My mom is laying a guilt trip

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Wiped Out, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    on me. She has been hospitalized twice this fall for depression (her history is a lot of hospitalizations over the years but not usually this close together).

    She just got out this Thursday. I talked to her yesterday and told when we came for Christmastime this year we would spend a long afternoon and then head back as difficult child is having a difficult time right now. Usually due to dividing time up between her and my dad we only get a short afternoon but Dad and his wife are staying longer at Thanksgiving so we'll celebrate Christmas then and not see them closer to the holidays.

    Of course, she said that wasn't long enough and I told her it was all I could do right now. She went in to how he probably wasn't doing so well because of all the traveling we did to Michigan this Fall. She doesn't get that when we go there it's a break-we rarely see difficult child. At her place we are in a small apt. and she upsets difficult child, easy child, husband, and me. Nothing I ever do is good enough and she still talks to difficult child like he is a baby.

    Then she proceeds to tell me that a part of the reason she is depressed is because of me. She says we don't come to visit enough and that we often argue on the phone. (She gets upset if I don't agree with everything she says and ends up getting offended-it's not shouting matches). She did say that she knows I can't cause her depression but that she gets depressed because of it.

    Geesh-like I don't have enough going on! I told my therapist what happened and she says I am setting healthy boundaries with my mom. I think she's right but I'm still feeling guilty (although not enough to change my plans).

    Sorry this got so long-I just needed to get this out. I hate feeling like a bad daughter!
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Are we sisters?

    I'm serious, you're Mom sounds an awful lot like mine.

    You're not a bad daughter. And don't let her guilt trip you into believing you are. Your own family is your top priority.

    Traveling would send both my difficult children into tailspins. It was awful. Finally, I just refused to do it.

    This spring my mother made this enormous attempt to make me feel guilty because I wouldn't/couldn't come home for the family reunion she wanted. Oh, well. I'm and adult with a life and full plate of my own.

    If I ever happened to do something my mother approved of I think I'd stroke. AND she STILL talks to Travis like he's 5 instead of 21!! I might love her, but that doesn't mean I don't dread every single visit with her.

    If she chooses to be depressed because you don't visit as often as she likes then it's HER choice.

    But I know when they try to lay that guilt on thick it can be hard to take.

  3. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    It's a mom thing! My mom has the guilt trip programmed into her GPS.

    The same way you can't make her depressed, she can't make you feel guilty. She can sure try, but she cannot make you. Don't let her. "Whoops, sorry mom. There is a stripper at the door. Gotta go!"

  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Oh, Sharon, my mom does this to my sisters and me all the time. She spent 4 weeks here with me. I was working full time, making dinners every night, 2 quiches each week for her breakfasts, and left her lunches, came home from work each day at lunchtime the whole time, had to clean her poop and pee and change her sheets every other day, help her in and out of the shower....and still she cries. When she's here, she says she should go back home but when she's home, she calls me crying to come here! Right now she is sad because I am not making my family travel down to NY to my brother's house for Thanksgiving. She is coming back up to CT with my sister the very next day and spending a week at her house! I told mom I would visit her while she's there, since it's 5 minutes from my house! Apparently, that wasn't good enough.

    There is only so much you can do. Please try and let the guilt go. If your mom is making a concious decision to be depressed, then she can make a choice not to be and not lay the guilt on you.

    Enjoy your holidays - I don't understand why some family has to make it so difficult. Hugs~
  5. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    OH how I know thisone. And me tonight when mine called the words you could come here for Thanksgiving came flying out of my mouth. Huh where did that come from. Now I am pretty certain mine won't she was already making the excuses why she couldn't come here ( and I am just not going there this year -and I stomped my foot right then just to prove my point-).

    If for some bizzarre reason she does decide to come I will have to break it to husband (which means he will probably volunteer to work). But the guilt won.

    You are not alone.

  6. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I get it from both ends -- my mother who feels I betrayed her and everything she believes in by keeping my daughter who was obviously a "bad seed" and my daughter who doesn't understand why she doesn't have a father OR a grandmother when both are living and were there when she was adopted.

    Since we've moved to Florida, I've been told repeatedly what a rotten daughter I am for moving so far away from her and what is she going to do when she gets sick and needs me? Of course, five seconds after this tirade, she will ask if I'm coming home for the holidays. I just say no, but I'll happily fly her out here. Nope, not good enough. This may be her last Christmas on earth (possibly true since she has a bad heart but odds are she'll outlive me) and flying will just tire her out (the doctor says she can fly, I've asked), so I should come there -- at least for Christmas. So, the guilt cards have been: putting my child above her; moving; her bad health; my selfishness; my uncaring attitude (that one she is 100% correct about); my greed.

    I don't tell my daughter about these conversations but, of course, she hears enough to piece most of it together. So, she's mad at me that we're not going to grandma's for Christmas and what if this really is her last? The problem is the invite is for me, not for the both of us. When we lived close by, my mother knew that there was no way my child would be excluded and even one word spoken about my mother's true feelings and we were out the door. I will give my mother credit -- to this day my daughter has no clue how badly her grandmother wants her gone.

    Even if the invite was for the both of us, I don't want to go. My mother is too draining. She :censored2: the life right out of me. There's no joy around her. So, I will feel slightly guilty because I feel such resentment towards my mother and then I'll sigh and get on with our holidays and enjoy them and the peace there is without her.
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Sharon -

    Your mother is responsible for her own happiness, not you. (Sigh...this is the very thing I'm working on with difficult child.)

    If she continues with this tell her that you can either visit as planned or not at all. Her choice.

  8. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I am missing my mom right about now. Wish I had the chance to feel your frustrations.

    You all have your own families, and your own lives. I was a lucky one, who had a good, fun childhood. Wish my brothers and sisters were closer in age and wish we were close. But my parents gave me a great childhood. I wish I had the opportunity to share my life and my kids with them. I know many have not been as lucky as I was to have great parents.
  9. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    You do the best you can with the life you have.
    Just as it was her responsibility to do what was best for her kids, it is your responsibility to do what is best for your kids.
    I do believe we owe some consideration to parents/family but it doesn't take precedence over our own children.

    Once you accept that some people whether they are mothers or difficult child's never find what you do is good enough. Do the best you can. Try to be accomodating and move on. You make yourself nuts trying to reach for the unattainable goal of pleasing others.

    At some point visiting her without the kids or husband may be the thing she wants.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You said it for me, Fran. If it will be too much for difficult child, then leave him and husband at home and go visit her yourself. But before you do, think - is she still going to whine about you not being there long enough or for exactly when she wants you?

    As for all this making her depressed - that is her choice. Sounds to me like she is using her recent hospitalisations to milk every opportunity to get her own way, regardless of cost to others.

    Kjs, I hear you about not having parents around to even whinge about - but that is not this problem, it is you (and me). Many times I'd have liked to pick up the phone and talk to either of my parents, especially about difficult child 3 and what they remember about other family members; but it's not been possible for many years now. It still hurts. But I also know that my parents' time was done, to have wanted them to fight to live a bit longer would have also had them living in great pain.

    Sharon, do you have any siblings? If so, are they getting any of this?

    Some people really put a lot of emphasis n the holiday period and INSIST that family MUST be together exactly on that day. But as we get older and begin our independent lives, we become torn - if a wife is begged to see her parents at the same time and day that the husband is begged to see HIS parents - something's gotta give. Compromises must be made and we adjust to these. Most sensible people say, "I will be happy to see you when I see you and for as long as you can organise it - the exact day doesn't matter, we'll celebrate Christmas at New Year's, if necessary."

    It's the few selfish ones who insist that things be as THEY want them, who really never get the whole point and make themselves (and everybody else) miserable.

    I'll shut up now, before I get really angry about this. I learned to compromise years ago but I still see a lot of hurt caused by people who have not and cannot accept other people's need to live their own lives.

    One last thing - whatever you choose to do, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY!

  11. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I think Heather said it best. Your mother is responsible for her own happiness. I learned this from my counselor, though it wasn't my mother trying to make me feel guilty, it was s2bx. Either way she taught me that everyone is responsible for their own happiness and well being. You mother is unhappy with herself and her life, and she's trying to find someone to blame for it. You know you haven't caused her unhappiness, so keep your plans as they are. This is your holiday too, and you are responsible for making it a happy one for yourself.
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    It's manipulation, which is why I suggested telling her to take it or leave it. I don't allow people to manipulate just because they are family. In fact, I'm estranged from most of my family because of that. I'm the queen of detachment. Just ask my family. Of course, it's because of them that I'm so good at it. Lots of practice.

    My grandmother who I have always been close to (lived with my grandparents for a short time when I was 14), always pulled this stuff. She should be in the hospital any time now, I expect. The holidays are coming up.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    What I learned in counseling and life:

    No one can make you feel guilty without your permission. If you give them permission over and over to walk over and over you, perhaps it's time to do something for yourself so your children don't think this is normal or acceptable behavior.

    What do YOU want to do for Christmas and Thanksgiving?

    THEN DO THAT - if you think there will be heck to pay? THen shut off the phone and don't open any letters, and don't set yourself up for the guilt. Believe me we could talk for HOURS on what guilt will get you - basically ulcers.

    And frown lines.

    And bald spots.

    And acne at 39.

    Guilt sure doesn't make a pretty woman out of any of us.
  14. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks all!

    Lisa-I think we may be sisters!

    BBK-You are right-she can't make me feel guilty! I'm working at not feeling that way!

    Jo-Thanks-I will enjoy the holidays-I refuse to change my plans even with the guilt-and hopefully that will be gone soon.

    Heather-That is basically what I did tell her. I'm getting more assertive in my old age!

    Kjs-I'm sorry you are missing your mom right now. It's great your parents gave you a great childhood!!

    Fran-You're right-I need to do the best I can and move on!

    Marguerite-Yeah-she'll still whine. She feels a special attachment to difficult child (wish he felt it in return). My brother doesn't get it so much now that his kids are grown and my sister lives further away and doesn't celebrate the holidays so she doesn't get it at much and is better at detachment than me. Long ago we decided that we wouldn't travel on Christmas Day-luckily we have stuck to that no matter what. We always invite Mom to come to our house for the holidays but she always declines. She's fine with it being on a day other than Christmas but wants us to stay a few days in which case we would all be going crazy.

    Karen-Well said!

    Star-Yikes-time to give up that guilt-I truly don't want bald spots, acne or frown lines!

    The good thing is my guilt isn't strong enough to make me change my plans or do what I feel is right for my family-in the old days it might have been but with difficult child I know what will and what won't work. She has a hard time accepting this because I truly don't think she can see things from another's view point.
  15. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    When I was younger, I had similar problems with my mother always trying to make me feel guilty. Nothing I ever did was good enough for her. It took me years to realize that while I couldn't change her behavior, I could change how I responded to it. Honestly, I think it would have taken me longer than it did if it weren't for my difficult children creating so much chaos that I knew I had to do what was best for my easy child, difficult children, husband, and myself before following my mother's wishes.

    Sorry I missed this. However, the others have already given you great advice. And, from reading your response, I think you're totally on top of things. You've definitely conquered the "laying on the guilt" routine that mothers' do so well!!! WFEN
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Next year - prepare ahead and send Mom on a cruise from Thanksgiving to New Year.
  17. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Better yet, send her an airline ticket somewhere.

    A one-way ticket. :smile: