My mother is 70 and in great health. I am 47 and in pretty good health but am disabled and find it somewhat difficult to walk. She moved to my town to be close to family, and wanted a Walton-like setting, I think. My three youngest are teens and they are doing their own things most of the time. I babysit my two young grandchildren fulltime and am dead by the time my daughter picks them up at the end of the day. My husband works long hours. Nevertheless, we are willingly at my mom's beck and call, and do countless chores for her. We spend as much time with her as we can even though she is frequently rude and becomes irritated by a huge variety of odd things. She can also be a loving, warm and wonderful woman, and a lot of fun to be with. But - we are always on eggshells, wondering if the pleasant time will be broken by some unknown thing which offends her. She also bought a home with a long, steep staircase to the door even though I was in a wheelchair at the time and had to crawl up them. The bannister is wobbly and only on one side, and although I have repeatedly told her that it scares me to go up and down those stairs and asked her to secure the banister or add another (at one point there isn't one on either side), she hasn't ever done that (and can well afford to). So, for all those reasons, we are not at her home as often as she wants. She rarely comes to mine and when she does, she becomes offended if I take time out to deal with a child, answer the phone, or whatever. She works, has a busy and productive life, and and erratic schedule. I never know when she will be home and have found that if I ask if I can come by she will sound strained and say that she has a lot of work to do. Then she complains that she should never have moved here because we ignore her.
I can deal with all of those things without much trouble. However, once every six months or so she has a major falling out with someone or other (a neighbor, co-worker, family member, etc). This time it fell on me again, and rather than being confused and sad as I was prior times, I am fed up.
She loves dogs and has two, which I care for all the time when she is working or out of town. They mean the world to her and she has been looking for a third. I had just one until last week when I was richly blessed with a 2nd, a trained service dog to help me balance. I have a fused ankle, cysts in my bones, and blood clots so am on coumadin. Falls need to be avoided at all costs and I was sooooo happy to get this service dog.
We had dinner with my mom two nights before, and I excitedly texted her as we went to pick up the dog the next day. All was normal and good. The next day I asked her if she wanted to meet her and she said yes. She came outside cheerfully enough, then became stiff, refused to hug me, or even LOOK at the dog. She made a rude comment or two and then marched back inside. My husband and I were left on the sidewalk with our mouths hanging open, saying "what just happened?". In the week since she has sent me formal letters going on about me making choices which she chooses not to include in her life, and has told us not to visit her, that she will not come to our house, etc. anymore because of this dog. No, I am not leaving out any details here...it makes no sense at all. This exceptionally well mannered creature who will help me walk, get out of the house and live a fuller life is the reason my mother is rejecting us all?
When this happened we just said "okay here she goes again - she will be okay in a week or two", but since then I have been getting madder and madder inside. I have not done anything wrong and would never treat anyone - especially her - like that. She will not communicate, go to counseling, or even just talk to me. It hurts so much when she does this, and this time I think I am just fed up.
After a week of my being sweet and understanding, her irrational nastiness today did me in. I thought long and hard and discussed this with my husband before telling her that I was not willing to put up with such rudeness any longer, that I was angry for being put through this when I had done nothing at all wrong, and that I would not be interested in any further contact until she sought me out with civil behavior. I even blocked her from my phone and email so that she will need to talk to me face to face (she sends nasty texts and emails) when she is past this bout of oddness.
I think she is bipolar. However, she is extremely anti-mental health anything. She will never get near a therapist so I know that I will be dealing with this type of behavior for the rest of her life. I can accept that.
I am so mad right now, though. Especially since she hit me with this during a particularly stressful time in my life. And yet, I'm also feeling guilty. Ugh.
I really don't think we will ever be close again, even after she goes back to normal. It is such a shame, but a part of me died. I'm done.
Set limits of what time of day you will respond to texts, etc too. Set "office hours". Its okay to delay responding to her until the next day, and often whatever the issue was dissapears by then anyway.
Dont even think of answering a text at 3am! that is like getting up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water for a 14 year old! Dont ever start something you dont want to do every day.
She is, as others have said, obviously suffering from some mental illness. Can you make an appt with her physician and discuss it with him/her? Journal some examples of what is going on, and take your husband with you too, if possible, as he can also testify to what you both are seeing. Best of luck to you.
Thank you so much. This site has helped me so much in just a few days time. It feels very good to have obviously intelligent individuals with similar experiences confirm that I did the right thing. Thank you, everyone. I really needed this - it is the first time I have taken a stand with her, and I wanted to be sure it was being done in a healthy way, and in the kindest way possible.
No matter. She has a disability, too -- an obvious mental illness. That is sad, and I'd be considerably more sympathetic to her IF SHE WERE TRYING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Even then I would do what I had to to protect myself from her hurtful behavior.
Your mother is 70 and in great health. This could go on for another 3 decades. And if somewhere along the way her health starts declining and she needs help her behavior could get even more demanding and crazy. So the sooner you learn to deal with this unacceptable behavior (by not accepting it), the better your own mental health will be.
Did you do the right thing by calling your mother on her unacceptable behavior and blocking her from calling and texting you? Yes! Yes! Yes! Continue to do the right thing by reading the books suggested, learning to set and enforce boundaries, and detaching from your toxic mother. Browse on this site and read about how other victims of this behavior deal with it. You might also consider getting some counselling yourself. Not because there is anything wrong with you or that you need fixing, but because this is difficult and you deserve some support.
I'm so glad you have Gretchen! This is the year your life takes a nice turn toward more pleasantness, in more ways than one.
My dog Gretchen is half lab, half dane, and the sweetest, gentlest girl in the world. She is so calm it in unbelieveable. We are still getting used to one another and learning to function as a team, but she has caught me numerous times already, and is such a big help on getting back on my feet when I have been sitting on the ground to weed or play with my grandchildren. I am so blessed to have her and she makes my family very happy.
My mom sent me a text at 3 a.m. (I guess the call blocking didn't work, lol). She simply asked if I was awake. This is very unusual and I expect she may be feeling guilty after I drew the line. I'm really not sure whether or not to reply. I want to, but am thinking that maybe it would be best if I didn't. We live close to one another and perhaps it would be best if she actually came to see me rather than try to reduce her guilt over the phone (or try to guilt trip me). What do you think?
How awesome that you finally have a service dog... please come back and tell us more about him/her . I am very excited for you...
You are entitled to your happiness, your family, and apparently your mom is who she is.... no need for you to 'take care of her' as she is more than capable to take care of herself....
come back and let us know how you are doing... sending you great big hugs for making the choice to not be abused, and that what she is doing.... so, enjoy your dog, your grandkids, and your home.... if she wants to act civil, she knows where you are...