My mother can turn any conversation into something bad or sad. Is there anything I can do about this?

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No matter what we are talking about, she can find something to zero in on that is gloomy, or something bad that might happen, or someone else she has heard about that something sad happened to. Etc. It doesn't matter what we are talking about - she simply seems unable to stay on a cheerful topic for very long. I don't think she even realizes that she does this, but it really wears me down to the point that I have to brace myself for our visits. I don't think you can talk your way to being happy, but this certainly isn't helping her outlook at all. Can you help me understand why she might do this? How can I help her?

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we've done that, not as a rule, but have done it ... it seems harsh but is better than staying and risk having ugly words come out of my mouth ... even if you don't leave physically, you can still leave the conversation and move on to something else
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don't listen anymore. just walk away. and yes, i am completely serious.
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My mother-in-law can be mean and hurtful (probably out of her own fear) and even when you resist calmly and don't let her abuse you she can explode (seemingly out of insecurity) launching personal insults, crying, and asking "why do you hate me", even though she is the one initiating and being aggressive ... the only thing the other party is guilty is not cooperating ... sometimes even mere silence invokes greater insults ... anyone experience anything similar?
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Saying hi there the complaining starts and ends when I can no longer redirect the conversation other than saying "well it's time for me to say goodbye...muah, I love you"
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Hi Garturs, I feel my emotions become irritated and short fused after visiting or talking with my Parents. I try to be away from myDear Husband and not interact with others until I gather myself... Usually a short shopping trip will do the trick. I pray, listen to good music and take them a treat when I visit but soonafter
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both my mother and my wife's mother lived with us and both were disabled, one in a wheelchair and one uses a walker. My mom passed away about 3 years ago, and about 6 months ago, my mother-in-law's health issues required her to be moved to a nursing home (she had lived with us for 8 years). Yes, the physical demands of having both here were one of the hardest things we ever did (looking back I think we had a desire to do the right thing but if I had to do it over I would have moved both to a facility designed to care for their level of needs much earlier ... I am convinced when we finally did it,it was the best thing for them and us). Even now, that both of them are out of our house and one has passed away, I think one of the most difficult aspects is still with, and that is my mother-in-law's critical and negative attitude. We are going to see my wife's mother in about an hour. My wife was just short with me in the kitchen ... I was tempted to "go there" but then just decided to let it go ... glad I did. I have noticed a pattern emerging, my wife's irritability and mood changes noticeably before we go visit her mother. I don't enjoy her irritability, even I see only that, but seeing the bigger picture helps me cut her some slack. I like the post about seeing things anthro...something (the root cause) ... step back and see the bigger picture, be a student of the situation. To all those who said they avoid or limit the time they spend with the negative ones, I say "of course". If someone is hitting you in the shins with a bat you would avoid that too. Even when we are physically there, we don't connect because we don't follow her, or try not to follow her down those negative paths. She can be nice for a few sentences but we no it is coming so we never let our guard down. Yes, see the humor in it, if you can. That is why shows like "Everyone loves Raymond" are so popular, because we can all relate to the friggin dysfunctional family we all have on some level. Even still, sometimes you cannot see the humor and it is simply a difficult situation, try to learn from it and keep moving. Blessings to all.
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My mom was always upbeat. She had little materialistic things but was always content with what she had and always tried to give things to other people. As she got older and especially five years ago when we had to put her in the nursing home, she changed. It broke out hearts to have to do that, but I am the only one that lives locally and I kept her for a while, but it got physically impossible for me, plus I work a full time job. She was not negative about everything, but most things. I think most of it came from her being sad and she felt bad. She had COPD and had to stay on oxygen to breathe. I always tried to cheer her up by taking her things I knew she liked and making her favorite foods. She passed away in January and believe me, I would give anything to talk to her again, even with the negativity. I know it is hard, but cherish the time you have with them and be sure to still do the things you enjoy, that makes you happy.
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My mother-in-law is usually pretty upbeat, just so grateful that I pick her up and take her with me on my errands. But there are times that she gets in this loop of ragging about one of her sons that she doesn't see often enough. Then she starts in on the other son that isn't doing something right, and it becomes all about her, and how she's just so stinkin' MAD!! After changing the subject a few dozen times to no avail, I just start agreeing with her. I say ' you're right, they hate you, no one loves you, I don't know how in the world you survive & maybe you'd like some cheese with that WHINE!'. Now in my case, she laughs and tells me I have no sympathy, but it snaps her out of the loop at least. It may not be what some shrink would suggest to do, but it's enough of a jolt to stop the insanity (for the time being) ha
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Sounds just like my Mum. Before she moved in with us I dreaded calling her, which I did several times a day. It was always negative. She can't see the positive in anything. I know she can't help it because her mother was even worse. Now that she is living with us it's doing a number on me. I'm glad to go to work everyday for some happiness! I know I'll never change her and I'm running out of patience. I do try to change the subject but it doesn't help. The glass is not just half empty.....it's completely empty! Then I feel guilty getting out of patience with her. It's a no win situation :(
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I not only saw my depressed & negative elders in it, I saw myself dragging myself down with my resistance to permit joy or humor. For me, it's a pattern of negative thinking that is familiar and I cling to although it hurts me; and it's less important to figure out why I do this than to use whatever strategy I have to change those negative thoughtst: distraction, comedy, beauty in all of its forms, being around happy people, imagining a happy event or thing, giving myself credit for caring and trying, appreciating that I woke up today and am still "standing", etc. etc. You fill in the list for yourself. Blessings and thanks to everyone who answered this Q. You made my day! Walk in Beauty.
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