How to deal with my mother complaining about everything?


My mother was living in a tiny shoebox of an apartment in Gilmer, TX. Every time I went over there she was locked up with windows drawn and very out of it. I bought a house with a beautiful back yard, and gave her a room and offered her another for the other stuff that wouldn't fit...and her own bathroom.

At first, she would sit on the patio and seemed happy. Now, everything is horrible and Gilmer was a paradise second only to Heaven, she was surrounded by friends over there and the traffic was wonderful and the library was perfect and the drug store was just the most friendly place she had ever been, everyone just stopped in their tracks and celebrated her arrival with flower petals and music (ok, a little sarcastic there) but I am about to scream.

and any attempt or suggestion from me is met with "oh I am such a martyr, you're cruel to me"

this weekend we have made arrangements to go visit an old friend in Dallas, a two hour drive away, my brother has gotten us a room in a nice hotel, she hasn't been in contact with this woman in a decade and she was sooooo excited that she said she was gonna drive herself up there! Now, three days before the trip is planned she comes slinking in with that 'oh poor pitiful me' attitude and wants to know if it 'would be rude' to cancel the trip....because it might rain. So now, if I push for her to go, and God forbid it rains, it'll be my fault...and if we go and it doesn't rain, well, she won't have fun and it'll be my fault.

I can't win.

She got a piece of junk mail that is trying to sell her an extended warranty for her twenty year old car, and so today she's going to the bank to cancel her car insurance and get that instead...and she screamed at me when I tried to tell her it wasn't insurance at all...just a rip off. See, I am untrustworthy and stupid. I couldn't possibly be competent enough to know a scam. And I understand that she is frustrated SHE can't see a scam anymore and they prey on old people because of it...but it hurts that she flat does not trust me or think me competent.

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I don't bother listening anymore. I put up the bondaries and got rid of the guilt. Luckily my mother does not live with me and never will. My mother was born complaining and will die complaining. She is the type that would find problems in a silver lining. There is no dignity is self pity, only loneliness and bitterness!
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Jinx, I had a good laugh at your post, too. I used to play that verbal game with my mom, too, just like you described. I was actually pleased and happy when alz took away my mom's ability to speak...and bitch morning noon and night. God, it was absolute bliss and totally refreshing not to be drowned in a sea of negativity day in and day out. Sheesh!

I'd sneak off on that trip, WT, and go all by myself and the hell with taking mom. If she goes, and it turns out to be a disaster, with no rest or peace, don't take her on the next trip for sure.
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Wanting time, I had an evil giggle at your sarcasm...are you sure that my mom didn't end up at your house? hee hee Oh God, do I ever feel you. All of what you said, every single word, describes life with my own mom. In my opinion, you're dead on...we could never be happy at the same time. God forbid I had a good day, or a smile on my seemed it was my mom's mission in life to wipe it right off, asap.

Go and totally enjoy your trip! To the max! And leave her the hell behind, and good riddance for a weekend!
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Wantingtime we all feel the same way..You go and enjoy your weekend, if you are any thing like me I would be hoping she doesn't come, I know I would enjoy it better without my Mom!
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thank you both, Jinx, I needed that smile this morning. After our big blowup yesterday and me crying for twenty minutes and being upset at work most of the day; SHE'S happy as a lark...looking forward to the weekend. I guess she just needs SOMEONE to be unhappy in the house and if she can transfer it to me then good enough. The part is filled...that's all she needs. One of us sad, the other happy...and if I am the happy one she has to be sad and pitiful. I am resentful and angry with her, and feeling guilty for feeling that way when I don't know how much of this she is doing just to be a bitch and how much of this she is doing because she's mentally ill and losing her memory.
I told her that I am going on this trip Saturday and if her butt's in the passenger seat when I start out, she was welcome to go with me, otherwise I'll see her Sunday. I am looking forward to staying in a nice hotel and getting out of the house. NOT looking forward to her complaining the whole way...

I think she complains out of habit and just doesnt' realize how she sounds.
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You poor thing. I bet you're about to strangle her.

She probably does need antidepressants, but don't let anyone tell her that. Call them heart pills or something else.

I'm sure you are doing everything you can to spare her pride, but you can get farther if you seem to be interested in what she has found - this fabulous offer in the mail. Maybe suggest taking it to somebody at the bank to talk it over, and let the "expert" explain it to her. To My daddy, I was always the cute little girl who pooped her diapers. How could I know anything?

Maybe try being "depressed" yourself. "Gee, mom, I don't feel like doing anything. I don't even want to go out and get ice cream. It would probably just be vanilla, and the line would be too long. We could watch TV, but there's nothing good on."

"I feel bad. I want to go to that new store, but it's probably too crowded, and you'd just hate it." Set her up to contradict you by agreeing to do something that she would enjoy.

Agree with her that life sucks here, and was great there. It's too bad she moved. You guess she'll just have a miserable old age. Sympathy goes farther than logic any day. Again, you are giving her room to choose to contradict you and say she'll just have to make the best of it.

That's what would work with me, anyway. I'll write you in jail after you strangle her! Good luck.
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I'm so sorry you're having to go through this! It has to be so frustrating.
When seniors lose some control and their situation changes, then their 'old life' was perfect. My mom only remembers the good stuff about my dad, not his anger or all of the other stuff we went through with him. I suppose it's a coping mechanism. But it's hard for us who know the whole story, that's for sure!

Has your mom been checked for either depression and dementia? You don't mention either in your profile...but she sounds like she's lost her reasoning power and her ability to filter some thoughts. That's the first thing I'd do - get her a good physical and neurological check-up with a gerontologist who can assess her physical and mental state. She may have some cognitive impairment going on, which means she's not being this way to be difficult, her brain has changed. But only a good doctor can make that assessment. She won't like that doctor, that's a given. :)
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