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Family: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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10 hours ago, BookWoman56 said:

@Sun-Bun, stop feeling guilty about wanting your own life. Your mother had children for her own selfish purposes, and you’re not responsible for her choices. Maintain whatever contact you are comfortable with, and resist the impulse to give in to the various guilt trips she lays for you. 

My mother is 91 and has dementia, so I am willing to cut her a little slack on her being so self-centered, and if I consider the entire relationship we’ve had, it’s fairly good with some pain points here and there. But your situation sounds quite different. And in my own relationship with my parents, my regrets are mostly around putting their wishes above mine, so I spent way too many holidays and vacations visiting them instead of doing things I would have preferred. Don’t fall into that trap any more than you already have. It’s your life, not your mother’s or brother’s. 

Thanks, @BookWoman56: wise words all around!! And I appreciate you guys allowing me to spout my endless pity-party above. Felt better to get some of that shit out, that’s for damned sure. Today feels like a much fresher start, at least.

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I don't know if I've brought this up before, but my mom has been VERY critical of what I'm feeding my son.  My husband and I aren't plant-based, but I've been trying to make some of my son's meals vegetarian.  Like lentils and quinoa with greens, for example.  My mom claims that he isn't getting enough nutrients/protein.  She doesn't believe that lentils + quinoa = complete protein.  My son has transitioned to cow's milk, so it's important that he get iron.  Lentils have a lot of iron.  He doesn't NEED beef (we don't really eat much red meat as a family.  Family, meaning my husband, my son and me).  I'm really sure she thinks I'm starving the boy.  Both my mom and dad think I'M not eating enough (because many of my meals are plants only) and that's contributed to my "health issues."  My son is 1.  He can't really talk yet, but in a few months, I'm sure he'd be "Poh Poh, I LIKE!!" ("Maternal grandma, I LIKE!") - meaning the food I'm feeding him.    I mean, I haven't given him much that is super-processed.  The only things that come out of a package are baby cereal and teething cookies/crackers.  

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3 hours ago, PRgal said:

I don't know if I've brought this up before, but my mom has been VERY critical of what I'm feeding my son.  My husband and I aren't plant-based, but I've been trying to make some of my son's meals vegetarian.  Like lentils and quinoa with greens, for example.  My mom claims that he isn't getting enough nutrients/protein.  She doesn't believe that lentils + quinoa = complete protein.  My son has transitioned to cow's milk, so it's important that he get iron.  Lentils have a lot of iron.  He doesn't NEED beef (we don't really eat much red meat as a family.  Family, meaning my husband, my son and me).  I'm really sure she thinks I'm starving the boy.  Both my mom and dad think I'M not eating enough (because many of my meals are plants only) and that's contributed to my "health issues."  My son is 1.  He can't really talk yet, but in a few months, I'm sure he'd be "Poh Poh, I LIKE!!" ("Maternal grandma, I LIKE!") - meaning the food I'm feeding him.    I mean, I haven't given him much that is super-processed.  The only things that come out of a package are baby cereal and teething cookies/crackers.  

Unless your mom lives with or eats daily meals with you the only way she is finding out what you and family are eating is if you tell her.

Stop telling her or give vague answers or little white lies about your meals that you know will make her happy and stop the criticism.

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On 11/15/2019 at 6:28 PM, mbaywife123 said:

Unless your mom lives with or eats daily meals with you the only way she is finding out what you and family are eating is if you tell her.

Stop telling her or give vague answers or little white lies about your meals that you know will make her happy and stop the criticism.

She doesn’t live with us but she does live a block or so away.  And good luck giving vague answers or avoid criticism at the smallest things with HK immigrant parents.  Even the most integrated ones.  

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13 hours ago, PRgal said:

She doesn’t live with us but she does live a block or so away.  And good luck giving vague answers or avoid criticism at the smallest things with HK immigrant parents.  Even the most integrated ones.  

You are the parent to your child and a full fledged adult. It's up to you to define and enforce boundaries with your parents. Every culture has it's own "parental guilt" or "parental issues". It's not just related to HK immigrant parents, or Jewish parents, or Catholic parents. We all have to figure out how to have adult relationships with our parents. To blame their culture or history is just excusing their behavior. It's similar to using "boys will be boys" when a boy is throwing mud at another child, or getting in fights or some other behavior that needs to be addressed instead of addressing said behavior.

Edited by theredhead77 · Reason: Submitted too fast
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2 hours ago, theredhead77 said:

You are the parent to your child and a full fledged adult. It's up to you to define and enforce boundaries with your parents. Every culture has it's own "parental guilt" or "parental issues". It's not just related to HK immigrant parents, or Jewish parents, or Catholic parents. We all have to figure out how to have adult relationships with our parents. To blame their culture or history is just excusing their behavior. It's similar to using "boys will be boys" when a boy is throwing mud at another child, or getting in fights or some other behavior that needs to be addressed instead of addressing said behavior.

The problem is, my parents see me as a "special needs adult" due to my history of epilepsy.  Though my seizures are very well controlled by medication, they cannot see me as a "real adult" no matter what I do (just last week, my parents said they'd "escort" me to the mall with my son.  WTF?  I've made the trip on my own numerous times.  They went on and on about "what if" situations (that I  could fall or have a seizure, etc...).  They can't seem to let go of the fact that I'm 40 years old).  I could move out of town, but that would jeopardize my husband's career.  He's not going to leave his job just because I have parent issues. 

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2 hours ago, PRgal said:

The problem is, my parents see me as a "special needs adult" due to my history of epilepsy.  Though my seizures are very well controlled by medication, they cannot see me as a "real adult" no matter what I do (just last week, my parents said they'd "escort" me to the mall with my son.  WTF?

Define that boundary. Don't tell them you are going to the mall. Don't give them every detail of your life. Your parents can ask you anything they want, you are not obligated to provide a detailed answer.
 

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1 hour ago, theredhead77 said:

Define that boundary. Don't tell them you are going to the mall. Don't give them every detail of your life. Your parents can ask you anything they want, you are not obligated to provide a detailed answer.
 

