Are my elderly parents jealous?

I can't help wonder why my mother would come to my home and not notice that the entire house had been painted a different color. I can't help but wonder why my mother would not utter a word about new carpet you've installed and last week I couldn't help wonder why my mother would come up from her suite and sit in one of two new occassional chairs that she knew I'd waited two months for then actually sit on one and not utter one word about them. This has gone on over several years and are the larger incidents that have occurred. I know I shouldn't take it to heart like my friends tell me not to but as I'm sure a lot of you know...it's easier said than done when it's your own mother who never throws you a compliment or some praise from anything as big as painting a house to a good dinner you've made and invited her to... but allows you to be the caregiver, home provider, chauffer, washer-woman and general goffer. It's what I've come to call "deflating". Is my mother jealous or can she just not want to add to my happiness for some reason? Go figure!

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I know it's easier said than done because this is your mom and you are her daughter, but your friends are right. You'll have to learn to not expect compliments from her (did she ever compliment you or is this new?).

My guess is that she is feeling her losses that come with age, she resents getting older and depending on you and she is taking it out on you. It's very hard, I know, but understanding her a little may help.

You may want to read this article if you haven't:
https://www.agingcare.com/137122

What your mother is doing isn't abuse, but it makes you feel bad. Know that you aren't alone and please keep coming back for support.
Carol
Let me keep it on the I:

I never had, nor ever expect, any kind of compliment from my 76 y/o mother. Nitpicking seems to be genetically encoded in her, so finding fault with things she never got to have but always wanted comes natural. She's always had her rightful place in my heart, but if she's going to come into my home and make me feel less than with her petty antics her stay is going to be a brief one. That kind of stress is never an option, and she won't hang around long enough to finish her coffee. If she insists, I'll pour it in a Styrofoam cup and walk her to the door.

Many years ago, I'd let her go on and on because she's my mother and I thought she was entitled to correct the "errors of my ways" because a mother's job is supposedly never done. Hogwash. You can stick a fork in her now, because she IS well done. The moment I utter "Don't hate" immediately after "constructive" criticism designed to deconstruct me and make her feel needed, she realizes she's crossing the line.

When you love yourself, you respect yourself; and other people see it and feel it. Very gently remind your mother that respect is also a two-way street.
1913:

I've commented on this already, but let me say something else:

Jealousy isn't something that lessens with age. What I don't understand is why you're still seeking her approval to enhance your self-esteem after all these years. Rewind the tape of your existence to your childhood and you'll probably notice that nothing you did right was ever good enough for her. Then again she might find it difficult to pay compliments because no one ever complimented her much. I'm not trying to make excuses for her, as there are also people who tear others down so they can feel better about themselves. That kind of abuse should never be an option.

If every time you see her all she's going to do is make you feel like s__t with her silence, disapproving eyeball rolling, and holier-than-thou attitude then why do you let her in? As I said in my previous comment, respect is a two-way street; no matter who, no matter where, or their social status.

-- ED
1913,
Your issue has been one I've been trying to deal with for years now. I still can't wrap my head around the ungratefulness and verbal abuse I receive. But, I have learned that whatever small praise I ever do get, to hold it tight and think about it for a while. It's hard for us sometimes to understand what our parents are going through mentally. The embarrassment of care(depending on the level of care), isolation, sense of loss of everything around you, mentally and physically, I could go on.

You need to take care of yourself first! If having your mother in the home is destructive to you and your family, then no one blames you for not having her there. I'm glad that you made this decision for yourself and for your family, so many of us tend to place our parents needs ahead of ours. Even when it's not the right choice. In this instance, maybe it is better for her. She will be around people her age, have activities. Don't let her resentment about going to the facility deter you. You know what's best for yourself and her even if she doesn't.
Can a parent be jealous, you betcha! My mom has been abusive and mean to me my entire life and a lot of it is jealousy. No, mom does not have dementia or Alz, she's just mean. What kind of mom is jealous of their own kid????
Every mistake or misstep I ever made, she was right there to put in her digs. If I got something new, it was ignored or she had one better. The out-of-town relatives came only to visit her she said. My family and I were not invited to visit with them while they were at her house. If daughter and I went on a mini vacation, we were harlots abandoning our husbands. On and on and on . . . what did I do to deserve this?
I understand getting older and ill is traumatic for some elders. but what about the ones who deal with this as a natural part of life? aging with grace and honor? Do we have to put up with this garbage just because someone gets older? I don't buy it. I cringed every time I heard mom say "but I'm old and won't be a round much longer and I DESERVE to be this way". No you don't.
Bravo to Ed, wonderful post. That's the way to handle a mom who won't see it like it really is...you have to point it out to them and give them a sytrofoam cup!!!! :-)
Jealousy is hideous! It clouds your thinking, makes you do things you shouldn't,it's hurtful and it's tragic that it comes from a parent.
Isn't family great!! I think you just move on with your life and take the toxic family members in small doses.

Don't let your mother control how you feel about yourself. This is definitely her problem not yours. My mother won't even speak to me any more because I would not take her crap. It hurts but sometimes I think it might be a blessing.

Obviously your mother is very selfish. The only reason I know this is because of my experience.
That's it, I cannot change her behavior, I cannot abandon her, all I can do sometimes is shut down. And pray that I can come out the other end. I guess i always said to my mom that I would not lie to her or hide things. I make myself vulnerable. I have to accept that. I was a teacher of children, you'd think I could figure this out. But it's my mom. No one ever gives you a manual on how to raise your parents. Right? Now just babbling.
I just discovered my 80 year old Dad is jealous. We have never lived close to him and only visited 2 or 3 times a year. Now we live near some of his friends and they are so much fun we have lunch sometimes because my Dad is at his summer home. My Dad now acts annoyed that we have a relationship with his friends, which is so strange to me.

He was diagnosed with alzheimers 5 years ago and is on aricept. He drinks starting around 1 pm every day and sleeps alot. I guess I am in shock because it is like my Dad is gone. He has plenty of money and does not want for anything.

It is really weird. I have gotten to the point that I don't want to tell him when I have seen his friends.
Going back to the question - why she would not utter a simple thank you. Was she like this when you were growing up? Maybe she never did provide you praise or thanks. Something to certainly think about. And, if you are doing these things for praise or thanks you may stop and ask why? Your relationship with your mom did not start over night so it's years of developing. Stop and decide if this is truly how you want to be with her? Maybe have a heart to heart talk with her vs. doing "things"...it's hard but use this as an opportunity so you don't build up resentment.
nmckenzi, in general I'd say it is heathy and constructive for elders to develop outside interests that make them less dependent on their children. If he doesn't need to have dinner with you so often, great! Perhaps change to once a week.

That the "other interest" is a woman 45 years his junior is a bit concerning. She is your cousin -- on your mother's side? No blood relation to your father? How does she feel about his attentions? Is she able to golf with him while at the same time setting boundaries to their friendship?

What should you do about this? If Cousin is handling it well, probably nothing. But don't keep keep his dinner warm.

I'm not sure how this post got tagged onto an old thread about jealousy. It might get more attention/responses if you start a new thread with a different title.

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