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I'm the proud "owner" of a very difficult, very needy, very unhappy and jealous 80-year old mother. I'm an only child in my mid-30s with a young family (toddlers), a full time career and a husband who also works full time. My dad's deceased. I live on the other side of the state, about 2 hours away, from my mother and hometown. I moved out here about a decade ago for preservation's sake. My mother has always had some serious personality issues and as an adult it became suffocating enough that I need to create physical space between us. Yet, as will be apparant by my story, she still continues to meddle. Lately she's been in an absolute snit because I wasn't invited to my 3rd cousin's bridal shower like the rest of the family (and by family, I mean, like the rest of my 1st cousins were). Daily she would ask..."have you gotten the invite in the mail? Did the invite arrive yet? Are you SURE you didn't get anything about the shower????" I kept telling her NO, I wasn't been invited - probably because I don't live local - and that the lack of invitation was a-OK with me. Truth of the matter, I keep in touch with my 2nd cousin (the bride's mother) on Facebook, but I'm by no means exceptionally close with this side of the family - particularly the bride whom I don't recall ever meeting. So to be saved a trip to the other side of the state - especially when I have a business trip the week immediately proceeding the event - is a welcome relief. Well, as "luck" would have it, yesterday I get home from work and find an invitation for this very event sitting in my mailbox. I'm immediately suspicious. Why did my invite just arrive when everyone else had received theirs a good two weeks ago? Two weeks is a significant lag in timeline, dontcha think? Seems suspicious, doesn't it? Like maybe I wasn't on the original invitee list but then something happened to cause the host to send me an invite? Something like maybe my MOTHER making a big enough stink that I was ultimately invited. Awesome. Turns out, the shower is less than 3 weeks from now. And on that very same day (I did not know the date before receiving the invite), we've got an appointment 30 minutes away to close on our mortgage refinance. I've already rescheduled that appointment twice due to work conflicts and the rate we're locked into expires 3 days after the closing. Basically, we NEED to be at this appointment. So, there you go. The shower host sent the invite all for naught. And now, for having been invited, I'm obligated to send a gift. In short, EVERYBODY loses. THANKS, MOM.

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just turn the tables and pick things they are sensitive about to point out.. repeat it like they do and forever you will have peace. Correct them put them in their place and answer them in a way that shuts them up. argue fight scream put them down anything but a loss of peace is better
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Don't worry about the meddling , that is the present. If she is 80 you better start to plan what you are going to do when she can no longer live by herself.DO NOT move this woman in with you. If she bothers you living 2 hours away imagine life with her in your house. Start checking out AL places now or NH, have a plan,if she falls the first place the hospital or rehab place will want to place her is IN YOUR HOUSE.
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Redred, this is a discussion board for people caring for elderly loved ones. It sounds, fortunately, that that is not your situation.

You have already decided that Mom will never be welcome to live with you. Stick to that. There are other ways to see that she is cared for. Since she is in her early fifties and in good health, this is not something to spend your energy on yet.

If you fee she is a negative influence on your young son, don't leave her alone with him, Get a babysitter for date nights. You strategy of visiting when her husband will be there sounds good.

Instead of simmering for weeks when her behavior is unacceptable, consider confronting her, politely. "Mother, I want "Baby's chair between us. Why are you taking it away?"

