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When people don't realise they're annoying

(69 Posts)
MrsSnape Sun 20-Jul-08 17:58:24

I feel so sorry for my mum. She fell in love with the film "sound of music" when she was little and has wanted to go to Austria (where it was filmed) for years. So last year my auntie suggested that the two of them go for a year. My mum was so excited, it was a dream come true for her.

Anyway they came back yesterday and I've just gotten off the phone with her. She told me that although she enjoyed it and is glad she went, my auntie was really mean to her, snappy at her every 5 minutes and being quite nasty. One night my mum said she cried herself to sleep. sad I feel so sad for her BUT I can sort of imagine the situations in which my aunt snapped and I feel awful for it.

My mum just doesn't realise how annoying she can be. She nags constantly "what time are we going there?" "what time does that start?" "where are we going next?" "where did you say we were going next? (repeat 3 times)" "where are we going now?" etc etc and it really is constant. Not only that but she faffs so much with stuff, she got a digital camera for christmas and still doesn't know how to work it. Instead of just sitting down with it one night to work it out, she takes it places she will need it and then stands there saying "oh it won't work?" "how do I do it?" "what does this mean?" "why is it doing that?" every 5 minutes. This caused me to snap quite badly at a recent karate tournament my son was is as she was expecting me to prat around with her camera when my son was fighting.

And then there's her hearing. She's almost deaf in one ear but refuses to wear a hearing aid so she's constantly asking people to repeat themselves. On this holiday she said there were a few occasions where my aunt was laughing and joking with other hotel guests and my mum was laughing along, 5 minutes later my mum asks my aunt "what did she say?" and wonders why my aunt got irritated and snapped "I don't know".

I do really feel for her being so upset but I know what I'm like after 2 hours of shopping with her so I can imagine how irritable my aunt had become (search for a recent thread of mine regarding DSs karate tournament for a big example of how she can frustrate you to the point of snapping).

I once went to lego land with her (during summer hols so was expecting it to be packed) and BEFORE we got there I told her I wanted to head straight for the rides when we got in otherwise the kids wouldn't get on anything. She agreed. Anyway the gates opened at 10, huge crowds rushed towards the rides and my mum said "oh hang on, I need to get a film for my camera" hmm so we went into the gift shop. She faffed around in there for HALF AN HOUR decided which one to get then when we got out I tried to head to the rides and she called me back saying "hang on, how do I put it in the camera?" angry another 10 minutes spent doing that then finally we were ready to head for the rides..."Hang on, I need to get a drink...lets just go in this shop". By time we got to the rides the park had been open for over an hour and all the queues were too long to get on anything.

Am I a terrible person for understanding why my aunt snapped? Are we all giving my poor mum a hard time for no reason?

fartmeistergeneral Sun 20-Jul-08 18:02:36

I don't have time to think of a proper reply, but wanted you to know that I totally understand from your point of view. Off the top of my head, your mum is how she is, I'm afraid, and it doesn't sound like there's anything she can 'change'. Incredibly annoying for you (especially the occasions you've mentioned, lego land and karate), but you have to be prepared to deal with her ways when you are in her company and take deep breaths. IMO talking to her about it would only upset her - feel so bad for her, though, that she cried herself to sleep! Was she always like this when you lived at home?

ninah Sun 20-Jul-08 18:02:39

Your auntie is her sister? so she must know the score, and it was her suggestion to go. They must be used to each other...

fartmeistergeneral Sun 20-Jul-08 18:03:59

She sounds a bit 'lost'.

Is your father alive, or are they separated?

Hecate Sun 20-Jul-08 18:05:03

time for a few home truths perhaps?

belgo Sun 20-Jul-08 18:05:53

Do you think she will ever realise she needs a hearing aid? That could solve a lot of these problems - she may be missing an awful lot of what you are saying to her.

fartmeistergeneral Sun 20-Jul-08 18:08:26

True, but the lego land thing is interesting and doesn't involve her deafness (unless she actually didn't hear you saying you wanted to head for the rides first - which is a distinct possibility!!). It sounds like someone who is self centred in the true meaning of the word - I mean someone who only has to be concerned with what they want and need. I know someone like that who is 40, lives alone and has no reason to look outwards.

