Mom drudging up the past is taking its toll on me. Am I wrong for feeling like this? -

Mom drudging up the past is taking its toll on me. Am I wrong for feeling like this?


My mother is 78 yrs old. Divorced from my dad for 40+yrs and receives 1/3 of his retirement. He is a good guy (86 yrs old and dying from cancer) and was ordered to pay her spousal support and later 1/3 of his retirement for life (unless she remarried or died). He has set her up with automatic payments each month from day one. How many men would pay this support without trying to escape the responsibility??? Not him -he even pays her ahead of time each month. He always asks how she is doing and if there is anything he can do to help her financially. I recently borrowed $2500 from him to help fund a car for mother. He refused to take my $$$ when I told him I was off to the bank to get a cashiers check to repay the loan. In the past he has paid for her dental needs and dentures -when he had no obligation to do so. He has had a sig other for over 30 yrs and they seem happy so I don't think he still has a thing for mother -he is just thoughtful. When dad found out he had cancer he got his affairs in order and told me everything (including $$$) was to be split evenly between my 2 siblings and myself. He must have had a change of heart because he later diverted our inheritance to an account to take care of our mother until she dies. She will continue to receive her monthly checks until she draws her last breath -anything left will then revert to the 3 children. Dad isn't rich -probably has around $200,000 in investments/cash. He says he does not want her to be a burden on her children. Trust me -she would be a burden as she only receives $250 each month in SS benefits. She would be homeless if it were not for dad's PERS / retirement contribution. Not once has he refused to support her or make those payments. He is a good man. She is a nag. Daily, weekly or monthly she tells me how he ruined her life and she could have had a happy marriage "if he would have been a better husband, communicated more with her, taken her here or there, bought her this or that...." ON and ON she goes. We were discussing my paying a visit to dad (lives in a neighboring state) just to do a welfare check -make sure things are as "jim dandy" as he states they are (often they are not...) and the subject turned (once again...) to how he has ruined her life and what a bad mate he was. I lost it with her --am so sick of hearing her dog such a good man. Good in that he takes care of her, does not want to dump her at our feet to take care of (she's never been motivated to do much and I've had to tend to her needs most of my life. I guess you could say I've become her "lousy 2nd husband"...(LOL) -God knows we fight like we are 2 miserable spouses! Mostly because she plays the victim and knows how to push my buttons. So, I asked her "why are we talking about this??????" when she began to rehash how bad my dad is. The conversation began as a simple comment about me driving down to check on him and all of a sudden I am dodging bullets about his character as a husband 40 yrs ago. I hear it all the time and I am sick to death of it! Am I being intolerant or am I right that she is driving me crazy with her unloading all of this imagined misery on me? I have a right to have a positive view of my dad, but she has always done her best to remind me that he is the source of all things miserable. I can't take it anymore.

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Thank you everyone for sharing your kind thoughts and similar experiences. It feels good to get this grief off of my chest and heals my heart to know that you have heard my anguish & taken the time to reply. MidKid58, I love your daughter's attitude toward gossip -how nice if everyone held that belief. I rarely mention him to her as I know how quick the conversation will turn --it is usually a general conversation about the weather that leads her to get out the "mental abuse club" and to that I try to say little to nothing and leave the room. Lately I have begun reminding her just how lucky she is and she would probably be homeless if it wasn't for him. That usually shuts her up and makes me ill to go there with her. She has a completely different relationship with my sister --one of infrequent mutual need and interaction. Sister might ask her to check in on her cats while she is out of town or to retrieve a UPS package from the front porch during a work day, etc. I haven't asked my sister, but I believe mom does not speak to her about our dad...just how their relationship has always been. Our brother has his own issues and hasn't spoken to mom in about 40 yrs so I know he does not endure her abuse. I could write a book about her comments and behavior to steer my affection from him. It has been her lifelong crusade. My crusade has been to keep my ship of sanity upright by (sometimes silently) rebuffing her remarks. She takes no blame. Funny....the other day I asked her if she takes no blame for the failed relationship and you would have thought I told her Aliens were at the front door. Total disbelief that it could be a possibility! I recently confided to my sister that I would shed few tears when mother passes, but would probably need counseling when dad goes. I know it is due to the grief she has served me about him for so many years. I will probably stand at his grave and say a prayer of thanks for the good man he has been and apologize for her bashing of him all these years. Sunnygirl1, mom has no idea about financial planning and has not consulted with an estate planner. Those things do not enter her mind -she has never worried about her future or attempted to improve her life by her own means as she knows there is a gravy train to rely on. IF she ever needs a caregiver I only have to look in the mirror to find the only option. Yes, she will live with me and I will be the one to see her thru her final days. Paid caregiving can be handled with her income since she will be living free with me and has few debts. Kimber166 -how I can relate to her feeling slighted about having to share family members during holidays or celebrations! She refused to come to my graduation "if your dad is going to be there." I told her he was coming and she would be missed -she changed her mind and everything turned out fine. There would never be an issue if these women didn't make it an issue. Yes, I often pull the "gotta run" card from my bag o' sanity tricks, but it falls short of her realizing the true point of my wanting to hang up or remove myself from her presence. I have decided to write her a letter about how her comments make me feel -sad for dad, guilty for her "misery" and that she is attempting to poison me against him. Then I'm going to read the letter to her instead of letting her read it for herself. Why? Because I want her to know how deeply she cuts me when she speaks badly of him. If left to read the letter on her own she can always insert her own silent thoughts between the lines, but if she has to hear my broken voice and see my tears MAYBE she will know the damage she has done and continues to do. Maybe this will make her stop. I'll have to show her the horror movie she has scripted. She wrote it and she deserves to know the impact it has had on the lone I'm not trying to be vindictive (maybe I am....just a bit of victory for my dad?). Either way, I am hoping this will end it once and for all. Again, thank you all for your responses & I'm sorry each of us has had to endure such crimes (it is a crime!) against our loved ones.
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This hits home as i called my mom this morning to say "hi" and she was off on the rant about my dad (they divorced 26 years ago). They were in the same town and we used to alternate holidays - Christmas day with dad for midday meal and then coffee for mom. Next year midday meal with mom - coffee with dad. But how she sees it is those years when we stopped by her place for coffee - that she was "all alone for the holidays" and that dad not only ruined her life when they were married, but then "insisted that we spend all of the holidays with him leaving her alone". There is no possible way to reason with this nonsense. I just say "sorry you are having a bad day, gotta go" and hang up. I guess just try to disengage. - i have never found that debating got anywhere except screaming at me, a 10-page LETTER!!!! all caps and exclamations, and the nuclear winter until i was ready to apologize. "love you, bye" is saving me these days.
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Has your mom consulted with an estate planner or Elder Law attorney regarding her situation? I'm not sure, if she would ever need Medicaid or Medicaid like program or if private pay would be possible, but, I might explore that with her. If her dementia does progress, it could become something she could need. Her income and assets could affect that.
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Your situation is almost point by point the same as the one between my in laws. Divorced 28 years ago, dad has been gone for 14.

