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I need some help dealing with my critical mother

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My mother likes to 'help' people she's close to by pointing out what she thinks they are doing wrong. When I was a kid whenever I was feeling confused or upset, instead of consoling me she'd explain why I was to blame for my predicament. She wouldn't yell, just calmly criticize. It used to hurt me a lot when I was younger, and I had long periods where I wasn't around her. But after much therapy, personal work, meditation, etc... I began to be able to be around her a little more easily. 

 

But now that I have kids it's like going back to square one. Having children gives her more fuel for criticism, and they are so close to my heart that I can't protect myself from  her comments about them, and how I am as a parent. She criticizes my children and my parenting a lot and my response is to snap at her.

 

This evening my kids were over tired (because she kept them up too late), and while they both were crying, she was telling me - and them - what was problematic in their behavior. My daughter is slow going places and doesn't always follow directions the first time asked, so she had to yell at her, which made my daughter cry. My son was crying loudly because he wanted to sit on my lap and fall asleep, but couldn't because I was standing up (listening to how my daughter was not following directions, and also listening to my daughter crying loudly). And then when his crying wasn't getting him what he wanted, he hit the back of my leg to get my attention. Honestly, I was so overwhelmed with the late hour, listening to my mother, dealing with both kids crying, that I didn't even notice he hit me until my mother said, 'He just hit you! You allow that!?' So I snapped, 'Can you just go now!' and sent her home. The words just fell out of my mouth. All I know about non-violent communication flew out the window; and I don't regret sending her home, but I do regret being so harsh about it.

 

In my head I know this is all age typical stuff. My kids act like typical preschoolers when they are overtired, my mother acts like a typical older person who has forgotten what over tired young children are like. 

 

But in my heart, I'm just furious. I constantly wish I had one of those mothers who could be supportive. Who would reassure me when my over-tired kids act like over-tired kids that I'm doing OK, or help soothe them when they're both crying, or at least go away to let me soothe them, rather than stay and criticize. Especially now when I have so much other stress in my life, and being a SAHM/WAHM makes it really hard to cultivate other nurturing, supportive friendships. 

 

How do you deal with criticism of your children and your parenting? Or a parent who isn't who you want them to be?

 

post #2 of 6

http://www.amazon.com/Toxic-Parents-Susan-Forward/dp/0553814826  Very, very helpful about defining situations and setting boundaries.

 

By the way, nobody "has to" yell at anyone; it sounds as though your wording reflects your mother's attitude more than your own.  Your mother was way out of line on this one, especially if she feels she has the right to treat her grandchild that way.

 

Read Toxic Parents.  Sincerely.  If you can't get your hands on the book, then search for online resources regarding the material.  Some of your other posts make me suggest you consider keeping your internet activity private.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaMadly View Post

http://www.amazon.com/Toxic-Parents-Susan-Forward/dp/0553814826  Very, very helpful about defining situations and setting boundaries.

 

By the way, nobody "has to" yell at anyone; it sounds as though your wording reflects your mother's attitude more than your own.  Your mother was way out of line on this one, especially if she feels she has the right to treat her grandchild that way.

 

Read Toxic Parents.  Sincerely.  If you can't get your hands on the book, then search for online resources regarding the material.  Some of your other posts make me suggest you consider keeping your internet activity private.


Yes, those are my mother's words. I do sometimes yell at my kids, but my attitude is totally different. I never consider it something I 'have to' do because of their behavior, but something that I did because of my own lack of ability to deal with the situation differently.  Although it happens, and probably happens to some degree in every family, I never consider it appropriate or acceptable like my mother does.

 

Thanks for the book recommendation, I'm definitely going to have a look at it.

post #4 of 6

I can't help with your mother situation, because I've snapped at my own mother when she has been overly critical. But, I wanted to send you a HUGE hug, because I am also a SAHM-WAHM!

It is sooooooo difficult, and I feel for you. Talk about stressful!! And nobody really understands what you are going through, do they? It can be so overwhelming and isolating at times, and then to top it all off, you have added stress from a critical mom. Been there! So, even if I can't help, please know that I feel for you, and I hope you find some kind of peace in the days ahead. Time for yourself, if such a thing exists lol!

 

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeckyBird View Post

I can't help with your mother situation, because I've snapped at my own mother when she has been overly critical. But, I wanted to send you a HUGE hug, because I am also a SAHM-WAHM!

It is sooooooo difficult, and I feel for you. Talk about stressful!! And nobody really understands what you are going through, do they? It can be so overwhelming and isolating at times, and then to top it all off, you have added stress from a critical mom. Been there! So, even if I can't help, please know that I feel for you, and I hope you find some kind of peace in the days ahead. Time for yourself, if such a thing exists lol!

 


Thanks for the support and understanding. I'm sending a virtual hug back.

 

I only stayed with my mother for a few days after Christmas and it has taken me twice that long to recover.

 

She's not critical all the time, but almost always in situations in which the appropriate response would be offer help and support. So it's a double edge, no help and support along with criticism.

 

While we were there my daughter was playing with her cousins and somehow got excluded from the game. So she cried. She just turned five, all she needed was some TLC and guidance in figuring out how to get back involved. But my mother's response was to call me and come get her. When I got there my mother was completely exasperated saying she had no idea why my daughter was crying (though she hadn't asked) and was treating it as a disciplinary matter, her crying was seen and treated as bad behavior. That hurt my heart as much as my mother's criticism of me. 

 

 

post #6 of 6

It is so amazing to me how old wounds that you thought were healed can reopen when your kids are involved.  My mother is not critical, but she can never follow through on anything and makes a lot of really bad life choices.

 

She promised my kids a quilt in the fall of 2010 (for xmas that year).  She still hasn't finished them and my kids ask her all the damn time about it.  It breaks my heart thinking about how she failed me during my childhood and then it breaks again thinking that she could affect my kids in the same way. 

 

Parental relationships are THE HARDEST.  I think the only solution is to set solid boundaries.  I have started keeping my distance because it feels so awful to be disappointed all the time.  I would gently suggest you do the same.  Set your boundaries, however you need to.  Maybe, for you, that means kicking her out when she acts like that, or speaking up and asking her to hold her tongue.  If you have already thought about how you will deal with her when she acts out, then perhaps you can be calmer in the moment.

 

 

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