My Mom (82) is so angry, bitter and negative about everything. Is this normal?


My daughter and I live with her. She's mean and puts my daughter down all the time. Always repeats things over and over. She's having difficulty hearing all of what's said and also heats totally different things. Gets angry with us and says we call her old and deaf. Says she's going to leave all the time and makes my daughter feel like she doesn't love her. When my daughter does chores, she states she does nothing. It's very aggravating to go through this. I'm trying to be a Mom and when I speak to my daughter, she always chimes in with her negative thoughts. None of my brothers see this behavior. She only does it around us. She also puts everyone down behind their back. It's uncomfortable having to live like this. I'm very positive and she brings me down. She sucks all my Good energy out of me.I refuse to become my mother...Please help!

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I found this 3 year old post because I was searching for a little, or any help with a similar situation with my mom. I doubt the original poster came back to read the most recent answers and that's too bad because there were a couple of things said that seem helpful.

I'm constantly struggling with my 78 y.o. mom. She's negative by nurture and from just generally growing up in a place and time in that where kids had to grow up quick and work at very early ages. She's fairly astute despite having a third grade education and that astuteness combined with the toughness required of her to adopt, I've felt for the longest time have made her bitter of having an unfulfilled life. She got married to my dad at 23 and stayed married until his death last year. They were together 54 years and she consistently nagged and had no patience with my dad for about the last 15 years of his life. He could be a jerk at times but not often and was mostly easy going. One of her weapons was and still is giving the silent treatment/cold shoulder. She would do that to my dad all the time yet he always ignored that and would talk to her nonchalantly even though she wouldn't answer him. I felt bad for him and often would answer him if she wouldn't. I admit though, her negativity really rubbed off on me even though I try to control it. It can't be helped to turn out as you were raised. I'm very similar to her, yet very different also. We regularly lose our temper with each other. She currently has not spoken to me for a couple of days because of our last tiff which was based on me snapping at her because of the amount of times I have to repeat myself. She has lost some hearing over the years, and that's a touchy subject with us as she hates any reminder I bring up regarding the affects of aging. She really needs some sort of hearing aid. But on the other hand, for a very long time now, she doesn't concentrate at all sometimes on what I say and instead gets distracted by things she deems more important to her, like a news story on TV or the weather report, etc.

Her constant inattentiveness winds up really getting to me and then I finally snap at her. I'm fairly patient but after repeating myself about the same subject for 2, 3 or 4 days in a row, it gets to me. Especially when I see that she comprehends things that matter to her fairly quickly. It makes me feel unimportant and I've told her that. She's not the type to apologize. If my snapping at her doesn't lead to her getting angry at me, I'm usually shocked.

I don't like snapping at her, I don't like being negative like her. I try to talk to her about being kinder to each other and others but being negative seems to be too engraved in her. At her age, I hold no hope that things will get better. She's holds a grudge like no other and if I don't insist on getting her to talk to me, she will never talk to me. In the past, our record is about a month of not speaking and she has siblings that some of which, she had not spoken to in almost 30 years. That's my mom.

I feel very unfulfilled in life as well and I know it had mostly to do with our relationship and the way I was generally raised. I gave up a lot of my life in the passed few years. I'm not married, no kids and the career definitely needs a boost. I needed to help my mom to care for my dad full time for about the last 4 years of his life, he wasn't super bad until his last year. That was a tense, more so, time in our lives (believe it or not) because of the pressures of physically caring for someone who couldn't care for themselves anymore. It wore us down and because of her nature, she was constantly in the worst mood.

She has a pretty good relationship with my brother, even though he's never been one to physically help out in much of any way compared to me. I think because he's been involved in such a limited way in our family dynamic, he has been able to avoid her full wrath, unlike me. He's also very much not concerned with day to day matters having to do with my mom. I've been around her so, so much more that I feel we are just sick of each other. That's sad.

Giving each other space might help a little, but I still have to deal with her in a general basis as she is my mom and needs me (even though she never would admit that). A hearing aid is something that might help a little. I suppose constantly reminding myself to be the bigger person and letting her "win" could help to. I just don't want to reinforce negative wins in her so I have to figure out when to ignore the bad behavior and affirm the positive behavior. It still is very, very difficult and draining for me to deal with her and that makes me very sad.
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Momrutalking, you say your mother's primary impairment is depression. That is a very real and very debilitating disease. Learning more about that disease may help you figure out how to deal with her.

First, is she being treated for depression? Is she taking meds for it? Has she had talk therapy? Perhaps she needs adjustments to her treatment plan, and if she has no treatment plan, she should! If you told us Mom had diabetes and it was giving her lots of problems, I'd first suggest visit the doctor who treats the diabetes and that perhaps you should consider a specialist for her. This is the same situation. First, seek specialized medical attention.

As you learn more about depression, how you act and interact with Mom may change. For example, depression often includes near-total lack of initiative. It is a wonder to me that any of us find our way to treatment without a push or two. A depressed person is not likely to see that the bathroom needs cleaning or the table needs setting, or if she sees it she can't gather up the initiative to do anything about it. I've been there, and I assure you this is not the same as being lazy or lacking self-discipline. I could do what I knew I had to do, but very little else. My children never went hungry or wore dirty clothes. But, oh my goodness, lots of other things got neglected when I struggled with depression.

So perhaps it would help if you and Mom come up with things she needs to do. And if she doesn't do them they don't get done. If it is her job to gather up used towels, wash them, and replace them in the bathrooms, then the fact that there are no towel to dry her hands on will be a big reminder. If it is her job to make a salad each night, then some nights there won't be a salad. Help her remember without nagging. "I brought some tomatoes in from the garden. Maybe they would be nice for our salad tonight."

