Needing to vent about family cluttering up my house with shit they think I need.. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 09-21-2013, 02:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know MDC is not a replacement for therapy (and to be fair I am on a waiting list with my therapist), but I really feel the need to vent. I've had a migraine for 3 days now, no doubt from stress and I need to put a stop to it.

 

I have a mother, you see, who is kind and loving.. but also a major guilt tripper. To get a better idea of what she's like, here are some examples.

 

-She once told me that she stayed together with my dad and put up with all his crap so that we could have a stable home AKA "make sure you know how much I sacrificed for you"

 

-She bought dresses for my 2 dd's the other day. The same dress that I had purchased for my oldest DD (because it was her birthday and I think it's nice to have a special birthday outfit). My mom said "I couldn't stand watching your other two DD's looking at their sister in awe and wondering why they didn't get anything". FTR, my DD's know that their eldest sister has very little clothing that currently fits her anyway, due to a growth spurt. PLUS they've got a massive selection of beautiful dresses to choose from that no longer fit their older sister. I was so annoyed that my mom would do this, then I told myself that perhaps *I* have the problem here - My mom is being generous and wanting the children to have the same as one another and here I am being a grinch about it all.

 

-She leaves her clothes at my house (she stays overnight), which is fine if they are actual clothes that she will RE-USE/RE-WEAR when she comes back. But no, they aren't. She also gives me old clothes of hers that she no longer wishes to wear but will look so beautiful and come in handy for me! They sit in my f**king cupboard taking up what very little space we already have. I tell her to take some home because they are not serving a purpose here and she says "Oh no, you keep them here. They will come in handy one day". They have never come in handy. And I've never worn any of her old clothes. 

Sometimes I think I'm being an ungrateful turd because they are perfectly good clothes.. but they look so awful on me. I look 20 years my senior when I wear them. 

 

-She gave me a bowl of my grandmothers that I've never used in 8 years of having it in my possession. She said to keep it for memory. I told her to take it back and she said it would be nice for me to keep it for memory purposes. I wanted to slap myself. Again, I think what's the deal, just keep the stupid bowl. It's one bowl and not going to kill anyone, but that's not the point. 

 

-She gave me her 30 year old double bed frame and insisted I keep it for the kids. When I told her I refused to do that, she said that's fine, just keep it for me for when I come over to stay. WHAT? I'm not erecting this bed and having it take up almost all of the toy/school room area so that you can sleep on your preferred bed once every 2 weeks! 

 

-She was trying to convince me to take her old couches so that she could have a very valid reason for buying new couches that match her latest decor. She told me she was aching to change the coloring of her furniture and decor and the only way to do it was to buy new couches. Her old couches are only a year old and in beautiful condition, but they are too big for my lounge. I whipped out the measuring tape when she was here and explained in great detail WHY they would not fit here. Then she got all offended and said "Well I was just trying to save you money!" So again, I felt like such an ungrateful ass. 

 

Whenever she see's something of mine that either dh or I purchased, is now old and ratty, she says give/throw it away.. but if it's something of hers that is ratty and utterly useless to me, she says to keep it - that it will come in handy one day - or think of a use for me on my behalf. Everything of hers that she hands down is precious and too good to be thrown out (regardless of if I can use it or not), but anything else in my house that no longer has a use for whatever reason, deserves to be going in the bin. 

 

I could go on.. but I'll stop in the name of sanity. 

 

She is not a bad person and is quite generous in general. She is just stuck in her own fantasy about how things should be. I can't partake in her fantasy anymore and I don't know what to do. I've tried to set boundaries and I've tried to gently hint but it's not improving the situation.

 

I'm in the midst of decluttering right now. I'm tired, facing decision fatigue and all over just pissed off at having to constantly deal with my mom's requests for keeping stuff here.  I have so much resentment, that I want to throw out every thing she has given me in rebellion.. but I can't bring myself to do it. I feel very ungrateful considering there are people out there who would love for family members to be generous with them and I feel guilty - kind of like I'm throwing my mom's love away. She has always showed her love through stuff. She loves abundance and I swear every visit there is something new to me in that bag that she brings with her.. Something that I need to store or use. Or something that I'm trying to give up eating or stop the kids from eating (like gluten laden foods). 

 

I love her and don't want to cut her from our lives at all, but I want to get the message across that I love HER, not her stuff. And getting rid of her stuff doesn't mean I don't appreciate her. I could care less about the stuff. I've told her this before, but she laughs it off at first and then later gets upset. 

