Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 04:10 pm
This forum seems to bring more threads about raising children than adults dealing with their senior-citizen parents, but here's one for ya...

I've tried for several years now to really get along with my family, but there has been something that keeps interfering. I finally realized that its my mother. My brother, sister, and parents all live in the same county, and there always seems to be some kind of turmoil. My siblings and I are all in our 30's, and my parents are 64 - just to give a little background. She is the queen of guilt trips, and she ends up making us all mad at each other by pointing out things that she feels we should be upset about - just to stir up our emotions. I don't know why, but that seems to be her hobby.

So I had a baby this past year, and things have finally come to a head, because it has brought about the worst in my mother - making it very obvious who has been behind all of the family problems. She tried very hard to control everything regarding my pregnancy, and when I didn't let her (which was the entire time), she'd turn to the time-tested, mother approved, guilt trips. Now that my baby is here, my mother has been a nightmare - nothing I do is right, but the way she lets me know is very emotionally manipulative...

She'll make a comment about me doing something in an odd way, and I'll explain myself. She'll interrupt telling me she's just kidding and I don't need to explain... but if I don't explain, she pouts and sulks - sometimes making statements about how she's just in everyone's way. All this really does is jerk me around emotionally.

She'll babysit, but before I leave she'll deliberately start a fight and act very put-out by me... basically ruining my time away from home. I'm starting to think that its not because she doesn't want to babysit, but because she doesn't want to let anyone else have a good time.

When I let her have her way, she'll be nice at first, but take the opportunity to change everything about my home and plans to suit herself... and when I put my foot down about her doing that, she pouts and sulks and sometimes actually cry while talking about how she's just "such an aweful person who should just die".

I'm talking about her the way you'd talk about a child, but that's exactly how she acts. My question to those of you reading this is... Has anyone successfully dealt with a mother like this, and if so, how in the world did you do it?

My only solution is to just stay away from her and not have her babysit. I hate that its probably the only solution, but talking to her about it only makes it worse - she'll accept appologies that I haven't made or just refuse to talk about it. Its infuriating.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 14,613 • Replies: 73
No top replies

 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 05:08 pm
I'm sympathetic to you.. and am thinking it is not likely she'll change, since she doesn't seem to listen to your point of view.

I'm a woman her age, by the way. Some of us more 'mature' people, aren't, and I know that's not news - but I remember going through this jump from thinking that, to actually believing it in a comprehensive way. Life just zips along, and people either are interested in considering their own behavior (admittedly sometimes almost to a fault - but many are open to discussing it after some initial defensive kerfluffle) or very set in their ways.

This may be a long term problem, and I don't have easy answers. Perhaps some reading or counseling on your part, on how to maintain your space and sanity and still have family connection, or more talk here.

You already have a clear sense of self, I can tell - so the thing would be for you to figure limits of acceptibility/how to deal.



As a humorous-to-me aside, I had a long time friend visit me and stay at my house when I lived in northern california. I respect her a lot. She has a doctorate in public health and has done fastastic work in her life, and, was one of the people who gave me any clue about art and creativity. I've known her since, um, say, 1975. My husband of yore and myself "double dated" with her and one of his friends, and we've kept in touch ever since.

So, the point, she f'king rearranged my items on the fireplace mantlepiece. I nearly plotzed. I've had two art galleries, I like to arrange my own things or leave them a mess. I managed to not seethe with actual smoke out of my ears and said I liked them the way they were, but since I play with object placement, as long as she was here, she was welcome to play if she asked first.

No, that's a lie, I didn't say that, I wish I would have. I murmured something, probably sardonic.

Maybe you can learn by my mistake.




Yes, we should/could have more dealing with parents threads, though there is a major one going it relates to situations a little later that what you are dealing with. Linkat has a thread that might interest you, don't remember the title offhand.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 05:12 pm
I don't really mean that you need counseling, EmilyGreen, but you could probably use a display of people's advice.

Actually, I think some therapists/counselors could make a whole practice out of dealing with adult child - older parent matters. Or maybe they do. I can see that it might be a practice fraught with threats to the persona... most probably to the parental figure.





Notices - huh, I guess they used to call that psychoanalysis..

but I've been thinking more in regard to plain old behavior.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 05:23 pm
EmilyGreen wrote:
My only solution is to just stay away from her and not have her babysit. I hate that its probably the only solution, but talking to her about it only makes it worse


I think that you have your answer. I could only take my mother in very small doses, before I seethed. I would go to her apartment to see her. She was in my house only a handful of times. Why? Because every time that she came, she would come up with some criticism that would upset me.

Quote from my brother (whom I hated throughout my childhood because my parents pitted us against each other):

"The reason that mom can push your buttons is because she installed them".
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 05:28 pm
Parents can have big trouble letting go of the Large Advisory role, or that was their plan for life. Children can have trouble letting go of resentment against various levels of rule and can get into stuff in rebellion for a long time after that is appropriate.

