16 answers

How to Put Mom in Her Place... Respectfully

I have always had issues with my Mother on occasion being controlling and manipulative. Sometimes her character is so child-like, I wonder if she is going through a change?? She tries to antagonize and belittle me as her way of manipulating (she does this to others also). She's rude and disrespectful. She even taunts her next door neighbor, I could go on.

How do I put her in her place, respectfully and tell her about her disorderly behavior. It's gone on for years! She got upset with me recently b/c I would not honor her request to drive my sister (a fully grown woman) to MN. I told her I wasn't sure if I was going and suggested travel by bus. She became catty and told me I was not family oriented and I should drive b/c my sister has no money to travel by bus (even though she planned to go to MN 2 wks ago). I really don't feel up to driving 6-7 hrs for ONE day, leave Saturday drive back Sunday. My husband and I share our car and my mom could care less how this may impact him and my son (she has expressed this by stating, "he has nothing to do"). My sister, however, is irresponsible, she does not work and has lived with my parents for the last 4 yrs. When she does get money, she spends frivolously. I had enough of her attitude and her conniving, evil ways. She has put me in situations with other siblings as well, bailing them out of trouble. I don't mind helping or assisting in times of need, but if they are living a fast, out of control lifestyle, I should not be held accountable to support them. How would you go about handling this? Thank you very much for your input.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for your responses! I think I should clear something up here... some of you seem to think I'm angry with my sister, I am not angry with her or my mother, just wish mom would stop the crap. My sister and I are close and she does acknowledge her lifestyle and poor judgment, she’s 39. She does not blame me for anything and in no way put me in the middle of her business! She even stated to me that she does not want to inconvenience me. I did offer to pay her fare and she stated she has disappointed the family often by not repaying loans, but will repay me. My mother is making this out to be a horrible crime, NOT my sister. My sister knows how my mom is and how she is against me b/c she can’t manipulate me like she has done in the past. My sister however, is the opposite, she will let mom know what’s on her mind –go figure. Thanks ladies!

Featured Answers

I second Anna Lee B's answer. I have a mom who is rather childish and I have flat out told her I don't feel like anything I have done for her or the family is ever good enough. That I'm not perfect enough for her. She just ignored it and has continued to do her usual childish ways. Good luck that's all I can say.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I agree with Anna Lee, nothing you say can or will change your mother's behaviour. The only thing you can do is change your reaction to her. Just let it go, your not 15 anymore, your mom can't MAKE you drive your sister somewhere. Just say that you can't do it, don't explain why and try to change the conversation. It it's not working, make an excuse to hang up.

It sounds like your mom isn't the only issue here though, you sound angry at your sister as well. Same advice, you can't control your sister's actions. I'm sure this isn't the answer you wanted, but it's the only thing that will help change your relationship with these people. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful

Hi J.,

I must agree, that no matter what you say, your mom will only hear what she wants. It sounds like she lives on drama and wants to create it where ever she can.

The best way I've found to deal with that, is to become a broken record, do not engage in the games and to repeat your message. "No Mom, I cannot take Mary to MN this weekend." "I know Mary wants to go to MN, but I cannot taker her." "My answer will not change, I cannot take Mary to MN. If you keep asking me, I will need to hang up."

It's ok to state boundaries, enforce limits and disengage when boundaries are not respected.

Do not feel guilty for watching for your family first.

Good Luck.

R. Magby

4 moms found this helpful

I personally don't think anything you say to your mom will have an effect. I have the same mother as you. The few times I told her where she was wrong or whatever she got all emotional and cried and said no one ever appreciates her and it goes on and on and she NEVER changes. I would talk to you sis. Point blank, "listen you plan on a trip and have no money to travel, you don't take the trip, period. I want to help you when I can but this is asking too much right now so I hope you find another way". Your mom will call you not a family person, seriously who cares. Why should you inconvenience yourself , hubs and son for this "favor". I've faced it long ago, that my mom can give an opinion, demand everything but I can't. Just move on, you'll never get the satisfaction you are after.

3 moms found this helpful

I agree, there isn't too much you can say that will change her. She won't change at this point in her life. What you can control is how you react to her and what behavior your tolerate. You can respectfully tell her no, and then let her react, and try not to take responsibility for her feelings. Just simply tell her you aren't driving your sister to MN. If she wants to do those types of things, she can take a bus. If she doesn't have the money, and is capable of working, then she can work for the money to go. It's not your responsiblity to be the one to take her. Sounds like they have been overly dependent on you. Set some healthy boundaries - and you will be happier. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Maybe your mother should drive her daughter to MN?
Maybe if sister can't ride the bus alone, her mother could ride up with her?
Your mother could rent a car for sister one way..

If sister does not have the money, maybe mom needs to loan her some.

It is not your problem. You have a family and only 1 car.
Just tell her nope, sorry I cannot help.

If she mentions you are not family oriented, just stare blankly at her. No answer needed, since she has set such an excellent example.

3 moms found this helpful

I would say, "No, I have other plans and cannot help." You don't need to go into detail about what the other plans are. You may repeat yourself if you need to, but not too often. Don't get involved in long explanations. Don't get conned into trying to defend your decisions. If you're having a conversation over the phone and she starts belittling you, say, "I have to hang up now. Love you - 'bye!" and hang up.

This is not a one-fix solution. You may have to do this forever. It won't make you popular, but popularity or even love is not really involved here.

You can't change anyone except yourself! It's too bad this sort of thing happens in families, but it can be toxic, and you have your own family to watch out for. Only you can decide whether or not you will be manipulated by another person.

Be very careful how you talk about your mother and your sister to the rest of your family or to your friends. Don't let bitterness get hold of you! "Take the high road" in the matter; you want to model the right actions and attitudes for your son.

If at any time you want to help a family member, you decide what the help will be and how much. If that doesn't suit the family member, he or she will need to seek help elsewhere. And you still love them - 'bye!

You may feel you're having to harden your heart to save your sanity. But a manipulator plays on guilt, so you are probably not as hard as you may be afraid you are! You don't have to play the guilt game.

3 moms found this helpful

You just have to say no. It seems your mother has been able to guilt you into doing things you don't want to do and now you are trying to figure out how to stop this. You just have to start to say no.

Just today, I came to some terms with myself. If someone tells me they have no money and can't afford food or child care etc., if it is someone I care about, I feel it is my responsibility to do what I can to help. I take food from my home to my sister because I want to be sure she and her family have something to eat...all the while my niece and nephew had iphone service all summer. I worry about her constantly.

It is called ENABLING!

3 moms found this helpful

I second Anna Lee B's answer. I have a mom who is rather childish and I have flat out told her I don't feel like anything I have done for her or the family is ever good enough. That I'm not perfect enough for her. She just ignored it and has continued to do her usual childish ways. Good luck that's all I can say.

2 moms found this helpful

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