My Mom likes being mean.

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Just found this website. Surely there is someone out there who also walks in my shoes. My mother, who is basically healthy, nearly 80, and lives one minute away from me with my dad, is one mean, spiteful person. She's always been that way. We've never had a relationship. I've come to terms with that over the years.

Mom has an amazing memory. She can remember things from decades ago. She also remembers every slight/perceived slight toward her, incident you did that made her mad, whatever. Nothing good, however. And most important, she holds grudges. She loves to. I just had a "wonderful" conversation yesterday with her where she went from an incident that happened a couple of weeks ago with my 7-year-old grandson to how selfish I am because my husband and I like to travel and if something happens while we are gone, they'll be buried before we get back, to an incident last Thanksgiving, and so on and on and on. She finally hung up on me.

But she said to me, "I do hold grudges. I like to. That's how I get back at people." I asked her if she ever would forgive someone, and she replied, "not usually. I can, but I usually don't."

My father is miserable. Something happened when they were newly married and she holds it over his head. She told me that one day, and he sat there and agreed. She's a miserable person. She's made my dad's life miserable. She wants to make mine miserable.

Physically, though, she is as healthy as a durn horse. A bit of arthritis seems to be it, although if there is more, she won't tell me. My dad's the same, but he doesn't have the memory she has. She's 79 and he's 81.

So technically I am not a caregiver yet, but it's coming, and I don't know how I'm gonna handle this. One day my phone will ring and my life will be drastically changed. If my dad goes first, my mom will have to move. She cannot stay in their home; it's too large.

Oh, and she hoards. I haven't been in their house in years. They don't want anyone in unless there's a plumbing problem and since my dh is a plumber, he gets to take care of the problem. So he's seen inside. He says it is unreal.

So here I am, an only child who is nearly 54 with my parents just a short walk behind my home. I have two adult children: a son and daughter. My son lives 45 minutes away, and my daughter, son-in-law, grandson (7) and granddaughter (1) live about a mile and a half away as the crow flies. I'm not a caregiver yet. But I know my life will become a living hell when I become one, unless my mom goes first. She's too mean, though, to do that.

Honestly, I'm surprised my dad hasn't pushed her down the steps. I hate to actually type that, but I've thought that so many times.

I suppose my question is this: how do I deal with her? How do I set boundaries? For the most part, I just don't talk to her. I can go weeks without speaking to her and it doesn't bother me. I do talk to my dad, but poor Dad gets caught in the middle a lot. I'm definitely a NON-CONFRONTATIONAL person. Just being near my mom makes my blood pressure go up.

Surely someone else out there walks in my shoes. I need someone's shoulder to cry on. My husband's is there, but he doesn't really UNDERSTAND. He's close to the situation, but she's not his mom. His mom was opposite mine: sweet and loving.

So I have a mean mom. Help.

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Thanks again for comments. Ag8080, it is really weird trying to communicate via computer. You are correct in that no emotion, no inflection, nothing can be inserted into the typed word. Occasionally the italics or capitalization or quotes can be added, or the smiley face, but it still isn't like speaking and seeing facial and body expressions.

I wasn't upset if you took it that way. Again, thanks to the internet's lack of emotion. There is absolutely no way I can even begin to explain all that goes on with my mother. In trying to hit highlights to I don't drone on and on, I leave out so much.

But I do appreciate your concern very much. And also everyone else's. Knowing I'm not alone helps. What I wish is that we could all physically meet and have a weekend (OMG! That would be a trip my mother would not approve of!) of just talking.

I've actually looked for some group meetings locally, but cannot really find anything.
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Wow, VS - reading your post was like biting on a piece of silver foil - that shot straight through a nerve with me. Mother's mantra is "people are horrible." Ah well, it only took me about thirty years to realise that wasn't even usually true..! And oh how I share your sense of sadness for our mothers. Both for what they missed out on, and for what made them have their beliefs in the first place. If we could only see the scars, eh?
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My heart will always ache a little from having let my mom discourage me from having closer - or ANY - relationship with friends or other family. My heart aches for her too, I know she did this out of a deep sense of not being good enough and irrational fear of being criticized. Facebook only goes so far to catch up on all we missed!
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Sharon:
I did not mean to upset you further. I was only speaking from my own experience. My children (both adults) never liked to be put in the middle. If your daughter wants to talk, of course talk to her. I did not know the whole situation and was coming from my own perspective. Well, it's better to "not care" than to hate. Indifference is freedom. True freedom. I wondered because you seem to still feel her slings and arrows.

