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My 66 yr old mum

(26 Posts)
Cplj Fri 12-Jun-20 08:38:23

Hi there, I thought ask gran was a great place to start with some advice/suggestions (but nothing too harsh pls)

So my mum is 66, since lockdown she has been lonely and creating much drama - she always has done throughout her life, there's always something negative for her to mourn or be upset/angry about.

She lives alone and hasn't had a relationship for 30 years.

She has problems with blood pressure and it worries her massively.

She never helps herself. She doesn't eat well/much, she doesn't do any hobbies, never cooks, doesn't have many friends, she's afraid of living life, she is very much part of my sister's life.

She has tried to put herself on me massively at times in the past, crying a lot needing me to help her emotionally (when i was pregnant too) which wasn't great timing.

She affects me negatively and the older i'm getting I can see what's going on. My upbringing has affected me massively and i have many things to work on and change.

I think she is jealous of me (which sounds ridiculous and crazy) but i do feel it.

She basically moans and complains all the time, she is becoming a burden and every time i see her, she is a broken record...

how do i keep our interactions less painful? Am i being too harsh and insensitive?

I would never want my son to feel this way. I would protect him from my feelings all the time and would share with a counsellor/friend/therapist (my brother has suggested this to her) but she gets very defensive and insists she does not need this.

Any advice greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Grannynannywanny Fri 12-Jun-20 08:59:18

Cplj if a proper heart to heart discussion isn’t possible could you maybe put your thoughts in writing. Tell her you love her and are concerned she isn’t enjoying her life as much as she could be. Suggest she speaks to her doctor as she might be suffering from depression. She could maybe raise the topic at her next blood pressure check.

Are both you and your sister able to present a united front or is her behaviour more of a problem for you?

Carenza123 Fri 12-Jun-20 09:14:28

At 66 years of age your mother is a youngster and should be enjoying her life. It must be very difficult for you and your sister to know how to help her. Yes, her doctor is a good start, but sometimes we have to want to change for ourselves. Such negativity drags everyone down. Perhaps she is lonely and this is her way of getting attention from you and your sister but unfortunately she will eventually cause resentment. Ask her what she wants from her life, what are her goals, what gives her pleasure? She probably doesn’t’t have any answers. Best of luck.

Jane10 Fri 12-Jun-20 09:21:24

Good suggestions from everyone but I suspect that this person won't change such a long engrained way of thinking and behaving. I'd suggest that the OP herself finds a way of insulating herself from her mothers behaviours. It's very difficult of course but put her in a 'mental box' after a visit or phone call and get back to her own life. She's already developed a sense of perspective and is looking at her mum from the outside. Keep that up.

Alexa Fri 12-Jun-20 09:50:52

Cplj, this is the theme of many tragi-comedies. Did you ever watch "Steptoe and Son" ? Steptoe senior is basically like your mother. I do recommend you view this on DVD if you possibly can.

Or "Till Death Us Do Part" : In the latter TV play the character Alf Garnett is the bigotted and basically timorous character who correscponds to your mother.

I mean, there are some people who survive by leaning all their emotional weight on others usually but not always family members.

The only thing you can do which would not be cruel to your mother is try to regard her as slightly comical and pathetic at the same time. Joke lightly and if possible affectionately to her face about her extreme dependence.

annsixty Fri 12-Jun-20 10:04:23

It is not unusual for a mother to be jealous of a child, I lived with this for many years.
My mother put me down all her life.
I did suffer from it but after moving away , only 60 miles, I was able to deal with it better.
As someone upthread said, in between visits I lived life as I chose ,not what she expected of me and I kept that life from her so she couldn’t criticise my choices or bring me down about them.

It is very difficult and demoralising if you let it, I had my H’s support which was essential.

She lost out a lot in her later life as my C just didn’t love her or even really like her, she tried to be the same with them but being distanced from them geographically and emotionally they wouldn’t “play”.

It is bullying, treat it as such.

Good luck and be strong.

EllanVannin Fri 12-Jun-20 10:07:33

It sounds as though the poor woman has suffered from anxiety for most of her life until it's now taken over her life with her having high BP too. I can only suggest she goes to her GP with a view to her BP and medication for this over time will also help with anxiety.

