Senior citizen mom unbalanced

RD991April 28, 2012


This is my first post on this forum so I apologize for any etiquette I may breach.

I really need some advice on how to deal with my senior citizen mom. She is a 64 year old retired single woman. Geez it's hard to know where to even start.

I guess I will start with today. My mom says things that are so completely inappropriate and hurtful. Today was my grand daughters 3 year old birthday. We had her party at my house with my family including my mom. We had a pinata for my 3 year old grand daughter. She didn't know to pick up the candy off the ground. She picked up one candy and was opening it to eat it instead of stuffing her bag with candy like the other kids were doing. My mom popped off and yelled at her to pick up the candy and when my grand daughter wouldn't do it my mom called her 'retarded'. In front of everyone!

I quickly turned to look at my mom and said "don't call her that!" (I have to admit that at that very moment even though my blood was boiling, I felt a tinge of pride in myself).

Maybe I'm too passive but this is the first time I've talked to my mom this way. I am at my wits end with her inappropriate words. I was proud of myself to stand up for my grand daughter. It didn't seem to phase my mom at all.

This isn't the first time she has done things like this. I've wanted to tell her this is why people don't want to be around her. But how? Hell I don't even want to be around her.

I will add a bit of history. I was estranged from my mom for several years. Only visiting her on holidays. She can be very controlling and the only way I could have my own life was to stay away from her completely. She came back into my life on a regular basis about 3 years ago. I really needed help at the time. I was disabled and had lost my job of 18 years. My car broke down and my retirement savings was dwindling to nothing. She helped me to get back on my feet. At the time I didn't mind that she was so willing to help. I see it now as her opportunity to control me. So much so that when I was finally able to buy a car she refused to take me car shopping because it meant I wouldn't need her for rides anymore.

So fast forward a bit. I am employed. I have a wonderful boyfriend who I live with. I have a cozy home with everything I could need. I have a car. I'm independent again. I have helped her over the past 2 years. I feel a bit obligated since she helped me so much to get re-established. I guess what I'm saying is.. Is it enough already?

I've considered becoming estranged to her again just for the sake of my sanity. If I tell her when she is being inappropriate it will hurt her. If I stay away from her it will hurt her. Which is the lesser of two? How do you tell your 64 year old mom to shut her mouth and mind her own business?

p.s I could write about 20 more incidents similar to this one in which she spouted off something that made everyone's mouths drop. Just to say this is not an isolated incident.

Thanks in advance to any advice offered,


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

IMO you really need to sit down with her and ask- does she want a relationship with you or not? Tell her she is speaking inappropriately and needs to temper her words, or you (and others) will end up avoiding her again. No one should feel they have to be around toxic people out of some misguided loyalty. To me it would be less hurtful to at least tell her she is endangering your relationship and give her the option of changing, than just avoiding her with no explanation.
Age is no excuse for poor behaviour.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

64 isn't very old...."senior", ok....but that doesn't excuse what you've described.

She stepped up for you when you were in trouble and that deserves consideration, certainly. However, the bit with your child trumps. I don't care how much of your bacon she saved, she doesn't get to dump on the child as you described. Screeching stop on-the-spot. You were right to call her on it. You should follow up in private and get this straight.

Agree with colleenoz....time to get this straight face-to-face. At sixty four, she's likely to be with you for a while so you really should get on top of this. Keying on the help she gave you when you were down, you KNOW there's some goodness in there. Work with it....or at least make the attempt. The boundary line is the child. You can endure the stupidness if you have to, but the child should be protected. If nothing else, she needs to understand that boundary absolutely.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 2:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You just need to tell her.

You don't need to be mean about it.

Something like "when you say those things you upset people, me " "It would be better if you spoke in a respectful way".

She is not that old, she can change her ways, anyone can improve their behavior.

She sounds like a bully - we have laws about that where I live, when people act like that in the work place. It should not be something we do at home either.

You sound like you have had enough, don't be a doormat anymore.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 2:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am sorry that she said that to your daughter. There is no excuse for it. However, I live with my dad and, at times, he says things that are inappropriate. When I discuss this with him, I find out that what he said was how he was talked to as a child. Sometimes that is all it takes is to help someone realize that it was inappropriate then and you are sorry they were talked to in that way and that there was noone to protect them, but you will not tolerate it for your daughter and will protect her at all costs, even if it means she can no longer be around Grandma. Not a threat, just putting the words in the correct place.
Your Mom is not unbalanced, she has probably experienced similar treatment as a child and was too young to know it was not acceptable. I do hope this can be worked out between you and your Mom. I am on your side with this one.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You sound like a very compassionate lady. But being as disrespectful as your mother has been to you and your family is where I would draw the line, RD991.