 

Sometimes I even wonder if she gets upset because she wants me to be like her.. She wants me to appreciate the same things, want the same things, act the same way etc. It's the only explanation that makes sense to me right now. 

 

Anyone else the child of a mother who is like this? How do you deal with the guilt tripping? I am over the stress and anxiety keeping all this stuff around has caused me, but at the same time, I feel awful for parting with any of it. 


 

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#2 of 21 Old 09-21-2013, 09:40 AM
 
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There's a quote over on Mother-in-Law Stories: "If you don't want it, they're not doing it for you, they're doing it to you."

This is not generosity. It's not something to be grateful for. I'd say that it's your mother is using you and your home to allow her to do excessive shopping without any consequences to her home. Instead, she transfers the consequences to your home. It's sort of as if she gets to eat a lot of cupcakes, but you get fat, or she drinks a lot of cocktails and enjoys the happy woozy stage, and you get the hangover.

I don't know how you can bring yourself to get rid of the stuff, but I can say that it would be the right thing to do, and not the least bit ungrateful, because this is a situation where gratitude is not applicable.
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#3 of 21 Old 09-21-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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Not as easily done as said I know, but if you have told her you do not want something and she still insisted on you taking it, then I think you have zero obligation to keep it. If it is a family heirloom I think maybe just take it back and leave it there if you can. Otherwise, all those old clothes and stuff I wouldn't say another word to her about them, just haul them to goodwill. 

 

I have no idea about the gifting... it is frustrating because I see it from both sides of the family, no money, racking up credit on lots of cheap junk that is broken or torn up within a month and we don't need or have the room for any of it. And the everyone has to have an equal amount of stuff too. Grr.  I'd much rather my kids were given one small, nice thing that is going to last or even spending a fun day together, but no amount of suggestions change anything.

 

So...I can't change them, only myself, so trying again this year to choose to NOT feel guilty about passing along gifts we don't need.


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#4 of 21 Old 09-21-2013, 12:35 PM
 
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If you and your family don't want it / need it, ect, get rid of it.  Donate it; pass it on to a friend, ect.  If she refuses to take her clothes back, tell her you will be donating those as well.  It is YOUR home and you are not a storage space!  As for feeling guilty, don't.  She's not being generous if you don't want it!

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#5 of 21 Old 09-21-2013, 11:42 PM
 
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My mom does this. I finally made a rule: if we accept a gift, we have to get rid of something to make room. I also make it clear that we sort the clothes she gives us with a pile for giveaway. Once, I told her that we didn't have space for one of her gifts and if I took it home, it was going in the dumpster. She kept it at her house. You have to be firm and consistent. My mom has cried to me that I'm not grateful for what she gets us. I told her Wed prefer time and experiences to clutter. She also gets disappointed that the kids always love the one thoughtful gift from us but are wholehearted over the dozen gifts from her. Slow lessons.

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#6 of 21 Old 09-22-2013, 02:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for being the voices of reason! I need to let go of my guilt but it's hard because it's now a default setting for me. She spent motherhood guilt tripping us into being good abiding little girls and probably has high hopes that it will continue to work into adulthood. I even heard her once say to my DD that "grammy was going home because she wasn't listening to her and being a good girl". Good grief. I had to intervene and said "Grammy doesn't mean that, of course she won't go, but can you please listen to what she's asking of you?". That was not the last time I heard her using that "threat". Ugh. She did that to me several times growing up as well. I still have anxiety issues with love withdrawal well into adulthood.

 

I digress. I think I will get rid of the clothes after all. Even looking at it is causing resentment and I should not have to feel that way in my own home. It's meant to be a refuge from this sort of stuff and it's not.

 

Crayfish, I've said it before and I'll say it again - You are amazing. Your insights are almost always spot on in every thread you've contributed to here on D, O & S. You are absolutely right - She is reaping the benefits/thrill of shopping and I'm suffering the consequences of her "high". She at times has even invited people to my home on my behalf (without me knowing until the day) simply because she did not want to host them at her house (she told me so herself). This is when she stays over. She doesn't invite people that I dislike or are of questionable character, but it's still my home and DH's home! I don't even know how he feels about any of this.

 

wolfcat, I'm sorry you are going through similar circumstances, but you seem to have a grip on the issue. As you said, slow lessons.

