Guilt! Needy mom, irresponsible brother and frustrated husband.

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I feel guilty. I find myself thinking that ALL the time now. Why? Because of my mom...
My mothers story: my father died when I was eight and my mother didnt re marry until I was eighteen to her high school sweetheart (ironically) who then divorced her after she hit menapause. A few years later my mother gets diagnosed with macular degenration (shes slowly loosing her sight).
So basically my mothers life hasnt been all rainbows and sunshine...And I think thats why I feel so guilty.
When she was first diagnosed she returned to florida to live closer to my brother and I...maybe a little too close. She lives about a 2-3 minute walk from my home.
Three years later:
-She shows up unannounced ALL THE TIME asking for favors.
-She criticizes my husband says hes not family oriented enough (which really means shes upset we dont want to hang out with her EVERYDAY).
-According to her my brother doesnt see her enough so she takes her frustrations out on me.
-Constantly plays the victim to recieve attention...Ugh


Heres the thing: Im a total momma's girl! Shes my best friend. Weve always had a super tight relationship. She depends more on me than my brother. And it affected me as teen and caused me A LOT of stress.
Now as an adult with a husband And trying to focus on my career...Its unbearable!
I write novels so I work from home. Its vital for my writing that Im not under stress and remain undisturbed. Anyone that writes knows how detrimental an unexpected visit/interruption can be in the middle of your flow.


And theres the other thing. My mother and I have polar opposite personalitIes. Im very rational, down to earth, flexible and very much aware of myself and others. Then theres my mom lol. Typical loud spanish woman that embarrasses me in public with her confrontational demeanor and inappropriate behavior. Shes a total sweet heart but if she hears something she doesnt want...Shell eat u alive. I know Im not supposed to me embarrassed because shes my mom but sometimes I wish she could tone it down.
Ive been arguing a lot with my husband because my mother stresses me out on an every other day basis and hes upset how much all of this is affecting me in a negative way (My writing has declined and Im developing sleepin problems).
So what can I do because it feels hopeless. Especially because my mother runs a therapy business from her home (which shes very successful with) and recieves a lot of help from the Vision Impaired program shes in. She has a social life and has many friends in the area. So why does she feel the need to have me around ALL THE TIME and make me feel horrible when I dont oblige her.
And let me point out that Ive verbally told her all of mY feelings and frustrations over and over and over again... and its like my words mean nothing.
Maybe Im just being selfish but if I knew my future daughter or loved one was feeling the way I do...I...I dont know. Im emotionally exhausted and I feel like I wont have some relief until she gets married again.
Sorry for venting. Its just hard because I dont have friends that are caregivers and they always tell me to ignore her (excuse my french but how the hell am i supposed to ignore my own mother?) and the last thing I want to do is talk about this with my husband because when he gets home from work I want to enjoy him and not make him my emotional punching bag. Ugh.
I hope everyone dealing with similar problems all the luck in the world and hopefully some relief too.



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You know what? Very, very few people have lives that are all sunshine and rainbows. Why does that make you feel guilty? Did you cause your father's death? Did you somehow make Mom's second husband divorce her? Did you cause her vision problems? How is ANY of this your fault? Sure, feel sorry that she's had tough spots in her life. But guilty? That is assuming power you really don't have. You could not have changed her past life.

Sounds like Mom is quite functional in spite of her vision problems. She runs a business. She has a social life. She is not incapacitated. And she has a very loving daughter. Lucky her! Many women would envy her.

If Kimber's suggestion of moving is not feasible for you, grow a backbone and stand up for yourself. Mom is living her life ... you need to live yours. Establish boundaries (aka ground rules). She doesn't get to visit unannounced. You are working. Parents don't intrude into their children's place of employment. It sounds like you take your writing life seriously but your mother does not. (How this is something for you to feel guilty about is beyond me.) Set up a schedule and stick to it. Maybe Mom comes over for lunch on Wednesdays OR afternoon tea on Mondays ... but she does not drop in unannounced while you are working, any more than she would if you worked in a corporate office.

Could you do your writing elsewhere while Mom is getting used to this rule? In the library, maybe? You are simply not home to receive her. This would be a terrible inconvenience to you long-term, but might it help establish new patterns of interaction?

Also, Mom does NOT criticize your husband to you. No. Your loyalty is to him. Simply refuse to listen to barbs. "Mother, that may be your opinion, but please don't express it to me. He is my husband. I love him. I know he is not perfect but I don't need his imperfections pointed out to me." Lather, rinse, repeat.

Your mom can't really "make" you feel horrible. Oh, she has installed lots of guilt buttons and she knows just how to push them. But you can learn to disconnect the buttons and decide how to feel on your own.

Your mom is not an awful person. But she is treating your awfully right now. It is a pattern she knows well and is comfortable with. You are not going to change that pattern without some work and very uncomfortable moments for you. But what is the alternative? Problems in your marriage, lack of productivity in your work, and sleepless nights?

Because those buttons have been in use for so long, you may need the support of an outsider to disengage them. Consider counselling.

At the very least, keep coming back here to vent and get encouragement.

And for heavens' sake ... drop the guilt!!
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Let me put it one more way - if you talk to the low vision instructors, (kudos to whoever got them involved BTW - lots of people just throw in the towel and don't even bother to get that kind of help!) who are trying to teach her to cope with that very scary loss - do you think pity and feeding the victimhood versus good training and teaching about all the ways that blind people stay independent in this world is more helpful?
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She makes you feel horrible for not spending every minute with her because that's what she thinks she wants, she has learned how to do just that to get what she thinks she wants, and will keep doing it as long as it works.

I say what she THINKS she wants, because what a caring mom wants for her kids is a successful family to carry on. You are not responsible for your mom having had a rough life. You are responsible for being a good daughter and a good spouse to the best of your ability. However hard it may be, you cannot let mom's gilt trps ruin your life and sap all your joy and energy. To be a really good daughter you have to quit giving her everything she thinks she wants and give her what she needs. You are completely correct your words mean zero. Either she is short on empathy, at least with you, or has a blind spot a mile wide. or she actually consciously thinks it is fine to suck the life out of you and make your miserable to assuage her anxieties and meet her own needs, because that's what she believes daughters are for. Any way you look at it she's wrong. You are not selfish to want to grow a spine and set limits so you can have a real two-way relationship and balance your own life and your family life and not be eaten alive by incessant and impossible demands.

Love and limits ideally come form the same person in life - from someone who loves you. That the kind of relationship nourishes and makes you grow. If mom has lost or never had those abilities, you approach to her may be a little different but the setting of limits is not selfish, it is critically necessary self care just like eating right, sleeping and scrubbing your teeth. Don't be afraid to get counseling help if you need it to sort out the details of where those limits need to be.
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