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Thread: Boomer mother advice

  1. #1
    zennial40's Avatar
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    Boomer mother advice

    Iím looking for some outside perspective on a lifelong relational pattern between my mother (who is 67) and myself. Unlike her, Iím open to hearing the thoughts/viewpoints of other people and using the feedback together with my own perspective in order to continually try to become a better human. However, in my family of origin (specifically my mother- as my father has a much more balanced perspective when she is not part of the conversation) there is only one correct viewpoint, and that is and always has been and forever will be, MY MOTHERíS VIEWPOINT. 🙄
    Now, this was of course a much bigger problem for me when I was growing up under their authority, because I had no other perspective with which to compare my experience. When youíre a kid, your parents are the only truth you know (at least thatís how it was in my family). But fast forward to adulthood, and now that Iíve been on my own (happily living in another state, with my own life, and going on 17 years of post college life under my belt) and I get along very well with the rest of the human race. However, any time I have a conversation with my parents (especially if my mother is with my father when I call) this is what I am continuously bombarded with:
    1. Accusations:
    She is always holding a grudge against me for what she claims is my rude behavior such as:
    * Not answering the phone every time she calls
    * Not always responding to her immediate demands to contact her in that very instant to fulfill whatever request she has at that moment
    * Accusing me of never reaching out to her to inquire about her life, how sheís doing, etc.
    * My daring to EVER find ANY fault with ANY of her behaviors towards me

    Additionally, here are some lifelong behavioral traits that my mother exhibits (and I provide these to hopefully hear any educated guesses on a potential personality disorder my mother may have).
    *Absolute inability to see another personís perspective or have any empathy
    *Absolute raging anger toward any opinion that is not 100% in agreement with her own
    *Constant accusations and attempted guilt trips towards her children for not being there to fully serve her emotional needs day in and day out
    *Hatred toward her adult children for living a happy and carefree worry-free life at any time
    *Almost always a refusal to be pleased with her childrenís accomplishments or victories in the moment they occur... only in the distant past will she recall something favorably although she condemned it at the moment it was actively happening
    *Complete inflexibility with any plans that are not it total and full agreement with her own.
    *Aggressively hostile toward ideas and views that are not of either her own opinion or were not initiated by her
    *Frequent demands to recall her perceived ďsuperior and unmatchableĒ actions, projects, accomplishments, etc.

    Now... let me just say that I am fully aware of my own shortcomings (AND THERE ARE MANY). In fact, Iím quite convinced that I have more than an average amount of immature, selfish habits... and Iím open to hearing of those that I very well may have displayed in this post! I have been continually humbled from birth as Iíve been called out for all shortcomings my mother informed me I had and still have.
    What Iím hoping to find here is an additional viewpoint on this family dynamic that is not coming from her. I donít think I have the ability to objectively consider the dynamic because Iím so immersed in it myself. Therefore dear people, if you have any insight youíre willing to share on what youíve read here, I would be so appreciative.
    Thanks in advance for any contribution you make!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    I see my mother to a large degree in your description of your mother, tho my mother wasn't quite as bad as yours. She was still a difficult person to be around. Honestly, she is why I left home at 18 and never looked back. i cant say i miss her, she's been gone for 10 yrs now, having lived to be 89.

    There may be a name for your mother's attitude, but I don't know what it is. My mother was like a prison warden. I did my best to avoid her and at one point moved 3 hours from the city where she lived so I could not be summoned to tend to her needs. Best thing I ever did.

    I learned to build boundaries and walls around her in order to keep my sanity. I have seen a few unpleasant traits in myself that I worked hard to overcome and eliminate from my personality, I never wanted anyone to say - wow you're just like your mother.

    Do you want some kind of resolution so you can have a relationship with your mother? Or have you had enough and distance is the best solution?

    Surely you know you cant change her personality, this is on her, and she probably thinks she's just fine.

