Do I need this right now?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by nlj, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I'm up to my neck in the situation with my son at the moment.

    I have an extremely difficult, attention-seeking mother who hasn't asked me once how he is.

    She was told a few months ago that her blood sugar levels were unstable and that she had to eat properly otherwise there was a risk that she could develop diabetes. Now, anyone else would think - oh oh wake up call, let's eat properly - not my mother, she thinks - oh, yes, I know, I 'll carry on not eating and make myself ill and then I can be the centre of attention.

    Now, some of you may think that's a bit harsh - but then you don't know my mother (although some of you, like MWM, will understand where I'm coming from).

    Waiting to hear from my son this morning, phone rings, cue the violins, it's my mother, drama drama, been to see her doctor this morning and got to go into hospital so that they can monitor her blood sugar levels. "Are they keeping you in?" "Oh yes I expect so, but don't worry about me, I'll probably be dead soon and then no-one will have to worry about me any more."

    "Oh Right. Have you been eating properly"

    Can I be arsed with this? No.

    Does anyone have any experience of later-age onset of diabetes with parents who are deliberately neglecting themselves?
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I assume your mother is not very young anymore. Diabetes, especially type two, tends to do its damage during long period of time. While there is of course possibility for hypoglycemic shock especially when you are injecting insulin and that can be life-threatening, just treating diabetes 2 badly, while of course harmful, tends to cause those harms in long term, not short term. So to be frank, many people who get diabetes 2 around their sixties and treat it badly die for other causes way before much harm from bad treatment of diabetes comes up.

    mother in law is having type 2 diabetes too and likes to make drama out of it (like about anything else in her life) and use it to control her kids. While you (or my husband or his siblings) can do nothing to make them treat themselves well, neither is it needed to be the audience for their drama.

    You have lots on your plate right now, just dismiss her drama. She is getting treatment from professionals, you are not able to change her self care anyway. She does what she wants to do and if pros don't get through to her, neither will you. Instead your emotional connection to her only feeds he flare for dramatics.
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    What can you do to help your son?

    If your mother won't cooperate with the doctor, you can't help HER either.

    Ugh! I will never be that mom who says, "When I die..." Yuk, yuk, ick. I hate that.

    There is nothing you can do so don't sweat it. This is up your mother who is a grown adult woman and she knows how to make it better. Only SHE can.
  4. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Thanks both.

    Your response was very informative Suzir. My mother is 83. She has been a borderline anorexic all her life. Her hypochondria dominated my childhood. This is the latest in a long run of self-inflicted health scares. Your post Suzir, was enlightening, I'm taking it to heart and acting accordingly.

    Me too!
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    nlj-I can relate. My mom was diagnosed years ago with Celiac's Disease. Of course, that didn't stop her from eating gluten. She has a ton of health issues some of which I am sure are due to her not eating a gluten free diet and others that probably wouldn't be as bad if she didn't.

    It has gotten to the point that I have told her until she goes gluten free she can't complain about all of her ailments to me. This has been somewhat effective in that she has started eating some gluten free items much of the time but I've told her it's an all or nothing thing.
  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    One time? My sister called. I haven't been picking up for her because I don't want the drama. But my mother is there in that other state with my sister.


    So my sister called, saying in very hushed, agonized tones followed by an exasperated sigh, that I needed to call her. I thought my mother may have died or had a stroke or some other dire thing. It turned out to be none of those things. My sister said (I did call her back on that one, of course) that as Mom is getting older, slower, more frail, we should all go and vacation together on a South Carolina beach where a friend of hers has a house we can rent.

    My point (and I do have one, as Ellen says) is that threat of death, though it is a reality and should not be toyed with, is sometimes used to blackmail and manipulate and leave us feeling guilty.

    I am surprised my sister would have taken it to that level. Is nothing sacred with these people?

    The exchange did upset me. I did wonder more about them, and about who my choices regarding them makes me, and about whether I should rejoin the fold there or what.

    How extraordinary.

    Finally I was able to see the game in it.

    Hurtful stuff. There was strength for me in really seeing the family dynamic for what it is, and in contrasting that with what it might have meant to me to have come to maturity in a more balanced environment.

    It always surprises me, once I see undeniable evidence of the sickness at the core of a thing.

    It leaves me feeling very lonely, as I think it will never change. Still, I have seen too much to go back to believing it is anything but what it undeniably is.

    So that's okay, then. It is better, so much better, to know.


    P.S. So did they keep the mother?

    I love your new avatar.

  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have an uncle who uses his diabetes for drama and attention. He is a real diaper wipe about it, too. When he was first diagnosed the whole family did what we could to help. I even made a couple of late night food runs when a coworker messed with his food as a 'prank' or they had a company catered meal that he could not eat for some reason. He worked nights, so it was always very late at night when this happened.

    Lately not a single one of us, other than his wife, will even listen to his dramabetes ramblings. He gets SOOO perplexed when we either don't respond and just stare blankly at him or else we talk about something totally different and in NO way related to him. He flat out refuses to take care of his disease or to avoid or balance the amount of sugars he has. My mother used to not have dessert when he visited, but he would then go out after every dinner and most lunches and get a king size candy bar or a large cinnamon roll or a half dozen cookies. Every. Single. Time. Then he would whine about his blood sugar.

    I would let her diabetes be HER issue. Unless you are solely responsible for her diet, it just isn't your problem. You cannot control what goes in her mouth, but you do not have to reward irresponsible behavior by allowing her to manipulate you with it.
  8. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I think I knew, when my first child was born, 30 years ago, that I now had a new family and was maybe at a crossroads. I like your choice of words "rejoin the fold". It has shades of almost religious obligations about it. I tried with her again then. The new grandmother. It didn't work. Self-obsession doesn't ride well with young grandchildren, they're too full of their own self-obsession at that age and most of her antics went straight over their heads, so they weren't much use to her as an audience.

    So she stopped bothering with them.
    She wouldn't know my troubled son if she walked past him in the street, even if he'd had a wash and shave and cut his hair. She wouldn't know any of them. Her choice.

    I tried again when I adopted my youngest step-daughter ten years ago after she made a big fuss about being interested, but stopped taking her to my mother's house completely around two years ago. What 8 year old should have to listen to her step-grandmother's wailing self-pity, groans and tales of how she'll be 'dead soon'. It's abusive.

    I've been listening to that myself for more than 50 years (and she's still here).

    It's a game.
    It's a personality disorder.
    She still doesn't get that I don't play the game anymore. Still.

    Her 'boyfriend' phoned me last night. Late. They kept her in but she's stable now, but she has to stick to a sensible diet. I told him that neither he nor I could forcefeed her. He made a big fuss about giving me the direct phone number to the diabetes* team so that I could get all the information about my mother and what I could do to help.

    I didn't write it down.

    (I'm glad you like the avatar, owls figure quite prominently in my life, fantastic birds.)

    *now permanently renamed 'dramabetes'
    (see Susiestar's post)
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  9. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Brilliant post Susie. Thanks so much. He sounds exactly the same as my mother. Great to read, but sorry you're having to put up with this bulls**t too.
  10. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member


    I'm going to tell my brother about this new word. He'll love it!
  11. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    My mother has dramabetes. She drives me nuts with it. For years I jumped through hoops to help and explain. She is bipolar schizophrenic so everything I said was then part of a plot to be mean to her. Of course all this while she orders a loaf of bread and desert first.

    Her newest drama is to tell me about an aunt who is a real pita. The aunt is dying and her daughter doesn't have much to do with her. My mom pulls out the "you know how kids these days just aren't there for their parents anymore." I don't take the bait though. I just remind her how the aunt brought this on herself by being extremely difficult and marrying a drunk who gets mean. The daughter has had more than enough to put up with and I wouldn't blame her if she washed her hands of it. I certainly had to with my mom and I don't plan to increase my contact anytime soon.
  12. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Oh dstc. We're kindred spirits!