You mother seems to have her sense of self imbedded in this role - which is understandable, but past its prime to this reader.
She might be able to find other outets for her energy.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 05:32 pm
Ditto to what Phoenix said, but I also echo Osso's sentiments. If only there were a Mother-a-thon group you could attend - How to deal with the difficult parent.

You are in the right... your mother is acting in an immature and manipulative fashion. You should not feel guilt or remorse or anything because it's all arising out of a guilt trip.

Do your thing, or as Noddy says, Hold your dominion.

In my view, the best thing a parent can do is hold their tongue about everything, unless asked. After all, kids know everything, don't they? lol
0 Replies
 
EmilyGreen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 05:32 pm
Thanks, you two, I greatly appreciate your input. ossobuco - I wasn't offended or anything about therapy - it can help if you have the right listener. My mother also rearranges my things, and the last time she was here I insisted that she not clean or straighten up while I was gone, and it ROYALLY pissed her off. Once, while I was away for a few weeks, she bought a lot of bathroom mats, fake plants, and little decore things like that. I threw every bit of it in the garbage, and it felt great!

phoenix - Thank you for the back-up on keeping my distance. I'll have to just put my foot down about that. I tried to be tolerant so she would be able to see her granddaughter, but hell, most grandparents are in a different state and only see them on hollidays - so I refuse to feel bad about that. I like that statement about pushing buttons...... its too true!
0 Replies
 
EmilyGreen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 05:33 pm
Mame wrote:
In my view, the best thing a parent can do is hold their tongue about everything, unless asked.


This would be very wise! Very Happy
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 06:16 pm
Phoenix32890 wrote:
"The reason that mom can push your buttons is because she installed them".[/color]


ooooh, that's Good!
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 06:28 pm
That is good! lol
0 Replies
 
redpickle
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 07:00 pm
Re: mothers and guilt trips
EmilyGreen wrote:
she pouts and sulks and sometimes actually cry while talking about how she's just "such an aweful person who should just die".


EmilyGreen, you described my mother to a t. Especially this quote - not even a button, but a huge axe that they wield.

I am in awe, actually, as to how you still try to find a solution, a key, to have a semblance of a normal extended family. I dropped that... I think, in my early 20s.. I left my home, my country, and I live exactly on the other side of the globe from where she is. Yet, in my first years here she still was able to get under my skin through insensitive remarks in letters. I do not believe that anything can change her. My explanation of my feelings, my views will be turned upside down, as she needs to come out a victor out of any argument or situation. No, I gave up and consider us estranged.

She is 68 now and she has two grandkinds that she's never seen. If I had a choice of a free babysitter (her) or no babysitter, I would choose the latter without hesitation. Because with her help, I would be inviting dark forces - manipulation, hate, habitual humiliation. I am managing with my kids on my own just fine, with no extended family - sadly, my husband's family is non-existent, too (deseased).

If your mother is anything like mine, I'm afraid you will be expending your emotional energy with no real result. She's been what she's been for 64 years - why would she change now? And you need your energy for your own children. It's a losing battle (it would be great if I'm wrong). If you are not as radical as I am, and still want to keep your kid's grandmother in her/his life - you can set limits on their encounters, for your own sanity. And for your child's sanity - because your mother will be introducing manipulation to your child's innocent life.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 08:23 pm
Re: mothers and guilt trips
EmilyGreen wrote:

I'm talking about her the way you'd talk about a child, but that's exactly how she acts. My question to those of you reading this is... Has anyone successfully dealt with a mother like this, and if so, how in the world did you do it?


No, not successfully.

Quote:
My only solution is to just stay away from her and not have her babysit. I hate that its probably the only solution, but talking to her about it only makes it worse - she'll accept appologies that I haven't made or just refuse to talk about it. Its infuriating.


This is more or less what I did. We go in circles -- not talking for a while, then starting up again (forgetting how bad it was before) only to drop off when she doesn't get what she wants and manufactures a crisis which requires her to not speak to me. Invariably, I feel sorry for her at some point or am moved by my desire for my kids to know their grandmother and we make amends.

Good luck, and let us know if you find a better way.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 08:40 pm
So, do we have consensus across generations?

For at least a bit?
0 Replies
 
EmilyGreen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2007 05:09 am
ossobuco wrote:
So, do we have consensus across generations?

For at least a bit?


I believe so Sad

redpickle - I was across the country from my mom, but my husband wanted to get a particular degree, for which the only decent school is in my home state. So we moved back and its been trouble ever since. I miss my buffer zone. If anyone's seen "Everybody Loves Raymond", you will have seen a carbon copy of my mother - Marie Barone. My mom has actually done a lot of the things that woman has done on the show, its creepy. I wondered if maybe it was her astrological sign that was the problem (by birthdate, not just the sign of the zodiac), or the fact that she was an only child and very spoiled, or a serious mental condition.