Better yet minimize your contact with this person who makes you so angry.
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Wow. I googled meddling mothers and this was one of the first sites. It sounds like your mothers may be quite a bit older. Mine is 53 but it seems she is acting much older. The issue I am having now is her constant, daily, and often multiple texts or e-mails about the weather, deadly illnesses, spreading diseases, recalls and parenting. I have an 8 year old son. I have asked her multiple times to not send me those things but to no avail. I cannot takeit anymore and have even blocked her messages for a while to keep my sanity. She has been saying for months that she has some heart disease, but hasnt actually been diagnosed with it. And she doesnt seem to have time to go get the test that she last said wouldnt be that expensive. Some other article did suggest changing the subject but there's no way to. I've gotten to the point of really resenting her for not respecting my wishes. She missed a call from a pediatrician the other day but instead of calling them back (or just thinking it was a wrong number), she blew up my phone w texts, called, and I ignored as usual these days. She also texted my husband and called my son's day camp to check on him, to find out coincidentally, that my son wasnt there that day. He was home w my husband. All to find out that the call was not for her or us. Talk about crazy! I feel so much resentment that I cant just go on and enjoy a day with her telling her what a great mom she is. When my husband first graduated his basic training in the army, we went out to eat. I proceeded to place the high chair between me and him, and she took it and moved it by her! The nerve. I think ever since then I've just been completely disgusted that my mom thinks that was acceptable behavior. So in my case, she is super obsessed w my son, and always thinks he has some rare illness when he got a tummy ache for a few hours, etc. I probably have more than 100 texts emails this year regarding illness. Im starting to feel like I shouldnt leave my son alone with her, plus I dont want to see her and she seems to loom around forever when I get home. My husband is ok w her watching him on date night because she is so obsessed but it's almost unhealthy and I dont want her brainwashing my son. Oy. Any thoughts? I just cannot let it go. I do try to be cordial but it's pretty obvious to most I'm done. I'll go have a meal if her husband will be there just to ease tension so I dont have to talk or sit in silence. Her husband used to tell her she's being obsessive about germs etc. but I honestly dont know if he even has the energy to deal with her anymore. She also was a constant nagger to him and his daughter when I still lived at home. She's definitely someone that makes you watch what you say so youre not having to hear about all the possible negatives of whatever it is brought up. It's terrible. Sometimes I think she is doing it to be spiteful. Then I wonder if she's losing her mind, although so capable of pushing everyone's buttons. I just hope her husband doesnt boot her out (she hasnt worked in many years, for no seemingly good reason) because I do not want her to live with me.
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omg. OMG!! libracat, how on earth do you put up with that? Why on earth do you? Oh my goodness, dear lady, I'd be a basket case in two weeks. You've probably explained the how and why on other posts, and you don't owe me an answer in any case. I am just blown away by the constant criticism. It must be like water drip-drip-dripping in your consciousness.

Acting smart? No, Mom, if I were smart you wouldn't be here.

