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Old 12-01-2013, 05:30 PM
 
Location: Georgia
4,562 posts, read 4,099,080 times
Reputation: 15768

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Well, it takes two people to argue -- and part of the problem here is that you allow her to push your buttons. Somewhere, deep down, you are still wanting her approval, and you're frustrated when she doesn't offer it, and instead offers criticism.

Something that I have noticed is that once you really, truly don't give a damn what she says -- it doesn't matter. You can laugh, you can shrug, you can ignore with impunity -- if her opinion of you really DOESN'T matter, it doesn't affect your life one little bit. I mean, does a woman frowning at your shoes at the grocery store ruin your day? No , because SHE DOESN'T MATTER.

She is making a common "motherly" mistake -- this is how she shows she cares, because she is "paying attention". To her way of thinking, if she didn't care, she wouldn't say anything. She hasn't made the transition from "mom" to "parent of an adult." You, on the other hand, haven't helped her make that transition, either, because you are still showing that her comments are important to you. (Yes, they ARE important, or else you wouldn't be here, hurt and upset about them.)

It's going to require an attitude change on your part -- you have to really NOT care. You can be firm: "Mom, I know you don't like the way I do laundry. You've mentioned it many times. Duly noted. Moving on . . ." If she criticizes your children in a mean way, you can cut her off firmly: "This is NOT a topic of discussion, Mom." and absolutely refuse to talk about it. Change the subject very obviously, and if she brings it up again, be firm again: "Mom, I thought I made it clear, this is NOT a topic for discussion." If she criticizes your housekeeping, just smile. You think that because she is criticizing your housekeeping, it's a personal attack. It's not. It's just her OCD kicking in. You can stand your ground and still be respectful, but you don't have to be a doormat.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:04 PM
 
Location: here
24,839 posts, read 30,105,065 times
Reputation: 32406
I'm sorry. I can relate. My mom and I never formed an adult relationship. She still acts like she's raising me, like she has to monitor how I talk to people and what I say. Nothing is ever clean enough, etc. I quit talking to her for a few months, then we had it out (yelling over the phone). She swears she'll try to change. Things are better now, but most likely only because I don't give her any ammunition any more. We just don't talk like we used to. Like someone said, I imposed my own boundaries. It isn't perfect, but it is better. Does your mom treat you like this over the phone, too, or just in person?
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
43,366 posts, read 41,900,880 times
Reputation: 83316
It's not medical.

Well, it may be pathological, but it just sounds like she's a narcissist. It's not the same as being babied. It's a bit of a competition. In my house, we call it "fun-sucking" because the family narcissist will suck ALL the fun/good out of everything just to keep you from feeling like you did something right.

Read this:

Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers: Dr. Karyl McBride: 9781439129432: Amazon.com: Books

She won't change. You have to learn how to cope.
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Dunwoody,GA
1,993 posts, read 4,763,459 times
Reputation: 2241
Well, it sounds to me like it might be worth the $$$ to pay for her to stay in a hotel at your own expense. Your sanity is worth something. Then, when you get sick of the BS, you can take her back to her room "to rest."
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,906 posts, read 14,397,959 times
Reputation: 30806
I like the idea of writing a letter explaining how her behavior makes you feel.

I also think her visits might be shorter--much shorter. And possibly she should stay in a hotel.

And I also think that you will have to stop paying attention to constant criticism. Try to tune it out. I know about a mother pushing the buttons! My mom and I had words plenty of time because she couldn't edit the thoughts in her head. If it was in her head, it was out her mouth. But your mom sounds extreme, and she doesn't sound happy. She might not be able to stop herself from being the way she is. And it is tragic that she has alienated one daughter totally.

You need to manage your interactions with your mom. She has expressed disappointment with you. Well, she has disappointed you too. So, start with that letter. Work on it for several days, to get it right. Stick with the facts. Stay away from inflammatory language. State that her actions make everyone around her miserable. Is she willing to change? Does she want to talk about it over the phone?

If she won't see how she is harming her family, then I'd keep this relationship a long distance one.

If she is experiencing some form of dementia, her personality might be affected. With my mom, she became more extreme in the behavior we had learned to expect. Her personality did not undergo radical change. If your mom is having trouble, you can expect problems with losing focus, forgetting dates of things, getting lost in familiar places, forgetting to pay bills and/or taxes. There will be other clues in her behavior, besides being impossible to deal with.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:43 PM
 
5,702 posts, read 16,199,150 times
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I feel for you. My MIL is like this. My husband doesn't have a good relationship with her and to be honest, I don't really care for the woman myself. We live out of state now but I endured a lot of her criticalness and can't imagine what it must have been growing up with her. We found cutting off the information train helps quite a bit.

