Um. Because I AM one? I've been holding down a job, caring for her and trying to help my sister. I was just catching up on household chores today, wearing old jeans, hair pulled back in a bun to keep it out of the way. I'd been vacuuming, scrubbing bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning a chicken coop, cleaning litter pans, doing laundry. I'm chronically sleep deprived and I can't remember the last time I got to actually sit down and have a nice meal. I'm also stressed because there's something wrong with the car. I have no days off. I bet I DO look tired and old. I was telling her about some new yogurt I bought for her to try when she just said this out of the blue, with the "sweet innocent" look she uses when she says awful things on purpose. She was screened for dementia and does NOT have it. She was referred to a psychiatrist and her appointment is tomorrow at 8 AM.

See, she has ALWAYS been this way. She says negative things for no good reason, usually in a surprise sneak attack when I'm feeling sad or low. She only seems happy when she's cutting someone down or creating drama. When I was a teen she heavily criticized me for trying to look nice, telling me I looked like a "hooker" wearing makeup or fashionable clothes. Somehow, she always manages to make me feel horrible about myself no matter what I look like. She always makes vicious backhanded comments about other people's weight or how much gray they have or how old they look. Thing is, I AM a "middle aged woman" and a really burned out one at that. So what she said really stung.

In some practical ways life is easier since she came to live with me- I can now juggle her many appointments more easily, and she's not living in a hoarded home with my very troubled sister- that situation needed to change for both of them. But I've sacrificed my freedom to help her. I don't expect she'll ever change, and she will never see why she has no one, no friends, why her brother never calls or wants to see her, why three of her five kids (from three different men, one extra-marital affair) haven't spoken to her AT ALL in literally decades and why one of them is terribly messed up and needs therapy...And why good old reliable me is sitting here typing this on a public forum.

Most of the time I let her personality problems just slide past me because I gave up needing her when I was about ten years old, after her umpteenth dramatic suicide threat, which has always been her way of manipulating and controlling people. She's an odd mix of chronic victim and chronic predator. She does weird things such as try to take over someone else's experiences and then start talking as if they happened to her. I've told her things before, only to have her, a short time later, tell me about that very thing as if it happened to her. She actually tries to steal memories and experiences, and not just from me. She lies, and her opinions, likes, dislikes all change like the wind. I don't think she has a clue who she really is.

Mostly, I view her as a pathetic burden no one else will take and I feel sorry for her. It's like living with an exotic creature I neither understand nor trust, but once in a while I let my guard down and she pounces. When I calmly confront her about her behavior, she retreats to a huffy, defensive "Well I can't say ANYTHING! I just wont say ANYTHING!" And then she tells me tales about how her mother used to call her "plain" and SHE didn't mind, therefore I should stop being "silly". When I explain to her that her reaction to something does not invalidate my feelings about something that's been said to me, she just shrugs and sulks.

Don't know why I'm writing this or if anyone will understand it, but living with someone like this is like living in the Matrix. No clue what's real. She LOOKS like a sweet, caring 83 year old lady but she isn't. The sad thing is she's ruined lives, failed to be a mother, declined to be a friend, and when she dies no one will miss her.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
"Well I can't say ANYTHING! I just wont say ANYTHING!" 

... “Good idea, mom. Don’t say anything. Ever!”.
Helpful Answer (9)

Does she absolutely have to live with you? Nothing she says should bother you because she is incapable of care and concern for anyone. Does she qualify for any aid? She does not deserve more sacrifice from you and you don't deserve more years of this horrid abuse. She is a mother to you in name only and a horrid one in that definition. I wish you could find a way to free yourself. I am so sorry you have endured this treatment and if she asks again I wouldn't hold back with the truth.
Helpful Answer (8)

Simple answer on why you look like a middle aged woman: "Because my mother is 83".
Helpful Answer (8)

I have teenage daughters and it surprises me sometimes to hear the things girls say to one another.

Girl 1 insults Girl 2's clothes or hair or appearance. Here are some of the come backs I hear which I think are very clever. Say these with a smile on your face.

Come back: "Are you looking in the mirror?"
Or: "Oh. Thanks. I really try hard to get that look."
Or: "Admit it. You wish you could look like me."

Also, just saw these come backs on a website. They might come in handy for a lot of us whose relatives like to give unsolicited advice.

1. Thank you kindly for the unsolicited advice. You obviously know so much more about my life that I do.
2. Unsolicited advice is like somebody singing out of tune. Nobody wants to hear it.
3. I don’t base my decisions on advice from people who don’t have to deal with the results.
4. I didn’t realize you were an expert of my life and how I should live it! Continue while I take notes.
5. Don’t judge a situation you’ve never been in.
6. Thanks but I’m an expert in my life.
7. Have more than you show and speak less than you know.
8. I must have Alzheimer’s because I don’t recall asking for your opinion. (My favorite)
9. I’m sorry I offended you by ignoring the unsolicited advice that you shoved down my throat.
10. I’m sorry, I didn’t order a glass of your opinion.

Have FUN dishing back.
Helpful Answer (8)
Shell38314 Apr 24, 2019
Okay, I have use "You wish you could look like me." 4 and 8 and 10 are just funny. I think number 10 is my favorite!
See 1 more reply
Your mother sounds to me like a mentally ill narcissist. Has to put others down to feel good about herself, insofar as she actually can feel good about anything.  Very kind and courageous of you to take her in.  But be sure to have friends, positive people, healthy people in your life and let them model for you.
Helpful Answer (6)

Because it's better then being a bitter old hag like some people.