Note that when someone is very depressed they don't think very much of themselves. They think they are not worth much effort. It all seems pointless. So try not to reinforce this negative view. For heaven's sakes, don't say "Can't you even manage to keep towels in the bathroom?!" Don't criticize -- they are doing enough of that themselves. Try, "Mom, you usually are so prompt with the towels. Do you need some help this week? I'll gather them while you start the washer. I'll meet you in the laundry room."

If the deal was that dinner is your responsibility then she should expect it to be ready for her every night (just as she had dinner ready every night for her family.) But if that was never the deal, if, for example, you never talked about what the deal really was, then it is time to set some clear expectations. What part of making dinner do you expect her to do? Always make a salad? Make the entire dinner two night a week? Help with the prep every night? Work out with her just what the expectations are. Remember that she may not think of these things on her own, but if it is clear that she must do certain things (like I had to do the babies' laundry) she can get them done, and it will be good for her.

Now it is possible that your mother is lazy, and that she lacks self-discipline, and that she is self-centered. Possible. But since she suffers from depression it is also possible that instead of character flaws she has chemical imbalances.

Start with medical treatment for Mom. Learn all you can about dealing with people with depression. Set up situations so she can succeed. Try to avoid reinforcing her negative views of herself and the world. Establish things that she needs to do, and make sure she knows the expectations very clearly.

Good luck to both of you!
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Momrutalking2me, I have taught my mom boundaries by interrupting her intrusive behavior, calmly pointing out that the behavior is not acceptable, and provided her options to what might have been seeking during her boundary-crossing behavior. Lie Edfernandez my mom has mild cognitive impairment combined with a personality disorder and it helps me to remain kind by keeping these impairments in mind. I have never raised children but think that this type of kind and consistent correction and feedback might work with them too. It works with my mom. Be prepared for some emotional blowback at first, but hopefully your mom will see that you are being reasonable.
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Is her depression being treated?

Is she living with you? How did that come to be? What agreement did you make when this caregiving arrangement started?
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How do I teach my mother boundaries? She feels she should not have to do anything, participate in any way. And dinner should be ready for her every night.
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Just FYI, this thread is almost a year old.
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While you meant well, it sounds to me like it's not been seen that way by your mother. She likely feels intruded upon She sounds bitter and depressed.

Yes, you are a mental health professional. However, this is family that you are dealing with. One can't be as objective with family. I've heard my own therapist say that he knows that he can't be a therapist to his own family because he is part of the family system.

What would your mental health training lead you to say to someone in a similar situation where both the teenager and the adult are being verbally abused by another adult in the home. You would likely encourage to try some boundaries with consequences one of which would be to leave when those boundaries are broken.

Your boundaries and your daughter's are being constantly broken. As a teenager, there's not much she can do other than run away. She's right when she doesn't have anything to apologize for that she doesn't. To force her to apologize for something that was not wrong to begin with is not teaching her the right lesson.

To have her continue to endure being verbally abused because you are is teaching her poor boundaries, is only enabling the verbal abuse from your mother and is making your daughter an unhappy, bitter teenager.

That's not how you learn compassion by living with no boundaries with an abusive person that you can't help who is also a family member.

I'm sure that on some level she realizes her grandmother is sick, bitter about getting old and resents loosing her hearing. But she's sick of her being sick and needs a break in the routine! You need a break too!

It is unfair to your daughter to expect her as a teenager to live around your mother as if she were you as a mental health professional. She's a teenage girl and she needs a healthy emotional environment to be herself and to mature in. She doesn't need to be 24/7 around her grandmother who is more like a needy client that you would seek to help and then go home from for the rest of the day.

Find an alternative to this and set both of yourselves free while finding some way to get your mother the help she needs that if she is still competent to make her own decisions is willing to accept. As long as she's still mentally competent, you really can't force her as another adult to do anything.

So, you have put yourself into your mother's shoes and see how she is seeing and experiencing the world which basically is that she doesn't like getting old of which a big part is the loss of her hearing. "That's why I tolerate it."

Counselor, heal thyself by changing course so that you can take better care of your own health and your daughter's health which would be a healthier lesson to model for your teenage daughter. If need be, get your own counselor and one for your daughter too. Even counselors need their own counselors at times to keep themselves healthy after listening and dealing with some many other peoples unhealthy stuff.
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This is like reading about my own life xx
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barelybreathing, it is very kind, even noble of you, to take a long leave from work and try to give your mother the loving care you feel she deserves. And you have professional skills to bring to the situation so it was not unreasonable to expect this to work out.

It isn't working out. Young people can and should learn tolerance and empathy and compassion. Your daughter needs to see your example of taking care of Grandma. But NOT at your daughter's expense. This is not a good environment for her. Is there any reason to think it will get any better while your daughter is still in school and at home? In my mind, your first responsibility is to your daughter. You cannot have a re-do on her teen years. You cannot postpone these critical years in her life.

Your second responsibility is to yourself. How good can it be for you to have your Good Energy constantly sucked out? To hear your mother hold's you responsible for your husband's death? Yes, yes, you are a professional and you can understand and take this in stride ... if you are dealing with a client or patient who is not your mother! And taking a long break from your career will have an impact when you want/need to return. And reduced income over your working life will have an impact when you retire.

You did what you thought was the right thing. Good for you! You gave it your best shot. Now it is time to recognize that this doesn't seem to be making Mother happy, it not the right thing for your daughter, and it is not the right thing for you.

This is sad. Absolutely! And it is Not Your Fault.

It is time to try a different course of action.
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I meant that last one for freqflyer
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