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the mother from hell

(60 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

Ariadne Mon 14-Apr-14 17:28:18

True, ginny! My mother was not easy, very passive - aggressive, did so much helping out and so much time telling you how much she had done, and so on and so on. And so much more controlling behaviour.

What we can do, as rockgran has indicated, is to ensure that we are aware of any of these possibilities within ourselves, and hope to learn not to be like that.

God knows, I try!

ginny Mon 14-Apr-14 17:06:43

* jinglbellsfrocks * I am glad you have no problems with elderly or difficult relative and know just what to say or do. Although I do seem to remember you writing about some time ago about a 'tiff with a relative. Something that I thought at the time seemed very trivial. We all have different views on how to do or say things and perhaps we need to know all the circumstances before we sound too smug and sure about how we would react in the same situation.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 14-Apr-14 09:59:50

Maybe AIBU isn't the best place for it. Always seems to me as though the OP has some doubt herself.

NfkDumpling Mon 14-Apr-14 07:57:03

I'm (was) an only child and can sympathise entirely with the OP. Mum and I always had a very tempestuous relationship. She was very jealous (admitted this but didn't see it as a fault) and thought the world was out to get her. All her friends at church thought she was a lovely lady, not realising how manipulative she was and never, never ever hearing her 'vent her spleen' on them, the family, the world in general. As she got older and more infirm and more vulnerable she got worse. I understood why, but it didn't help me cope with guilt being laid on me (in spades).
It didn't mean I didn't love her. I did, and still do. She was my mum, and a lot if the time things were good - especially when she had me to herself. But her demands ground me down.
Then I found I had friends with similar problems. So we formed AAARGH! Aged, Awkward, Argumentative Relatives Group Help! We had coffee or rang each other to unload confidentially. Similarly GN is a good place to download problems. Silverfish is not alone and I hope she feels GN is somewhere she can come to have a bit of a confidential moan.

geeljay Sun 13-Apr-14 22:57:51

I think it is the ageing process. Hopefully not dementia. But it may be time to tell her, without animosity, just how overbearing and unpleasant she has become. She may not like it, but she may, just, stop and ask herself if she has become that person. It is not likely to improve unless you take back your freedom of deed and thought. It may be a sort of bullying brought on by intolerance. It will make you feel better not putting up with it and letting that be known. Why should anyone allow another, to make them unhappy? I once faced a similar situation and the person was shocked to be told so. Good luck.

rockgran Sun 13-Apr-14 17:07:18

I think there is a real worry here that we are going to become that mother or mother-in-law from hell....or have already become her!!! When I became a mother-in-law I vowed not to behave like my own ex MIL but I live in constant fear that I may have different but equally irritating behaviour patterns. I'm aiming at becoming dotty rather than vicious but who knows? I even annoy myself sometimes! confused

kittylester Sun 13-Apr-14 16:15:04

I'm with all the people who say it's very difficult to get out of being dominated by ones mother! I always argued with mine but it took DH to point out that it's easier to quietly do your own thing rather than getting into a 'situation'. It didn't make be nice to her until fairly recently though!

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 13-Apr-14 16:14:56

I think I would have found it hard to refer to my mum as "the mother from Hell".

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 13-Apr-14 16:10:08

What I actually said was "the overall tone of the thread is becoming reminiscent of a Mumsnet "I hate my mum thread". Not the same thing.

MiniMouse Sun 13-Apr-14 15:56:50

I think one of the issues is that it's because we don't hate the person that we are involved with. If they were hated it would be easier to walk away or make a stand. It's precisely because deep down there is a love/bond that makes it so hard.

I was an only child and grew up being very controlled by my mother and then by my ex-husband, it's almost as though we're brainwashed into putting ourselves and our needs and feelings at the bottom of the pile - until we reach breaking point. I agree with annesixty that unless you've been in this situation it really is very hard to understand just how deeply it affects you. You are either wracked with guilt because you do something about it, or you end up in a crisis situation because your own health breaks down.

Only Silverfish can decide . . . . .

HildaW Sun 13-Apr-14 15:06:29

No one is saying anything about hating their parents......what opened this discussion was a very genuine sounding cry for help over a difficult relationship with an elderly parent. Difficult relationships between children and parents, of any age, exist and cause a lot of pain and anguish. What would bother me moreis if people did not come on here and open up about those difficult relationships.