Or, if they text me (as they do on a daily basis (!!!)), asking about my plans for the day, I'll just lie and say that my husband is coming with me (rather than us meeting him at the mall)...UGH!!!  Parents who think their adults are children.  *promising myself not to do that*
 

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Agreed on the setting boundaries.  I finally did that with my mother when we were on a trip together to another country.  We were in our hotel room, and I said something about going down to the lobby to get a soda.  She immediately jumped up and tried to tell me I couldn't go by myself, that she would come with me, and I sort of snapped and said, "I am 40 years old.  I am perfectly capable of going to get a soda by myself, thanks!" 

She has treated me like an adult ever since.

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At Mom's house, God help me. She was ok last night, but today nothing but whining about her aches and pains. I get she has arthritis but so do millions of people.  We were to go out and about today, leaving early for breakfast.  I was up and ready to go. She got up an hour or so later, sitting in the bathroom saying I don't think we can go to breakfast. She had to sit a while. I think it's her way of "punishing" me.  Honestly doesn't bother me. But she's still dicking around, now watching the price is right.  She probably does the whole delaying shit to annoy me. When she goes with my brother she is ready well ahead of time. I am not male, so she does whatever with me.  Males are "the boss" in her head. 

I wore a t shirt with my college logo yesterday. You'd have thought I ran over a basket of puppies from the look I got from her. My school plays brother' s school on Saturday.  I was ordered not to wear any school clothing nor mention it.  His team stinks this year. But he can wear whatever and whenever. He is the male after all. She feels compelled to give me every little update about his school's teams.  I told her a couple of years ago I don't care about them. She was aghast. Didn't get that. 

Now she is asleep in her chair.  We may leave after noon - maybe.  TBH I really feel like packing up and going home,but I have to stay at least thru Thanksgiving. I will be so happy when this week is over.

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2 hours ago, hoosier80 said:

 TBH I really feel like packing up and going home,but I have to stay at least thru Thanksgiving.

Why? Is she holding your puppy hostage? You're a grown woman. If you don't want to be there, leave.

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Well, made it through the day.  Frustrating, but I let her have her meltdowns, just walking away.  She's been crying at the drop of a hat. 

True, I could leave, but I really think she's kind of going downhill, so this could be a final or one of the final years.  Seriously thinking I may beg off or be sick at Christmas (cough, cough).

The worst day of the lot is typically Friday of this week, the dreaded putting up of the tree and decorations.  If I dare say how much I hate it (because I will have it set and she'll say no it goes like this, don't you know anything!), then she doesn't understand why she has "kids" who hate Christmas so much.  Brother tried to say, he hates getting presents and crap he doesn't want or need (he wanted to get out of buying presents for me, which I could not possibly care less).  Mom had a cow, so he relented and I got a gift card.  Ok, whatever.  I got an earful yesterday how she doesn't like gift cards one bit (I will have to relay to brother as that is his go to gift).  I'm kind of like him - I came in to find two older gifts in 'my' chair, meaning she doesn't want them.  So whatever I get, it's basically returned to me at some point, so explain to me why I'm getting you presents?  I think it's because it's what you do, it's what everyone does, etc.

I got a Grinch t-shirt that says something re: decorating to wear on Friday, plus a light up necklace.  Going to try and make it fun.  We'll see how that goes.

Mantra is "I'm a duck, everything is running off of my back like water"  

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10 hours ago, hoosier80 said:

At Mom's house, God help me. She was ok last night, but today nothing but whining about her aches and pains. I get she has arthritis but so do millions of people.  We were to go out and about today, leaving early for breakfast.  I was up and ready to go. She got up an hour or so later, sitting in the bathroom saying I don't think we can go to breakfast. She had to sit a while. I think it's her way of "punishing" me.  Honestly doesn't bother me. But she's still dicking around, now watching the price is right.  She probably does the whole delaying shit to annoy me. When she goes with my brother she is ready well ahead of time. I am not male, so she does whatever with me.  Males are "the boss" in her head. 

I wore a t shirt with my college logo yesterday. You'd have thought I ran over a basket of puppies from the look I got from her. My school plays brother' s school on Saturday.  I was ordered not to wear any school clothing nor mention it.  His team stinks this year. But he can wear whatever and whenever. He is the male after all. She feels compelled to give me every little update about his school's teams.  I told her a couple of years ago I don't care about them. She was aghast. Didn't get that. 

Now she is asleep in her chair.  We may leave after noon - maybe.  TBH I really feel like packing up and going home,but I have to stay at least thru Thanksgiving. I will be so happy when this week is over.

Is your mom an alumna of your brother’s school?  Did you “rebel” by going to a rival school?

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Mom didn't go to that school, no college as she was "just" a girl.  Her dad "got" her a clerical job (he brought home the application and they just said oh sure, you can start on xxxx, no interview, nothing).  Part of the reason she doesn't understand the workplace now.

Her brother, the golden child of that family, went to that school.  Her family adored that school, so that is where her love, favoritism originated.  She actually told me that my school, she didn't know why 'boys' would go there.  She thought it was kind of being a 'sissy' to major in business (she thought it was secretarial stuff only).  There are literally hundreds of majors at my school, but to her it was more of a girl's school.   She really has zero clue, which I try to keep in mind.  Then she will say (totally contradicting herself) that she thought I'd find a guy in college.  I found several but tossed them back.  I think she thought I was getting that old time "Mrs" degree.  Nope.

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13 hours ago, hoosier80 said:

Mom didn't go to that school, no college as she was "just" a girl.  Her dad "got" her a clerical job (he brought home the application and they just said oh sure, you can start on xxxx, no interview, nothing).  Part of the reason she doesn't understand the workplace now.

Her brother, the golden child of that family, went to that school.  Her family adored that school, so that is where her love, favoritism originated.  She actually told me that my school, she didn't know why 'boys' would go there.  She thought it was kind of being a 'sissy' to major in business (she thought it was secretarial stuff only).  There are literally hundreds of majors at my school, but to her it was more of a girl's school.   She really has zero clue, which I try to keep in mind.  Then she will say (totally contradicting herself) that she thought I'd find a guy in college.  I found several but tossed them back.  I think she thought I was getting that old time "Mrs" degree.  Nope.

