Does being 72 give you a free pass at being rude & insensitive?

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Just found this fabulous site tonight and this is my first post so I hope I don't ramble too much "coming out of the gate" and that hopefully my post is clear.

How can I disagree with my mother without making her so mean and hurtful? Tonight we were discussing what to give everyone for Christmas and she asked what my husband would want. I told her he wanted this new tool for work and she could only find it at this specialized store. She responded back saying ok I'll go to the hardware store and I'm sure Bob there will have one. When I told her the hardware store won't have it - she said I needed to quit argueing with her all the time.

Do I just suck it up and take it or what? I told her I was sorry she felt that way that I was just trying to help. She flatly said "NO you were trying to argue with me!!!" So I said I needed to go fix dinner and would call her tomorrow and she said "Oh NOW I made you upset with me, now if you would quit trying to argue with me you wouldn't be so mad"


So does being 72 give you a free pass at being rude regardless of the situation? If so then I don't know how to "behave" or even talk to my mom anymore. Here I am 49 years old frozen with fear because in 2 short weeks my family will be at my parents house (out of town) for a week over Christmas.

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NO, it does not!

I'm sorry you had to go through that with your mother. Most elders around that age and older have in their head "at my age I can say and do as I please", but all in all they do need to be reminded when they hurtful. As my father use to say "A person can't argue with them self". I would say when these situations come up again and they will, try humor if you can or bite tongue and excuse yourself.

Now, depending on if they have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer this will be an issue that has to be treated with kid gloves.

I know it's hard. Being a care giver for my own mom has its good days and bad days. I do agree with sharynmarie, because it's true how parents still see us as just children that we are challenging them, they always know better than we do no matter how old we are. I also agree with JeanneGibbs' - humor your mother without sounding condescending. After some practice you will get very good at avoiding confrontations with her. I hope things get better. Good Luck River525.
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oops! Meant to say I have rearranged my life for her, but it will never be enough. Mother keeps getting wonderful ideas on what to do for Christmas, or sponsoring a soldier, or getting another dog, all of which fall on my shoulders. And of course you have to go along if you don't want to be heartless. Fortunately for me they always tend to run dry after a day or two, but it just gets tiresome. Conversations always end up being about Mother's thoughts on life or her memories, as she doesn't have the patience or interest for much else.
You have my full sympathies, esp when it comes to the tone of voice thing. Even a resigned sigh can start an argument. My thought that in the end you're best off picking your battles, just let her talk and go around her when you can. Is there anything you can agree on? Do you have a husband who supports you?
Is she picky over everything or just a few pet peeves?
Christmas is never an easy time for even the kindest families.
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To my own mother, it's being 80 and in pain from arthritis that gives her a pass for speaking her mind. Mother was and still is a very well mannered lady, but she has less and less patience with life, including nearly everything on the radio, on non-English blooded people rising to prominence, on the fact I like to read the comics, on those corny ads for Medicare or those heartbreaking ones with the hurt dogs, on the fact my father (her ex) hates Obama... the list goes on and on. We live together, so it's constant. To some extent I have rearraigned m
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Madge1- you are so right. You have to pick your battles. My MIL will argue the color of the sky. Everything we do is wrong. Last night she lectured me on where I hung up the kitchen towel. Mind you this is MY kitchen. I have regressed to using a technique I used with my mom when I was a teen. When she gets in this mood, I tune her out. I say "ok" at all the right times. But where the towel goes, what sponge I use, etc ... Is silly. I just put everything back the way I want it when she goes to bed anyway. BUT, when she starts getting ugly with my teen, I do stand up. I pick my battles.
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river525, I just have to ask, is this new behavior? Has you mother been argumentitive all of your life? I don't think blaming you is the right thing unless this is new behavior and you are responding to it incorrectly.

My father was verbally abusive. One of his favorite things was to argue with everything I said. It is a way of invalidating you and your intellect. He would argue with a fence post. It is a bullying behavior and should not be tolerated.

