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Today, my mother said that my puppy takes more time to take care of than the time I spend helping her. I almost gagged. Every waking moment, I spend taking care of her ... all the housework ... all the cooking ... all the errands ... all while teaching full time.

I woke up this morning, got my mother's paper, made her coffee ... sat down to watch the news and my mother started petting my puppy. She said, "You dog is lovable, but you're not lovable." .... SIGH .... all I did was wake up.

Even if my mother didn't realize what she was saying (but I'm pretty sure she did), it is a big blow to hear from your own mother that you are not lovable ... it hurts really bad.

Not really sure how to survive this kind of verbal abuse ( I've gotten this all my life, it's not knew)

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GIRL:

She's not helpless, so I don't understand why you keep putting down payments for her acceptance. I did that with my mother because I thought I owed her something. Then one day I woke up and stopped being a doormat.

I made her perception of me her reality by not doing anything for her. If she wanted a taxi, she had to call and pay for it herself. For something to read, the public library. When the Con Ed bill came she'd pay her share; same thing with the rent and other household expenses. When her guests came and she started ragging about me I'd join the conversation and flip the script on her. A couple of times, Spanish telenovela style, she pulled out a couple of suitcases. I helped her pack and held the door. Suitcases on the sidewalk, she turned around and said "I'm going to take one last look around to make sure I didn't forget anything." ... Went to her bedroom and never came out. Next morning she wakes me up to ask what I did with her things. I asked her if she checked the sidewalk. ...Here in the South Bronx, you can't leave anything unattended.

Girl, your Mom keeps pushing your buttons because she installed them to ensure your subservience. No one likes being abused, but I guess that's what you're used to. If you're not going to break the cycle, what's the point of complaining about it?
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WOW! I APPRECIATE ALL YOU HAVE SHARED AND SAID. I ROW THE SAME BOAT. HOWEVER. I HAVE LEARNED THIS AND WOULD LIKE TO SHARE. THE MEANER MY MOTHER IS TO ME, THE NICER AND KINDER I AM TO MYSELF. I LOOK FOR WAYS AND THINGS TO DO AND THEN I DON'T FEEL SO BAD. I KNOW I AM A GOOD PERSON AND ALL OF YOU ARE TO. BEING THICK SKINNED IS EASY TO SAY BUT HARD TO DO SOMETIMES. WE ARE ONLY HUMAN. JUST TRY TELLING YOUR SELF THAT EVERYTIME SOMETHING UNKIND IS SAID OR DONE THAT YOU WILL FIND SOMETHING NICE TO SAY TO YOURSELF OR DOFOR YOURSELF.
BEST WISHES AND LOTS OF HUGS....
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I am also dealing with a cold, critical and hurtful mother who is 89 years old. She has a history of alienating her family, neighbors, and has been very critical of me most of my life. My mother constantly complains and is now becoming very isolated as her constant negativity adversely impacts her ability to interact effectively with others. The situation continues to decline as she has experienced significant health issues and my loving father is now living in a nursing home as a result of dementia and serious falls (he broke is neck but is doing well-thank god).

I must agree with the previous respondent, your mother's behavior has not and will not change and will probably become progressively worse. (I never developed the thick skin and believed if I was successful and kind she would respect and treat me better- It did not happen, will not happen and unfortunately still hurts). My advise, join a support group, minimize contact and leave when she says hurtful and mean things. It is about her, not you and never will be. This is very hard to hear but is not a reflection on you. You are loveable and these hurtful comments are coming from an unhappy mother.

As I was composing this post I received an unexpected visit from my mother. She
came and thanked me for the meals I have provided and the knitting needles I bought for her recently (The last two weeks I have minimized contact and it appears that maybe she might be helping).

P.S. I also have a wonderful maltese dog that we both adore. At least we have something in common.

I hope that my thoughts help you. You are not alone .