  3. #3
    zennial40's Avatar
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    We definitely sound like weíve had a lot of similar experiences! I have always felt terrible saying so, but I have never liked my mother and I have zero desire to have a relationship with her because honestly... I donít think sheís a very nice person. But here comes the nagging guilt that tells me Iím awful for feeling that way about the person who gave birth to me; and I can imagine people warning me to cherish my mother while sheís on this earth because surely Iíll miss her when sheís gone.
    Honestly, I think I fear the avalanche of more guilt when sheís gone for not being able to tolerate or appreciate her in the here and now. So really, I do a great job of kicking my own ass and creating an irresolvable dilemma in my mind, which I know isnít ďhealthy.Ē But guilt is what Iíve been marinated in my entire life, so it comes naturally.
    Thanks so much for your reply, and I wish you continuing happiness and joy in your daily life!

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    My mother has her moments although my story is not the same as yours. However, I see parallels not only with my mother but others in my family tree whether relatives, siblings or in-laws.

    Count me in as another who fully supports enforced healthy boundaries. To this day, when it's impossible not to cross paths with certain people whom I despise, I diffuse situations by changing the subject and most of all, I limit contact to the bare minimum or most infrequent contact whether phone calls or in person.

    There will always be unpleasant interactions whenever you're still in contact with disrespectful people. All you can do with your mother is to rise above it, always show class, never stoop to her level by arguing relentlessly back 'n forth and limiting all contact severely.

    You can't change people. They are who they are. I'm sorry you're going through this, zennia140.

    Guilty feelings are very difficult to erase whether people are alive or not. However, I see where you're coming from. You don't want a guilty conscience someday if you hadn't spent enough time with your mother while she was alive. I'd limit contact if I were you so your abuse will be reduced to the bare minimum.

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  6. #5
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    Honestly, trying to get someone like that to see your point of view is wasting energy and time. Your mother, I'm guessing here, behaves the way she does due to past experiences, how her childhood shaped her, her own family dynamics, etc. That's who she is. Also, whatever she's been calling you out for is not a reflection of who you truly are. There are psychological reasons why some people find faults in others. (I'm not a psychologist, so I'm not going to dig any further.)

    Here's what you've got control over: how to react to her actions and how much to let her words affect you. What importance do her actions and words have over your life? Great on you for recognising that how she treats you hurts you, but don't allow that to define your identity.

    Strategies to cope with her: Limit your interactions with her (in other words: connect with her only as needed) and have clear boundaries of what behaviours you will and will not tolerate. Eg: "Mum, what you are saying is hurtful. I don't want to hear any more of it." If she persists you end the conversation.

    You do you. :)

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I see more of a push and pull between a child's individuality and a parent's need for connecting with her child. The behaviours you've listed are very negative but I'm hoping you're open to talking more about that negative space and how it's starting to encroach (if it is encroaching) on other areas of your life.

    I'm sensing a helplessness and that you feel overwhelmed almost daily.

    Instead of being a victim in the equation, why not turn it around? Enforcing boundaries and being more vocal about what times you are available and when you're not available usually lets others know not only more about our lives and what we're doing but it also builds trust and familiarity. I'm giving both of you the benefit of the doubt here with the possibility of bridging those gaps and maybe decreasing the resentment so that you're able to have some sort of relationship with your mother. I'm suggesting this because you seem to be torn by guilt and maybe that's coming from a place of you knowing that you're not going about things as well as you could be (not saying that you are but just from what it sounds like).

    I'm a big believer in family and keeping in touch and those bonds together despite the awkward family gathering or the last argument or phone calls or text messages that drive us up the wall. Without getting into my own family, I hear you when it comes to creating boundaries and a lot of the time people (especially our loved ones) test us because we forget each other in our familiarity and kinship. They don't test us because they're doing it vindictively. I think they genuinely forget or time is different on their side. I may have very little time but they have a lot of time to spare or vice versa. There's some misunderstanding there on availability, time, resources, losing touch momentarily or for a few weeks. The same goes for your mother. It might help to show her the real you and what you're up to in your daily life and what you're doing on a weekly basis. Introduce some boundaries and tell her that you're not able to help right now or are stressed out about a project at the moment and let her know you will call her in a few days or touch base on the weekend.