And you're right. Exposing my daughter to her too much (or maybe at all) will expose her to those horrible manipulative ways. I'm having a hard enough time not saying things the way my mom does, I don't want my wee one to have the same problem.

I have decided now to just create a buffer zone within my own town (she lives on the other side). The only thing that will make it difficult is the fact that I like the rest of my family, and at times it can be hard to get along with them and not her... although they do understand, which helps.
0 Replies
 
ThyPeace
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2007 11:38 am
Gee, do you have my mother? That sounds exactly like what I dealt with when my daughter was born. Snarky comments all over the place.

What finally worked for me was when I set some firm boundaries. One was an e-mail exchange after she infuriated me and both my brothers in one sitting. I no longer recall what she did, but all three of us had been putting up with it for years. I finally told her, basically, to knock it off because it was enraging all of us.

A few months later, she threw her version of a manipulative tantrum (anger, rather than the sulks/guilt that your mom does, but it's the same underlying thing) while she was at my house. I turned around and looked at her and said, "Mom, there is NONE of that in my house. If you can't control your temper, you can have a time-out. Our standard is one minute for every year you've lived."

She stopped cold, looked at me in shock, and then started laughing. "You mean I could have 67 minutes of peace and quiet?!? That sounds wonderful!"

And that was the end of the manipulation and tantrums. She still tells me her opinion more than I really want to know it, but there's a different level of interaction now. She knows that it's her opinion and doesn't attempt to force it on me. And more importantly, -I- know (and act like) her opinions are advisory and not mandatory. We get along much better now.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2007 11:59 am
Just wanted to give my sympathy as I recently have had difficulty with my parents - guilt trips and the like - she had not been like this before (at least from what I thought) until I did something that did not jive with her. I always thought she was supportive and open minded. So just wanted to give my thoughts and let you know you are not alone.
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2007 12:14 pm
EmilyGreen--

Quote:
She'll babysit, but before I leave she'll deliberately start a fight and act very put-out by me... basically ruining my time away from home. I'm starting to think that its not because she doesn't want to babysit, but because she doesn't want to let anyone else have a good time.


Your mother wants to be in charge. I'm perpetually amazed at the women--and men--who would rather have a dependent child than an independent child.

My first mother-in-law was a pushy, backbiting woman. She actually told me that she had a right to spoil her grandsons any way that she wanted to because her mother had spoiled her son (my husband).

Refuse to play.

You can treat the distance across town as an emotional and physical Gobi Desert and refuse to cross it.

Or you can try a little leavening wit and good humor.

Ask her in advance what she would like to fight about--and then explain that you're too busy to fight right then.

Try to understand. Is she re-enacting her own mother's parenting style?
Ask her.

How close is your husband to his degree? Make it clear to your mother that you're not going to stay close to home so that the intergenerational battles are convenient.

Take charge. Your mother is warped, but you're a grown woman and you don't have to play Warped ever, ever again.
0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2007 12:29 pm
When my mom passed away, my sister and sister-in-law tried to over her job of pushing my buttons. My stock answer to them today, as then, is simply "this is not about me, this about you and it is not my problem".

Sometimes it boils down to "I don't know why you are part of my Karma, but please go away."

But there again, I think that is a great line and with your permission will use it. Laughing

MA and I went to an extended family funeral this past Saturday and it was like an episode out of "Dynasty". The two widows said and did everthing but jump into the grave site with the casket to prove who was alpha female. I'm still smirking.

Just remember "Words of love are soon forgotten, but words of anger are etched in stone". Just give her a little hug and tell her that the two of you don't have to interact with one another that way. It's her, she is. insecure. Family dynamics are a bitch. When you see the white of their eye. RUN.
0 Replies
 
EmilyGreen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2007 12:49 pm
Noddy24 wrote:
Try to understand. Is she re-enacting her own mother's parenting style?
Ask her.

How close is your husband to his degree? Make it clear to your mother that you're not going to stay close to home so that the intergenerational battles are convenient.


My mom's family all did this stuff to each other. So yes, she IS reinacting it.

My husband and I are both finished with our degrees, but we have great jobs here and won't be leaving. I love where I live and I will never again let her sabotage my happiness and uproot my family... I need to just treat our distance like the desert like you suggest, and not cross it Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2007 01:09 pm
Emily Green--

Cross the Great Gobi on Christmas and Easter with full waterbottles and protection against sandstorms.

Remember, you're in charge. You don't have to play resentful daughter--it is your turn to be the grownup.

Sglass--

Quote:
MA and I went to an extended family funeral this past Saturday and it was like an episode out of "Dynasty". The two widows said and did everthing but jump into the grave site with the casket to prove who was alpha female. I'm still smirking.


The dear departed was a bigamist?
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » mothers and guilt trips
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.06 seconds on 05/16/2021 at 04:40:36