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Well, its been four months since I last posted about my Dad's stroke. He recovered so quickly and so well; I thought, or tricked myself, into thinking everything was going to be okay. Turns out he had cancer and things went downhill very quickly. I did get to see him 3 weeks before he died; I called everyday to speak with my Mother and try to speak with him; and I went back home to be with Mom for a few days after her passed. My older brother has DPOA and is doing a good job of watching over our Mom. Problem for me is that everyone else has been cold and shut off from me because they were harboring resentment that I didn't leave my husband and son in Houston to stay and take care of my parents after Dad's stroke. I only know about this because my middle son actually called me on the phone and told me "people are talking" and "you can do more." I could hardly speak I was so upset and when I mumbled responses to him he said he didn't need my "smart ass comments." He had no idea I was trying not to cry. This is how my son has seen me??? I would have never guessed it. I feel betrayed.


No, my Mom is not an invalid at all but probably experiencing some form of early dementia or Alzheimer's. I call and speak to her each morning since I can't be there with her. She often repeats conversations.


Yesterday, when I called, she told me I was a grandma for the second time. I was shocked. I knew there was another baby coming but no one called me...no one. It cut me to the core. I couldn't even handle the call. I had to say good-bye. I was so hurt. After about 30 minutes, I thought, well I'm gonna call my son. My call went straight to voicemail. I left a very simple message congratulating my son and his wife on their new arrival and said I love you. My Mom called me back and acted like nothing happened asking why I didn't call her back. I told her I was upset. She said I had to mend this and then went on to talk about some other unimportant miscellaneous subject. No empathy - no nothing. It's not the first time she's done this. I don't want to be that daughter that feels her mother's love is toxic...but I think that's where I'm heading. I don't think she just forgot. I've heard her complain to me about my two brothers and then turn around and act like they're saints. I think she is wailing to everyone else in my absence about how I've abandoned the family by moving away. Everyone is against me. Even the adult niece of my mother (whom I haven't seen in 20 years) has called me and made comment about whether or not my Mom is okay to be alone. She's not alone. My brother with the DPOA lives around the corner and is there everyday. My other brother is 10 minutes away. My two adult sons from my first marriage also live nearby and periodically stop by to visit and help. She is not alone. My husband, son and I drive in on weekends as work allows. But that is not enough to satisfy my family. I'm so hurt by their indifference to me. And I am trying very hard to stay calm and not lash out. We're going back for Labor Day weekend to see my new grandson and my grand-daughter and my Mom. After that, I don't know what will happen but I feel my Nola family has slipped away from me. My Dad's last words to my husband were that he didn't want the family fighting and splitting up. We didn't really understand at the time why he would say that but now I think I do. This whole time everyone has been against us because we moved to Houston and I stayed with my husband.


I know this a long post, but I don't have anyone else to talk to. I don't want to stress out my husband because this is hard for him. He has to work to support our family and it often requires us moving around for the best paying job. We always have gone home for Thanksgiving and Christmas and sometime during the spring or summer. I don't feel that we are welcome anymore. It's so sad. I'm so sad.

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This is a great place to let that stuff out. Keep emptying until you are empty. Take a deep breath and come to now. Find your center. Find your peace. The rest will take care of itself. XO
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I am so sorry this is happening to you. I have seen things like this so often and know what it feels like. Rest assured YOU did NOTHING WRONG. Your first duty is with your spouse and everyone realizes that but they don't want to admit it because it might mean THEY HAVE TO GET INVOLVED AND HELP and they do not want to do that. People and families are often very selfish and they will do anything singly or as a group to take out their "feelings" on anyone they feel should be the one to assume all the headaches. This is what they are doing. YOU must think of YOU and YOUR FAMILY FIRST. Let them know that they must all pitch in and do their respective parts. Talk to some professionals who might be able to give you some advice and counseling but do NOT let these people bully you and make life miserable for you. And there is something else and I must say it. However, hard it may be, in life, when no matter what you do always gets complaints and misery and nothing is right, you have to ask yourself - do I want to be part of that life and unhappiness? Why do I deserve that? Sometimes you must be strong and walk away from what cannot ever be fixed and loving. You must move on with your life and it will be hard and hurtful but you know what - with time, one day you will look back and know you made the right and only decision. Some families are not worth keeping. I know - been there, done that, tough, hard road - but I did and thank God I did walk.
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PS may sound silly... but be very careful if a plan is presented for your Mum to come stay with you for a *short visit*. I believe that has happened to someone on this forum.
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Your family seem to have their Sexist flag out flying for all to see.

Your brothers & son all looking for the WOMAN who will step in & provide all the free caregiving. How inconvenient to them she lives too far away.