    I hope this resolves itself and you do rekindle more of a relationship with her. If there is no respect for you as an individual, I think you should limit (carefully) the time you spend talking with her and do enforce some boundaries about when you're able to text or call or keep in touch. Inform her kindly and follow through consistently. Hope this helps.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member LaHermes's Avatar
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    Zennia. Distance yourself, at once, from this toxic dynamic. What you describe goes far beyond "disrespect".

    "She is always holding a grudge against me for what she claims is my rude behavior such as:
    * Not answering the phone every time she calls
    * Not always responding to her immediate demands to contact her in that very instant to fulfill whatever request she has at that moment
    * Accusing me of never reaching out to her to inquire about her life, how sheís doing, etc.
    * My daring to EVER find ANY fault with ANY of her behaviors towards me

    Additionally, here are some lifelong behavioral traits that my mother exhibits (and I provide these to hopefully hear any educated guesses on a potential personality disorder my mother may have).
    *Absolute inability to see another personís perspective or have any empathy
    *Absolute raging anger toward any opinion that is not 100% in agreement with her own
    *Constant accusations and attempted guilt trips towards her children for not being there to fully serve her emotional needs day in and day out
    *Hatred toward her adult children for living a happy and carefree worry-free life at any time
    *Almost always a refusal to be pleased with her childrenís accomplishments or victories in the moment they occur... only in the distant past will she recall something favorably although she condemned it at the moment it was actively happening
    *Complete inflexibility with any plans that are not it total and full agreement with her own.
    *Aggressively hostile toward ideas and views that are not of either her own opinion or were not initiated by her"


    Get it out of your head, OP, that this behaviour is in any way acceptable, or mild. Well, I get that you are well aware that something is badly wrong with this woman.

    You are in no position to deal with this kind of person, and you will always be on the back foot. It is NOT about viewpoints. Viewpoints are fine. Do not let any try to water down this behaviour.

    The toxicity will blight your life, if you let it, OP.

  9. #8
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    Particular people can be toxic but not an entire generation. Put firm boundaries in place or remove yourself from a situation . I also wouldnít say any generation is anymore enlightened than any other each has their own limitations.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member NowandZen's Avatar
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    When dealing with toxic people, I mostly refuse to engage. I politely, yet firmly, deflect. 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.

    To that end, though you have to stay strong. If you feel the need to defend yourself, your actions (or inactions), or otherwise argue, you have allowed yourself to be sucked back into it.

    My brother is sort of like this, not to the same degree though. When he insists that I tell him what I think about x, and the only thing he wants to hear is his opinion back to him, I just say, that's not something I want to talk about. He tries to drag me into it, "Don't you care about X?", I don't want to talk about it. "So people can just X and you're fine with that?" I don't want to talk about it.

    Depending on his mood, this might go on a while, but I've trained him to realize I won't be worn down, and eventually he gives up.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    Guilt is such a waste of emotion. I tried to get along with my mother but it didn't work. My brother was a psychologist and I discussed her many times with him, looking for clarity. He was also 10 yrs older than me so he knew her better. We never figured her out but I did gain a lot of insight and as usual it came back to her own upbringing as to why she was the way she was. Your mother is a victim of her own upbringing too.

    You need to learn to eliminate the guilt from your life, you didn't make her the way she is. Learn to let it go, remind yourself you came out of it all pretty well, despite her. I never felt guilt for my mother's actions towards me. I figured out if I did the opposite of what she thought I should do, I was happy!

    Maybe some discussions with a therapist could help you to get past this and not have her affect your life. I'm willing to talk to you about this as I really do get it.

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