I am 49, my mother 69 and step father 80. I live overseas now for 10 years with my foreign wife and 2 children. For some time now my mother will call us and just cry for an hour or so telling us all her negative thoughts about her life and step father not doing things in the house. I feel personally that there is professional help out there for her but she won't take advice and go to try and find it. They have both recently been in hospital also which I understand won't help their situation but am I unnaffectionate or is there something she should do to help her negativity? She is constantly dwelling on the past and thinks she has been a bad mother although this isn't the case I had a great childhood. If anyone has advice this would be great and thanks in advance.

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I second that thought.
Helpful Answer (1)

I applaud you for having your priorities in place. Family first, parents second.

BUT, I also feel for your mom. My own son got married and never, ever calls or tries to connect with me. The day he moved away with his new wife to grad school, I knew our relationship would be altered forever--and it has been. I mourn this so much, yet I have never, ever told him how I feel and I never will. He is cleaving unto his wife and is a wonderful husband, father and all around good guy. He also had a great childhood--but he has long ceased to BE a child and is not really a part of my life. That hurts, and hurts deeply.

What would ease MY sadness, would be for HIM to initiate a call to ME, instead of the other way around. The way it is now, I text him occasionally to see if he can take a call. 99% of the time the answer is "not today" and that's that. The couple of times in the last 16 years when he has called ME, well, it made my heart sing. Maybe your mom feels the same way.

It is very hard to grow old and have your children not want to talk to you. I'm only 61 and this has been a sore spot in my heart for 16 long years. I expect it to never change.

If my son called me, and made an effort to do so once or twice a month for 10 minutes, I would be totally content. Just saying. I'd love to know that he thought of me once or twice a month and actually called to see if I was OK.
Helpful Answer (2)

You can remind Mom you had a great childhood thanks to her.
Mom, do you remember?......fill in the blank.

Some people with depression can be cheered up. Instead of saying, that's in the past, don't talk negative, etc. you can turn the conversation to much more positive (even if you must interrupt her at times).

Or, having tried, if she is stuck, say: "Mom, I will call you tomorrow, you know I love you!"
Bye for now!

You will actually have an opportunity to improve your soon to become swift communication skills.

Except, that I don't know how, so others on here can help you with that.

In the case that she is " rather difficult to interrupt with mild pressure", you may want to consider a stroke or bipolar. Since you are not a doctor, get her evaluated.

You might want her to look forward to your calls Mon., Weds., Fridays for awhile. Forcing her to rely on others or herself can help her help herself more. If everyday is taken up with your calls, how will she get anything done?

Example: "Mom, have you had lunch", or "Mom, I will call you back when you have finished eating, doing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk". etc.

Try that, before you will be demanded more time, more calls, and have to listen to more crying. A normal parent is overjoyed when her adult child leaves the nest, makes a full life of their own, and occasionally wants to share that with their Mom.

Important to note:  Medically, a person after having a stroke can be tearful for no apparent reason, at least up to a year post-stroke.
Helpful Answer (1)

Martin you are not unaffectionate to your Mom.
How long has this been going on?
Is stepfather in good health?
Stepfather is 80 so she may be anticipating a time when he will be gone and she is left alone to deal with everything herself.
is there any possibility of you visiting and getting things set up for her to get help and possibly medication if the experts think she needs it?
At around 70 age begins to catch up with us and the aches and pains and more serious issues come up so it would not be unusual for worry and depression to set in..
it is poaaible she is not telling you the real reason she is so tearful. Are there any siblings or other relatives nearby that you can ask and see if they know what is going on in her life.. maybe stepdad is mentally or physically abusive but ahe can't leave because she does not have the money to live alone. There are all sorts of reasons she gets so upset.
Helpful Answer (2)

Thanks for your answers here
BarbBrooklyn, I am pretty sure my mum has a long term problem with moving forward, now has very few friends and is feeling very lonely, I can help as her son with this, with the aid of technology as mentioned of course, however I am pretty sure in myself that she could do with better help than just listening to my voice by telephone or skype.
I think that this problem is mainly stress and thinking about being alone one day as my step father is old and also not so mobile now as when they married.
I work around the world so home with my family every month or so which is hard also for me to deal with as they are my main concern in my life of course.
I moved away from UK to better the life of my children which i will never change so maybe this is hard for my mum to let go and accept the fact that we are not there to see each other every day like some families.
If i was there i wouldd go every day or so to see if she is ok or needs anything.
Maybe its just my feelings about the whole situation but it isnt nice when your mum calls you and just has negative conversation about other people and crys at you for the duration of conversation.
I am sort of lost with the best way forward for her or for me as it gets me also anxious to listen to.
Hence finding this site where maybe i can get some answers.
Thanks again for the answers.
Helpful Answer (1)

I assume that your mother is laying a guilt trip on you, implying that the reason you are so far away is because you don't love her so she must have been a terrible mother, that is an unfair burden to have to bear. I have seen families that are in a situation similar to yours, it can be so hard for parents - especially as their life begins to slow down - to realize that they can't connect with their children and grandchildren in a meaningful way because distance prohibits it. Fortunately we are past the days of the past when a child emigrating meant they were almost completely gone, today we have the technology to speak and even see each other in real time. Do you have other sibs? Do you have a good relationship with step dad and extended family? As much as it is heartbreaking to hear your mom in such distress there is little you can do from where you are except encourage, someone local needs to get the ball rolling toward treatment.
Helpful Answer (4)

It sounds as though your mother is seriously depressed. Dwelling on things that have happened in the past is sometimes called "rumination". It can be one of the most debilitating aspects of depression.

Is there someone near where your mother lives who can help mom find help? Do you talk with your stepfather about her mental state? She really needs to be seen by a psychiatrist, preferably one who specializes in the treatment of older adults.

Do you know what led to mom being hospitalized?
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