I'm so sorry.  Some parents are just ignorant.  What was your focus?  Was it a general business degree or did you concentrate on a specific area (finance or marketing, for example)?  Or would she not understand that, either?  I regret not going into business (history and drama major, using the history part to learn more about my heritage (that's the only part I don't regret)), as I've only recently become interested in finance and investing (this is the area my dad works in).  And my dad said he should have pushed me more into that area (of course, back in the day, I would have rebelled even if I DID go into business.  I was more of a marketing/PR type back then.  I did do a PR program for people with undergrad degrees later and worked briefly in the area (before my parents tried to get me a job in other areas.  My mom, who worked in IT totally didn't understand the PR world and my dad thought it wasn't a "good fit" for me.  #whatever).  It's never too late and me going into investing, even at age 40, might be a good thing.  Women are far less likely to get funding than men (since most VC-ers are guys) and I might be able to give a different (i.e. more female, especially for projects that ARE female focused (cosmetics, comfortable bras, period panties, etc) perspective.    

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So many ways  to deal with your mom rejecting your gifts to her and putting them in your chair:

Re-wrap them and give them to her again or say nothing and donate them in "her name " to goodwill and place the receipt in a Christmas card card to her on the tree.

Tell her that you really liked these items you picked out for her and that you are thrilled she has given them for you to use.

Give her gifts that you want so that when she gives them back to you it is a win for  you.

Tell her you you ordered a really special gift that you knew she would love  to be delivered to her but you keep getting updates that is is still pending delivery or that it shows that it was delivered  but has not been (even though we both know nothing was ever ordered) .

As for the tree decoration, get the tree  up half decorated then "faint" and knock the tree and decorations to the floor and go lay down and then go home.

Your mom is defiantly playing mind games with you, play right back!

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@mbaywife123, I almost did the faint thing today.  

I was up early, straightening up the house, hanging up coats (Mom can't hang up her clothes or so she says now), etc.  I then get the chicken ready ("we don't like turkey" -  Mom and her golden child, my brother) and also a turkey breast.  Because the golden child decided, due to her crabbing about the ham one year, to buy Honeybaked Ham, she thought it was only right for me to buy the turkey breast.  "After all, you're the one who eats it".  Uh, I'd be ok eating just chicken, but ok.  I'll be having turkey for a week.  I then proceed to get everything else together:  dressing (made that yesterday - most of the day - just needs heated up today), green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, applesauce, mashed potatoes, plus setting the table, ad all of the other crap.  Golden child came over earlier than usual, around 10:45 or so.  He's been rolling in now around the time just to sit and eat.  So, I'm like wtf.  He does offer to carve the bird up (because he does it so well - uh, ok, whatever).  He'd also bitched that the house wasn't all dusted - here's a thought, grab a dust cloth and have at it?  Nope.  So we start to eat.  I found my throat closing up, and was like oh no.  I run up from the table, grabbing a Kleenex, running to the bathroom, barfing - just a little.  I'd not eaten a thing today before dinner.  Didn't the other day either, as I as so busy getting shit done.  They continue eating.  

I finally come back to the table and Mom did ask if I was ok.  I said what had happened, it just up so quickly.  "Oh, just the same thing when I can't get to the bathroom in time".  No.  She will sit, like last night until the very last minute, then dash to the bathroom.  I could hear her stomach rumbling, along with farting.  I even said, oh you need to go to the bathroom.  No, not yet.  Sure enough, her pants got wet (just a little).  She's always doing laundry due to accidents.  I think some are avoidable, like last night.  She now said she probably won't get her "hands" done because that's what the Lord wants her to have (carpal tunnel).  Okie dokie.

Assholes then went into the living room, leaving me to clean up the entire mess.  Mom had said how wonderful the GC is because he washes off his dishes and puts them by the sink.  He could actually dry as I wash, but no.  

Then, I finally get done and go into the guest bedroom to lay down.  I hear GC get up and leave - way early.  He thanked Mom (wtf - she didn't do a thing); she asked if he was coming back this evening (usually we do a second dinner/lunch with leftovers).  Nope.  He'd also said he couldn't eat that much any more earlier.  My thought - he's got somewhere else he's going today.  I've thought that for a long time; every holiday he disappears for hours or just does the main event and leaves.

Tomorrow I could play the sick card, but I know I'd hear "many times I was sick years ago, but I had to just work and do it".  I may just get up early and get it done.  She sleeps until 10 or 11 most days, so if I got up early I could get most of it done.  If it's in place, she might grouse, but it'd be done.  Two and a half days left for me; really doubting I'll come for Christmas.  I'm sick of doing the entire dinner and clean up.  Mom always says she did it for years, but no.  I had to help, plus her mother did a lot for many years.  She never did it solo like I'm doing.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  

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Ok...just venting about my mother-in-law.  LOL

I love her like my own mother, and I've known her for over 30 years.  We just spent a month together on a trip.  She and I get along very well.

That being said - the holidays cause "stress".   Here is the backstory...

We made the mistake when our kids were small, to ALWAYS go to her house on Christmas Day.  Since on my side of the family, we had some shift workers (nurse, police officer etc), we often DIDN'T celebrate on the 25th, we celebrated when we could all be together...and often it was not the 25th.  So somehow...it worked out.

Fast forward to now...our family (on both sides) has expanded, people have moved away, others have moved back to town etc

The past few years, my husband as really tried to get her to understand that with our family expanding on both sides, she needs to be a little more flexible.

As you might imagine...this did not go over well.  LMAO!  My husband told me, plan what you want to plan - I will deal with her.

I invited my mother and sisters/their families over for a casual meal on Christmas Day at our house.  I will have 2 of my kids home, and 2 of mine are out of town on the 25th.  My family also agreed we wanted to be together when all my kids were home (and other family was in town) to do our little gift exchange, and have our traditional Scandinavian Smorgasbord/holiday meal.  So we set that for the 28th.  Done.  Easy.  Nobody complained, nobody cried and freaked out etc

My husband and I were hoping to the do same for his side of the family...because his side also has people out of town, people have other families to visit etc.  So he suggested to his mother getting together with whomever was in town on the 24th for a nice family meal, and then getting together again when everyone else was in town to do our little gift exchange.

She has been invited to two places on the 25th...so it's not like she will be alone, cold and shivering on Christmas Day.  

She is NOT happy about the plan and has been texting/calling/emailing trying to get folks to change their plans.  I'm trying really hard to not engage.

I have a hard time with this because I love her, but somehow, around the holidays she acts psycho!  And I think I am a little resentful, that I allowed her to bully me for years about the 25th. 