TheCrackFox Sun 20-Jul-08 18:09:08

I would leave this to your mum and Auntie to sort out - they are both adults.

My mum can be a real PITA so I do sympathise, but you can't change somebody. The only thing you can do it to change the way you react to her.

MrsSnape Sun 20-Jul-08 18:09:31

You would think they would be used to each other but they don't see each other all that much now so I think my auntie may have under-estimated how bad it can be. It also doesn't help that my aunty is snappy at the best of times though, I think they probably clashed but my aunty doesn't hold back as much as I do.

My father died but she is re-married. Unhappily married like but she likes to pretend otherwise.

She has always been a bit like this to be honest but it seems to be getting worse the older she gets. The first thing she said when she rang up is "the camera is saying it has an error on the memory card, does that mean I've lost all my photos?" and I felt like saying "are you STILL pratting about with that bloody camera??? just learn how to use the sodding thing!" but I 'collect' myself etc before I upset her. She's the same with her mobile phone but I'm not even going to go into that because it just winds me up thinking about it.

MrsSnape Sun 20-Jul-08 18:11:48

She can be quite self centred. She displayed this quite badly at the karate thing constantly moaning that she was bored and wantd to go home. Sod everyone else so to speak...even my karate instructor who's son I was also taking home...she just doesn't seem to realise or care

fartmeistergeneral Sun 20-Jul-08 18:12:23

Jeez - keep that woman away from technology!!

Seriously, there does sound like other issues there. Honestly can't decide whether she is just a pain, or if it's a cry for help. Sorry, dinner calls....my only advice is try to keep calm and be prepared at every meeting with her, try to learn ways to deal with it.

fartmeistergeneral Sun 20-Jul-08 18:13:39

Wow, just read your post about the karate! That is overstepping the mark.....I would limit contact with her! Not completely obviously, but you must think of your own sanity!

beanieb Sun 20-Jul-08 18:13:51

You're not terrible at all. It's not bad for you to see it from your Aunt's perspective. If they're sisters then there's a lot of stuff which goes on between even loving siblings and I am sure they will have irritated eachother at various times throughout their lives, it's normal.

One thing about the Deafness... Does your mum wear ahearing aid? Perhaps if she doesn't, she could be persuaded to get one. My mum has gone steadily deaf and I found it very annoying, specially when she was reluctant to investigate getting a hearing aid despite her own father being very deaf. She has one now and being with her is so much easier. My mum is not even 60 yet but would often feel very alone in a conversatioon because she coudn't hear all that was being said. Led to a lot of mis-understanding and irritation.

FranSanDisco Sun 20-Jul-08 18:17:14

My MIL and her sister are like this. My MIL doesn't ever shut up talking, ever! Her sister loses the plot after a few days staying with her but MIL thinks the problem is her sister. She is so thick skinned it is pointless telling her about it now. DH tried to explain that ds didn't want to talk to her on the phone because she wouldn't "listen" to him. He's 5 yo. She said she couldn't get a word in with him usually which is mince. SHe still carries on boring for Great Britain. I don't think you can change people smile

prettyfly1 Sun 20-Jul-08 20:51:56

im 26 and totally socially inept - irritating to the point of murder - people just tell me now and i change the annoying bits so i think thats your best bet grin

MadamBovary Mon 21-Jul-08 13:00:33

Is it possible to take other people (auntie, DH) when you go out so that everyone can share the load and no one person is put upon so much that they feel like murdering her. You have my sympathy. my MIL is like this- totally self centred, always expecting everything and everyone to revolve around her, even at someone elses special event. You can't change these people, you just have to minimise the psychological damage they cause. I have come close to battering my MIL to death with her handbag more than once. Now I won't be on my own with her just in case I can't stop myself.

