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Moms and Maids

NWR: Mom Issues

(I'm guessing NWR means 'Not Wedding Related', yes?)

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this, but I need to vent to fellow Knotties. Sorry for the long post. My Mother's Day sucked, mostly because my mother is/has been going BSC.

My mom and dad live on the east coast, while I live in California. They decided to retire out there, in the middle of nowhere, several years ago. Both of my older sisters live in Texas, so our parents don't live anywhere near us. Again, their choice. 

So yesterday was Mother's Day. I'm three hours behind my parents' time, and FI and I had plans to drive to his grandparents' house to spend the later part of Mother's Day with his mom, grandma, stepdad, aunt, and grandfather (who has just gotten out of the hospital). FI and I were busy all morning due to a late start, and scrambling to find good flowers to bring to his mom and grandmother. It's a little after 1:00 our time when we got on the road to make the 45 minute drive. I try to call mom, first at home. No answer. My mom is frequently out and about, so I call her cell phone. No answer. I leave a Happy Mother's Day message, wishing her a good day and that I'm glad she liked the gift I had sent her (she had received it a couple of days prior). I then told her that I would be with FI's family for the rest of the day and would probably be busy and may not get a chance to call back later, so just in case, Happy Mother's Day!

Fast forward a few hours. We are getting ready to sit down to dinner. I take a quick peak at my phone to see an angry text from my mom saying "Why haven't' you called your mother on Mother's Day?? I won't be home until late." Since we were just sitting down to dinner, I sent her a quick text "I tried calling you a couple of times earlier and left a message. Sitting down to dinner with FI's mom and family, can't talk right now." Because I find it incredibly rude to pick up the phone and make a personal phone call while a guest at someone's house, unlike my mother who sees it complete okay to pick up a phone and have a loud conversation either while being a guest at someone's house or in a restaurant. I only see FI's family a handful of times a year, and they adore me. So I certainly didn't want to be rude.

A couple hours later, we are finally leaving. We get into the car and I look at my phone to see a couple of missed calls, a couple of voicemails, and a couple of text messages. A text message and voicemail was from my sister warning me that mom was on the warpath, because apparently she had just dealt with what I was soon to deal with. The other texts were from my mother accusing me of not CALLING her and how incredibly hurt she was. The voicemail was from my dad in his deadpan, disappointed voice saying how disappointed HE was that I didn't CALL my mother on Mother's Day, and how upset my mom.

On the way home I called my sister. Apparently, she was getting an earful from mom because she did the same thing--tried to call, but never touched base with mom. My sister has 4 kids and was busy spending Mother's Day with her family, but she still tried to call. That wasn't enough for mom, and it sounded like they had a big argument. Sister warned me I was in for the same treatment.

This morning, when I got to work, I call mom. Commence the arguing and emo-fest. Mom kept accusing me of not calling her. I had to continuously re-emphasize that I did try to call her on more than one occasion, and I left her a message, but it wasn't my fault that she didn't pick up the phone. Then she'd shout back "YOU NEED TO *TALK* TO YOUR MOTHER ON MOTHER'S DAY! YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOUR MOTHER ON THIS ONE DAY!." And continued to try to make me feel like the worst daughter in the world. And for the record, I've NEVER forgotten to call her on her birthday or Mother's Day. EVER. Then she proceeds to try to guilt-trip me by pointing out that I never call her anymore, that she always has to call me. It is true that I don't get to call as often as I used to, due to working 10 hours days (12 hours with commute) and being so busy at the office on most days. By the time I get home and have free time, it is too late on the east coast. Additionally, I've been talked to about making/taking personal calls at work. And whenever I do talk to her, it is usually her talking about people/gossiping/things for which I have no clue. 

And then I asked her if there is some other issue going on that was making her so upset. At first she denied it, but then she kept saying my FMIL's name in a very…resentful tone. So I flat-out called her out on it: "Are you jealous of FMIL?" And she relents by saying, "Now that you mention it, something that did really make me upset was your Facebook post saying Happy Mothers Day to me and how lucky you are to have me as a mother, and then saying how excited you are to be getting another wonderful mother in your life! I'M YOUR MOTHER. I'm your ONLY mother! You are not allowed to call her 'Mom'!"