Okay...vent over.  LOL!  I feel better just typing it all out!  Thanks if you got this far!  🙂

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1 hour ago, Kelly said:

LMAO!  My husband told me, plan what you want to plan - I will deal with her.

How fortunate for you to have a supportive husband. Many can’t face up to their mothers and just shrug. 

Change can be hard for people and she doesn’t sound flexible. Sometimes these holidays bring out the worst in our relatives. Good luck. 

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This is going to be long, is more of a release rather than advice seeking but I'm open to people's opinions. It's about to be the third year anniversary of when I stopped speaking to my sibling, A. My mother would prefer I have some sort of contact with them but, while I find myself occassionally missing who I thought they were, I'm not willing to reach out.

There were several big blowups during the last two years of our friendship. One was because when A came over with their family to pick up our mother I left the living room halfway through the five minute visit. (This was not some once-in-a-blue-moon visit; we saw each other all the time and spoke on the phone almost every day.) I did so because my elderly cat was becoming very anxious around the children and had begun puffing up and shedding like crazy (their very high-pitched voices and yelling were frightening him) so I took him to another room and settled him. A came into the room, visibly annoyed, to tell me they were leaving. The next day I called A and they didn't answer. No big deal. So I called the next day and still didn't get a reply. This went on for a week. The cold shoulder, then. Finally I got an email from A which was extremely odd because we only emailed each other maybe two dozen times over the course of a decade- we always communicated by phone or face to face. The email was some high-strung "HOW DARE YOU disrespect me and my spouse by being so rude" mess that they walked back after I unloaded on them and within a few weeks everything was relatively back to normal. (And no I'm not kidding about their reason for ghosting me, it was over me leaving my own living room for maybe two and a half minutes.) 

The next and final big blowup was...something else. Just a few days before A had been calling me asking for help with course work, chatting, everything was fine. Then my mom lets me know she was sent an email (her being dragged six ways to Sunday) and cc'd on an email to me from A. Uh oh. A fucking email. It was eleven (11) paragraphs about everything in my life they had decided I was doing wrong, neatly contrasted with how they had done these same things right. The email was sent on a Friday night when A would be unavailable (truly) all weekend, ensuring A would have a three day grace period before having to deal with any response from me. I sent back an email disputing much of what they had written (which A tried to walk back without actually admitting that's what they were doing) and then said I wanted to take a few days to gather my thoughts and decide how I wanted to proceed (our family has a history of saying things we don't mean and that only make things worse and that's an impluse I was fighting hard against). This set them off and they responded, "I guess we can't be friends anymore." Less than two weeks later our mother was hit by a car and we ended up at the bospital together. It was tense all around; our mother has high blood pressure, had already had a stroke, and there was concern that she might have a heart attack so she was being monitored closely. Thankfully she walked away with no major wounds tho she was banged up, had a boot on one foot, had to walk with crutches, and basically one side of her body was just bruises. Conversation was, all around, at the bare minimum. Whenever mom requested something I got it for her, A mostly sat in the corner on their phone texting. I don't say that to imply they didn't care, they were at one point researching guide dogs and this was briefly discussed. But within thirty minutes of me getting mom settled at her home, bam: texts and emails. They had been ignored again, how rude. I'll admit I lost it and told them to go fuck themself. I was completely stressed out and not into making conversation that night. Mom was doped up. Any time mom asked for something they just sat there while I got it. Later in the evening, when mom was feeling better she and A discussed all kinds of things (the changes to the town we lived in, them trying to remember the name of the movie Strays, etc). A was not ignored. In my opinion, what it came down to is A expected mom to throw open her arms and declare alls forgiven because of how close she'd come to losing her life like this was a Hallmark movie or a Very Special Episode. Like mom getting hit by a car somehow made my sibling less of an asshole. When A realized they were still gonna have to deal with the consequences of those emails they got pissed.

A month later A sent me, you guessed it, another email. One line, I miss you. I'll admit, I was annoyed. A could come up with 11 paragraphs when they wanted to come at me but when it comes to acknowledging that they ended a 13 year friendship (I should clarify we were not close when we lived at home together and became friends as adults) because I said I wanted to take a day or two to reflect I get one little sentence. But, that friendship meant something to me so I responded back in kind. Nothing. No response email, no phone call. I was, apparently, supposed to be the one to mend what I hadn't broken. And without an apology from them. I never sent them another email.

There were other things over the years (some of which I struggled with even at our closest) but those two incidents were the straws that broke the camel's back. Maybe some time down the line we could be friends again but I just don't see it and when I imagine the life I want A isn't there. I'm not willing to be a punching bag for someone who clearly thinks they are more deserving of basic decency and respect than I am. Sometimes family is just the assholes you grew up with.

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@slf I think that shunning (the cold shoulder) is one of the worst things that I have ever experienced with my family. I’m sorry they are giving you grief, especially as this time of year which can be stressful even without family drama. 

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21 hours ago, Mindthinkr said:

@slf I think that shunning (the cold shoulder) is one of the worst things that I have ever experienced with my family. I’m sorry they are giving you grief, especially as this time of year which can be stressful even without family drama. 

Thank you! For me now, it's less about the loss of that friendship and more about the expectation others have that I will reach out and fix things that bothers me. I've watched people in my family, immediate and extended, endure very crappy dynamics and suffer a lot of insults and offenses only to keep engaging because that's family, you're supposed to keep contact no matter what. And I have never gotten that mindset, at all. If A is going to keep being that kind of person then I'm happy to keep doing my own thing, tbh.

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I am having to see the humor in this situation or else lose my shit. My mother’s dementia has escalated very dramatically in the last couple of weeks, to the point that this conversation took place a few days ago:

My mother, frantically: You need to get the vanilla crisps out of the fridge before they burn my hair. 

Me, trying to make sense of this word salad: Do you want me to get you some vanilla wafers out of the pantry?

My mother, even more frantically: No, no, no, no! You need to get the vanilla crisps out of the fridge before they burn my hair!

Me, silently: WTF are vanilla crisps anyway, and how can they cause spontaneous combustion of hair while still in the fridge? 

The rest of the family and I are using this event as a way to assess her daily level of mental confusion: Is she just at “calling you by the name of one of her dead siblings” confused or is she at the “vanilla crisps” level?

