I need advice on how to respond to my sister with regard to my mother.

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I described an issue I am having with my mother in some detail a few weeks ago. She had suddenly shunned me, going from normal interactions to treating me as though I were poisonous without warning and without any clear reason (she gave me a reason but it made no sense and she won't clarify or even talk to me). All those details and the background to this question are in that earlier one.
I have one sibling, a sister, who lives quite some distance away. I will call her Lori here. Lori is a truly wonderful person who leads a good life and always tries to do the right thing. However, she is one of those people whose response to anything someone says is disagreement. She does this with everyone. She is very polite about it, but seems to feel the need to correct others constantly. For instance, if I were to say that I had started walking, she would immediately respond with "Are you sure that is smart? You might catch a cold - have you considered walking in a mall or on a treadmill?" If I said I had started walking indoors she might say "hmmmmm.....you are missing out on the sunshine and beauty of the world, don't you think?".

A little history - my mom moved across the country several years ago to be near my sister's family since she was lonely and felt that my family did not spend the time with her that she needed. There is some truth to that - my mom (and sister) are both very social types who enjoy sightseeing, gossiping and shopping. I am very much a homebody and do not thrive on such things. I am disabled so it is hard to get around, but even if I weren't disabled, this is how I am. I do make friends easily with direct, up front women, but have never been adept at the social dance that my mom and sister thrive upon. My mom is generally nice but is abruptly rude, unpredictable, and generally stressful to be around for my husband and children (and me) since she quickly alternates between being extra nice to giving unwanted advice (that is often rude) and criticism masked as concern. So no, we weren't always flocking to spend time with her. So she moved to the east coast, and during the time she lived there, complained to me that she didn't know why she moved there, since she was just as lonely (Lori was home schooling her 4 kids at the time). Lori would call me now and then baffled and hurt by my mom doing the very thing she is currently doing to me (cutting off contact except for dramatic, hurtful emails). Eventually mom decided to move to my small town. She knew what she was getting into, yet bought a massive house and created a showplace for her family to enjoy. Clearly, she expected that we would gather round her hearth and become a Norman Rockwell painting. The reality however, is different. I have trouble even accessing her stairs and cannot physically handle the long walks/sightseeing/shopping trips she constantly requests. My boys are teens and she does not allow their friends to her home, and becomes insulted if they text. She always has jobs for them to do and advice on how to change their appearance, etc. She basically interviews them and does not listen when they (or anyone) tries to talk. In anyone's mid sentence she will walk off or turn to talk to someone else. So I have to cajole them into visiting and being attentive when she visits here (if their friends show up she rudely leaves).
Well after all this stuff happened last month with mom, I was initially very worried about her and since she wouldn't have anything to do with me, I called Lori to say that I wasn't sure what was going on, and wanted to ask her to be there for mom even more than usual (they speak daily) since she was clearly going through some emotional upheaval. Lori responded that mom seemed fine and unusually chipper. So I told her what had been happening (the same basic things Lori said to me a few years ago) and Lori immediately went into her polite disagreement thing. The conversation actually went in a complete circle until she was telling me what I had said in the first place - it was rather amusing to me. What I got out of the discussion however, was a feeling of defeat. Lori made it clear that my poor mom is lonely because we ignore her. So frustrating to hear that! We do endless things for her, talk daily, visit several times a week (she is independent, constantly working, and most of the time says she is too busy to do anything). She wants to do things on her terms, when she chooses, and usually at the last minute.
My sister is arriving in town today, however I am currently banished, so had to make an appointment to see her in a few days. I don't want to discuss my mom with her, but I know she will push it, if only to emphasize the opposite of whatever I say. If I say I would rather not discuss mom, she will want to know why, and will insinuate that I am indeed uncooperative. It is so frustrating, especially since I put continual effort into making mom happy and am hurt and confused by what is happening now.


If you already know your sisters response then get ready to stand your ground about talking about mom... and since you are banned, did you make the 'appointment' to see your sis or did she make it with you... ? If you had to make it with her, then you can 'unmake' it....sorry you are just too busy with your kids....
If you want out of the hamster wheel, then simply get off of it... doesn't mean you won't be criticized, which they both do anyway... and by the way, mom is lonely because she chooses to be.. there is this little social thing called 'compromise' that enables us to have freinds and family around us.... you could move in with her or be there exactly like she wants when she wants and your mom would still be your mom....

So maybe you are really wanting a family you just don't have... this doesn't make you anything but human....and they will talk about you if you choose to involve yourself, they talk about you anyway... there is nothing wrong with you except trying too hard to please people that can't be pleased....pick you. pick you and your family.... and if they want to get involved on YOUR terms, then they are more than welcome....
Maybe others will respond and give you better answers,,, but I feel the bottom line here is, nothing you say or do will make either of them happy , they are going to talk about you no matter what... and it is time for you to make YOU happy.... hugs to you.
"Lori, I love you, and I love Mom. I am not willing at this time to discuss my situation with Mom. I can understand that you would want to, but I've already talked to you about what's been happening, and it is too painful to go over it again."

"Lori, I guess I can't stop you from making any judgment of me you wish to, but please respect my decision not to discuss this issue at this time."

"Lori, we get together so seldom. Can we please use this time to be sisters, and set aside our roles as daughters at this time?"

"I've given this a lot of thought, Lori, and I've concluded that I'm not going to discuss my relationship with Mom at this time. I hope you can respect that."

"Lori, I know you mean well and want the best for me, but I've decided not to discuss this issue at this time. Thanks for your concern."

In other words, just keep repeating the message that you are not going to discuss Mom, in as many ways and as many times as it takes. And don't discuss Mom. Don't shout, don't cry, don't get mad, don't get upset. Just don't talk about Mom. If all attempts fail, remove yourself: "Well, this makes me sad, but since I am not willing to talk about Mom and you don'g seem willing to talk about anything else, I guess we should skip this meeting, and see each other some other time."

