How do I make peace with a resentful and bitter parent after a fight?

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I'm overwhelmed with guilt. My mother lives with me and my husband. She's been growing weaker and weaker because of a serious heart condition, and although she's never been an easy person, lately she's been depressed, bitter and demanding. Even though I know all that, I keep forgetting how she feels and what she's going through. I've learned to walk on eggshells around her because of her fragile ego and health-related depression, but today I came back home tired and moody myself.


I was having dinner when she demanded I explain to her everything about senior housing. We talked about it before, and I said there's no point in rehashing it. She got annoyed, and used her usual trick of saying "Are you saying I should just leave the room?"


Passive-aggressive, yes. Me, being an idiot, said that she was twisting my words, she's found come-back, and we just ended up attacking each other.


Now she's fuming mad, wants to move out and leave alone, accuses me of being an angry and hateful person, etc.


It hurts, because I care about her future, and I know how much care she needs. We've barely started. It's not a good idea for her to do any of this, and she can't leave because she doesn't speak english, lost all friends/connections because "they weren't calling her back", and is sick.


I'm starting to think that I really am an angry person. She usually has good 30% of my day to her, not that I mind, but it's hard for me to be enthusiastic around her, because she's judgemental. I just can't detach, can't be friends. I think I'm doing something majorly wrong, and it's all my fault. I've always been grumpy and moody, and with her I have no right to be that way. I feel horrible about myself and my reactions. What do I do?

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Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting you kick her __ to the curb. But you do have long-standing irreconcilable differences that amplify when she's acting up and you're exhausted.

If she's using the senior housing bit as a strategy to make you feel guilty, flip the script and help her apply for some. But if she's really serious about moving out, I wouldn't stand in her way. She'll be doing the both of you a favor.

Refuse to be manipulated, and even when you know you're right don't apologize just to reach a truce. She'll get over it.
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So you figured out you are not perfect. Join the club. We get cookies on Friday. ;0). Just kidding you!!! I know how you feel. I soooo want to be a loving , patient , person but , in reality I am rather selfish and needy. But, heck, I try!! And you know what even though I am kinda selfish and needy I still manage to take good care of my mom when she is with me and only have a few blow ups. And I am a really good Mom. -usually. So, yeah, I may not be that ever gracious , patient kind person naturally but I think it says something that I work really hard to try and be that way.

As for the fight, when I blow I just suck it right back up and tell my Mom it was all my fault. and she agrees. And then I usually say a prayer for strength. And then I cry. And then I feel bad. And then I am really sweet to Mom and then after a few days we are back to normal. And then I blow.... And then I suck it back up. And then....

Hang in there. We are but frail humans with many many faults. ((((hugs))))
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Thank you, all. My mother is so mistrustful of me that she literally takes everything the wrong way when she wants to. Apologies become mockery, words of regret become lies, a wish to make up becomes a desire to shut her up. She's pretty much guaranteed to remain angry for several days regardless of what I do. I guess, I'm too stressed and feel trapped with her neediness, and end up lashing out. She used to go to church, english classes and events, but now she feels so sick she can't do it, and doesn't want those people in her hope. I don't want to go to church and "shop" for friends for her, because that is just crazy.
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I would say to take all the responsibility for the fight when you try to make up with her. That's just how I feel. I am NOT saying that you are responsible. Nobody knows how to make us blow up like our parents and siblings do. You don't have to admit fault, just regret about the fight. "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings." Unless you know that she will use any admission against you. It will be easier on her dignity if you can just say how sorry you are that you had the fight. Tell her that you love her, and want her to feel safe and welcome.

This is a stereotype, probably, but I think parents from "the old country" expect more obedience from their children, so give it to her as much as you can, in words anyway. Tell her that you are trying so hard to take good care of her, and you want to, but you get worried and tired sometimes.

Boy, I sound like a real doormat! But it's my experience that if you humble yourself, the other person will say you weren't so bad, after all. When YOU try to get the other person to share guilt, they will reject the idea that they did anything wrong. But you know your mother best, and you should do what's necessary to protect yourself.

I'm a fan of medication for better mental health, and also plenty of pain relief. Can your mother take tylenol? She may hurt enough to put her in a bad mood, but not enough to register that she's in pain. That was the case with my father.

You are not a bad person, you're just under stress. Hang in there.
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share the blame even if it wasnt your fault. tell her both of you might have overeacted a bit. noone ends up the bad guy this way.
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How old is your mother? What is her prognosis? I think it might make a difference if we are talking another 30 years of caring for her, or another 2 years.

Is she being treated for depression? Walking on eggshells around her is not as effective as the right medication.

Since you understand her passive-aggressive ways, perhaps you should be prepared for them. "Are you saying I should leave the room?" "Well, Mom, I am too tired to have this conversation now, so you can stay and talk about something else, or feel free to leave the room." Or say, "Do you want to leave the room?" Don't let her always put you on the defensive.

Every one has times of feeling out-of-sorts and not in the best of moods. First, forgive yourself. Then ask your mother to forgive you. Then put this incident behind you.

If you really think you are angry, grumpy, and moody most of the time and you don't like this, perhaps some counseling would help you make the changes you want to make. Not just because you are caregiving a passive-aggressive guilt-pusher, but for your own sake.

Is Mom in any organizations that speak her language? A church? A social center? Does she have other people besides you to meet her social needs? You say she has dropped her friends. What if you invited a couple of them over for a "tea party"? Rekindling old friendships might be a very good thing at this point.

Since she wanted to talk about senior housing, does that mean she would prefer living elsewhere? Is there housing available in an area of the city with a concentration of people who speak her language? The building my mother lived in for over 25 years had residents who didn't speak English but there were other residents that spoke the same language so they were not isolated. Their children or grandchildren helped them with paperwork, etc. Not speaking English is not an absolute barrier to living alone.

You know that she needs lots of care and may need more. Are there assisted-living and/or nursing homes in your area where at least some of the residents and perhaps staff speak her language?

Best wishes to you as you struggle with these caregiving issues.
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