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This Christmas was kind of hard for me. I'm a 30 year old woman, the oldest of three. I went away to college and have worked out of state several times, but because the career I'm in is a difficult one for finding long-term work and I'm currently unemployed (my last job--which was out of state--ended over a month ago), I'm currently living at home with my parents. My nearly 25 year old sister, meanwhile, has a job out of state and lives with her boyfriend, and my 22 year old brother is about to move into an apartment about two hours away and will be starting a new job and will be with his girlfriend. I meanwhile, am a virgin who has only dated one guy and that was my only boyfriend five-six years ago (and most of it was long distance--hence the lack of sex--not being ready the first time--meaning me--/being at home when visiting each other will do that to you), and my busy/long hours for my somewhat unusual career have made me stay away from dating since, save for one guy I never actually wound up dating--I left for home shortly after anyway, and that was several states away. (I talked about a lot of this in the Relationships thread several months ago, so I'll stop here, haha.)

ANYWAY:

I ultimately had a pretty nice Christmas, but all the talk about my sister and her boyfriend's house/my brother about to move into a new apartment--it feels so weird to be the oldest, and despite my professional accomplishments (and I DO have them), to feel so far behind compared to the two of them. I just want my life to come together, REALLY together, both professionally and personally, and finally feel equal to them in some way, but I'm much more shy and introverted, and so that's difficult for me. I've already applied to a few jobs, but because of Christmas, I haven't had any real response yet. And I fear it would be hard to finally move out, because I may not have enough money to do so, but I don't want to work at home again and stay here. I want my own life, like my siblings have. I'll be 31 in February; I don't want to feel like an overgrown child. 

I just had to say something here. I don't want to come across as a selfish whiner, I just want to vent and hopefully feel a little less jealous and frustrated. 

Edited by UYI
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This may be long.  I really should know better by now, but I keep stupidly thinking that the family situation will improve.  Not the case, although there were some nice moments, but not nearly enough to make this Christmas a good one.

Started out on Tuesday, fog in the area, but the weather guy said it'd burn off by 10 a.m.  Fine.  I'd been told I had to leave early by Mom as they (she and my brother) were planning on going to a specific church for a priest they love.  Leaving at 2 pm for a 4 pm service.  Yep, 2 hours early.  So I was on the road for real by 8:30 a.m. packing all the presents the night before in the car.  Fog wasn't great, but doable on the highways - big old divided highways.  No burning off by 10 a.m., fog advisory extended.  Great.  When I get into the non-divided highway portion where it's in BFE, I can barely see road signs.  There are driveways, cross roads (county roads that intersect with this US highway).  I was like this is bad, they can go along to the service, I'm not going to be a traffic statistic to meet their deadline.  I wanted to pull over into some small town/village's church parking lot, but I couldn't see the drive.  I went on about 5 to 6 miles where I knew there was a small truck plaza/gas station/mini mart.  I could not see the traffic light at the actual intersection.  Made it into the lot, where off to the side state police were doing paperwork for a fender bender.  Called Mom and promptly was yelled at - I told you this was a bad travel day!  You need to take more time off, you let those people walk all over you (office folks).  I tried to explain that I cannot take every holiday off, just because she wants it so! The bad travel stuff was news readers saying it was going to be a busy travel day - which there were so few cars on the road where I was anyhow.  Traffic or busy roads wasn't the problem.  So I waited it out, with nothing improving much.  I decided to get to the next town, 11 miles away, which wasn't awful driving, then made it to Mom's.  She was all happy happy.  

We go to church and the priest is in really bad health.  Bad.  It was a travesty to have him be the sole priest.  Mom loved it.  It was all wonderful.  I was stopped by some teenager do-gooder asking me had I taken communion.  What the hell skippy?  I told him I had to go, be gone. It was very weird.  Mom and brother are out by the car when I made it through the crowd.  Mom all of a sudden starts to go down into a sitting position - very slow motion - where I blocked her from going any further backward, but she just sat on a curb, saying oh I just lost my balance.  WTH.  It was like she was going to sit in a chair.  She was ok.  Brother made a joke out of it and she was laughing (had I laughed, the tears would have started).  Rest of the night was blah.

Brother is basically anti-gift, but caved to Mom because waterworks and pouting won out.  So he'd gotten me a gift cards and he had one bag for Mom.  I'm like gotta be electronics (I peeked and saw a charger).  Sure enough, a cell phone.  This is #3 from him - all of the other ones were 'stupid' along with the iPhone I got her - you guessed it, 'stupid'.  I was like good luck chuck.  I also got her two tables (Amazon) and they were 'stupid'.  She bought herself a laptop and it sits gathering dust.  I've not shown her enough.  I have nothing left to show her; it's dumbed down to enter a pin, click on an icon to get to the internet, and all of her favorites are saved as favorites.  She's a technophobe. 

So I had gotten her a ton of stuff -- sheets, beauty items, clothing items, one gadget for the kitchen she wanted.  She'd also said she would've preferred the new air fryers that have the racks that look like a small oven.  It was on sale, so I ordered it.  HUGE MISTAKE.

We opened the big box later, and she asked me so can I fry eggs in it?  She thought it was part griddle?   She has a collection of small appliances she has never used.  I may have used some once or twice.  All are scattered around her dining room.  For the air fryer, I thought it could go on an auxiliary cart with a butcher block top, but there is no outlet available.  I then said she needed to donate some of the small appliances as they are dust catchers.  Yeah icy stare.  Then I said why don't we store away your Kitchen Aid mixer (not used in over 5 years).  Yeah, no.  I then said well this was a mistake, stupid, stupid me and boxed it back up.  She just saw it was good looking food coming out of it on the demo and had zero clue how it worked.

Today I was up earlier, having the kitchen floor, guest bath cleaned, and some laundry done before Mom was up.  She'd told me oh she'd been up earlier, with pain (arthritis), and again telling me I don't know what pain is (I have a chronic back injury but that's not painful).  I kept up the cleaning, then Mom says I need to go to the store to get over the counter pain pills.  Ok, so you want me to go?  Nope she wants to look at stuff.  I told her I wanted to leave no later than 3 pm.  As I'm finally done with cleaning, and ready to step into the shower, couldn't I go check her mail?  Mail is in one of those group mailboxes outside.  She is obsessed with mail. Obsessed.

