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Over and over again we wind up repeating the same arguments, the most recent being me urging her to pay bills online or by phone instead of writing checks, which don’t always arrive at the payment destination on time (she also complains about writing checks because she’s losing her vision). Whenever she complains (which is often) about anything and I offer ways to help, it is then met by more complaints and reasons why my suggestions could not possibly work for her, so she is “forced” to remain doing things the same way because it’s a conspiracy and the world is out to get her, etc.
In addition to the constant arguments that go in circles, my issue is if you don’t want help, why do you continue to bring it up to me? It seems she gets more satisfaction by ranting, raving, and implying her life is so extra hard, blah blah blah, but never through any fault of her own. It’s like talking to a cardboard box. Mom complains & complains, I offer 10 different avenues of resolution, Mom continues on & on complaining how my resolution won’t work for her because the world is all wrong, and I end up wanting to bang my head against a wall. God forbid she should ever take any accountability! She has become so contrary that it makes conversation extremely difficult at times. If she really doesn’t want any help, then she should be able to accept the way things are & make peace with it (which I have also suggested about 500 times).
There are days if I don’t leave the room and get a breath of air, I may blow my top over next to nothing. What can I do short of telling her to put a cork in it??! I apologize for the length of this comment!

KFinn, your answers to our answers show you such a willing spirit. Hope you stick around and help others on Forum!
You say Mom has always had a tendency to complain, and you don't want to confront her disrespectfully.
Try it then with respect. Once my head nurse gave me the "We have to talk talk."
She told me that I was such a strong personality and good worker that I was respected by all and I was looked to as a leader and blah blah and blah. THEN SHE LOWERED THE BOOM and said "I can't have you coming in daily and starting to complain (about staffing and about how we can't do it with this staffing)." She told me that when this happened everyone followed me like so many lemmings off the cliff. She told me she recognized that my worry was for being able to care for my patients with short staff but the reality I was forgetting was that I was always first done and helping others; my fears weren't realistic."
Basically you see what she did. She sat me down (Sit Mom down) and she praised me so much I couldn't see straight (Tell Mom she is such a strong personality that her words carry such weight on the whole day, blah blah), and then she told me what she was always wanting to say and that was "You cannot keep coming in negative! It hurts others" So you would praise Mom to the skies for how strong a personality she is, what a force in the world, and then beg her to consider the strength of her word on you, on the kids, on the household, on the entire day.
Could just work. I never forgot it and it was a long time before I considered what had happened to me. All I could remember then, and even to day was that I got told I was a strong leader and a great worker. When really I got told I was being a pain in the neck and had to stop! Hee hee. This one is out to parents everywhere as well. Bless Mary H's soul, what a teacher she was in this world.
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I guess I was the a lucky one. My Mom realized she was having problems and asked for help. She always paid the bills. Dad had no idea how to do them. Her first problem was not being able to keep her bankbook up. She forgot how to ad and subtract. She never used a calculator until I got her one. Then it was write her checks because her handwriting was unreadable. I had her sign her signature. Eventually, I had POA, I just did it all. Funny thing though, she always reconciled her bank statement by using the form on the back. I didn't do that and just scribbled figures on the statement to get my answer. She saw it and told me I did it wrong.

Can you do automatic withdrawals? I had Mom on a budget for her gas bill. Then I knew exactly what was coming out of her acct every month.
At 89 if she has never used a computer, she isn't going to understand it now. Unless you are doing it for her.
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My dad always said he didn’t know online but he knew clothesline! He wrote endless checks, thought debit cards and ATM’s were ripoffs, and never knew anything about a computer. After a few tries to teach him new ways, we decided to enjoy him the way he was. He often asked me to look something up “on that thing of yours” meaning my iPad. I hope you’ll make peace on this, life is short, and this isn’t the hill to make a stand on...
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Isthisrealyreal Oct 14, 2020
Sounds so much like my parents. They feel like they made it this far without all these new fangled doodads and they will be just fine for the remainder of their lives.

Then I hear about how youngsters can not even hold a conversation because of these things and I have to agree.