I would be the first to say I have had a very long standing and heart wrenching time coming to terms with my own father (as have my two siblings, so its not just me). Having a bit of a rant on here about the annoying, confusing and sometimes downright mad making problems we have with our relations must be allowed to continue, we cannot go around assuming that it does not happen and its far far better for someone to get stuff off their chests and then pick themselves up and carry on coping....that the dire alternative of them taking more drastic action because they feel they are the only one on the planet who has parent who drives them up the wall.

annsixty Sun 13-Apr-14 15:02:38

I posted earlier on this thread and repeat if you havn't lived with a similar problem it is very difficult to understand.I was an only child and my father died when I was eleven. After years of being told what sacrifices have been made and how much was done for you ,and believe me,as a child you do not stand up to this, it is very hard to suddenly change .I did it by moving away and visiting regularly but leaving it behind as I waved goodbye.

ginny Sun 13-Apr-14 14:40:11

jinglbellsfrocks Nobody has said they hate their Mum or any parent. I presume you have no elderly relatives that you have to take into account or they are all lovely reasonable people. I can assure you if they are not or even if they are and you are willing to do what you can, there are problems.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 13-Apr-14 13:53:03

I can't go into the little details of someone's life like that! grin

The overall tone of this thread is reminiscent of a Mumsnet "I hate my mum" thing. Not good. Especially when we are getting old ourselves!

Stansgran Sun 13-Apr-14 13:36:41

But JBR you are a sensible person and if someone returned your 20 year old clothes airer with a smile and a thank you you would probably have said oh just when I needed it back or I'll take it straight to oxfam but Silverfish is saying that her mother feels that she has to input so much into her life that she can no longer dry her smalls as she wants but as her mother wants. Too many she in that.
I had neighbours who used to check everything I put in the bin and "rescue" things . I imagine the same thing is happening. My imagination may be getting carried away.

Ana Sun 13-Apr-14 13:31:48

I don't see how 'lacrimae rerum' is relevant to the OP's problem at all! confused (having Googled it)

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 13-Apr-14 13:19:11

I think if we are going to act as agony aunts, we should do so responsibly. Otherwise we could make a bad situation worse.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 13-Apr-14 13:17:32

Please don't rush to explain.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 13-Apr-14 13:17:07

Surely you could say "no thank you" and explain why, in a pleasant smiley manner? confused

Haven't a clue what mac... whatever means. Sorry. smile

HildaW Sun 13-Apr-14 13:12:17

Silverfish asked 'has anyone else got this problem?' therefore she views her situation as troublesome. People have given their thoughts and made some comments. Some may be helpful some may be not. At the very simplest level she has at least had a bit of a vent, and that might be sufficient. Its a bit harsh to judge peoples motivations when they say things on here about a very emotive subject. None of us really fully knows what is going on 'behind closed doors'. If we feel a piece of advice is unhelpful its not a bad idea to say so but we should step back from judging unless we really know what's happening.

Stansgran Sun 13-Apr-14 12:05:35

It's called lacrimae rerum isn't it? I had a pair of handmade leather riding boots given to me by my mil(they were hers) which symbolised the really odd relationship with her. I didn't ride, they didn't fit and I was regularly asked about their welfare! She also gave my DH a furled umbrella and a briefcase. Two objects more alien to his lifestyle you would have difficulty finding. They take up space you can ill afford or are just a tragic reminder how incompatible you are

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 13-Apr-14 09:23:31

I find the comment "can't you just break the clothes airer" quite upsetting.

ginny Sun 13-Apr-14 09:22:20

* Elegran* All your points are very valid and we have thought about them.
I think F-I-l would be a lot easier to deal with. He would be happy in a small flat near us so we could visit and help out but would accept outside help .
They live a very comfortable life in a large bungalow with large garden at the moment . M-I-l (dare I say it) is a bit of a 'snob' and I can't imagine her doing the same.

I'm sure we will work thing out when the time comes but they are not people who will easily have these types of conversations.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 13-Apr-14 09:22:18

I think the replies in this thread have got a lot to answer for! So mean and selfish. Silverfish hasn't got a problem. She has got an ageing mum, living independently from her, who is probably lonely and afraid of dieing. Silverfish is a grown woman herself and should be able to look after her own needs, and those of her mum, in a grown-up manner. I am sure she can, and probably will. It will take some sensitivity and compassion but no doubt Silverfish has those things in abundance.

The replies and proffered advice on this thread have obviously given out completely the wrong signals to others in similar situations. hmm

ginny Sun 13-Apr-14 09:09:42

No problem Aka I probably didn't explain my thoughts very well.

It is a difficult situation. We, of course will give as much support as possible .What we don't want to do is to is start on a course of doing too much for our or her good. This leads to resentment which we don't ever want to feel towards her.