Good luck!
Lori, I'm so happy you are here Mom and I miss you however, if you cannot be supportive of all that is left for me to do then please keep your remarks to yourself. Love you.
I'm not a psychologist but you might want to look online for information about controlling people, how to identify them and how to deal with them, especially passive agressive types. I think you are saying your mom work, socializes, and gets around without you. Unless you think this is something new like depression or dementia, at her age you probably won't be able to change her personality but you can change the way you react to it. Hopefully you and your sister won't let her pit you against each other, or maybe you can let her think she is so she can have the comfort of being in control. As long as your mother has her basic needs met, why don't you and your sister laugh it off instead of obsessing about her every action? The sad thing is she could drive her family away but hopefully you will learn to deal with her and still maintain a relationship w/o letting it drive you crazy.
I loved both of the above answers from Ladee and Jeanne. Either way, whatever is best for you Anneph. Stand your ground.

Oh and the next two answers were excellent too, I took a dinner break, and didn't see the next replies.
Anneph, don't let your mother pit you and your sister against each other. Your mother is gonna be gone someday, but your sister will still be here, so keep that in mind. Next, your sister and your mother are cut from the same cloth. You are always gonna be on the outside in a way, but that's not necessarily a terrible thing. We all have friends that we feel closer to than others, but that doesn't mean they aren't our friends still. Stop trying to be your sister and treat your mother the way she does. Do your own thing. Instead of you going to see your mother, invite her to your house. You're the one that has a disability for crying out loud, she can just buck up and help you out in that area. Then when, (not if) she complains to your sister or whoever the heck will listen to her that she never sees you, remind her that the door is always open at your house for her. When she refuses an invitation for dinner or whatever at your house, then that's on her. Your house, your rules about how your kids and their friends dress too. Stop putting her first by the way, that spot is designated to your husband and kids.
You need to step back and re-group. These arenot nice women. I am sorry to say that because they are family but it is true from your comments. They are shallow and self centered and life is about them. You cannot argue with these type of people. You have seen that in action. Do your best not to engage. They know you buttons and push them well. I often look at people like I would an alcoholic saying he can manage just one drink, Immposible and when drunk you might as well be talking to the wall. I am sorry but I too have people like this in my family and have found through some counseling to make better chices and decisions. I also had to learn to so No, that is unacceptable and they did not like it. Set my boundaries. I was always open to visit or talk but not when I felt it was turning or condeming me. Kill them with kindness. Speak when they call but if subject gets onto subject you are not comfortable with, excuse yourself and say I have a commitment and must go for now. believe me about the fourth time you might be amazed. Also be ready for them to try and punish you by keeping you out of the loop. Sorry but do you really want to join this circle. I am sorry but you have done nothing wroung and you cannot make someone happy. She is your Mother and you sound like someone who has respect for the title. Inside we may silently questions their understanding of Mothering but you have your beautiful boys and you have broken the cycle........Well done. Enjoy YOUR FAMILY.Your husband and kids. Your Mother sounds as if she is finacially ok? many here on this site or dealing with these types and the burden is the only choice is caring for someone like this in their home Stay strong and continue to say softly to yourself, I HAVE DONE NOTHER WRONG AND I DESERVE BETTER TREATMENT. HUGS AND GOOD LUCK. Kepp coming back for support we are here for you.
Wow!!!!!! This site and the people on it are really amazing. All of those replies helped a lot and I think I am equipped for tomorrow. Ladee, you asked who made the appointment - my sister did, and I suspect it was to make sure we got at least a smidge of time together without my possibly showing up there (she is staying with mom). She specifically asked to meet in town somewhere for a short walk or coffee, and since my home is clean and inviting, I think that may be because she wants to talk about mom without interruptions from kids going in and out or something. Thank you, everyone. I try really hard to do the right thing (not to do the right thing just for others or myself, but the right/healthiest thing period), but second guess myself sometimes. The support from people here is very valuable to me and helps a lot to confirm my instincts and/or suggest new ways of doing things. :)
Nancy H and Lisagrant, I reread your posts over and over. They were similar in ways that really struck a cord with me. You are absolutely right. An update - my husband and one of the boys have been removing some things we have stored under her house (I stupidly took her up on her offer to remove them from a storage unit and keep them under her house in the cavernous space about a year ago). We had moved into a much smaller home a few years ago and these are furniture and things that need to stay boxed until we are back in a bigger house. She demanded that we remove them a few weeks ago, and the guys have been grabbing a small load each weekend so we can throw away or donate things, as we don't have room for them. My husband called her yesterday and asked if they should show up, since my sister would be there and they didn't want to intrude. She asked that they show up early or not at all, and he asked if I was still not allowed there in case I needed to help speed up the process. She was sappysweet and unusually friendly with him and told him multiple times that she had never EVER said I couldn't come over, only that she would never come to our house again until 'that dog' was gone (the new, perfectly trained service dog who helps me walk). Needless to say, she had in fact told me multiple times that I was to stay away from her house, but I can see she is now starting to spin it to appear as though she is the neglected mom and that I am avoiding her and making it impossible for her to visit me. Also, she LOVES dogs, and i think the reason this one bothers her is because I constantly care for her two when she works or is out of town, and probably thinks this one will be in the way of that since she (my dog) is always with me. My mom is well off financially, in much better health than I am, and very active, constantly working and traveling. She is also (I can see now) a spoiled brat with very bad manners who is trying to either force me to choose between my service dog (my freedom!) and her, or else is using the situation to provide her with more 'woe is me' ammunition and material for gossip. Probably both. In any case, you guys really helped put things in perspective and gave me that extra shot of strength I needed.

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