Balance is not there in many cases. I too feel like I will not enter into a battle on this issue, so many more important things that will call for a tough stance.
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Let mom be. She shouldn't have to dragged any where she doesn't want to be. I read in some of your responses to others that she doesn't even know how to use a computer, so why would you then want her to pay her bills online? Don't you think that you sitting down with her and writing out her checks would be a much easier solution? Life is too short to be in a constant argument with your mom. She's not going to change any more than you are, so why don't you make peace with the situation, and try to enjoy what ever time you have left with her?
Sounds like perhaps you are experiencing caregiver burnout, and it might do you good to get out of the house more often and do some things that you enjoy. Bring someone in to stay with mom, if she can't be left by herself, and you go have some fun. You'd be amazed how that can change your perspective on things. Best wishes.
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Stop trying to solve all the problems and just listen sympathetically. If she wants help, she'll ask.

Heck, my mom never even had a microwave because she was afraid it would "crash." No amount of explaining that it's not a computer would help.

It's not the end of the world to live without online banking -- or a microwave.
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AlvaDeer Oct 14, 2020
This is such a good point. As family, when your loved ones complain we "pick up the luggage they set down". With friends we let that luggage sit and just say "Oh, so sorry you're having a bad day, " It is our own FIX IT mentality that does us in.
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Thank you for your comments, I got a kick out of your reply - especially wondering if our moms know each other - haha!! It feels good to get a laugh going sometimes.
I really appreciate your good advice and think I’m going to try & convince my mom to meet me in the middle and let me write out her cks so she can sign them.
The thing is who knows how much time any of us have left on this earth, and I want to spend that time enjoying my family & my life - not discussing/arguing over the same exact things we discussed & argued over yesterday. At 89 I don’t expect much change from her , but it helps me tremendously to be able to bring this type of problem to a great Q&A format such as this. Take good care & stay well 😉
Regards,
Kathy Finn
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If she is losing her vision I think encouraging online banking stands at least a slight chance of going wrong. At 78 I find that when things go wrong on computers they go VERY wrong! Would it be easier if you just took over some of the things? It sounds as though Mom does live with you? Are you also her POA? My bro at 85 ask me to be his POA and take over writing checks, handling bills and etc, managing his trust and so on. Had I not wished to do it he would have hired a fiduciary to do it at about 90.00 an hour (and cheap at THAT I think, as once it is all in place it only takes about an hour a month). That took a great deal of pressure off him. Until you are 89 (or in my case 78) you can't really imagine the limitations. I didn't get a little jitterbug until 2 years ago; I still haven't moved to the big girl phone. And I just got a kindle. We go slower and slower, and at 89 I doubt I will be moving any farther into this brave new Century at all.
As to the complaining? Is that all new?
As to the bickering? Is that new as well?
I could recommend a little bit more time apart. Is the home conducive to that. I find too much time too close to my much beloved partner can lead to a bit of heightening of the bicker meter. I sure wish you BOTH good luck. I got kind of tickled over your post a couple of times!
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KFinn59 Oct 13, 2020
Thank you Alva for the good advice re. getting 89 yr old mom to step into the 21st century. I did leave out a few things: Yes, we live together. I moved back home after my dad died last year (I was widowed 18 yrs ago when my sweet hubby died of pancreatic cancer at 45, I was only 43). In addition to mom’s vision probs, she does not use the computer, At ALL. Not only is it very difficult for her to see (I did adjust the font size to be bigger on her login) but she has just become totally turned off by the computer & gets too frustrated at not being able to keep up. I feel for her & recognize I cannot change her ways this late in the game, I really just wish she’d turn the dial back on all the complaining. Before dad died she did Everything - took care of him 24/7, paid all the bills, did all the laundry, etc. Now I do all the errands (I have been for quite some time, neither of my parents could drive anymore since approx 2010) & I do have a POA for her so that helps.
Mom has always been negative but now her complaining goes on & on & ON. That’s really my biggest issue with her, but she is my mom after all & I cannot be disrespectful to her if she chooses to write out cks when she can barely see them, etc.
I’m going to reread your excellent advice and USE It instead of getting on the ‘complaint band wagon’ with her. She is dear to me but this ongoing struggle to at least get her to meet me in the middle is very draining. TY again for taking the time to read my words & allowing me to vent my frustration. YaY!
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Oh boy, familiar story to many. The only place that my mom wanted to go after she got older was the doctor or ER! I honestly think that she felt like going to see the doctor was like an outing!

