I'm not sure this is the right board, my DM is in her 70s. It's not an AIBU so much as techniques/support I need!
I live a few hours away from DM so don't see her much. But when I do I find her very argumentative if that's the right word.
Eg if we're talking about car seats for my DC she'll say they never had car seats in her day and everyone was fine. But I know if I had said car seats are a waste of money, why do we even bother she'd be outraged we wouldn't get one.
Eg I gave my DC plain yogurt mixed with fruit but some spoonfuls were just yogurt, some had more fruit. She made a face and said that yogurt was awful stuff, how could baby even eat it.
Eg we were talking about baby names, not my DC , just general conversation. Say the name "Doris" came up. I said Doris is not very popular these days for babies. She said well she knows three old ladies called Doris.
I say I'm going to buy X for myself. She says well why would you not buy Y?
I know these examples sound petty but it's most of the time . And it's her tone is challenging. Then I feel if I reply "yes but your 3 Doris examples are not newborn babies, they're 80 years old" or "well DC seems to be eating this yogurt just fine" or "I'm buying X because I prefer it to Y" then I sound like I'm the one being argumentative. And it also leaves scope for another comment from DM like "well she might be eating that yogurt but I'm sure she'd prefer a strawberry one, the poor child"
So I sit like a plank and say very little which is awkward and unfortunate.
If she has visitors (eg neighbours) she then complains about them afterwards and rolls her eyes at them saying AB or C.
My siblings seem to manage but they can be argumentative themselves. I'm not sure what I'm asking - maybe techniques to handle this that would allow me not to sit like a statue? And to want to spend time there?
At the moment my DM does not need care but would like company but as time goes by I'm sure she'll need more.
Argumentative mother - find it awkward to be around her
BlueberryBuffin · 18/02/2023 11:11
Polecat03 · 19/02/2023 23:02
Just a quick post of solidarity after having read everyone's own experiences of a mother like this - I recognise so much in all that you've each shared. That brings its own comfort.
Sympathy to all who have to navigate this type of relationship - I'm often so defeated, saddened and exhausted by it - after all, it seems entirely pointless most of the time - the most successful this relationship can be is 'not rocking the boat'. No closeness, I don't feel known or heard, I've merely fulfilled my obligation to visit and chased some nagging guilt away til next week.
@BeautifulDayintheneighbourhood Your accounts of your mother I could have written word for word myself. Hugs to you.
Seaweed42 · 18/02/2023 16:36
Just one theory....
Could it make sense that she is very needy for your attention when you are in the room with her?
Whatever is taking your attention gets in the way of your attention being focused solely on her. And that annoys her.
Therefore, rather than get angry with you for turning your attention away from her, she gets angry with the thing/topic/opinion that you are currently holding.
Therefore any you say you like, she is jealous of that and needs to insult that?
So if you say 'oh I see this lovely cream kettle here on the Argos website!'
She says 'what do you want cream for? Cream is a stupid colour for a kettle!'
Rinkydinkydoodle · 21/02/2023 04:32
OP I read this thread with some laughs and a bit of sadness too. This is bloody wearing and even nerve-wracking at times. Oppositional conversationalists. Lots of good thoughts on here, and comforting to know it’s actually pretty common.
I have recently had to start suggesting to DS how to politely field this sort of stuff from a persistently over-argumentative older relative. Since DS got older and has a worldview and a life of his own he’s coming in for it as well and it’s getting awkward and noticeable. Part of me wants to say ‘Och could you not give it a rest and leave the boy alone.’ Some people are brilliant at ‘hmmm’ but teenagers tend not to be. I avoid confrontation if it can be avoided, and even if I do tackle it privately sometime, I also want DS to show manners and kindness, even when I’m not sure it’s reciprocated. think it’s the advancing age and possibly diminishing faculties of our non-stop arguer that’s both causing this tedious behaviour and making it impossible to call out.
One further strategy aside from the many excellent ones suggested here, I observed from my mum, who had years of dealing with this herself:
Me: no babies are called Doris these days
DM: I know three Dorises
Me: whennnn I was jusssst a little girl I asked my mother - what would I BEEEEEEE🎶
Spontaneous, joyous song about a tenuously connected subject is a belter. Extra points for a tiny tincture of cheek, but only if there’s 100% plausible deniability 😂 Also winners: firing the mixer on, washing the dishes with alacrity and racket, suddenly noticing you could be doing with cleaning your shoes, right now, in the next room. At Christmas DD and I got the old hand-whisk and a cocktail shaker simultaneously on the go at one sticky juncture, while singing Shake Rattle and Roll. Tiring for me over a weekend but also hard to niggle at They Who Just Cannot Quite Hear.
Ragwort · 19/03/2023 09:09
I'm not so sure about taking my DM out so that she behaves 'better', we've had plenty of heated conversations in restaurants and cafes and a never to be forgotten 'discussion' in a very loud voice at a private film showing where she was arguing about how a certain actor hadn't been cast in the right role ... my DM did have a professional drama education (in the 1950s) so she has some understanding but it just appeared so 'opinionated' and unnecessary.
Or the occasion when she publicly and loudly berated me (I am 65!) for being 'politically correct' and woke for gently reminding her not to use a racist term ....
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