What if you were another brother? Hmm?

I am very sorry for your situation & hope some advice, time & good relationships in your new family can help you.
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Thanks for all the comments and advice. It is so helpful and therapeutic. It has given me the strength and understanding to be patient and loving to my Mom and to keep the communication alleys open to all the family regardless of being shut out and ghosted.
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I think they should mind their own business and everyone should help, not just you, make a calendar out. My mother is 90 and lives down the street, she is close, she moved close so I would not have to drive far. Im sorry about the way they treat you, including your son, he is not respectful...good luck
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My oldest daughter causes plenty of hurt. I know she was angry when I was an hour away taking care of mom. In one of her outbursts she actually told me she was angry because I was not available to babysit her kids. So, it doesn't even require a new husband to make people angry. All you have to do is move from the Area.

All you can do is recognize the treatment for what it is and protect yourself. Hope your labor day visit is uneventful.
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LDdaughter: Many hugs going out to you. You cannot control how other family members act. Your mother's mind may be starting to fail her and in that dynamic, she's sometimes speaking ill of your brothers and then the sudden 180 degree turnaround about their characters no doubt confirm this. You should still call your mother every day. Prayers going out to you.
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I have seen and heard so many things like this. My guess is that the family does not want to get too involved in what could be daily care because of their own needs and responsibilities. They don't want to be confronted or have help asked for from them. For whatever reason, perhaps nothing you did wrong, they want to protect themselves - or maybe you unknowingly did or said something but they feel uncomfortable talking with you. Here is what I would do and it will take guts to do it. I would attempt to have a family conference where you can all meet and openly talk but don't count on that happening. If all attempts to make things right fail, sometimes you have to wake up and realize that nothing will ever work out. So you have to decide if you want to live like that for the rest or your life and can handle how it affects you - or do you want to live in peace and be happy. There are times in life where we must get the guts to get up, walk away and never look back (been there, done that - hardest thing I ever did - but it was the greatest blessing in my life but I didn't know that until much later. Be strong and think about this.
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It does seem that the distance you are away from them is not the problem, but rather that there has been no real communication. And I am thinking there is a REASON for that: You knew a son was expecting a baby but are surprised the baby is here and no one told you. You are upset with your Mom, yet think she may be having dementia. You are not certain what is going on with the brother and his DPOA.
When there is this huge gap of/lack in communication I can only surmise that it is for very good reason. It seems to me that it is not only the Mom who is acting in a toxic way. Gossip is being repeated to you, but not really as in "people are talking" (a gentle "let them" would be my response; and I wouldn't want to hear their idle gossip). As to "You are a Grandmother again" response is "How lovely. Boy or girl? I will send a gift".
These people o me to be bullying you and manipulating you unless I can see it another way. I understand I am only getting one half of the story here, one SIDE of the story, but this looks to me an awful lot like "Family Behaving Badly" and were it me I would be staying with my good hubby and swell kid in Houston, and let them have at one another instead of me. You are looking like fresh meat for them to me. I could be wrong. You could be an awful person, and they are all right. But I am not reading it that way.
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Seems there is a mix-up in expectations and not enough communication about what each person can/will provide. Mom is not helping by pitting people against each other. She is probably doing this to get more attention.

I have 2 sisters. One sister and I talk occasionally, especially since we have different schedules and live in different states. We agree most of the time on caring for our mom (who lives near ne). My other sister and I never talk. She always "reminds" me that I have to take care of mom and that she is not interested in a closer relationship with me. I send monthly letters to her to keep her in the loop about family.

I tell you this to let you know that:
people will gossip and you can't stop it
you are not responsible for everybody else's opinions or behaviors
you are only responsible to do what you agree to do

Since the family dynamics are really screwed up, ask to have a family meeting. In person would be better, but videoconference would work in a pinch. Since feelings are "hurt", having a mediator would be advisable (faith leader, family therapist or counsellor...). Frame the conversation about caring for mom and who will do what. Ask the counsellor to mediate the "resolving past issues/feelings" part. Apologize for lack of understanding - which we are all guilty of. Always reaffirm your love and commitment. Please continue to try to communicate your love and commitment to your family.
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Can you provide more information about:
"My older brother has recently started to ask me for support as he has DPOA, but I haven’t heard from him since."?

What support was he asking for? He may have some reasonable needs.

