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Relationship with Mum - Carers UK Forum

Relationship with Mum

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
I just need advice please ?
We live with my 72 year old Mum, she needs support as she has rheumatoid arthritis and when my Dad died 3 years ago we moved in to help her .
She is very controlling and expects me to jump as soon as she calls me. I have heart failure and work part time, and I don't mind helping her at all.
She gets quite depressed and can be quite nasty, I guess she still misses my Dad. It's just that I find her very difficult to deal with. I feel that I am treading on eggshells as I worry about upsetting her or what type of mood she will be in. I am 48 married and have a 13 year old daughter. It's just that she does so little and expects a lot of me .
I have a brother who does nothing. She thinks he is wonderful and will not see any wrong in him . The way I deal with this situation is to say nothing and try to ignore it . I just feel that she is being controlling and I feel that I have no option but to put up and shut up . Am I doing the right thing by keeping quiet and not making a fuss ? Is her behaviour normal and are others in a similar situation? If you are what do you do ?
Thank you
Hi Clare,

it sounds a stressful situation.

Unfortunately, it's common for parents to worship the absent child and give the one helping a hard time! Its also common for one child to do everything and the other(s) to do nothing. I don't think you will be able to change your brother or get him to help more.

It is hard as you are living in her house so she has gone back to treating you as a child and it is hard for the roles to shift/change.

I don't think you can keep making so many allowances now three years on. Of course she misses your Dad, but that's no excuse for treating you badly.

She is only 72 years old so could require care and support for many years. Therefore, the way I see it you have the following choices;
- carry on as you are
- make a stand about what you are willing to accept/not accept
- move out and arrange care visits for her through a needs assessment
- look at assisted living/ sheltered living for her

Stop being a good little girl!
It took counselling when I was 60 before I learned to take control. Don't refuse to do anything by saying No, you choose what you will do, how and when. Strictly on a one at a time! Say things like, I've started so let's get this done before I start anything else. Don't do ANYTHING for your idle brother, including food!!!

How much is mum paying you???
Hello, Clare. So you do your mother a favour and she makes demands on you and abuses you; whereas she praises your brother who does **** all. That is not a good balance. You deserve better treatment than this. The solution is in your hands.

Stop treading on eggshells. Stop worrying about upsetting her. You are the one that is getting upset, and this is not right in view of what you do for her. Do care for her, but make it clear that there is a limit to what you do. It is OK to say, "I'm busy right now; please wait a minute."

When she sings the praises of your brother, don't remain silent; point out that you are the one caring for her. She may respond with a tirade; well walk out and let her get on with it; but at least get your point across.

When she gets nasty, don't keep quiet and do make a fuss. Take control. Decide what is and is not acceptable and make sure she realises this.

If she still will not accept your terms, you should be thinking of moving out again.
Same here. Eventually we had a blazing row in which mum said I was difficult and argumentative and I said she was a bully. After that we made peace. She realises that she couldn't manage on her own and is grateful for what I do. Maybe you need a confrontation to make mum realise that she needs you?
I think most of us tend to avoid confrontation, and perhaps for good reason. The text book approach is negotiation is better than confrontation.

But some people do not want to negotiate - certainly not bullies.

A blazing row can sometimes clear the air, as in Jackie's example. I know this from personal experience.

Bullies don't want to negotiate; they want to dominate. Their biggest fear is failure. The way to deal with them is to stand up to them.