Obnoxious Mother...

Updated on February 25, 2010
H.D. asks from Lafayette, LA
7 answers

Strange - this isn't about my MIL, but my own bilogical mother! She is 73 and I think a little crazy?! There are five children in our family (all grown, all have our own lives, two are already grandparents). My mother is so obnoxious! I hate calling her. As soon as I call, she wants to know when me or my husband will be off from work, because she "Needs help..." Help with what? Hanging curtains, taking her grocery shopping, washing her truck, etc. She "needs" us to take her places because she wants us to drop her off at the door and then go park her handicapped stickered truck. She's had reconstructive surgery on both knees and STILL cannot walk. I don't think her Dr. did a bad job - she just never finished her PT because it was too hard and she didn't want to be bothered. My brother (early 40's) lives with her to "help", but it's never enough. PLUS - he gets tired of her and then it's left to me and my hubby (the other siblings live 5-6 hours away).
She's also very obnoxious. She's constantly saying things like "Why would you feed the homeless? You don't feed me!" or "It's payday? Well I could some money!" as she's holding out her hand. My brother has his own company and when he's wheeling and dealing (sales), she will say things like "You can tell them to write the check to Susan..." while holding her hand out. We were talking about our family Spring Break plans (our children at 11 and 16) and she says "Vegas is a great place for Spring Break..." and then tells us since we're making plans to add one more if we're going to Vegas!
The last surgery she had, a family friend sent over a beautiful Willow Tree figurine. There was a "Get Well" card attached and as she was opening it, she says "Did Ellen send me money?" Why in the world would she think a family friend (who is a single mother I might add) would send her money?
Everytime we show up to visit, she says "What? You couldn't bring me a hamburger? French fries?" She has gone so far as to tell my daughters "Next time your Mom takes you to eat, you should tell her that grandma probably wants something too." My youngest daughter (who is very compassionate when it comes to the homeless and less fortunate) was appalled when she told my Mom they should go get a lunch for the homeless guy on the road (something we actively practice) and my mother said "Why? When I didn't have anything, no one fed me! Who brings me food? No one!" My daughter politely responded "Grandma, you have more than that man..." But my daughter told me she doesn't like to be around Grandma because she's selfish!
I don't know how to handle this woman anymore. Everything is about how much she should get, what she is owed, where are her kids, how come no one comes to visit her, who is paying for her next vacation, etc., etc., etc.! Let me say - my Dad died a few years ago, leaving her military benefits, a pension, SS, a paid off house and truck. So it's not like she doesn't have money or that she's struggling. My brother also helps (but according to Mom - it's never enough or he borrows it back the next day).
I've come to a point where I only call every-other-day and visit once a week. It's like a grapevine, because my three siblings living far away don't come home (one has visited and asked that we don't tell Mom) or they call me to ask what kind of mood she's in (wanting money, a trip, complaining, etc.) and depending on that - they'll decide if they're going to call her. If they don't call for a few days - then she wants to know why not and how come none of her kids help her....It's a sick sick sick cycle!!!

What can I do next?

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answers from Fayetteville on

I think you and I have the same mother. I have told her hundreds of times that she needs to move into a retirement community so that she could be with other people her own age and make friends. She would also be walking distance to shopping and would have transportation to the doctor (my husband or I have to take off work to drag her to a doctor's appointment at least once a week because she searches the internet to find things wrong with her---there's nothing physically wrong with her, she just wants to have cancer or something so that we'll all pity her).

Also, she WILL NOT call us--we have to call her. And I always DREAD it, because every conversation starts with her saying, "Well, I guess you're still alive, then." OH MY GOSH!....this woman.

I wish I could offer you some advice but I guess I just want to let you know that you are not alone in this. I wish my mother would see a therapist and get some mental help, but unfortunately that's the ONLY kind of doctor she refuses to see---the kind that she actually needs to be seeing. Ugh, go figure. My brothers do not help me out at all. My mother is driving both my husband and me insane. I really want to just tell her to get out of my life completely but then I would feel guilty. Crazy, I know.

Perhaps your mother and my mother could become facebook friends so they could sit around on the computer chatting all day and complain about how useless and ungrateful their children are.....anything to get her off MY back for awhile!

I feel for you. I really do. I hope that someone on this site has been through this and found a way to set up boundaries. I need the help also!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

My heart goes out to you - It is mothers like this that wonder why their children do not want to visit etc -
What do you do about it - Well ignore it but when she really needs help step up to the plate - Hard, just say Lord I know she needs help and I am trying to do my best - Lord give me the grace and strenght to do what you ask of me.

God Bless



answers from Tulsa on

Oh dear...I'm so so sorry! I wish I had something helpful to say, but I don't. I just feel terrible for your family, and your mom too! She's really alienating herself, and I'm sure it's because she wants to be with family, but she's pushing family away! I will pray for you, and for a solution.



answers from Oklahoma City on

You know when I first started reading this I was thinking would it be that hard to help her hang the curteins take her to the store etc. Then I kept reading. While I am not in the situation you are in I think I will be if my FIL passes before my MIL. I know it is hard to limit time spent with her, but that sounds like it would be a good thing. I also wonder how does she know when pay day is? Your finances really aren't her concern. It sounds like she is spending her money on things she shouldn't or doesn't know how to handle her finances. Have you thought about hiring a finacial conuncle on her behalf to know where the money is going? My parents both retired air force make more in retirement then my husband and I combinded. So it maybe an issue with her not know how to handle her finances especally if your dad did all while he was alive.