MIL still talks about the things he did (and they were ALL HORRIBLE) as if they happened yesterday. She is as angry now as she was 40, 50, 60 years ago. It's sick, truly. She's never owned up to one iota of responsibility of the relationship, it was ALL him.
Dad kept quiet. Gave her everything in the divorce except for one rental property that was all but falling down. 1/2 his pension, for life, then the whole thing once he'd passed. She allowed him to take from their home SOME of his clothes, his old recliner, an old bed and one card table with 2 of the chairs. Not 4, 2. No photos, no memorabilia, she had a company come and threw away everything else of his.

Of course this caused a real rift in the family, if you "sided" with him, she'd cut you dead. If you invited HIM to something, she wouldn't come.

The 3 kids, all the most non-confrontational people you've ever met, just rolled with it. They realize their mother is a narcissistic princess who feels Prince Charming just wasn't all he should have been---and she has issues that will never be "fixed". Nobody ever spoke up to her or defended dad and she liked it that way.

She's 88 now, very batty and confused. She is still furious at dad. Everyone still just kind of ignores her when she gets on one about something he did in 1948.

I have a daughter who WILL NOT GOSSIP. She simply will say "this is unkind, what we are saying, it's gossip, guys, come on." And she sweetly and gently guides us away from that.

Try that on mom. Say "this is gossip. I'm not going to engage in it." If you need to, then leave. Refuse to engage and walk away. She'll get the message. You may have to do it a hundred times or so, but stand your ground. This is YOUR FATHER and whatever went on between the two of them isn't your problem.

Sadly, unless you mom feels this is a problem with her, she's not going to change. Trust me, she'll be furious if you "refuse to listen" to bad stuff about your dad--but this says far more about her than him.

I truly loved my FIL. My MIL is just a person I have to endure.
BTW--your final line in your post? You DO have a right to have a positive view of your dad. Mom has failed to poison you, and good for you. Tell her that. And then do not speak of him to her again. He's been better to her than she "deserves"..that's for sure.
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Dad's contribution to her is $1200 each month + her SS check, plus my sister sends her $50 each month, plus I give her cash or pay for her occasional needs --eye exams & other medical expenses. Not to mention that I gave her a credit card with a $3,000 credit line in case she needs gas, paper towels, etc. She rarely uses the card, but she has it in case of any emergency. She is showing some signs of dementia in the last year --last month she didn't recall me taking her to the bank the previous day & told me I was "lying"....LOL. I can't blame any of her behavior (relating to bashing my dad) on dementia as she has been bashing him since the beginning of time. She did comment on what a "nice guy" he is when she found out she was being taken care of until her last breath. One nice comment and then it's back to the machine gun attack! Yeah, she is fairly one sided and you can't have a level headed conversation with her. The same day she said I lied about taking her to the bank she also called me a "b*tch"....she does this once or twice a year & it's usually because I don't agree with her goofy way of thinking. When she called me a b*tch the other day I told her she wouldn't talk to her other daughter like that and I expect she not speak to me in that way --ever again. Her reply was that I am jealous of my sister. I picked up my purse and without saying good by I walked out the door and didn't speak to her for 3 weeks.
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If your mom doesn't have dementia, you can handle this or phrase this a few different ways. You can tell her that she should be grateful that your dad has always given her 1/3 of his SS check. Going the math it's $726 a month plus her $250, she has almost $1,000 every month. Another thing you could say is that you don't have to listen to an ungrateful woman that would have been on the streets years ago if it wasn't for your dad. Your mom is not a victim nor is she a marytr and tell her so. It's very kind of your dad to give her something every month even though he doesn't have to.
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