……….WTF??

I also called her out that she called my grandmother, her MIL, 'Mom.' She claimed that didn't bother anyone. I told her that she should be happy that I'm becoming part of such a wonderful family that adores me. She claimed she was, but "You're not allowed to call her 'Mom'!" I also pointed out that my sister calls her MIL 'Mom.' This argument continued for 15 minutes until she said she didn't want to talk anymore, and that she was letting it go (through sobbing, of course). I said "I'm sorry you feel that way, but I don't know what else to do." "YOU TALK TO YOUR MOTHER ON MOTHER'S DAY!" I never said sorry for my actions, because I don't feel I did anything wrong. I was so upset last night that I didn't sleep well. At first I was upset/hurt, but then I was upset/angry. Poor FI tried to help make me feel better but it was a lost cause.

Seriously, my mother needs to be treated with kid gloves, and loves to have melt-downs and come across as a victim. This is the second melt-down she's had within the past 6 months, and I'm a little worried about what might happen at our wedding in November. During my sister's wedding, she got so upset over an argument with the bride that she locked herself in her hotel room, sobbing, and claimed she wasn't coming to the wedding.

But that's something that I will deal with if/when it happens, I guess. Right now, I'm just so….I don't know what the right word is. I'll give a cookie to anyone who nails the right word to describe the reaction to this mess.

(Thanks for reading)
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Re: NWR: Mom Issues

  • NowIAmSypNowIAmSyp East Hanover, NJ member
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments First Answer
    Ugh- I'm sorry...  but repeat after me:  "I didn't do anything wrong"

    Mom issues are hard- I have some myself- some very similar to things you posted (guilt trips, etc.).  My mom is popular and friendly, and always has tons of friends- but with me she's... different.  Passive-aggressive.  Overly sensitive.  Moody.  I don't get it...  After my wedding in October, I'm definitely thinking of taking a little break and deciding if "A Talk" should happen.

    I would give your mom some time to cool down and see where it goes from there.  Maybe she'll have a clearer head today, and see your attempts to reach her, etc....  good luck!
    arrrghmateyPrettyGirlLost
  • QOTC2016QOTC2016 member
    10 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited May 2015
    Fed up? Done? Over it? Irritated? Annoyed? Those would describe me if I had to deal with that! My FMIL sounds a lot like your Mom. A LOT. The only difference is instead of flipping out at my FI for referring to my Mom as though she were his too, she went after my mother and went on and on about how she is taking her son away, etc. Every time they finally touch base she gets angry with him for not calling her because apparently phones don't work two ways.

    I would personally just take a deep breath and handle things one at a time. It sounds like this is the way your mother has always been. I'm glad you didn't apologize for your actions, it would have justified her reaction and that sounds like what she wanted. She wants you to feel guilty because your attention isn't on her. 

    I'm sorry you had to deal with that! I know it's no fun. I hope the rest of your day goes smoother.

    ETA: Spelling
    arrrghmatey
  • Repeat after me: Distance and Tequila are my best friends when dealing with my mother.

    Anecdote: When FI and I got together EVERYONE warned him about how BSC my mother was, in detail. They warned him how horribly she treats me. She was super nice to FI for about 18 months, then the facade faded away and one Christmas when I was cooking for 6 people and making sure that my 9 month old was being taken care of, she said something nasty to me, and he snapped! I had to take him aside and tell him that that was who she was and because the attention was on ME and not HER, she had to be a bitch about it. 

    Your mother sounds similar. One of the ways that I deal with my mother is alcohol. The other is to deflect and set up very clear boundaries. I tell her no a great deal of the time. I also tell her that what she wants is not going to happen. She will pout and she has hung up on me, I just let it go and tell her if she wants to deal with me like an adult, she will.