Sorry. All that drip-drip-dripping in your post has make me snarky.
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Oh libra - I know all those games. Mother has been playing them all her life.She was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. She is biased and bigotted too and rants about the health system. I laughed when you mentioned Queen Eliz, Sig other and I refer to how she wants an entourage whenever she goes somewhere, and to be treated like royalty. A few years ago, I made the mistake of taking my Christmas vacation to look after her after she had her gall bladder out, She refused to follow a sensible diet, as she said no one in hospital had given her any information, so she wanted lamb chops, pork chops etc.One night a few days after the op. she helped herself to pickled herring for supper and the next morning i was awoken by a figure in a white gown in my room (she never knocks on your door -no boundaries) saying "I threw up" . Well, I was hardly surprised, It was Christmas morning, 6 am and she insisted on me taking her to hospital. I suggested that she just eat a little more sensibly, but, no, she said her doctor told her to go to ER if anything went wrong. O-kay. I dressed and off we went without even a cup of coffee. We arrived in the ER of a large hospital in the downtwown area and you know it was a place for street people to go to get out of the cold - especially Christmas day. I managed to get a cup of coffee from a machine, and we sat there surrounded by street people. I was concerned that she would catch something. Finally she agreed to me calling her doctor, who said that it was not a good place for her to be, so we drove back to her apartment. Then she said "I lost one of my good gloves." You will have to go back to the ER to get it. Me: "Mother did you check your coat pockets and your purse?" She: "Oh yes, it is lost, you will have to go back to the ER." So I checked her coat pockets and found both gloves. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her I had found them. These stories are about the things I can laugh at later, There are stories which are not funny at all, even in retrospect. It is all about her and being the center of attention, and being "served" - that is narcissism. She also has the BPD and gets enraged very easily - what I grew up with. We coudn't go for a drive on a Sunday afternoon without her blowing up about something. Now, it she loses it, I just walk out. I will not be subjected to it any more. I don't know how you can keep your sanity with your mum in your home! I only answer phone calls if I am feel to it. I have voice mail if it is important.
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Hi Emjo, I'm in Ontario so I know what your mother is saying.......mine says it too. She is biased and bigoted and rants on about people taking advantage of our enviable health system - but she and lots of others her age are in the ER about twice a month!!
I remember one time about five yrs. ago when she was living in her own apartment in a town about 40 minutes away from me. She called me from the hospital to tell me that "she was going to be admitted" and had her friend drive her to the ER. She of course was very vague about what ailed her. They kept her in overnight and the next morning she was on the phone about what she needed me to bring.
Well, I don't drive, so my younger daughter took a day off university in a snowstorm to come pick me up and off we went. When we got to the ER we saw that she was in the end room (no door) of the unit and sitting on the bed, not dressed, waiting and hoping they would keep her in (so she would be waited on because she was doing nothing for herself at home, not cooking, not doing laundry, not shopping for herself, nothing). She had had a friend drive her to ER so she wouldn't have to pay for a cab or an ambulance - and so began the terrible habit she got into. Her poor friend once sat with her for 10 hrs. in emerg because she lives in her town and I had no way of getting out there.
Along comes the nurse and the miserable chewing started: "You people don't care about us elderly but it was good enough for us to give our lives in the war"
"You treat immigrants better than us" "This place isn't fit for animals" etc. - it's a brand new multi-million $ hospital for Heaven's sake!
That was just the beginning - these nurses are on to them and know that they just want a place to "park" and be pampered - well, guess what - that's why the kept her in emerg; there was nothing wrong with her, for one thing, and for another, they certainly weren't going to admit her so she could take up a bed instead of someone who really needed it.
Then the real beefs began when she realized she was being sent home. But -- surprise, surprise! After she had ferreted away half the supplies in the room into her purse (kleenex, latex gloves (??), whatever she could stash away) she started complaining and said "I'm glad I'm going home anyway, they'll charge you for a bandaid in here". Well is it any WONDER? You're STEALING!!!
Their logic and sensibilities have flown out the window, except when they need to use them to get their own way. But the best was yet to come.......
After waiting over two hours for her to be discharged with her imaginary illness,
we got her out to the car -- "Where on earth did you park? I'll have to walk miles" -- she suddenly perks up and says to my daughter - "Oh you'll need to stop at the grocery and your mother can run in and get me what I want - I made a list" then we get back in the car and it's "You'll have to stop at the bank, I have a check I need to cash", once that's done "There's a drug store around the corner, just let me out at the door"!!!
So as you can see, despite the snowstorm, cost to the hospital, my daughter's wasted course day, the inconvenience to us and time wasted, the poor friend having to take her there, damn the torpedoes, never mind who's put out, IT'S ALL ABOUT ME......I WAS IN EMERGENCY but those idiots sent me home! Now what am I going to do! Who will look after me now that I'm home!
Well I see a huge difference between looking after someone and being their lackey - and that's just what she wanted. I should have heeded the red flags that she flew for 30 yrs., saying "What will happen to me when I take sick?" Now you're making everyone else sick!! She thinks she's Queen Elizabeth - and that's not far-fetched because she's obsessed with her anyways!
If someone had told me that I would be in the position of someone who behaves the way she does, I would have run the other direction. It's because I lived away from her, and only talked to her once a day by phone (used to be once a week but when Bell stopped making it long distance, look out below!!)
that I didn't realize the kind of person she had become from living alone for forty years. Too bad she wasn't alive when the Titanic sailed! LOL
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I am grinning here about the stories -libra and pink, same old same, old. no one has had whatever the condition worse that my mother. Everything is special -specially good, specially bad, whatever.Before her hip op, and I am sure it will happen again, she walked the mall like a young person, but can't shop for food - only for clothing and things for her apartment.. She has cost the system lots by trips to the ER, and tests only to find there is nothing wrong. Mother: "Why haven't they called me about the test results?" Me:"Because they found nothing wrong, mother." She is in an ALF, and has home care 4 x a day, and calls many of these poor women abusers - undercooked oatmeal was one reason. She, who will be 100 soon, sat in her chair and shook with rage and told me that these caregivers have taken years off her life!!!. She claims that seniors are treated criminally in AB (Alberta - our province in Canada) - now she has escalated to calling it illegal. Anyone visitng her would see a beautiful apartment, kept impeccably, with a well nourished, well dressed, healthy looking woman, who has a well stocked frig and cupboards, who is still mobile. I sit there and think, "It won't wash mother!" She claims she was kidnapped by a hospital when she went into the ER, and they took her to the geriatric ward, and kept her in a couple of days. It turns out her electrolytes were out of balance. Me, "You are in your 90s mother, where are they going to take you?" and so on. May as well laugh or your would cry.
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Wow, 3Pink. Interesting story. So sorry about your dad. It was wonderful that you could protect him and make sure your mom went to another facility. Thanks for sharing this with me. Hugs, Cattails.
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Cattails, I actually, did not "put" my mother in a nursing home. She landed there by her actions and intentions. Both my parents had been hospitalized at the same time. My father first, and as she had done sooo many times before, she "fell" in their apartment and called 911. Funny thing, she had done this so many times that I could not count. She had no injuries, just balance problems that were truly improved by using a walker and taking it slow. Everytime my father ended up in the hospital for truly serious illnesses, etc. - she also found a way to get herself in the hospital. This is typical narcissistic behavior - has to be the center of attention. When both were next going to rehab. I requested the best rehabs in their area for them to go. My father DID NOT want her in the same rehab as him. She had sucked the life out of him and he wanted and needed and deserved peace and quite.