Teetime Fri 12-Jun-20 10:30:29

cplj I feel for you. You might be describing my mother and I regret having wasted years and years of my life trying to please the baggage and solve her 'problems'. My advice would be get on with your own life and stop letting her spoil it. Best wishes for more cheerful times. flowers

etheltbags1 Fri 12-Jun-20 10:37:56

This sounds like my mother too only mine is 88. I can only assume that once the nurturing years are over and families leave home, women find it hard to be alone, they have no one to look after. Maybe this lady could have a pet of some sort , anything to take her mind off her problems.
I'm coming up to 66 too, I have lots of interests and also my 2 cats to spoil and I like my own company. Good luck with your mum

Urmstongran Fri 12-Jun-20 11:00:23

You’re mum sounds depressed. Perhaps some ‘happy pills’ might help?
Such a shame - she is living a non-life.
Some people are high maintenance. A fact of life.
Protect yourself but keep in touch would be my advice.

Hetty58 Fri 12-Jun-20 11:09:36

Cplj, I'm 66 and the complete opposite of your mum. I did have a very needy drama queen for a mother, though.

The thing to bear in mind is that her behaviour is attention seeking and manipulative - although maybe not deliberately so. The more assistance, concern, sympathy and time you give her - the more she'll demand.

You will also justify (in her mind) and increase her future neediness by readily accepting and responding to it.

My mother believed she was frail and delicate (it started in her forties) so couldn't walk far or even lift a heavy tea cup. She needed paid help with housework, gardening, shopping etc. and was totally self-obsessed. Therefore, she craved reassurance and daily attention/assistance with every little thing.

In the real world, her problem was anxiety. She was as strong as an ox, despite never exercising, healthy (with minor BP and allergy issues) but spoilt, self indulgent and very lazy - and lived to the age of ninety.

She made my older sister's life absolute hell with all her demands (wanted her, not myself or my brother) for over fifty years.

So, protect yourself first! Distance yourself emotionally. Try referring her to sources of help outside of family. Start with suggesting a GP appointment as she may well need medication for anxiety or depression.

Contact social services about any neighbourhood or phone assistance and companionship schemes. Keep your own interactions short and sweet by reminding her how very busy you are!

Chardy Fri 12-Jun-20 12:10:06

When you see/phone her, have a written list of things to talk about. Obviously what the grandkids have done, silly little stories, what you've seen on TV, your neighbours being a pain about... , hopes of trips for the future, weather etc. She's on her own, she wants to chat, she's not worrying about what you're chatting about. When you can feel a moan coming on, get onto next topic.

And have an exit strategy. Time - 'oh have we been on the phone an hour, I must get dinner on'. Or 'we haven't time to chat about ...., but we'll make sure we remember to discuss it next...'

Good luck

rosenoir Fri 12-Jun-20 12:37:46

Some people are just negative types that suck the joy out of everything. You do not have to like someone just because they are related to you.

You could tell her that her negativity brings you down so unless she can be more positive you do not want to have contact or just phase her out.

You cannot fix her whether it is depression or personality.

Hithere Fri 12-Jun-20 13:06:00

You cannot change her.
She is who she is and she chooses what she can do.

First step is putting it all on the table -
Have you tried talking to her about this? Have you told her how her behaviour needs to be addressed and how it cannot continue?

Second step is for you to set up boundaries with her, how much you are willing to put up before you call her out
"Mother, we talked about this.
I will give you time to compose yourself and I will contact you soon"

It is a matter of time till she starts grooming your son to fulfill her emotional needs. Please dont let it happen.

Jane10 Fri 12-Jun-20 13:08:57

Hmmm. Not sure about having a direct conversation about her behaviour. It's not going to make her change the habits of a lifetime and could give her ammunition for massive dramatic repercussions.
Just distance yourself for your own protection.

Hithere Fri 12-Jun-20 13:19:15


I agree with you, it will not change much.

A lot of times, it is done more for the daughter's sake as a last ditch effort to make the relationship work before moving on to the next step if nothing changes.

