Post # 1
I’ll try to make this as short as possible! In a nutshell, I adore my mom. She’s the glue of our family, my best friend, and an absolute saint. That said, lately she’s told me several times how alone and bored she feels. She and my dad are still happily married, most her kids (and now a couple grandkids) all live in the same city, she has friends, and all the time and money in the world now that she’s been retired for several years.
I live 10 minutes away and see her pretty often (I would say at LEAST once a week, but typically more). But at some point it started to feel like she would subtlely put a guilt trip on me whenever I couldn’t get together with her (like text me sad face emojis or “jokingly” say I don’t love her anymore). I finally talked to her about it, and she recognized she needed to find her “own thing.” I told her I’d keep an eye out for ideas and started sending her information on local retired ladies meeting up to play tennis or go on walks, etc., but she always shot down everything I ever suggested.
I finally had my breaking point this morning when she said she wanted to come over and drop off some food she made. I told her to please call first to make sure I was home since I was heading out, and she replied, “What, you’re not taking me with you?” I don’t know if it was just PMS or a long-time coming after an accumulation of these types of responses, but I let her know I was feeling super frustrated with her mentality. I’m a very solution-oriented person and genuinely don’t understand when someone has every opportunity in the world right in front of them yet still finds every excuse not to take advantage of them. Of course, that’s their prerogative, but then why still complain about a situation if you don’t plan on doing anything to change it?
Either way, I feel like I’ve been enabling her in some sense, and today I just laid all my cards out on the table. But I could tell I upset her. She got very quiet, and at some point it sounded like she might even be crying a little. And now I feel like SUCH a DICK.
Post # 2
caligirl3 : My mom is similar and I’ve snapped on her before and felt like a total asshole as well, the feeling SUCKS. I would apologize to her and try to explain your feelings in a more calm and sensitive manner, in person.
Post # 3
I can’t say whether you were too harsh – but she definitely took it hard. From what it sounds like, maybe she needed that bit of tough love. You’ve already brought up once, and it didn’t seem to get through. I think chatting with her once she’s calmed down is a good idea though. “Sorry if I seemed harsh earlier, but we’ve already talked about this and I feel like you’re still … which makes me feel …”
Post # 4
I wouldn’t feel too bad. She may not be aware that’s shes doing it, but the guilt-tripping is emotional blackmail and it’s not healthy. It’s totally fine for her to miss you … it is not fine to send sad face emojis and joke that you don’t love her anymore (whaa??!). That’s not an emotionally mature response to a daughter being busy with day-to-day life.
Post # 5
Speaking as someone who is probably around your mother’s age, you were not too harsh. Your mother needs to rediscover herself outside of her identity as mother. I’m always very wary of intruding on my kids lives since I don’t want to be perceived as the smothering type.
Post # 6
- Wedding: September 2019 - City, State
You said what you said and you can’t take it back but you can certainly tell her your sorry for the way it came out. Your feeling are valid. One can only take so much of the same thing over and over again especially when they have been told that it’s kind of annoying (not your words). Now you feel shitty about how you acted towards her because she didn’t listen the first time. I would just tell her you are sorry how it came out but this is how you really feel.
Post # 7
It sounds like you are rightfully annoyed and you let it get the best of you for a moment. It doesn’t sound like you said anything particularly mean that can’t be taken back – just took a tone of frustration. It’s no big deal. Just tell your Mom you are sorry for snapping next time you talk to her, but that you are getting frustrated with her seemingly constant need to hang out, while refusing to try out anything new and interesting instead.
The amount of time that you already spend with her is a lot more than most adults spend with their parents. She needs to acknowledge that and respect your time.
Post # 8
It is not your job to be the center of your mother’s life right now. She needs to find an interest–volunteering, hobby, course, friends, job, activity–that isn’t dependent on you.
Post # 9
Could you schedule a longstanding weekly activity with her? Perhaps a couple times a week so she has something to look forward to and knows that she will be seeing you then 100%? Like mall walking/shopping on Wednesdays and a Sunday brunch, etc?
Post # 10
caligirl3 : I think the tough love might be necessary.
She is a grown woman with grown children. She needs to find her identity outside of her children at this point.
My grandmother is 85 and is so busy with travelling, volunteering, activities, social groups etc it’s hard to get a hold of her! Your mother has absolutely no excuse other than she wants to hold on to her mother identity. I think you need to sit her down and not apologise unless you yelled at her or said something you want to take back. Instead, discuss some clear boundaries, including how far you are willing to go to help her find some activities. She will probably cry and sniffle, but she needs to hear it.
Post # 11
I don’t think you were out of line. My mom is widowed, lives alone, and has a tough time making new friends because of her social anxiety. My sister and I were definitely raised to be her social representatives lol. She is mostly respectful of our time but because she has only the two of us to “unload” on, she will keep us on the phone FOREVER repeating herself over and over.
Once she was on a very long monologue while I waited to the end of the story to tell her some important news but by then she was ready to say goodbye and get off the phone. I let her go and texted her “I passed the Bar exam mom, thanks for asking.” She was mortified and felt bad for a long time but I feel like I needed new to bring to light that she was getting to be a little burdensome. No one likes making their mom feel bad, but you did not do the wrong thing. If you and your mom are as close as you say, you will move past it and be just fine.
Post # 12
It sounds like your mother needs some business and you have been more than generous in attempting to help her find her “thing” but she has taken that as another way of getting your attention rather than actively looking for something to fill her time and inspire feelings of passion and creativity and aliveness in herself.
What she’s doing is being an energy vampire and, if she can’t get the kinder hints you’ve tried to give her, then she should feel badly about her behavior. If she were to explain to someone else what she was doing, I cannot imagine that she would feel good about it (nor about how it makes you feel OR about how it makes her look). Basically, your mother is going “I feel empty (or lonely or bored or whatever) and I don’t know what to do with myself. Rather than addressing the discomfort that feeling gives me and finding new activities and passions at this point in my life, I’m going to reach out to people I love and get some attention from them. They owe me their attention since I gave them so much of my energy and attention for so many years. And yes, they have told me that they do not appreciate my methods, but I’m going to ignore them and just keep doing it anyway. Because that’s easier for me and they really do owe me.”
Your mother needs to go on her own Hero(ine)’s Journey and rediscover herself and you cannot do that with her or for her.
Post # 13
It sounds like she is flipping your relationship so you have the parent role. Does she have a history of parentifying you? Or is this a new thing? It could indicate an issue with her mental health if it’s something that is usual for her. If it’s new, she could just be lonely and unsure about where she stands in her relationship with you now your an adult. You have the right to set boundaries and enforce them. I would be careful of giving into it because you could get into an unhealthy relationship where she expects you to meet all her needs. If she starts giving you the silent treatment or reacting strangly to your boundaries, ask her to see a mental health professional.
Post # 14
Mom sounds like she might be going through a bout of depression. Perhaps she isnt trying to guilt you. But find her way back to herself.
Being unable to engage in outside activities is a huge red flag.