I think it is great you guys are helping out the homeless. I wish more people were willing. Since it is a sore spot with you mom it may be a good idea not to odo it in front of her.

I wish you luck. :)


answers from Tulsa on


Wow! That's about all I can say about your mother. (that is...nicely) In her advanced age I don't think there is much you can do about her attitude and her mouth.

I would suggest, however, to have your mother get a complete physical and see if there are any underlying conditions that could cause her to be so mean-spirited. Maybe there's depression, or a thyroid condition (that can cause depression like symptoms).

My advice also is to swallow your pride and continue talking to her on the phone and visiting with her once a week. Even though it's rough for you and your children the time you spend with her is important to you and to her. When she is no longer around you'll be able to stand proud that you were a good daughter.

I have to share a little about my relationship with my mother so you can see what I mean. I was abused as a child, physically, mentally and sexually (by my father). My mother was/is an alcoholic and was blind or turned her back to what was going on with the 4 of us girls and our father. Now, as she approaches 80 she does not have a good relationship with any of her daughters except me. About 15 years ago I decided to forgive and forget and moved forward to have a relationship with my mom. She lives in Alaska, as do two of my sisters, and I live in Oklahoma. I try to fly up to see her every year if possible. Last time I spent 5 days with her and it was honestly the best visit that I have ever had with my mother. Sure, she complained about my sisters. But I let it roll off my back, making sure I listened but did not agree or disagree with anything she said. As they say..."she has made her bed...". I speak to my mother about twice a week on the phone and mail her a letter once a week, with an occasional package thrown in the mix.

I had to do this for two main reasons. First, I needed to rid myself of the anger and pain that I felt by her betrayal and motherhood skills (or lack of them). Second, I needed to set a good example for my children. I want them to know that forgiveness is possible, restraint from saying negative things is possible, compassion is possible, and it is possible to love someone who has done you wrong in some manner.

I hope I didn't sound "preachy"...that was not my intent. I guess my point is to love your mother for who she is and try not to get overwhelmed by her negativeness. Your siblings are quite another matter. If you are uncomfortable being the "go between" then let them know. From one peacemaker to another...you aren't responsible for the actions or feelings of anyone else.

One of my favorite quotes is this: "Carrying your negative emotional baggage requires energy that could be put to much better use – say goodbye to it, let it go, and get on with your life." Lucy MacDonald

Good luck with your relationship with your mother and your siblings. I hope that things will change for the better.




answers from Enid on

Boy do I feel for you, I had a biological one the cut out of the same cloth, trust me, I could write a book on her, finally I had enough and cut all ties with her, she still doesn't know why I treat her the way I do, well, I got to the day where enough is enough, especially when she told my youngest to his face he was a mistake and shouldn't have ever been born. So my days of being an enabler was over. Your Mom sounds like she has never had to depend on herself, maybe it is time. Be there when needed , but give her a life outside of her kids. As long as you let her, she will own you boots and britches. Put your family first, God bless your husband, mine finally told her to leave and don't come back. Thank God, She was always caused trouble, don't miss the drama, maybe it is time you kids let mom have her life. She won't like it either. You could pay someone outside of the family to do what you do, or better yet, she could pay for some help and let you kids have back your lives. Good luck, and best advice change the phone number, lock the door, and if that doesn't work, run! God bless you and yours,



answers from Oklahoma City on

Tough situation, hon. Remember that you don’t *have* to have anything to do with her. Your help and presence, if you choose to give them to her, should be gifts, not obligations. A lot of your frustration may be disappointment that she’s not – may never have been – the kind of mother you wanted or deserved. Well … yeah. She’s not. She sounds selfish, spiteful, and immature. She’s not a person you can look up to, or one you want in a position of authority in your family.

But she also sounds lonely and frightened. And, as with all the other (many) needs in the world, you get to choose your level of involvement. If, after careful consideration, you choose to involve yourself in her needs – her emotional needs, especially – you have to have limits, both because of her specific personality and also the more universal complications of the caring-for-an-aging-parent dynamic.

If you decide to be involved in her life, here’s what I would do (after perhaps taking a week or two break that it sounds like you might need): find a regular time when you can go and help her with her projects and errands (monthly, quarterly, however frequently you can manage without wanting to commit homicide). Keep calling every week or so if you feel like it, but keep the calls as brief and positive as you can. If she angles for you doing anything that can’t be done on that Saturday (or whenever), find an excuse and pass it off. Keep at it so that the “Grandma Day” will become part of the usual routine. And when you’re there, put your irritation at her manner on hold. Let her “nobody comes to visit me” comments slide off your back. Laugh at her jokes, listen to her stories, tell her about the kids’ latest shenanigans … and then, when you go home, leave it there. Don’t fret about who she is or isn’t, how negative she is, how WHATEVER she is. Don’t worry that you’re going to be like her (you won’t) or that your kids won’t know what a good Grandma should be like (they will).

Hang in there.


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