Mary323 Asked August 2010

Now that my father has passed, my mother has become bitter and nasty. She alienates many people around her. How to deal with this difficult behavior?

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She has alienated people but will never see fault in any of her own actions. My mother is almost 80 and medically speaking she is in great shape. She does not take any medication. She lives alone and is the most independent/dependant person I know. She does not want to be told what to do, but she does not want to do it herself either. My dad passed away 2 1/2 years ago. He had beenin a nursing home on and off for 2-3 years before he passed away. Now that he is gone, my mother has become more and more nasty and bitter. She has alienated many people around her. I do what I can for her, I take her shopping, do her banking, address every piece of mail, make all important phone calls, take her to the doctor, etc. I know that she appreciates all of this, and tells me that often. The problem that I have though is that sometimes I feel that she is sucking the life out of me, She is never happy. I am married and have 2 children 16 and 12. She does not understand that it is a new world and things are different than when she raised me.

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palmtrees1 Jan 2011
Mary, this is very much like my Mom. Did this behavior start with your Dad's death or is it just a normal behavior that is getting worse. My Mom is also 80, in excellent health, takes no meds, drives, has good eyesight, etc. But she has no friends, never has. Won't volunteer, join a club or do anything to socialize. She expects my brother to do all sorts of chores for her because she doesn't want to pay for anything. and her sisters and brothers have to call "her" not the other way around. I feel if your Mom is truly like mine you have a problem. I have learned to "distance, distance, distance, myself". (And lucky for me I live in another state.) Your Mom could be depressed, that can be helped also. If she is like my Mom she will suck the life out of you and not think a thing of it. Set some boundaries with her. And if you truly think this is just because of your Dad's death, she needs some help. Good luck
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judy1 Jan 2011
Did you ever think that maybe she is in the beginning stages of Dementia??? This also happened with my mom for almost three years before it started to get so bad that I had her tested and sure enough she had dementia. If I had been on this site beforehand I would have recognized alot of the signs. I just thought my mother was being stubborn.
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ChristinaW Jan 2011
Hi Mary,
Have you had a good talk with your Mother about her attitude?
My take on this is a little different. I equate a miserable position, from a healthy woman, as you state, to be more from fear and hurt. I could be mistaken, but I think if you sit down with her and have a heart to heart, in a safe, private setting, she may open up to you and express her motivation. I agree with anne123, that she could be feeling sorry for herself, but after losing her husband, that is certainly a deep hurt, no matter how an individual may show her outward emotions.
I always try to put myself in the person's shoes--have empathy: how would I feel if this happened to me?
Additionally, my children are older--one in early 20s, but I include them in helping with Grandma. The tender heart and innocent reasoning of children can often reach the most stubborn
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reneab66 Jan 2011
i really feel for you,your mother may still be grieving but so is everyone else,her behaviour is unacceptable especially as it is having adverse effects on yourself.
you are a grown woman who has a family and she should understand that instead of acting like a spoiled child
have a word with her and tell her how you feel,if she does not want to accept that she is at fault in any way,try to distance yourself a bit form her.
you say she is independent for her age but you still do many things for her,maybe if you are not doing as much and she begins to notice this.then she might see how much she really appreciates you and being bitter towards her family is not the answer.
you deserve respect and kindness like every other person in this world.
i have went through my whole life with a mother who has been hell bent in making myself and others misreable.
barely any mothers affection or care,but as a 44 year old mother of two,who i dote on,i have finally had the courage to cut of all ties,not saying that you should do that with your own mother as you say it is since your father passed away that she started to act this way.
like ive said have a word explain your feelings,it must be hurtful the way you have been treated and hopefully your mother will realise this.
all my very best to you
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Mary323 Sep 2010
Thanks anne,
I agree with everything you have written and I have tried to get her to socialize. She has gone to some senior citizen events at the church, but she calls them clicky and caddy. (it is def a situation of the pot calling the kettle black). I guess I must do some research to see what other groups may meet in my neighborhood. unfortunately there is not really a hospital for her to volunteer at that she could get to. I have thought of that as well. In fact, they just closed 2 nearby ones. It really would help if I could find a place where she could go and work or volunteer. I do not want to have to do it with her. Thank you for your suggestions.
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anne123 Aug 2010
Is there a senior center in your town/city where your mother could go to mix with other senior citizens in town, and make friends and participate in some projects or activities? It would be good if she could realize that she can be more independent and happy at the same time. You said that medically she is in great shape. If she is interested in doing volunteer work, that would be another great way to put her in a situation where she could be of help to others----being a volunteer at a local hospital comes to mind.

From reading your post, I get the feeling that unless your mother gets out and mixes it up with other people (besides you), she is going to get "stuck" in nasty/bitter mode. Sometimes all people need is to socialize. Otherwise it is easy to get lonely or to start feeling sorry for ourselves. I don't know if this is the case with your mother....I'm just thinking out loud.
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