    Hang in there. She won't change, how you deal with her though will. Your FI is supportive and make sure that he has your back. 
    arrrghmatey
  • Thanks for the replies and suggestions, ladies. I really do think my mother has some issues that a therapist would be able to help her get past--she really seems to have jealousy issues, whether is for attention or keeping a firm grasp on 'HER family.' But alas, she's never been to a therapist, and suggesting she see one would be the end of me.

    She is also very hypocritical--she tells me not to call FMIL 'Mom' yet she had referred to her MIL in the same manner. She seems to have a big resentment towards my FMIL, but when they get together once a year when mom comes for a visit, they get along great. Mom always says she likes FMIL. But now she's suddenly threatened by her. It is not as if FMIL and I spend every weekend together. We see each other a handful of times a year….yet that is still more often than I see my mom.

    I think my way to deal with it is to do some boxing and muy thai after work tonight. Again, thanks @soontobesyp, @QOTC2016, and @TrixieJess. Here is a cookie of appreciation for you:

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  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    You seem to want to get your mom into therapy, which I agree she could probably use based on your post.  But I'm going to suggest that you get into therapy to find ways of dealing with your mom. 

    You know how she will act, but yet you stayed on the phone with her for how long?  These issues that your mom has with you, is not your problem and not your monkeys.  "Mom, I tried calling you at home and on your cell.  You didn't pick up.  I left you a voicemail wishing you a Happy Mother's Day.  It was the best I could do, since you didn't pick up the phone.  I'm sorry that you are upset with that, but I can't force or will you to answer the phone."

    So if mom starts going off on a tangent, just say "Mom, I love you, but I can't talk to you when you are like this.  If you can't calm down and speak to me rationally, I'm just going to hang up the phone."  Then follow through!  You cannot change your mother's behavior but you can change your own.  And you don't have to put up with that behavior. 

    Call her bluff if she tries to have a temper tantrum during your wedding.  She locks herself in her hotel room. Oh well, the wedding starts at x time and if she isn't in the front row, people will wonder about her, not you.  A friend just got married last year.  Throughout the whole planning, bride's sister was chronically late (sometimes 2+ hours late).  Bride wasn't demanding that sister attend, sister always volunteered to go.  However, before the wedding I asked what would happen if sister was late to the wedding and bride said, too bad for her.  We are starting on time.  So you know what might happen, just start preparing for it now with things to say and do to combat your mom's actions.

    arrrghmatey
  • You seem to want to get your mom into therapy, which I agree she could probably use based on your post.  But I'm going to suggest that you get into therapy to find ways of dealing with your mom. 

    You know how she will act, but yet you stayed on the phone with her for how long?  These issues that your mom has with you, is not your problem and not your monkeys.  "Mom, I tried calling you at home and on your cell.  You didn't pick up.  I left you a voicemail wishing you a Happy Mother's Day.  It was the best I could do, since you didn't pick up the phone.  I'm sorry that you are upset with that, but I can't force or will you to answer the phone."

    So if mom starts going off on a tangent, just say "Mom, I love you, but I can't talk to you when you are like this.  If you can't calm down and speak to me rationally, I'm just going to hang up the phone."  Then follow through!  You cannot change your mother's behavior but you can change your own.  And you don't have to put up with that behavior. 

    Call her bluff if she tries to have a temper tantrum during your wedding.  She locks herself in her hotel room. Oh well, the wedding starts at x time and if she isn't in the front row, people will wonder about her, not you.  A friend just got married last year.  Throughout the whole planning, bride's sister was chronically late (sometimes 2+ hours late).  Bride wasn't demanding that sister attend, sister always volunteered to go.  However, before the wedding I asked what would happen if sister was late to the wedding and bride said, too bad for her.  We are starting on time.  So you know what might happen, just start preparing for it now with things to say and do to combat your mom's actions.