She has 7 people on her Christmas card list from whom she'd not received a card yet; one was from me.  Brother got my card - same city, so that was validation I did send it out.  I go to mailbox and should've said nope, no mail.  Stupidly, I brought it into her house  One was my card, one from an ex-neighbor kid (she was always close with her), and my cousin.  Ka-BOOM.

Ex-neighbor kid (who is now well over 40 with kids in high school), said she'd stopped sending out holiday cards, but she'd continue to send to Mom.  Ok, nice of her.  Mom was close to tears saying I bet they're in debt!  She is so jealous of this woman - her husband is a CFO, she's a teacher, just got a big new house, trip for anniversary, kids doing well.  Her mantra - I bet they're in debt!  She'll have to work the rest of her life!  This woman loves teaching.  Mom cannot understand that one bit.  Her goal was to be a housewife, so that should be every woman's dream goal.  

Cousin had said offhand, years ago, oh maybe I'll visit.  Mom took that as oh she's coming to visit.  Nah, it was a throwaway comment to appease her.  Cousin wrote she's going on an long trip to the far east.  So Mom does what she does - she pouted.  Might as well forget me like everyone else!  I said c'mon we're either going or not going.  Venom then directed at me.

We get back from the trip, then I start packing up.  It's almost 3.  Oh can we eat?  Sure.  Leftovers it is.  I continue to pack up and hurry around.  I re-arranged the leftovers into more manageable containers, washing the old ones.  She gives me the death stare at the washed containers sitting in the drying tray.  Oh you want me to put them away?  Well I cannot reach.  (She reached up to use the container to make the Jello concoction - so not true).  Then I hear what did you do with the instructions for xxxx - one of her appliances that has never been used - never used.  I didn't move the papers.  You had to, you had to......nope, they were in a drawer and I know she put them there.  I finally leave and I forgot the box with the damned air fryer.  Then she called me again, saying you forgot your bags.  WTH.  It was ONE gift bag where I'd put stuff for my brother (bought for her to give to him, and I put in gift bag for her).  You said you'd take care of it!  Nope, never said that at all.  I drove back and forth between the box and the bag4 to 5 miles each time.   Then on the BFE stretch, a group of about 6 to 8 deer ran in front of me, which I barely missed.  I cannot tell you how glad I am that the holidays are over.

Epilogue:  Mom is not answering my calls (I call to let her know I made it home).  I am sure she is pouting; the last trip back to get the bag, she said what did you really get me for Christmas? I said well, you said you wanted that air fryer, but you really didn't.  Not my problem, plus I had plenty of other stuff for her.  I'm sure it all pales in comparison to the new wonder cell phone.  She's only using it to play solitaire, plus to read news/weather updates from a local station.  I give it two to three months max before that one is, yes, stupid.  Thanks for letting me vent.   

I think next holiday I will be ill. Something that will not allow me to travel.

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The hospice nurses made their now-daily visit today and said it looks as if my mother has only a day or two left. Not a surprise, she’s been rapidly failing for the past few weeks. So, I am now essentially just waiting for her to stop breathing. She’s not really conscious any more. Thank goodness for morphine so she’s not in pain. It will just be a tremendous relief when it’s over.

Not only for her sake but so my sister and her sorry husband will go home. He’s spent the last 24 hours drinking a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka, because being drunk is such a great way to be supportive. He just stands around breathing, wasting oxygen the rest of us could use. 

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56 minutes ago, hoosier80 said:

I think next holiday I will be ill. Something that will not allow me to travel.

You keep saying that, and similar things about not subjecting yourself to the inevitable.  Nothing will change until you actually do it.  She's in the wrong, but you can't fix her.  All that's left is how you respond; she's going to keep doing the same things, but you don't have to.  Stopping is a lot harder in reality than on paper, but at least try!  You'll have support here when you do, and from what you've said it seems your friends will also be there to remind you in difficult moments that you're doing the right thing.

37 minutes ago, BookWoman56 said:

The hospice nurses made their now-daily visit today and said it looks as if my mother has only a day or two left. Not a surprise, she’s been rapidly failing for the past few weeks. So, I am now essentially just waiting for her to stop breathing. She’s not really conscious any more. Thank goodness for morphine so she’s not in pain. It will just be a tremendous relief when it’s over.

I'm glad she has hospice care; this suffering with only one inevitable end has largely already ended for her, and I hope the relief comes soon for you as well.  You've done right by both her and yourself in all this, and as it comes to an end I wish you peace -- and a reprieve from the presence of your useless brother-in-law. 

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@BookWoman56  I am so sorry for your impending loss, but I am glad your mother is not going to have to suffer much longer. Ugh at the drunkard brother-in-law. I chime in with Bastet in wishing you peace during the coming days and weeks.

@UYI I feel you. While I have my own place and a steady job, I have never been married and my parents don't know about my miscarriage.While my sister also has never married/no children, all our stepcousins have. So all this Christmas I heard about my 21 year old stepcousin getting married, my 23 year old married cousin with 1 baby and another on the way, and how they wished my sister and I would have married young and had children. Never mind our personal accomplishments.

Anyhow, I'm learning that everyone is on their own path and what is meant for you won't go past you. Everything will fall into place the way its supposed to.

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BookWoman56, there's really nothing I can add, but i wish you and your family peace through this journey. And i wish a hangover from hell on your brother in law. 

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She finally died around 2 this morning. Not much to add except it was while she was asleep and very peaceful. Now it’s just dealing with the logistics of getting her back to our hometown, but that’s being handled long distance by the hometown funeral home. Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts. I really cannot adequately express how good it feels to have the waiting over and know she’s out of pain. 

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On 12/27/2019 at 3:16 PM, BookWoman56 said:

She finally died around 2 this morning. Not much to add except it was while she was asleep and very peaceful. Now it’s just dealing with the logistics of getting her back to our hometown, but that’s being handled long distance by the hometown funeral home. Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts. I really cannot adequately express how good it feels to have the waiting over and know she’s out of pain. 

I am so sorry for your loss, @BookWoman56

But I am glad the suffering and waiting is over.

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I hope you find peace and remember her for the good times that you shared. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time. Condolences and purrs from the Mindthinkr kitties. 

