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Old 04-10-2010, 04:43 PM   #1
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Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

My mom is 84 years old and once again, I made the decision not to talk with her which makes me feel guilty.

We always had a difficult relationship, I remember when I was in my early teens my Mom would take my favorite clothes and cut them up for no good reason. I was a good kid, worked after school, babysat on weekends, etc.

When I was a teenager she would kick me out for really stupid reasons. When a car ran me over crossing a street when I was 17 she acted like the accident happened to her. There were 4 children in my family, my baby brother passed away. He was in therapy for years because of my mother after suffering a nervous breakdown. My sister has not talked to my mother for about 2 years now.

Since I was young, all my friends told me to stay away from my mother as they always said to me that she was mentally ill.

The older brother who is 60 years old lives with my mom rent free and that bothers me to no end. He works full time and my mom always has dinner waiting for him and always has his favorite foods in the house.

My family has always been dysfunctional needless to say. I thank my blessings for the time my Dad was alive as he was the opposite of my mom, fun, outgoing, etc. He was a positive influence on me. I had great times my Dad and people who knew him tell me that I remind them of my Dad.

There is a very good chance that I may lose my house and I live alone and work from home. I donít ask my mom for help because in the past when she has helped me she only throws it in my face.

This past month she set me up twice which caused me great embarrassment. And when I confronted her, she only gave me excuses. Never taking any responsibility or owning up to her mistakes.

Yet because she is 84 I feel guilty not talking or seeing her (she doesnít live far from me).

If I do call her and make peace, she starts asking me to do things for her which angers me because my older brother is there and my thoughts are let him help her which I told her and then she makes excuses for him.

Any thoughts?

Sunny

 
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:18 PM   #2
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

Mine's 83 and it's always been a crazy relationship.

One time when I was about 30 she asked me to drive her to a family Thanksgiving meal. The cousin having it had moved and she was starting to
get leery of driving to new places if the weather could turn bad. On the way there in the car, maybe 2 miles from their home, she tells me that Cousin's husband didn't want me invited, doesn't like me and if he says anything mean about me being there, I should just ignore it. Wonderful. I'm on my way into a "family meal" that I'm not wanted at.

My Mom always managed to put holidays in the toilet and this was just one of many. I have never spent 3 more uncomfortable hours in my life. I sat on a couch, smiling like an idiot, engaging in polite conversation but only if engaged first. I was trying to be the most polite invisible guest anyone ever had. It went well and when we left. I later learned the "issue" was the length of the guest list and size of their home. Nothing specific to me. But that was the way Mom always took the opportunity to hear things and share things. She lived her life deep into the most twisted pretzel logic known to man.

The worst part about having crazies as parents is when they age. What do you do? You're cruel if you blow them off when they become "helpless". It's somehow your responsibility as the child to keep looking in on them. No one wonders how they treated you during your life. At least that's not been my experience.

So basically I'm commiserating with you but not helping you. I'm forced to care for my Mom because she has dementia. Always crazy, now it's just official. The only part that bothers me is the number of people who has said "oh, you must so love your Momma to care for her this way. She must have been a great Mom.' I always want to say "well, I don't know about great, but she had a strong handle on guilt!".

You're not alone. There are a lot of us with nutty parents. If you can talk a middle ground...as little contact as possible, I'd say try that route. But I don't have great answers or I'd have done them by now and fixed my problem.

Good luck.

 
Old 04-10-2010, 07:08 PM   #3
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

I don't think you need to "make peace" with your mom. I think it's more like just accepting that she is who she is and you are who you are. There is no such thing as a perfect mother, although some are worse then others. But nobody gets it 100% right 100% of the time. Your mom is no exception. The best you can do is accept it, and go on with your day. If she gets to you, don't explode. This only hurts you. Just keep distance a while until you cool off. Once you get the hang of it, it's really pretty simple. As far as the thing with your brother living there rent free goes, it's really not your business. It's her house and her choice to live the way she choses, just like it's your choice to live the way you chose to. Be thankful it isn't you, and let it go from there. Good luck.
Melissa

 
Old 04-10-2010, 08:22 PM   #4
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

Accepting your parents in the way that Melissa says is the desired end result of a lot of ongoing work and repair of the damage the parent has done. It took me many years of work, therapy and self-help to get to that stage. The final step was achieved when my mother died, and I realised that it was final and official - I have not got a "normal" mother, and now never will have. It is all up to me. If you have not been raised by a toxic parent, then you cannot understand the fundamental soul-deep pain that has caused. Until you can move on from that it will affect every area of your life in some way. It is so entrenched that it has become part of you and you cannot just "accept" at this point. When you can truly and sincerely say "My (parent), though awful, tried to do the best she could with the useless and ineffective tools she was saddled with, now it is up to me to grow on from it", you are almost there. Maybe caring for them when they get old and past it can help, I don't know if I could have done it. I was part of an ongoing counselling course/group for seven years, and far and away most of the people who came to work had birth family issues. It is best to protect yourself from your mother and keep away while you still give her the power to push your buttons. When you can deny her this, that is great progress. Sera.

