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I just turned 50 married for 29 years with 3 grown kids and my mom is 82 and always has been emotional abusive. She has 2 favorite older kids and out of 7 children is always pitting one against the other and complains why her children are not close. As I get older I can no longer tolerate her abuse and it takes a toll on my mental health. I have developed health issues and am trying to change my lifestyle and she continues to argue with me when I tell her that she is not supportive in my life. I always have good news to share and she only blocks it out with my siblings problems or hers. Out of 7 kids I am the only one married out of 6 girls and am always helping my siblings and their kids with money which my husband is tired of. I have had counseling recently several times only to come back to my mothers behavior. She puts me down for not coming around after she creates turmoil and blames whoever doesn't give her special attention afterward. I have given her expensive gifts and have always been a giving to her and my family. Even though my husband has been the worker. I am the only child besides my brother who is married and financially stable and kids are doing well. I want to leave her alone altogether and lately because I want change for myself and marriage and family I no longer want to deal with her anymore. As she ages it only gets worse. People often put down siblings that don't help as much as others but often times the ones that don't want to come around are the ones that can't continue taking the abuse over and over that they were raised with.

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I have been having some "luck" (for want of a better word) in using the old psychologist trick of asking questions in response to an uncomfortable or distressing situation or even to distressing questions. "Why should I come around when obviously you do not appreciate it?", for instance. "What else can I do for you that I am not doing?" But ask in a perfectly level, non-confrontational voice, as if you were asking for directions to the mall. Too often I think we tend to allow ourselves to be sucked into an argument or a negative or contradictive response, and it just fuels the fire. She obviously feeds on it. Don't play the game. Be pro-active. Above all, don't perpetuate the abuse. It stops with me. If she continues without you, or bad-mouths you behind your back, you can be assured in yourself that you have done all you can. BIG hint next!!!! - You cannot buy love or respect by giving gifts either to her or to your relatives, all you are being is an enabler. Nothing good comes of being an enabler. Put her on a par with yourself at most, if she takes it all, that is all she will be satisfied with - all. As to siblings, I have found also that unless someone is personally involved with the care or support of an elderly relative, they are only too glad to stay detatched. Why should they get involved when you are already doing it all???!!! Stand by your principals, stay strong and resolve that she will not rile you any longer, it is at an end, act accordingly.
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I could have written that letter myself, but there are 9 girls and 3 boys in my family and my mother was physically as well as emotionally abusive. The emotional abuse is worse.
It will be difficult for you to remove your mother from your head and then from your life, but it will probably be your saving grace. I was in counseling for five years to help me with that step in life. Emotional abuse creates such a chain of reactions that become automatic after so much time.
You owe it to yourself, to your husband and to your children to seek joy in your life. If your mother is like my mother (and they sound like twins), she will block your joy at every opportunity. The turning one sibling against another has created voids in our lives that may never be filled, but we are working on it. No one has the right to rob you of your happiness.
I wish you luck and I hope you can find the strength to end a toxic relationship and find real happiness.
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I agree with all of the above especially DT ! I am in a similar situation with my mom.
As she gets older it gets worse and she now trys to manipulate me as the primary caregiver. As I see from your post your mom is not living with you. Which is a good thing...No matter how hard you try you will never please her so do what is best for you! I wouldn't eliminate her entirely from your life. The guilt will be worse than the abuse..........So, having said that I personally would SET THE LIMITS AND THE TONE FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP. by that I mean when she is nasty on the phone cut her short and say you are busy and have to go and hang up. She will probably yell at you the next time you do it but if you continue to do it and you tell her that you won't talk to her if she acts that way she will eventually get the hint! It worked for me. Tell her you will only call her or see her ex: once a week or whatever works for you and stick to it......If she still remains nasty make the time longer and tell her why..........She has become the child and you are now the parent so you have to handle her as you would one of your children......Set limits, take no abuse......She may talk about you in a nasty way to your siblings but tell them you are not interested in hearing what she has said. Ignorance is bliss....You will still have some guilt but that is human.....YOUR family comes first......Keep us all posted on how things are gooing! Good Luck
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BAC:

Reminds me of my mother. With a PhD in Child Abuse, she verbally and physically tortured her her to ensure their subservience. My sister Martha does what you do: gifts, money, being repository of her misplaced anger. Martha's answer is always "It's my mother, and I love her." I told her 2 things: (1) parents shouldn't spit children into the world and then expect them to pay for it; and (2) stop giving them downpayments for their acceptance. She wants to be loved, but doesn't see the motherly love she's looking for has a price tag attached to it. And she really can't afford it.

