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For those of you who had difficult mums growing up & those dm's are now in their 70s..

(26 Posts)
PennyPeaShooter Fri 12-Jul-19 11:01:34

How did getting older impact their outlook on life/their views/the quirks of their personality? I've been NC now for a very long time & I'm wondering how my dm might have changed over time? Might her anger & irritation have become magnified or might it have receded as old age & ill health take their course? I watched my mil get older & then die & she drifted off into a soft bubble of her own fantasies & her anger fell away because she couldn't remember old things that had upset her. What are your experiences with mothers aging?

Mairyhinge Fri 12-Jul-19 11:05:17

Mines in her early 80's but her bitterness and resentment seems to have intensified. I think as the world has changed so much she sees it as a bad place to be.
She doesn't believe in mental health problems ( because during the war you just got on with it 🙄).
She doesn't believe in issues such as ADHD/ Autism as in her day they were just naughty.
Her anger towards people 'close' has probably stayed the same as it's ever been but she's certainly not getting easier to be around as she ages, quite the opposite.

curlykaren Fri 12-Jul-19 11:10:53

I grew up in my grandmothers house. She was a very bitter woman who never forgave or forgot her ex husbands infidelity and leaving her with 3 kids to bring up in the 50s/60s. She died when she was 96 and would still have periods of vitriolic rantings as to how disgusting he was. By this point he had been dead 20 years. It can't be healthy to hold onto such anger for so long. She'd always been very emotionally manipulating, this only intensified in later years. In short, I think it unlikely your Mum will have changed. Sorry x

ComeAndDance Fri 12-Jul-19 11:14:42

My grand father died at 97yo. He was the same when he died then when my dad was 24yo and getting married.
Manipulative, not nice to be around, having a go/angry/toxic/narcicist etc... He was like that even after his death when my dad and his sister read my grand father's will sad

PennyPeaShooter Fri 12-Jul-19 11:18:06

The trouble with my dm's stuff is that much of it was very subtle & passed off in such a way that you couldn't argue with it. She was totally reasonable in her own eyes. When I finally went nc it happened very softly. There was no great explosion. I just knew I needed to keep her at arms length in order to have the space to grow myself. My dm wasn't a nurturing person. She watched me mother my own dc agog - 'Your SO nurturing'. I nearly fell over at that comment. I thought 'This is what you're supposed to do'. But I kept my mouth shut, I was too shocked at her comment. Now I've had years on my own & tons of therapy. I know I could keep hold of myself in her presence. I'm wondering what to do..

MargoLovebutter Fri 12-Jul-19 11:22:27

Mine is in her 80s now and I see her for a few hours once a week. She is obviously not able to be physically abusive anymore but she is still controlling and narcissistic with ridiculous opinions. However, she has a lot less energy too, so tends not to get herself as endlessly riled up as she used to.

For me, knowing I can get in my car at the end of every visit and drive 80 miles in the other direction and carry on living my life exactly as I choose makes the world of difference. She doesn't have power over me now, like she did when I was a child.

Some 2 years of therapy also helped too!

SimplySteveRedux Fri 12-Jul-19 11:23:26

Mother neglected and emotionally abused me throughout my childhood whilst lauding my golden child brother and scapegoating me.

She's still the same narcissistic bitch as she entered her 70s, has the same views and hasn't changed. I've been LC for a few years now, and she will never change her outlook on my childhood, and indeed adult life. She's tried to weaponise DD against me, DD has refuted all attempts.

My major issue is whether I will attend her funeral. Then there's my weak, enabling, father to think about.

MrsElijahMikaelson1 Fri 12-Jul-19 11:27:15

@SimplySteveRedux your childhood sounds like mine. I am NC and don’t allow her to see my children as I couldn’t bear them to experience her toxicity.

Mine split with my DF year’s ago so not quite as tricky as you. I also am not sure if I could manage to go to her funeral but also can I manage the guilt if I don’t?sad

Gottalovesummer Fri 12-Jul-19 11:28:55

Mine got worse as she got older, I wrote about her recently and have been NC for a month. Early days but wish I'd done it sooner. She has caused me a lot of hurt and misery over the years and I'm just starting to pick up the pieces.