So, I was fortunate, after research and visiting facilities, to get them both into nice ones, but not the same one. The social worker from Elder Services was well aware of my mother's difficult personality and how she treated my father. And of course, for his benefit I filled her in on things she was not aware of.

I actually called in Protective Services to help me provide the best care for my father as he was very ill; and we also got the best of care for my mother, but at a different facility. Due to her balance problems for which she was stubbornly not using her walker at home; on top of the personality disorder and dementia, she was NOT ALLOWED TO GO HOME WITHOUT 24 hour care. She had been playing this game where she would get herself into rehab by lying, faking, etc. Of course this is not normal behavior, but as many of us know and experienced; it is a mix of mental health disorder and plain old selfishness and manipulation.
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3Pink: The difference between you and Libracat is you finally had enough and put your mom in a nursing home. I'm not telling Libracat that she has to do that too, but I wish she would because I can't imagine having to deal with her mother 24 flipping hours a day. I know I don't understand what each of you have lived through, but gosh it just breaks my heart.
You guys could still swap stories about your mom's, maybe even travel to visit each other and meet the moms. Haha. I'm glad you have each other as friends. You so understand what each deals with. Love to both of you, Cattails.
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Libracat, thanks for the great post. I'm still laughing from what you said; I can't help it. The similarities are just surreal. We have to laugh, or we really will lose it! Oh, just one other thing - My mother has every illness anyone has and was sicker from it than anyone in the world, says she. My brother, God rest his soul had continuously said she is always crying wolf and one day...... - well that day has arrived and no one believes her anymore Also, many times when I call she thinks it is my sister and she is very upbeat, but when I say it is me; she changes her tone and the complaining begins. To those others reading this, I'm really not be irreverent; because after a lifetime of this, you really begin to question your own sanity by being on the receiving end of it FOREVER. When they can turn on the charm like nobodys business, you really question what is real and what is not.

