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Carers UK Forum • Controlling mum
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Controlling mum

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:25 pm
by Dee3
This is my first post - my mum has always been very controlling. I moved her in to my home when she was 83 to look after her in her final years. It's now eleven years on and it has destroyed our lives and she has taken control of our home. The term manipulation by frailty suits both of us, but do take care not to fall into the trap of being your mothers sole carer. I would contact social services and ask for a home assessment explain to them your family in Worthing needs you more and you want to ensure your mum has the assistance she needs after you move. Just a thought to ponder, but I fully understand you feel pulled in both directions. As for being judged I've come to the conclusion 'walk a mile in my shoes'.............

Re: Controlling mum

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:45 am
by bowlingbun
Dee, have you thought about having counselling, aimed specifically at how to manage mum? It helped me hugely. My mum seemed to think I should do anything she couldn't. Somehow ignoring the fact I was waiting for two knee replacements, was recently widowed, running a business and already had a son with severe learning difficulties to care for!

Re: Controlling mum

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:42 am
by Dee3
I have never thought of counselling. It sounds like a good suggestion = I'll have to try to find out where to find someone local. Our GP surgery is on the brink of collapse so I don't think they will be of help. I rang for a home call for my mum on Friday for chest infection ?UTI and had a phone call to say anti=biotics script would be in Chemist next day - no house call...... I will try Citizen's Advice today so thank you so much. My message sounded harsh last night as I had had a really difficult day, upwards and onwards today. When all is said and done I love my mum to bits and want the best for her.

Re: Controlling mum

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:03 am
by bowlingbun
Don't worry in the least about your message, I'm well acquainted with those feelings. However, it shows that we are sometimes "drowning" and need a lifebelt. It's a well known fact that the elderly become very "self focussed", it's not that they are being deliberately selfish, they just lose the ability to see how much everyone else is doing for them, and understanding that they have their own lives to lead.
My mum often forgot that her "little girl" was now over 60 herself! Counselling made me realise that I was, in many ways, still behaving like an obedient child who should never say "No" to mum. As an adult, things were different. Mum would invent little jobs so I had to visit her six miles away (forgetting I had my hown heath problems, a son with learning difficulties, and a business to run. The faster I did the jobs, the faster they were invented. The counsellor told me it was OK as an adult to say No, or just avoid, some jobs. If I was given a second job before the first was finished, I'd say that I really wanted to finish the first before tackling the second (third, fourth, fifth, sixth). Although mum had carers 3 times a day, and a gardener, and a cleaner, I realised she was "saving" some jobs for me. So I'd say "Please can you get Z to do it, as I'm a bit busy at the moment."
I would choose what job I did, when, where and how. Then I didn't feel so resentful.
The counsellor made me realise just how much I put everyone else's needs in front of my own, and told me I had a RIGHT to a life of my own, especially when my brothers did nothing, why did I ever feel guilty at what I couldn't do, I should be proud of what I did do. Dumping the guilt made the last few years so much easier.

Re: Controlling mum

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:26 am
by jenny lucas
I completely agree with BB's recommendation that you get counselling - urgently! - to train you to become more assertive, and less vulnerable to manipulation.

Those who manipulate us 'through love' (as they see it through their warped vision!) presumably do so partly out of fear that we might 'abandon' them, and partly out of what, perhaps, being charitable, might be described as being 'for our own good'....(don't really see how, to be honest, this applies to why your mum is manipulating you - it sounds more like entirely the former - to try her damndest to keep you 'in line' so you continue to look after her the way she wants)

However, elaborating on the theme of 'inverted relationships' that BB raised - ie, that now YOU have to be 'the parent' and SHE has to become 'the child', I would say that the dreadful trap that adult children who have to care for their parents fall into is this:

The parent wants to become a 'child' - ie, to be looked after by you, the now-appointed 'parent' - BUT, simultaneously wants to retain the prvileges of being your parent - it, gets to boss you about!