I remember visiting my parents years ago when dad was alive. I had not had the extra money to fly up to see them for several years. All of my girls were in college and money ws tight. We were sitting around the kitchen table and I was telling them how much the girls loved my parents home. One of the granddaughters told me she hope we could always have the home in the family since they so loved it. It thought this would make dad happy, not so. He looked down his nose and smuggly said, "this house is going to the state to pay for my nursing care." It was not what he said but how he said it. Just another FU to me. So, in your situation look at your entire life with mom and determine if this is more of the same or jsut "old age" stuff. And whichever one it is, avoid arguing with her. You never win anyway,.
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River, I do get it - you just want her to accept what you said is true (that only the specialty store would have it) and not instantly ignore what you said and then get angry with you when you reassert it. I'd guess your mother does this in many many areas of your life for most of your life. I too am finding as my mother ages that patterns that were hurtful and chronic all along have now become much harder to bear. Easy for me to say, but your best tactic is just to let it go unless it is a matter of great practical importance. It's only a game of tug-of-war if both parties are pulling on the rope....drop your end, you'll feel better.
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I am not a 24/7 caregiver and those of you who know about me know that my mother has a personality disorder and Alzheimer's. A lot of crazy making, drama, etc. For elderly people who do not have personality disorders or Alzheimer's, giving up control and no longer having all the authority causes them much stress. Changes in the family such as their children getting married, having their own families...all causes changes forced on parents and not all are willing to make adjustments to accommodate those changes and it is sad that this happens. I bring this up because my fil lost his wife almost 3 years ago. They did not accept change and fought against it at all costs. He will not have holiday dinners with his daughter and her significant other because he doesn't like her significant other, he won't have dinner with us because he doesn't care much for me. So he only has dinner with my bil who is divorced and who is willing to do exactly what his father wants. It is a sad situation as Cmag stated about growing up and not just growing older. It makes my heart hurt that my fil is willing to cut his nose off to spite his face because in reality, it all comes down to my fil being the center of attention. This is how my mil laid the foundation of their family. She was a very strong person, very confident and not a doormat but she centered her family around fil making him the head of everything in the family. I share this because as I said, my heart hurts for him because he could have really great relationships with other people who married into their family but because of "protocol" he won't accept things from others unless it is centered around him. I am not trying to vent here or make this about my family...I guess I am just trying to figure out "why" someone would be so set in their belief system that they deprive themselves of a meaningful relationship with others.
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Cmag, you are right that parents do need to grow up instead of merely growing older, I love that statement!!
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It is not healthy nor does it contribute to an adult/adult relationship for a parent to view their adult children as still being little kids. In fact, it is rude and not respectful at all. It also opens the door for a parent to use emotional blackmail on their adult children via Fear, Obligation and Guilt, also known as F.O.G. Some parents need to grow up instead of merely growing older.
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River525 "OK" remember these 2 letters, this one simple word. and make "OK" your favorite answer (in most cases) to save yourself a lot of grief!!! The trick is act like you mean it even if you don't, you are now an actor, what I mean by this advice is.... no matter what you say or do it's going to be wrong... most Mother's do this, and I think it is because you are now in her former position, her roles are slipping away. As a wife she can't take care of her husband, but will never admit that, and as a mother, she's trying to do anything she can to be at least in charge of her own ideas. This is the point in time when you have to ACT like she's in charge, but, you really are. This is what I refer to as "the need to know basis.". For example: my Mother still does not like when I go to her room at the nursing home and go through her closet, I do this to see what she needs, what's missing, if her clothes are clean etc.. So I wait until she is in another room at the NH. She does not see it, so, I avoid the argument, but still am doing it. She doesn't need to know. When she catches me she says "that's my closet, I don't go to your house and go into your closet do I.?" Then I say "Oh I thought it was the bathroom", or some other excuse like I am clueless and not her.
When we were in the car I used to ask her which way do I turn next, I forgot the way... she felt like she was teaching me again. It's all about loosing control and not wanting to. When It comes to safety though you have to set boundaries or rules but if you can, act like it's because you might be in harms way and not her. Say things like.... maybe the best thing to do is let you decide.... and she'll most likely make you do something for her because she really knows she can't, but forcing in anyway, even if it's for her best interest and you making decisions for her will be a reason for her to disagree. I am not saying your wrong and your not, she just doesn't need to know your right. You know you need to take control but she doesn't have to know it. It's kind of funny, but, the only time my Mom remembers that I am her daughter, at this point is when I forget what I just suggested to you, and I slip up and say something.... as if I am in charge of her. Then she say's "remember I am your Mother you are not mine." Then she gets confused and has a look like did I just say that ....and walks away from me because I think the reality hits her for a fleeting moment and it saddens her. I myself am not a Mother but I believe that the mother instinct runs deeper than her dementia. Your Mom may not have dementia she is just trying to preserve what's left of her normal healthy self. With all that said "If your the target of the abuse it's because your tuff and she knows it." Ask yourself this question... will you through in the towel and give up for any reason? I know you your answer is No, and I know that because you came here instead!!!! One more thing for now.... it's a Thankless job.... verbally, financially and in other ways, but what you will feel in your heart as a caregiver is more than words can say or money can buy. Welcome and be Strong It is worth it!!!
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