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She is still young and mobile. She has friends but she is giving me a huge guilt trip over not coming for Christmas. She's 11 hours away and I just don't have the money. We just moved and bought a house. In order to get the home loan, we had to put 10% down. I do feel guilty. I hate for her to be alone but she has options with friends. I don't like Christmas at her house, it never feels like the holidays. I'm not talking about gifts, just the mood. There is always drama....Help

Math, so how is Mom doing with ur decision not to come.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Sometimes the answer is to come to a compromise. Would you like your mom to come to your home for the holiday? Or, what if instead of spending the actual day with your mom, you plan to visit her for a few days before or after (if it becomes affordable or she can help with your travel)? I hope you can stop feeling guilty and enjoy your time over the holidays!!
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Reply to Justagirl
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My Mom will be at Assisted Living for Christmas for the first time this year. I live over an hour away and my youngest son will be getting into town Christmas morning, so we are planning to go down to see her the day after Christmas. I've been told that the facility has Christmas activities, dinner, etc., and she will be fine, although Mom hasn't wanted much to do with Christmas the past couple of years. Just know that you are doing what is best for you and your family.
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Reply to ctccbc
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Please do not feel guilty. This woman is obviously in a position to have friends and be active while you are having a very hard time. You are not happy being with her in her home, it won't be pleasant. Thank god you have the brains to realize you are better off not being with her. Stay at home or where you are happy, call and wish her Merry Christmas, and if she starts fighting with you, just politely say someone is at the door and hang up. You take care of yourself - you deserve it. And a wonderful Christmas and New Year to you.
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Reply to Riley2166
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First of all, do not feel guilty because you are moving ahead in your life. You have made decisions that move yourself (and your family?) forward. Your mom should be proud of you for those achievements. Explain to mom that money just doesn't exist to be there in person. Maybe you could Facetime or Skype for a hour or 2 so she has some communication with you. Encourage her to do things she enjoys with her friends - and those nearby. Of course, she could always spend her time and money to come visit you - if this is something you desire.
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Reply to Taarna
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If you don't want to go for whatever reason, then you don't need to go. Financial is a valid reason. You are not required to do anything you don't really feel comfortable doing. So...do what YOU want to do. Sorry mom, can't do it this year. Maybe next year.
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Reply to againx100
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Do not feel guilty. I don't think I can say it any better than MaryKathleen did. MaryKathleen - spot on GREAT, sage advice and words of wisdom! After all, you did say that your mother has options with friends.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Remember, just because someone is a Travel Agent for Guilt Trips doesn't mean you have to buy a Ticket.
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GardenArtist Dec 21, 2019
Mary Kathleen, That's a clever way to describe the situation!
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Guilt is a wasted emotion, we say my family. Over the years I’ve learned that you can’t make people act/do what you wish they would do, you can only control your reaction. She has options, you’ve reminded her of them, and she’s made her choice. You going there wasn’t one of the options this year and she’s hoping you’ll change your mind. Enjoy your holiday in your new home!
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Reply to Franklin2011
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How, alone? She won't be alone. And if she's young and mobile, why would it be easier and cheaper for you to travel to her house than it would be for her to travel to yours?

Mind you. Would you send her an invitation if you thought she might accept it?

And if she *wouldn't* accept it because she always spends Christmas at her house with her friends - ! Da capo: how, alone?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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When you are moved by "Fear, Obligation or Guilt" (FOG) it is not love and it is time to do a self-assessment. FOG is used to manipulate others.

She is offering you the ticket for the guilt trip but you don't have to take it.