I do know that when I told OB (in person ) that doing all that I did for mom was getting to be too much, all he could bellow back at me was "Give it up!" No plan, no suggestions about how to alleviate anything. This was in the middle of spending almost 2 years organizing/doing the condo clear out, clean up and repair work so it could be sold. 3 hour round trip just to go there and back, limited space in car to remove items, unable to lift anything heavy... Meanwhile, trying to juggle the rest of the finances and non-hands-on care (there is still a lot that needs to be done - something my YB doesn't get when I recently said I need help. I swear he thinks all I do is write some checks at the end of the month!!!)

I would try to reach out to DPOA brother and see if there is anything you can do to help him (anything that doesn't require moving or taking mom in!) There may be some help you can provide. If mom needs supervision, he may need a break. If she doesn't have enough to hire help, he may need help applying for Medicaid. Until you ask, you/we don't know what "support" he wants/needs. It IS a difficult task being POA, even when no hands-on care is needed/provided.

What others suggested for your son is to ask him (perhaps in a letter) what it is you have done as you don't understand and can't fix what you don't know is broken. Since they are assisting with your mom in some way, perhaps they are overwhelmed as well and angry that you are not taking on "your share." Is there any way to perhaps have a family meeting if you do go to visit? If this turns into a bash session, then try to be calm and say you can't change how they feel, but if they'd like to be reasonable and ask for help....

Otherwise, stay in touch with and visit mom when you can. It is sad when people decide, for whatever reason, to be angry and hate others, but without their help we cannot change their mindset or attitude. If they refuse to work with you, there isn't much you can do. It will be sad if they choose to shut you out from their kids/your grandchildren. I would find a way to at least ensure they get cards and gifts from you, even if you have to go around your sons and their wives.
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Your Family is toxic and they are scapegoating you. Distance yourself emotionally and physically as much as you can. Find positive people and a better life beyond them. The truth eventually comes out. Write down how you feel and then put it away. Be kind to yourself. You are in a no win situation.
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They are looking for someone other than themselves to take care of Mom (sounds like it's mostly the "men" in the family, too - "she needs a woman to take care of her, etc. womans work - NOT) If Mom needs someone to help and since they are living right there (imagine your sons wife is catching it and is rebelling - rightfully so with a new child-so he is looking for Mom to help) Your first responsibility is to your husband and son. If that means the others cut you out - so be it. Let the one with DPOA hire someone to help. You are not the free help they seem to be looking for.
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My heart goes out to you, and your story sounds all too familiar. Very important you have alliances and chosen family/friends outside of the blood relatives who love, accept and support you. This is a really good support group. Thank you for sharing.
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My condolences. Sounds like your whole family is toxic, including your son. When your father told your husband he didn’t want the family fighting and splitting up, guess what? He knew what your mother was like and what would happen. Seen the same with my parents..they know each other well, and they use it against everyone else.
I can tell you what will happen if you give in....your brother with DPOA will slowly disappear and your will be on your own to care for your mother. Don’t let this happen...seems like your whole family knows how to guilt and gaslight you. Take care of you and your husband, and be well knowing that you may be better off walking away from this situation for a little while. I wish you luck...
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We must put to death the notion that nurturing&caregiving are women’s work: IT IS EVERYONE’S WORK!! Very good suggestions here, but I get this off my chest when I can! We are more than our reproductive equipment& aprons - we are adult humans with the same rights to a good life as men. We have dreams & aims too!
Heed the advice given you here; good & useful thots from many! Courage & good luck!
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Hi LDdaughter.  I am very sorry you're are feeling this way and being treated this way.  I don't have any children but this sounds a lot like what I hear from my sibling who does.  It appears that your son has the problem and I would not allow him to use his new child as a means to hurt you.  Mothers are not doormats but are often targeted as such.  If this was me, and again easier to say because I am not a mother, I would step back from those normal visits.  Nothing is normal here and your son should act like an adult and communicate to you what his issue is vs you having to guess.  I would continue to live my life and not try to mend something you are not privy to being told how it's broken.  Stiff upper lip.  This is one of those lessons a child is never too old to learn...how to effectively communicate and not to use grand children as pawns.  Best of luck and I'm sorry you are so sad.
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I think your bigger problem is your relationship w your son.
It seems Mom is cared for and that is not your worry.
The fact your son did not call you to tell you about the new baby and the things he said to you definitely need to be addressed. He is angry with you about something and I sense it really might be something bigger than your mom whining to people. Not leaving your family in Houston when your mom has her own sons is not a reason for your sons behavior.My heart breaks for you!
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Have you asked your family members what their problem is?

I have a rule that I live by, "If I did something to upset you and it is obvious that I am unaware of the problem, then it is up to you to tell me what I did. If you choose not to tell me and just throw hate my way, it is not my problem it is yours!"