 

starsmagick, you are absolutely right! I shall start with the clothes and do just that. 

 

fruitfulmomma, so sorry that you are also going through this! I totally agree on having one well thought out gift rather than several mediocre gifts. To be fair, my mom always asks me what the kids want so that she can source exactly that, but she buys little gifts in between and of course everyone has to have the same gift even if it's not their birthday. It borders on ridiculous. However, those gifts do not bug me nearly as much as the hand me downs that I did not ask for nor do I want to keep (bed, clothing, fruit bowl etc). And then the absolute expectation that I must keep them because they're handy/valuable. 

I'm so glad that you are moving forward from feeling guilty. I hope I can be there soon, too. 


 

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#7 of 21 Old 09-25-2013, 12:10 PM
 
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We have a saying about one of my Aunts, "She'd give you the shirt off her back...and tell you how to wear it!" Generosity is not forcing and guilting others (especially children) into becoming the storage space for stuff you can't bear to part with but don't want to keep in your own house. If she was just offering you stuff with no expectation of you saying yes or no, that would be generous, but no she is offering and if you even hint at no, lays on a nice thick guilt trip. Bleh! Don't feel bad about getting rid of anything you can't use. If it were me, I'd probably give her a week or two notice and say "Hey, I'm donating X, Y, & Z as I don't have room to keep it anymore. If you want to keep it at your place, pick it up by next Tuesday or it's gone." because I wouldn't want her laying another guilt trip when she finds out stuff is gone. I'm sure she'll try to lay a guilt trip when you tell her this, so I'd do it over e-mail (or phone if she doesn't e-mail), so that you can cut the conversation short as needed.

The dresses in a vacuum I wouldn't worry about, but with all this other stuff going on, yeah it's manipulative even if she's not consciously doing it. The rest of the stuff is annoying to rage making and I can definitely understand why you are upset.

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#8 of 21 Old 09-30-2013, 09:18 PM
 
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Some info that might prove really helpful--

 

http://parrishmiller.com/narcissists.html

 

It sums up a lot of my thoughts on moms like this

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#9 of 21 Old 10-13-2013, 02:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quinalla, you're right and because of the wonderful encouragement I've received in this thread, I now have enough balls to say no to this madness. I refuse for my home to be a storage space for other people's "prized" but no longer wanted possessions (no matter how much I love the person). I'm so happy to have started this thread! Ever since I started to get rid of everyone else's lovingly dumped on me stuff, I feel like our home is finally ours. Pretty awesome feeling!

 

lanamommyphd, thanks so much for the link. I read through it and I found myself nodding at so many of the points. Sadly, it really is my mom. :( 


 

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#10 of 21 Old 10-15-2013, 02:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LoveOurBabies View Post
 

Thank you so much for being the voices of reason! I need to let go of my guilt but it's hard because it's now a default setting for me. She spent motherhood guilt tripping us into being good abiding little girls and probably has high hopes that it will continue to work into adulthood. I even heard her once say to my DD that "grammy was going home because she wasn't listening to her and being a good girl". Good grief. I had to intervene and said "Grammy doesn't mean that, of course she won't go, but can you please listen to what she's asking of you?". That was not the last time I heard her using that "threat". Ugh. She did that to me several times growing up as well. I still have anxiety issues with love withdrawal well into adulthood.

 

I digress. I think I will get rid of the clothes after all. Even looking at it is causing resentment and I should not have to feel that way in my own home. It's meant to be a refuge from this sort of stuff and it's not.

 

Crayfish, I've said it before and I'll say it again - You are amazing. Your insights are almost always spot on in every thread you've contributed to here on D, O & S. You are absolutely right - She is reaping the benefits/thrill of shopping and I'm suffering the consequences of her "high". She at times has even invited people to my home on my behalf (without me knowing until the day) simply because she did not want to host them at her house (she told me so herself). This is when she stays over. She doesn't invite people that I dislike or are of questionable character, but it's still my home and DH's home! I don't even know how he feels about any of this.

 

wolfcat, I'm sorry you are going through similar circumstances, but you seem to have a grip on the issue. As you said, slow lessons.

 

starsmagick, you are absolutely right! I shall start with the clothes and do just that. 

