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My Mother is Frustrating Me but I Refuse to Let Her See It

November 14th, 2018 at 06:31 pm

My mother keeps making snide remarks to my son. I have told her in the past that if she has issues with something she needs to talk to me and DH about it, not bring DS or DD into things they have no business being in.

Well, for years she has thought we weren't paying our fair share of the utility bills. Now I know we have been overpaying our share all along. Not because she would show me any of the bills, though, but because I found them and went through them on numerous occasions to make sure we were actually paying enough. I never wanted to be underpaying and made sure we never were.

She was complaining to my son about it yet again, so he said fine, to give him all the bills, and he was going to work it out mathematically, and for some reason she did give him the bills. He added everything up and divided it by five. And sure enough, we are overpaying by $96 a month. And that is for winter numbers. In the summer we are overpaying by close to $200 a month.

And I don't care about that. I know she has a limited income and I've agreed to pay $500 a month plus pay for the internet and the garbage in full. That is our agreement. But now all of a sudden that it has been proven to her that we are actually paying most of her share (her recent contribution to a month of utility bills was less than $35), she can't complain about it anymore. Instead she is picking other fights and bringing up old things that were long ago settled in her favor and that she agreed to move on from.

But she's not doing it with us, she's doing it with DS. I keep telling him to not engage. All he has to say is "Grandma, I don't want to argue with you." And keep repeating it. After saying it four or five times, he needs to say, "Grandma, do you just want to argue? Because I don't, so I'm leaving now."

But instead he keeps engaging. She is not someone you can engage with, because if you do, she then goes into martyr mode if you prove the opposite of her point with logic. It's basically if you don't agree with her opinion than she's never going to speak to you again. Although this only holds until she needs help with something, like getting stuff down off medium and high shelves (she's 5 foot 2) or carrying things in from the car or something goes wrong with her computer. Then she's talking again.

When you refuse to engage, though, it ruins her fun and it drives her crazy. However, it works and she stops doing it. My son can't stand to lose an argument or walk away from one, though. He doesn't understand that it just makes everything worse and then she ends up lashing out at the rest of us for no reason.

She likes to throw out comments like, "I'm sorry I ruined your lives." And I'm just like, "What? No one thinks that." We think she makes our lives more difficult than they need to be, but no one says that to her. We think she makes her life more difficult than it needs to be, too.

She just gets ideas in her head and then thinks they are right, like that we haven't paid enough on utilities, even though we have always overpaid. I don't think she'd be happy unless she was paying nothing and we were still overpaying so she could just keep the extra money, to be honest. But I still don't care, because $500 is what we agreed on. It's gone up as we've lived here as bills went up, which is fine, it is also what we agreed to.

Maybe she's embarrassed because it has been proven what she's been thinking is wrong or because she knows in her heart that she is actually taking advantage of the situation and does this to try to shift her guilt. I don't know. I don't feel like she is ripping us off because we pay the amount we agreed to and I have always felt if she needed that little extra help, it was fine. What I'm not okay with is being harassed over something that is not true and then her switching to something else because it was proven not true. Especially when it is something she claims to have let go of.

The woman has a special talent for driving me crazy. I have a special talent for not letting her see that she is driving me crazy. Which drives her crazy. My little bit of revenge against the crazy, I suppose. I wish she would just grow up already. Too bad you can't tell your mother that, but I am too tired to deal with the kind of shenanigans that would invoke. It all has to slide off. I need my energy for me. So I vent here and not with her and keep the peace. I always keep the peace. Stoic in the face of unreasonableness. Steadfast in having the truth on my side. And petty enough to know it will all drive her right up the wall. You have to have something, though, right?

6 Responses to “My Mother is Frustrating Me but I Refuse to Let Her See It”

  1. Jenn Says:

    Based on things that you've shared, it does indeed seem that your mother can be unreasonable at times. The thing is that you live in her place and owe her money, giving her the upper hand and putting you in a place that you're forced to deal with it. Until you get you own place, you'll need to find a de-stressing technique so you are calm on the outside AND the inside. Easier said than done, for sure.

  2. CB in the City Says:

    I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. It can be hard to live with another family member -- believe me, I know. I would guess she doesn't feel important, so she is trying to prove she is -- all in the wrong way, of course. You have been generous and you have kept to your agreement, so hold your head high. As for your son, he will have to learn for himself that he shouldn't open the door for an argument.

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    Once this last debt to her is paid off and we have a downpayment we will be out of here so fast. I think she's worried about then, too. I'm not sure she can make all her bills without us helping. She may have to take in a border or sell the house. Maybe my other sister would move in.

  4. mumof2 Says:

    Sorry you are going through this know it can be hard...I'm to opinionated for this...just ask my mom..I would do anything but we would never talk to each other this way...but you are paying her money each month not just for bills but for the loan so shouldn't she be okay money wise....either way once you move out that won't be your issue...just deal with it as best you can...it sure is an incentive to pay her off and save a down payment LOL

  5. rob62521 Says:

    I am very sorry you are having to deal with this, as well as your DH and children. Some people are just contrary. My mother was one of them. No matter what I did, said, or thought, it was always wrong. After she died, I realized she suffered from mental illness. I was too close to see it at the time. Throughout my life she kept telling me what a rotten daughter I was and how she did everything correctly and I didn't. When I went through her papers, I found out she lost custody of my half brother and half sister in the 1940s. It had to be a major thing back then because usually mothers kept their children. I realized I might not have been the perfect daughter, but she wasn't the perfect parent. And no matter what, she would always want to fight and show me how wrong I was. I have reconciled my feelings since then and realize some of it she could not help, but it hurt like crazy at the time.

  6. Wife of the Deacon Says:


    There is something so weary about dancing the passive-aggressive dance with someone if you're not wired that way. I was born to teen ager and bonded with my grandparents the way most people probably bond with their parents. My parents are emotionally immature, with my father being a narcissist and master manipulator. I had the a-ha moment where I wasn't going to count on them for anything, took back my personal power and figured I could county on my grandparents or myself. It's better now that I don't have expectations, but it still sucks when I see other people my age who have "normal" realtionships with their parents. I am so sorry that you have to deal with this. That is the last thing that you need given other priorities in your family.

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