The awful thing is, parents 'train' us to do what they want. They've had the 'programming' of us since childhood, and to them it's just 'normal' to rule the roost and tell us what to do, and when to do it etc etc etc.

You say your mum moved in with you - do you mean, just you alone, or with you and your husband/family. If just you alone then you are very 'exposed' to her, but on the other hand, you have complete freedom to 'stand up to her' (as you must now!).

If you live with your husband as well, then what does he think about the situation? Is he trying to help you, or has he just 'given up' trying to get you to stand up to your mother? If you read a series of posts on All about Caring about Near Breaking Point (Lisa), you will see that her problem is that she is faced with an FIL who won't 'stand up' to his controlling wife - so what can Lisa do?

But 'standing up' to your mum is essential - you just have to realise a couple of things@

- NO ONE can force you to look after your mum. No one. You could throw her out of your house tomorrow, and it would be entirely your right to do so. That gives you a 'base freedom' that you could exercise at any point.

- her 'displeasure' is irrelevant to you. Those who control us do so mostly out of our own fear - we are afraid to 'provoke their displeasure'! It could be expressed in bad temper, or, since you mentioned it 'frailty' - ie, any sign of 'rebellion in the ranks' is met with a sudden 'attack' of pain/illness/ whatever, she may weep and sigh and faint and say 'I'm not well, I'm old, and frail and what have I done to deserve such a viper of a daughter, why are you being so cruel to me (blah blah blah), and she may GENUINELY believe it - but it doesn't matter.

Look at yourself as if you were someone else, a friend, say, and think 'Would I want her to go through this, or would I tell her to stand up to her mother and refuse to kow-tow?'

If we see ourselves as other people, we can start to see the hideous injustice of what we have been 'conned' into doing.

Finally - if your life is SO awful thanks to your manipulative mother, that really means that you are 'waiting for her to die' because you think that's the only way you'll be free. That's pretty sad, isn't it - I mean, if your mum has become someone her own daughter wants dead ASAP so she can be free of the manipulation, then that should definitely be a wake up call for your mum?

Do you think she knows how much you loathe her controlling her?

You say you love her, but is she worthy of your love?

Re: Controlling mum

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:49 pm
by Dee3
Thank you for taking the time to share these wise words. It's been a long time since I've been able to look at things from another persons perspective who actually understands without judgement. I'm going to find counselling for my sake as well as my poor long suffering husband and to ensure I can continue taking care of my mum before I burn out. Thank again for your kind and well considered response. I know my friends see kindness as my weakness, but to have survived these past years I guess I must be strong!

Re: Controlling mum

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:30 pm
by bowlingbun
I never share my caring problems with my non carer friends, they just don't "get it". Here, everyone does.

Re: Controlling mum

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:03 am
by jenny lucas
Personally, I think we should only be kind to those who are deserving of our kindness - and the world, sadly, is full of such people.

I don't think we should be kind to people who do not treat other people well - including their own daughters.

I'm not so sure that your kindness is weakness at all, but I do think - cautiously! - that in such situations (which, again, happen all too often with all too many good people), we must be wary that kindness does not mean 'cowardice'......? (ie, a fear of standing up to a bully???)

I know that's a 'dark thought' but sometimes we don't stand up to people we SHOULD stand up to, because it's just too damn frightening......we fear their anger and displeasure and disapproval, so the threat of it 'keeps us in line'.

Sacrifice of the self is very, very noble (I'm not being sarcastic in the least!), BUT I do think that if we sacrifice ourselves for people who are 'not worthy' of the sacrifice - ie, people who behave badly to others - we end up colluding with their bad behaviour. I do feel, therefore, it is actually our 'moral duty' to stand up to such people.

The problem is, so many who sacrifice themselves do so out of GOOD reasons, which is highly applaudable, and feel 'selfish' about standing up for themselves, yet they just end up 'wasting' their sacrifice.

I HOPE this is not you!