Yo-yo Mom at it again.

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Well, after a crazy spring and summer where my mom repeatedly told me she would no longer be in contact with me anymore or she would find (and then said she did) someone to take her shopping, now she has called me and informed me that I need to find a day to set several hours aside so I can take her for "a bit" of shopping.
I ask what she needs (maybe I can grab a loaf of bread and some eggs at the store?) and she's mum about it. (This means probably that she wants cigarettes, which, along with her own reflection, are her two great loves in life.)
I'm annoyed because I can't stand dealing with this woman. Every call she makes turns into an occasion to tell me how mean or how ungrateful I am, this or that thing that I did wrong, or how she had to do EVERYTHING on her own (except for when she needs me to take her somewhere or fix something for her ...), or how awful my dad was, or she makes digs at my weight (like it's a good idea to not lose weight, because you can use the fat to get you through the hard times that are ahead. Really? Lovely!)
I am so tired of dealing with her. There is no civility here and I have a hard time controlling myself while talking to her, and afterwards I feel drained and sick as a dog. I want to reason with her but can't, and yet each time I talk to her I feel like I'm sinking into new emotional lows.
I had such high hopes she'd be taking a cab now and then and now, I'm supposed to just take time off work (because it MUST be done during a weekday) to bend to her will. I told her I would pick her up Thursday and drop her off at a grocery store and get her in a couple hours because I don't feel like following her around Kroger for three hours while she stares in fascination at packages of kielbasa and frozen fish!
I don't know what I want here, but to vent, I guess. I just honestly want nothing to do with this woman anymore. There is no pleasant chat about the weather. Striking up a conversation about the past is just a chance for her to relive old grievances. On top of that she's half-deaf and says inappropriate, sexist or racist things.
I'm just tired of it. And her calling with this attitude that I owe her an unpaid day off to cart her around so she can buy cigarettes and bacon just infuriates me all the more!
She cut me out of her life by telling me not to call her or visit her, changes her keys so I can't even check on her if she doesn't answer her phone or door, and changes her bank information so I can't even use the extra debit card I used to have to go pick up her medicines and so on (my husband got laid off a year ago and my income has gone down since I was laid off -- but found another job, fortunately --so I can't exactly afford to buy her stuff anymore, and I can't afford to take time off work.)
So again, I'm just tired of dealing with her and want to vent. I believe in respecting the elderly and all that but what about when your mom expects you to be her beck-and-call and verbal whipping post?

23 Comments

When she cut you out of her life, it was your opportunity to step away from this toxic relationship. I think we should honor and respect our parents if they honor and respect us in return. Why do you owe your mom a shopping trip, when all she does is berate and belittle you? Walk away and don't look back. She's a survivor, so she'll find someone else to use.

And get some counseling so you don't feel guilty or obligated to continue in this one-sided toxic relationship. Walk away. Just say, "I'm sorry mom, I can't do that." Or don't take her calls. It's as simple as that. Hugs to you and what you've had to put up with.
How about "It's not possible for me to take off a day from work, but I can take you shopping on Saturday". If that doesn't work for her, then she'll need to figure out Plan B.
Good ideas. My husband said that, too, Blannie, about honoring your mother and father, and in this case mother says to leave her alone.
I can't get a straight answer out of this woman, either. She says she has a neighbor giving her rides or gets a taxi and then makes it sound like she's desperate. Maybe I'm worried she'll be out of pills or food so I worry in that respect. I wouldn't want to be all alone in that boat, so I cave, but she sees me as a sucker or a slave to do her will instead of someone trying to be nice.
Then she contradicts herself. She says her pharmacy delivers her medications, and yet she says I need to take her there. (I suspect she wants to argue with the pharmacist in person since she thinks the Kroger pharmacy in her neighborhood is owned by Arabs who are screwing her over somehow.) And so it goes!
Heidi73, your Mom shopping experiences is so similar to my parents. I use to take Dad to the hardware store but I had to stop doing that because I couldn't roam around the store for 2 hours and Dad only buying one package of light bulbs and a tube of Epoxy. And taking Mom grocery shopping... I felt like I was a store employee re-shelving the products that she would take down to get a closer look, and then didn't want.

My parents were use to going shopping 2 or 3 times a day back when Dad was driving. Sorry, that's not going to happen anymore, as I am still employed and will no longer take vacations days or sick days so they could shop. Doctor appointments, I have no problem with doing.

Any time my parents grumble about not shopping, I gently remind them that if they had moved into that grand retire community down the road, they could go shopping every single day as the community offers transportation.
Time for a break somehow maybe? I know it's not as easy as it sounds, but your mom sounds just like my mom and I ask myself daily - What would happen to her if I got hit by a bus tomorrow??? My point being, if you weren't there, either she would need to step up for herself or she would need to find community resources for assistance. I understand about the guilt of not being there for one's own mother, but how much is she really being there for her child. This is your life - yes, she is your mother, but you deserve to be happy.
Another thing that can be at play is the whole getting you to jump because they can. I took a day off to shop for clothes with Mom, only to get to the store and have her fairly disinterested in looking. After covering a fair bit of the mall, I finally asked why we were there if she didn't want to look. She shrugged...once again, it was about getting me to jump only to be disinterested once I jumped.

And when you get on one of those calls, it's really ok to tell her you need to go and end the call. You can't let this dynamic make you sick.
"I couldn't possibly take a day off right now".
Give her one day a week. You pick the day that works for you. If you get there and she is complaining and nagging, tell her you have to go, and get up immediately and leave. Deprive her of her audience.
If she wants to go for groceries, go there and back to her house. Don't let her tack on 3 or 4 more stops. We have found that the nagging starts after one hour of contact, so we limit the visits, and if her diatribes start after 20 minutes, that's when you have to go . She will catch on, believe me.
Pam you are so right about only going to one store. My parents tried that with me, after an hour in a big box store, Dad will mention let's go to the bank. "Sorry, Dad, I am exhausted."

Dad doesn't understand how tiring it is shopping with Mom in the grocery section of a big box store, reaching for this, bending down for that, re-stocking shelves as Mom puts stuff back.... trying to get my own shopping done at the same time.... then when Mom is through, I set her down on a bench then I go looking for Dad who wandered off with his own cart because grocery shopping is boring.... no kidding, Dad :P.... and it is usually 2 or 3 trips around the big store before I find Dad.... I lead him over to where Mom was sitting... I say *was* because Mom got worried about Dad and she wandered off to look for him. And Dad wonders why I am exhausted after shopping.... [sigh]
FreqFlyer your post made me laugh. I used to take both parents out (dad in a companion chair and mom with her walker). It was so exhausting just to try to wrangle them. Or when I'd take mom out when she was still using her walker, I could never do my shopping, as it was too much work to manage her and her stuff while trying to get my stuff. I was stressed enough getting her in and out.

When my brother would visit from out-of-state, I'd try to get him to just take my mom out somewhere and she'd always say to him, "Oh that's too much trouble, you don't need to take me anywhere." GRRRRRR! I'd tell him to insist, but he never would (I wonder why, LOL!). So he never got to experience even a half of what I had to deal with. Now I don't have to worry because he hasn't visited here in four years.

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