You really are my buddy too! Misery loves company. Thanks for the laugh, I needed it.
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3pinkroses: congratulations to you and your daughter! How wonderful that you were able to "shelve" all your mother's behaviours and let loose and enjoy -- good for you!
Funny that you mentioned "she put on the voice". We get this all the time. In fact the other day my mother told my daughter "I must have gotten your father's cold". My husband hasn't had a cold!! It's hilarious how she tries to invent different ailments every single week......last week it was her foot, her throat and a cold..........
You'd die laughing (pardon that!!) if you heard the "croaky" voice she puts on when her friend calls....it's always the same : croaky to start with, then a half a minute later, back to normal - so now her friend doesn't believe anything she tells her about any illness and says she's going to cry wolf once too often. Already happened!
I swear yours and mine are twins. Mine has told everyone she has no privacy on the phone, never gets out, doesn't get enough food, etc. There's no end they won't go to to get whatever the heck it is they want, right?
And, by the way, mine won't walk either! But the mall? Forget about it - she will walk in there hour on end until she finds what she wants, but if I tell her that I'M going shopping, would she like to come with me, she will say, oh no, to get where you want to go, I'd have to walk miles. She even complained in the hospital -- the HOSPITAL! -- that the doctor's office was too far away from the elevator and guess what: she had to "walk miles"!!
I'll tell you a funny story soon about how my mother got caught and found out and had neighbours running after her in her apartment - maybe if we laugh at this it will help us feel better!
You're my buddy! and thanks for your very nice comments. You get a pat on the back from me too!
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Libracat, I am exhausted just hearing all your mother complaints about EVERYTHING and you have to live with it! Aside from my mother's form of narcissistic behavior, my MIL who lived with us was constantly meddlling too. Sometimes it just gets so exhausting being the better person, and letting them get away with the BS.

But you are so right - it is better to redirect, etc. etc. etc. as they are just waiting for that confrotation - love living on the drama. I just took my mother out the other day to the doctor and to a really nice restaurant for dinner. She loved the meal, finished her plate and prceeded to tell me when we return to the nursing home that she (hated that restaurant) as she had to walk too far. I dropped her off at the handicapped entrance of the restaurant and she only had to walk a short distance to the door. Said she was sooooo tired from walking, blah, blah, blah. After that she wanted to go to the mall shopping....Really???? thought she was too tired. I had already driven 2 hours to pick her up for the doctors appointment which was 1/2 hour further and then 1/2 hour back to NH and then 2 hour ride home. On top of that I had a migraine. She could care less. Then I get a message on my machine 2 days later that she NEVER gets out and is OUT OF EVERYTHING. Which is a total lie. Just wants me down there again. And of course, she had to "put on the voice" which is creepy in itself; like she is on death's door and nobody cares. Like you, there is not one person other than me that will put up with her BS - no relative or friends. No one cares anymore. But, we of course, the ones who continue to be good people and help them, are the bad daughters, bad, bad. bad.

Her phone calls are so disruptive and poisonous, that I finally did not call her back. My youngest daughter had her prom tonight and I wanted to totally enjoy the moment with her without having my mother's BS on my mind. And I did! She looked like a princess and I enjoyed all the pre-prom preparation without a thought of my mother and her lies. This is how she has always been, the poor me syndrome.