 
Old 04-10-2010, 09:59 PM   #5
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

Seraph, I could have written your post. It definitely is impossible to understand the deep pain that a toxic parent can cause unless you have been raised by one. It does affect every single area of your life and the worst part is that you continue the abuse by finding other people who treat you the same way. I personally have "dumped" my mother for good. Almost every time we spoke on the phone, after we hung up, my heart would pound and I would almost shake because of the stress I felt. Usually the whole day was ruined.

Sunny, I know that it is hard dealing with the guilt of not being there for a parent who is old, but you have to look after yourself and your own well being. I do understand you all too well and I feel for you. I am sorry about your baby brother who passed away.

Last edited by aleksia; 04-10-2010 at 10:04 PM.

 
Old 04-11-2010, 06:00 PM   #6
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

Thanks all very much..

Resolution, I can truly relate to what you wrote as you were being setup like I have been.. It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one with a nutty mother. Sometimes I think we feel we are the only ones and it helps to know that we are not..

Melissa, Seraph, and Aleksia: Actually I learned to accept my mother for who she is many years ago.. I have been in therapy and learned that there is no way I can not only change my mother, but anyone for that matter.. I can only suggest and it's up to that person if they want to take my advice or not..

I was told by therapists that because I rebelled against my mother all my life that made me a more mentally healthier person, don't know if that is true or not.. And as I became older if she started to upset me I would just leave.. Or on the telephone I would say "I think we should end this conversation right now" or something like that.. I refused to feed into her..

I guess what I am really trying to say is she is getting old.. I have this sense of loyalty which is crazy.. Why do I feel so loyal? This is something I need to look at..

When my older brother lost his house (all his own fault because he never learned how to manage money), he moved in with my mother (he also lost his job at that time) so I understood.. But then he got his job back and it bugs me to no end that he lives there rent-free.. And he was always the one to bad-mouth my mother and would never let his kids (they are grown up now) see my mother because he would say she was a real mental case and didn't want his kids exposed to her.

He still blames my mother for the way he is which I think is bull.. I had told him in the past that he needs to accept her for what she is and start taking responsibility for himself.. Naturally my advice went through one ear out the other...

I have learned that accepting is half the battle in order to move on..

So basically I can deal with my mother to a certain point.. But I can not deal with my older brother living there and taking advantage of my mother (but that's her fault and she is enabling him). We had many talks these past couple of years and I said to her tell him to get his own place now that he is working again but she won't.. Her house, her choice.. She can do whatever she wants.

Maybe my older brother is her "replacement" husband since my Dad passed away, I don't know.. Whatever it is, I think it's sick.. Especially that my brother doesn't do anything to help my mother..

So I guess I have something new to accept.. If I can't deal with him living with her then I shouldn't have anything to do with either of them. Right now my mother's health is okay.. She drives, she shops, etc. But I know that won't last forever..

Am I making any sense?

Sunny

 
Old 04-11-2010, 06:49 PM   #7
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

At the risk of reading stuff into your post, is it possible that your feelings are based on a sort of grief that he has a relationship with your mother that you will probably never have. On the surface, and in your head it is a convenient arrrangement benefiting him financially, but your inner child sees it a something she would wish for. I don't think part of us EVER gives up on the hope that mother might yet come through for us. Just a thought...Sera

 
Old 04-12-2010, 04:41 PM   #8
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

Hi Sera,

Thanks for your input. No, my older brother does not have a good relationship with my mother, in face he screams at her and is completely disrepectful of her.. Come to think of it, none of the 4 children has had a good or healthy relationship with my mom.. Even when my Dad was alive, he avoided my mother until he became older and had to retire, then they became friends and played cards together.

My mom's biggest love is money, ever since I could remember which is very sad.

I think what bugs me now is that I could use some help financially as owning a home in these times are really tough for me and either I may walk away from my house or hopefully sell it and move to another state where my best friend lives. It would be nice of my mother to help me a bit since she is helping my brother but she doesn't see it that way. Talking to my mother about money gives me alot of anxiety because she complains that she doesn't have much left when in reality she has alot of money. Hey, it's her money and she has a right to handle her affairs however she sees fit.

Perhaps I envy the support my brother is getting just by living free meanwhile I am struggling.. Especially when he doesn't even appreciate it and treats my mother like garbage..

The only healthy and happy relationship I had was with my Dad.. He was loving, fun, made me laugh, he was fantastic in every way.. Where my Mom was cruel, he was kind.. I don't remember this when I was a baby but my Dad wanted to divorce my Mom and left her for almost a year and came back (I think he felt a sense of obligation since he did have kids).. I'm so glad he came back because he was the only positive parent in my life, in many ways he was my mentor.