MissPinkCakeyBun Fri 12-Jul-19 11:32:07

I'm very limited contact with mine ( physically and mentally abusive) we moved 200 miles away and now it's on my terms she is coming to stay for 2 nights today for the first time in over a year since we moved in that's she's been to the house let alone stayed.
She hasn't got easier in many ways mentally it's like it's a skill she has honed confused
I was in hospital with suspected meningitis very poorly and she found out and came to visit bringing me a weightwatchers magazine as she was sure loosing weight would help.
This is the woman that completely forgot my 8th birthday and when reminded by my uncle at 5pm when he came round with a present went upstairs and got the suede handbag she had got herself the previous week and told him that's what she had got me. shockhmm

They don't change just look after yourself and your family that you love

FuriousVexation Fri 12-Jul-19 11:32:58

I've been NC for about 4 years. I think she turned 71 last year. Her attitudes became more entrenched as she got older. Especially once she stopped working.

There's a Terry Pratchett quote that talks about how we all need the "Brownian motion" of bumping into people who hold different views and opinions, not necessarily to make us change our own opinions, but to make us challenge our ingrained beliefs.

When you isolate yourself from outside influence it's very easy to become a DM reading fearful paranoid wreck. And a total bitch.

MissPinkCakeyBun Fri 12-Jul-19 11:33:00

I should say I'm 50 and she's mid 70's

Whosorrynow Fri 12-Jul-19 11:33:45

I just knew I needed to keep her at arms length in order to have the space to grow myself
This is a great way of putting it 😊

mbosnz Fri 12-Jul-19 11:33:59

Mine is in her eighties now, and we definitely had our moments. She had a very traumatic childhood, and as a result, was quite, erm, 'difficult' - very self absorbed, saw everything through the lens of how it impacted her, was really quite jealous and bitter towards us if things were going better for us, than they had for her, and we all pussyfooted around her. Particularly when she went through menopause. My other sisters were lucky, they'd left home by then. I reckon I've got time off how long I'll spend in hell for how bad that was!

I never went NC, but it was touch or go there a couple of times.

Funnily enough, she's really mellowed in the last few years. I've had to learn to forgive, let a lot of things go, and accept who for who she is, rather than hoping for her to become what I wanted her to be. We actually have a really good relationship now. Weirdly.

MrsWooster Fri 12-Jul-19 11:35:20

She is as she was.
I have done a, excuse the psychological terminology, fuckton of work on myself and have forgiven my young self and to some extent her and see her for a victim of her own life; Istill remain very low contact because she will never change without doing some work on herself- and she doesn't see there's a problem. And round we go again.
She's the kids' grandma, though I carefully protect them from her excesses, and I will attend her funeral because a human being has passed away but I refuse to acknowledge the 'but she's your mum' pressure.

TwistyTop Fri 12-Jul-19 11:38:33

My mum has mellowed out quite a bit as she's gotten older. She hasn't apologised for any of the horrible shit that she put me through, but at least now if we completely ignore the past the present can be civil and relaxed.

SingingLily Fri 12-Jul-19 11:40:18

Mine is 85 now. She has got worse over the years, partly because she no longer feels inhibited by social niceties anymore, and partly because my father is too old and ill and tired to run round after her cleaning up her messes. Now he just shrinks back in his armchair, waiting for the storm to pass and hoping that by making himself smaller and smaller, he won't get struck by lightning himself. It's a vain hope. She's horrible to him. She only has him as her captive audience these days because we, their children, are all NC or LC with them.

Still, as she likes to remind herself, she is the perfect mother. Pity she has such a disappointing family.

Like Steve, I struggled with what to do when the inevitable happens, especially as my weak father was the only parent who had shown me affection. I don't struggle any longer. My father has gone the full Stockholm Syndrome and he is now as nasty as her. Dilemma solved. I won't be there for either of them.

Birdie6 Fri 12-Jul-19 11:44:18

Mine just got worse and worse - thankfully I was far away so it didn't affect me too much. There was only so much damage she could do via phone calls.

Then Dad died and she got dementia really quickly and profoundly . It was wonderful - we all said " she just forgot how to be horrible". She was actually very pleasant for the four years that she outlived Dad. So for a short time in my life I was able to talk to her and almost enjoy it. It was such a blessing. When she died I wasn't sorry - just relieved.

VictoriaBun Fri 12-Jul-19 11:45:29

I'm going against what other people have wrote and will say this - She is obviously on your mind for whatever reason good/bad and you have an inner voice wondering if you could cope with being in contact.
Ask yourself this :
Why am I thinking this ?
What do I have to lose/gain ?
What could happen if I do contact good / bad ?
Could I deal with that ?