    My mother also has a collection of "So good to me people". - You know, all those people who are so good to her (i.e. taken in by her self pity and able to be manipulated).

    "Blah blah 1 is so good to me", "blah blah 2 is so good to me", "It's a good job I have blah blah 3 to ask after me otherwise I'd probably be dead by now".

    Her point of course being that I'm definitely not a 'so-good-to-me-person' - I'm the evil neglectful daughter (as described in the weekly bulletins to her so-good-to-me-people).
  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Isn't that something, the way they do that.

    It is always about someone else being so perfectly the person we should be to them. Everything is always all about the way they see it.

    But we are not here for them to use until there is nothing left. I do not see the win for them, the thing that makes what they do worth it, but there must be one.

    You are neither evil nor neglectful.

    You are a rebel.

    Those words you have been able to ferret out can become a way for you to know how it has been for you all of your life. If you trace it back, once you have the words (evil and neglectful, in this case) you can nurture and set yourself free of the psychic burden you have probably been carrying, and of the accusations you may have been leveling at yourself for years, down in the sub-conscious realms.

    That is what happens, for me.

    It surprises me how strong those old ties really do bind.

    I love dramabetes.

  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, it's just more guiltitis. Let's face it, everywhere we look we are bombarded with how we *SHOULD* be doing this and that for our family of origin, even if that person abused us. I know adult kids who were sexually abused by Dad who tended to him to the last.

    Heck, when I worked at HeadSTart, you talk to the bus driver a lot when you are an aid. Nobody else is t here in between the kids. One driver told me how her father beat up everyone, including her mom and her. She was the only child who didn't drop out of school and leave home and there were eight of them. Guess what? Now whenever he has a hangnail, this woman runs to his bedside. When he was finally diagnosed with brain cancer she was bawling and had to go home. She had also claimed sexual abuse, I believe, but not sure. Whatever...she did tell me about her horrible chldhood in detail. I think some of the other sibls were at his beck and call too and very distraught that he was going to die.

    I don't get it. I will never get it. "Well, he's my father." No, he's your sperm donor and maggots can make babies. A father loves you, cares for you, protects you, teaches you about life...he does not beat you.

    I will never understand it.

    Lucy, detach, detach, detach. When elderly adults turn into children again, and I'm not talking about Alzheimers, I mean acting like little kids to get attention, it is such a turnoff. I'm not young myself and unless I do have dementia I will never do that to my children. It's the absolute worst.
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    You know what I think it is?

    Just as there can be a genetic precursor for sociopathy or addiction, there must also be a genetic precursor for whatever it is that we are. The other side of who it looks like I must be is that I don't have driving ambition. That is not a good thing. I never seem to know what I want. I just want everything to smell good and look nice, and for all of us to be happy.

    If something bad happens, I want to be prepared to help. I am no longer practicing, but I periodically review CPR skills and so on, just in case. (For instance, did you know the correct rhythm for chest compression is the beat for the disco song "Staying Alive"? And that rescue breaths are no longer necessary, as long as we keep the blood circulating? Too many people were ignoring the situation altogether because rescue breathing exposes us to disease.)

    Anyway, I think about stuff like that.

    But I wonder how it must be, to have that drive for success, and to have attaining the thing be enough in itself.

    I am not good at garage sales.

    I am not good at asking for raises.

    I am not a sales person in any sense whatsoever. I just don't have the touch for it.

    That is a piece of what sociopathic people have. They want what they want and there are no barriers. (Like whether someone else is feeling happy, or whether we can make a difference for the 88 year old neighbor or for the neighbor who lost a wife and so on.)

    That stuff makes me happy.

    husband and I are going back and forth on boundaries, for our marriage, from the things our neighbors may need.

    So, I am thinking this morning that maybe these kinds of behaviors are genetic, too.

    Speaking of which, where has 2much2recover been, does anyone know?

    We have not heard so much from our 2much, lately.


    My mom likes to play one of her children off against the other, as far as who can outdo the other one for my mother's sake.

    She likes to talk about our "jealousy" of one another over her. Specifically, she was talking about my jealousy, and my sister's, of one another as we tried to outdo each other for my mother's...attention? For my mother's feeling cherished and protected, maybe? For her approval ~ that part I understand. I don't get why there could only be enough approval for one child, or why whatever one child does for her would be diminished by something another child might do.

    The dynamic there is something like that.

    I mean, it is our mutual mother. It would make sense that the happier and more cherished and cared for she feels, all of us should be happier, should feel so fortunate, too.

    But that is not how it seems to be working. It has to do with their black and white thinking, maybe.

    The thing it had in common with the way your mom has you feeling was that my mom's point of view was so single-mindedly offensive. Like, whatever is done, is only done to out do and demean a sibling. A thing could not be done out of love for the mother.

    Maybe they do not see the world in terms of love at all, because they do not see the way we see?

    And we could be the wrong ones, the ones always hoping to make our environments work the way they seem so close to working.

    I don't know any of those answers. I do know I certainly have felt foolish or downright nakedly stupid and ugly in the heart of me when I see myself as my mother sees me.

    So, I don't know how to see me, and that will have to be enough.

    And that is why I am thinking about boundary issues lately, I suppose.

    Maybe I am getting a boundary.

    So my family of origin had best look out.


  16. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    That made me smile Cedar. It sounds exactly like my eldest daughter. She's a nurse, but would rather be a flower fairy I think. :)

    It's not a negative think to be like that. It's lovely. It's a shame my son doesn't smell good or look nice - that made me laugh to think how extremely opposite my eldest son and eldest daughter are!

    My brother and I used to get regular phone calls from my mother - he would get a phone call telling him how dreadful I was and then I would get a phone call telling me how dreadful my brother was. It was strange really, as if she thought that my brother and I never spoke to each other. Bizarre behaviour. It was certainly a case of trying to play one of us off against the other. I still have no understanding of her motives.

    Like I said - bizarre behaviour.


    Lucy x
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Cedar and Lucy, I think our Difficult Child (some of whom are mothers, fathers, aunts, sisters too etc.) know how to cause trouble, but there is a spectrum of insight within this group of people. Some have tremendous insight and can steal money from under you (I wonder where 2Much is too. She has such good insight herself). On the other end of the spectrum is the non-perceptive borderline/narcissistic/antisocial. They try to cause trouble, but fail because they don't think of all the angles.

    "If I tell Lucy about Brother...she may tell him. Maybe I should just tell Brother how horrible Lucy is...and see if I can get anywhere because the last thing I want is them finding me out."

    Lower functioning: 'Tee hee. I'll turn Lucy against Brother and Brother against Lucy by saying bad things about them to each other."

    My mother did a GREAT job of turning my family against me.

    Your mother is not doing a great job of her dirty deeds. Consider yourself blessed that she is clueless.

    Cedar, I dealt with my family like you, yet not like you. I was very negative myself and just wanted out, but not before I tried...not before I got Mom to be nice to Sis and not focus only only her Boyfriend like a stupid teenager and I wanted to get Mom to be nice. Instead she turned on me big time and so did Sis. I saw the truth of my family though. I didn't fool myself. I just didn't have it all figured out. I did not know I was the scape goat and I cared too much what these people thought. "You're selfish." I was and am many things, some good, some bad, some neutral. Selfish is not one of them. It never was. Yet everyone in my family of origin said I was. I knew I wasn't, which drove me crazy. If they wanted to harp on a negative trait of mine, why didn't they pick a trait that was really ME?

    Don't let the crazy drive you crazy.

  18. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    nlj, Im sorry your mom is this way, I understand. I hope things are going smoother for you and your having a great day so far today. Plus, some people Im learning will never get it, some people will only have concern for themselves or how they think things should be. And all this Im learning from this board!!!!! Hugs
  19. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Haha :)