PinkTulips Mon 21-Jul-08 13:15:04

o god, she sounds like my mom and mil rolled into one grin

poor thing that she felt bad at being snapped at but like you i can totally see why your aunt got a bit snippy with a year of that nonsense

she needs to learn to let the snappy comments go into her deaf ear wink

jesuswhatnext Mon 21-Jul-08 15:42:09

i'm sooo sorry, i'm hanging my head in shame blush

i am the mother who shakes the digital camera when the picture disappears, who asks how to re-wind dvds, who threw such a tantrum over how to use the ipod i broke the window in the front door blush and years of travelling with motorhead have totally buggered my ears!, don't worry too much, if she is like me, your mum won't have heard the snipping and would have ignored it even if she did grin

jesuswhatnext Mon 21-Jul-08 15:43:42

ahhh sorry, just read she cried herself to sleep sad - just be nice to her, she won't change now!

partaria Mon 21-Jul-08 17:42:41

my mum's the same...aaaarghhh.

Acinonyx Mon 21-Jul-08 18:12:01

This exact thing happened with my mum. She got closer to her siter after dad fied and arranged for her to stay for a week. I did have misgivings but they were brushed aside. My has a particular set of habits which will drive you insane and she will not be reasoned with about them. Well, Auntie, who is the gentlest, kindest soul, finally blew a gasket by the end and mum was horrified. Of course she totally couldn't understand the problem although I did attempt to explain it (again)! I'm afraid at this age, it really is just too late to improve!

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Mon 21-Jul-08 18:19:51

it must be a mum thing because mine is the same she is constantly repeating herself
"how are the dcs?"
"i told you fine you asked when you first called"
"ah right well i was phoning to tell you about your dad"
"you told me yesterday"
"oh did i tell you about x, y and z?"
"yes"
"i forgot sorry. how are the dcs?"

and when she phoned last saturday night and i was in the bath i told dh to answer the phone and tell her chicken chow mein!! he was quite confused untill i explained she rings me every saturday night at about half ten to ask me what she likes from the chinese!!

MrsSnape Mon 21-Jul-08 22:24:39

I'm sorry SeaShells but that really made me PMSL!

I was speaking about it with her again today, she really is upset about the whole thing but when she's explaining to me what happened I can just imagine it. She said "I only asked her what we were doing next and she snapped and said "I DON'T PLAN EVERYTHING" whereas I like to know what I'm doing..." and my mine was immediately jolted back to a day around town we had shopping a few weeks ago. Every 5 minutes my mum asked "what are we doing next? where are we going after here? what did you say we were doing next?" and I remember snapping through my teeth and barking "I don't know! I don't plan everything!" blush thankfully she seems to have forgotten.

But I'm sure my aunt wasn't totally blameless either, she's very stroppy at times and there were a few examples my mum told me about which did seem like my aunt needed to chill out a bit and stop being so nasty.

And on an end note, my mum has lost all the photos of --that bloody-- her camera. She apparantly took the batteries out whilst it was on and its totally knackered the card sad over 200 photos lost. I DO feel sorry for her over that, I would be absotutaly devestated if all my holiday photos got lost. I just wish she'd learn from it and learn how to use it before it happens again but she won't, I know it.

Ozziegirly Tue 22-Jul-08 07:04:11

Do you think it would be worth sitting down with her and going through carefully how to work the camera, how to download the photos etc - or get your DH to do it? I am only 30 but so much technology passes me by and I have to just get DH to sit down and carefully go through how to work something, and then make notes so I remember next time.

I know this isn't the reason for your post, but maybe it's just that you have to "manage" her. So, teach her how to use the camera (or buy her a more simple one). Then if you're going out, prepare an "itinerary" -maybe make it lighthearted "0100 hours - coffee and custard tart" type thing. And then if she's saying "I'm bored, can I go home" respond with "no, I want to stay, but if you go to the cafe and get me a cup of tea I'll be along in 45 minutes" or something.

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 22-Jul-08 08:13:06

Although the relationship between your mother and her sister is between them and not you, you obviously have real issues with her as well <statement of the bleedin' obvious>, but I think to not talk to your mother about her characteristics/behaviour is not doing either of you any favours.

If she cried herself to sleep then she's obviously suffering.

I would sit her down and, as Hecate said, deliver a few home truths. No need to be cruel, but you do have to try and explain to her just why she is so irritating and what people feel about it - including her refusal to wear a hearing aid.

She might not be able to change, but when she learns the true implications of how she is then she might want to and might want to at least try.

At the moment you are all colluding in a way - not telling her so she doesn't try to change - so she will continue to annoy you all.

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