Also ask yourself if she were to die soon, would you have regrets not contacting ?

Loopytiles Fri 12-Jul-19 11:51:59

What are you hoping could happen with contact?

Suggest seeking advice from posters on the “Stately Homes” threads.

Worth reflecting on what your boundaries would be with her should you get in contact. Eg assume you would end contact if she behaved in certain ways, would not want her to see your DC, and would not want to become involved in supporting her practically or financially, or care decisions.

FriarTuck Fri 12-Jul-19 12:04:43

I think Mairyhinge and I share the same mother, only mine is mid 70s. She doesn't get mental health issues at all, which is a shame as I've had years of depression over my life and have been diagnosed with autism. I just don't bother trying to have personal conversations now - it's less annoying and disappointing for me. And she sulks and tries to make everything my fault. But I can't go NC for various reasons so it sucks.

HCHQ Fri 12-Jul-19 12:05:35

My mother died when I was in my late teens. She was certainly difficult, with lots of chips on her shoulders. Not a shred of the nurturing gene in her - harsh, critical, cold, unapproachable, bad tempered, jealous ...

Not a day goes by where I experience a sense of loss or miss her. She's been out of my life longer than she was in it and that, I feel, is a good thing. I could never have lived up to her exacting standards and certainly wouldn't have had my world-wide life experiences had she been around to discourage & belittle my choices.

That said I'm not bitter (really I'm not smile), more thankful.

Sorry - I've gone off piste a bit here! I guess what I'm saying is I'm glad I haven't had to deal with her aging and sincerely hope you & your mum find a harmonious route through this ...

chilling19 Fri 12-Jul-19 12:09:17

Mine got more entranced in her nasty racist and political views. I am very LC now.

whitebowls Fri 12-Jul-19 12:12:57

My mother's awful behavior intensified as she got older. Her 70's and 80's were just dreadful. Cruel and accusatory on a higher lever than could be imagined.
But she believed she was right and perfect......she always believed that actually.
In her late eighties she is sweet as pie. Unrecognizable from her true personality. Brain atrophy and dementia changed her for the better. But along with that comes other issues obviously.
I'm pleased her final years have given her a childlike sweetness. At least there's some happy memories now.

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Fri 12-Jul-19 18:47:24

I unexpectedly heard news that meant my estranged mother might have died. I had wondered how I would feel. This is from my diary once it had sunk in.

"There was no "moment."

There was no option to rush to a bedside in the hope of a last conversation - one that I know could only happen if an ending was coming. (We could not have talked if there was a possibility of us having to continue on into a future together.)

But in a singular moment in time, we might have had the chance to voice love for each other without the burden of a future with each other.

Soppy isn't it

and do you know what else it is ?

It is a lie.

It's is a romantic lie I have told myself.

Here I am, the rejected child still thinking that because I could love her through all this, that she may have loved me - and that it was just a..what / accident of fate she couldnt say so?

If she ever loved me loved me she didn't want me to know she did, she certainly never told me she did. Either she never lied - and never loved me, or she lied all the time, to deliberately hurt me, either way I am as rejected as she knew how to manage. Its an interesting legacy to leave your child and oddly I find its one I can reject. "

crosser62 Fri 12-Jul-19 19:09:54

My difficult mother is like a different person in her later years.

She has had a very difficult life, experienced many awful situations as a result was not the nicest of people.
I went nc for 7 years because she just made it too difficult to have any kind of normal relationship with her.

Grandchildren came along.
She has completely mellowed, relaxed and is nice company.
I spend time with her having normal grown up conversations, she listens and she is interested and is absolutely delighted to see the kids.

She still has moments .. well occasional glimmers of her past nastiness, bitterness and unreasonable behaviour but they are fleeting and rare and never aimed at me anymore.

It’s like she has discovered that life/love/ relationships are more important now than forcing aggression and opinions on everyone around her.

She is naturally kind, it doesn’t seem forced and she is genuinely happy to be in our company.

That’s my take, my siblings are far less accepting of the new her (it’s been about 10 years now) and the atmosphere is tense and edgy when they are around. I avoid that and them with everything I have in me.
They are willing and waiting to confront her at any opportunity unfortunately.

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