Sunny

 
Old 04-13-2010, 08:06 AM   #9
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

My mother has always financially supported my brother and she is raising his children and now even has a great grandchild living with her. But I am not jealous of him. Many years ago I was but that ended a long time ago. I can see why you'd be upset about a lot of things but please don't think about that it would be beneficial to you for her to give you money. Do you realize how many strings come attached to that money?

 
Old 04-13-2010, 02:13 PM   #10
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

It's kind of like the protical son. *I think that's how it's spelled * You have been there this whole time, done for yourself, taken care of yourself, worked hard....etc. Then he walks in after making a bunch of mistakes, lives for free, and isn't even polite. I think what your looking for here is somebody to justify what you are feeling about it. And I think everyone here can agree that all the way around, this is pretty crumby. However, you have pointed out that you can hardly even talk to your mother on the phone......so why would you want her to take care of you? What goes on between her and your brother is really between them no matter how anybody feels about that. And be proud of yourself that you are doing things on your own. Most people are struggling today, but I'd rather struggle in honesty then use off of people to be more secure in life. There's a lot of strength and goodness in what you've done. As far as the rest of it goes, you only have to accept it if you want to. But if you cant you need to stay away so you dont make a bad situation worse. If you can accept it, be prepared that things still may rub you wrong. I think accepting it is more like teaching yourself not to say all the mean and angry things that go on in our inner dialog rather then actually being "happy" about the illness going on around us. And sometimes, even once accepted, it's still easier just to stay away. Reguardless of how you handle it, above all, keep your integrity in the situation. That is most important. Others may make bad decisions and act like fools. But you can allways hold your head high when you know you didn't feed into it in any way.

Last edited by justmel30; 04-13-2010 at 02:16 PM.

 
Old 04-13-2010, 02:34 PM   #11
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

Hi trystme and justmel,

Well, for some reason I couldn't get thoughts of my mother out of my mind as last week was the 1 year anniversary of my baby brother's passing and I could almost feel my mother suffering so I called her and I'm glad I did. She sounded strange.. weak and old.. And I know she was happy to hear from me. It was a pleasant conversation and we stayed on "safe topics"..

I normally go to this special grocery store that is not around the corner and she loves to go there but she can't drive there by herself so as in the past months, I offered to take her there. Yes, I'm the good daughter. Who knows how much longer my mother will live?

What really upset me in detail was last spring I was outside mowing my lawn like I do every summer (I live on a hill so it's not a clean cut job, no pun intended). My mother happened to drive over and she saw my neighbor's landscaper and approached him and made arrangements for him to cut my lawn every week. I was shocked and asked my mother who was going to pay for this? She told me not to worry, she would. (This sounds so petty.)

Well when the bills starting coming she complained and got really upset so I paid the guy which I don't think is right.. I would have continued to mow my own lawn.

As far as my older brother, she bought a jewelry store many years ago so he could have a job.. Of course my brother came in very late every day and would leave early. So my mother has been enabling him ever since I could remember... I pretty much kept my mouth shut and just shook my head.. At that time my brother owned a house (which my mother put down the downpayment) and he and his separated wife would max out their credit cards, guess who paid them? Right..

I was always a workaholic until the day came where I became very ill with chronic lyme disease and couldn't work anymore.. I was hungry, had no money, my car became illegal (but I drove it anyway), and it was my Dad that would come to my house and bring me food, very rarely my mother. My electric got shut off many times, I ran out of heating oil (I live in the northeast), and yet I did the best I could until I researched and found a way to get better and I have stayed better. I was very ill for many years and it was really rough.

So this is how it was and this it how it is now.. I never had children but I think if I did, I would treat them all fairly.. Am I wrong there? Is it normal for a mother to play favorites? I don't know.. I was told by more than one therapist that my mother was always jealous of me.. But I'm not inside her head so I will never know..

Sunny

 
Old 04-13-2010, 06:31 PM   #12
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Re: Crazy Relationship with my 84 year old Mom

Who knows. Mothers are mothers. I'm not a perfect mom and no matter how "fair" I try to be, somebody is allways left out. Now your situation sounds a little more extreme then the average, but unless you have only one child, it is impossible to be "fair". I dont really understand what your asking though? At first you wanted to know how to deal with your aging mother, and you were told mostly that you can only really deal with how you react to her. Then you wanted to know about your brother living with your mom and again were told basically that you can only work on yourself. In all of this you have said that you have accepted that your mom is who she is, but it doesn't really sound like it. You keep comming back to this point about how unfair it is that she is giving your brother a free ride. Again, the only thing you can do is work on your own behavior in the situation. Not anybody else's. So two questions for you. First of all, why do you want your mom to give you a free ride? I mean.....would you be proud of that? And second, if that's not the case, then what is? Nobody here can help you figure out how to deal with every little problem from birth and beyond. The answer too all the questions you have posted is simple. You need to seperate yourself from their actions and behaviors and realize that what they decide to do with their lives is of no great consequence to you. You are an independant and strong woman who can take care of herself and thank goodness for that. Now, it's not allways as simple to put it into practice.....old habits die hard. But it is simple in theory. Good luck.

 
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