My sister and I are getting the silent treatment from our mom after she fell and broke her hip and was in rehab. My sister flew in from overseas and I flew in from out of state to see how we could help. Mom has a plan to move to assisted living, so my sister and I believed she would be ready after the latest health incident (she has had many). We worked very hard on mom’s house clearing out old clothes that she hadn’t even laid eyes on for over 10 years as they were stored downstairs and she hasn’t been able to handle stairs in a decade. We also, with her permission, cleaned out a very wet storage area and made many trips to the dump. We toured assisted living facilities, replaced her broken dishwasher and garage door opener, dry cleaned and rehung drapes and bedspreads...but in the end, mom was insistent on returning home with 24/7 nursing care. My sister and I tried to communicate with mom that we didn’t think she was making a rational decision and ultimately told her that her legal guardianship service was going to have to make the arrangements for her return home as we had to return to our homes and jobs. That was when mom decided to go silent on us. Mom has used the silent treatment on us our entire lives. She is very manipulative and knows we will finally cave in and apologize in order to get back in her good graces. This time feels very different for me as I am actually seeing her treatment of us as emotional abuse, but it is still really hard to handle, especially with Mother’s Day yesterday and no communication with mom. Does anyone have words of advice? I think this is a pretty common tactic that people use to get their way!

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Enjoy the silence, that's my suggestion. My passive/aggressive mother (who's now 94 and living in Memory Care, by the way) has used this miserable tactic her entire life which is actually a BLESSING when she pulls it out of her bag of tricks. The rest of the time she talks incessantly to the point where I PRAY she will go silent, so that's where I stand with The Silent Treatment.

Your mother wants to use a 'guardianship service' to get her own way? GREAT! Go back home and live your life. You will, of course, be called again and again to pick up the pieces of the destruction she causes by her insistence to 'age in place' at home. But eventually, the 'guardianship service' will have no other alternative but to have her placed in Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing after one too many 'incidents' making it glaringly obvious she's unfit to live at home, with or without help.

Don't cave this time; let her stay quiet for as long as she chooses to, who cares? That's the ONLY way to deal with passive/aggressive people. You don't let them win, otherwise, they tend to up their game with one childish tactic after another.

Best of luck!
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to lealonnie1

Pack your bags, you’re going on a guilt trip!

Except, that you are now an adult and get to choose if you want that ticket punched.

I agree with the others... enjoy the silence and live your life. Your mom will get in touch when she needs you.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to metoo111

You can’t make anyone sleep.
You can’t make anyone eat.

You can’t make anyone a responsive interactive communicator.

If this has worked to manipulate you and your sister in the past, she is expecting it to work again. If it does, she will continuing to use it.

What you have done in terms of setting her up with 24/7 care is presumably the safest, most loving living arrangement you are able to figure out WITH HER INPUT.

You have discussed her current options. Assuming that she’s cognitively intact, she knows what her options are.

She chose to implement the silent treatment knowing it was Mother’s Day.

My “silent sufferer” chose to become silent a week after my first child was born. I
believe her silence resulted in part in my father’s untimely death a week later. I understand where you are with this.
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Reply to AnnReid

Its called being passive-aggressive. It is a manipulation. Seems if she has a guardian, not much u can do anyway. Unless this is just a service you use to help coordinate Moms care? Guardian means the court has put someone in charge of Moms care. That person reports to the State.

And, the rehab will not release her if she is 24/7 care and there is no one to care for her. If she has a guardian/or service, then that person will need to set up 24/7 care in her home and prove it to the Rehab or the guardian/service will place her in an AL. Which if I was a guardian/service she would be in an AL because I would not want to oversee 3 shifts of aides that may or may not show up.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to JoAnn29
KathyMc May 10, 2021
Thanks for your response. Mom hired this woman...she owns a guardianship services company and has not been court appointed. Mom wanted to use the guardianship service, to as you said, help coordinate her care, and so when my sister and I felt like there were "too many cooks in the kitchen" and said we were going to bow out and let the guardian service take over, that's when mom stopped speaking to us.
Dance for joy?

That's what I recommend doing now that she has decided that you are not worthy of her attention.

People like this end up alone and bitter and just can't figure out how that happened. I would be on guard for her making nice if she has always waited for you all to come begging for forgiveness. Because she is probably in dire need and will expect you to rush to her aide.