@BookWoman56

Edited by Mindthinkr
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Hi, all.  Mom dealing with 19-year-old daughter here.  I wanted to check in again and see what folks think of the current state of affairs.  As always, I’m more than open to guidance and words of wisdom.

As you may recall from the summer and fall of 2019, I was constantly upset and worrying about her safety/what she was doing.  I was particularly intent on focusing on the frequency of our communication.  Quite a bit has changed since then.  Since around mid-fall, I realized that I really had no choice but to focus on myself.  I’ve been successful in some ways.  First of all, I’ve lost nearly 80 pounds since late July by radically changing my diet and starting an aggressive walking program, so that’s great.  I still have a long way to go, but I’m starting to feel like a different person physically.  Second, I got my first new job in 17 years.  I start on Monday.  I stayed at my previous secretarial job during my daughter’s entire childhood because I wanted to focus 100% of my energy on raising her and help to position her for success, given that I was the “main” parent from day one and had zero help.  And now that she’s gone and I’ve lost some weight, I had no excuse to stay any longer.

You may recall the birthday drama from late last year.  She basically demanded a party after being largely out of touch with her entire maternal family for close to a year.  She attended Thanksgiving, but was outright rude (she would not agree) and asked me “when I was taking her home” long before the evening was over.  She ended up attending our Christmas last month because she’d already celebrated with folks on that end.  I told her on Christmas Eve when I planned to pick her up on Christmas morning to take her with me to my parent’s house.  She told me on Christmas morning that she would be late because was busy and I pretty much had to just deal with it.  Not a great start to the day.  The rest of Christmas was very painful.  She smokes now (I do not; she picked that up at her father’s) and we ended up outside at one point, talking.  I asked her point-blank (not in an angry way, but sad) why she didn’t seem to want to spend time with me.  She told me that she’s “very busy with family and friends, but she’ll let me know if/when she can make time.”  That was like a knife through my heart.  I mentally resolved not to invite her to my house or to hang out again.  It’s just too painful.  Was that the right thing to do?  Also, I assumed (like a doofus) that she might want to spend Christmas night at my house.  She told me all day long that she didn’t have to leave early because they’d already done Christmas at her father’s.  Then she surprises me at 7 p.m. by saying that she was going to ask her father to come out to pick her up so she can leave earlier instead of having me take her back.  I had applied no pressure about anything whatsoever, so this was confusing.  I waited a few minutes and, because I could take no more pain, announced to my family that I was going to head home.  She was upset that I was leaving before her father arrived.  Full honesty: I couldn’t bear watching him drive her away yet again on Christmas, when all of this started last year.  I remained calm, gave her a hug, and left.  Some people in my life are very frustrated with her conduct toward me and see nothing wrong with what I did.  In fact, they view it as a display of strength.  Our next interaction will probably be my little niece’s birthday party next weekend.  I presume I will be her ride again, assuming she’ll be ready on time.

I know we’re only 10 days in, but we haven’t spoken on the phone at all this year (and not for a very long time before that).  We haven’t texted in over a week.  We used to be so close, but our “relationship” is pretty nonexistent at the moment, at least according to the standards I usually use for relationships.  I’ve been told for so long to leave her alone and now that I am, she’s not checking in either.  I should mention that we’re still connected in all sorts of ways.  She’s still on my phone plan, her bank account is still attached to mine, she still shares her phone location with me, we’re “friends” on social media.  If I were to post something right now, she would “like” it.  I just don’t consider any of that to be an actual relationship, especially because it’s so wildly different from how things used to be.  

My entire life changed in one year, practically from the moment she left in December 2018.  I escaped my horrible job and those horrible people.  I took a leisurely two-mile stroll around my community today with Prince for company- and enjoyed it.  I signed up today to walk a charity 5K with my nine-year-old niece in June.  I’ve gone down three pants sizes and can wear my favorite coat again.  For God’s sake, I’m wearing a Fitbit right now.  One year ago at this moment, I couldn’t find one article of clothing that fit me in brick-and-mortar stores, was struggling to sit comfortably, and building the world’s tallest ice cream sundae from the cartons in my own freezer.  The fact that I’ve been able to make these changes because I can finally focus on myself and not worry anymore about her disrespect has not been lost on me.  I’ve dealt with so much, but I can’t seem to find a way to reconcile the fact that she doesn’t want to visit and never calls.  I had no idea how hard it would be to be an empty nester, especially when I’m doing it at barely 43.  It’s really tough to know when, or even if, I should be communicating with her.  If you were in my shoes tomorrow, what would you do?

Edited by Suzy Rhapsody
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1 hour ago, Suzy Rhapsody said:

If you were in my shoes tomorrow, what would you do?

Go for a nice walk, envision some things about my first day at the new job Monday, and think about what hobbies I might like to finally take up after I settle into that job and have a new routine going.

You had a little breakthrough at a family event, but since then it's been back to the usual shit, including at the holidays.  She still is who she is right now.  So you be who you are now.

You are an empty nester, when a lot of women your age who opted for parenthood are just getting started.   You're simultaneously ahead and behind.  And you're without the relationship with your adult child you'd always envisioned.  Most of that is on her, some of it is on you.  But it simply is.  You've given over enough of your life to being her mom, and probably gone too far into martyrdom at times along the way.  It's completely natural when doing it essentially on your own.  But that phase of life is over.  You've started taking care of your health, you've traded a stable but unfulfilling job for something more satisfying for someone who no longer has a dependent to consider -- you're on the right track.

You've made tremendous strides just based on the emotional and physical separation so far, so keep up with that.  Leave the door open for her to walk back through, but also don't let her pass through without acting right.  She's a long way away from that.  You don't need to also be a long way away from your next chapter in life.  Don't just live in stasis for the interim.  Live your life for you; living it for her didn't work out so well, so it's your turn.  Being a mom is only one part of you.  She's making that part hurtful, so focus on the others you already know about and enjoy uncovering a bunch you don't.

Congratulations on the new job and weight loss.  I hope both positive trajectories continue.

