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the mother from hell

(59 Posts)
Silverfish Sat 05-Apr-14 21:24:50

Is it me or just the ageing process but my elderly mother 83, is such a tyrant , she never used to be like this, worked all her life and as a widow is comfortable financially. she has niggling health problems but goes out almost every day and has lots more friends than I have. The problem is she is so controlling, she lives in the same street and watches my car come and go and if I'm home early from work she is on the phone to see why Im back. she is kind hearted and has helped me out financially but if she gives me help she demands to know what ive spent. If I talk about redecorating she will say there is nothing wrong with what I have. I own a clothes airer that she gave me 20 years ago and I dare not replace it as she caught me throwing it out and gave me such a lecture about waste. I had a man friend and I used to have to sneak him out in the morning with a blanket over his head so she couldn't see there was anyone in the car. It has got so bad now that if I buy a magazine I have to hide it as I will get a lecture on wasting my money. She says no-one should buy new as we are all just upping profits for greedy manufacturers, her house is full of hoarded clutter that I hate. I just don't like to go to see her now as I know I will get into a fight over something Ive done. ~Anyone else got this problem

absent Sat 05-Apr-14 21:28:23

Sounds like dementia setting in. sad

JessM Sat 05-Apr-14 22:07:51

Yes if she has had a radical personality change absent may be right.
Alternatively she may just hate being in her 80s and resent you for your youth - people do sometimes take things out on their nearest and dearest, or someone that will put up with them being bad tempered and demanding.
But why are you taking so much notice ? Why do you pick up the phone? Or stay in the room when she starts lecturing you? Is she like this with other people or just you?

Soutra Sat 05-Apr-14 22:08:54

Does she see other friends/family or are you her only contact? She sounds very lonely and as if she has nothing else in her life sad

glammanana Sat 05-Apr-14 22:48:23

Silverfish Can you not suggest she goes to meet ladies of a similar age during the day do you have a Age UK group near you where she could maybe spend a couple of hours and take the onus off you for a while,does sound as if there is an up and coming personality problem or has she always been like this.On a funny side you could always change your car and not tell her grin or change your hours of work but seriously I can imagine it is getting you down somewhat as you should be able to lead your own life without the constant interuption from your mum.

Grannyknot Sat 05-Apr-14 23:00:45

Have the following conversation "I love you dearly but there is something I need to say to you ..." and then tell her. Give her back her clothes airer saying "Thanks, it has given me brilliant service but I want a new one".

I know it may be easier said than done, but what you describe is enough to make anyone's life miserable and it can't carry on. Sneaking a man friend out with a blanket over his head, I'm impressed that he played along, he must really like you Silverfish. smile.

Grannyknot Sat 05-Apr-14 23:02:47

...unless it is dementia of course.

rosesarered Wed 09-Apr-14 15:14:23

Just remind her that you are not a child any more.

Elegran Wed 09-Apr-14 16:02:01

Tell her that you have given the clothes airer to some one else "who needs it more than me. It is time I bought a new one, anyway. I have been using that one for too long"

Men friends? How old does she think you are? Fourteen? Bring home a really dishy one (even just for a cuppa, or to read the meter for you) and then tease her about being envious.

FlicketyB Wed 09-Apr-14 16:04:25

Silverfish. Not easy to stand up to all this when it has been going on so long. How about taking little steps? Next time she tells you off for something, do not respond, just suggest a cup of tea or offer to do the washing up, so that she begins to understand that you will not respond to these issues. Get that new drier, give the old one to a charity or freecycle it. If DM says anything just say.'I wanted a new one, the old one has gone to someone who can use it'.

Take this strategy gently and do it as and when you can. You will get confidence in yourself to continue and evenif it doesn't stop your mothers complaints they will begin to wash over you and you can live your own life without worrying all the time about what she says.

Lilygran Wed 09-Apr-14 16:13:57

A personality change like this at 83 might indicate something else, as Grannyknot suggests. Do you have the same GP?

soop Wed 09-Apr-14 16:20:22

Dear Silverfish I also fear that it may be dementia. flowers

Mishap Wed 09-Apr-14 16:22:42

Can you move a few streets away!?