My oh my, I can absolutely relate to the pouncing when you let your guard down.

Do you really have to care for her? You didn't make her this way and she'll never change no matter how much abuse you accept. It is okay to let her face the consequences of her choices.

Hugs, it's what's on the inside that counts and that makes you beautiful.
Helpful Answer (6)

I have to say I am sorry. Your mom sounds like my mother who has made backhanded comments to me as I was growing up. And now, my mother will say something about my hair or the jeans I am wearing and I will ask her why do you have to point out that or why did you say that she will say, "well I just can't say anything to you," or my favorite "I won't talk to you anymore." Then I say, "okay." My mother will pounce on me every now and than.

The truth is your mom and my mother and many other mothers from adult children on this forum as well around the world are loss...they have no idea who they are...they are a mystery not only to us (the adult children) but to themselves as well. If you really think about...its just sad! Sad to be so loss that you have to hurt someone just to feel something!
Helpful Answer (6)

Thank you all. I can't believe how incredibly cathartic it was to actually write that and not worry about making up excuses for her or trying to cover up for her or hide what she's really like- which is usually my position: "I'm so sorry she said that to you...look she's older and says things she doesn't mean...etc"

I'm afraid I do have to care for her. It's a messy, convoluted situation. She makes too much money in pensions to qualify for help, but she doesn't have enough to cover nursing home or assisted living care. If she had to pay with her own property and home, then my very troubled and messed up sister whom I am trying to help as well will be out of a home. She basically had a break down years ago and has been hoarding that house ever since. That's another problem for another day. Gah.

On the bright side, my mother had an appointment today at a hospital that specializes in mental and behavioral health issues, as well as elder care and dementia etc. She's been referred for what the doctor described to me as "intensive and regular psychotherapy". He met with her and with me afterward and said she likely has had an undiagnosed personality disorder all these years, while it's unlikely she'll change much, it might help. She's also being put on Cymbalta. Not sure what to expect, but I feel so much better now that there isn't this veil of secrecy drawn over the whole situation.
Helpful Answer (6)
SparkyY Apr 23, 2019
I am a hairstylist and I use to see this interaction all the time between mother's and daughters mainly. We use to talk about it at the salon if a particularly horrible interaction happened. I feel bad now when I hear these same stories on here. We use to always wonder how the daughters could put up with it.
These mom and daughters would come in together and it was like mom was waiting for an audience to start in on her daughter. It was horrible to watch. If the daughters dared to say anything the mom would just waive it away with a comment about her daughter being too sensitive. "She's always been this way. I wish you'd lighten up honey I'm just giving you advice" or something like that.
The weirdest thing about this was how identical all the overly critical mom's were. It was like they were all hatched in the same nest.
Anyway I had to share this with you. You aren't alone by a long shot. I don't even know what kind of personality disorder it is but seeing how common it is there has to be a group therapy for victims of this particular type of abuse? It's not you. It sounds like you know that already but say it again it's not you. I hope that you find a way to live peacefully together.
Wow, just wow, I could have written that post myself--I was sitting here pinching myself--are you my SISTER?

Naw, you COULD be, but you're not 'cause my mom lives with my brother.

OMG--the backhanded 'compliments' and 'cut downs' and hurtful things she tosses my way...all while holding this sweet little old lady look on her face.

The comments on my appearance are most cutting--b/c with 2 'prettier sisters' I always fell short and I knew it.

I know she ranked us by looks and I fell short. So my self esteem was nada. She actually told me that my husband was way too good looking for me. Seriously?

I look at photos of myself from those glory years (the teens) and I was actually pretty darn good looking. NEVER felt like it, mom's constant put downs kept me low.

She also threatened suicide all the time as a means to 'control' us kids. Crazy. It took getting married and leaving home and going very long periods of time w/o contact with her to realize how sick she was/is.

I do not have daily contact with her. I couldn't bear it. I guess the good takeaway from this kind of upbringing is that I was the polar opposite of what she was. She has good qualities, too, but sometimes it's just almost impossible to see them. And I am always on my guard around her.

And 3/5 of my sibs are completely MIA. They call once in a blue moon. I don't know, we're not really close.

I would NOT put my happiness behind hers. I already DID THAT for 20 years. I'm not unkind to her, but I definitely have tight boundaries and I do not do anything with or for her that I don't want to.
Helpful Answer (6)
hieronymousboss Apr 23, 2019
It's really, really crazy to be learning how many people also had to grow up with this kind of thing! Personality disorders must be a lot more common than I realized. It always felt like a secret badge of shame.
See 2 more replies
My sisters make comments like that and if I retaliate they slink off to the corner like I devastated them. I usually let it go but there are days. Like "wow, you have a lot of hair spray in your hair" and I say look whose talking helmet head. Their reaction is priceless, like I just devastated them but it's okay for them to insult me. I've lost track of all the little barbs over the years.

I wouldn't let it bother you. Look at the source I always say. Happy, well-adjusted human beings don't need to insult. Unhappy people do it cause it somehow makes them feel stronger (for a brief second)
Helpful Answer (5)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter