Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now

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sarandro

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Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« on: May 05, 2019, 01:19:54 PM »
Hi everyone,
I have posted here before, but things have changed for the worst and I could do with some advice...
My Dad died last week after a long illness, Mum refused to visit him in hospital until he was on his last legs.
He came home for a bit before this but Mum couldn't handle to changes to their home (handles on stairs/commode/carers etc)
We were hoping he might have had the chance to pass at home, but no!
The funeral was very weird...she didn't want his ashes or the flowers, didn't talk about him at all...didn't ask me or my siblings how we were feeling....nothing
Now he has gone, she has said to me that I will need to 'keep her entertained'...meaning take her out 3 or 4 times a week, now that she is alone.
Over the years, she has been the classic narc and it's only now that I have realised this, having joined OOTF.
My question is, how do I keep my sanity and still offer her some of my time?
I can only be in her company for a short time before she says something outrageously cruel or thoughtless.
I have health issues myself unfortunately and her behaviour has impacted very badly on my mental health, so I have created some boundaries as per advice in toolbox.
Every time she calls me I can feel myself flinch...I feel bad for feeling bad!
I really don't want to ever see her again, but she is my Mum and I feel obliged to do something.
She has chronic pain and has little mobility...won't take painkillers...won't do physio....won't have the hip op she needs...won't have a chair...won't help herself, but will complain all the time about her pain and lack of movement.
I myself have neuro pain, a brain tumour and arthritis...I try to look after myself and manage my pain, but some days I can't get out of bed,
I really want to go NC as she will not accept any real help. Any time I suggest things like hydrotherapy, mindfulness or yes...take a pill, she will say she does not need it.
I think she is happy to be a martyr to it and make everyone around her suffer as well.
She will tell me about her friend's daughters, who wait on their mothers and take them out every day...hinting as to what I should be doing
I know that these daughters have a loving and fulfilling relationship with their mothers and they are happy to do this, they love and are loved back
I do not have that  kind of relationship therefore, I cannot do the same.
I think I am still hoping for my Mum to be there for me...that is the FOG still isn't it?

The thing is, she has no hobbies (never has), no proper friends (been mean to everyone), so she is stuck at home having to 'endure her own company'. (she has shunned all her neighbours as well and wonders why no one knocked on her door when Dad died!)
The thought of her in this situation pains me greatly, but I am not responsible for her future happiness am I?
Anyway, I am rambling...
I am going to have to visit her and maybe take her out once or twice a week (big girl pants time!)...but knowing that it will not bring us closer together, I am definitely not looking forward to it. She doesn't want to understand I have pain too.
It will be shallow, superficial and meaningless, this is the opposite of me, which is why it's so hard, just going through the motions.
Any and all advice would be welcome XXXX

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moglow

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019, 02:27:27 PM »
I'm sorry for your loss and for what you're now facing. Grief on its own is hard, knowing she can't/won't step up as a parent or out of sheer compassion for a fellow human being, makes it harder.

I could have written so much of your post as I've been through much of the same with my own mother. Her inability to cope with Dad's final days and arrangements? Check. The mother showing no interest in her children/their loss? Check. Repeated recitations of the list of what's wrong followed immediately with why no suggestions you have are possible? Check check. Comparisons to what her sisters and other mothers received from their daughters and the expectation that I provide same? Complete failure to acknowledge we'd never had that kind of relationship? Check! No hobbies, no friends, no distractions, but the endless expectation that others step in to entertain her while she goes on and on and on with her complaints about others? CHECK!!

I'm sorry, it all struck a nerve for me. Been there, done it, still do when I'm willing to take it in. A little background: My Daddy [mother's first husband and father of her children] passed 20+ years ago, her second husband [my Dad, as I saw him] passed three months later. Yeah. At one point both were in hospitals in the same town and I was back and forth between the two. Nothing was enough for her. I was expected to take care of her at a time I was barely holding on to my own sanity. She wasn't sick or disabled or anything else - I was supposed to be her support, which basically meant being at her beck and call 24/7 over and above any other responsibilities I might have.

For months after Dad passed, mother would show up at my house [I rented from my brother and she had a key] unannounced and uninvited, and stay for days at the time. I never knew when she'd show up or how long she'd be there. She reverted back to school days, literally coming into my room and flipping on lights to tell me it was time to get up if I were going to work that day, asking me if I'd ironed my clothes for work, telling me I'd need to hurry or I'd be late. Really - I'm 33+, I've been doing this a while on my own, get out and leave me alone!!

She started the day talking, expected to have lunch together every day and picked up with more talk when I got home from work. Incessant mindless blather, gossip, and observations about characters on television or the neighbor or traffic. Just noise. The only time I had alone was when I gave up and went to bed to read, earlier and earlier. Then my light bothered her, the traffic noise bothered her, my cat was pacing around the house... Going and staying out later and later? More of the same.

I tried being nice, I tried snapping at her, I tried reasonable, I tried silence. I'm not sure what finally got through to her finally, but by then I was at my wits end with it. Pretty sure I hurt her feelings and became the horrible terrible she always thought I was. I was sick physically and mentally and needed time to heal. A few years later I moved about an hour away, then she sold her house and moved into the house I'd moved out of! She was intimidated by "big towns" so thankfully she rarely visited and I was busy enough I didn't visit her much either. I still got the "poor lonely widow" guilt, but really. I can't fix that. No one can - she was lonely and pushed people away before he came along and that didn't change after he was gone.

Basically I did what I'd suggest for you - I backed off slowly. I made it clear I had work, class, volunteer events, etc. I dated, went out, or at least gave the impression that I was. I'd tell her when I would call and I followed up as promised so that didn't get flung in my face. In the meantime I didn't answer every call, didn't return every message. After a while I learned to cut the complaints off at the pass, I changed the subject to something positive or random, or I'd end the conversation entirely when I needed to.

Then I realized something else: Mother wasn't interested in anything I had to say unless she could find some use in it. If it were personal and she could share it to convince others of our relationship [or lack of same], she was all over it. But for the most part, she just wasn't interested. At all. Still isn't. THAT isn't an easy realization, that I don't matter to my mother. I've had to work at depersonalizing it - *nobody* matters to her, it really isn't personal for her.

My point:  Do what you need to do, what works best for you. Fear, obligation and guilt [FOG] may have been bred into you, but that doesn't mean you can't overcome them. Think of what you want and how you need to get there. I'm not advocating running over her or anyone else, but do think of what's best for YOU, what eases YOUR heart and soul and feeds you. Then go in that direction. I won't lie, it won't be quick or easy, but I promise it will be worth it - because you make it so.

We're here with you. :hug:
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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sarandro

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2019, 02:56:18 PM »
Oh Moglow
Thanks so much for your reply! Were we evil in a past life to have these mothers???
Your comment about personal information also struck home with me...the pretence of closeness that she tries to create to impress others!

My mother seems to be an empty vessel and instead of genuinely learning about people (or herself), she is happier to glean gossip and pass on half truths and unkindness.
Obviously, something happened to her in her own childhood and it has made her this way, but how would anyone know unless she was prepared to talk about the past.
I know very little about her past (I have asked her many times) and now I really don't care to know...it's too late for any of that and that is what makes me so sad.
I will take your advice and go slowly, for my own sanity
Nothing I do will ever be right or good enough, so I will now stop trying to please her and please myself and my family.
Moglow, thanks againXXX

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moglow

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2019, 04:16:25 PM »
I try to not put it into good vs evil, mainly because I think we're all a mix of both. Absolutes have never served me well so I try to find middle ground areas wherever I can. As good as mother is at finding the negatives, I seek out the positives.  She's painfully self involved and somehow at the same time lacks any true self awareness or accept responsibility for the way she treats people. I try to work around that as much as possible.
Just do what works for you and you can look in the mirror with, and don't think for a minute you have to explain or excuse it to others. They're not walking the same path you are.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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Iguanagos

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2019, 04:32:20 PM »
Moglow, what an amazing post.  I did not realize you lost both fathers so close to each other.  I’m sorry for yours and Sarandro’s losses. 

Such great advice from Moglow, who has truly “been there”.

I have not been there just yet, but your scenario is exactly what I fear – my EF currently keeps my N/BM “on the rails”, as it were – keeps her from saying and doing completely inappropriate things.  If he were to pass first, my M would probably say or infer just what yours did – that I was now her main source of social contact.  I just can’t do that now – that would completely suck all the joy out of my life.  The time for building a sincere, close relationship has long since passed.  And, like Moglow’s, I know mine is not truly interested in me anyway.

I second Moglow’s advice to do what is right for you – so if in fact, you don’t want to see her several times per week, then don’t, and don’t feel bad.  Her loneliness is not your fault, nor your problem to fix.  She will try to make you feel that it is, but it isn’t.  She is reaping the effects of a lifetime of dysfunction. 

If you would prefer once a week, or once a month, or even less,  :bigwink:   then she will just have to deal with it and “endure her own company” (better her than you!)   Or, you know, she could straighten up and get out and meet her neighbors, volunteer, join a church, whatever, to build her own social network, as she should be doing anyway.  If she won’t do that, that doesn’t make it your hole to fill.

Even if I were in the same town as my M (thankfully, I’m not), that would be way too much contact for me personally. Plus I know mine would start with whatever foot in the door she could get, and try to ramp it up from there. 

Good luck, and remember – it’s totally okay to put YOU first.

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moglow

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2019, 05:12:15 PM »
Iguanagos, that wasn't even all that happened that horrible year [14 months actually], but thank you. It started out bad and snowballed from there. All mother saw was herself and how it affected her and how her life would never be the same etc etc ad nauseum. I tried several times to recalibrate and get her to see she wasn't in it alone, that we'd ALL had several losses that year, but no.  :sadno:


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If you would prefer once a week, or once a month, or even less,  :bigwink: then she will just have to deal with it and “endure her own company” (better her than you!)   Or, you know, she could straighten up and get out and meet her neighbors, volunteer, join a church, whatever, to build her own social network, as she should be doing anyway.  If she won’t do that, that doesn’t make it your hole to fill.

Exactly. Just because mama says so doesn't necessarily make it so. You're not a kid living under her roof having to abide by her rules. You have your own roof now. You don't have to be ugly about it, but you may need to be firm and refuse to discuss it beyond what you're comfortable with. What she does and chooses to do with that information is all on her.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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Psuedonym

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2019, 09:00:52 PM »
Hey sarandro!

I logged in to reply to your post. I was in very much the same situation you find yourself in now. I am an only child, and my dad died a few months after my parents moved across the country closer to me. All the same things you describe: check! Like you, I thought I 'had to' tough it out and deal with her. That worked marginally for about a year. Then she broke her shoulder (entirely her fault) and after me and my BF moved mountains to get her into the assisted living part of the facility she lived in for recovery, she decided she didn't want to be there and through and epic, weeks long fit that resulted in my going NC. I haven't talked to her in 5 months and have no intention of doing so. (You can read all about in my other posts if you like).

Anyway, I logged in to say this: you mentioned that you 'have to' deal with her and are 'obliged to' put up with her behavior. Ya don't! I'm living proof. The only thing stopping you from going NC is your own sense of guilt and obligation, which you have not earned and don't deserve. Mine managed to move from independent living to assisted living in a different facility without me speaking a word to her. (My BF deals with her when necessary). I say this because I want you to know that you have choices: I was at the point where my physical health was being affected and I started having panic attacks before I realized that I didn't actually have to deal with her shit anymore with the help of all the wonderful people on this site. I don't know your M, but if she's like mine she got a whole lot worse after my dad died, because he wasn't there as a buffer/enabler anymore. Whatever you decide to do, we're hear to listen.

I'm sorry about your dad. It sucks, and it sucks even more when you get zero sympathy or acknowledgment of what you're going through.

 :bighug:

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sarandro

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2019, 07:08:42 AM »
I would like to thank you all for your kind advice.
It is a lot to process right now, as one of my sons is ill, my husband has depression and I am in a very dark place, it is all a bit overwhelming.
I know that I need to focus on me and mine right now, so that is what I will do.
Hopefully, with all your support, I will get through.

I will say that because my Dad has gone, I realise I am sad because the potential for a better relationship has gone. Some part of me feels that I could still have a better one with my Mum, if only I could get through to her....!!!
I know in my heart that won't happen, so until I can let those thoughts go, I will have to be practical...my Mum is and has been unable to help me and will not change.
I am doing the changing and in a small way, I hope to make things better between us by standing my ground and being in charge of interactions.
As you all know it is very difficult to say no to your mother, but boy, it is very empowering!
This is the first week on her own after all the funeral stuff, so I really need to 'start as I mean to go on', I will post about this later.
Once again, thank you for being here for me...if I can help anyone with my experiences, I will be sure to share...some good must come from thisXXXX

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absolutelynope

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2019, 06:00:16 AM »
Hope it's ok to resurrect an old thread, I just wanted to say good luck to you sarandro! I'm a few years down the line with a very very similar sounding situation. I completely sympathise with 'going through the motions'. it's completely draining isn't it? The interactions aren't real and I just hope I'm playing the part well enough that my mother believes that they are. I am unable to do this any more though now so my mother just despairs of me. But still wants me to see her.

An amusing annecdote, if you can call it that, not long after my father's passing I had to attend a tribunal for my mother's ill health benefits and at one point the lady leading proceedings got so hacked off with her she had an outburst; "Just look, look at your daughter. She's just lost her father!". I can't remember what else she said but that was the general gist. it made me realise that my mother didn't even consider I might be grieving too.

