Mum making the day-to-day difficult

posted 3 years ago in Emotional
Post # 2
2924 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

The next time she threatens suicide, treat it as a serious threat and call the police to do a welfare check on her. You aren’t a mental health professional, but even if you are, you aren’t her therapist. 

Post # 3
3167 posts
Sugar bee

It is clear from other posts that your mother is a nightmare – what with being manipulative, questioning your version of events (gaslighting), and threatening suicide when she doesn’t get her own way.

There are several things you can do.

1. Communicate via your father. Let him pass on your messages to your mother (unless he is manipulative too). Let him deal with your mother’s suicide threats. 

2. Realise that people don’t tend to commit suicide because their daughter chose a different pair of wedding shoes from what they liked or because their daughter didn’t reply to a text immediately. If your mother makes a suicide threat immediately let your father and sibling(s) know. Let your mother know that you have told them.

3. You will eventually stand up to her. This will happen quicker if your fiance is on board. Rather than getting annoyed that she frequently calls him in order to try to get to you, he should welcome it. He can then thoroughly suppport you. If she is being manipulative he can call her out. 

If your mother turns up early or unannounced then he needs to get annoyed with her rather than you – and show it.  He needs to realise that your mother is no longer just your problem but a joint problem. His job is to call her out on her manipulative ways every single time. Have a list of nearby hotels and suggest she stays there.

4. Be pro-active. When she tries to get in touch, text her to tell her what time you will phone her. Make sure the time is convenient for you. Ignore her attemts to text and phone you. When the time comes to phone make sure you phone exactly on time to the very second. Unless you are talking about the dress (or other surprises for your fiance) put the phone on loudspeaker so that your fiance can hear. Prime him to calls out any manipulation or bullying. 

If you can’t contact her then text her to say that you tried to contact her and failed. Choose another time that is convenient to you and ring on time to the nearest second.

In short, what you have to do is train your mother. She has found that in order to get you to do what she wants she simply has to do three things: bombard you with phone calls and texts, threaten suicide and make you feel guilty. So you have to train her not to do so. This means staying calm, being consistent and not giving in.

She will not be happy with this, of course, and will rail against it and be much worse for quite a while. I imagine she will at least threaten to remove funding from the wedding and then tell your siblings how mean you are. So make sure you have a backup plan for funding and let your father and sibling(s) know that you are about to stand up to her. If they have gone through a similar experience they’ll know what to expect.

If she threatens suicide let her know that you will be contacting the rest of your family and her GP.

If she tries to make you feel guilty then say “You are trying to make me feel guilty.”  and pass the phone to your fiance. Your fiance then can say in a calm voice. “You are making my fiancee unhappy by being manipulative. Stop doing so.”

The more you do this, the less you will get that sick, guilty feeling that makes you feel like you’ve swallowed a big, heavy stone.

5. If you are wondering why I’m saying this it is because I had manipulative parents too. It takes a lot to break their control because they are really manipulating the small child inside you who wants to please their parents. To do this they develop a “bad, nasty, ungrateful child / good, generous, long -suffering parent” narrative that they tap into when they want their child to do anything. This technique is both wicked and effective because it taps into their child’s sense of self and worth.

6. If you can, get counselling yourself sometime. This is not because you are the one with a mental problem (you’re the sane one) but because a counseller might allow you to explore ways of increasing your self worth and strategies for dealing with family issues.

Good luck.

Post # 4
5228 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

View original reply
ladyartichoke :  

You are sending her mixed signals. You ignore the calls but then you offer to see her and rearrange your schedule. It’s like dealing with a toddler, she knows she will get a response if she just keeps at it.

The last time my mother hinted at suicide, I asked if she was serious because if she was, I was calling the police because I would not listen to, nor tolerate that kind of talk. She backed down and said she didn’t mean it.

My mother doesn’t bother with me, she reaches out if she needs something and that is very, very rare. She doesn’t bother because I don’t put up with the bullshit. I don’t give her what she’s looking for.