As for my Mom, last I saw her was April 16th. Everyone had dinner and a slice of her birthday cake but me. My sister Ivette tried to make me feel welcome. Mom said "Don't give him s__t, he's an ingrate." I grabbed my jacket and birthday gift and headed out the door. She did the whole "telenovela" act and said to everybody "You see how he treats me? ... I should've choked him between my legs when I had the chance." She's gotten older, but hasn't changed bit. My last words to her were "If every time I see you all you're going to do is make me feel worthless then there's no place for you in my life." She blurted "Forget I'm your mother." I told her "I'll do my best."

There was a sex worker in the corner who asked me if I wanted a date. Nauseated, I handed her the White Diamonds my mother was supposed to get. As I rode the cab to my home in Parkchester, I said to myself: "You're either a masochist or a sucker for punishment. What's wrong with you?" ... As authoritative and empathetic I am with my sons and grandchildren, I seem to lose my self-respect when faced with that terrorist who calls herself mother, father, and best friend of all her children.

Taking the gift back served notice I'm not taking her abuse anymore. When I think about not seeing her again is a relief and makes me feel good. ... And I can spend that time with people who do love and care about me.
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I'm not dealing with this. My mother was never emotionally abusive. So my advice is easy for me to give, and probably a whole lot harder to put into practice. Pandoralou said it well -- No one has the right to rob you of your happiness. If the only way you can stop your mother from doing this is to cut all ties, then that is what you need to do. Maybe after you've established some of the lifestyle changes you are working on, and have focussed on your husband and family, you will feel strong enough to reconnect with Mother with some firm boundaries in place. For now, do what you gotta do to take care of you.
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I empathize with all of you. My father used to be emotionally abusive to my mother all her life. She passed away 2 months ago, and now he has started to do it to me. He is in a nursing home, and loves it there. But when he gets agitated, he blames me for putting him there, calls me vile names, and just 2 days ago, has now started blaming me for my mother's death (she died from heart failure after contracting MRSA, C diff, etc...from the hospital). It crushed me, I loved my mother so much and I don't need this in my grief. I do not know what to do, but right now I am no longer answering the phone. I'm going to stay away from him as long as possible, but I am his health care proxy, and I still have their house to clean out and sell. I pay all his bills (with his money). He also accuses me of trying to steal his money. People tell me "oh, it's just dementia setting in". But it isn't, he has always been a mean, moody person, and it's getting worse.
If anyone has answers for this one, I'm also interested.
I only have one sibling, who lives out of state, but considering that you have 6 other siblings, I'm wondering if you should step back and let some of them support financially and emotionally.
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Your answers and your question are my life.. its abusive bit no doubt common. I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to spend my remaining days on this earth healing myself so I don't do the same thing. I long ago did some healthy work on emansupating from my family in a loving way. Unfortunately I need another course. It really changed the dynamics for everyone. Guilt stinks and lasts too long. Best to heal w some good mental pro so all anger and expectation are dissolved. All-out examples are EXACTLY my story. Exactly.
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Dearest Ballnchain ~
I do understand the 'ongoing' abuse. They don't change. My father is the same way. I have had to set my '''boundaries''' with him. Boundaries are good and healthy for your mind! I call it a 'family vacation'. Can't always be around it. Set your own boundaries for yourself. It's okay. I have no respect for my father. However, I need to be around him, due to my mom's cancer. (she by the way is my best friend). Makes it very tough to NOT bring in the tension around her. My mom always encouraged me to ''kill em' with kindness'' ... in any given 'bad' situation. So I do that for mom. It's tough too.
I understand.
kt
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If your mother was not related to you, how comfortable would you be putting your own emotional and psychological health first? I had to answer that question about an abusive parent - cut ties - and it was the smartest and healthiest things I've ever done. Yes, there will be times of grief and sadness for the parent you will never have, but you will have those whether she is in your life or not. Just a suggestion. When the time is right, you will do what you have to do for yourself.
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You do not have to feel guilty because of your reaction to abusive behavior. We all have desires and wishes, some are rational and some not. It is one's own behavior that one has control over. Your reaction is purely rational. It is up to you to do something or do nothing. If you decide to sever your relationship then that is your best answer to the issue.
My parents used to have loud arguments over my father's drinking. I was maybe 7 or 8 and I can remember being so frightened that I would just pull the covers over my head. I promised myself that when I got married and had kids that I would never yell at my wife. I never did. Even bad experiences can lead to one's own improvement.
You are not responsible for your mother's hateful behavior. You did not cause her to be what she has become but maybe she is not responsible either. None of us knows why other people are what they are but that doesn't mean that we, as individuals, must take those burdens on ourselves. I hope that you can stop torturing yourself and just focus on your own family, promising yourself that you will never become your mother.
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