Another Christmas ruined.

Started by

Selfish, cruel parent could care less about the work I've put into Christmas...


So forget about the parent and go volunteer at the nearest city mission. They will appreciate your help over the holidays. You can serve a meal and give out presents and have a new appreciation for the important things in life.
pstiegman, that is excellent advice. We put so much emphasis on what our parents and other family do. Maybe we should just do the best we can and say "so what" about anything they do that bothers us. Mom doesn't like what's for dinner -- so what. Mom likes Brother better -- so what. This isn't being snippish about caring for others' feelings, it is just putting our own feelings up there as important. Maybe a good new year's resolution for many of us is to figure out what we need personally and go for it.
Thank you... It's just that it all never goes 'away'... She's demanding and the only important thing to her is her 'sons' that live far away and do nothing... and, her gambling.... Unfortunately... SHE LIVES WITH ME... She hardly can walk any more and is pretty helpless... I think it's the lack of respect she has for me and that I KNOW I'll never have the KIND of NORMAL love from a parent I see other's have... (My father died when I was 18... so never had the love from him either)...
I just never thought I'd Hate her so much... especially on Christmas eve!
Heart2Heart, I've read all of your comments in all of the threads, and I know you're having a terrible Christmas Eve and are feeling absolutely at the end of your rope, and I'm so, so sorry. I know you're hoping someone will be able to offer something or say something that will make you feel better ... but unfortunately, the only person who can acknowledge and validate your pain is the person who is causing it ... and it doesn't sound as if she is in her right mind.

My own mother (who died 5 years ago, and who was not particularly a warm or sane person in her own right) had a similar dynamic with her mother. My grandmother idolized her oldest son, who could do no wrong. When I was 7, my mother's father died. My parents (not wealthy people) bought a run-down house a few homes away from ours ... put literally months of back-breaking labor into fixing it up and making it really nice ... and moved my grandmother from several states away into it so she could be "near family" and feel taken care of and not alone as she aged. For the next ten years, my mother made every holiday for that woman, had her to dinner twice a week, cleaned her house, sent her own husband and sons to take care of her yard and walk her dog, took care of her when she was sick, cut short vacations to race home because she "needed" something, and on and on and on. I can't remember my grandmother ever saying "thank you" or acknowledging a single effort. Meanwhile, all my uncle would have to do was make a 5-minute call (or send a card) at Christmas, and you'd think that the skies had opened and Lord himself had caressed my grandmother's cheek.

As I say, my mother had her own issues ... but the casual way in which my grandmother hurt her, over and over -- by stubbornly withholding her approval, affection, and appreciation -- was something I was still can't understand or forgive, even though both of them have been dead for years. I wonder if my grandmother even understood why she did it? I don't for a minute believe she was unaware.

So ... what am I saying? I guess I'm trying to say, I'm sorry. If it helps at all to know that you are not alone, know that. And ... even harder ... I think you need to think about what you might be able to do to or change that would make you feel better. So your Mom doesn't appreciate the nice Christmas Eve you made for her? Fine, let her go sulk in her room, and you just enjoy it for YOU. (Yes, I know you already took down the decorations, but my point remains.) You can't change your mother, or what your mother says or does, or how she feels about your brothers or you. You really can't change how you feel, either ... but you can change what you do.

It's a very hard roller-coaster to climb off. When a parent, in particular, is not the person a child desperately wants and needs him or her to be, it's difficult for that child (at any age) to stop investing more emotion and energy into trying to find the magic button that will "fix" them. But at some point ... you have to stop pasting peacock feathers onto a turkey and just face the fact that no matter how you might try to dress it like a peacock, or wish that it was a peacock, what you have staring back at you -- through buggy, critical eyes -- is a turkey.