God bless you Libracat - you are an angel. I admire all that you do under the circumstances. Take care.
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Wubba, I guess I saw this particular issue with your mom a little differently. I know that this is probably just ONE example of her meddling, but to me it sounds like she didn't want you excluded from this wedding. It most likely bugged her that her daughter wasn't included, so she put up a fuss. If it were me, I'd call the mother of your 3rd cousin and apologize for moms interference, and tell her that you weren't offended by not getting an invitation in the first place. And since you weren't planning on attending, no harm no foul. But I also wouldn't send a gift, because you weren't supposed to get an invitation to start with. I would basically implement a 'do over' like it never happened. Then I would call mom and tell her that while she might have had your best interests in mind, you can stand up for yourself. And if you really had wanted to go to that wedding, you would've picked up the phone and raised a stink all on your own.
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Libracat: You know me. I'm rooting for you to cut her off.
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.......and maybe I should do the same!!
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Hi Wubba1108 - hope you've had a good day.
My granddaughter came over today.....of course that was my mother's target for this afternoon - here's a sampling of the missives I received on that (she hopes I will get exasperated enough with the comments and take the action she wants done - control and manipulation) --
"You better put a sweater on that baby - it's cold in here, you must have turned the heat down"
"Has the baby had her lunch? What are you going to give her?"
"I don't see why your daughter feels the need to have a nap with the baby" (she's pregnant, and running after a toddler, DUH!!)
"You're giving that baby far too much milk"
"Shouldn't you be changing her diaper about now? You waited long enough"
"What will she be having for supper? She can't live on snacks, you know"
"Why do you let her run around all dressed up? She'll ruin that dress"
"Oh you're changing her clothes now? I suppose you're going to put a sleeper on her, she seems to live in those" Last time I checked, I was NOT her mother!!
The meddling goes on and on, day and night, without end. Anything is fair game but mostly it's about food, tv, the cats, what I'm wearing, who I should or shouldn't be talking to on the phone, what I should be doing instead of watching tv (until she wants something else), the decisions I've made about my home and family, what I should or shouldn't be doing with my own children, etc. etc. etc. After the last comment I said to her "Aren't you watching your movie?" Her answer was "Yes, I've got it on right now, why would you ask that?" I told her that her time would be better spent watching that than trying to run everything and get involved in things that aren't her issues, and, of course, I was accused of "acting smart".......... It's endless so please heed my warning from before: they're never going to change and it's ourselves who have to NOT engage, don't argue, just change the subject, avoid them, try to arrange outings for them so you can get some peace for yourself. They thrive on the drama, arguing and confrontation and even the negative attention, for them, is better than no attention. I have nobody who will take her out to lunch or dinner, for the day, or overnight.......because no one else wants to put up with her, including my brother, whose house is "too small" to have her (she's on her best behaviour when she's over there though because she knows if she pries or meddles, he will cut her off like he did once before for 12 years!!
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I agree with Chimonger. Buy a gift card for dinner for two at a local restaurant for the cousin or whoever is getting married with a nice card that wishes them well and comments that while you don't know their tastes, you thought they might enjoy a nice evening together after all the wedding excitement is over. Keep your appointment and get on with your life. You can also get a subscription to a magazine your mother might enjoy getting and talk to her about articles in it. Anything to steer the conversation away from the drama she enjoys stirring up for attention. Is there anything she was once interested in that she could develop an interest in again? Anything she once wanted to do that she never got around to? Would she do scrapbooking "for you" if you took her some scrapbooking magazines, supplies and photos? It would be a great way to get her old boxes of photos in an album and learn who the people only she remembers are. Tell her it is what you want for Christmas...or the kids need to know about their family history. She needs a purpose to keep living without driving you crazy.
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Judy gave EXCELLENT suggestions! Love that envelopes one per week with some little tidbit in each!
Tha helps her feel more attended to....as much as anyone could make her--since she is pathologically bent on controlling others--know that it is out of fear of abandonment and whatever other old issues stimulated her behaviors.
You were SMART to move so far away!
AVOID allowing guilt trips from her!
Those guilts are her own, not yours.
If you do not have caller ID on your phone yet, get it!
Allow the answering machine to record her messages--on an actual taped message recorder....that constitutes a record of her verbiage towards you.
Save those in case you need them later.
Judy's suggestions are excellent--try those!
And by Heaven, go to your mortgage appointment--NOT to that wedding.
Token gift, polite appologies for not being there--perfect according to etiquette rules!
Set healthy boundaries/limits on other's use of your time, energies and sympathies--including family members--it can save your life!