When we write on forums, we answer from both a)what we read whichmay not be what you man. Much is lost in written communication. It is not like being on the phone where you can hear someone and say ..."is this what you meant when you said? Also, we do not know the whole situation, the history, so that, many times, there is room for misunderstanding and subsequent hurt feelings.
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Thank you to everyone for your comments. I have truly learned a lot just by coming to this forum. I have purchased three books, two mentioned here, have finished one and will devour the next two shortly. Again, I am learning so much. But I do realize that there is my lifetime of ...I don't even know what word to use... to deal with and that I probably will need some professional help. So I feel I am perhaps off to a better start coming here before they need my help than waiting until I am in the thick of it. You all have helped tremendously.

ag8080,

I don't feel I've brought my daughter into the middle of all of this. My mother treated/treats her as she treated/treats me. So my daughter knows firsthand how my mother is. My mom has even lit into my son (33) (my daughter is 31) who can do no wrong, but is the most irresponsible person in my whole family.

In talking to my daughter yesterday, I told her that I just don't care anymore. I don't hate my mother. I just don't care. I don't care if I never see her or speak with her again. I don't care if she hates me. I don't care if she loves me. I just don't care. She has influenced my dad to distance himself from me, and, even though we've always had a great relationship, my dad and I, I don't care if he cuts me away, either. It's his choice. It's his loss.

Sharon
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Sharonkay:
I would not put your daughter in the middle, even IF she sides with you. It is really unfair to her and it may, one day, backfire on you. I did this once re my Dad (who is abusive) and it only hurt them and they did not want to be put in the middle. They estranged him and I have to live with that. There are people like friends, pastors, and others. Watch what you read ... Narcissistic is the big buzz word and you will find literally hundreds of books on the topic. Make sure you choose one by a person who is schooled in the field, preferably a psychiatrist. You can read all you want, but the lifetime of abuse does not go away without "real" help. I would advise you to never be her caretaker. You don't like her and, believe me, sick people aren't the easiest and things would get out of hand. Not judging you. It is just a bad fit. You need a lot of love, caring and patience to do this job which, under the best of circumstances is trying. If you already dislike the person, leave itto someone else. Good luck.
PS: Hate will keep you tied and miserable. You are not free. Reading a book isn't going to do it after all these years. I hope you do not take offense because none is intended. People like that get worse with time and worse with illness.
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Sharonkay, if you can find a therapist that deals with elder care, that would be your best bet. Wish I would have found one, even though I liked my therapist she wasn't in tune with all the issues regarding elders.

One thing my therapist did teach me is that it was my parents decision to remain in their single family home, and that my parents need to live by their decision.... thus, if my parents have no transportation because they can no longer drive, that is THEIR problem, that they shouldn't keep depending on me to drive them everywhere....

That if they are bored being in their home, that is THEIR problem, not mine to correct or to spent time watching them nap ;)

That my parents could easily fix the number of issues they have if they would move to a retirement community, which they can afford. My Dad would start packing tomorrow but my Mom doesn't want to spend the money. They are still living in the world where a loaf of bread was 25 cents.
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Linda22, good comment about the making decisions by not making decisions. Mom is a pro at this. It is just passive aggressive behavior. Another way to get what she wants without having to do anything. Responsibility and my mother do not know each other!
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sharonkay, I find that my husband and daughter are excellent at cutting thru the rubbish with my mom. They have enough knowledge, yet enough distance to have clarity. Watch out for parents making decisions by not making decisions. My mom nixed every option we presented for life changes after Dad went in NH. We ended up doing things "for now" until we were totally responsible for her care and happiness. My sister and I do what we call "20 step mental chess" with Mom. Before we do things or even say things, we think ahead about 20 steps because that's what she's doing. It helps us avoid caving in on our needed boundaries.
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Sharronkay my husband also tries very hard to listen and he sees even more dysfunction than I do. But like your husband, he can not fully understand the depth of the problem. You just have to live it. His mother was loving and generous with him. He misses her terribly. When my dad died I felt very little and today I do not miss him. That was a big red flag.

Like someone posted on here about narcissism and abuse, it is like porn, hard to define but you know it when you see it. Yes, you are enmeshed. It will take much time and work to detach from your mother's behavior. I am still struggling and some days, like today, I feel great sadness about the entire situation. you will make great strides when you work at it but there will be slip ups. It takes a long time to overcome a lifetime of abuse. Take care
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