When my mother married my father she was 16. From the age of 16 to 60, she rarely saw any of her 8 siblings (my father hated her family and they him). Even after my father passed away, they only called her about once a year. They would go to the family reunions held about 20 minutes from my mother's house. They passed right by her house & never stopped to visit, never invited her to the reunions. She essentially didn't exist. Then the siblings started dying. Now there is a sister and a brother and my mother. All of a sudden the past 4 or 5 years, they call her every day and chat with her. Because they spend a few minutes every day chatting with her, all of a sudden they think they are experts on her and how she needs to live. They call me constantly telling me what I'm doing wrong. How she should be living, eating, wearing. How often she should go to the doctor, what medications she should or shouldn't be taking, etc. My mother eats this attention up and uses it to get maximum pity. When my mother gets upset with me, she tells them outrageous lies because she knows they will get worked up and call me to chew me out. I haven't had a car for the past 3 years (long story). I have to borrow a car every month to take mother to the grocery store, doctor appointments, errands etc. Since both of my grown children work, this is quite a feat most months. But I get it done. My uncle actually called me 2 nights ago and told me how disappointed he was that I didn't take better care of my mother because she told him that she hadn't been to the doctor in over 2 years. Actually she saw her doctor the middle of June and he set her next appointment for December....hardly 2 years. He informed me that from now on, whenever I take her to the doctor, I am to call him so he can then call the doctor's office and check to see if I'm telling the truth because he's not convinced that I'm not abusing or neglecting her. He doesn't even know me! I told him if he's that concerned about her, he needs to drive down here and get her. I told him to put his money where his mouth is or shut up. Anyone else have this type of issue?
to care for Your Mother.
My mom took to her bed after she had had a bout with cancer. The cancer was removed along with one of my mom's lungs. My mom did fine all throughout the process and when she got home I think the enormity of what she had been through hit her and she took to her bed and refused to get out. She was willing herself to die and everyone knew it. And she was succeeding. One night my aunt Jenny called me because she couldn't get my mom on the phone and I told her about my mom and how she refused to get up and out of bed. She wasn't eating or drinking anything and I wasn't even sure she was 100% conscious anymore. Well, my aunt launched into a tirade about how I had to get my mother out of bed THIS INSTANT and TAKE HER TO THE HOSPITAL. Duh. Of course my mom needed to get out of bed, of course she needed a hospital but I wondered to my aunt how exactly I was supposed to do that? Pick my mom up, throw her up over my shoulder, and stuff her into the car???
And until my mom died, not a long time after this, all of this became MY problem in my aunt's eyes. I was responsible for my mom's decline. It was my fault that my mom wasn't getting the proper medical care. My dad refused to take my aunt's calls and my aunt didn't call anyone but me and I'd be reduced to tears after a conversation with her. I'd turn around and call my brother and he'd get angry at my aunt for treating me this way and he'd want to call my aunt and maybe I should have let him but it would have just made the situation worse. My aunt was and is an old harridan who screeches orders at people and expects them to do her bidding. And they do!
To this day she calls me because I'm her little sister's daughter. Her poor little sister who died too soon and I'm my aunt's one link to her. My brother refuses to talk to her, my dad is gone now so it's just me and every few weeks I begin to get tense because I know that phone call is coming. To this day!
I despise talking to her but her memories of my mom are very sweet (and very inaccurate as she would reduce my mom to tears when they spoke as well). My aunt is 91 now and is as difficult and spiteful as ever. She has a large family with tons of grandkids and great grandkids so I try to keep the focus of the conversation on her and her life so I don't have to talk to her about myself or my life because she will find fault. She will judge. She will condemn. Our conversations last well over an hour and there are times when I actually hold the phone away from my face and look at it thinking, "I can't believe you just said that!" She's just awful but she's an old, old lady who grieves for her sister (my mom) and has a very selective memory. In her mind she and my mom were very close and had a loving, sisterly relationship. In reality my mom would stomp around after speaking to her and be angry for days over things my aunt said to her over the phone. So because aunt Jenny is as old as dirt and because she speaks so lovingly about my mom I maintain contact with her. And every time I speak to her I get off the phone feeling like my life is worthless. I can hardly believe she has that effect over me. She's like a demon. I have to do emotional repair on myself after speaking to her, reassuring myself that I am doing the best I can do, that I don't have to live by her standards, that my choices in life are good and right and it takes me hours to shake off that phone conversation.
I did stop talking to her at one point. She made me so mad that I told her off. She called back and spoke to my dad (when my dad was living with me) and my dad stood up for me and told her off too so to her, we were dead, which was fine by me. Not having to speak to her was like an extended vacation. And then one day a couple of years later she sent me a note. It was lovely and I felt bad. She begged me to call her, to talk to her again, and the note was so humble that I thought maybe what I had said to her had gotten through and the first few phone conversations we had were good but then the demon showed up again and I was right back where I was before. And it continues to this day.....
It is called setting boundaries.