Wednesday, 17 December 2008

What can I do with her?

I'm in need of a little therapeutic outpouring.

I dread Christmas, and have done for many years. All because of my mum, because it's at Christmas that she can be at her worst.

Not sure where to begin or how to explain about her, but in a very emotional way she is extraordinarily controlling. She always gets her way and this has dominated (and plagued) my life.

It all goes back to her childhood. She had a lovely first six years being spoilt rotten living the life in India. Then she was sent to boarding school in England and forgotten about (at least that's how she sees it). An alcoholic mother who did forget pre-arranged meetings didn't help. My armchair diagnosis is that my mum is in constant need: she needs to feel loved, needed, appreciated and secure and she tries to ensure this by making sure people say things and behave in a way that makes her feel this way.

Myself, my sister, husbands and children are all paying for this aspect of her past and her present personality. We are all railroaded into paying her constant attention, 'thinking of her' at every moment, catering for her every need (woe betide those who put children first), praising her cooking, home, thanking her for her hospitality or help as if we couldn't have done without it...and so on.

For Christmas this year she has made my sister go to Bristol to collect her, take her to Somerset where she will spend five days, then I have to collect her from Somerset, take her to her home in Bristol, then to my house in Hampshire where she will stay for five nights including New Year's Eve. I have not offered this, she just asked and assumed. If I make out it's difficult she gets huffy, pointing out that she's taking us to the theatre (OH WHY did I agree to it?).

My problem is that she expects all this. I would probably happily offer to do some of what she wants, if she didn't always impose it on me. Not once has she noted that it may be a bit much to ask, that maybe my husband would not want his mother-in-law in the house all that time, that maybe we might have made other arrangements.

I have three other people to think of - not least my husband who is very unhappy about this. She will effectively take up most of his leave time and he finds her difficult at best. But once again it is all about her feeling wanted and needed and having the Christmas she wants. Trouble is - it's not what any of us want.

I feel furious that she's put me in this position again (for the nth time in my life), very very sorry for my family who deserve a relaxing break, incredibly resentful for being forced into this, but, as usual, powerless to do anything about it .

If I confront her about this a massive scene will ensue, with lots of tears ('how can you be so hurtful?") on her part. I know, because that's what always happens. I also know that she is 78 and will never change (because after all, it is me who is being 'selfish'). I feel thoroughly depressed and oppressed.

Friday, 12 December 2008



That, was a really hard slog.

Now I can at least think about Christmas shopping, tax returns, Christmas cards and 'sigh' dealing with my mother's visit (she's only invited herself for New Year's Eve!).

Will be back to blog again soon, in the meantime, now to down some wine and have a bath.