Seriously though, she sounds an unhappy lady and it may be that there is nothing that you can do. As people get older their world shrinks and those things or people that are in it loom much larger. It must be a complete pain for you. Why not take 2 men home and do the job properly?

ffinnochio Wed 09-Apr-14 16:36:11

Only you can be in control of your life. Take it. This doesn't mean distancing yourself from your mother.
It seems to me you are very central to her life, whether she has the beginnings of dementia or not. Nod, agree, don't always answer the phone and then go about your life.
It seems to me you are a fish on the end of her hook. Only you can change this.
If this seems harsh, I'm sorry, but it is down to you. I feel it is too late to try to change her.
If you continue to alter your behaviour to accommodate hers, then your life will become very constricted, which it already seems to be well on the way to being.
Take charge.


ffinnochio Wed 09-Apr-14 16:43:33

I also meant to say that you can still care for her, and love her, whilst working with your own responses to her.

Nonnie Wed 09-Apr-14 16:46:08

Why don't you simply break the clothes airer?

I have seen controlling behaviour from all ages but I think it must be harder for our parents' generation because a lot of them stayed home and managed everything, meaning they had a lot of control. Now they are older and the children have flown the nest and presumably she is on her own, as there is no mention of your father, she is finding it hard.

I suspect to some extent you have allowed this to happen over a period of time so perhaps it would be kind to stop it over a period of time too. If it has come on only recently then it may be that you need to speak to her GP.

You said she has lots of friends, do you know them? Could you ask if they have noticed a change in behaviour?

Maybe you feel better for getting it off your chest.

rockgran Wed 09-Apr-14 16:53:35

It won't help to pander to her. You are an adult and entitled to your life and your opinions so tell her - pleasantly - that sometimes you must agree to differ. It doesn't mean you love her less, just that you won't be bullied.

gillybob Wed 09-Apr-14 17:09:51

Speaking from experience it's easier said than done Rockgran.

rockgran Wed 09-Apr-14 20:10:50

I do know it is easier said than done, Gillybob - it is always easier to give advice than take it. Still, sometimes it helps to have the situation simplified by a stranger's point of view.

annsixty Wed 09-Apr-14 20:28:43

Yes gillybob it is easier said than done.I have spoken on another thread about my controlling mother and when like me,you have lived with it from a very young age it is a hard thing to overcome.I did it by moving away. Having done that I supported my mother in every way until she died aged 101,this was sometimes at the expense of my family,but I had their support and understanding, and I had my life back for most of the time.

Silverfish Wed 09-Apr-14 21:22:11

Thank you all for your comments, mum has been like this for years, at one time we lived together and were more like sisters, then I married and she remarried and we both had jobs etc but in the 20 years or so since retirement she has been very controlling, her friends say they love her but admit she is very controlling. guess I have to just put up with it anything for a quiet life -that's me.

Aka Wed 09-Apr-14 21:26:02

You said 'she never used to be like this'. So you meant over 20 years ago she was not like this.

It's up to you. Put up with it or do something about it. Simples!

MiniMouse Thu 10-Apr-14 10:44:04

Silverfish I really feel for you, I had the reverse situation.

My mother was very, very controlling until she was in her 80s and she had a very minor stroke. It changed her personality completely and she actually became a much nicer person and, oddly enough, developed a keen sense of humour which she had never had previously. My DD and DS couldn't believe that she suddenly 'got' jokes and even made funny remarks! She became far more amenable and less accusatory and just generally more relaxing to be with than ever before.

Like your mum, mine had always had loads of friends, too, and played Bridge regularly and belonged to an art group. When she died, so many people commented on her being 'quite a character' and that she had 'very strong opinions'. People like that are often loved by friends, as they are outside the family situation, but 'characters' are very hard to live with!

As others have said on here, do you think there could be a health issue? Don't want to be alarmist, but possibly even a mini-stroke? Would she be open to the suggestion that she should have a health MoT?

It's so difficult, isn't it, especially when they have nice characteristics as well. If they were truly awful all the time it would be so much easier to do something, such as make a stand.

I hope you mangage to find a way to cope with all this flowers

Eloethan Thu 10-Apr-14 10:52:23

Silverfish has done something about it. She's vented her feelings on Gransnet. A bonus would be if she at some stage felt able to tackle her mum about this. But she didn't say she wanted someone to give her advice as to what to do, and I think talking about a problem often helps even if no action is taken.

Aka Thu 10-Apr-14 12:56:13

Agree that venting on GN is a big help, and it that makes this a bit easier to put up with then great. It doesn't however change the situation but if she's willing to live with that then that's her choice. After all it has been going on fir twenty years and therefore not likely to be a recent medical condition.