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LSS (long story short) -- you're NOT going to stop her meddling!! Don't even get me started on the trouble my mother has caused with her meddling. These people thrive on being the center of attention, especially anything drama-related, because it gives them importance and lets them keep in the "loop" for they are insecure people who can't stand to be left out or be the last ones to be advised of something they think they are entitled to know!
If you read some of the earlier postings I have put on here under different subjects you will get a handle on how my mother operates - she will bait me and then lower the hammer, i.e. "what are you going to do this morning?" "I'm going out to shovel the snow (I used to love doing it! now I'm in a condo and I miss it) "Well I'm going to have a talk with your husband then! You shouldn't be doing that - you'll hurt your back" (as if she cares!) She's just resenting the time I spend doing something I enjoy, for it is time not spent on HER!!
Others who comment on here will know that she remarks that I shouldn't be babysitting my granddaughter, I don't need to do laundry so often, she comments on how many times I use the washroom, and if I (in her opinion ) am too long in the shower, I get "did you fall in in there?"
All of the things that she meddles with/in are none of her concern, and I have pointed that out many times - she will tell family members the complete opposite of what I have told her just to start something, then when called on it, denies and lies about it "Oh, that's not what you told me!" REALLY?!
I am so sorry that you have this in your life and I'm sure many on here have to deal with the same kind of difficult personality - the key is: we're not going to change them - but we can change our strategy in dealing with them and that's what I'm working on.
Good luck to you - get caller ID and the less you tell her about your own life the better - that will give her less ammunition. Yesterday I was asked why I didn't tell her that I had a bank account.......HUH?
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Smart stuff there, Judy! We're on site (nearly 24-7) with my mother in law, so the distraction tactics need to work a little differently, but the advice you offer is excellent.
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Maybe your mother is expecting you to get HER to the shower! If that's all it is, help her set up arrangements for her to get there.
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Get an alarm that you can set and as soon as your mother calls, set it. When it rings, announce that you have to go! Also, you can always be "on the way out the door" whenever she calls. When she goes off on one of her tirades, excuse yourself and say you have to go. You can also ask her questions along the line of "what do you think might be going on?" or "how do you feel about that" or change the subject to something totally unreleated...gardening, sewing, politics, pets, anything you can think of that she might become sidetracked on. Save magazine articles that are in her former areas of interest or that you can ask her opinion about. You can always do the "oh I read something the other day I wanted to ask you about"; read her a few paragraphs and ask her opinion. Spend 10 minutes on the phone with her and "have to go". You can also save articles you think might grab her interests or opinion and mail them to her. It really takes only a few minutes to drop something in the mail once a week with a "I saw this and wondered what you think about it" note. It can be anything from an article on the latest colors to paint the living room to an article on terrariums or a park for pets to run free. It really does not matter so long as you can come up with something that will make her feel important and needed. It could be an article on school lunches or a recipe you "want to try". That way she gets the attention she needs and you don't get sucked into her family dramas. I used to take a couple of hours every few months while watching TV to go through magazines etc and clip things to send to my mother. Put each article in a separate envelope, add a comment or two, request her opinion and address them. Mail one each week so that she gets a letter about every 7-10 days. You can stick in drawing the kids did "for her", a printout of a family picture, pet picture, your garden or the new dress you bought. It doesn't really take much effort. You can also send her questions abouut family history or the times she has lived through. "What was it like before automatic washing machines?" "How did your mother do the laundry?" "What did you do during the summer as a little girl?" Simple things that will give her the feeling that she is still a vital, important human being with something to offer. It can even become fun, and as she feels rewarded for what she offers, conversations with her will become more pleasant...and so will she!
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I wholeheartedly second Jeanne's comment. You are a wise woman. Cattails
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I'd send her a token gift, (you've never met her?!) and a short but nice note saying you have prior committments for that date but you wish her happiness at the shower and joy in her marriage.

Meddling is one word for your mother's behavior. Controlling also comes to mind. Obsessive might fit in there somewhere, too.

You, my dear, were very smart to put 2 hours between you and Mom, and I am very glad that you don't feel obligated to show up at the shower. You don't need our advice. You could be a role model for many who need advice about meddling moms. I hope you stick around the forum and share your wisdom.
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All I can say is the only way to stop a meddling mother is to keep the conversation short on the phone; and even if you visit her; and she starts on something - just say you have to go. As for the obligation for a gift for the shower - I don't think they will expect that of you. And the invitation after all was 2 weeks later. Sounds like you think your mother got involved and put them up to it. Good luck.
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