Do I tell my mom what I think?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by lovemysons, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I haven't spoken with my mom since last Wednesday when we had a "discussion" about family taking care of family, etc.

    I am trying to decide whether or not to tell my mom that I think she has been fairly selfish and stingy.
    Even last Tues when I invited her over because Young difficult child's wife and the grandkids came over to my house she made a flip comment about "liking to go on that trip" when my middle granddaughter was trying to save all her spare change to go see the REAL Cinderella at Disney World. She did not say that SHE would like to take her great granddaughter to Disney World...Oh no that would never come out of her mouth. This also while I was handing clothes to daughter in law that husband and I recently bought for oldest Grandson starting Kindergarten...and while I even hand daughter in law a few dollars to take the kids out to McDonalds sometime soon. My mom's remark while I handed money to daughter in law was "I'll take the kid's to McDonalds". She meant if I was handing out money. I guess she thought that was a funny comment. But she has more disposable cash than any of us and rarely if ever parts with it for family.

    My mom did not even pay for me to go to college. She did not pay for husband and I to wed either...and I am her only child.

    My Aunt has told me that my mother has been selfish her whole life. So me telling her "what I think" will likely not change anything except put a wedge in our relationship. But I am tired of suppressing my thoughts and feelings when I am around her. It is constantly about her...she never thinks of what family might need that she might be able to help with. I'm just so tired of it.

    So do I tell her what I think...that she is selfish and stingy? Or do I continue to just ignore the "Pink Elephant" in the room?

    I don't know what to do...
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Telling her... accomplishes nothing, on either side of the table. So, it's not worth the effort.

    But. You don't have to walk on eggshells around her. You don't have to be all "nicey-nicey" and "lovey-dovey" when it isn't true. You CAN start putting some distance into the relationship. YOU need the space, YOU take it. Whether she likes it or not.
  3. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Thank you InsaneCdn,
    I think you are right that we need the space...and obviously I have dislike for my mom so it's not very genuine of me to play nicey-nicey all the time like you said.

    Another thing that gets on my nerves is she tells me that she can "keep up with family" by talking to me. Well I'm tired of being used like that! She needs to give them a call herself if she wants to know what is happening.

    You know in the past my mother's "rejection" if you will or "withholdding" emotional support for me nearly caused an eating disorder. I am NOT going there again!

  4. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I wouldn't recommend saying anything. We can't change other people and this is her way it sounds like. It will harbor worse feelings for you in the end I think if you speak up because it is highly unlikely that it will result in any type of change in her and likely will just result in harsh words. I'd take her for who she is. Leave what you don't like. Just my opinion.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    THIS... you can act on.
    Next time she wants an update on person X or Y... play dumb. You don't really know, you're wondering too... would she please let you know what SHE finds out... put it back on her plate.
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I wouldn't say a word. It is an exercise in futility.

    But when she says something that is actually hurtful, let her know.

    Her selfishness will never be something you can make her see.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont think I would express my feelings but you can say little things like..."gosh mom I had so hoped we would be able to take the kids to Disney but I just dont think we will be able to find the money. It would be so lovely of you if you took them so you could see her excitement! You know they are only small once and I know granddaughter would so enjoy it if you were there."

    I probably would have tried to convince my dad to take us to Disney but he was getting up in age where it was too hard for him to do that much. He did take my family to Busch Gardens when the boys were at an appropriate age and we were just thrilled. I do think he enjoyed seeing how much my boys loved it. husband too. My dad got a kick out of the fact that husband had never been to a theme park and he was like a kid in a candy store.

    I am actually trying to save change to take my whole family to Disney too but in my case I would have to have middle son pay for his family. He could afford to save up that amount more easily than me.
  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am with the say nothing crowd . . . if she hasn't changed by now it is not going to happen. Saying something now will just cause hard feelings in the family.

  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, I am a believer in communicating, in expression and in clearing the air. Not with the intention of changing her at all. Or of blasting her out of the water with your harbored negative feelings. How I always deal with these kind of issues, and believe me, it's so often I have my own formula now (!), is to first talk it out with someone else, a therapist usually, or SO or a friend. Get clear and get the emotional responses, (anger, sadness, resentment) expressed to an objective party. Once I am aware of my feelings and boundaries I state them to the person using "I" messages, not YOU. For instance, "I feel devalued and hurt when you choose to not help out financially with the family needs. I understand you have a different point of view, I'm simply stating how that point of view makes me feel." Rather then "you are selfish, you always or never did anything for the family".........etc. For me it's not about what the other person does or doesn't do, it's about me being honest with my feelings and stating them clearly. Then I would state the boundaries. "I don't like to be the middle man between you and the rest of the family, it's uncomfortable for me (or whatever you feel) so I am taking myself out of that position, if you want to know anything you will need to ask them."

    I've found over many years of this kind of expression, if it's all said with honesty and without blame and judgment, instead of alienating another, often it gives the other, perhaps for the first time, the ability to know how their actions impact another. Sometimes it's been an opening. I can't expect that, but that has sometimes been the case. Sometimes people get angry, that's the risk. It's touchy but communicating this way and expressing negative feelings to the source is very freeing and empowering if you can learn to do it in a healthy way. If your intention is to express your feelings and not to change her or hurt her or really have it be about her at all, but about you and your desire to be honest, you may find it liberating. It can also be an opening for intimacy because it is a risk, it takes courage to be that vulnerable with someone you feel hurt by, especially a mother..................

    Just my two will know the right thing to do for you..............hugs.............
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Ditto IC on this one.

    It's not going to do you much good to say anything except let you vent it off.
  11. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Tammy, I'm sorry that your mother's behaviour continues to cause you pain. Here are my $0.02 on the matter:

    You need to think about your reason for wanting to tell your mother about her selfish behaviour. What is motivating you?

    If you are hoping that your mother will "see the light" and change her ways, then chances are you will not be successful. I doubt that your mother's gone through her entire life behaving this way without at least one (likely more than one) person telling her she's self-centred. Your words will roll off her, and they won't make you feel any better.

    If, on the other hand, you need to speak your mind and you're willing to deal with the result -- whether it be distance or a rift, or something else -- then it may be the right thing for you to do. If you are going to speak to her, try to plan what you're going to say in advance, even write it down, so that you can speak clearly, calmly and without emotion.

    My take on your situation is that you're trying to turn the mother you have into the one you wish you had. Many years ago, Marguerite gave me some wonderful advice about mothering myself the way I wished my own mother had done. It helped me more than I could have imagined, and took me a long way toward healing old wounds. Maybe something similar might help you. I'll see if I can find the notes and links, and maybe see if Marg still has them.

    In the meantime, sending you many gentle hugs.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I've spoken about my mother. Now I'm going to tell you about my father, who has plenty of money and always did. He is a retired pharmacist and had many stores.

    We had no new clothes. My mom sewed all our clothes. We never took vacations. He never handed us any money, in fact he complained he didn't have any. More recently, about six years ago we were almost homeless and I called him in tears and he told him me, "It's not my responsibility. I have my own problems to worry about." He hung up and wouldn't talk to me for a month because his giving us money is out of the question and it always was out of the question. Does that make him horrible? He probably has as much money as your mother does.

    I don't really think it makes my father horrible. He could get very sick (he's 89) and need nursing home care, which goes right through your money. He worked hard for his money and has traveled all over t he world and spent our why didn't he deserve to travel all over the world? I just see it differently. He isn't a particularly nice man, as my mother was not a nice woman. My father has made comments about my sister and I marrying "poor, useless men." (I'd match my great husband against him any day, but he only thinks about money).

    I survived almost being homeless. Hub and I worked it out without him. When he passes on, whatever is left, I will get one-third of it. To be honest, I rarely think about it. As for taking any of us with him on a holiday, let alone his grands, lololol. Are you kidding? He never even bothered to visit his great-grandchild. He has never seen him because now he is in Missouri and he didn't bother to visit him the first three years of his life. Family is not important to my father. Never has been. Never will be. Maybe that's why I don't think DNA equals your family.

    At any rate, I have never told my father how selfish he is and he is VERY selfish. I suspect he is a narcissist but I never told him that either. Ask yourself what the point would be to confront your mother? Will it change her?

    You have to make this decision on your own. Please share it with us, if you don't mind. I'm curious as to what you do and how she will react.

    Hugs!!!! :)
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  13. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    "What do you mean by that?"

    Say it with a sweet smile or a quizzical expression. It's not an accusation, but... it gives her a opportunity to explain her snarky comments.

    As for keeping up with extended family through you? Stop passing her info and start telling her to call herself.
  14. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Thank you ALL for the your thoughts and suggestions...Ya'll are so wise!

    I still haven't spoken to my mother and I think when we do speak again I will tell her that in regard to "Family taking care of Family" or "Every man for himself"...that we will have to simply agree to disagree.

    tiredmommy...I do like "What do you mean by that"? I think that would give her a moment to stop and think about what she is saying.

    And Midwest mom you make a good point..telling her what I think would not result in any change. Only hard feelings as others too have noted.

    Trinity...I would love to learn how to "mother myself". There is still some pain from my childhood obviously and I know my mom did her best but she is not a nurturer. It's just not in her DNA. She takes caring for self to a whole new level.

    Janet...I DO hope you make it to Disneyworld!

    It's amazing how many of us adopted the same or similar values and yet did not seem to get those values from our parents...It's as though many of us have had to come up with our own (trial and error) recipe for success!
    A reminder once again to me that "we" here on the board, are family too and the support, suggestions, and experiences we provide each other are so very important to one another's can truly make a difference.

    PS...I will also stop being the "go-between" my mom and the rest of the family. I'll let her know she needs to make a phone call.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    "I don't know what to do"? The answer is "do nothing" sweetheart. It has to be like water off a ducks back. DDD
  16. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    I think by talking to your mother about this, you will be creating more problems for yourself mainly. I think you will be the one who is more hurt by having a discussion. Your mother is who she is. From what you say, this has been her M.O. for as long as you've know her. You will not change her, nor should you. Your mother is entitled to be who she is, as you are. I would be insulted if really anyone (but especially my child) came up to me and said I was selfish and that they expected more $$$, time or whatever out of me. She can be who she is and YOU can decide how involved you allow yourself to be involved with her if you disagree with the type person she is. The world is big enough for many different types of people.

    I've had a discussion with my own mother about some things that were upsetting to me. To be honest, I was shocked by her response. I really think, how you are feeling and how I felt has more to do with our emotional needs needing to being met. We are not going to be able to get that from them, because they don't know how to give that to us. It is not malicious by my mother or your mother. It's just who they are and again they are entitled to be the people they are. We have to come to terms with whatever relationship we have with them. You can't ask a person to give you more than what they are capable of.

    I am at a point in my life that I chose to look and dwell on the positive. The biggest thing I have control of is how *I* feel and what *I* chose to dwell on. I am all about peace, love and happiness (to the best of my ability!)

    You have a beautiful and generous soul Tammy. :) I hope you are able to come to peace with this, for your own happiness.
  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Tammy, you have a compassionate, kind and open heart, no matter how you were raised or what your mother did or didn't do, you turned out quite differently, as you said, "you came up with your own trial and error recipe for success" and you did a wonderful job. I am sure, however you handle this situation with your mother will be the perfect way for you.

    My own mother was often cruel and cold, she did not create a nurturing nor even safe environment. She lived with me for awhile when her husband died and circumstances arose which put me in a similar position as you find yourself in. I ended up talking to my mother about a lot of stuff, not in a blaming, judgmental way, but in an honest and clear, heart felt way. We both cried. She told me things I had no idea about, things my grandmother had done. In that moment, I understood a lot, it wasn't about me at all, she was simply repeating what was done to her. She apologized. Forgiving her was easy after that. She is who she is. She did the best she could. Expressing all the unsaid things freed us. It was liberating for both of us and changed our relationship. For me communicating worked. For some, it may be the worst possible option. There isn't a formula for right or wrong, it's just about what feels right and what makes sense to you.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think a lot of us thought, "I will NEVER be like her/him." And then we were not. And we grew compassionate toward our own kids because we knew how badly parents can hurt their children.
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am TOTALLY in IC's corner on this.

    I also want you to think about a saying I learned in AA: Someone else's opinion of me is none of my business.

    This is also true of my opinion of someone else.

    NOTHING good will come of telling your mother your feelings on this. Esp that you think she is selfish or whatever. NOTHING. She just does not have the ability to be different any more than you can breathe underwater. It just is what it is.

    You CAN change your reactions to her, and the nicey-nice is not the real you. But laying out all your feelings about her isn't helpful either. And whatever you say will be used against you for YEARS if not decades. Think about times in the past where you told her your feelings. She hasn't changed and her reaction won't either.

    Why not just stop telling her info about the family? Rather than make a big deal, just don't tell her anything. If she asks, THEN tell her to ask them as you don't know what they would or would not tell her. As soon as you do, change the subject. Refuse to be drawn back to that subject.

    It isn't easy, but it IS helpful. Sometimes if we get out of their way, other people in our family will develop relationships they didn't have before. Or not, but they both stop being dependent on us. It leaves us free to go spend our time and energy on our own passions, Know what I mean??