“Your mother smells”

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Marinette

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“Your mother smells”
« on: January 09, 2018, 10:01:51 AM »
A couple of days ago, my husband tells me when we are alone in the kitchen
“your mother smells really bad. I can smell her BO across the kitchen table. It’s very unpleasant. She  really needs to shower or change clothes”. Of course I was SO embarrassed. I felt like he was telling me that I was the one who smelled.  Again, I felt responsible like it was my fault as if someone said that my 5 year old smells and needs a bath.
As some of you know she’s been staying with us for 6.5 weeks. A very long time. I am exhausted. Won’t happen ever again.
Well, I waited a few days... then this morning I walked by and really smelled it. Very very strong BO.  And I have sinus issues so my sense of smell is far from great.  So I tell her as calm as possible “ mom, your shirt really smells, please change it”.  Of course- as any PD, she gets supremely offended, looks insulted, then denies it, then says “well I don’t have many clothes like you”. Doesn’t  look like she is going upstairs to get changed.  When I told her “please
change it now” she looked like she was about to cry and walked away stomping and sulking. 
I see this exact behaviour with my 5 year old a lot. It’s completely normal and very common for a child, but absolutely enraging when a 60 year old adult does it. 
In addition, I am beyond embarrassed - my husband complained that my mother stinks. I was mortified.
Also, it is not the first time-happened before. Ugh.... I am literally cringing thinking about it.

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Zebrastriped

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 10:32:19 AM »
Marinette, yikes, I've always tried to dodge anyone's questions about my mother's bathing habits.  You are not the only one dealing with this issue.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 11:22:43 AM »
The difference is you as the parent are responsible for keeping a child of 5 clean. You are not responsible for keeping a 60 year old adult clean. Big hug to you.
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Obliviot

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2018, 11:41:33 AM »
So frustrating!  Do you think she stopped grooming herself so she could make the dig about the amount of clothes you have?

If someone told me I smelled I'd be apologizing and hurrying to fix it, then checking in later to make sure that the smell was gone.  I'd be asking people to smell my car and my washing machine to see if I'd gone "nose-blind" to anything else. 

Not the same, but your description of your mom's reaction reminded me of this story from when I briefly moved home to help my parents with a medical situation.  I was down on the kitchen floor cleaning out a lower cabinet because I knew they can't get down there to do it.  This cabinet had a slide-out shelf, and when I got towards the back of the cabinet I saw that the sliders had been improperly mounted, which accounted for the wonky action of the shelf when it was pulled out.  So I mention this to my dad and he was so mad at me - there was nothing wrong with the shelf!  Leave it be!  It's fine!  Total tantrum over something that a non would have just said either "thanks for letting me know" or, "oh thanks, don't worry about it". 

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blacksheep7

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2018, 12:24:11 PM »
My NF always smelled BO when working in the yard in summer or just on hot days. He always told us that he was "allergic" to those products. Really, I'm not even sure he tried them.  He always said that the smells were too strong.  What about his BO :doh:
Not only that, I went to pick him, my parents at the airport, coming back from an Island in the Caribbean, in his last years he smelled so bad, I finally took the courage to tell him.   I can't remember exactly what he said but some excuse of course.  And my Mother in all that, how could she tolerate that.  Well she tolerated the NPD man.
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VividImagination

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 01:26:40 PM »
If it's not a cultural thing, is dementia a possibility? Not bathing or changing clothes is a common sign.
There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you cannot accept it, change it. I f you cannot change it, leave it.

Sometimes you're damned if you don't and damned if you do, so damn well do what's best for you.

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Marinette

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 03:14:02 PM »
Thanks so much for your responses... means a lot to me!   :)
I can't even imagine sharing this with anyone at all in my social circle - too embarrassing.
I don't think it's dementia...I remember my father and even my grandmother commenting about general lack of grooming when she was in her early 40s (i.e. did not wash her clothes regularly and allowed it to smell, did not shave her legs and armpits regularly, did not iron her clothes if wrinkled) Just generally neglectful to these things. 
I do think this may (and probably is) be a sign of some kind of mental illness - whether PD or something else.  However, mental illness or not,  it is still  SO SO unpleasant to deal with.


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Pepin

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2018, 03:48:25 PM »
This is interesting.  Both NF and PDmil have generally smelled horrible from not bathing frequently.  NF would wear the same outfit for a week and I think he showered once week.  He was continuously surrounded by that "old man smell."  He also did not believe in deodorant. 

PDmil also falls into the same category of not bathing frequently enough.  She does change her clothes though, I think.  Sometimes the smell is overwhelming that she brings with her when we go out and it fills the entire car.   :barfy:  Her home as well typically smells awful from not getting enough air through it.  She is afraid to open the windows.  The cooking smells accumulate and it is pretty bad....to the point of feeling ill when visiting her. 

I honestly feel as though it is a lack of awareness on their part.  Like most PDs they just are not aware...at least of things like that.
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Amadahy

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 09:22:26 AM »
My N mom has always had this issue, made worse as she ages.  She also seemed oblivious to proper disposal of feminine hygiene products - these were often left lying in the floor of the bathroom closet!  I've always told myself she is unaware - DH thinks she's totally aware.  Ugh.
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HotCocoa

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 09:39:05 AM »
"Mom, if you are going to continue to stay with us, I expect you to shower everyday and change your clothing."
You may want to go into her room and have a look around.
Make sure anything unhygienic is removed and wash clothing she has worn.
You have every right to expect your guests to at least bathe and be decent.  This is NOT too much to ask.  No matter her snarky comment to you.
Your husband is being driven out of the house because of living with someone who has B.O. and I can't blame him, however, this is not your fault. 
I would just say she needs to have rules to follow.  If she is going to be living there that long, then she absolutely should be clean, it's rude as your guest actually Imo.
Even in assisted living, they make the residents take showers 2-3 times a week.  If they can do it, your able bodied mother can, if she needs assistance, than that is something you can help with or look into for her. 
I can understand being embarrassed, but this is NOT your fault.  If she refuses to comply, then she can go back to her own home, no?
The smarter you become about narcissistic abuse, the crazier the narcissist will say you are.

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daughter

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 10:04:08 AM »
I agree, her body odor is an issue that should be addressed in a polite but firm manner.  Like HotCocoa notes, I'd go to her room, collect the dirty clothes to get them washed, compel her to take a shower and brush her teeth, confirm she's got deodorant, monitor her clothing situation, etc - politely, but firmly.  The lack of attention to hygiene-related stuff suggests presence of some mental health issue, whether depression or detachment or willful refusal to conform to social norms.  That said, strong BO and poor hygiene can't be ignored, or passively tolerated beyond a day or two, and certainly becomes an issue for such prolonged visits.

Don't be embarrassed, and thank DH for flagging issue to you.   

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elly87

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Re: “Your mother smells”
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 05:30:18 PM »
I am so sorry that is really unpleasant! Try to remember, you are not responsible for your mother's hygiene. boundaries are so important with PD parents and this is an example of placing those firmly between yourself and her. She is responsible for her own hygiene, and you are allowed to own and express your feelings about it. she is not an extension of you, but a totally separate person you have no control over. Try to reframe your thoughts when you feel shame creeping in...