@hoosier80, your post really got to me(among so many others here: congrats on making such recent strides with your daughter, @Suzy Rhapsody!), because your situation with your mother sounds so eerily similar to my own. Ditto @BookWoman56. I’m starting to wonder if it’s a generational thing that many older Baby Boomers seem to display, because her usual self-centeredness/Only Child Syndrome kicked into overdrive as soon as she hit her 70’s.
This is a woman who has told me on numerous occasions that she only had kids(my brother is the “golden child”) because she didn’t want to be alone/wanted someone to take care of her when she was old. I never even knew my father because he split forever when I was a baby; sometimes I can understand why because my parents both were selfish only children, so how could it have possibly worked between them anyway?
When my brother was a teenager he was Hell. Got violent, hooked on drugs, in and out of the juvie, stole money, nearly dropped out of HS twice...he also sexually molested me repeatedly for a few years, and I’ve never admitted it to mom because I doubt she’d believe me and he’d likely deny it.
Meanwhile I was the kid who went out of my way to do well—I was a model student, got two degrees, have had a good teaching career for over 15 years, have a great marriage. Currently working my ass off going to grad school on my spare time for a Masters.
But because the golden child finally wised up and has stayed clean/employed for the past 15 years, has been celibate for a few years now and does many things to cater to my mom(including handling her banking and living for free in my late grandma’s house/estate because my mom doesn’t want to deal with selling it), I’m the lesser one. I’m the one she’ll call when she’s bored or needs amusement or when the golden child yells at her, whatever.
When I offer to do things for her or help or spend time with her, she mostly brushes me off. I try to go to see her and/or go to lunch with her at least once a week, but I often dread it because she usually uses that time as an excuse to get drunk and then ask me really awkward, inappropriate questions. Or I’ll get her home and she’ll have a drunken accident after I leave.
But when I try to enjoy what little spare time I have with friends/in-laws(go out of town, attend events, etc) otherwise, she'll call and yell horrible things at me, tell me how selfish I am, and throws my unaccepted attempts to do more for her otherwise right back at my face.
She’s said/done all sorts of crazy things to my friends and husband over the years, things that sound weird and otherwise insane to anyone else. Called my husband at work, left ugly voicemails with him for stupid reasons, etc. I continue to forgive and try to move on from such odd moves, but I can’t forget. My husband and I have even tried to travel with her over the years, but that ends up backfiring on us when she somehow finds something random to pick a fight with us over and ruins the whole trip.
Yet I STILL try my best to have a healthy relationship with both she and my brother because they’re the only blood I have left, but some days I really struggle to understand why I bother.
They’re such a toxic presence in my otherwise happy life. It’s like the happier I am, the more my mom guilts me into how selfish I am and how I don’t do enough for her. Or my brother shittalks about my husband and me behind my back to her.
I call her every day just to show I care and want to check on her(she mostly doesn’t care what I have to say since it’s just an excuse for her to talk at me all about her), but if I happen to mention I’m going somewhere or doing something for my self-care, she rages at me over what a spendthrift I am and I’ll “never have anything.”(my husband and I struggle sometimes financially, but we make do and are comfortable; I never ask her for money, but golden child has no problem asking for random ready handouts) This comes from the woman who never worked over a year of her life since my grandmother bought her everything she ever wanted throughout her adult life.
Now that mom’s gotten older and more accident-prone, she expects both my brother and me to drop everything at any time for her...I’ll do that when I can, but my free-time is precious and I also need self-care with my husband for my own sanity’s sake, but she’ll never understand that.
My brother just ghosts her and lies about where he is when he’s tired of dealing with her. I’m honest to a fault and will tell her sometimes that I’m sorry, but I’ll have to assist her later when I’m back in town(husband and I are avid travelers/hikers). Then she’ll berate me again, tell me how selfish I am and that I’m “cut off” from “her legacy”(aka her mom’s money), lather, rinse, repeat.
I’m 42, she’s 75...I’m exhausted of living like this. I’m tired of being made to feel like I’m selfish for having an active life of my own when I’m not constantly working. Because I’m ChildFree, she assumes that I have all this extra time/money, which is hardly the case.
Yes, I know I have more issues than a newsstand and should’ve considered therapy yearsssss ago. I can’t find it in my heart to cut either her or my brother completely off, and I’ll never really know why...I tried to suggest family therapy with them years ago and that went about as well as expected, so here I am, just left to ramble with kind strangers here since my friends are tired of hearing it.
So to those of you still reading, thanks for that. I’ve commented here before on my many family issues, and just getting a forum to share/vent really helps clear my mind a bit, especially having just gotten off the phone with mom as she told me to leave her alone forever and just only check in with her monthly(me leaving for a day to go on a hiking trip with friends while she was stuck home with a raging bout of diarrhea apparently warranted such a reaction).