This keeps me from spinning my wheels and breaking my heart trying to fix a problem that I don't even know what it is. Ask them if you want to know and see if there is a solution, otherwise, it is their problem and let it go.
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Often there is absolutely NO ANSWER as to why a family chooses to reject a "new member". Had I KNOWN--really KNOWN how awful the relationship was going to be with my MIL, I would NEVER have married my DH. I love him dearly, but he was very good at keeping me away from his mom. Her FRIENDS bothered to tell me that she hated me (and yes, the word HATE was used)..and in my 20 yo innocence, I thought, "I can make her like me. Everybody likes me!" What an idiot.

43 years later and I do not so much as acknowledge her presence, as she will attack as soon as she thinks I'm in her sightline. It's been crazy town----didn't help that DH has NEVER stood up for me, not once. He realizes NOW he should have said a lot at the first, but never did and so she was allowed free reign in the anger/hate department.

I promised my DH I would NEVER set foot in her home again, and I won't. Why? I am not even allowed to SIT DOWN in her home.

I was dxed with cancer 3 months ago and have been doing chemo. Has she bothered to even call my DH and see if I am OK? Of course not. She is no doubt hoping I will die.

I can stand up and say I have done ONE mean thing to her in 43 years. She does nothing BUT mean things to me. I've gone 'gray rock" with her---and peace reigns in my heart. DH says it means he can't visit her, b/c I won't go, but that's the dumbest thing in the world. He just wishes she wasn't even an issue.

And yes, he acknowledges that I have done NOTHING over the years to cause such vitriol on her part. At least she hates the other in laws too. I'm not alone.

I imagine you have done NOTHING to deserve this treatment. I learned the hard way to ignore the 'problem' and keep my nose clean. Eventually she'll slip up and people will see the truth.
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Like you, I married again, 20 years after my first marriage ended. Tony and I have now been married for 17 years. One of my daughters is fine with Tony, as is her husband. The other daughter has always resented that I remarried and moved from the next street to a farm 2 hours away. She wants me to coo over her children, and accept anger from her when she feels like dishing it out. For example she had a major angry crying fit because I wasn’t close enough to babysit while she went to a funeral I knew nothing about anyway. Her husband’s last contact was an email to say how much he wanted me to be in the lives of their children, without a mention of Tony. It arrived on our 17th wedding anniversary. To save my sanity, I’m not in contact with them now, although I keep track through her sister.

My guess is that your original family also resent your second husband and the fact that you have moved away. The ‘care’ they think you should be doing is much bigger than babysitting, so the resentment is probably much bigger too. I doubt if anything much will change until all the older people are dead and no longer require care.

Look after your heart, your own sanity, and your husband. You have to live your own life. You gave your children their lives, they can’t now control yours. Expect less, be polite, and try not to let things blow up. I now wish I’d backed off more, instead of trying to deal with it - a low key relationship is better than none. Very best wishes, Margaret.
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LDdaughter.
So sorry you are experiencing this rejection. It is sad, and very painful.

Here is the problem, and it happens whether or not you are to blame.
Problem: "My two adult sons from my first marriage also live nearby and periodically stop by to visit and help."

You have a new family. You may be experiencing this just because you are remarried. Strange, huh?

Is there a n y t h i n g you can think of (such as an ex or are you a widow?) that has built a secret resentment in your other sons? It does not compute, does it?

You are not the only "MOM" who has experienced this, even when there was no remarriage. It just happens to the best of people. imo.

Make yourself a good life. Do not look to your sons to fulfil you. Do not tolerate a go-between between you and your brothers or your sons, just don't. You are not the problem, they are. imo.

Apologies if I have not identified the issue.
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you are positive and doing the best you can and that is great! Don’t let the toxic energy get to you and destroy your health. find hobbies or good things to do as you are not going to play that game , simply. Be well!!
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LD--
I am so sorry for your situation.

You have a lot of people to 'please' and sadly, you can't. Sounds like no matter what you do, somebody is upset with you. I completely get that.

No matter how much care I gave my FIL, to my DH it was not 'enough'. No matter how faithfully I cared for my DH after his MANY health scares, it was not 'enough' and he'd be complaining to the kids--so I get the dynamic that your kids didn't bother to tell you about the new baby. They're 'punishing' you.

We just simply cannot please everyone. We can barely take care of ourselves, many days, and the criticism that comes, from all sides, is just too much.

Some families are just dysfunctional and poor communicators. Mine is. (not MY kids and g kids, but my sibs) we just, don't. Mother is in care in YB's home. She's not happy, and has begged to move in with ANY of the others of us, but she CHOSE this living situation, knowing full well brother is a jerk.

Being women, we are expected to be natural caregivers, and frankly, that's just a myth. I know whenever a sickness/pregnancy/new baby/aging parent situation comes about everyone just looks at me.