My mom used this tactic and there are many years that we have not spoken. I told her after the last tantrum that I will not be back if she pulls it again. I would never see, speak or acknowledge her existence in any way shape or form, guess what, she doesn't pull that crap anymore. I never reached out to her, she would start telling family that she would like to see me and I would tell them that she made the decision to not have contact, so she can pick up the phone and change it.

You are no longer children that have to accept the abuse from your parents, you are adults and can absolutely say no more, enough is enough. I would tell her, write a letter or whatever it takes to get her to hear, that she has that choice but, you will no longer be participating in the nonsense and she can stop or you will not be available to her ever again.

I don't know why parents think that they have immunity to crap all over their offspring. It is not okay and people should start telling them that. What do you really have to lose? Abuse, guilt, ????

If she is competent, then she knows full well what she is doing and only you can refuse to play. Best of luck!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Your mom is a very emotionally immature person. This has, unfortunately, never changed nor has she seen the need to change. You and your sister continue to take the bait and this is why her behavior has not changed. You keep expecting her to be someone else. She isn't. If she did begin speaking to you again, what would she say other than she hates what is happening to her and her life isn't under her control and she has no power? Her one power is to control you 2 with the silent treatment. Just let her be silent for however long it takes. IMO there's absolutely no point in you 2 orbiting around her dysfunction. It doesn't mean you don't love her. It just means you have lives to attend to and refuse to interact with her like you're all 5 year olds. Don't take the bait. Send her cards telling her you love her and when SHE'S ready to talk SHE can call YOU at xx phone number.

Why is she under guardianship? Who is it, the county? Or another relative? May you gain wisdom and peace in your hearts as you wait her out.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Geaton777
KathyMc May 10, 2021
Thanks for your response. It's reassuring to me. Mom hired a legal guardianship "service" to take care of her affairs if and when she becomes mentally and physically incompetent. Although she is not at that point, mom has decided to involve this guardian in her current situation.
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Did she give your dad the "silent treatment" if so think about how she was manipulating him in these situations. Then think about a better way to handle the situation. If your dad caved in and gave into her then that's what she's expecting of both of you. Hold your ground and don't give into this. You are not in the same type relationship that your mom and dad were in. But that's all she know and she will continue to do it till you snap. I had to outright tell my mother one time "The silence does not work on me, so you can stop it. I am not dad and never will be"
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Jhalldenton
KathyMc May 10, 2021
Yes, she gave my dad the silent treatment all the time. They've been divorced for over 20 years now!
Much experience with the old silent treatment here. My father was a raging narcissist his entire life and he regularly alternated between silent treatment and angry fits of temper. His verbal and emotional abuse of my mother for 64 years of marriage is what killed her. Then he turned it on me. I went no contact before the pandemic hit for my sanity. As his DPOA, I signed a DNR at the ALF. He has been gone a year now and I have just distributed his estate. I am so glad it's over.
Do not feel any guilt for stepping back from toxic family to protect your own health.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to NavyVet90

Silence is golden in this case. I am glad she has her own Fiduciary service for guardianship. Let them handle her. Don't go into the G word that is guilt. You aren't felons. The correct G word is grief. This is worth grieving, but it is unlikely to ever change. Send a nice card and note weekly. That's it. Get on with your lives and make certain they are quality lives.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to AlvaDeer

We can’t change others behavior. We can only change our reaction to it. Your mom most likely feels that she is doing nothing wrong and is justified in not speaking to you. I know that you aren’t surprised by her behavior because it’s not out of character for her.

If you don’t take the bait by giving her attention, her behavior won’t serve any purpose, but it probably won’t change her behavior. If you don’t react to her behavior, at least you won’t drive yourself crazy by falling for her tactics.

I know a woman who tells complete strangers things like, “Would you treat your mother like you are treating me?” One man told her, “Do you treat your son like the way you are treating me? You are a crazy woman!” LOL

I have told this woman that she has to stop treating people so mean, her children and strangers that she feels are wrong, because she will only attract a negative response. Her answer to me was, “This is who I have always been and I can’t change now.” She admitted to me that she wasn’t about to change her behavior. She is a person of extremes, either hot or cold! One minute she tells people off and the next minute, she gives the silent treatment. There is no even keel in her behavior.

Forget trying to get these people to therapy. When I suggested therapy she said, “That’s nonsense and doesn’t work!”

So, in my opinion, some people are hopeless! Don’t even bother and take advantage of the peace and quiet.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

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