Most younger people don’t look forward to doctor appointments. They go, but don’t see it as an outing.

All of an elderly person’s friends have died. Many relatives are dead too. So the doctor is the longest relationship that is in their lives.

They aren’t interested in going to senior centers to meet other seniors (pre Covid). So it seems impossible to get them to budge.

I feel for you. Best wishes to you.
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KFinn59 Oct 13, 2020
TY so very much for leaving your reply, your first paragraph mirrors my current daily life. The constant repeating of complaints over & over & Over again is what drives me absolutely mad. We have a small family (which is getting smaller by the day) and she has lost many friends that she misses so much. I’m going to continue to try & get her to meet me half way; I can write out her checks & she can sign them. At least it’s a start!
Thanks again for listening to my complaints; all the positive advice I rec’d here helps me to see the big picture & stay focused on what’s important. Thank God I can escape to my flat screen which is on the other side of the house!
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My 86 year old mother was criticizing an equally old friend, because he goes into the bank with his utility bills and pays them at the counter. My thought was why should he change now?

The formatting you were trying to use does not work on this site, it is easier to just write in plain text on the page. Otherwise it is challenging to read a post.

Do you have Financial POA over Mum? If you do it could make thigs easier, you just take over the bill paying.

Now as you live with your Mum and know when the bills are due, can you compromise? Can you put the bills in a pile, write out the cheques and have Mum sign them. Then you post them prior to the due date. Just add it to your regular routine. If you watch a show on Wednesday evenings, tell Mum that after dinner it is bill paying time, then you will watch the show together. If she balks at this, ask her what she sees as being the solution?

Actually another question, in your profile you mention that Dad died fairly recently. When he was alive who did the bills? Was it Mum's job or Dad's?
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KFinn59 Oct 14, 2020
TY so very much for your good advice. I think I sent you a reply but I cannot see if it was sent, so I do apologize if I am repeating myself here.
You made so many useful points and I realize now I left a few things out: Yes, I moved back home last year after my dad died because now she cannot handle the house on her own. I do have a POA so that is 1 less worry. When my dad was alive mom did ALL the bookkeeping, cleaning, child care, etc; now she gets confused more easily in addition to being unable to read her own handwriting. Finally, my mom has always been a negative thinker & constant complainer but now that I spend more time at home with her, it can be exhausting to hear this All The Time. I do not see what kind of reward people get from complaining relentlessly about topics that have already been discussed to death, and that they ultimately don’t want to change anyway.
I do appreciate everyone’s comments and advice on this site, just knowing there are many others out there like me removes a huge weight from my shoulders. I am still going to suggest to mom that possibly we can meet in the middle and allow me to write the cks out for her to sign. That way she maintains “control” but I can pay them from my PC or mail them, pay by phone, or whatever.
TY again, this has helped me tremendously & I hope I can reciprocate somehow when you need a shoulder too!
Regards,
Kathy Finn
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Well, you can;t really,, I should know as I have been dealing with this for my 90 YO mom,, do they know each other? Luckily before they moved in they did use autopay,, so she gets that. But it took MONTHS to get her understand the bank card.. "its just like a check but you don;t write it out!" I have POA and am on all her accounts, and as her handwriting is terrible now I just took over the bill paying. She does not understand Twitter ( although she is fascinated by it thanks to Trump) and FB either. I show her things on FB, but she also mixes it up with email. I tell her I dont tweet, so let that go! Luckily for us she lives with us, and only has 2 bills,, her other minor stuff like onstar for my/our car and her cc bills are on autopay still.
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