I am sick to death of caregiving. So I have stepped out of mother's care and was 'fired' from anything to do with MIL. It's been a blessing.

Perhaps you can try gentle talking--no anger or recriminations, just talk it out. I have had to forge my way through a relationship with a high maintenance DIL (I only have one son) and it has been HARD. She is tough and opinionated and has no problem calling me on the carpet for infractions. It's been hard--and I have cried a bucket of tears trying to figure out how to deal with her. Still haven't--16 years in.

Maybe some therapy wouldn't be amiss for you. That has saved my bacon, I tell you. Learning that I am NOT the only one who is wrong is helpful. Learning how to navigate the waters with my huge family and not offend anyone or hurt feelings----

Just know you are NOT alone. Chin up. You don't need to apologize for not being 'there' for your dad. You didn't know he would pass when he did. Nobody can fault you for that.
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You are the daughter. Sad to say, but our society still looks at the daughter as the Caregiver.

Think about it. What if u were ur brother with POA and he lived 350 miles away. Bet he wouldn't be coming home all the time to see Mom and give you a break.

You can't change your situation. This is your life. A husband that goes where his work is. A child that maybe high functioning, but needs to be overseen. (I have a nephew like this) You aren't the only one on this forum where family feels a member should pick up and leave their family to care for a parent. Really? I don't see where this is even logical.

I think your son maybe jealous of the time you have had to spend with ur 19 yr old and maybe your husband. Believe me, what they think they remember as children doesn't really mean thats how it happened. My oldest was adopted by my present husband. We have one together. TG, because my second daughter will tell her sister she doesn't know where she was that day but thats not how it happened. Its their prescription. My BIL says his Dad was never home. He was in adult sports. My DH says his Dad always asked the boys if they wanted to go with him to the ballgames, only my DH went. And, you aren't going to change how the son perceives things. But, you don't need to take his bullying. And as the mother, you need to make that clear to him.

Your Mom has family around her. Your brother has POA. (I would not care for anyone unless I had POA) He has the authority, not you. They are just going to have to except the fact that you can't be there. And no amount of bullying is going to change the fact. Your responsibility is to your husband and SN child. Continue to do what u can for Mom. Don't make excuses. They know ur situation, they refuse to except it.
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Thanks DollyMe.
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My younger brother doesn’t communicate with me except through his wife. My older brother has recently started to ask me for support as he has DPOA, but I haven’t heard from him since. Neither brother has ever been close to me-only contact was holiday dinners at parents. I don’t know why but i feel like they don’t like me. And I’m definitely gonna keep calling my mom every day regardless. I just have to overlook some of her comments to me. Like when I was last there cleaning her house she commented that I was just exhausted but that soon I can go back home and loaf. It’s hard. But I can do it.
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Hugs.

Long posts are fine. Especially they're fine if it does you good to get it out, but also it helps us get a more detailed picture of the situation.

The first thing I'd say is that if you're right about your mother's possible mental decline, and I'd agree there are signs that want investigating, then it is crucial not to attach too much importance to her words or her attitude. For example: her apparent dismissiveness, her lack of empathy or insight into the impact what she'd said to you might have had. Match that up with her complaints about your brothers, which suddenly swings back into fulsome praise of them. Truly, that does sound as if she is not processing, controlling thoughts and words in the way that you've been used to her doing; and therefore don't place *reliance* on what she says as being a reflection of her real thoughts or feelings about you. *Especially* because they can be so painful, it's important to set conversations like this to one side and separate them from any decisions you need to think through.

You feel excluded, blamed, still torn about the choices you had to make a long time ago.

You are not the only one in your family who probably shares these feelings. You have all experienced difficulties, loss, complicated relationships. Do not imagine that you are the only one who is struggling.

You feel that your family is indifferent to you, that you're becoming an outsider. You know, I doubt that's true. I would expect that it is more that they are concentrating on their everyday, and for a lot of the time that simply doesn't include you because you're not part of the everyday. That's okay. They're not writing you off, they're just preoccupied by what they are dealing with.

How often do you speak to your brothers?

Your son is a whole separate issue. Is this a son from your first marriage?
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It happens, families are dysfunctional, there is always some resentment that is brewing under the surface somewhere, then the opportunity presents itself and out it comes. There is more to this story, however, I do not feel that it is in your best interest to dig any further. Stay in contact with your mother on the phone, be courteous, listen, hang up go about the business of your life, that is all you can do. You do not need to apologize for the choices that you have made in your life, your husband and children come first. Did your parents get your approval before they made their choices in life..I doubt it. Take Care!
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