Seems to me that she was jealous of the attention your grandchild was getting and she was having a tantrum. Her kindness and generous help during your time of need cannot be an excuse to hold onto you now.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 9:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"My mom popped off and yelled at her to pick up the candy and when my grand daughter wouldn't do it my mom called her 'retarded'. In front of everyone!"

Calling a child or grandchild 'retarded' is completely unacceptable under ANY circumstances.

"I've considered becoming estranged to her again just for the sake of my sanity. If I tell her when she is being inappropriate it will hurt her. If I stay away from her it will hurt her."

Is it possible to limit your visits with her but not completely eliminate her from your life?

Keep a journal. Write down what you have written here. When she has gone over the line yet again, and you feel the need to put distance between you, perhaps you can send her a copy of the list of 'reasons' why you have to limit the time you spend together.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 10:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well I wanted to follow up on this.

We had a cook out this weekend with my mom, my kids and my grandkids. My mom yet again said things that were hurtful and inappropriate. My grandsons were being typical little boys and burping back and forth after they had drank some soda. It didn't really bother me. heck I didn't even notice it until my mom told them to go out in the back yard with the dogs if they are going to act like animals.

I took my grandsons outside to play catch to get them away from her. I told my husband about it. He said "so boys were being boys and she gets rude again." That was when it hit me. She's an old grumpy woman being an old grumpy woman.

I wish she would get help but that realization gave me some strength to deal with her.

Someone said that 64 isn't a very old senior citizen. But I fully believe she may be showing signs of alzheimer's and dementia. Her filter for what is appropriate is diminishing. I just hope I can some how convince her to go to the doctor for this.

Thanks to everyone for your advice.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm sorry, but this description of behavior that you're keying on isn't in the same category as that of your first post.

i don't know ages or circumstances or anything from what you wrote. What I'm left with is the idea of you maybe teeing off on not much in this case. It seems to me like maybe your looking for stuff, now. Are you sure you're not?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 11:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry, but I'm a lot younger than your Mom and I'd have said something too, though possibly not as harshly. Burping games are not appropriate- it may be "boys being boys" but the boys need to be told that nice people do not behave like this and we won't do it any more, will we?
This is how you raise successful adults, by telling them what standards of behaviour are expected, they don't magically change their behaviour at 18 just because now they're an adult. It may not have bothered you but it had the potential to bother others (and clearly bothered your mother).

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 11:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

To Asolo...

Not looking for it. It just comes out of her often out of no where. Recently my aunt called me to inform me of more of my mom's outbursts. So it's not just me that is seeing this behavior. She will be helping me to convince my mom to see a doctor.

To Colleenoz

My grandsons are 5 and 3. Boys burp, play in the mud and bruise their knees. I'm not going to make them sit on their hands and act like angels. I'd rather they be goofy kids having fun.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 9:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not suggesting you try to make them sit on their hands and act like angels, and I'm all for goofiness. But burping games are just bad manners, and irritating for those not participating.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would also tell my kids off for burping on purpose in public,but i dont know what cook out is,was it at home?if so i wouldnt be so bothered,but you say you think she might have demtentia but then you already said she as always been like this,if it were my mother calling my grandchild a retard i would hit the roof and i wouldnt be worried about hurting her feelings,i would be totally honest and tell her what a bitter old cow she is,but like others say she isnt really old so she just seems nasty to me ,maybe icedtea hit the nail on the head,but its no excuse ,my mother is 60 and worships my kids ,call them a retard and she wouldnt be seeing them for a very long time.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 5:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your mom sounds like my ex husband - expecting too much of a toddler. Of course a 3 year old stopped to eat one piece of candy. A 3 year old would not know what to do with a pinata.

Ex called our kids Retarded every time they did something age appropriate. We are divorced now, and the kids live in an atmosphere of love and acceptance. My regret is not divorcing him sooner.

Don't let your mom talk to a toddler like that. Get that sweet baby away from her NOW.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 7:19PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Normal Behaviour?
I'll keep this short... is it normal that 10 year olds...
New cervical cancer vaccine - You & Your Daughter
My 16 yr old daughter & I are in the process of...
Teacher won't answer my question
This is pretty straightforward. My daughters' teacher...
I don't trust future son-in-law, what should I do?
My daughter is old enough to be his mother. I have...
mothers estranged from adult children
Hi Ladies. I'm new here and there was a post at the...
Sponsored Products
Riedel Amadeo Wine Decanter
$359.95 | FRONTGATE
Tierra Garden Raised Planter Box - 4427 - 2.5 x 2.5 ft. - 4427
$199.99 | Hayneedle
Pillow for Reversible Plaid Bolster Bed Dog Bed
$29.50 | FRONTGATE
Pleated 84-inch Blackout Curtain Pair
Skid-resistant AirDrop Tufted Bath Rug
$24.50 | FRONTGATE
iTouchless White Elongated Touch-Free Sensor Controlled Automatic Toilet Seat -
$116.67 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™