush

Emochild Sat 31-Dec-16 07:21:58

My grandma used to make little comments to me about my weight, height, the fact I looked different to my cousins etc

Those comments bloody hurt despite her laughing when saying them as she was just joking or 'having you on'

She would also speak very highly of our cousins who she lived closer to and therefore saw more of them. My mum said she would be the same talking to our cousins about us

I ended up at the same uni as one of my cousins -my grandma never mentioned us apparently.

She's your mother, you cannot expect other people to make the same allowances for her as you do

You say she's never anything but thoughtful but you go on to say about her making personal comments -doesn't sound very thoughtful to me

ilovesooty Sat 31-Dec-16 07:28:03

ravenmum thank you. I wish I'd known that while my mum was in her care home and I was visiting. flowers

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 31-Dec-16 07:35:16

I am in the other position although dc much younger. It is very hard as someone without that biological tie to see your dc constantly criticised, shouted at for unintentionally leaving the door open a crack when the house is boiling hot (kept at 25 degrees), now he shouts at them as they are even just walking through the door. They are regularly told that 'in my day you would have been beaten for <insert minor transgression here>', and exposed to frequent sexist and racist remarks. In FIL's case he has been like that for the last 20 years at least so not a new thing.

My own mother not infrequently will be very critical of 7yr old ds who is the youngest and bears the brunt of it on both sides. She has dementia though and would never have been like that when younger. It is still hard because my instinct is to defend ds.

I would say at this stage your dh is unlikely to change his views so I would suggest maybe agree on Christmas, birthday and one summer visit with him and he makes the effort three times a year to be nice and the rest of the time he either stays home or has errands to run locally if you rely on him for transport. This is what SIL does but we live further away so it isn't an option for us. Yes your dh should be more tolerant but constant criticism of your dc gets very wearing.

pklme Sat 31-Dec-16 07:35:30

I think your DH sees the upset she causes, spoils family time when she is included in it, and resents her impact on the family. You say he is polite to her, so he doesn't show his irritation. I don't think that he is being unreasonable from what you say here. You can't expect people to love someone who upsets their nearest and dearest.
My grandma, who I loved, made unkind comments to me, my nieces and presumably my mum when she was younger. My elderly mum still does it to me now. It's mean. Cruel. Unnecessary. I have to put up with it, or go NC, as she isn't going to change. Don't underestimate the power of her words, and be surprised that your DH doesn't like it.

Believeitornot Sat 31-Dec-16 07:39:17

Well it depends what she says exactly.

Also you seem to just brush off your mum's comments. If she has always done this since your dcs were little then I'm not surprised your DH and dcs are pissed off.

The comment about your DH being aggressive just demonstrates that he can too be a nasty person. However two wrongs don't make a right.

AmberEars Sat 31-Dec-16 07:43:00

Sorry, but if I was your DH I would also struggle to see past the one or two offensive comments a day. As you say he's never rude to her face, I think that's the most you can expect tbh. Maybe it would be best if you went to see her alone.

Bunkai Sat 31-Dec-16 07:45:59

She upsets them "every time" with one or two nasty comments. You may be able to brush them off but it seems your DH and children cannot. And why should they? They shouldn't have to be around someone that upsets them.

christmaswreaths Sat 31-Dec-16 07:51:15

I have the same mother and it is draining and toxic, even though we love each other too. It's odd as her mother was not like that at all and hopefully I won't be like that either.

My husband is not aggressive but he has withdrawn from.her in the years as overtime nobody really should have to out up with it.

Isetan Sat 31-Dec-16 08:19:44

you cannot expect other people to make the same allowances for her as you do


Your H and children aren't as invested conditioned as you are into having a relationship with someone who is regularly unpleasant. Is your dissatisfaction at your H and your children's reluctance at 'playing' happy families' rooted in the loss of the buffer they provided?

No one is stopping you in continuing a relationship with your mother and in the manner you seem fit but it is unreasonable and controlling to expect others to follow suit.

Your H's aggression is a seperate issue but if it is confined to interactions with your mother then he needs to distance himself from the trigger.

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Sat 31-Dec-16 08:25:47

I'd keep them apart.

It's not fair for your husband and children to make an effort with her if she's going to make unpleasant comments in return.

My mum does similar. DS has a brutal scar on his leg from pucking excema. Every time my mum sees him she starts pulling up his trouser leg to gawp at it. I had to tell her that unless she stopped she wouldn't be able to come round again.

There's no reason for your family to put up with mean comments. None at all. I'd visit her alone and let them skip it.

PowerPantsRule Sat 31-Dec-16 08:36:22

My DH has an elderly relative that does this. I don't see her any more if I can avoid it. Nor do the children and he sees her alone. Age is no excuse - this relative does it as a form of attention seeking I think, not realising it will result in a lack of attention. I am not having my children criticised and undermined for no reason. My sympathies go with your DH.

arthriticfingers Sat 31-Dec-16 09:05:17

My own mother is absolutely awful. Really hurtful. My abusive exH took enormous delight in making this a stick to beat me with.

My children, who have also been treated badly by my mother, take another view - they take a distant, benevolent view, visit a couple of times a year and try to see nothing but the good while fully recognising and acknowledging the bad - the only other option is to go completely no contact with her and the rest of my dysfunctional family - not something my, very lovely children, want to do.

To those saying 'visit on your own', I did this for years. Never asked my ex to see or talk to my mother - ever. But this was not enough. I had to stay silent and hide it if I, alone, phoned my mother because I would get violent verbal abuse - 'you have been talking to your mother - I can tell because your are a mad whore like her!'
It was not a solution.
I don't know if your husband is a violent shit like mine, but he is a twat.
He should be supporting you finding a way of dealing with your mother that the whole family can support you in. They are supposed to love and care about you.

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