Staying in your own home for Christmas is fine, Her staying in her home is fine, Her trying to guilt you about not coming to her home is not fine. Don't buy into it. She is making choices as are you. If she wants to be miserable b/c you are not going there, that is her choice. As you say she has other options. This is not about Christmas and you not coming and her being alone. It is about manipulation and control. Step out of the fog. You are entitled to make your own choices even if they don't please others. Have a great Christmas!!!
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Reply to golden23
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P.S. I care for my good old friend, Jer (86). He isolates and relies on me, often. I set my limits. I've told him to reach out. In AA, he could have a lot of support although he doesn't want to call or reach out to this / his community, after being in it for over 40 years. I, we, you - all of us, can only do so much. If Jer refuses to reach out, he will need to deal with the consequences - how he feels. It is not up to me to fill these voids that he decides to create. He lives 5 minutest from an elder socialization center with all kinds of activities and social opportunities. He doesn't want to go. I have to - we all need to - set our limits and know that what another decides they don't want to or cannot do for their self, esp when and if they have the mental facilities to do so (is another story with serious dementia, of course), it is not our responsibility to be a co-dependent and fill in those gaps. It is tough love. I arranged for Jer to have a weekly friendly visitor. That has been going on for about six months now. Check through social services to see if this is an option. Gena
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Reply to TouchMatters
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Not to sound harsh. She isn't guilt tripping you. You are guilt tripping yourself. Be aware of setting boundaries (emotionally, psychologically). First off, believe and feel that you deserve to feel good about yourself. It starts with this internal feeling. We often blame or put the emphasis of our feelings / responses / behavior on to another. It takes awareness and on going moment-by-moment work. Think of 10 qualities you like about yourself. Repeat daily. We have to learn to control our triggers, once we are aware of them. Perhaps start with consciously shifting the 'guilt' feelings to thinking of something (an experience, travel, adventure, spouse, child, etc.) - something that FEELS really good to you. Like how I feel about rescue dogs and other suffering animals. Whenever you feel that heavy GUILT, think of something else that brings you joy. Slowly, you will automatically do this and feel much better about yourself. It won't happen overnight as these are likely very long internalized patterns of behavior. It isn't about money or house loans. It is about your internalized feelings - about situations and yourself. Asking SELF-FORGIVENESS is huge too. Forgiveness in general is so very healing - to release and let go our where we are emotionally stuck. Let us know how it goes. Gena
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Reply to TouchMatters
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Your mother might be wishing Christmas was like it used to be when her children were young and everyone gathered at the family home. But you have fledged and left the nest and your mother will need to create a new tradition for herself.
You don't enjoy Christmas at her house anyway. You don't need to financially justify not making the trip.
Don't let her guilt-tripping control you. Let her know you won't be there in person, wish her a Merry Christmas, and carry on with your own celebration. If she continues to pout, that is her choice.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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The good news is, you know she’s putting a guilt trip on you. She’s probably done this your whole life & she got away with it! Right? Maybe it’s time for you to set a boundary with her. It will get easier each time you have to set a boundary with her or anyone. I encourage you to shed the guilt & do something you want to do. And don’t feel guilty. You deserve to create your own “Holidays.” Mom needs to grow up! Sorry, just being real! I’m 71 yo, have 2 daughters & 7 grandchildren.
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Reply to Alesigonzales
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TouchMatters Dec 21, 2019
Yes! just what I'm saying/encouraging. However, telling someone "don't feel guilty" is a huge can of emotional, life long worms woven into the relationship." It takes time and inner awareness / work to let go. Mom won't grow up-she'll likely stay stuck unless she decides to make decisions she isn't accustom to having to make. She may end up sitting in front of a tv alone or in a chair mad, fuming, depressed.

Congratulations to you, Ms. 71 year-old. Boundary setting is hard. First is being aware of that need and then going through the growing pains of actually feeling one deserves to feel whole and feel through it. You, my dear, are a role model to me. I'm just a few years behind you. However, I believe you likely had a full life and continue to do so. What is your story. I am sure it is very inspirational to many of us here. gg
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I have a sister who has made me feel guilty every year for not wanting to travel anywhere on Christmas Day with our kids. We grew up staying at home for Christmas and that is what I wanted for my children. So, I do understand the guilt trip! Would you go if your mother paid your expenses? If you would, then I would just tell her that you are not able to afford to go, unless she gives you the funds to get there. I don’t mean a loan either. She needs to be willing to give it to you. If she isn’t willing, or able, to do that then you have nothing to feel guilty about. If your only reason for not going is that you want to have Christmas at home with your family, then plan a trip soon after Christmas that your Mother can start looking forward to. If you can’t afford to go, you can’t afford to go. Bills still have to be paid, even at Christmas.
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TouchMatters Dec 21, 2019
No No. She didn't "made me feel guilty." You did. Language or how we think about our behavior, and others, is really important. Otherwise, we cannot change it.
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Why do you feel responsible for how she feels? If there is always drama when you have visited her in the past, then she doesn't feel responsible for how you feel.
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Reply to NoTryDoYoda
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If she is "young and mobile" is there a reason she does not come to your house for Christmas?
If you do not have the room at your house a local hotel might be an option.
If this is something that you would be willing to offer as a suggestion then present that to her. As well as reminding her that she has friends that she can spend the holiday with.
Don't feel guilty if she has these options and she CHOOSES to be alone that is on her not on you.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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I’m so used to my offspring not ever having money for travel, do not expect anything.
Let me just say this, without people going down the toxic relationship road here. Parents and grandparents purchasing plane tickets occasionally is a lovely gesture. Adults who never arrange their finances to include occasional visits just might be the selfish ones. Only the parties in the relationship know what’s really going on. I’ve purchased more than a few flights, hotel rooms, cooked nom-stop for family guests. Loved on them, bragged on them, cherished them. With health going south, and fixed income, it seems neglect of the elders is their new normal. Not how they were raised. Ours were taught by example, helped elder relatives as needs arose, did not have to be paid to assist. It’s a whole new world, one we elders just have to accept.
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Doggomom Dec 21, 2019
This whole site is populated by people who are turning their lives upside down to take care of an elderly relative so it’s quite rude to come here and talk about selfishness and neglect of the elderly. Maybe some people need to be paid to assist because they cannot afford to otherwise, despite their best intentions. I am very glad that you were blessed with enough money to pay for the flights, hotel rooms and meals but those who do not have it are not selfish because they cannot conjure it up out of thin air.
Maybe try being supportive and not piling on the guilt trip, yeah?
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"she has options with friends"

There's your answer.