She had visited a few times but now she can't be bothered and Im glad. She just can't contain herself. She must express her opinions about what others do. Her famous saying, "Well...I'm entitled to my opinion..." Even if she isn't asked. Even if it means hurting someone's feelings or causing tensions in her relationships. My husband has given her mini time outs and she backs off for a bit.

Now I find she plays dumb. Its over stupid stuff too! My husband and I are animals lovers, well more so with me. We have 2 cats and 2 dogs. Our cats are older, one is 16 yrs old and the other is 14 yrs. So we have had our cats for quite a while now. Anytime our cats are mentioned she plays dumb and says, "you have 2 cats AND 2 dogs?!" She knows damn well we have cats. She has even remarked about them on Facebook. So when go home for visits and our pets are mentioned she always says (again and again). "You have 2 cats AND 2 dogs? Oh my, I would be happy with just one pet." This is her way of saying she doesn't approve we have 4 pets. (she has no pets by the way).

Bad behaviors have consequences. Shorten the visits or flat out tell your mom she won't be invited.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:01 AM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
22,234 posts, read 23,690,071 times
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If she makes a disparaging comment about you or your children one more time, fist her face. That'll teach her.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:56 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
2,657 posts, read 7,188,205 times
Reputation: 4297
Quote:
Originally Posted by silibran View Post
I like the idea of writing a letter explaining how her behavior makes you feel.
While letter writing is a tactic that women tend to use, it rarely works in the case of a narcissist. It has to be remembered that Ns lack empathy. They don't think they are ever in the wrong and are masters of turning words around so that it seems the wounded person is at fault, or they deserved whatever behavior is inflicted on them by the N.

If you sent a Narcissist a long letter with all the mean stuff in it that they did to you why would they call you back and tell you off and say you ruined their day and deny the truth

Narcissists Suck: Writing Letters; Good Idea or Bad Plan?

Ns are like hurricanes and tornadoes - the only way to protect yourself is to get out of their path. They won't change.
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:08 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
2,657 posts, read 7,188,205 times
Reputation: 4297
Quote:
Originally Posted by fallingwater View Post
My husband and I are animals lovers, well more so with me. We have 2 cats and 2 dogs. Our cats are older, one is 16 yrs old and the other is 14 yrs. So we have had our cats for quite a while now. Anytime our cats are mentioned she plays dumb and says, "you have 2 cats AND 2 dogs?!" She knows damn well we have cats. She has even remarked about them on Facebook. So when go home for visits and our pets are mentioned she always says (again and again). "You have 2 cats AND 2 dogs? Oh my, I would be happy with just one pet." This is her way of saying she doesn't approve we have 4 pets. (she has no pets by the way).

Bad behaviors have consequences. Shorten the visits or flat out tell your mom she won't be invited.
Lord. I've been giving my sister a shoulder to cry on since Thanksgiving. She had to deal with her in-laws - specifically her mother-in-law and the two flying monkeys who are her sister-in-laws. Some messages from my sister about the "conversation" her MIL had with her on the holiday
Quote:

"Oh dear the gravy is good, but you need to buy a separator for the grease, oh and the Red Beans and Rice is good but it's too spicy for me", and my FAVORITE, "oh honey you're hair is cute but isn't it a little short in the back?"
Comments from her sister-in-laws when they discussed their sororities
Quote:
" oh I forgot you only went to community college"
I asked why my brother-in-law (Sister's husband) didn't shut his mom and sisters down
Quote:
my husband is pretty spineless.
Sister said that she is going to find a reason to be busy with something else on the holidays. She did bartending to put herself through school ("only a community college" sniffs the mother-in-law) and can always get a gig there at the holidays. She said she'd rather deal with nasty drunks and loud music than the 'death by a thousand cuts' ordeal of being around her in-laws.
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Old 12-02-2013, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Florida
4,511 posts, read 3,917,539 times
Reputation: 9905
I've said it before and I'll say it again - just because people are relatives doesn't obligate you to having a relationship with them. You can't choose your family but you *can* choose your happiness. And it doesn't sound like she makes you happy so, in my opinion, you should stop having a relationship with her.

And keeping the relationship because if you don't she would 'have no one' isn't your job. If she has no one because of her attitude - especially when she's been called out on it multiple times - is her fault.

I would tell her that she's no longer welcome in your home until she sees a therapist for her OCD and her attitude. If she doesn't want to do that - well then she'll be alone. But *you* will feel much better.

The responsibility for her behavior is hers not yours.
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