How should I handle unfairness and badmouthing from my mother?

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I'm young, 26, married and a manager at my work. My job is mentally demanding and tiring. Every second or third week I buy a bottle of red wine (I don't drink any other kind of alcohol), and I would typically finish it over 4-5 days. I always feel very grateful for being able to afford things like wine now and then, and I think it's a treat that can be considered healthy. All my glasses are marked with a 6 oz line so I don't over pour.

My mother is also fairly young, but disabled (in her home Russia) and has a swarm or emotional and personality issues. I don't think she really likes me despite that she's living with me and my husband in our 2 br for free, and I took her through becoming a permanent resident and about to launch into getting her disability here in the states. The only support she provides is food for herself and me, and she was the one who insisted on it.

Today she saw me read a book in my bedroom with a glass of wine and raised hell because in her opinion I'm an alcoholic who craves booze and 'gets twitchy and shaky if I don't get it.' My own jaw dropped when she ran into my room and spat that into my face. She then proceeded to yell at the top of her voice trying to pick up a fight with me, and now she's giving me silent treatment. All of this has happened before, and I blame myself for not learning a lesson with the wine... but then I'm not her little girl anymore. I don't feel at home in my own apartment. I also have no idea how to handle the yelling and hatred and threats to go back to Russia because she 'can't stand my drinking problem.' Help?

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Wow Jeanne
Your advice is always so spot on and in the zone. So much respect for you
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atcat, Enjoying your wine behind her back might make her feel better. (It might. But I doubt it. She'd just find something else to rage about.) But I seriously doubt it would do much for your self esteem to have to sneak around in your own house.

For starters, what if you stopped lying to your mother? When she moans about being a burden on you, reply "Well, Mother, having another adult in this small apartment really is burdensome. I love you very much so I want to make it work." When she complains about not having friends, say "I have noticed that you've seemed to alienate people who used to like you. Do you want to brainstorm ways that could be fixed?"

She threatens to go back to Russia? "If that is what you really want, Mother, I will do everything in my power to make that happen. Why don't you think about it over night and if that is truly what you want I'll start working on it tomorrow."

But I suspect it would be extremely hard for you to tell the truth to her and to not play into her manipulative "poor me" act. She knows exactly which buttons to press to get you to cave in or to go running out the door in tears. She knows because she's the one who built those buttons!

I think it is time to get some help disconnecting the guilt buttons. I think seeing a counselor would be a good start. And, yes, fitting that into your schedule is going to be stressful, but at least it is a stress with a purpose.

The ultimate solution is to get Mother the help she needs to live elsewhere. Not in Russia, necessarily, but in a subsidized senior apartment, with in-home care. Or if she really needs significant amounts of help, then perhaps in assisted living or even a nursing home. You are in your mid-twenties. Do you really want to have Mother living with you for another 30 or even 40 years? If not, why wait to do something about that?
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I meant psychology - spell checker got it wrong
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Bob, I don't think your advice is horrible at all - Straight and to the point, yes ! - Nothing wrong with that!

I absolutely cracked up over your comment of ^hug my nuts*, and am trying to think of a female equivalent that I could post here (have thought of a few, but couldn't possibly share them)!

Some advice I was once given, by someone who was constantly picked on by his boss and managed to turn the situation around (different situation I know, but could be applied here) was that it is very hard for someone to be nasty, rude or disrespectful to someone who is consistently nice to them ! (And get your compliment in first)
It worked for me with Mum, A bit of reverse physiology.
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atcat, sold people believe that alcohol is evil. My mother is not comfortable with alcohol, so if I want to enjoy a drink, I do it in her absence. You do not owe an explanation to your mother. She was out of line and thinking you are still the teenage girl she once raised. Mothers are like that. You will enjoy your wine much more if you wait until your mother goes to bed or if you can lock your door without creating a conflict.

Maybe she'll accept soon that people can actually have a drink without being an alcoholic.
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Thank you, all. I know I'm supposed to set boundaries with her, but she's a bully, and will guilttrip me to the point where I'd run out of the house crying. That happened several times before. My fault, really, I know. But life with her, and _her_ rules is getting exhausting. All I hear is how helpless and sick she is, how she doesn't have any friends because everyone but her is crazy, and how I hate her because she's a burden on us. Honestly, I'm ready to see her leave and accept that she will never pick up the phone to talk to me again.
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Reread littletonway's answer and take it to heart. There is no way around it. You are going to have to set boundaries. This is YOUR home. You make up the rules. One of the rules might be No yelling. Another might be Knock before entering a bedroom and wait to be invited in.

What is your mother's income? Could she afford her own apartment, perhaps subsidized housing?

Setting and enforcing boundaries will help, but with her emotional and personality issues, this does not look like a healthy situation for a young married couple to cope with.
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Do you have other relatives here that could take Mom for a few weeks so you can get a much needed rest? A full time job, husband and taking care of your Mother is a lot of stress. If she can afford it, perhaps a trip back home for a month or so would cause her to be a bit more appreciative of you. I doubt it but it is a nice thought!

You are just going to have set boundaries; going into other people's bedrooms and yelling are not to be tolerated by anyone in my opinion. Assuming your Mom is in her 50's, you have many years of caregiving ahead of you and now is the time to take control of your life and get the rules in place.

Good luck and God bless!
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people will only push you as far as you permit them to, thats all im sayin.. the guilty party is yourself not the abuser..
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switch to everclear for one evening and before the evening is up mom will undoubtedly get the attitude adjustment shes craving. youre an adult, tell her the female equivalent of " hug my nuts " .. my advice is always horrible... or is it??
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