 

Edited by Bastet
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@Suzy Rhapsody, embrace the positive changes you’ve been able to make in your own life by focusing on your needs. Yes, it hurts that your daughter, with whom you previously had a close relationship, has been treating you like crap and a combo ATM/ chauffeur for the past year. But here’s the thing: Either she will eventually work through whatever is causing her to behave this way, or she won’t. No matter what the outcome, though, you need to accept that your relationship with her going forward will be different, and that’s not a bad thing. Maybe you will become close again as she matures, although that may take a few years. Maybe you will continue to have minimal contact, but it will be less all giving on your part and less all taking on her part. Maybe one of you will decide to sever the relationship entirely, either temporarily or permanently. But understand that for many parents and their children, there comes a point when the child completely rejects one or both parents while in the process of creating an adult personality. What you’re going through is fairly common, although that doesn’t make it less painful. But you can’t control how your daughter feels or acts; you can only control your own responses to her. 

I would just leave the door open for her to reach out to you, but resist the temptation to request that she do so. It may not feel good right now, but ultimately she will respect you as a person more if you don’t beg her to spend time with you and don’t cater to her every whim.


Enjoy and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. Seek out new activities and friends to lessen the empty nest feeling. Concentrate on what you need and want to reach a happier place in your life, regardless if your daughter wants to be a part of that life right now. 

Edited by BookWoman56
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I can't add much more than what the two smart ladies above said. You are right to feel used and neglected but you are also right to stand up for yourself and take a new path. 

Yes, she is your daughter, but she's also made it very clear where you stand in her life right now. You are not a priority, as painful as that is. Honestly, I would not give her a ride or money or pay for any of her expenses anymore. She's made her choices, she needs to be responsible for the consequences that come with them. 

Congrats on the new job and weight loss! Both of those are things that are very hard to accomplish!

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As always Bastet and Bookwoman have terrific advice. I’ll just add that I think you are doing amazing, and wish you all the success in your new job!

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I agree with the above posters that Bastet and Book Woman gave you good advice. 

Congratulations on the new job and good for you getting your health and weight loss going. I suggest getting on with your life. You are still young. Young enough to eventually have another relationship in your future. Just make yourself happy. Someday she’s going to want what you have (health, new body image, career and happy friendships) and she’s going to want some of that. Be wary. You earned it. She hasn’t. You don’t owe her anything more. Until she smartens up you just keep moving forward. 

If you get really lonely please consider a pet. They are a wonderful source of unconditional love. Wishing you the best. 

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You've done so well, in the face of very difficult circumstances.    I applaud that you've taken charge of your health, changed jobs, and are moving forward.    

 

I would split the bank accounts though, if your account could be drained.       Make sure on the cell account she can't add other people or devices, or you might get a nasty shock.  

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My belated thanks to you all!  Practically from the moment I posted my message, life got very busy.  I started my new job on Monday and I’m loving it so far.  There’s a lot to learn, but I’m throwing myself into it headfirst.  My supervisor has already said that it “seems like I’ve been there forever” and she “appreciates the way I’ve made the job my own,” so I must be doing something right!  I won’t lie; it feels good.  More than good- fantastic.  I think we all know that I desperately needed something to occupy both my time and my mind.

The plan moving forward where my daughter is concerned is to allow her to reach out first most of the time.  If I don’t hear from her for several days, I’ll send a quick check-in message, but the days of inviting her over and being crushed when she declines repeatedly are over.  She knows where I live and she has about nine different ways to reach me.  If she wants to visit, she’ll ask.

I have an opportunity today to display some self-respect for her.  My little niece’s birthday party is this afternoon.  My daughter has not asked for a ride to the party, but has claimed to my SIL that she’s coming.  I’m almost certain that she’s expecting to ride with me, as she has all other times since she left my home.  I have to head out in a couple of hours.  It’s all I can do not to text her and ask if she’s riding with me, but I’m not going to, especially after her performance on Christmas.  I know one thing: if I expected a family member to go out of their way to chauffeur me to family events, I would speak to that family member more than once or twice a month (and something beyond a text message that says, “hey what up?”).  And mind you, never once has she asked me to pick her up.  It’s assumed that I will, then she’s ready to go at her leisure, not when we’ve arranged.  When you need a ride somewhere and you don’t ask for it in advance, can you really expect to be automatically picked up?  I know I wouldn’t.

I truly hate to say it, but having her text me at 12:30 this afternoon (the last possible minute) to ask when I’ll be there to pick her up and finding out that I’m already halfway to the party is probably exactly what needs to happen.

Edited by Suzy Rhapsody
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29 minutes ago, Suzy Rhapsody said:

I truly hate to say it, but having her text me at 12:30 this afternoon (the last possible minute) to ask when I’ll be there to pick her up and finding out that I’m already halfway to the party is probably exactly what needs to happen.

That is exactly what needs to happen.  She needs to learn that she can't take you for granted.  And if she does text you for a ride when you're halfway (or all the way!) there, you should not, under any circumstances, go and get her.

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Welp, that was resolved fairly quickly.  She texted at noon and said that there was “no need to pick her up” because someone was bringing her, but asked if I could take her back afterward.  I said I had assumed that she didn’t need a ride because she didn’t ask.  I mentioned that her grandparents wouldn’t be there because Grandma is sick.  Grandma was supposed to bring a Bluetooth speaker today that my daughter forgot on Christmas.  My daughter mentioned that she wouldn’t be able to get her speaker and all of a sudden, she was feeling “a lil stuffy and rlly tired.”  She said she was “not sure” if she’d be able to make it and asked me if I thought that would be bad.  I said I thought it was 100% up to her and told her I hope she feels better soon.  At least something good has come of this: I think I’ve made it clear that she shouldn’t assume that I’m her chauffeur if she doesn’t *ask* for a ride in advance.

And with that, I hereby wash my hands of the whole thing.  Off to the party! 🎉

Edited by Suzy Rhapsody
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I mentioned this on another thread, but don’t see many of you lurking there so..

My grandson earned his Eagle Scout and there will be a ceremony for the boys that made it in April. I’m amused because it’s being held in a Winery! 

 

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14 minutes ago, Mindthinkr said:

I mentioned this on another thread, but don’t see many of you lurking there so..

My grandson earned his Eagle Scout and there will be a ceremony for the boys that made it in April. I’m amused because it’s being held in a Winery! 

 

Congratulations to him and to the family (because Scouts usually have help or at least a lot of support along the way)! That is an interesting place to have the ceremony. My son is only at Wolf in Cub Scouts, but we hope he will go all the way to Eagle.

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