It is a personal choice if you want to do this, of course.

It may help clear out the conscience of the daughter when the mother claims she doesnt know what she (the mother) did wrong and why "my dd doesnt want to talk to me anymore/ doesnt call me as often/she is rude to me/etc" (aka the missing missing reasons)

lemsip Fri 12-Jun-20 13:20:14

if your mother is 66 how old are you may I ask!.........don't write her off seek help for her. If she can get out then take her for a coffee and cake, when able of course re the virus. give her an hour then go and get on with your life!

Jane10 Fri 12-Jun-20 14:14:04

Hithere- I'm talking from bitter experience. I was as kind as possible when discussing the situation with my own mother but it really didn't work. Luckily I had already developed a psychological distance from her so wasn't much bothered by her reaction.

Hithere Fri 12-Jun-20 14:51:34


I hear you.
Same case here.

Hetty58 Fri 12-Jun-20 15:09:48

I see no point in confronting her about her behaviour. She'll just think that you're being nasty for no reason. I was usually kind and understanding with my mother (but swearing inwardly).

Alexa has a good point about being jokey, though. It was one of a few things that stopped her ranting on for hours. Then there was 'someone at the door' or 'dinner's burning' so 'I'll have to call you back'.

Ramblingrose22 Fri 12-Jun-20 23:37:39

I'm posting late in the day because the headline caught my eye.

I too am 66 and I too had a difficult mother who was cold and cruel towards me and attention-seeking and pathetic by turns. She was also jealous of me because of my close relationship with my father and because I had more opportunities than her.

She needs help from a counsellor - someone independent and from outside the family. You,*Clpj*, are not responsible for how she feels or how she behaves.

I discovered after my mother's death that she had had some bad childhood experiences and unfortunately she also went through the Holocaust which affected her very badly and made her angry and embittered.

In my experience nothing Clpj does or offers to do for her mother will ever be enough. Her mother wants sympathy sand wants to lean on her daughter rather than face up to what happened to her and how that has made her feel.

If she can be persuaded to seek outside help that would be the best solution.

jeanie99 Sun 14-Jun-20 09:19:15

There is little change of your 66 yr old mum changing now she will be completely set in her ways.
The one thing I have found is you can never alter another human being, they can only alter themselves.
If your mum is set in this negative miserably life there is little you can do.
I only thing I would suggest is that you stay positive with your conversations with her, when she starts off on a moan change the subject.
My friends mum is 91 years old and she's been opinionated and obstinate and wants her own way all her life. She as tried everything and nothing changes.
Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but keep your life on track and try not to let this get you down. Life can be too short to allow this to make you miserable.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 14-Jun-20 13:09:32

I think you need to realise that your mother isn't going to change.

How does your sister feel about it? Are you and she able to discuss your mother, or does your sister feel you are leaving the problem to her?

You don't sound harsh, just worried.

Next time your mother starts her complaints, tell her that you are willing to help her find solutions, but that it does no good you giving her advice if she won't take it.

Then change the subject, if she is not willing to listen to you.

lemongrove Sun 14-Jun-20 13:24:23

I think you need to be kind to be honest.Unless she was a terrible Mother to you as you grew up.
You are saying that she has lived alone for 30 years.....that is very unusual as she was young herself at the time.
66 isn’t elderly, but it isn’t young either, and perhaps she has medical problems( or at least has gone through the menopause ) as well as other problems she may have in life.
I know it’s fashionable ( and very unkind) to label anyone as ‘toxic’ at the drop of a hat, but you only have one Mother.

Feelingmyage55 Sun 14-Jun-20 13:32:08

Could you suggest going to the doctor with her because you want to be sure the GP is looking after her carefully? If not perhaps you could leave a message for the doctor explaining that you are worried and that your mum is not eating properly. Does she sleep poorly. This would point to depression, low mood and maybe a small dose of antidepressant would make a difference. Does she use the Internet? I expect so. Online CBT, fee courses, join U3A would all help if she could be persuaded to go. I wish you luck. Sadly I know only too well the problems and wish I had been able to help my mum. Contacting her GP did improve things a bit.