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sarandro

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2019, 06:45:39 AM »
Hi, absololutlynope
Thanks for reading my post, it is now nearly 2 months since the funeral and  I have been NC ever since (my other posts will explain)
Feeling very strange...
I realised that she would never care about my feelings and just like you, she has offered me no comfort all my life. I have reached out to her many many times and always been there for her, but she is unable to reciprocate.
It is all about her, how she is sad/lonely/in pain
When my loving Uncle died 10 years ago (he was like a Dad to me), all I got from mother was...
You weren't there for me (I had been on holiday and rushed back the same day, driving 400 miles to be there for her)
My sis and bro and I were never allowed to grieve for him and to this day...I still haven't had any compassion from her about my feelings.
Tried to talk about it....nothing
When father died...nothing
I know I'm grown up, but shouldn't a mother have something inside to offer her children?

She is quite well off from inheritances, so I have just left her to it.
I am not a bad person, but any relationship needs give and take and if it is all take...there is no place for me.
I can't pretend and play the part (did that for 50 years) and now she has lost me as a daughter.
Good luck to you absolutelynope XX


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FugitiveDaughter

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2019, 07:44:24 AM »
Hi everyone, I'm so sorry for your loss! Been there, done that... Lost my dad a few years ago and boy was it difficult... especially with a mother like mine but I don't have to tell you how that is.

I just wanted to tell you there's hope. I was the good scapegoat and took care of my mom the first couple of weeks even living at her house with my husband. Other siblings... well I don't know how it ended up being me, again, to be the one to take one for the team. She never once asked how us kids felt and survived after dad was gone quite suddenly and still hasn't asked. At the time she had no friends, no hobbies, wouldn't even get out of bed. We had to make her breakfast, lunch and dinner while she was seemingly the only one ever to have lost a close family member.

I gradually distanced myself from the situation. I didn't stay at her house, I was busy. I did help with the funeral arrangements, basically in the end ending up choosing the coffin, the flowers, the headstone, everything because everyone else was incapable of making any decisions. I was exhausted. Gradually things changed however. When mom couldn't use me as her crutch, she started to do things herself. She contacted old friends, she got new friends (maybe not healthy relationships but I don't care), she even started exercising and got herself new hobbies. I am glad to say she does not need me anymore. Yes, she does complain about being "all alone" on holidays but I just say "that's too bad" and move on. It's her own doing.

She had a father who was a malignant one but I see no reason to feel sorry for her endlessly for having a bad childhood. She was aware of her father's tendencies, yet failed to see she had a big risk at becoming just like him. She doesn't call me anymore. She calls other siblings though. She only hints at me that I should call her with a message. We talk maybe once a week during which time she never asks once how I am but I don't care anymore. I let her talk about herself for a while, ask a couple of mundane things and then proceed to end the discussion because I have to go. It's not ideal but this is as good as it gets.

I wish all of you who have lost a parent lots of strength. I know how confusing it can be, especially if you've been close with the parent that has passed away yet at the same time are aware that the parent who did provide you with love and encouragement through the years still enabled the parent who was a mean bitch towards you. Good luck and try to work at it gradually. It can be done.

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absolutelynope

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2019, 07:49:18 AM »
Hi Sarandro, I'm so glad you were able to go NC! I hope that you are able to move on with your life and deal with your father's passing without her in the background and wish you all the best for YOUR future. I will have a look at your other posts.

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sarandro

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2019, 08:11:33 AM »
The thing is...
All her life, mother has always been cossetted and never had to do anything for herself.
She's never in her life
~ been on a bus or driven a car (always got someone to drive her)
~ dealt with the normal daily obligations of living (finances/legal stuff etc)
~ had to go out to work
~ had to give up something for her children
~ deal with ANYTHING on her own
it has always been someone else's responsibility
So now she is left with my enBro...he will do everything for her, as she expects.

She has been treated like a child all her life, so for me to expect her to grow up now is out of the question.
Whenever me or my sib's have had major health issues (me..brain tumour /Bro heart attack) we have been scared to tell her.
OOO...you're making ME ill!!!!WTF
Not a mother to me, not a mother to my sib's
So....now I'm not a daughter to her....tough...but I won't do it.
I won't call or visit it's too much for me and I have better things to do than be a SC for the rest of my life
Of course...now I am the BAD daughter

She has caused this NOT ME
XXXXX

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bostonbound

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Re: Dad died, Mum expects me to be her companion now
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2019, 09:05:21 PM »
She will tell me about her friend's daughters, who wait on their mothers and take them out every day...hinting as to what I should be doing

Bingo.  This seems classic. My dad does this as well. Trying to guilt me.  Stay strong.  You need to care for yourself!