Let her deal with it and you go find a therapist to help you overcome your being raised in guilt compounded by fear and obligation.

There's also a good book about Marriage and Boundaries that might be helpful.

Congratulations on the new house! Have a Merry Christmas!
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Reply to NoTryDoYoda
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TouchMatters Dec 21, 2019
THANK YOU. Yes.
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Unless she's willing to pay for your way to get to her, tell her you just don't have the cash at this point. With a new home, you have end of the year expenses like property taxes, along with other holiday expenditures. It's really the worst time of the year financially for many people. Perhaps SHE should come visit you. Otherwise, remember, it's ONE day out of the entire year.
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Reply to BBS2019
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PowerOf3 Dec 21, 2019
I’m with you, it’s 1 day just 1. She sounds mobile but perhaps you’d prefer to spend your first Christmas in your new home with your children. This should be an exciting Christmas for you and your family. Remember that part.
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Google "Fear, Obligation and Guilt".

You might benefit from learning to set up some healthy boundaries in this relationship.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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You just DO NOT have to justify ANYTHING about your situation OR your reaction to it.
If you want, you can say I’m REALLY SORRY.....” , but you don’t have to. Saying “We just can’t make it” is fine.
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TouchMatters Dec 21, 2019
I agree 110% percent. No one needs to make excuses or justify their needs and personal decisions, esp with a parent who is able to socialize, has friends, etc. It is different when dementia or physical limitations happen, and that takes another kind of awareness to set boundaries.
In this situation, I would not even say I am sorry. I would reflect back to mother what she wants - not re-act to it, i.e., "I understand you want me to . . . . I hope that you decide to be with . . . or take advantage of meeting new people at . . . " and let me know what you decide to do." This is being respectful and standing up for one's self.
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Thanks everyone, sometimes I need to hear these points from other people. I know I let the guilt get to me but I was raised on guilt. It's a hard habit to break. I do love her, I just don't really like her. I know that sounds awful. I pray that we can have a relationship that is okay for both of us. I hold a lot of resentment towards her that I'm trying to let go of.....its hard. Merry Christmas everyone!

And yes, we are very happy in our new place
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Reply to mathisawesome
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JoAnn29 Dec 19, 2019
If you stay on this forum long enough u will read "love them but don't like them" alot.
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You just moved and bought a house - you are a big girl now and make your own decisions - WITHOUT the input of your mother. You decide - you tell her the decision and SHUT DOWN any further conversation - especially the guilt tripping. That is manipulative behavior - just say "love you,, gotta go" when she starts. You are not responsible for her happiness at Christmas or any other time. She too, is a big girl. Time to act like one all around.
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Reply to Kimber166
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Stop participating in the guilt trip, you’ve said yourself that your mother has options. Tell her a final you can’t make it and then don’t listen to any more on the subject, if she brings it up get off the phone. We teach others how to treat us, your mother needs to learn to treat you in a manner that doesn’t involve guilt and emotional blackmail. Hope you enjoy Christmas in your new home!
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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Your answer is in your post "She has options with her friends". Let her explore those options, guilt is a self imposed emotion, turn it around, she will only be alone if that is what she chooses.
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Reply to DollyMe
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Isn't she happy for you that you have a new home? And that you were able to buy it yourselves?

It strikes me as terribly selfish for her to make you feel bad that you can't make a long and expensive trip to see her.

Maybe she'd like to pay your plane fare?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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TouchMatters Dec 21, 2019
Mother is used to a pattern based on both parties taking part in this dance. One partner has to change the pattern. Mother needs some 'me' time to develop herself. This is a REAL holiday gift.
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You have very good reasons why you can't go. Are u close to her friends. Maybe a call to one of them telling them you can't make it home this year so Mom will be alone. Is there a way that they or one of the crowd could invite Mom to dinner or lunch.

I understand about the 11 hrs. One BIL is 12 hrs away the other 18. When MIL was with us, she was 16. Long way to go for just a day or 3.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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No one can make you feel less guilty except yourself, but for what its worth you're making the right decision by staying home.
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TouchMatters Dec 21, 2019
HERE. HERE. And, this reading this (last comment), I am going jogging myself (at 68, I might add). I had to work on myself for 40 years and it never ends. Parental 'wiring' from the beginning of birth can take a lot of time to recovery / rewire from . . . smile and enjoy the end of year crisp weather and pumpkin desserts.
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