I say let the turkey cluck, and stop worrying about whether or not she appreciates the Christmas you worked hard to create. It was wonderful of you to create something festive and merry for someone else ... that's what Christmas is about! If the person it was intended for isn't interested, or simply can't bring herself to say "thank you" instead of saying something mean or belittling, that doesn't make what you did a waste of time. Instead of letting your turkey make you feel bad, feel good about having tried to something good for someone else! Then think about whether there's someone else who might benefit from some of the efforts you've put into making a nice celebration.

Most importantly, try to give yourself space and time to enjoy Christmas in your own right. It doesn't have to be "perfect" or "postcard" to be meaningful ... My husband and I aren't religious ... because of family health issues, we've been too tired and stressed to cope with a tree, lights, or gifts in about five years ... so the holiday is kind of a "non-event" for us in the classic sense ... but somehow, I still find some peace in (and take some joy from) the music and the day. My wish for you is that you find a way to do that, too ... one that can't be touched or spoiled by the ungracious cluckings of some ungrateful turkey -- and not just this year, but in those to come.

I know you think you won't, but I hope you have a good Christmas.
As many people age regardless if they have dementia or have been an abusive personality their entire life, they because critical, demanding and nothing makes them happy. Some of this is due to losing control over their life, some is from dementia, some is because the person is abusive and nothing makes them happy. Setting boundaries with parents is very important in any healthy relationship. I enjoy cooking for people, if my mother does not like the effort I do to, I do not place her opinion as important because I already know,nothing can make her is something we all have to do for ourselves. No one can make another person happy long comes from inside ourselves. If my mother does not life the gift I give her...well so what...maybe I don't like the gift she gave me, LOL!!The difference is, I won't tell her I don't like it even though she will complain about what I gave her. I don't except much from my I if don't get much in return, I am not hurt by it. I cook a big Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner because I enjoy it, as long as my mother is able to participate in the dinner, we will bring her to my house. If she gets no enjoyment out of being around family...well...that is her problem, not mine. I provided the opportunity and that is all I can do. Enjoy the situations for yourself, Merry Christmas to you and big hugs!!!
Sharynmarie that is so well said..But it can be so hard to turn the other cheek when they are in your face all the time complaining.
UGH the ol 'all your brothers and sisters are better than you' syndrome...I know it well. Lived with it my entire life...doesn't get any easier, ever! It's just easier for our parents to believe that the other kids are doing so much better because they don't know anything about their lifes. They have 'plausible deniability'.."what? he does drugs? I don't think so, he sounds fine when I talk to him on the phone!" "what? he has never held a job for more than a week? well everyone picks on him!" etc etc etc..

I feel ya, H2H. I have managed to get to a place where I can detach from the imaginary perfect siblings most of the time but it's not always easy to deal with even now.
Its not the same as turning the other cheek. Of course I don't live with m mother so that does make it easier. Before mom was placed in memory care, when she would get nasty, I would leave her house, end the phone call and I even told her to leave my house. It still hurts that I'm not denying.
heart2heart - I hear you grieving the loss of the parental love we all need and you don't have. It is part of dealing with a dysfunctional parent. The lack of respect is hard, I know. Have you ever thought of placing your mum in a facility - on Medicaid if she doesn't have the financial resources? You have been doing this a long time and you must be burnt out by now. It is very difficult being compared to siblings who do little. No, it will not go away until she dies, and even then you will have "tapes in your head" from hearing her for a lifetime. I agree that putting yourself and your feelings up there is a good thing. Is there anything you can do to make yourself happier, to have a more fulfilling life, to have a better Christmas? Our happiness is on our own hands - difficult to see that and act on it with a negative self centered parent, but it is true, nonetheless. Do you have any dreams/goals for yourself? Are there things you can do for you? Are there things you can do for others who would be grateful?

Jessie talks about acceptance - accepting your mother as she is and moving on in your own life. My life improved when I did this for my mother. I no longer expect her to be different. Do I wish she was? Yes, part of me still does as my life would be easier, but do I expect it? No.

My prayer for you is that you arrive at a place of more peace about your mum, let go of your expectations of her, and focus more on yourself and your goals for you. (((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))) and Merry Christmas!

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support