    I am going to (respectfully) disagree with you in that I need therapy to deal with my mom, because this sort of thing almost never happens between the two of us--I'm actually the closest to her out of my sisters and I, and trust me, hanging up on her is not the way to go. My sister has less patience than I, and has done that before. It exploded into an even bigger mess. And then my father gets in on it. Then our aunt. I find that the best way to move on from it is to just hear her out, present my argument, let her disagree with me more, and let her tire herself out. Most of the time, she just wants to be heard and feel like she is justified. I'm sure in a couple of days from now, it will (hopefully) be over. But she has had this pattern of behavior a lot more often over the past decade, primarily towards my sisters. It's just so frustrating that she seems to be acting like a child.

    But I will absolutely agree with your last paragraph, in that if she tries to pull something on the wedding day, I can hopefully call her bluff and just be like, "Well, okay. Hope to see you at the ceremony." The wedding is about my FI and I getting married, and being good hosts to our guests. Not about her tantrums and people catering to her. 

    Thank you for the input, though!
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited May 2015
    I'm the mom of adults. My DD loves her MIL. Her MIL loves her. I'm happy for them both, especially because my MIL wasn't so loving toward me.

    You haven't done anything wrong. You sent a gift (not required, but nice), you called your mom. She wasn't there. She's acting like a spoiled toddler. Put her in time out for a week - meaning no phone calls. Maybe that'll give her time to think about how her actions hurt your relationship with her.
                       
    TrixieJessarrrghmateymomofbride530
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I'm sorry you have been having so much trouble with your mom. It sounds like you did everything possible and that just wasn't good enough for her because nothing would have been. Even if your calls had gotten through she probably would have found displeasure with something.

    My mom can be like that too. She doesn't respect my privacy and pulls the "I'm just trying to help" card to intrude too, and she's also not good at taking criticism. But she's also had a lot if bad luck lately, so I'm trying to be patient and supportive of her. Could anything be going on in your mom's life, aside from your wedding, that might be causing her to go off the rails? This is not to excuse her demands and rudeness, but if there is, maybe that's part of why she was so upset to only get messages from you-she's feeling insecure and needed to hear you actually speak to her.
    arrrghmatey
  • arrrghmateyarrrghmatey member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary First Answer
    edited May 2015
    Jen4948 said:

    I'm sorry you have been having so much trouble with your mom. It sounds like you did everything possible and that just wasn't good enough for her because nothing would have been. Even if your calls had gotten through she probably would have found displeasure with something.

    My mom can be like that too. She doesn't respect my privacy and pulls the "I'm just trying to help" card to intrude too, and she's also not good at taking criticism. But she's also had a lot if bad luck lately, so I'm trying to be patient and supportive of her. Could anything be going on in your mom's life, aside from your wedding, that might be causing her to go off the rails? This is not to excuse her demands and rudeness, but if there is, maybe that's part of why she was so upset to only get messages from you-she's feeling insecure and needed to hear you actually speak to her.

    I really do have my suspicions that something else may be going on, totally unrelated to me or the wedding. Whether it's issues with my dad or my other sister (whom she fights with a lot), I really don't know. It seems like the very few occasions in which she's blown up at me, it was because she was already really upset by something else and I was the unfortunate receiver of her wrath. I did ask her on the phone yesterday morning in the middle of her meltdown if there was something else that is going on that pushed her over the edge and she begrudgingly insisted that there wasn't anything. I really do believe she is *really* upset by the fact that I don't call her as much anymore and that I am growing close with FMIL. But she is very hypocritical (also not good at taking criticism but is quite okay with giving it) and sees things as a one-sided argument. My father is partly to blame for this because he spoils her, and whenever she is upset, just gives in to her just to calm her down without offering any constructive argument. He could say: "Wife, I know arrrgmatey doesn't call you as often anymore. It doesn't mean she's not thinking about you or doesn't care. She has a stressful job, works long hours, and is planning her wedding. Cut her some slack. The next tie you do talk, calmly tell her how you feel." Instead, he takes her side so he doesn't have to deal with her attitude.

    Thank you for the thoughts, ladies!
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