Mother's personality has changed since her husband died.

Started by

So it will be 2 years in July since my Dad passed away. My Mother and him were married for more then 40 years.

I moved home to spend more time with my father when he was sick and now for company for my mother as she is 70. My sister has commitments and I am single so thought at the time, and after he passed away it would help. Although to be honest I did not think this is where I would be at this point in my life.

But since my Dad died my Mother's personality has changed and her nastiness, criticism and anger all seems to be directed at me. She is very critical. She never says anything nice or positive to me. She asks me about how my day was but when i tell her it's like she isnt interested and then just starts talking about herself.

She comes out with nasty comments randomly. For example, one time I was complaining about something and she said "maybe that's why my last relationship didn't work out, because I complain too much".

Also, it is like she is completely oblivious to the fact that I have had a loss too. Like she is the only one who has been having a hard time. If I am ever down she seems to take it completely personal and that I am upset with her, but at the same time doesn't seem to care and just wants me to get over it.

She is still lovely to everyone else. Friends, extended family, to her grand children she just oozes love and understanding. She started seeing a man she met online because she said she was very lonely and is also very nice to him. She started doing AirBnB to rent a room out to people because she said she used to look after my father and really enjoys it because she likes looking after people. And perfect strangers she is really nice. And always tells me how nice they are.

I am finding it very difficult to deal with. Don't get me wrong. I am far from a perfect person. And know I can be difficult myself. But if she can be the same nice person to everyone else, then why can't she be like that to me. Why does she have to be so critical? Sometimes I only need to make a comment for her to roll her eyes, or come back with some nasty remark. It isn't all the time but it is enough that it is affecting our relationship. And I am really not understanding why it is all directed at me. She never speaks to anyone else the way she does to me.

You also can't talk to her about things. If you bring up any sort of issue with her she just ends up breaking down and crying. So you can't just have a conversation about issues. She has been like that for a very long time, probably much longer then since my Dad passed.

I'm really struggling with the complete change to my life and family and my relationship with my mother. I would say that I am more like my father and was closer to my father. But my relationship with my mother has never been like this before.


Sometimes we need to put ourselves in our parent's shoes for a few minutes. Your Mom is young by today's standards and here she lost her love of her life. Your parents probably had plans to go old together. And how that is gone. I would be quite upset and bitter if that was me.

If you feel Mom can be independent, it's been two years, maybe it is time you let her be. Maybe she wants you to be independent, too, and back on your own, but doesn't know how to suggest you leave the nest once again. Maybe that is why Mom is fighting with you.

Mom needs to keep busy. Instead of doing an one room B&B, which would be exhausting, maybe doing volunteer work would be more rewarding since she likes helping people. If there is a hospital close by, they are always looking for volunteers for all types of work. I do this type of volunteering,  and I am your Mother's age, it is so rewarding :)
If you're doing this to provide companionship to your mother - well, it doesn't seem to be working out, does it?

I'm assuming you've got a job outside the home - if you don't, get one. Save your money to get first/last months rent, start apartment hunting now - and set a date to move out by. Let your mom know what your plans are. Then follow through.

If your mom is dating, renting out rooms - it sounds like she getting on with the business of living. Time for you to do the same.
Thanks for the advice.

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