 

fruitfulmomma, so sorry that you are also going through this! I totally agree on having one well thought out gift rather than several mediocre gifts. To be fair, my mom always asks me what the kids want so that she can source exactly that, but she buys little gifts in between and of course everyone has to have the same gift even if it's not their birthday. It borders on ridiculous. However, those gifts do not bug me nearly as much as the hand me downs that I did not ask for nor do I want to keep (bed, clothing, fruit bowl etc). And then the absolute expectation that I must keep them because they're handy/valuable. 

I'm so glad that you are moving forward from feeling guilty. I hope I can be there soon, too. 

 

Give yourself permission to smile, get your mother her coat, and say cheerfully "Sorry you have to cut short your visit!  See you next time!"  In other words, there are civil ways to boot her out of the house for trying to manipulate your children.  Or, more appropriately, allow her to leave when she says she's about to do that.


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#11 of 21 Old 10-28-2013, 10:22 AM
 
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http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/ 

 

Also a good site.


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#12 of 21 Old 10-28-2013, 10:41 AM
 
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The articles are great on that site, but stay AWAY from the forums. I've documented numerous incidents of them banning people out of nowhere (myself included). 


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#13 of 21 Old 10-30-2013, 10:26 AM
 
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Can you box up her stuff and sneak into the basement at her home next time you are there?
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#14 of 21 Old 11-03-2013, 01:09 PM
 
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Wow, I could have written so much of your post.  Except my mother has now taken to sneaking into my house to leave things I don't need after telling her several times I don't need anything.  And she gets mad if I give it away.  It frustrates me that she says that she doesn't have the room for these things...her house is the same size as mine and there is only 1 person living there and 4 here. Also, her tastes are way different from mine as she thinks mine is inferior.  Wish I could offer you advice, but I can relate to what you have to deal with.  It's hard when she is so helpful with the kids to get mad at her.

 

MIL also gives us a lot of junk, but most of it is awful dollar store stuff that goes straight in to my donation bag.  She also lives far enough away where we don't see her too often


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#15 of 21 Old 11-04-2013, 05:15 PM
 
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What does she sneak into your house? That is so strange!!
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#16 of 21 Old 11-05-2013, 05:32 AM
 
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I'm very fortunate that my mom doesn't guilt trip but she is forever brings stuff in, trying to be helpful and generous. I had to sit her down and explain: I appreciate all you do for us and everything you bring but you're making my job harder, not easier with all the stuff. I worked and still work very hard to get the house decluttered so I can keep it clean and neat easier. Please stop. If we need anything, you'll be the first to know.
It has helped a lot and I've actually inspired her to declutter too. Granted, she never had her own agenda, she was simply trying to help. Having a conversation like this couldn't hurt though
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#17 of 21 Old 11-05-2013, 01:10 PM
 
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Ha!  She has a key as she looks after my kids a lot, which is nice.  But I'll open cupboards and I'll know some of her dishes have made it over.  3 very large pots that are taking a lot of space are now in drawers I keep tupperwear in.  And once I opened DS#1's closet to see a large pile of blankets and bedsheets(that won't fit any bed in our house) on the floor.


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#18 of 21 Old 11-05-2013, 05:22 PM
 
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That is so silly!! That she stashes them. I wonder if she thinks you won't notice and just start using them?
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#19 of 21 Old 11-05-2013, 05:39 PM
 
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I'd borrow a truck and dump all the unwanted stuff she gave you back at her house. Explain why. You need your home to feel like yours. And change the locks... it disturbs me greatly that she lets herself in when she feels like it. That's a huge boundary issue for me.
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#20 of 21 Old 11-05-2013, 06:09 PM
 
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After years of not being able to have family over (because of stbx) I love my family having their own keys and being able to come in!
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#21 of 21 Old 11-23-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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I am sorry your mom is dumping so much stuff at your house. :Hug

 

Have you ever read the book The Five Love Languages? Maybe her love language is gifts? 

 

If it is and she is showing her love for you by giving you stuff, maybe you can get her to give you usable stuff ( food items, nice soaps, annual garden plants or flowers, etc.) things that get used up and don't take up space in your house forever and ever.

 

That way she can give you things that will get used up, so she feels like she is showing her love. You can use those items up and they are gone. 

 

If she insists on giving you things you don't want, tell her that you are going to donate anything she brings over that you do not want, then do that. She was told, so when you follow through and donate the unwanted items, she can't say you didn't tell her exactly what your were going to do with those unwanted things. 

 

Good luck!

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