How do I deal with my mother being ungrateful for the help I try to give her?

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The specific thing is, she asked me to get her a new mattress, I did, and it was delivered today. She says it is too high. when my husband tried to adjust the height, it is too low. If something is not perfect, then it is garbage, that is how she thinks. If something is not exactly the way she wants it, she has no thanks to give. She thinks this is reasonable, I think it is hurtful. I always try to please her and do as she wants, but it is never good enough. I have to step back from her somehow, give her the help she needs but not do things I just know aren't going to work, even if she asks me. I don't know.

Answers 1 to 10 of 19
I would say just do your best. Maybe there is no pleasing her and it is just going to drive you crazy. Maybe explain to her the good things about the mattress and keep it too low rather than too high. Also, if there is any way to involve her in picking things out, let her do it. That way it doesn't come back on you. Like if she says she wants a new mattress, taker her somewhere to pick it out instead of just going out and getting it. If she can't go out, let her look through a magazine. She might just be upset that she didn't have a hand in choosing the mattress.

If she just likes to complain, then just let her complain and let it go in one ear and out the other. Sometimes people just like to be heard. Maybe she likes the attention she gets from complaining and having you guys there to help her. If this is the case, explain to her that you tried really hard to get her the best mattress you could and hopefully she'll sleep well on it, then see if she wants to go do an activity with you or something.

Whatever the case, don't take it personally. She is going to need you more and more and this isn't the time to hold grudges or resentment. Just do your best.
Ooooh - does your mom know MY mom? It has taken me a long time to begin not to take it personally, at least not to the point of breaking down in tears, but its still a stress - I tend to keep visits short; when I am there she becomes twice as demanding and needy and fussy instantly and thinks nothing of bragging about me to the nurses when I'm not there and calling me an idiot to my face. She is smply not capable of letting a family member sit and relax for a minute doing anythig besides attending to her if they are in the same room. Its a factor in not being able to handle her care at home, though I know she doesn't mean to be mean and it this point probably can't help it. But a steady stream of toxic criticism, coupled wit total lack of perspective (and dementia is NOT helpful to empathic abilities or sense of proportion) is not good for mental health!
I think ColetteG is on the right track. "Gee, Mom, I don't seem to be able to ever get exactly what you want. How about if I take you to the mattress store and you can pick one out?" "I don't think I know your tastes well enough to pick you out a lamp. Let's look at a catalog online and see if you spot something that suits you." You get the idea. Continue helping, but put the decision-making responsibility on her. She wants you to hang pictures? Only if she stands right there and tells you exactly where they are to go.

The second point is not to take this personally. It is a defect or flaw in your mother's personality -- you are not the cause. It is not your fault. Your mother isn't perfect. Unlike her, you can love the imperfect, right? :)
Top Answer
Dana, your mother's behavior is probably not news to you. I'll bet she's acted like this all her life right? Why would she change now? Step up and tell her she's being ungrateful and you're not gonna take it anymore. Tell her to call someone else when she needs something from now on, cause you're taking a break. What do you want to bet she changes her tune? And if she's still stubborn and ungrateful, then TAKE A BREAK FROM HER, and follow through. It won't kill her to grouse for awhile.
All I can say is try your best to let it in one ear and out the other. My mom is just like that as well, had a therapist tell me one time that if I was waiting for my mom's approval "forget it, it isn't ever going to happen". How right he was.

It still hurts, mom is dying, I provide the majority of her care, and still hear what a angel my younger brother is, how happy she is that her other son calls her almost every day, a word of Thanks would be nice to hear, but ain't happening, when I am there it's do this, do that etc...not asking me to do this or that, telling me to do this or that. Sometimes I feel like telling her I am not her servant and don't deserve to be treated like one.

Before her illness, I would limit the time I would spend with her, I could not be there for long to preserve my mental health.. If you have anyone available to give you a break for a couple of hours, or for a day, get them to do so, and go and do something nice for yourself. Even if it is nothing more than hiding out in a park, a mall, etc..

The nicest thing I get to do for me at the moment is a few hours of solid sleep. I know it sounds mean and spiteful, etc... But when all is said and done, I am planning a trip with my husband for a couple of months. Just need to get out of here for a while.
Hmmm. Uh huh. I think this self stuff (selfish, self involved, self loving) that some elders do is normal. They just cannot see the other side of anything and they are always right in their mind.

I hope it won't happen, but I suspect we too will be the same way, some day. Hopefully not tho'.
Dana: Why are you looking for "thanks"? Why not just let her pick out her own things? If she chooses something that's not right for her, she'll let you know.
bpryor01, I don't think I'm going to be that way. My mother isn't. Her sisters aren't. Neither of my grandmothers were. It is just not something that I see automatically going with normal old age. Dementia, well, that's another story -- all bets are off then.
Do what she absolutely needs to keep her well, and i agree with ColetteG, let her pick it out and remind her she did, but she may keep you returning things back over and over. Let her know that she better be right this time as it will be the last time you return. Also, Pray a lot!
While my Mom and Dad are vey grateful for what I do for them for NOW, after moving close to me a year and half ago, it wasn't always that way. When my Mom was recovering from hip surgery and a lot of other times, if things weren't going way, she says, "you always take your father's side," Or "I should have had [her other daughter] help me." Yeah, cold day in hell that would happen. My siblings are AOL. See, there is NO ONE else to help them. Maybe with your Mom too??? They do become so entitled as they age. Mom is definitley slowing down mentally and Dad already has dementia so it's a real shit show. It has also taken ME a year and half to not take it personally, do the best that I can, and when it's not enough, I don't really give a crap!!! That's my advice to you. Hang in there, do the best that you can and tomorrow surely is another day...

xoxo
-SS

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