Regards, Sandy
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next time you are treated in a mean spirited way, lift your hand up like
a stop sign, with love in your heart and a firm tone of voice say
"YOU ARE NEVER TO SPEAK TO ME IN THAT WAY AGAIN."
turn away - walk into another room ...wait as long as you can before
speaking again... it will sink in...
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Girl, this made me sad! My husband and I started making a list years ago of how NOT to treat other people as we age. This was, and still is, a direct result of his dad's bad behavior. Withholding affection, verbal abuse, and just general nastiness are a few of his better traits. Whenever he does something particularly ugly, I whip out a little notepad and write it down right in front of him. He always asks what I'm doing, and I tell him I had to write something down so I don't forget it. And that's the truth...we are reinforcing our OWN positive behaviors because we sure as heck can't change his awful ones! I look upon myself as an "observer" in my FIL's life, and am learning lessons for my future. He is teaching me a lesson, but not the ones he believes he is...by seeing the negative effect he has on others, he's teaching me to be a better person when I am a senior, to continue to love and respect those around me, and to always be generous in praise to any person who provides care for me. That's how my husband and I want to walk into our golden years....kind and happy.
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I don't think it's possible to "develop a thicker skin". My Mom is constantly telling me I need to do that. I find it difficult to deal with the negativity as well. She tells me "what else have you got to do?"

My Mom does try and be nice sometimes. For example I said I hated ironing her clothes and we should send it out to the cleaners. Instead she bought me a new iron, that is exactly the same as my old iron.

Reading the comments on this site does help. You definitely aren't the only one.
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Hannahleigh you are spot on! I've started doing check-ins with my Daugther asking her to tell me what she thinks of me and if there are certain behaviors that I should adjust. ( Hubby and I do this as well) I sure dont want to be "that" old woman that nobody wants to be around. I practicing kindess and happiness everyday and hope it sticks with me into my golden years.
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Perhaps it is best when your Mother says hurtful things to you to stop, look her in the eyes and say honestly how you feel... Like Mom I can't believe you really think that about me, I am so hurt. Then leave it and let her be. You on the inside will feel so much better for having done so regardless of your Mothers reactions.

I to grew up with a Mother like this, she is passed and now I care for my Father in my home going on 5 yrs. He is very manipulating and childish at times. The answers don't lay in your Mothers faults but within you. Learn the lesson that your Mother's hurtful actions are teaching you about where you need to grow and in this way you can better deal with it. Once you do this your relationship will improve with your Mother.

I to have had to face myself with these very issues.. learning to speak up for myself and honestly express my feelings instead of letting them fester inside of me, (which eventually come out either in anger or illness) and learning how to reset boundaries with an abusive parent. A book that helped me tremendously is called "Setting boundaries with difficult people" by David Lieberman. This book is a very quick direct presentation on exactly how to do this, and in addition it explained to me what makes others act the way they do. Understanding why my Father would act so badly toward me helped me to see that it wasn't who I was but rather who I represented to him, where he is in the present time of his life. Just knowing that helped me to change my perspective on our relationship.

When I learned how to set new boundaries with him and express my feelings openly and honestly our relationship dynamic started to change for the better. In hindsight it has been an experience that has helped me to become a stronger, more acceptable person to myself and others. You are under a tremendous amount of stress working full time and then another full time job at home with your Mother. I havn't read everyone's comments thus far because I don't have the time right now but I'm sure there have been many suggestions for ways to give yourself some relief. Listen to them and figure out what works best for you. I am positive things can get better. Talk to me anytime you need to. No matter what, always know that you are acceptable and loveable. You deserve to be accepted and loved just as much as anyone. It is my hope that you can learn from my experience and get that book because it can really help you. Much love, Cricket
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Tired, I so relate to what you wrote. As much as we try to toughen ourselves against the words, they hurt. Mothers know which verbal barb to choose. I often wonder if mine does it because she feels so bad about herself. I have found it pointless to try to get mine to stop. She will just tell me what character flaw of mine prompted her to say something.

I just had a great idea -- maybe we should say it is the same flaw that led us to be the one taking care of them. That ought to work. :-D
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ps.. one last thought and that is you can get all the respite in the world but when you go back home nothing there has changed. Respite is great and we all need it. But at it's best it is temporary. By looking inward, learning life lessons it creates change. It won't change the situation but it can improve the situation tremendously.
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