Originally Posted by NowandZen
I use phrases like "I don't care to discuss that." You'd be surprised how easy it is to shut down negativity when you don't feed it.
Yep, perfect.

If Mom launches into criticism, you can interrupt her with this ^^^, and follow with, "Mom, let's enjoy our time together discussing positive things." Then ask her about something else and give her the opportunity to turn her ship around. If not, then tell her you'd love to hear from her again soon, and end the call. If you're visiting, just redirect your focus onto anyone else in the room and 'fail' to hear anything negative from her.

Teach Mom that she gets LESS attention rather than more from launching into negativity. By the same token, reward her whenever she says something positive, about anything or anyone, with plenty of attention to the topic, even if it doesn't interest you.

Head high, and no need to probe into diagnoses. You can't fix Mom, but you can limit your exposure to her unless and until she can learn that positive = positive attention, negative = withdraw of attention.