In every post you have made, you have been advised to cut contact. You need to seriously do that. The more mixed signals you  give her, the worse she is going to get.

Post # 5
1076 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - City, State

My biggest take-away from this is: What the hell are you actually gaining from having a relationship with her? Why keep any contact at all? She’s just a person, and seemingly one you do not like. 

Post # 6
3113 posts
Sugar bee

I also am wondering what positive gain you get from having a relationship with her?

Post # 7
1492 posts
Bumble bee

I agree with others on here, why do you have a relationship with her at all? SOunds like you should cut her out of your life completely. 

Post # 8
600 posts
Busy bee

This sounds a lot like my fil (also a narcissist). He started calling me when he couldn’t reach my husband. His number is now blocked on my phone. I would suggest your fiancé does the same. He’s right it isn’t fair that he gets dragged into it, but you/he can’t control what your mother does. All that can be controlled is your reactions to her.

I think you need to take some more firm stances with her and create/enforce clear boundaries. My husband has done this with his dad and while his dad will still cross those boundaries often, he is far worse with my husband’s sister who says she wants things to be a certain way then never follows up.

For example, they have both said that their dad is not to call them during working hours because he often gets them upset and then they have a hard time concentrating and being productive in their jobs. When he calls my husband at work, he doesn’t pick up. When he calls my sil at work, she picks up to remind him he’s not supposed to be calling her, which escalates into a fight. My husband probably gets about 90% less phone calls during the day than my sil does because my fil has learned that my husband isn’t going to answer, whereas he knows my sil will pick up.

Do not allow yourself to be manipulated into rearranging your life for her. The more she sees you will do that, the more she will expect it. Again, my husband will call on Friday night and will tell his dad if/when he intends to come visit him that weekend. Unless there’s an emergency, he declines demands for other visits. Since he started doing that, the demands to see him in between have become less and less. My sil will drop everything and go visit when their dad demands it and gives into his manipulative tactics (don’t you remember what I did for you when you were a kid, what kind of a person treats their father like this, etc.). The more she does it, the more he expects her to do it.

Therapy has worked wonders for my husband. It’s never easy to tell your parent no (especially when they’re saying OTT things like that they’re going to kill themselves, which my fil does as well) but through therapy my husband has learned ways to cope with the guilt he feels. (My sil does not go to therapy, FWIW.)

Talk to your fiancé and figure out what boundaries he would be comfortable with. It is important you include him in this. It’s your family but it affects him just as much. Even though things aren’t perfect with my in-laws, my relationship with my husband doesn’t suffer because I see him doing the best for us, listening to my thoughts and taking them into consideration. It’s one thing to have crazy in-laws and another thing to have a spouse who doesn’t appropriately handle the crazy in-laws.

Post # 9
1361 posts
Bumble bee

“She does believe in mental health services”

Well yeah, because they will inform her she is going to have to change her behaviour and that she has a problem/ what she is doing is unacceptable. She bascially gets what she wants now so why change? It is all going to have to come from your end. As I see it you have 2 clear choices:

1. If you want her in your life you are the one that is going to have to change. You are going to have to make clean consistent boundaries. As PP has suggested ” train her”. This will take a lot of time and effort and will be stressful to both you and your guy.

2. Put you and your relationship with you partner first. Either cut her out of your life and do not fall for any of the games anymore or severly limit contact to celebrations such as Christmas and birthdays and do not let her wheedle herself back into your life.

You are unwittingly putting an incredible amount of stress on your partnership by allowing this behaviour to invade your lives and I feel for your Fiance. I am sure he does not want to deal with all this garbage so maybe it is time make your personal relationship the priority.

I always think of future children in this kind of situation. How will it effect them when they are exposed to this type of unhealthy behaviour? Because children will just give her another audience and will become tools to continue this pattern of manipulation.

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